A quiet weekend in Juarez, Mexico — only 1 decapitation!


This is not an assault – the police travel in convoys to protect each other

The severed head of a Texas man was found lying on a bus stop bench in Juarez, Mexico…The rest of the man’s body had been cut into pieces and placed inside two bags that were left in another location, the El Paso Times reported.

Clothing and a Texas identification card with the name Eder Vidana Solis were found with the body parts, investigators said.

The man was among at least six people, including two police officers, who were victims of renewed violence in Juarez Sunday and Monday. The two police officers were killed in a Sunday afternoon street shooting.

Four homicides were reported Monday…Three people were shot to death while the body of an unidentified woman was found in a vacant lot with a plastic bag over her head. Police said she had been stabbed several times.

Friends of mine who don’t live in the Southwest sometimes ask me if I ever spend time in Mexico?

The short answer? No.

Catholic sermons wail and whinge — Gay couples prepare to celebrate weddings and happiness

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments,” declared the bard of Stratford in his 116th sonnet. And at the Globe theatre in central London on Sunday – even as Catholics were being urged from thousands of pulpits across the country to oppose gay marriage – there was no shortage of same-sex couples ready to heed his encouragement.

At the Designer Civil Partnership show at Shakespeare’s erstwhile theatre, excited couples discussed the colour scheme of invitations, whether wedding “favours” were a necessary part of the big day – and the decision of the Catholic church to wage war against government plans for gay marriage.

“I think it’s disgusting. We are not second-class citizens and the idea that this archaic institution should dictate how we live our lives is appalling,” said Matt Turrell, 37, a photographer specialising in civil partnerships. “At the end of the day, the union of two people should be about love. Why should we be denied the right to express that publicly?”

On Sunday a letter from two senior Catholic archbishops was read in 2,500 parish churches during mass, arguing that a change to the law would reduce the significance of marriage…

At heart and root, the greater fear is the accelerating collapse of social and political power of the religious establishment.

With a string quartet playing in the entrance hall, intense discussions on whether ushers should wear matching cufflinks, and stalls displaying everything from chocolate macaroons to crystal-encrusted table centre pieces, this was a wedding fair much like any other.

But gay couples are still made to feel excluded because they cannot marry in the same way as heterosexual couples, according to Chris Ford, 30, and his fiance Andrew Ogilvie, 32. The couple, both nurses, were told they could have no religious element to their service and described it as the first barrier they had faced as gay men.

“I was gobsmacked,” said Ogilvie. “Automatically you feel second class, that your union is not valued in the same way. It’s not like we are all going to be marching into Catholic churches in bridal dresses, but you just want to have the option. Civil partnerships are good, but they are not perfect…”

Standing in the sunshine overlooking the Thames from a balcony at the Globe, Natasha Marshall, 31, and Debbie Cross, 38, tuck into the bubbles, chatting about the wedding rings they have just chosen for their civil partnership in September. The pair, who have been together for 13 years, would have liked the option of a civil wedding, but seem unconcerned about the fact that they will not yet be able to have a religious ceremony. “Church weddings are boring anyway,” said Cross. “We’re going to have a lot more fun than that.”

The headline suggests a question easy enough to answer with a smile. Which would you rather attend? A gay wedding fair or one more ceremony of 14th Century stink and sermon brimming with fear and hatred, telling us all which orders we are required to obey without question?

Civil rights, evenhanded for all is easy as pie. Just not for those who believe they are above the civil.

Did you drop your cellphone into the trash chute? Go in after it!


BTW – Amanda never did recover her phone

Stilettos have a reputation for causing injury…But for Amanda Still, who spent two hours trapped in a trash chute, her flip-flops proved to be just as hazardous.

She reached into the chute to try to rescue her cell phone which she had dropped while hoisting a bag in, but slipped, sending her flying down the shaft herself.

Still spent the next two hours uncomfortably wedged in among the rubbish before being hauled out by firemen at around 8am, who were alerted when a friend dialed 911 to report the unusual accident.

