Sunday, October 31, 2004

Parental Rights Class Action Suits

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Excerpt: It is important that all “noncustodial” parents are counted towards the total number of plaintiffs seeking damages and custody restorations, so sign the Petition, and contact your own state’s Class-Action Coordinator, using the appropriate link below, and get your voice for justice added!

Please pass this information on to every “noncustodial” parent, or who has an unfair situation of so-called joint custody, whether regarding finances (child support), time-sharing, physical control and/or other management aspects. Every voice counts! MORE

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My favorite links

My email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

My address: Steven G. Erickson, PO Box 730, Enfield, CT 06083

What The Hell Is A Porter? (Beer)

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by BeerAdvocate (2728.8) / 12-13-2000

First published in: Boston's Weekly Dig / 12-13-2000

No other type of beer arouses so many questions as to its origin.

What the hell is it? Is it British or Irish? How does it vary from the Stout style? What does the name mean?

Porter is said to have been popular with transportation workers of Central London, hence the name. Most traditional British brewing documentation from the 1700’s state that Porter was a blend of three different styles: an old ale (stale or soured), a new ale (brown or pale ale) and a weak one (mild ale), with various combinations of blending and staleness.

The end result was also commonly known as "Entire Butt" or "Three Threads" and had a pleasing taste of neither new nor old. It was the first truly engineered beer, catering to the publics taste, playing a critical role in quenching the thirst of the UK’s Industrial Revolution and lending an arm in building the mega-breweries of today.

Porters of the late 1700’s were quite strong compared to today’s standards, easily surpassing 7% alcohol by volume. Some brewers made a stronger, more robust version, to be shipped across the North Sea, dubbed a Baltic Porter.

In general, the style’s dark brown colour covered up cloudiness and the smoky/roasted brown malts and bitter tastes masked brewing imperfections. The addition of stale ale also lent a pleasant acidic flavour to the style, which made it quite popular. These issues were quite important given that most breweries were getting away from pub brewing and opening up breweries that could ship beer across the world.

Due to the necessity to age the Porter for several months, sometimes over a year, the brewers needed to invest in huge storage casks chiefly made out of wood. Porter brewers prided themselves on having the biggest maturation vats and were always trying to build bigger ones.

Half-million gallon vats were not infrequent. One of these vats, owned by Richard Meux's brewery, erupted back in 1814 releasing 320,000 gallons of Porter which demolished part of the brewery, a line of small homes and killed eight people in the wave of beer.

In the 1770s, well before the birth of his world renowned Guinness Stout, Sir Arthur Guinness' focus was on the mass-production of Porter. There were two strengths of Porter at that time, either marked with a single or a double "X."

Soon to follow was a more robust third version, for export to the Caribbean. In 1820, the XX was renamed Guinness Extra Stout Porter, and soon after, the XXX gained the soubriquet Foreign Extra Stout (Guinness dropped the X Porter in 1974).

During this period in the 19th century, "stout" referred to a strong or robust ale, but with the advent of coffee roasters many maltsters found that they could blacken grain, imparting a black colour and mild-roasted flavour to the beer. The use of these highly roasted malts eventually spawned Stout as a style unto its own.

Yes, Porter is the father of Stout, and without it there'd be no creamy Guinness, Murphy's or Beamish as we know them today.

Even with the mass-production of Porter, some breweries could not keep up with the demand for the unique blending of old and new ales, since a portion of the blend could only be derived from patience and maturation.

Many learned to keep a stash of aged ale on hand, however as malt prices and taxation on alcohol increased, corners were cut. It’s been documented that breweries used molasses and burnt sugar to artificially colour their ale.

Others even introduced deadly narcotics to produce intoxicating effects, such as exotic poison berries, opium, Indian hemp, strychnine, tobacco, darnel seed, logwood and salts of zinc, lead and alum.

Many fell ill and even died as a result.

This begat new brewing laws against adding poisons to beer, and penalized any brewer or druggist associated in doing so.

With consumers lusting for clearer beer, the strength of Porter’s rule over the brewing industry diminished.

The popularity of the Pale Ale style in the mid 1800’s, and Lagers in 1900’s, forced Porter to become more or less nonexistent.

Porter saw a comeback during the homebrewing and micro-brewery revolution of the late 1970’s and early 80’s, in the US. Modern-day Porters are typically brewed using a pale malt base with the addition of black malt, crystal, chocolate or smoked brown malt.

The addition of roasted malt is uncommon, but used occasionally.

Some brewers will also age their beers after inoculation with live bacteria to create an authentic taste.

Hop bitterness is moderate on the whole and colour ranges from brown to black. Overall they remain very complex and interesting beers.

The recent fall of Sam Adams Honey Porter (sigh), and other breweries around the country dropping their Porter or darker style of brews, shows that Porter remains a well respected yet very misunderstood beer.

Everyone should at least try one in their lifetime in owed to a style that helped to build so much.

You can start your liquid nod here, with some modern-day Porters to enjoy:

Anchor Porter
Baltic Porters: Sinebrychoff Porter & D. Carnegie Porter
Brew Moon Planetary Porter
Catamount Porter
Cambridge Brewing Co.’s Charles River Porter
Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter
North East Brewing Co.’s Oak Cask-Conditioned Whiskey Porter
Tremont Porter
Sierra Nevada Porter
Smuttynose Robust Porter

London Style Porters:

Fuller’s London Porter, Sam Smith Taddy Porter and Geary's London Style Porter
Wachusett’s Black Shack Porter

Have a question for the Alström Bros? Email them at mail@beeradvocate.com

The above found (here)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bad Cop, No Donut

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Manchester officer suspended

By: Max Heuer, Journal Inquirer
October 30, 2004

Email to a friend


Voice your opinion

MANCHESTER - Police arrested one of their own Friday afternoon following a citizen complaint that the patrol officer stole a highly controlled narcotic medication, police said.

Patrol Officer Ryan Case, 31, of Windsor, was arrested while on-duty Friday, culminating a weeklong investigation.

Case was suspended from the force with pay, pending the outcome of his criminal case and an internal investigation, police said.

"I never would have guessed," said Captain Marc Montminy.

"It's one of those individuals that wouldn't have struck me. Otherwise, he kind of just melted into the rest of the crowd."

"I don't think he was a standout in any particular way, pro or con," he said.

A person Montminy described as Case's "friend" complained to police a week ago. The drug was a narcotic derivative, Montminy said, but didn't specify further. Case joined the force three years ago and has had only minor disciplinary issues, Montminy said.

"Nothing that rises to the level of a criminal act," he said.

"Late for work one day, typical day-to-day stuff. He's never been involved in a serious incident that I'm aware of."

"Until the citizen brought that issue to our attention, we did not suspect he was involved in anything like this," he said.

Case is charged with larceny, possession of narcotics, and failure to keep narcotics in an original container.

Police said the ongoing investigation may result in additional charges.

Case was released Friday night on a bond. His court date and the size of the bond weren't immediately available.

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F U, I'm charging my Mr. Slappy Card

Friday, October 29, 2004

Unethical Ethics Commission

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Auditors Say Ethics Panel Misled Them Letter Alleges Irregularities, Improprieties, `Pattern Of Disregard'

October 28, 2004 By JON LENDER, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

The State Ethics Commission has misled state auditors for years by withholding employee time sheets and other records, in a "pattern of disregard" for regulations that included unauthorized holidays and compensatory time, the auditors said Wednesday in a letter to Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

State Auditors Kevin P. Johnston and Robert G. Jaekle also cited irregularities and improprieties in the agency's use of its budgeted funds, saying it illegally paid in advance, with last year's funds, for six employees' intended attendance at a California conference six weeks from now.

Rell called the auditors' three-page letter "disconcerting, to say the least." She added, "This continues the parade of missteps and embarrassments in an office that is charged with promoting and protecting ... integrity of state government."

She vowed to take "administrative action this week to address what the auditors rightly termed a pattern of disregard" for state policies.

Wednesday's developments added to the turmoil that has afflicted the agency since late summer, when its longtime executive director, Alan S. Plofsky, was fired by the appointed commission that oversees the paid staff.

One of the commission's justifications for Plofsky's firing was its claim he improperly built up comp time - based on a personnel administrators' investigation of whistleblower complaints filed against him by subordinates and an anonymous letter-writer.

But the auditors also raised questions Wednesday about the comp time of Plofsky's non-management subordinates.

"The timesheets and compensatory time records, pertaining to non-management personnel of the commission and given to our office to audit over the years, did not always reflect the actual time worked on any given day," Jaekle and Johnston wrote.

