‘Murderabilia’ hot items – including some that should be private

When you’re responsible for bludgeoning a Eustis couple to death, you claim to lead a vampire cult and your name is Rod Ferrell, you develop a following.

That makes items linked to Ferrell and his crimes more than just a curiosity to some. Artwork and documents belonging to killers such as Ferrell — called “murderabilia”— have found a market thanks to online sellers and auctioneers.

And now an Ohio man named Joe Hiles aims to take the trade in a new direction by auctioning off a list of jury pool members from Ferrell’s 1998 murder case. That case drew national notoriety and came to be known on late-night documentaries and true-crime books as the “Vampire Cult Killings…”

Those who monitor the murderabilia trade say it’s a viable business, but some are calling the attempt to profit off this list a new low for a “wacky” and “insidious” industry. And others are troubled by it.

“This is the first time I’ve seen anything like this,” said Andy Kahan, the Mayor’s Crime Victims director for Houston, who for more than a decade has tracked online sites peddling content related to infamous killers. “I have seen public documents sold. But never a jury list…”

The foreman for that jury was unaware — and unhappy — of the jury pool’s current online availability.

“It upsets me a great deal,” said Joseph Crumpton, a retired fishery biologist living in Lake County. “It’s nobody’s business. It seems like that would be against the law. I always figured that kind of stuff was safe…”

The issue isn’t the legality of profiting off a list that is already a public document, according to some familiar with this case.

“There are a lot of things that are immoral and outright wrong that don’t violate the criminal laws of the state of Florida,” said Chief Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway, with the office that prosecuted Ferrell.

Uh, yeah. Does that suggest anything to the eminent politicians of the great state of Floriduh?

Decision-making capacity at the time of death

More than one in four elderly Americans lacked the capacity to make their own medical care decisions at the end of life, according to a study…published April 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Those who had advance directives – including living wills or durable powers of attorney for healthcare – received the care they wanted most of the time, says lead author Maria Silveira, M.D…

None of them needed to use Republican Death Panels.

“Prior to our study, no one knew how many elderly adults might need others to make complex medical decisions on their behalf at the end of life,” says Silveira. “Our research shows that a substantial number of older adults need someone else to make decisions about whether aggressive, limited, or comfort care should be provided at the end of life.”

This study underscores the need to prepare oneself and one’s family for the often emotional and difficult medical decisions that can arise at the end of life. It also suggests that the time spent to craft a living will and appoint a durable power of attorney for health care can be worthwhile.”

“Folks with a living will or durable power of attorney for health care were less likely to die in a hospital or to get aggressive care — but that is what most of them wanted,” she says. (Silveira recommends this site for planning ahead.)…

One interesting finding suggests the importance of having both a living will as well as an appointed surrogate decision-maker. The study showed that among the handful of subjects who indicated a preference for aggressive care, half did not receive it.

“Given this, some might conclude that advance directives are used to deny wanted health care, but our study showed that a preference for aggressive care had a very strong association with receiving such care, when compared to those who did not state a preference for it. It’s just that at the end of life, aggressive treatment is often not an option; limited care and comfort care are always an option, ” Silveira says.

Of course, nutballs on the teabagger right will call this handing your life over to the government. Making important decisions while you’re still capable doesn’t appeal to fools incapable of making a well-informed decision in the first place.

Pakistani doctor suspended for transporting cow in ambulance

A Pakistani doctor has been suspended for using an ambulance to carry home a cow he had bought at a local market, health authorities say.

The doctor had taken the ambulance from a rural health centre near the eastern city of Gujrat, in Punjab province.

He was intercepted by police while driving home from the cattle market…

Muneer Ahmad, an official at the provincial health department, said he had been “shocked” by the doctor’s behaviour.

He’s suspended the doctor on the request of the police and ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Dr. Munir was just being frugal, right? And it was a calf not a cow. There still was room for a patient if needed.

Cardinal says sex abuse is only “petty gossip”. Oh?

