Saturday, August 9, 2008

Do progressives care more about women, or people who think they’re women?

February 13, 2008

Thanks to County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg and the unanimous vote of our County Council, my county now has a law that will go into effect soon, allowing transgendered males to use any women’s restroom facilities that are open to the public. So a man with alternate “gender identity” can use the women’s locker room at the local community pool where my mother and sisters swim.

Here’s how the law defines “gender identity.”

Gender identity means an individual’s actual or perceived gender, including a person’s gender-related appearance, expression, image, identity, or behavior, whether or not those gender-related characteristics differ from the characteristics customarily associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.”

So if a person considers himself transgendered–whether or not that is clear to others–he suddenly has carte blanche to invade the privacy of women, even if his self-perceived identity is not apparent to others. His word is the first and final authority on whether he feels he should be allowed to use the women’s facilities. It is impossible for the law to determine whether he indeed considers himself a woman, or whether he might have other motives.

Furthermore, this bill extends not only to county or other public property, but to any facility that is open to the public.

No exemption for religious organizations.
No exemption for religious educational institutions.
No exemption for places of shared nudity.
No exemption for small businesses (less than 15 employees).
No exemption for renters looking for roommates.

So yesterday, my mother, who is 50 and a woman of limited energy, stood outside the polls for four hours in freezing rain to gather signatures for a referendum on this disgusting law. Since 25,000 signatures are needed for a Montgomery County referendum, it’s likely that this petition will be unsuccessful.

Perhaps civil disobedience will be necessary to break this ridiculous tyranny.

Go to for more information.

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And the following insight is from Starmaiden:

"I read your blog on the Maryland Trans bathroom issue. I see where you are coming from -- to a degree, but i also see things from the point of a TS person. If people don't want us using womens bathrooms, but clearly using the mens room is unacceptable fr both social and saftey resons, then it is laid upon these nay sayers to make public facilities just for us. This is the same idea as family restrooms -- in which any person, of any age or gender can use. A person has no right to complain if they don't seek practical solutions to an "issue." Well, at least that's my two cents."

Pennington Out,Favre In

Randy's Radar

EA: Proud Pennington Exits Gracefully

Published: Fri, August 8, 2008 - 6:10pm EST
Eric Allen

By Eric Allen

Allen is the senior managing editor of He is in his seventh season with the Jets.

File Under: Chad Pennington, Eric Mangini, Brett Favre

08/08 — Needless to say, the past day has been difficult for Chad Pennington.

“The most difficult part of the last 24 hours is coming to the realization that you’re no longer wanted by your organization,” said the former Jet, who was released Thursday. “You spend eight years with an organization and then in a blink of an eye you are no longer wanted there. That’s just the crude part of the business that’s sometimes hard to accept emotionally.”

If Brett Favre, one of the greatest passers to ever play in this league, had not been available, then Pennington’s probably still here. But Favre was on the market and the Jets made a bold move, acquiring the prolific Packer in a move to upgrade their roster.

“I found out about 11:30 Wednesday night. Coach Mangini and I had a good conversation,” he told reporters this afternoon during a conference call. “Not a lot of football was discussed. It was more about life and how to approach it and my thoughts on this great game of football.”

Penny, whose 65.6 completion percentage ranks No.1 all-time in NFL history, compiled a 32-29 record as a starter. His 88.9 passer rating is tops in team history and he led the Jets to the playoffs in each of the three seasons (2002, ’04 and ’06) he started at least 12 games.

When Pennington assumed the role of starting QB in 2002, he experienced immediate and improbable success. He went 8-4 as a starter, completing an astounding 68.9 percent of his passes and pacing the NFL with a 104.2 rating. The Jets came from behind to win the AFC East and they crushed the Colts, 41-0, in an opening-round playoff game at the Meadowlands.

But Pennington endured three serious injuries over the next three seasons and would have surgeries on his throwing shoulder twice in an eight-month period back in ’05. Skeptics thought he was done prior to 2006, but the resilient Pennington rallied and was selected AP Comeback Player of the Year after starting 16 games for the first time in his career.

“I have enjoyed it, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve become a better professional and a better man because of my experience and my time in New York,” he said. “I don’t regret or feel ashamed about anything that has happened to me within my time in New York.”

The Favre rumors began early in camp but Pennington continued to focus on the task at hand. He was intent on winning a QB competition with Kellen Clemens and had performed steadily until his final practice, which was Tuesday.

