Monthly archives: July, 2009

Fear Of A Black President: Conservative Media Drum Up Racial Fear

The conservative media, driven by “Movement Conservatives,” are falling all over themselves, wrapped in a Confederate Flag of white fear.

President Barack Obama is black, and it’s only beginning to sink in with Movement Conservatives.

What is a Movement Conservative?  This from Sourcewatch:

Movement Conservatism is a self-serving and socially malevolent cabal of mega-corporations, right-wing think tanks in Washington, their archconservative foundation benefactors, and an intricate nationwide network of linkages in the communications media, religion, higher education, and law. It has been called the “conservative labyrinth,” and common to all its elements is a theology of “free markets,” an ideology coming to full bloom in the Administration of George W. Bush. Today, the G.O.P. seeks to impose it at every turn.

America has a black president.   America could have a black president for eight solid years.  Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Lou Dobbs, G. Gordon Liddy, and Glenn Beck are terrified.

All they can do is fan the flames of racism, white fear.

And it turns out Barack Obama is basically just a moderate-to-slightly-liberal politician.

Enjoy the video above, courtesy of Media Matters for America.

Lucia Whalen Called 911; Now Leave Her Alone

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Lucia Whalen is completing what she says will be her one and only news conference.  Her voice trembling at times, close to tears, Mrs. Whalen spoke about threats that had been made against her, calling her racist and other names.  Her husband did weep openly a few times as she spoke.  Below is a video of MSNBC and other news organizations trailing her in paparazzi-like fashion as she and her husband left their home in preparation for their transit to the site of the press conference. Above is the press conference itself.

Her lawyer spoke first.  Coyly referring to the three men who behaved badly sitting down for a beer tomorrow at the White House, Wendy Murphy simply said, “Maybe it’s a guy thing,” that her client was not invited.


The woman whose 911 call led to the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and a national debate on racial profiling spoke publicly for the first time about the case Wednesday, saying she was unfairly criticized and “afraid to say anything” after being called racist.

It’s easy for the President of the United States to turn into Pontificator-in-Chief, and that’s exactly what he did in this case.  I suspect the police acted appropriately, but I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.  There’s are strong reasons for police asking Henry Louis Gates Jr. to step outside his house, first and foremost to ensure there was no one inside with intent to harm him.

Enough.  I’m not going to get into that.  Let these three chaps sit down and drink a pint or two.  Lucia Whalen did the right thing.  She called 911 because she saw suspicious activity.  She acted and spoke appropriately when she called police.

Now leave her alone.  She and her husband have a right to privacy.  She is not a public official.  She is not public property.  She is an American, born in this country. Yes, one of the brilliant reporters picked up that she had slightly darker skin than white Americans, and had to ask if she was a citizen.  And to the reporter who asked that question, I say, “Way to go for working to keep us safe from any threat of foreigners calling 911, you arrogant ass.”

Mrs. Whalen, thank you.  You did exactly what we ask citizens to do in our town when they see suspicious activity.

And to the three who started the fire or helped make it worse, enjoy your beer, and find it in your hearts to thank Mrs. Whalen.

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Brian Dugan Killed Jeanine Nicarico

Two men were once on Death Row for the murder of Jeanine Nicarico.  Brian Dugan has been trying to confess to this horrible crime for years.

Tuesday, he finally got his chance.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Some in the audience wiped away tears as State’s Atty. Joseph Birkett solemnly described the fingernail scratches 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico left on the wall that showed how she tried to fight off a would-be burglar.

How Brian Dugan promised to take the girl home but instead killed her.

The murder “went as perfectly as the others, but something was wrong,” Brian Dugan told an Illinois State Police psychologist, Birkett recounted. “I felt like I was going to get caught.”

And he did. Dugan, already serving life sentences for two other murders, formally admitted in court Tuesday that he and he alone kidnapped, raped and killed the girl on Feb. 25, 1983. 

His admission, first made in 1985, had long been rejected by DuPage officials. But on Tuesday Birkett said Dugan has been telling the truth.