The auditors did say that, over the years, it was the responsibility of the executive director - Plofsky - and a lower-ranking fiscal administrative supervisor at the commission to sign off on letters attesting that the auditors were given all the agency's records and that they were accurate.

"Despite these sign-offs, it came to our attention during our review of the aforementioned whistleblower matters that all of the ... timesheets and compensatory time records ... had not been provided to our office during ... several audits," they wrote.

Plofsky's lawyer, Gregg Adler, said the auditors' findings are not focused on his client, who denies wrongdoing. "As far as he knew, the records for his comp time and others were accurate," he said.

Plofsky is appealing his Sept. 10 firing, saying it is payback from a commission that was dominated by appointees of John G. Rowland, the ex-governor whom he publicly called a liar and whose ethics violations he pursued while state ethics director.

Members of the commission have denied that claim. The panel's new chairman, Hugh Macgill, said Wednesday he had "just distributed this letter to the commission. We will take it up very swiftly."

He said it is "a matter of concern and dismay and simply underscores that ... I think this commission, and I think other commissions" are not keeping close enough tabs on their administrative staffs.

Rell said: "The auditors question the very ethics of the Ethics Commission itself. They allege purposeful withholding of time and attendance records and a willful violation of state policies on purchasing and payments."

"Once again it is clear that the commission needs serious reform," said Rell, who has designated ethics reform as her top priority.

"The bipartisan working group I formed with representatives from the legislative and executive branches has met and is beginning its work to reconfigure the [ethics] agency."

The auditors, in their letter, said the pattern of disregard for state rules included:

"Allowing the telecommuting of two commission employees" without proper state approval.

Allowing employees time off before holidays without proper authorization from the governor's office.

Lack of annual written evaluations of commission workers.

Not recording all employees' comp time or requiring written approval before it is earned.

Allowing work schedules inconsistent with union contracts.

Allowing state payment for "possible unwarranted overnight stays at hotels while commission staff members attended professional conferences."

The auditors told Rell on Wednesday that in investigating the whistleblower complaints against Plofsky - an investigation for which they have submitted a still-secret, separate report to state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal - they determined that there were additional time sheets and compensatory time records that they had not seen.

They asked for the other records, but did not receive them. The agency handed over the additional records "only when we specifically informed the commission that we were aware of the existence" of the additional records, the auditors wrote.

Jaekle, in a phone interview Wednesday, likened the additional records to a second set of books kept unofficially.

Fair use of copyrighted materials contained in my blogs

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What about THIS ethical misconduct?

My favorite Links

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Well dressed doesn’t guarantee good behavior

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If a police force doesn’t enforce a code of conduct, remove transgressors, and punish bad behavior within its ranks, it doesn’t matter how well the police officers dress, they are just plain thugs.

I know from personal experience police officers will lie, commit perjury, and harass and threaten citizens complaining about bad policing and policies.

Good police officers pay for bad behavior of other officers in lost public trust.

-Steven G. Erickson
email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Links to my story and point of view

Judges aren't above the law
... Or Are They?

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Lookin' Uniformly Good Connecticut State Police Named The Best-Dressed Force In The Nation, All Over Again

October 28, 2004 By TRACY GORDON FOX, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

MERIDEN -- There's the fashion police and then there's police fashion.

In the world of patrol cops, vogue is all about colors and stripes, badges and buttons.And according to the experts of police panache, the Connecticut State Police are tops.

For the second time in a decade, the Association of Uniform Manufacturers has named the Connecticut State Police the best dressed in the nation, gushing over the department's dress and everyday uniforms.

"In a short word - we liked everything," said Bernard J. Lepper, executive director of the association, who presented state police officials with the honor Wednesday during the department's award ceremony.

The association noted the "royal blue epaulets on the dress shirts, piped in gold and tacked with gold brass buttons, and the royal blue tie that is a strong contrast against the gray shirt."

But what they really liked is how troopers are inspected at each roll call before they go out on patrol, and how their uniform "adjusts to the ever-changing, vibrant New England climate."

Judges loved the lightweight wool/Dacron polyester material, worn with short-sleeved shirts and a straw trooper hat. And they were smitten with the winter wear, which includes trousers "of 100 percent wool construction," a fur felt trooper hat, and waterproof parkas and jackets.

As part of the honor, troopers will be featured in a law enforcement magazine and be recognized at the International Chiefs of Police Convention in Los Angeles later year.

"I think our uniforms are the best in the country," said Col. Edward Lynch.

"We'll throw it out there if we meet the other state police."

Gov. M. Jodi Rell spoke at Wednesday's ceremony for troopers and police officers who were given awards for bravery, life-saving and meritorious service.

She thanked Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Daniel Clark, who sang at Fenway Park last week, for singing at the ceremony but couldn't resist giving him a jab.

"You did a great job," she said, "but your Massachusetts uniform doesn't compare."

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My email published online today in the Hartford Courant:
(it also most likely was also printed in the print edition)

Keep Judges Off Commission

I say "no way" to putting judges on an ethics commission [Associated Press article, Oct. 26, "New Ethics Plan Calls For Retired Judges"].

Appointing judges to an ethics commission would only worsen the problem. Judges have gotten their jobs by hobnobbing, doing favors and being team players, often sweeping away uncomfortable allegations for friends and other officials and barbecuing whistle-blowers. They are used to acting how and when they please. These are all traits you don't want on an ethics commission.

Judges, prosecutors and police have a larger ability to abuse the public than any governor or elected official. The U.S. Constitution is valid only if the court system and the police are answerable to the public, but they are not.

To put public trust in a Star Chamber of judges would be quite insane if the main objective is to make elected officials and others who are paid with our tax dollars more apt to act legally, ethically and in our best interest.

Steven G. Erickson
Enfield

I was responding to this piece in the Hartford Courant

Fair use of copyrighted materials contained in my blogs

Email received regarding Iraq

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Received from: Jaroslaw Suplacz jsuplacz@silesianet.pl

Subject: Private business in Iraq


Dear Editor, One thing may change the November's election.

Corruption in Iraq

Polish participation in the coalition has influenced moral assessment of the military intervention.

Poland appears as a dependable and first as a noble ally. Poland is in Iraq for the great matter - the war with terrorism and stabilization on The Near East. The history of Poland, Polish Pope gives USA a stamp of a moral character of the intervention.

Nevertheless, the reality runs away from appearances. Polish politics make private business on the war. The corruption range to the highest authorities.

Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka was earlier the Chief of International Coordination Commitment in Iraq. As the chief of the commitment, he supported a choice of Bank Millennium (in which he was a member of the supervisory board) to the consortium that would menage the Trade Bank of Iraq.

Accidentally, the Prime Minister admitted he had known how the members of the tender commission had voted - nevertheless, he was not a member of the commission.

Another matter regards to the public tender that decided about a contract on equipment for Iraq's army. In consortium that won the first tender was "Ostrowski Arms" - the firm that had not a license on the trade of weapons and whole firm was consists of a few persons. What is interesting in this firm?

The owner and the chief of the firm was Andrzej Ostrowski - a good acquaintance of President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Mr. Ostrowski had issued a book about the calendar of the choice of F-16 to Polish army. It was only one book wroted by him ...and President Kwasniewski wrote an introduction to this book. At present, Mr. Andrzej Ostrowski is the accused of a trade of weapons without a license.

After the journalist's investigation regards Ostrowski Arms the public tender in Iraq was cancel. What the tender was it? The firm without license on a trade of weapons is the one of winners. The firm with a few people staff, not famous in branch... However, good famous for Aleksander Kwasniewski.

Displaying the true causes, that whole war in Iraq will be dirty for the majority in The United States. If the noble ally is dirtier than Bush's administration, it will be a catastrophe for his vision.

I think you should confirm both events: the run of the choice of the consortium managing the Trade Bank of Iraq and the choice of the unknown firm without a license on weapons trade to the consortium that was expected to equip the Iraq's army.

The international corruption affair will range to the high Bush's administration and to the highest Polish authorities.

Enclosed please find more details, nevertheless, it is only in Polish:

www.polandsecurities.com/businessinIraq

Best Regards,
Jaroslaw Suplacz

About the author:www.polandsecurities.com/jsvitae.html

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Spammers go on trial

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First felony trial for spamming

LEESBURG, Virginia (AP) -- Three people who allegedly sent America Online customers millions of junk e-mail messages touting penny stocks and other Internet gimmicks went on trial Tuesday in the nation's first such felony case.

The defendants are being tried under a 2003 Virginia anti-spam law that prosecutors say is the harshest of its kind in the nation.