“With all the speculation up until this point, I always knew that this could be a possibility. Emotionally I don’t think I was totally prepared but at least mentally I was prepared and I knew I could handle the situation no matter what it would be,” he said.

The now free agent, a Marshall product who was selected No. 18 overall in the 2000 draft, says he’s found an inner peace. He wishes this would have had happened sooner but he won’t be out of work long.

“I certainly don’t want to discuss any of that to compromise my position and the things that are going on as far as myself as well as the teams that are interested,” he said. “I’m glad to have another opportunity and I’m excited about that and I look forward to that.”

Criticized by many for a lack of arm strength, Pennington never lacked for character. The 32-year-old, who established the 1st and 10 Foundation with his wife, Robin, in ’03, has helped make a difference here in the New York metro area along with his native Tennessee and West Virginia.

On his way out, he had a parting shot for Jets fans. It was a gesture of thanks as CP took the high road even on one of his darkest professional days.

“Just as many negative opinions that I may have received from fans, I’ve received double or triple the positive,” he said. “I’ve talked to numerous fans who’ve enjoyed me being a Jet and I’ve enjoyed them being fans.”

Wherever the road takes him next, here's wishing Chad Pennington nothing but the best.

Update: Late Friday evening, the Associated Press reported that Pennington and the Miami Dolphins had reached agreement on a deal. The Jets won't have to wait long to see him either as Pennington and the Dolphins host the Green & White in Week One.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

ABC: John Edwards admits affair after denying for months

ABC News: John Edwards Admits to Affair

ABC News: John Edwards Admits to Affair
Copyright 2008 Eric Thayer / Getty Images

John Edwards has admitted to having an affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter, according to ABC News.

In an interview with Bob Woodruff that will air tonight on "Nightline," Edwards reportedly says that he did not love Hunter and also claims that he did not father her infant daughter Frances, although he has not taken a paternity test.

Edwards reportedly tells Woodruff that he can't be the baby's father due to the timing of her birth last February.

ABC reports that Hunter was hired by Edwards' presidential campaign to produce documentaries for his web site, and that Hunter traveled with Edwards to locations in the U.S. and Africa. According to ABC, his political action committee paid her $114,000 for her services.

Edwards reportedly tells Woodruff in the interview that his wife of 31 years, Elizabeth, who gave birth to four children with the former Senator, found out about the affair in 2006. Elizabeth is currently suffering from incurable cancer, but Edwards reportedly told Woodruff that her cancer was in remission when the affair began.

Edwards reportedly discloses to Woodruff that he visited Hunter at a Beverly Hills hotel last month, and his wife did not know about that visit.

Posted August 08, 2008 12:15:00 PM
See All: john edwards

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"X-Files: I Want to Believe" Movie Review

Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 01:34:54 PM PDT

I still vaguely remember the night in 1993, fiddling around with my mono T.V.'s dog-ear antennas, trying to find something to watch, and happening across this show on Fox. Spooky music, F.B.I. agents, aliens, UFOs, that guy from "Red Shoes Diaries", and this amazing, unknown redheaded actress (even at 13 I had this thing for smart redheads), and I wondered, What is THIS!? This is science fiction T.V. show, on a -- at the time -- minor network, that had nothing to do with Star Trek.

What I had stumbled upon was the very first episode of the very first season of "The X-Files". A show that defined the iconography of my youth and helped in some strange way to set me on a path that would take me to Hollywood at the age of 21. A show that, despite the disaster of its final two seasons, and the wet carp to the cranium that was John Doggett, I harbor a lot of fond memories of.

So going to see the new X-Files movie was not a choice. It was automatic.

SPOILER WARNING! Do Not Read Past the Fold if You Don't Want Spoilers!

Which turned out to be an automatically bad decision. There are times when I wait for a movie to come out on DVD and think to myself, Gee, I really should have seen that in the theaters. In the case of "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" if I had waited for the DVD I think I would have held this film in a little higher regard, because ultimately Direct to DVD is sort of where it belongs.

You'd think in the wake of eight years of George Bush and real life conspiracies by our own government (GITMO, torture, the nexus of politics and terrorism, warrant-less wiretaps, fudging intelligence to get the U.S. into foreign wars) there would be fertile ground for a movie based on a show like "The X-Files", which was already centered around an innate distrust of authority, to take root in. Well, yeah it would be, but that is not this movie. Outside of a cheap shot at Same Sex Marriage and an attempt to minimize institutional pedophilia by the Catholic Church there are no politics in "The X-Files" and precious little conspiracy either.