Birkett’s 55-minute recitation of the facts was a dramatic turn in a case with 26 years’ worth of twists, including the false convictions and Death Row sentences of two other men and the acquittals of seven DuPage County law-enforcement officials on malfeasance charges. The drama will kick into high gear again in September, when Birkett pursues his long-stated goal of having Dugan sentenced to death.

The details:

Birkett’s description of Nicarico’s final hours were brutal and difficult to listen to, as were his descriptions of the autopsy results. Some in the audience wiped away tears as they heard how Dugan brutalized the girl on a sleeping bag in the woods, leaving her bloody and disoriented, then promised to wash her up and take her home, but instead crushed her skull with either a baseball bat or a tire iron.

Birkett also described in detail the 1985 rape and murder of 7-year-old Melissa Ackerman of Somonauk, one of two murders for which Dugan already is serving concurrent life sentences. Bakalis has previously approved allowing the details of the Ackerman case at a trial, ruling that the similarities with the Nicarico murder showed a legal pattern of behavior.

Dugan sat quietly during Birkett’s grim reading of a 14-page statement. Melissa’s father stonily stared off into space.

When it was over, the judge denied Dugan’s request to read aloud a letter that he carried with him, a letter his attorneys contended was an apology.

This was not the only child this monster murdered.  We should be grateful the judge did not permit him to read his letter, address the families.  They don’t need that.

Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez were wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for the same crime.  Birkett said Dugan’s confession completely exonerates them.

Two on Death Row for a crime they didn’t commit.  Some would argue that the system worked, eventually.  Except these two lost years of their lives because of Dugan’s crime.  The two were set free in 1995, twelve years after Jeanine’s death, when DNA tests and recanted testimony damaged the prosecution, the Tribune says.

The temptation is great for us to kill this man.  If anyone deserves to die…

Dolling out death takes us down a slippery slope, though.  We don’t do that well.  We make mistakes.  We can be incredibly stupid animals, Vonnegut said.  We suffer under the illusion that “The System” is somehow divine, that there is this separate entity apart from humanity called “The System,” and that “The System” will protect us in spite of ourselves.

Except it won’t.  The system is us.  We are the system. That system is us at our best and our absolute worst.

Put this monster away forever.  And mourn Jeanine Nicarico and Melissa Ackerman once more.

Mark Buehrle’s Magic Arm

Just the other day, Mark Buehrle pitched the 18th perfect game in the history of baseball.  The man faced 27 batters, and 27 batters went down.  No walks.  No batters hit.  No runners on the entire game.

He almost did it again.  Tonight, it wasn’t a perfect game, but Buehrle did set a major league record.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago White Sox ace Mark Buehrle set a major league record by retiring 45 straight batters.

Coming off a perfect game in his last start against Tampa Bay, Buehrle retired the first 17 Minnesota Twins batters on Tuesday night to surpass the record of 41 straight set by and San Francisco’s Jim Barr in 1972 and tied by teammate Bobby Jenks, a reliever, in 2007.

Buehrle retired 27 in a row against the Rays in his last start, the 18th perfect game in baseball history, then breezed through the first five innings against the Twins to break the record.

His bid for a second consecutive perfect game — no pitcher in baseball history has ever achieved the feat — ended with a walk to Alexi Casilla on a close call with two outs in the sixth. The Metrodome crowd stood and cheered after the walk, trying to rattle Buehrle. Then Denard Span followed with a single to break up the no-hitter.

The Sox lost this one, but Buehrle’s in the books twice now.

Congratulations, Mark.

William Shatner’s Dramatic Reading of Palin’s Farewell

One of the funniest things you’ll ever see.  I had this on a news site I operate, but decided to give it a permanent home here on Turning Left.

Enjoy.  And do click through for the video if you’re viewing this through a news feed.

The Conundrum Surrounding Ben Roethlisberger

Over two decades ago, I had a friend who was accused of sexual abuse against a minor.  The minor had been arrested on vandalism charges, and said that his downward spiral stemmed from the alleged sexual abuse he suffered years before.  The accused saw his life turned upside down, and the experience nearly ruined him.  He retained a lawyer, waited what seemed an agonizing three weeks, before the minor finally admitted that he had completely fabricated the charges.