The three face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.

Assistant Attorney General Russell McGuire told jurors that on one day alone in July 2003, defendant Jeremy Jaynes sent or attempted to send 7.7 million e-mail messages to AOL customers using false identities or bogus company names. The goal of the messages was to sell software that would allow a person to work from home as a "FedEx refund processor" or that would help them pick the right penny stocks. More from CNN

F the Police

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The Crux to my angst

My email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

Injustice, Inc.

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The below is a complaint regarding police emailed to me:

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(Jayne Said:)

I live in the city limits of a small town in North Carolina. For over a year my family has complained to the city, the fire department, and the police department about a neighbor. The neighbor’s property adjoins the back of our property.

Our complaints have been for the following:

Trees growing over our property and hanging over our swimming pool. This damages our pool liners. We did take this to small claims court but lost.

All day, all night (some last 2 days and nights) cookout parties

Fires that burn to the top of trees sending smoke and ashes onto our property (our pool)
All the men guest urinating frequently near the property line. (Once a lady had her pants down urinating)

Loud voices sometimes cursing

Playing music all day and into the night (most of the time it is music without words)

Dog barking during the night

Trespassing onto our property.

Emptying their above ground pool with a hose onto our property ruining our shedand well water. (done this for three years)

I have videotapes of all the above. The police department and the fire department claim they never see these things and it seems they don‘t care about the video. Actually they have made comments such as we are trying to get people in trouble and have suggested we are lying.

A few months ago this neighbor called the police while my daughter was singing karoke. A police officer came. He was rude and began telling us what ordinance we had broken and claimed he could hear the music down another road (untrue).

I have been told after eleven at night music cannot be heard over 50 feet.

I agree the music could be heard 50 feet but not down another road. The dog has 100 feet and the police have actually came to the house and measured the distance the dog is away from our house which is just a little over 100 feet making the dog in ordinance.

I asked the officer why he didn’t go up there and make them quit "pissing" in the back yard.

He got real angry and told me to shut up or he would put the handcuffs on me and take me to jail. My daughter asked why he was picking on us after all the things the neighbor was doing.

He told her to shut up and not to say another word or he would put handcuffs on her and take us both to jail. After he left I called all my other neighbors and asked if they had heard our music and they said no. I filed a complaint against the officer but he was found not guilty. I was written up as being hostile.

They sent a lieutenant to our house to get the information for the complaint. During this time he asked my daughter if he could see her sociably. She fell for him and he began calling her.

Their relationship led to him hiding her out from a girlfriend and her coming to his apartment late at night. My daughter thought she was doing this because of his kids to give them time to adjust. He came to our house to see her mostly when he was working third shift but every time he came he was always on duty and in the police car. Most of the time he had her paging him on his cell phone and he would call her and talk for long periods of time either from his apartment or while he was in his police car on duty. He talked about how horny and hard he was along with other sexual desires of his. He had begun saying mean things around her. She got a little weary of this and began recording their conversations.

He got a little rough with her during sex one night at his place and hurt her.

She was confused as to whether he was aware of his force and by this time she was getting somewhat afraid of him. Once while talking to him on the phone he told her of all the people he hated in his life he hated his x-wife the most. He called the x-wife an evil bitch and said she turned his oldest daughter against him and she had not had much to do with him since she was fourteen.

She is now in her twenties and married. My daughter called his x-wife after this to see what was with him and if he could be dangerous. The x-wife confirmed her fears and gave her the reason for the daughter. I don’t know if she would repeat what she said so I am afraid to say what she said.

I have heard a rumor that the lieutenant once in the past had been demoted because he was always beating on his wife and he almost lost his job. There is no way I can find out because of the privacy laws. This really scares me that this lieutenant could be a woman beater and my daughter really was in danger with him. I keep wondering why they would have left him on the police force to be able to hurt other women.

During the relationship with the lieutenant he told my daughter details (sexual) about a death scene of a prominent person in our town. The brother of this person had asked the police department to keep this secret for the privacy of their family. My daughter has informed the brother of this and this conversation is recorded.

We were told the lieutenant’s girlfriend is also a Christian and teaches at a Christian School and has been going with him for seven years? We learned who she is and my daughter called and talked with her sister. The sister acted as if they had told her about things he had done and had been trying to get her away from him for awhile but she would not listen.

The sister made another comment that was very disturbing to me. My daughter told her she was afraid if she tried to get the lieutenant in trouble with the recorded conversations he would retaliate against her. The sister said Yeah he might. The sister’s husband is a captain at this police department and she is making these comments. The last name of the police officer that I filed a complaint against is Anderson and this also happens to be the last name of the lieutenant’s girlfriend and I am wondering if they are kin to each other. The Anderson guy goes to church with the lieutenant.

The things that are being allowed to happen to us, no one else would ever have to put up with. To me it is ridiculous that men are urinating in the back yard and because we said something we have became the joke of the town. My family is being forced to listen to the neighbor’s music day after day, yet my daughter cannot sing anymore. I have to stay inside my house while they party all day at a shed right at the property line within only a few feet from our swimming pool.

The lieutenant has made a joke of my daughter, dead people and others and we don’t think he should get by with it. My daughter is thirty and she has only been with two men in her lifetime.

She is not a tramp and doesn’t deserve to be talked about like this. She made a bad mistake. I have a hard time accepting the police department wrote me up as being hostile considering the way their lieutenant talks. Because of some other things the lieutenant said and we cannot prove we believe he is dangerous, especially if something threatened his job.

The above was emailed in from: tictock@nuvox.net

Is this fair?

...

Justice Dept. : Geneva Conventions limited in Iraq
From Terry Frieden, CNN Washington Bureau
Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 5:45 PM EDT (2145 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Non-Iraqi prisoners captured by U.S. forces on the Iraq battlefield are not entitled to the protections afforded by the Geneva Conventions, according to a recent legal opinion from the Justice Department.

The opinion allows U.S. military forces and CIA operatives to handle the foreign fighters captured in Iraq in the same way they are handling al Qaeda and Taliban fighters captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

In confirming the legal opinion first reported in The New York Times, Justice Department officials said the guidance is consistent with their previous position taken regarding battlefield detainees in Afghanistan.

"This administration has made it clear from the outset that members of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups do not necessarily enjoy the protections of the Geneva Conventions," a senior Justice Department official said.

"Al Qaeda members and other foreign terrorists in Iraq illegally would not be entitled to the Geneva Convention protections. That's consistent with our opinion on Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan."
More from CNN

The Last Chance Ranch

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It happened so sudden, 12 years in my past,

For the rest of my life the injury would last.

The cars hit head-on, not a chance to slow down,

The next I remember, I lay on the ground.

My hip joint was crushed beyond all repair.

"You're too young to replace it," Doc said with a stare,

"You will walk again, but never will run."

These words hit me hard like a shot from a gun.

Ten years came and went, the pain more severe.

I said to my wife, "Time to replace it is here."

When the surgery was over, Doc said to my wife,

"He can't ride a horse for the rest of his life."

We own our own farm with a full riding stable,

So horses and riding put food on our table.

I could sell horses and tack, and some money I'd make,

But to ride one myself was a risk I can't take.

And then it did happen, one night at the sale,

As I stood selling halters inside of the rail.

My wife came up to me with that look in her eye.

She said, "There's a horse out back ready to die."

As I walked to the killer pen and looked over the fence,

There stood a starved gelding whose frame was immense.

His eyes were three inches sunk back in his head;

If he were lying down, you would have sworn he was dead.

He stood sixteen-one, weighed about four and a quarter,

His hair was three inches and not one-half shorter.

A skeleton with hide stood before my own eyes.

If he walked through the ring, it would be a surprise.

As the barn door slid open and they led him on in,

The auctioneer said, "Two hundred is where we'll begin."

The kill buyer said, "Two-oh-five's all I'll give."

I said, "I'll give two-ten just to see if he'll live."

The bids then quit coming, not a sound from the crowd,

The next word was "Sold" he said very loud.

As the trailer backed up to the wood loading gate,

I said, "Let's get him home before it's too late."

He had to have help to step up to the floor,

But we got him in and then closed the door.

As I drove home that night,

I looked back at a glance

And said,

"If he lives, we'll call him Last Chance."

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Who should you vote for in the upcoming Presidential Election?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I Love Lietuva

...

Lithuania

AN ADVENTURE IN INDEPENDENCE

History has roots in a small country with a big soul

By Karen Torme Olson

Special to the TribunePublished October 24, 2004

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- For most Americans, this newly admitted member of the European Union is terra incognita. But for thousands of descendants of Lithuanian emigres in the Chicago area and elsewhere who come here each year looking for their roots, Lithuania and its people quickly become terra nota.