"X-Files: I Want to Believe" in fact is an effort to get back to the "core" (or at least the Core as Chris Carter sees it) of the original show and go back to those simple Monster of the Week episodes that the original T.V. show did so well. In fact, the entire premise of this film seems to be an lift and extension of a Season One episode of "The X-Files" entitled "Beyond the Sea".

Both are essentially the story of hideous criminals, imprisoned by society, only to be cursed with a psychic connection to a a new killer and his victims that gives them visions that no one believes because, afterall, they are reprobate villains to begin with. But where the original Glen Morgan and James Wong T.V. script for "Beyond the Sea" was a tight, arresting forty five minute thriller with a monstrous Brad Douriff (as serial killer Luther Boggs) in the center of a psychic mindfuck, Chris Carter's re-interpretation is a lazy and disjointed two hour snore-fest with a lifeless Billy Connelly drifting towards the bottom like a marshmellow dropped into a not quite set jello salad.

Connelly plays Father Joe, a de-frocked Priest, who, as Scully is quick to remind us, "buggered" thirty seven altar boys, who know lives at some sort of rest home for pedophiles (I'm not kidding) in West Virginia. Of course, a female FBI Agent disappears and Connelly's Father Joe begins having psychic visions of the kidnapped woman. Amanda Peete's Dakota Whitney (yes, apparently in Chris Carter's world the female FBI agents that aren't kidnapped have silly porn star names) and Xzbit are confused, so an approach is made to Dana Scully to bring Fox Mulder out of "retirement" (which means be hold up in a quaint one bedroom house, being Scully's house boy), because, you know ... he's Fox Mulder.

And about five minutes in ... the plot of "X-Files: I Want to Believe" just kind of stops and idles. This is a thriller where nothing much thrilling happens, this is a horror film where nothing much horrifying happens, this is a movie where people just ... Talk a lot and nothing much happens. When you are lucky enough to stumble into a mildly interesting bit of plot progression that progression only serves as an excuse for more talking.

The script for "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" is just plain bad. From the structure to the non-existent progression of the story. I could easily imagine Robert McKee showing X-Files: I Want to Believe at one of his screenwriting seminars as a perfect example of how not to write a script. Ever.

At some point Chris Carter seems to realize that Billy Connelly's Father Joe isn't holding our attention, and the return of Mulder and Scully only goes so far, so he then literally grafts the plot of Frankenstein -- yeah, like Frankenstein Frankenstein -- onto the body of a story that has run out of gas by the hour mark. Only that story goes nowhere either and really doesn't end or climax by the Third Act; more like it thrusts a couple times, rolls over, says goodnight, and then turns out the lights. There is no real sense or conclusion or finality. The story just sort of ... gives up.

I was literally left sitting in the theater saying out loud, That's It?

The problems with "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" extends beyond the constructed on the fly story. The direction is strictly lackluster and would fit more on a T.V. show in the 1990s, then a feature film in 2008. The editing is lax and bloated. And all the supporting characters -- like Amanda Peete and Xzbit's characters -- could've been carved from blocks of wood and had just as much impact on screen as real life actors. Again, that isn't the fault of Amanda Peete or even Xzbit, it is the fault of the hideous script they find themselves imprisoned in.

The only redeeming part of "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" is the reason most diehard fans are going to see it regardless. Mulder and Scully. For all his inability to write a coherent story or give life to supporting characters, Chris Carter still does know how to write Mulder and Scully. And David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson still know how to play Mulder and Scully.

The sexual tension and one-up-man-ship of their T.V. show relationship is largely gone, replaced by this ease of couple-hood. Mulder and Scully are now like the cool couple upstairs that come over every Friday night to smoke weed and watch Netflix with you and your girlfriend. The chemistry is still there. The characters are still there.

But the story that intelligently uses those characters, that chemistry, and still makes you want to believe, is gone. And probably forgotten. "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" sets out to re-capture the series hey-day by trying to emulate great standalone X-Files episodes like "Beyond the Sea", and, instead, only serves as a reminder of the series nadir.

And it is a damn shame too.