But the stigma remained.

What I remember most was something my friend said while this was all going on, “You can’t protect yourself against a lie.”

You can’t protect yourself against a lie.

It’s a tough lesson.  This friend reflected that if you are alone with someone for five minutes, that person can say anything later on.

It’s a lesson in how utterly vulnerable we all are.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stands accused in a civil suit of sexually assaulting a 31-year-old Canadian national casino worker in Nevada on July 11, 2008.

Mr. Roethlisberger is vulnerable.  Regardless of what happened, his image is sullied for a while.  Is Roethlisberger the victim of an ugly lie?  Or did something else happen?  Is it possible the allegation is true?

The accuser has a weakened case.  There has been no criminal complaint.  There has been no police investigation.  However, the accuser contacted the sheriff’s department over unrelated instances in the past.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Her attorney acknowledges that his client did not seek out the police. Her lawsuit said she was “afraid of the consequences of reporting it to police authorities since it was obvious to her that Harrah’s and its personnel … would side with and support Roethlisberger. …”

Records in Douglas County, Nev., show the woman after other incidents had contacted the sheriff’s department — this January, March 2008 and September 2005 — to report harassment, a burglary at her home and annoying phone calls, respectively.

The department has said it will not launch an investigation into the sexual assault allegation unless the woman files a complaint.

Roethlisberger made a statement Thursday:

With pursed lips and a somber expression, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger denied to the world yesterday the accusations of a Nevada casino worker who claims in a lawsuit that he sexually assaulted her last summer.

“The allegations against me are reckless and false,” Mr. Roethlisberger, 27, told reporters at the Steelers UPMC training facility on the South Side, speaking publicly about the case for the first time.

Her attorney, Calvin R.X. Dunlap, confirmed yesterday that Mr. Roethlisberger was served with the suit while he was attending this year’s golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, which ran from July 14 to this past Sunday.

“Her false and vicious allegations are an attack on my family and on me. I would never, ever force myself on a woman. I’m going to fight to protect my family and my reputation,” Mr. Roethlisberger continued.

Wearing a brown, pinstripe suit with a pocket square, dress shirt open at the neck and no tie, the two-time Super Bowl winner seemed a bit haggard, sporting stubble and tousled hair.

Filing a civil suit before making a criminal complaint is suspicious, especially when the accuser had gone to the police before.

Regardless of where this goes and what actually happened in Nevada, this will be a life-changing event for Ben Roethlisberger.  Without a criminal complaint, is she simply looking for a settlement?  Who knows.  The diabolical thing about civil suits is that they sometimes do end in a settlement of some sort, and that in itself raises questions.  The wonderful conundrum, however, is that it’s sometimes much cheaper to settle a civil suit than to endure lengthy litigation, especially given that the standard of proof is less in a civil matter.

Civil suits can also be thrown out, dismissed with prejudice.

The Steeler organization has no tolerance for problem players.  The Rooney family has a long-standing reputation for only accepting people of character on the team and in the organization.  Arthur J. Rooney saw the Steelers as an extension of his family, and that feeling persists today.  That doesn’t mean that everyone on the team is an angel, or always has been.  But expectations are high, and players come to believe the expectations are worth living up to, on and off the field.

So I don’t take lightly the fact that the organization stands behind Roethlisberger, literally as well as figuratively:

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stood behind Mr. Roethlisberger’s right shoulder, looking on stoically on as his quarterback spoke. Also attending the news conference were Kevin Colbert, the Steelers director of football operations; the quarterback’s agent, Ryan Tollner; and his lawyer, William David Cornwell Sr.

Is there more to the story?  No doubt.  But I don’t see this as a case of men supporting other men at all costs.  Not this team.  That’s the insidious thing about this civil allegation.  It raises those doubts.  And it shouldn’t.

At this point, all we can do is watch and hope that Ben is still the man he has demonstrated himself to be — over a long period of time.