A senior cardinal has said the Roman Catholic faithful will not be swayed by “petty gossip” about child sex-abuse allegations. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, made the remark in an unusual message of support to Pope Benedict XVI during Easter Mass…

The Pope did not did not mention the scandal directly in his Easter address…

The Vatican’s public relations strategy so far has been to blame the media – particularly the foreign media – for exaggerating the problem…

Sound familiar?

The Vatican has in the past consistently played down the extent of clerical paedophilia.
Its spokesman has been engaged in a major damage control operation. He has to try to convince the world that policies now in place are adequate to tackle the problem and ensure that clerics who commit these crimes are properly tried in the civil courts as well as punished by Church authorities…

With the Church already under pressure over the abuse allegations, the Pope said his faith would help give him the courage to deflect “petty gossip”…

The Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, stepped up its defence of the Pope in its Sunday edition, publishing messages of support from around the world and denouncing the “slanderous attacks and the defamation campaign surrounding the drama of abuse by priests”.

The strategy and tactics of the Dark Ages aren’t especially likely to win any battles against transparency in the 21st Century. Not for institutional religions. Not much longer for the corrupt and powerful who rely on institutionalized religion to defend their hold on power.

Republicans head to tame Supreme Court to revive “soft money”


Michael Steele measures the narrowness of Republican honesty
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Remember “soft money,” the shadowy torrents of unregulated cash supposedly designated for “party building” or other such nebulous activities that caused such political heartburn in the 1990s?

The ban on soft money was one of the few provisions of the McCain-Feingold Act to survive challenge in the courts.

Now the Republican National Committee is making a major new legal effort to remove the ban. It intends to take its challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Soft money used to be an equal opportunity issue for Democrats and Republicans back in the 1990s, and a prime culprit in the obscene amount of money being spent on campaigns. In 1997, President Bill Clinton conceded soft money had fueled a blitz of Democratic party advertising, but argued Republicans had abused it more. The “abuse” was that both parties had used soft money, as opposed to “hard money,” indirectly or directly to influence specific elections…

The latest challenge to the soft money ban is pretty much an all-Republican effort.

The soft money ban received a major boost last month in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the federal appeals court in Washington sometimes called the second most powerful court in the United States. The appeals court upheld the ban, but the setback for the RNC was strictly temporary…

The proposed challenge was part of a legal presentation to the RNC, Politico reported. The Supreme Court upheld the soft money ban in a “facial” challenge — the ban allegedly was unconstitutional on the face of it. But the new RNC challenge would be “as applied” — a challenge based on how the ban was being applied.

Politico reported the presentation said the RNC expected to ask for immediate expedited review in the Supreme Court if it lost on the lower level.

In fact, the RNC did lose its challenge in the Washington appeals court last month. The appeals court said it had a simple reason for ruling against the RNC: The challengers wanted the appeals court to do something the Supreme Court had yet to do.

The Republican Party is now carrying forward the projected strategy – which will give the Supreme Court another opportunity to return the most political power to the corporations with the most money.

An American tradition that has little or nothing to do with democracy or liberty. Not that today’s conservatives would notice.

Catholics pray for Jews to convert – WTF?

On Good Friday, two days before Easter, a prayer titled “Let us Pray for the Conversion of the Jews” was recited in Latin by traditionalist Catholic congregations in Italy, plus 16 sections of the Society of Saint Pius.

The ultra-conservative society, whose excommunication was lifted by Pope Benedict XVI last year, has yet to be fully reintegrated into the Catholic Church, because of its refusal to accept the reforms of the Second Vatican Council…

The reissuing of traditionalist liturgies is the responsibility of the formerly independent Ecclesia Dei Commission, which was incorporated into Cardinal William Levada’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (known until 1908 as the Inquisition) during the fallout from the Bishop Richard Williamson Holocaust-denying affair. Under the present papacy, the network of internal communications seems to be functioning at an even slower pace than before the changes were made…

A Vatican spokesmen told The Jerusalem Post that “the printing of this title was an error which will be rectified”; however, considering that the expensive new edition was made available only a month ago, the correction may be long in coming.

Some of these lame excuses were worn out a half-century ago. Can’t they blame it on Socialism or race-mixing or something?