Personally I still like think there is still good in "The X-Files" franchise. Much like there was still good in Darth Vader in "Return of the Jedi". But for that good to ever be realized again someone over at 20th Century Fox is going to have to metaphorically pick up Chris Carter and heave him down an open reactor shaft. Or relegate him to Executive Producer status and turn the reigns over to someone a little less in love with the sound of his own ideas.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Packers, Jets confirm deal to trade Brett Favre

Packers, Jets confirm deal to trade Brett Favre

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers have reached an agreement to trade quarterback Brett Favre to the New York Jets, the team announced late Wednesday night. Terms of the trade weren't immediately available.

The Packers had been talking with the Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers since deciding earlier this week that the team could no longer co-exist with one of the most beloved players in franchise history.

The Packers decided to move forward with Aaron Rodgers as their starter after Favre announced his retirement in March. Given their commitment to Rodgers, team officials weren't particularly receptive when Favre decided a little over a month ago that he might want to play after all — the latest development in several years' worth of flip-flopping about his football future.

"Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished on the field and for the impact he made in the state," Green Bay officials said in a statement.

"It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible."

Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson issued a statement early Thursday.

"I am looking forward to seeing Brett Favre in a New York Jets uniform," Johnson said. "He represents a significant addition to this franchise, and reflects our commitment to putting the best possible product on the field. Mike Tannenbaum and his football administration staff did a great job of navigating this complex process. I am excited about welcoming Brett, Deanna and their family to the Jets organization."

The agreement was first reported by Fox Sports on its Web site.

Favre's new No. 4 Jets jersey already was for sale on the team's Web site about an hour after the trade was announced.

Favre left Green Bay on Wednesday, boarding a private plane that left for Hattiesburg, Miss. at 1:25 p.m. EDT with Deanna and agent James "Bus" Cook. Favre's family home is near Hattiesburg.

In Mississippi, Favre confirmed that he was considering the Jets and Buccaneers.

"We're working on it," Favre told Jackson TV station WJTV. "Hopefully, we can get something resolved. I've been saying that for quite a while now. I don't want to say we're running out of time, but I need to get into a camp somewhere."

The 38-year-old Favre holds most major NFL passing records and led the Packers to the NFC Championship last season, where they lost to the New York Giants. But Favre threw what would prove to be the decisive interception in overtime.

The Jets went into training camp with an open competition between Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens after neither established themselves during a 4-12 season. Pennington was 1-7 as the starter and was benched midway through the season. Clemens went 3-5, but Pennington actually had the better season statistically.

With Favre's arrival, it's generally believed that one of the two will be traded or released — with the most likely candidate being Pennington.

After some hope for reconciliation between the franchise and perhaps its most beloved player earlier this week, the final split between the Packers and Favre became obvious Tuesday evening.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that after approximately six hours of what he called "brutally honest" conversations over two days, the coach had determined that Favre doesn't have the right mind-set to play for the Packers.

McCarthy said Favre couldn't seem to get past emotional wounds that were opened as tensions mounted in recent weeks — even with the chance to win his starting job back potentially on the table.

"The train has left the station, whatever analogy you want," McCarthy said Tuesday. "He needs to jump on the train and let's go. Or, if we can't get past things that have happened, I have to keep the train moving."

McCarthy spoke to Favre again Tuesday night, but there was no indication that their conversation did anything to change the fractured relationship between Favre and the franchise.

"It was just very general," McCarthy said of the conversation with Favre, who was excused from practice Wednesday. "Just how he was doing, where he was with the process, things like that."

McCarthy said he was happy the rest of his players were getting a chance to move forward.

"We talked about it last night," McCarthy said. "The players want resolution, they want what everybody wants. To come out here every day and talk about somebody that is not here and then shows up, it's gone on too long, and understandably so. They want to play football."

Packers players vented frustration over the lingering Favre situation Tuesday, after fans chanting "Bring Back Brett!" turned practice into a zoo-like atmosphere and reporters continued asking questions about Favre instead of football.

After McCarthy made it clear that Favre's football future wouldn't be in Green Bay, players seemed to have some sense of closure.

Packers cornerback Charles Woodson — who said Tuesday that the saga had "gone on long enough" — said Wednesday that the Packers' front office gave players the answers they needed.

"From what I understand, for the most part it's taken care of," Woodson said. "Now it's just about the Packers and not about the situation. It's over now. From what I understand, it's pretty much over."

AP Sports Writers Dennis Waszak Jr. in New York and Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Kill the killers so no more innocents die

Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were 14 and 16 years old, respectively. They were friends who attended the same high school in Houston, Texas, Waltrip High School.