The Grand Ole Opry Live at the White House

Very cool, happening now. Charley Pride just performed.

Say It Ain’t So, Ben Roethlisberger

After the Pittsburgh Steelers won the  Super Bowl a couple of years ago, Ben Roethlisberger was in a terrible motorcycle crash, and we were afraid we would lose him for good.

The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl this year, and we’re once again afraid.  Ben Roethlistberger stands accused in a civil suit.

Interesting that there are no criminal charges.

But, Ben, hey, be careful who you invite to your room, dude!

From WTAE Pittbsurgh:

A casino employee is suing Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, accusing him of sexual assault.

An online report indicates that Harrah’s casino employee Andrea McNulty filed the civil lawsuit last week in Washoe County, Nev., that stem from an alleged incident at a hotel room in July 2008. It was not known whether criminal charges were sought.

Is this an exercise in, “Be Careful Who You Invite to Your Room?”  Or did this really happen?

Say it ain’t so, Ben.  Please.  Say it ain’t so.

Park Forest Colts are Section Champs

Park Forest Colts 2009 Sectional Champs

Park Forest Colts are Section Champs.

Mary Kay Joens wrote a really great article at eNews Park Forest congratulating the Park Forest Colts on winning the sectional title in the Pony National Tournament.


For only the second time in PF Baseball history, the Colt team has won the sectional title in the Pony National Tournament. On Sunday, July 19th, Rich East was the site of the championship game in the sectional tournament of the Pony National Tournament, which was hosted by PF Baseball. The Colt team is made up of 15 and 16 year olds and this year’s team is managed by Steve Gifford and coached by Dennis Pieper and Reggie Coleman. All three gentlemen are also on the PF Baseball Board of Directors.

The PF team began their march on Thursday, July 16th, when they played against St. Joe (Joliet Area) and won 4-2. The pitchers of record were Mike Milkovic and Josh Pieper, with Milkovic picking up the win. The offensive power was provided by Phil Werner, Josh Pieper, and Tirone Rogers, who each picked up a run-batted-in. However, PF was not only competing against St. Joe but also against Mother Nature. In the bottom of the fourth inning the game was suspended due to lightning and then the ominous black clouds quickly rolled in. The game was suspended until Friday, July 17th, and the field was barely tarped when the torrential rains came. But thanks to the hard-working field maintenance crew, headed by Coach Dennis Pieper, the field was worked back into shape and play resumed on Friday. The final few innings were played with no runs being scored.

And the article goes on from there.

With all the bad news we are forced to read, this is just an exciting event for a group of young men of diverse backgrounds. Hats off to the Park Forest Colts, the lads from Homewood who gave it their all, and all young people who get involved, and make a difference.

And congratulations to the Park Forest Colts!

Read the article here.

Two Shot in Park Forest; Police: Shooting Not Random

It must be terrifying to learn that a shooting occurred in your town, let alone on your street.

Residents of Nassau Street in Park Forest must have been a bit nervous, to say the least.

The Park Forest Police Department went door-to-door Saturday to reassure residents that the shooting was not random, according to the Chicago Tribune:

A woman who lives two homes down from where the police marked off the crime scene said she heard at least two gunshots while inside her home.

The woman, B.J. Wyatt, said one of the shooting victims was a neighbor who moved in recently, but she didn’t know how serious the neighbor’s condition was. She also had no information about any other victims.

“The police came around and let us know it [the shooting] wasn’t random,” Wyatt said in a telephone interview this evening. She said police have assured her that a gunman wasn’t “prowling the neighborhood” and that they know who the shooter is.

It’s reassuring when police personally alert residents after a tragedy.  A shooting in your town is always disturbing.

Police are searching for a suspect.

From eNews Park Forest:

The suspect is identified as Timothy J. Lucas, a black male, born on September 26, 1978, according to police.

Pulling the trigger changes everything.  I’m not going to pontificate on guns or gun control.

But I will ask, why can we not control ourselves?  Why can Canadians own guns, and not shoot other Canadians?

Why do we shoot each other?