Now I'm one of them.

In 1865, my Lithuanian great-grandfather left his family and friends to find a better life in America. He was just 16, but his determination and self-reliant spirit helped him thrive in his adopted land. In the face of daunting odds, he became a successful farmer, store owner and, finally, landlord of a two-flat in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood, where he lived until his death in 1932.

I knew him only through sketchy family stories, but when I was offered a summer teaching opportunity in Lithuania through Snowball, a Springfield-based prevention organization for teens, I signed up for this chance to learn a little more about my roots.

The adventure began at the Skrydis Vesbutis, a hotel with a distinct Soviet-era feel near the airport in the capital city of Vilnius. Despite spotty improvements (decent water pressure, strategically placed plants in the hallways, phones in all rooms), the "sentry" desks at the end of each hall and the staff's by-the-book guest relations imparted a barracks aura. But at 120 litas a night ($44) for a single, the price was right.

From there, I'd arranged to take a side trip with Jack Irwin, a Snowball leader from Geneva, Ill., who'd spent considerable time in this Baltic country of almost 4 million people that's less than half the size of Illinois. Then we'd rejoin the group and explore Vilnius before leaving for Snowball camp in the extreme southern part of the country.

Within minutes of checking in, Jack's Lithuanian counterpart, Audrone Auskeliene, arrived to drive us to her apartment in Vilnius' Old Town, where Audrone and her husband showered us with Lithuanian hospitality. Then it was off on a fast-paced walking tour of some of the more than two dozen churches in the city center.

We visited the extravagant Church of St. Anne, which so impressed Napoleon that he expressed the desire to take it back to Paris, and the imposing Vilnius Cathedral and its ornate St. Casimir chapel. The cathedral sits on Cathedral Square, a large open space paved with stones from the wall that once surrounded the city and site of a huge monument to the city's founder, Grand Duke Gediminas.

The ever-present sounds of construction reminded us that Lithuania's fast-growing, post-independence (1991) economy has turned Vilnius into one big renovation project of hotels, gleaming shopping malls and rehabbed living spaces.

On the way back to Audrone's, we browsed among the street vendors' wares of woodcarvings, local art--and amber jewelry. My fear of buying plastic rather than genuine specimens of the prized hardened pine resin led me into the ubiquitous jewelry shops, where white, red and green varieties of Lithuania's "Baltic Gold" are sold with certificates of authenticity.

Then it was off to dinner at Bellamontas, an ambitious riverside restaurant-park-playground-dance hall-cinema complex set against a backdrop of krikolai (waterfalls) and gardens connected by cobblestone paths. We shared beer bread (a battered, fried snack oozing with garlic) and banana-stuffed blinis. Bananas are popular ingredients in local dishes, Jack explained, because the tropical fruit had been banned as a punishment for Lithuania's resistance to the Soviet regime. Now that bananas are available, they are unofficially regarded as an edible solidarity symbol.

The next morning, Jack and I picked up our rental car and headed for Kaunas, Lithuania's second-largest city, about 50 miles west of Vilnius. Like many Eastern European cities, Kaunas has a quaint senamiestes (Old Town) with quiet streets, churches, a castle, shops and cafes.

One of the most unusual sights was a church parking lot full of bridal parties tailgating while waiting their turns at the altar. Most Lithuanians, though Roman Catholic, don't get married at mass but in a shorter church ceremony. Sometimes as many as 20 couples will say their vows in a single day, turning the parking lot into a kind of nuptial staging area.

We ended our walking tour of Kaunas on Laisves Aleja (Freedom Avenue), a mile-long pedestrian boulevard lined with restaurants, bars, and such specialty European retailers as L'Occitane and Bennetton. The silver-domed Church of St. Michael the Archangel looms over Independence Square at the eastern end of the boulevard.

St. Michael's dates to 1893 as a place of worship for Russian Orthodox troops stationed nearby. Used by the Soviets as a museum during their occupation, St. Michael's became a Roman Catholic Church in 1990.

The guidebooks say that Kaunas is a city of museums: The Devil Museum and its collection of more than 2,000 mostly comical representations of Satan, the MK Ciurlionis Art Museum and the popular Lithuanian Open Air Museum all are there.

But the most moving exhibit in the area is the Ninth Fort complex on the edge of town. It is a cluster of three sites: a small building filled with artifacts, jail cells where Jews were confined before being executed and a huge, jagged concrete monument. These structures stand where tens of thousands of Jews (as well as Lithuanians and Poles) were murdered during World War II--not in a gas chamber, but by handguns--in just three years (1941-1944), virtually wiping out Lithuania's Jewish population.

Beneath the soaring concrete monument, five long slabs of polished granite resembling giant tombstones are set low in the grass. Each is inscribed in a different language, but all say the same thing: "This is the place where Nazis and their assistants killed more than 30,000 Jews from Lithuania and other European countries."

Beneath the stretch of tidy lawn behind the markers are their remains.

After paying our respects, we hit the highway for the bustling port town of Klaipeda.

Most of Lithuania is flat farm country, making the 125-mile trip akin to a drive across Kansas, except for the patches of dense forest--and the pseudo-theater for motorists staged alongside Lithuanian roads.

All along the way, people were selling baskets of just-picked wild mushrooms and freshly gathered berries. It seemed more a social activity than an economic enterprise since almost all the entrepreneurs we saw seemed more interested in sunbathing, sleeping, playing cards or just talking, seldom raising their heads to look at passing cars.

Then there were the storks. The birds looked like roadside sentries in their huge nests atop telephone poles and chimneys.

According to Jack, the people of Lithuania (and Poland) believe it is good luck for a stork to build a nest on their property, so people let them stay.

Eventually, the Baltic Sea appeared beyond a cluster of construction cranes in the Klaipeda shipyard.

We drove to the Hotel Klaipeda, which Jack remembered as an Economy-Class holdover from the Soviet days.

However, the tenement-style tower had undergone a renovation and now had a slick lobby and amenities that included a fitness center, restaurants, a rooftop bar with a view of the harbor and city, and well-appointed rooms with satellite TV (including two English-language stations). The 280 litas ($100) tab for a single wasn't what Jack expected, but I was thrilled to get my hands on a hairdryer.

Klaipeda is Lithuania's third-largest city and the only northern port on the eastern coast of the Baltic that does not freeze, boosting its commercial and strategic importance. The city boasts a full schedule of festivals, a host of historical structures and a university, but that wasn't why we were there.

So we spent our short time on a quick walk through the Old Town, a one-stop-shopping experience in the Wal-Mart-like store called Hyper Maxi and in the hotel's restaurant-bar.

Our main reason for this stop was the 10-minute ferry ride across the Curonian Lagoon to the Curonian Spit, a narrow, 60-mile peninsula included on the UNESCO World Heritage list as a cultural landscape reservation.

Various countries have coveted--and controlled--the Curonian Spit for centuries. Lithuania currently has jurisdiction over the northern half, while Russia administers the rest, which is part of Kaliningrad--a region cut off from the rest of Russia.

Lithuania's portion, known as Neringa, includes a national forest, sandy beaches, harbors, bicycle trails, shifting dunes, an open-air collection of giant oak sculptures on Witches' Hill in the village of Juodkrante and the fishing village-turned-resort town of Nida. The ferry between Klaipeda and Smiltyne on the northern tip of the spit runs every 30 minutes. Our transport was packed with hikers, bikers and motorists heading for a day at the beach. We immediately headed for Nida, the largest and most visited village on the peninsula.

Besides galleries, churches, dunescapes and beaches, its attractions include the Urbas Hill lighthouse, restored in the 1950s after being blown up during World War II; a hilltop monument to Nida's Gliding School; the Nida Ethnographic Cemetery and its 12th Century krikstas (wooden gravestones embellished with carvings of horses' heads, plants, and birds); and Thomas Mann's Memorial Museum, once the Nobel laureate's summer home.

Before we caught the ferry back to the mainland, we stopped for a leisurely lunch near the shoreline and watched vacationers walking, biking and running along the paths that skirt the water, some carrying packages of rukyta zuvis (smoked fish), which is sold in kiosks up and down the main drag.

While the villages of Neringa municipality offer a rustic experience, it is Palanga (Polanga?)--just 17 miles north of Klaipeda--that is the primo Lithuanian seaside playground. Here tourism is an art form, and Palanga draws tens of thousands of visitors a year to its white sandy beaches, botanical park, public sculpture garden and amber museum.