On June 24, 1993, the girls spent the day together and then died together. They were last seen by friends about 11:15 at night, when they left a friend's apartment to head home, to beat summer curfew at 11:30. They knew they would be late if they took the normal path home, down W. 34th Street to T.C. Jester, both busy streets. They also knew they would have to pass a sexually-oriented business on that route and so decided to take a well-known shortcut down a railroad track and through a city park to Elizabeth's neighborhood.

The next morning, the girls parents began to frantically look for them, paging them on their pagers, calling their friends to see if they knew where they were, to no avail. The families filed missing persons reports with the Houston Police Department and continued to look for the girls on their own.

The Ertmans and Penas gathered friends and neighbors to help them pass out a huge stack of fliers with the girls' pictures all over the Houston area, even giving them to newspaper vendors on the roadside. Four days after the girls disappeared, a person identifying himself as 'Gonzalez' called the Crimestoppers Tips number. He told the call taker that the missing girls' bodies could be found near T.C. Jester Park at White Oak bayou. The police were sent to the scene and searched the park without finding anything.

The police helicopter was flying over the park and this apparently prompted Mr. 'Gonzalez' to make a 911 call, directing the search to move to the other side of the bayou. When the police followed this suggestion, they found the badly decaying bodies of Jenny and Elizabeth. Jennifer Ertman's dad, Randy Ertman, was about to give an interview regarding the missing girls to a local television reporter when the call came over a cameraman's police scanner that two bodies had been found. Randy commandeered the news van and went to the scene that was now bustling with police activity. Randy Ertman appeared on the local news that evening, screaming at the police officers who were struggling to hold him back,
"Does she have blond hair?Does she have blond hair?!!?"
Fortunately, they did manage to keep Randy from entering the woods and seeing his daughter's brutalized body and that of her friend Elizabeth. The bodies were very badly decomposed, even for four days in Houston's brutal summer heat and humidity, particularly in the head, neck and genital areas. The medical examiner later testified that this is how she could be sure as to the horrible brutality of the rapes, beatings and murders.

The break in solving the case came from, of course, the 911 call. It was traced to the home of the brother of one of the men later sentenced to death for these murders. When the police questioned 'Gonzalez', he said that he had made the original call at his 16 year-old wife's urging. She felt sorry for the families and wanted them to be able to put their daughters' bodies to rest. 'Gonzalez' said that his brother was one of the six people involved in killing the girls, and gave police the names of all but one, the new recruit, whom he did not know. His knowledge of the crimes came from the killers themselves, most of whom came to his home after the murders, bragging and swapping the jewelry they had stolen from the girls.

While Jenny and Elizabeth were living the last few hours of their lives, Peter Cantu, Efrain Perez, Derrick Sean O'Brien, Joe Medellin and Joe's 14 year old brother were initiating a new member, Raul Villareal, into their gang, known as the Black and Whites. Raul was an acquaintance of Efrain and was not known to the other gang members. They had spent the evening drinking beer and then "jumping in" Raul. This means that the new member was required to fight every member of the gang until he passed out and then he would be accepted as a member.

Testimony showed that Raul lasted through three of the members before briefly losing consciousness. The gang continued drinking and 'shooting the breeze' for some time and then decided to leave. Two brothers who had been with them but testified that they were not in the gang left first and passed Jenny and Elizabeth, who were unknowingly walking towards their deaths. When Peter Cantu saw Jenny and Elizabeth, he thought it was a man and a woman and told the other gang members that he wanted to jump him and beat him up. He was frustrated that he had been the one who was unable to fight Raul.

The gang members ran and grabbed Elizabeth and pulled her down the incline, off of the tracks. Testimony showed that Jenny had gotten free and could have run away but returned to Elizabeth when she cried out for Jenny to help her. For the next hour or so, these beautiful, innocent young girls were subjected to the most brutal gang rapes that most of the investigating officers had ever encountered. The confessions of the gang members that were used at trial indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time and that the girls were repeatedly raped orally, anally and vaginally for the entire hour.

One of the gang members later said during the brag session that by the time he got to one of the girls, "she was loose and sloppy." One of the boys boasted of having 'virgin blood' on him. The 14-year-old juvenile later testified that he had gone back and forth between his brother and Peter Cantu since they were the only ones there that he really knew and kept urging them to leave. He said he was told repeatedly by Peter Cantu to "get some". He raped Jennifer and was later sentenced to 40 years for aggravated sexual assault, which was the maximum sentence for a juvenile.