Still told Cbs Atlanta: ‘I tried to get it out with a broom and then it didn’t work so then I saw the phone. It was right there. I would never have fallen in, but I had on flip flops. They slipped, and I went all the way down.’

And she has the garbage to thank that she lived to tell the tale; the bags of waste broke her fall, stopping her going into the compactor itself, Dunwoody Police Sgt. Fidel Espinoza said.

Firefighters worked for an hour to take the chute apart so that they could free the ill-fated teen.

I haven’t any homily or dicho to offer. I’m just glad I needn’t offer this post for a Darwin Award.

Amish youngsters busted for under age drinking after crashing their horse-drawn carriage — into a police car!

Four youngsters from the religious Amish community have been charged with under age drinking after their horse-drawn carriage crashed into a police car.

Three men aged 19 and 20, and an 18-year-old woman, were arrested after the collision in Sherman, New York state, when several containers of alcohol were found in their buggy. The legal drinking age in New York is 21.

The Amish are a Christian community known for their simple lifestyle, shunning modern technology and retaining 18th century forms of dress…

The four youngsters are alleged to have been at an under age drinking party on a back road near the state border with Pennsylvania, where most Amish families live, when they set out for a drive in two carriages.

As the buggies allegedly wove across a public road, one, driven by Marty Troyer, 20, with Marianne Troyer, 18, and Marvin Byler, 19, as passengers, collided with a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department patrol car which was on its way to investigate reports of illegal drinking.

The buggy flipped over, trapping Byler’s leg and leading a horse to become loose. Twenty-year-old Leroy Troyer, who was driving the second buggy, was also arrested…

The three Troyers are related but do not live in the same house. Byler was not seriously injured in the collision.

The headline says it all, eh? Being religious, moral and restrained by parental and community rules is no guarantee against stupid.

Ideological slurs, slander and bigotry will not silence women


Sandra Fluke is a third-year law student at Georgetown University Law Center
and has served as president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Last month, students from several Catholic universities gathered to send a message to the nation that contraception is basic health care. I was among them, and I was proud to share the stories of my friends at Georgetown Law who have suffered dire medical consequences because our student insurance does not cover contraception for the purpose of preventing pregnancy…

I…joined these students because now is a critical time to raise this issue in our public consciousness.

Thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, preventive care services, including contraception, will be covered by private insurance plans without co-pays or deductibles. If appropriately implemented, this important law will finally guarantee women access to contraception, regardless of the religious affiliation of their workplace or school.

By now, many have heard the stories I wanted to share thanks to the congressional leaders and members of the media who have supported me and millions of women in speaking out.

Because we spoke so loudly, opponents of reproductive health access demonized and smeared me and others on the public airwaves. These smears are obvious attempts to distract from meaningful policy discussions and to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care.

These attempts to silence women and the men who support them have clearly failed. I know this because I have received so many messages of support from across the country — women and men speaking out because they agree that contraception needs to be treated as a basic health care service.

They are women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, who need contraception to prevent cysts from growing on their ovaries, which if unaddressed can lead to infertility and deadly ovarian cancer. They are sexual assault victims, who need contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
They are Catholic women, who see no conflict between their social justice -based faith and family planning. They are new moms, whose doctors fear that another pregnancy too soon could jeopardize the mother’s health and the potential child’s health too. They are mothers and grandmothers who remember all too well what it was like to be called names decades ago, when they were fighting for a job, for health care benefits, for equality…

Most recently, certain political commentators have started spreading misinformation about the underlying government regulation we are discussing. To be clear, through programs such as Medicaid, the government already does and should fund contraception coverage for the poorest women in our country.

But, despite the misinformation being spread, the regulation under discussion has absolutely nothing to do with government funding: It is all about the insurance policies provided by private employers and universities that are financed by individual workers, students and their families — not taxpayers.

I am talking about women who, despite paying their own premiums, cannot obtain coverage of contraception on their private insurance, even when their employer or university contributes nothing to that insurance…

Attacking me and women who use contraception by calling us prostitutes and worse cannot silence us.