For us, however, Palanga was a drive-through on our way to Siauliai, 95 miles to the east, and the nearby Hill of Crosses.We arrived in Siauliai late on a Sunday afternoon and found most hotels full.

We had to settle for the Hotel Salineau, a no-frills hotel from the Soviet Intourist-era in an early stage of renovation. We entered the lobby from the grimy basement via tiny elevators reeking of decades-old cigarette smoke.

Then we lurched up to a red and orange-carpeted 12th floor hall leading to rooms with frayed sheets and towels, pink acetate curtains on screenless windows, and walls textured with peeling salmon and beige paint.

We had been asked to pay the charge for each room (about $26, including breakfast) in advance, and laughed when the clerk warned there would be no running water after 8 a.m. due to construction.

But TV with CNN and a generous breakfast of bread, meat and eggs made the experience tolerable.The Hill of Crosses is about 8 miles northeast of Siauliai on farm roads that are well-marked--a good thing because the hill is in the middle of a field.

It's difficult to describe the impact made by the sight of thousands of crosses in a huge range of sizes next to, on top of and hanging on each other.

There are several legends about the origins of the Hill of Crosses, but the most frequently cited says the hill originated as a spontaneous memorial to insurgents killed in a 19th Century rebellion.

In the 1950s Lithuanians began putting up crosses in memory of loved ones who had died in exile in Siberian concentration camps. In 1961 and several times thereafter, the Soviets bulldozed the hill and its offending symbols, but the crosses always reappeared, sometimes overnight.

Since independence in 1991, the hill has grown daily, spilling off the mound and onto the meadow below. It has become a site of pilgrimages and a symbol of Lithuanians' belief in God.

The hill was our last stop on this road trip before Jack and I drove back to Vilnius where our five colleagues were waiting. During the next two days we explored the city and environs with a passion:

We walked through the Gates of Dawn, and saw elderly men and women struggling up worn marble steps to pray in the chapel at the top.

We read the names of Lithuanian patriots inscribed on the walls of the creepy KGB museum, and sampled beaver stew and blueberry dumplings at Lokys, one of Vilnius' oldest restaurants.

We drove to the town of Trakai to explore its 15th Century castle on a lake, and bought dozens of cookies, bags of cherries and amber jewelry in the shadow of the red-stone edifice.

We visited a weekend cottage on farmland outside of town, and shared a meal lovingly prepared by Lithuanian teen leaders.

We scoured a vast Hyper Maxi for bargain souvenirs, and sipped Pepto-Bismol-colored beet soup (saltibarsciai) in a Planet Hollywood-type restaurant featuring Lithuanian specialties.

We bought hand-carved wooden statues of Lithuania's "sad" Jesus from a folk artist, and amber-crusted Christmas tree ornaments from an upscale shop in the Gothic Corner on Stikliai Street.

Then it was time to go to work at the Snowball seminar, where 40 teens were waiting for us near Druskininkai. But after a week of riding herd on rambunctious teenagers, cabin fever set in.

Teachers Pat Gerber of Carol Stream and Linda Savick of Frankfort and I took a page from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and played hooky for an afternoon of cruising the countryside in a borrowed stick-shift van.

Our first stop was the tiny hamlet of Grutas, where we walked slack-jawed through Gruto Parkas, a surreal sculpture garden whose major attractions are enormous recycled statues depicting the scions of Communism. The statues had graced almost every town square before being torn down and hauled away after the breakup of the Soviet Union. We dubbed the place "Leninland" and left humming the socialist marching songs that blared from speakers hidden in the trees.

Next was Druskininkai itself, a resort town on the Nemunas River that's famed for a spa that offers medicinal mud baths, massages and healing spring waters. We thought about the massages but had time only to peek at the baths and choke down a paper cup of salty mineral water.

On the way back to camp and our final sessions, we contemplated our truancy in stalled traffic near the tiny town of Varena. Police had halted movement on our side of the highway to let hundreds of singing pilgrims pass on their way from Poland to attend a mass celebrating the 60th anniversary of the supposedly miraculous Mother of Mercy portrait at the Gates of Dawn in Vilnius.

In the morning, our driver arrived in his well-used but immaculate family van. Audrone explained that this wizened man dressed in worn clothes was a friend of her family who had taken the job to earn a few extra litas. During the 90-minute drive back to Vilnius he proudly called our attention to landmarks, trying to explain their history in broken English that was far better than our Lithuanian.

On the surface, he was an unremarkable man, but his values clearly reflected determination to complete even the most menial tasks with dignity. Watching him, it occurred to me that this man epitomized the fabric of Lithuania's soul--proud, gallant, hard-working and independent.

I hadn't had enough information to find my great-grandfather's hometown, but I think I found the source of his spirit.- - -

IF YOU GOGETTING THERE

There is no direct route to Vilnius from Chicago, and fares for the same Economy-Class seat can vary wildly, so it is best to do some comparison shopping. I flew LOT Polish Airlines with a stop in Warsaw for $1,250. (I paid around $440 in 1993 on the same airline)

My colleagues flew SAS via Copenhagen for about the same price but with a longer layover. I left O'Hare three hours later than they did, but we arrived in Vilnius 20 minutes apart. Both airlines offer online booking at www.lot.com or www.scandinavian.net.

Other connections are available.

HOTELSAccommodations in Vilnius range from decadent to minimalist, but all are bargain priced for Europe. Lithuania officially is an EU member but has not yet switched over to the euro.

Some establishments list prices in euros and some in litas; prices here have been converted to dollars. Most hotels offer a discount for Internet bookings. When calling from the U.S. to any of the phones below, dial 011-370 before dialing the number.

Stikliai: The romantic Stikliai could be classified as a boutique hotel. It has 44 unique rooms (10 suites), each with luxury amenities and price tags to match that include a generous buffet breakfast. Stikliai guests have access to an upscale restaurant and tavern as well as a fitness center, pool and billiard room. The Stikliai is a member of the Relais & Chateaux International chain. $205 single, $248 double. Gaono Str. 7; 5-2649595; www.stikliaihotel.lt.

Novotel: The sparkling new 158-room Vilnius Novotel in the center of town opened in April. Rooms are done in crisp Scandinavian decor, and each has an Internet connection, coffeemaker and mini-bar. Ninety of the rooms have been designated "non-smoking," a rarity in Lithuania.

The hotel has an 80-seat restaurant as well as a chic lobby bar. There is a fitness center where massages are available and an electric shoeshine machine at the end of each hall. Room rates include breakfast. $136 single, $149 double. Gedimino Ave. 16; 5-2666200; www.novotel.com/novotel/fichehotel/gb/no v/5209/fiche-hotel.shtml.

Radisson SAS Astorija: The 120-room Radisson is just a few doors down from the exclusive Stikliai and a favorite booking for tour groups. Its rooms have touches of luxury such as thermostat-controlled heated floors in the bathrooms, satellite TV and a trouser press.

Business-Class rooms add in free movies, newspapers and access to the fitness center, which is outfitted with a sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzi. The hotel is walking distance from Vilnius' major attractions and has a brasserie and bar. President Bush reportedly slept here. Room rates include an extensive "Super Breakfast" buffet. $210 single, $222 double. Didzioji 35/2; 5-2120110; www.radissonsas.com.

Skrydis Vesbutis: This airport hotel is a practical choice if you have an early flight out or a late arrival in Vilnius. Some of the rooms have undergone a "lick and a promise" renovation, some have not. Some have shared bathrooms, and all are relatively inexpensive. $39-$61, breakfast not included. Rodunios kelias 8; 5-2329099; travel.yahoo.com/p-hotel-331173-skrydis-hotel-iHotels in Siauliai:

Saulys: This new, glitzy hotel was full when we arrived, but a quick check confirmed that it has some of the priciest beds in town. Amenities include satellite TV, fitness center, pool and sauna (extra charge), and a fashionable restaurant. $65 single, $91 double. Vasario 16-osios 40; 41-520812.

Siauliai: This drab Communist-era tower is the tallest building in town, making it easy to find. Renovations are in progress, so if you want to experience hospitality Soviet-style, you had better book soon. $26-$55 with breakfast.

Draugystes 25; 41-434554.

Hotels in Klaipeda:Hotel Klaipeda: One of the largest hotels on the Lithuanian coast with 220 rooms, it was transformed from no-frills Soviet to "Best Eastern" in 2001, and the rooms are comfortably outfitted with Best Western-style amenities such as toiletries, hairdryers and satellite TV. There is a rooftop restaurant/bar with a great view and a more traditional dining room where the breakfast buffet is set up.