When the rapes finally ended, the horror was not over. The gang members took Jenny and Elizabeth from the clearing into a wooded area, leaving the juvenile behind, saying he was "too little to watch".

Jenny was strangled with the belt of Sean O'Brien, with two murderers pulling, one on each side, until the belt broke. Part of the belt was left at the murder scene, the rest was found in O'Brien's home. After the belt broke, the killers used her own shoelaces to finish their job. Medellin later complained that "the bitch wouldn't die" and that it would have been "easier with a gun".

Elizabeth was also strangled with her shoelaces, after crying and begging the gang members not to kill them; bargaining, offering to give them her phone number so they could get together again. The medical examiner testified that Elizabeth's two front teeth were knocked out of her brutalized mouth before she died and that two of Jennifer's ribs were broken after she had died. Testimony showed that the girls' bodies were kicked and their necks were stomped on after the strangulations in order to "make sure that they were really dead."

The juvenile, Venancio Medellin, pled guilty to his charge and his sentence was reviewed when he turned 18, at which time he was sent to serve the remainder of the sentence in prison. The five killers were tried for capital murder in Harris County, Texas, convicted and sentenced to death.
See US 5th Circuit Court summary of this case.

Derrick O'Brien was executed on July 11, 2006 for the murders of Jennifer Ertman, 14
Elizabeth Pena, 16
and Patrica Lourdes Lopez.

Sean Derrick O'Brien

Executed July 11, 2006 06:19 p.m. CST by Lethal Injection in Texas

26th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1030th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
14th murderer executed in Texas in 2006
369th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Derrick O'Brien was a ninth-grade dropout, who had previous arrests for shoplifting a pistol, assault and auto theft, and was also a suspect in a murder six months before the girls were killed but never was charged. Evidence put him at a Houston park where the body of Patricia Lopez, 27, was found. A beer can carrying his fingerprints was found under the remains of the woman. She had been raped, eviscerated and had her throat cut.

Two of the gang members, Efrain Perez and Raul Villarreal, had their death sentences commuted to life in prison when the Supreme Court last year barred executions for those who were 17 at the time of their crimes.

Peter Cantu, described by authorities as ringleader of the gang, remains on death row without an execution date.

Jose Medellin, who was condemned and who O'Brien said was at one end of the belt being pulled around Ertman's neck as he yanked on the other, had his case returned to the state courts under an order from President Bush. Medellin is among some 50 Mexican-born offenders who argue that under international law they should have been allowed assistance from the Mexican Consulate before trial.

A sixth person convicted, Medellin's brother, Vernancio, was 14 at the time and received a 40-year prison term.


Jose Medellin execution fails to ignite outrage in Mexico

11:44 AM Wed, Aug 06, 2008 | | Yahoo! Buzz
Jacquielynn Floyd E-mail News tips

Texas' most recently executed Death Row inmate, Jose Medellin, became a focal point for a lot of issues: illegal immigration (he was brought to the US by his parents as a child); US-Mexico relations (the Mexican government has long condemned capital punishment in general and US execution of its nationals in particular); the prerogatives of states vs. federal imperatives (US officials, including President George Bush, had asked Texas to delay the execution because of concerns that failure to give Medellin access to consular advice at the time of his arrest may have violated a 45-year-old treaty), and, of course, for the death penalty itself.

Yet there are suggestions that this execution didn't turn into the political hand grenade that had been anticipated. This AP story found a singular lack of outrage from the average man-on-the-street in Mexico City.

Why? Because the death penalty is an emotional issue - but so is crime.

Mexicans, the AP report says, are reeling over an escalating spiral of grotesque crimes of their own; at least two recent child murders there have received extensive publicity.

And while lawyers may split hairs over whether Texas technically violated international agreement by failing to dial up the Mexican consulate all those years ago, it's hard to muster any sympathy at all for Mr. Medellin, whose crime has been reduced in many news accounts to a single boilerplate sentence. This account includes more of the horrifying details of the torture, repeated gang rape, and strangulation of two teenage girls for which he was convicted.

So, yes, this case was about politics. But no amount of after-the-fact political interpretation can separate the emotional impact of the crime itself.

***(The following article is from***

Medellín and the death penalty

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, August 3, 2008
Robert Eoff, Princeton
Supreme Court already ruled

Re: "The World Is Watching – Gov. Perry should halt the Medellín execution," Tuesday Editorials.