I am proud to stand with the millions of women and men who recognize that our government should legislate according to the reality of our lives — not for ideology.

Bravo!

I know I speak to a larger audience, broader than the fire that burns in my heart for change, not as consumed by anger. I don’t expect everyone who wanders by these pages to come to the same radical conclusions I offer. It’s just that I’ve been at this a very long time. According to the FBI, 52 years. But, they missed some of the earliest days. 🙂

I refresh my studies as anyone dedicated to scientific methods should do and see little reason to adjust the direction of my political opinions. So, please, understand where I’m coming from, the accumulated contempt I hold for the cowards who attack women like Sandra, the craven opportunists who do their best to hold back the future of this nation. Sometimes I grow weary of attempting politeness to fools when my heart and history will not forget the mean streets I come from.

So, right on, sister Sandra! All power to the people!

Right-to-die man — gets the right to a hearing


Tony Nicklinson with his daughter and wife

A high court judge has ruled that the right-to-die case of a man who can only communicate by blinking and wants his “suffering to end” should be allowed to proceed.

Tony Nicklinson, 57, who has locked-in syndrome, wants a doctor to be able to lawfully end his “intolerable” life after suffering a stroke in 2005 which left him able only to communicate by a voice-synthesiser that registers blinking. He launched legal action seeking the right for a doctor to intervene to end his “indignity” and have a “common law defence of necessity” against any murder charge.

His wife, Jane Nicklinson, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, that death is the only way out for her husband. “We are asking for it to be legal for someone to end his life. The only way to relieve Tony’s suffering is to kill him. There’s nothing else that can be done for him,” said the former nurse.

“He can’t do anything. He’s completely paralysed and he can’t speak. If he has an itch I have to scratch it for him,” she said.

She added that he did not want to die immediately but wanted to be able to choose.

“He just wants to know when the time comes he has a way out. It’s what he wants, and we are behind him,” she said. “If you knew the kind of person he was before, life like this is unbearable for him. He realises as he gets older things are going to get worse.”

She added that the law had to change to keep up with advancing medical practice. “Twenty years ago Tony would have died. But people are being kept alive with such terrible conditions. Medical practice has become so much better but the law has not progressed with that. He says now if he had known what life would be like for him now, he would have just laid down and died and would not have called for help.”

I suggest you sign the petition supporting Tony and his wife in his quest for the right to choose death with dignity. The freedom to be assured his wife isn’t prosecuted for aiding his “murder”. Let him make the choice on his own when he wishes.

I want to be able to make the same choice myself given similar circumstances.

Malaysian senator’s hubbie busted for £11 million theft


The loving couple

The husband of a Malaysian minister has been charged with misusing almost £11 million of government funds – allegedly to buy luxury apartments, holidays and a Mercedes – a day after she signalled she would quit.

Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Malaysia’s minister for women, family and community, said she would step down next month when her term as senator ends, though she denied any wrongdoing and said she was acting as a responsible member of the government.

The minister became embroiled in the so-called “Cowgate” scandal when accusations surfaced about the misuse of funds earmarked for a £55 million government cattle project run by her husband, Mohamad Salleh Ismail, and three children.

The allegations surrounding the fund has been a source of deep embarrassment to the government of prime minister Najib Razak, who is likely to call an election this year, as he had vowed to root out corruption.

Prosecutors on Monday charged Mohamad Salleh, 64, with two counts of criminal breach of trust and two more of embezzlement relating to almost £11 million, allegedly buy luxury property in Malaysia and neighbouring Singapore. He denied the charges.

The project was designed to play to poorer voters, the bedrock of support for the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). But the “Cowgate” scandal has seen the strategy explode in the government’s face at a time when rising corruption and growing income disparity have eroded its popularity.

What always makes me chuckle is how the corrupt demonstrate such confidence in the corruption of the whole society, in the acceptance of corruption – they seem to feel no one will notice how much has gone missing into their pockets. Forever astounding.