There also is a fitness center as well as a business area where guests can access the Internet on a lone computer. $102 single, $109 double. Naujoji Sodo Str. 1; 46-404372; www.klaipedahotel.lt.Hotels

in Druskininkai:

Galia I & II: These sister hotels across the street from each other house rooms with character at bargain prices. The small apartments have generous sitting rooms and kitchenettes. One has an aerie, and all are decorated in homey kitsch. $73 for apartment; singles and doubles also available. Maironio 3 (Galia I); 370-313-60510. Dabintos 3 (Galia II); 313-60514. www.galia.lt.

CAR RENTALS

Avis, Budget and Hertz have offices at the Vilnius airport, but we chose Unirent, a local agency. We were asked roughly what time we would return the car on the appointed day, but told that that was flexible. When we showed up with our Ford Focus two hours later than the estimated time, the young clerk reprimanded us for not calling in and charged us for an extra day. We ended up paying about $100 a day. My advice: Book your car before leaving the U.S.--and stick to the majors.

TAXI TIPS

Negotiate your fare before getting into a cab in Vilnius. We paid wildly different prices for the same ride until we got wise and started a bidding war between two taxi drivers at the cab stand outside the Akropolis shopping mall. Tips are not expected, but appreciated. (I learned this the hard way)

COMMUNICATIONS

One of the best surprises on the trip was my U.S. cell phone with quad-band technology. Calls to Chicago from the middle of a Druskininkai forest, the Warsaw airport and Vilnius city center were immediately connected, and came in loud and clear for a $1.79-minute roaming charge. If you have a phone with this technology, all you have to do is call your service provider, ask for overseas code activation, and you're connected.

TOURS AND INFORMATIONChicago's Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture sponsors frequent trips to Lithuania, and the museum itself is a treasure trove of artifacts and culture from the Baltic republic. In addition, the Balzekas sponsors a Children's Museum, and maintains a file of obituaries and other media articles on Chicago Lithuanians and their descendants, which can be used to search for long-lost family connections. 6500 S. Pulaski Rd.; 773-582-6500; www.lithaz.org/museums/balzekas

One of the best sources for restaurants, hotels, maps and other information (including how to use a phone in Lithuania) can be found in the "In Your Pocket" guides available at news kiosks and hotel lobbies throughout the country. They are specific for all the major Lithuanian cities, in English, and cost 8 litas each (about $3).

Lithuania's "official" travel site on the Web (www.travel.lt) is fairly comprehensive, but in order to get quotes on room rates, you must go to individual hotel.For general information about Lithuania and news items about the country's economy and politics, contact the embassy: 2622 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009; 202-234-5860; www.ltembassyus.org.-- Karen Torme Olson

The above found here

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Steven G. Erickson
PO Box 730
Enfield, CT 06083-0730 USA

Email: trvl@hotmail.com

Do you have a Lithuania question or are you from Lithuania visiting this site?

No Way, to putting Judges on an Ethics Commission

...

Appointing Judges to an ethics commission will only worsen the problem. Judges have gotten their jobs by hobnobbing, doing favors, and being team players sweeping away uncomfortable allegations for friends and other officials, barbecuing those blowing the whistle, and are used to acting how and when they please, all traits you DON’T want on an ethics commission.

Judges, prosecutors, and police have a larger ability to abuse the public than any governor or elected official, period. The U.S. Constitution is only valid if the court system and the police are answerable to the public, but they are not.

To put public trust in a Star Chamber of Judges would be quite insane if the main objective is to make our elected officials and others paid with our tax dollars more apt to act legally, ethically, and in our best interest.

Steven G. Erickson (stevengerickson@yahoo.com)

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?

American Pathetic Sheep

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New Ethics Plan Calls For Retired Judges

October 26, 2004 Associated Press

Connecticut's attorney general and the president pro tem of the state Senate offered a plan Monday to replace the troubled State Ethics Commission with a panel of retired judges.The two Democrats contend their proposal offers the "sweeping" change needed to restore the state's faith in ethics enforcement among public officials and state employees.

The commission has been attacked for its decision last month to fire Executive Director Alan Plofsky, a critic of former Republican Gov. John G. Rowland. Some commission members, past and present, also have been criticized for not being tough enough this year on Rowland, who was under scrutiny for accepting gifts from employees, state contractors and others.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said ethics rules should not be enforced by political appointees. The existing nine-member ethics panel is made up of appointees from legislative leaders and the governor.

"We must take politics out of ethics enforcement and put ethics into politics," Blumenthal said.

Under the plan from Blumenthal and Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, a new Office of State Ethics would be created as an independent office under the State Auditors of Public Accounts. Staff would include an executive director, chief counsel, staff attorneys and investigators.

The chief court administrator of the Judicial Branch would select six retired judges, known as state trial referees, to sit on a new Judicial Ethics Panel to oversee and decide matters on a new Judicial Ethics Docket.

Their concept clashes with Gov. M. Jodi Rell's reform proposal. The Republican governor wants to keep a politically appointed commission, but she wants to limit the number of lawyers to ensure it represents a cross-section of Connecticut citizens.

"The governor believes there is something important with a citizen panel and the involvement of citizens, and her proposal is a very bipartisan, independent citizens' panel," said Dennis Schain, spokesman for Rell.

The controversy surrounding the Ethics Commission has prompted numerous calls for reform, despite members' assertions that they've acted in a nonpartisan and professional manner.

Williams first suggested replacing the commission with a new Office of State Ethics several weeks ago. On Monday, he and Blumenthal offered a detailed a proposal that Williams plans to present to the legislature in January.

"If I had to choose to between Gov. Rell's proposal and this proposal, this one is a home run by comparison," said Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan, a Democrat.

"It offers at least the independence that has clearly been missing in the current commission."

The above was found here:
http://www.ctnow.com/

Monday, October 25, 2004

Anarchist’s Cook Book

...

Don’t blow things up, kill, and maim, Sue the Motherfuckers!

The way to do the most damage and/or get justice in the U.S. is to sue civilly.

O.J. was found innocent in the criminal trial, but liable in the civil trial.

What does that say?

The crux to my angst

Steven G. Erickson
PO Box 730
Enfield, CT 06083-0730 USA

email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

The Innocence Project

...

The Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, founded by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld in 1992, is a non-profit legal clinic and criminal justice resource center. We work to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through postconviction DNA testing; and develop and implement reforms to prevent wrongful convictions. This Project only handles cases where postconviction DNA testing can yield conclusive proof of innocence. For more information regarding what we do and what kinds of cases we handle, please click on the Innocence Project tab or visit our FAQ page.

website

Jury Nullification

...

Jury Nullification is the act of a jury to declare a law void, of no legal force or effect. However, there are some Judges who erroneous believe that they, and only they, can declare a law void.

Following is a three-part article, from the State of Ohio Judicial Conference, relative to the law on Jury Nullification, as the writers for the State of Ohio Judicial Conference believe what the law is.

Since some judges may violate your rights, by their erroneous ruling holding you in contempt for not following what they wrongly perceive is the law, CLR highly suggests that you act on what you believe to be the correct law. You do not have to explain to the judge the reasons for your decision, as the decision by a juror is a secret decision, nor do you have to give any reason to other jurors for your decision. You have a right not to explain your secret decision.

For additional information from the State of Ohio Judiciary, see the three part article at Jury Nullification.

CLR

Crimes against the U.S. Government

...

What is the difference between a judge who acts without jurisdiction, and therefore, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, is engaged in an act of treason to the U.S. Constitution, and Usama bin Ladin?

Both are enemies of the United States. The latter is a foreign enemy of the United States, the former is a domestic enemy of the United States.

Both have declared war against the United States. Both have engaged in a crime against the U.S. Government.

The United States Supreme Court has clearly, and repeatedly, held that any judge who acts without jurisdiction is engaged in an act of treason. U.S. v. Will, 449 U.S. 200, 216, 101 S.Ct. 471, 66 L.Ed.2d 392, 406 (1980); Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. (6 Wheat) 264, 404, 5 L.Ed 257 (1821).

Engaging in an act of treason against the United States Constitution by any citizen of the United States is an act of war against the United States. Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1, 78 S.Ct. 1401 (1958).

The United States Supreme Court, in Twining v. New Jersey, 211 U.S. 78, 29 S.Ct. 14, 24 (1908), stated that "Due process requires that the court which assumes to determine the rights of parties shall have jurisdiction."; citing Old Wayne Mut. Life Assoc. v. McDonough, 204 U.S. 8, 27 S.Ct. 236 (1907); Scott v. McNeal, 154 U.S. 34, 14 S.Ct. 1108 (1894); Pennoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714, 733 (1877).