Most of us are aware we are steadily losing individual rights. But what about states' rights? This past week, it appears the state of Texas may exercise its right to carry out sentencing of José Medellín, a convicted rapist and murderer.

The International Court of Justice, backed by the Bush administration, requested Texas courts reconsider the case because Mr. Medellín was denied an opportunity to contact his Mexican consulate.

The Supreme Court reviewed the matter and correctly ruled that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering Texas to reconsider the case.

But President Bush has not given up and now dispatched his top henchmen to appeal on behalf of the international court.

While there may be some cases where the Vienna Convention might apply in federal crimes, this was a Texas case where two young girls were raped and murdered.

Rest assured, if Texas (and other states) were bound by the Vienna Convention, the Supreme Court would have said so.

Robert Eoff, Princeton

Does world opinion matter?

The Dallas Morning News thinks that Gov. Rick Perry should usurp the court's decision to execute illegal alien José Medellín (confessed rapist and killer of two Texas teenagers). The basis of this disapproval is a technical issue regarding a denied consular visit. We are not talking about denying legal assistance here, so there was no miscarriage of justice.

Aside from the specter of the usual contempt for the victims and their families relative to the rights of felons, this particular editorial appeal illustrates an even more ominous thinking process. It seems that we are told we should be worried about what other countries may think or do and how they may retaliate.

Frank Timmins, Dallas

Victims need justice

I am sure the international court will be pleased to receive the concession you seek from Gov. Rick Perry. But what will we say to the families of the two girls who were so brutally killed? They have been waiting for justice since 1993. Is it in "the interests of this country and its citizens" to turn our back on the victims?

Raymond J. Trapp, Dallas

This man changed my mind

I was so sad after I read the editorial. If these were your two daughters, would you feel the same way?

I have met José Medellín. I wrote him. I have run a death row ministry in Texas for years.

He has never shown any remorse. He has proudly confessed. I used to be opposed to the death penalty until I met José.

Where is your respect and sympathy for the victims and their families? You have not even mentioned the two girls this sick creep murdered, or their families.

José Medellín found it convenient to be a Mexican citizen when he found out it could save him. What a disgrace to all the good, honest, law-abiding Mexicans.

Execute him already. The girls, along with their families, deserve justice.

Michael Denson, founder, Catholic Death Row Ministry, Frisco

***(This post contains a post from as well as a couple articles from*** Please feel free to leave your comments here or at the original websites,thankyou.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

'Dark Knight' gets to $400 million in record time

By Russ Britt, MarketWatch
Last update: 4:40 p.m. EDT Aug. 5, 2008
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- "The Dark Knight" crossed the $400 million mark in domestic receipts, it was reported Tuesday, shattering the record for meeting that sales threshold by doing it in just 18 days.
Data from box-office tracker Media by Numbers show "The Dark Knight" made $6.29 million at the North American box office on Monday, putting it just a shade above $400 million in cumulative receipts.
The film from Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX:
time warner inc com

Warner Bros. Pictures passed the mark in 18 days, blasting past the old mark of 43 days set by 2004's "Shrek 2."

Only a handful of films - eight to be exact - have crossed the $400 million threshold. It would have to make roughly $61 million more in order to claim second place all-time on the list, currently held by 1977's "Star Wars."
There is talk in the industry that "Dark Knight" may threaten the all-time box-office record, currently held by "Titanic," the 1997 release from Viacom Inc.'s (VIA:
viacom inc new cl a

Paramount Pictures. That movie made $600 million domestically and more than $1.2 billion overseas. It is the only film ever to cross either the $500 million or $600 million mark.
But "Dark Knight" will have to display the same kind of staying power that kept "Titanic" at the top of the box-office heap for nearly four months. From this point on, the movie will have to earn the entire domestic take of its predecessor in the series -- 2005's "Batman Begins," which made $200 million -- if it is to set a new record.
At its current pace, though, "Dark Knight" has a shot. On Monday, the film made twice what "Titanic" made at the same stage in its release schedule, according to figures from Still, "Titanic" kept drawing in audiences for repeated showings during its run.
Time Warner shares were up 3.3% at the close Tuesday. End of Story
Russ Britt is the Los Angeles bureau chief for MarketWatch.
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Comments: 27

who cares if this batman is "too dark for kids." obviously you don't even know anything about the comic book because it was quite dark. and unless you're talking about toddlers, kids are darker than you seem to think or are willing to adm...

- oilnwater

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