Due Process is a requirement of the U.S. Constitution. Violation of the United States Constitution by a judge deprives that person from acting as a judge under the law. He/she is acting as a private person, and not in the capacity of being a judge.

All enlisted personnel of the U.S. Military, the National Guard, all U.S. attorneys, all members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, all Cabinet secretaries, have taken the following oath of office: "I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; ...".

The Illinois Supreme Court has held that those who aid, abet, advise, act or execute the order of a judge who acts without jurisdiction are equally guilty. They are equally guilty of a crime against the government.

The U.S. Government has also stated that anyone who shelters, hides, assists an enemy of the United States is as guilty as the terrorist who wages war against the United States.

Why have the former U.S. attorneys for the Northern District of Illinois, James B. Burns and Scott Lassar, not brought charges of treason against those few judges who act without jurisdiction, and therefore are engaged in the act of treason? Evidence of judges who acted without jurisdiction were presented to both former U.S. attorneys, and should be in the files of the office of the U.S. Attorney. Why are these former U.S. attorneys engaged in treason?

Why did former U.S. attorneys for the Northern District of Illinois James B. Burns and Scott Lassar not support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic?

Will the current U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick J. Fitzgerald comply with his oath of office, or will he also engage in treason to the United States Constitution?

The above piece was found here on the web.

Lobbying to Protect Children

...


Connecticut Voices for Children
http://www.ctkidslink.org/about.html

Who Is Connecticut Voices for Children?

Connecticut Voices for Children is a research-based public education and advocacy organization that works statewide to promote the well-being of Connecticut's children, youth and families.

CT Voices was founded in 1995 by four women who each had many years of experience working on behalf of children -- Shelley Geballe, Janice Gruendel, Judy Solomon and Nancy Lustman -- to enable Connecticut residents to be more effective voices for our children.

CT Voices has built a highly talented staff with education and experience in education, law, health, business, government and the non-profit sector. This multi-disciplinary approach allows us to offer new insights on recurring problems. Policymakers, political leaders, the media, other advocacy groups and others now regularly turn to CT Voices for public and budget analysis, and new ideas.

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I sent the below email to members of the above website:


Subject: Policy Reform Activist gets railroaded to prison

To Whom It May Concern:

I proposed legislation that police should be able to write children detentions to be served at local schools year round for such offenses as smoking, in possession of alcohol, skateboarding where inappropriate, being rude and unruly, vandalism, etc. For my activism and concern for children and the community I was told to leave Connecticut, "Or else," by Connecticut State Police and Stafford Springs town police, does this sound ok to you? Should activities such as yours, concern for children, end up in harassment, abuse, and possibly prison?

Usually bad behaviors of youths are virtually ignored, especially in downtown areas, until crimes reach the felony stage, and a lifetime criminal parasite results, not a contributing taxpayer.
Complain about a system that concentrates on revenue collection, not criminal correction, and you, the whistleblower, can find yourself in a world of hurt.

I proposed the law as early as 1999 to both Republican State Senator, Anthony Guglielmo, and the former Democrat Representative, Mordasky.

I further stated in the proposed legislation, that police writing children detentions program could be run like an insurance points system. Students racking up enough points could do a short or longer stint in reform school.

Children’s parents should pay the costs of testing children for alcohol, drug, and cigarette use as part of the program if their kids are caught abusing said substances. This would also help end the drug scourge because if drug users are nipped in the bud, there is less overall demand, and less money going to corrupt officials and international criminals.

I contacted Governor Rowland’s office as early as 1998 claiming Connecticut downtown areas are criminal breeding grounds dues to police policies and how who the courts are targeting and not targeting.

I saw with my own eyes, perfectly good children committing worse and worse crimes, getting alcohol and drug addicted, terrorizing citizens and business owners, and ending up dead, in prison as a serious felon, and/or criminal parasite abusing substances.

Please look into my proposed legislation and in voicing concerns to legislators that those helping the community through Free Speech, and other protected activities of the First Amendment, should be encouraged and ACTUALLY protected.

It is up to us to force change for good, protect children, and see that America and its leaders act as advertised.

Steven G. Erickson
PO Box 730
Enfield, CT 06083

stevengerickson@yahoo.com

I’m posting this open letter to you here:
http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com

My favorite links:
http://starkravingviking.blogspot.com/2004/10/my-favorite-links.html

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?
http://www.freespeech.com/index.php?/weblog/bad_cops/

Anatomy of a Criminal breeding ground:
http://www.freespeech.com/archives/001741.html

My letter to Rowland:
http://www.freespeech.com/archives/001043.html

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The above email was sent to:
Yalie4567@aol.com, JMRAB@aol.com, julia@ctkidslink.org, amy@ctkidslink.org, pfcanny@aol.com, doug@ctkidslink.org , djones@ctkidslink.org , malee@ctkidslink.org , jsolomon@ctkidslink.org , msullivan@ctkidslink.org

In judgement of 'Amy'

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Hartford Courant - October 1, 1999

By DANA TOFIG, Courant Staff Writer

Those in the Connecticut judicial system are judging "Amy."And so far, the verdict is pretty good."In general, I think that they're doing the best they can to portray the system in an hour," said Jonathan Kaplan, the presiding judge at Rockville Superior Court in Vernon.

In "Judging Amy," Glastonbury native Amy Brenneman portrays a Hartford juvenile judge who, in the first three episodes, has handled custody battles, divorces, neglect cases and even a civil trial over a murder. That's a busy first few weeks as a judge, and so far she has handled things with aplomb.

But when it comes to courtroom dramas, those in legal circles are tough to please and gleefully look for inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the way TV lawyers work and TV judges preside. Of course, they also understand that a motion to suppress evidence or a bond-reduction hearing won't exactly bring in high ratings.

"The trial process is 90 percent uninteresting, maybe even boring, and then 10 percent exciting and interesting," Kaplan said.

"They are taking the highlights of it."

But Brenneman has said she took extra care to make her character, Judge Amy Gray, a realistic jurist and only needed to look to her mother -- former judge and current trial referee Frederica Brenneman -- for guidance. The extra care and family connection has paid off, so far.

"The first show I saw I thought was fairly realistic," said Christine Keller, the administrative judge for Connecticut's juvenile court system. "I do know that [Brenneman's] mother has obviously told her about tales of the court, and they have used some of the information.

"Keller said when she first became a judge she, like Judge Amy Gray, had young children and was a little overwhelmed. "I can sympathize in some of the episodes where she's on the bench, and you get an emergency call from the school," Keller said.

The lingo is pretty accurate, like references to DCF [Department of Children and Families] and OTC [order of temporary custody], and the sheriff's uniforms are dead-on. But while the small courtroom with a low desk is accurate, the courthouse itself is a little too plush.

"There's no juvenile courthouse in the state that looks that good," Keller said.The character of Amy Gray is loosely based on the life of Frederica Brenneman. But some believe that Gray's TV mom, portrayed by Tyne Daly, is a little more like the real Judge Brenneman.

"She was a good judge," said Ann M. Guillet, a public defender who worked in the juvenile courts for six years and argued before Judge Brenneman.

"She always knew all the issues in the case. But she wasn't always the most patient. Can you tell by the character?"

If Judge Amy Gray were a real judge, she probably wouldn't handle such a wide range of cases, Keller said. Certainly, as a juvenile judge, it is unlikely she would have presided over a civil trial, as she did in Tuesday's episode. But that may be where the line between Hollywood and Hartford Superior Court is drawn.

"I think the television people have decided that juvenile court isn't exciting enough," Keller said.

AMY BRENNEMAN , a Glastonbury native, plays a Hartford judge in the CBS drama "Judging Amy." But it takes a sharp eye to find anything closely resembling Hartford in the series.

The above found here

Thursday, October 21, 2004

This has to stop

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I’m talking about male police officers harassing, stalking, and even raping women.

It is up to you to contact your legislators now before the election, national and local.

Write, email, and call requesting Civilian Oversight of Police with Quality Control Questionnaires going out to those needing police protection and service.

To take back control and force the police and the courts to act in the public’s best interest, top police officials and all judges should face a vote every 2 years or so.

It will keep them honest and make sure they aren’t abusing the system, ripping us off, and not acting in their best interest, but instead, ours.

A Belchertown Massachusetts Police Officer repeatedly sexually harassed women (should this behavior have been nipped in the bud?)

More links on Police Misconduct

Hartford Connecticut Police Misconduct

Is Gay Bashing allowed with the ranks of the Connecticut State Police by Internal Affairs? Are Complaints Covered-up?

Find your local or national legislator's email, address, and other information on searchgov.com

Fair Use of Copyrighted material for lobbying purposes, YOUR RIGHT

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Steven G. Erickson
PO Box 730
Enfield, CT 06083-0730 USA

My email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

P.S. please use the little evelope to send this post to your legislator and demand Civilian Oversight of Police and that Judges and High Police Officials face Election, our approval or firing.

DONTUSEKIDS.COM

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Fathers have had it and are fighting for a fair shake

A picture and a post about fathers fighting for justice (here)

Court makes wise call in decision on liberty

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Since 1990, thousands of protesters have staged an annual demonstration at a U.S. training academy for Latin American soldiers in Georgia.

Since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the protesters have had to pass through metal detectors on their way to the demonstration.

One could be forgiven for wondering what connection 9/11 has with an annual event in Georgia. Because there is no connection.

Now a federal appeals court has upheld the rights of the protesters, ruling that authorities have no right to screen them before they can make their views heard outside the academy.

It was a stinging rebuke, a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta. The court is generally among the more conservative of the federal appeals courts. But it strongly stood with liberty in its decision last Friday.

Wrote Judge Gerald Tjoflat: "We cannot simply suspend or restrict civil liberties until the War on Terror is over, because the War on Terror is unlikely ever to be truly over.

"Sept. 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country."

We applaud the wise and sound decision, and hope that it heralds a long-overdue turning point in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, debate. Far too many authorities have been far too quick to use 9/11 as a kind of shorthand to explain away new and unnecessarily intrusive security procedures. And far too many people have willingly gone along without making a sound.

When someone says he's got to search your bag because of 9/11 - and you are not about to board a plane or enter a government building - there's a fair chance that the authorities hadn't really thought their actions all the way through.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects the citizens of this land "against unreasonable searches and seizures." As much as some would have us believe otherwise, that amendment did not become inoperative on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

The people who have been demonstrating each year at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation - formerly the School of the Americas - know that well. Thankfully, the 11th Circuit Court does, too.

From: http://www.masslive.com/

Bullshit!!!

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'Judicial activism' call ruled out of order

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Whenever someone appears in a court room in the United States, he or she expects that the judge will be fair, independent and free of outside influence.

The integrity of the judiciary depends on that one simple public trust. Margaret Marshall, chief justice of the state's Supreme Judicial Court, reminded us of that in a rare public appearance Tuesday before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

"Our system has worked for 200 years, where you have independent judges who are not beholden to the elective office," she told the chamber officials.

So why the high school civics lesson?

Judges have been under attack ever since the SJC's landmark ruling to legalize gay marriage in Massachusetts. Critics argue that the ruling was the work of "activist judges" and that it underscores their argument that voters should decide who sits on the bench.

We have strongly opposed judicial elections in this space in the past, and we have seen nothing to change that position.

Judicial elections would undermine judicial independence. Judges should decide each case on the rule of law, not on whether it might hurt a re-election bid or upset a campaign donor.

This is America. Judges are fair game for criticism. That is one of the great advantages of living in a democracy. And this ruling triggered lots of criticism. Frankly, we would be concerned if anyone in this country felt as if he or she could not criticize a judge or a judicial ruling in public.
Yet some gay marriage opponents tried to get Marshall and the three other justices who joined her in the majority removed from the bench, and others talked about giving voters the opportunity to get rid of judges at the ballot box.

That's not criticism. It's another form of activism that is unhealthy for an independent judiciary.

Judges make decisions on the rule of law. Sometimes those decisions are unpopular, but the judges are performing their constitutional duty.

No one wants his fate in a court room determined by a judge who kept his seat on the bench because he raised more campaign money.

From: http://www.masslive.com/

Report accuses former officer

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004
By JENNIFER PICARDjpicard@repub.com

BELCHERTOWN (Massachusetts)- Former Police Officer Roy F. Bergeron sexually harassed at least seven female residents, some of them on an ongoing basis, and violated many rules of professional conduct over the past few years, according to a report detailing an internal investigation.

According to victim statements, Bergeron, 49, grabbed a woman's buttocks during a visit to her home and said he wanted to have sex with her. The woman had filed a missing person report two days earlier.
Another woman alleged Bergeron offered to help her with a credit card theft case if she would discuss it with him over drinks at a bar, the report said.

Bergeron was an officer here for 27 years before he was removed from the town payroll Oct. 1 following two closed-door selectmen meetings. Officials have refused to say why he left the town's employ.

The report, released yesterday, contains detailed statements from alleged victims; copies of personal e-mails, some of a sexual nature, that Bergeron exchanged with women while at work; lists of dating Web sites Bergeron visited; and images of naked women state police found on Bergeron's police station computer.

All seven women said Bergeron harassed them while he was on duty or in uniform.

The Belchertown department's internal investigation concluded Bergeron violated conditions of his employment through nine counts of sexual harassment. The investigation also found 17 counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, three counts of insubordination and six counts of neglect of duty, among other violations.

Citing the confidential nature of personnel issues, town labor lawyer Marc L. Terry refused comment. Police Chief Francis R. Fox could not be reached for comment yesterday, and Bergeron did not return a phone message left at his home.

Selectman Chairman Michael J. Reardon would not comment on details of the report. "The board heard the report in its entirety and a recommendation was made, and the board ... responded to the recommendations appropriately," he said.

Bergeron was placed on administrative leave Jan. 22. A state police investigation found insufficient evidence for a criminal charge against Bergeron for touching the woman's buttocks, the report said.

Bergeron was suspended from the force in 1986 after he was accused of sexual harassment. In 1997, he was put on administrative leave after allegations of rape, but a grand jury did not return an indictment against him.

From: http://www.masslive.com/

My favorite links

A majority of links below don't work anymore. Anything that has to do with FreeSpeech.com is no longer visible. Links updated Dec. 24, 2013, [click here]

...


Freedom and the American Road Posted by Hello

A Connecticut State Police Officer's Limp Winky, a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, and a movie idea

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The History of Abuse of Citizens arbitrarily caught up in the legal system
(Former Governor Rowland, government for sale, bribes, a blowjob, a Connecticut State Police investigation fixed for Rowland cronies, and a court and law enforcement system so sleazy their crimes are obvious to the taxpayers getting screwed)
Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?(pictures of young adults brutalized by Hartford Police, a 1978 L-82 Corvette, and the White Victorian I lost to police and judicial corruption)

What is Prison really like?(and other links)

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Is there a Cover-up in Korruptikut?

Are their unnamed factions in the US, similar to the KKK?

Steven G. Erickson, Unofficial Lobbyist from Hell

My email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

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Does Leonard C. Boyle, the new police commissioner in Connecticut answer my accusations, line item?

Find out (here)

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Steven G. Erickson’s Plan for Reducing Crime

Are Connecticut Judges part of the problem and do elected officials do nothing?

Do Connecticut State Police Officers get away with GAY BASHING within their own ranks?

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FreeSpeech.com post with HBO's Sopranos pic

Requiem for a DreamerBy Kurt Vonnegut

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Added March 2, 2005:


Satanic US Government? Posted by Hello

FRANKLIN v. MCCAUGHTRY, No. 03-1031 (7th Cir. February 24, 2005)
Denial of plaintiff’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus is reversed where his trial judge was actually biased since the only inference that can be drawn from the facts of record is that the judge decided that plaintiff was guilty before he conducted the trial. To read the full text of this opinion, go to: [PDF File]
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/7th/031031p.pdf

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No Irish need apply

It’s legal to take your kids away based on your ethnicity

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A Boy kept from his Father by an Official System of Abuse, Marshall Mathers, III (aka Eminem)

A Pattern of Abuse, the Donald Christmas Story

An American Court vs. An Unfair One
(Are Americans with Dissabilities treated fairly in one state, but not another? If our legal system is unfair for one individual or group, it is UNFAIR FOR ALL)

Are there man unfriendly states?
(Bill Mulready profiled)

Can Attorney Michael H. Agranoff of Stafford Springs, CT, get away with charging over $17,000 for defending me, but wouldn't, allegedly at the request of Rockville Connecticut Judge, Jonathan Kaplan?

Are elected officials mere puppets of the Courts and Police?
The above post asks the President, Connecticut Attorney General, and others: “Is the American Justice System a Sleazy Whorehouse?"
This blogger's email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

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A letter I sent to ex-Governor John G. Rowland for his first day in federal prison.

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