Pointless demented killing of the day — shoot your neighbor because he won’t give you a beer!

Former Conch Key resident Carolyn Dukeshire has the next 30 years to think about the can of Busch Light beer she never got from neighbor Martin Mazur.

That’s the reason Dukeshire, 62, shot and killed Mazur, 64, last July 29 — she asked Mazur for a beer and he said no. That’s when she shot him five times outside his Conch Key home.

Dukeshire — known by her friends and co-workers as the Seahag — pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Thursday, accepting an agreement with the Monroe state attorney’s office for a maximum 30 years in prison…

A 17-year Keys resident, Dukeshire had no previous arrest history in Monroe County.

According to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office report, just before the shooting, Dukeshire reportedly asked Mazur, for whom she had previously done some lobster-trap work: “Do you have a cold beer for me?” He reportedly replied, “I have absolutely nothing for you.”

That’s when Dukeshire shot Mazur twice in the lower right abdomen, twice in the back and once in the right wrist…

Cripes. Is there a parallel demonstrated here – about people carrying guns “to protect themselves” when it’s their friends and neighbors that end up needing to be protected.

Here’s why our ratings agencies deserve the death penalty

The very belated Federal civil suit against Standard & Poors is based on one very specific deal, with an extremely egregious email trail. Looking at the entirety of the crisis, the Credit Rating Agencies were major players. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s as well as the much smaller Fitch ratings agencies all appear to be culpable for similar frauds…

1. Business Model: They shifted their business model from an investor-pays-for-research to an underwriter-pays-for-ratings. Normally, any company is free to change their business model. But the major ratings are not just any business — these firms were all “Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization” (NRSRO) — which the SEC allows other firms to rely on for regulatory purposes.

2. Ratings that were fraudulent: There is overwhelming proof that the ratings agencies knew what they were cranking out misrepresented the quality of the underlying bundles of paper. They did this because they were paid by the underwriters to generate an investment grade rating. THAT WAS THE SOLE PURPOSE OF THE RATING AGENCIES. Hence, why they were called the great enablers of the credit crisis.

3. Ratings Based on Bad Assumptions: Home prices never go down is the excuse we have heard — except there are many examples that disprove this. The data set allowed the rating agencies models to reach a A rating — build in the possibility of lower home prices, and you cannot get the same ratings out of subprime mortgage securitizations. S&P may want to plead Stupidity, and I suspect the prosecution will defer — but stupidity does not present a shield to civil liability.

4. Ratings that were not rated: There are examples of securitized bundles of mortgages that were unreviewed, unanalyzed — and AAA rated.

There are more examples, but let me simplify this for you: In an ultra low rate environment, Fixed income managers were under tremendous pressure to find yield. Their solution was to buy paper that was rated investment grade by the major credit ratings agencies EVEN THOUGH THEY KNEW OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN IT WAS NOT. The agencies rated junk paper as AAA not because they believed it, but because they were paid to do so…

If Arthur Anderson received the ultimate penalty for their part in the Enron and other fraud, I see no reason why Moody’s and S&P don’t suffer the same fate — plus criminal prosecution for senior management.

It’s time to re-establish the rule of law in this country.

Let’s start with the finance and banking communities. Outside of those directly in bed with Pentagon pimps, they are the biggest crooks affecting our daily lives. Fines that look big to ordinary folks who work for a living are an OK start. It’s time for some of these crooks to share cells with their peers from the ranks of car-jackers, armed robbery and other street thugs.

Glass Farm echoes traditional local architecture


Click to enlarge

…Glass Farm is MVRDV’s seventh proposal for a new building at the market square in Schijndel in the Netherlands. During World War II the square was badly damaged in the unsuccessful Allied counter-offensive, Operation Market Garden. Since that time the square has undergone redevelopment and refurbished, though the idea of a centerpiece to the square’s rejuvenation – a new building between the church and town hall – proved controversial.

Schijndel happens to the home town of MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. He first proposed a new building at the location in 1980. Twenty years later, the town council bought into the idea, and the conversation could move onto the issue of what should be built: no less prickly an issue, it turned out, and one which invigorated local residents.

Having had six of its ideas rejected, including one for a theater, MVRDV conceived the Glass Farm. Looking at the maximum “envelope” (the shell formed by its outer walls) allowed by the planning authority, MVRDV noticed that, though bigger, it matched the shape of the traditional farm buildings of the region.

MVRDV reasoned that if the building was to adopt the shape of a farm house, it should adopts their look too. Unfortunately, an actual farmhouse wouldn’t best serve what had become the purpose of the building: a multifunctional public facility housing restaurants, shops and the like. Instead, MVRDV decided that the building should be a glass shell which somehow took on the appearance of a farm.

The answer MVRDV came up with was fritted glass. Artist Frank van der Salm photographed the surviving traditional farm buildings in the region, and from his photographs a theoretical representation of the average or ideal farm building was composed. By fritting the glass, the image of the farm building was effectively printed onto it.

Being glass, the building lets in and out a certain amount of light. Cleverly, the translucence of the glass can be altered where desired so that certain parts of the building’s facade can behave more like conventional windows where extra light or a clear view out are beneficial. And because the building is glass, when lit up at night, the whole farm building appears to glow. Whether viewing from inside during the day or from outside at night, the effect is conceived to be reminiscent of stained glass.

Delightful, inventive, and it carries the village past into the town present.

Two dozen Euro nations may face indictment for kidnapping and torture on behalf of the CIA

Up to two dozen European countries including the UK could face proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights from their involvement in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition operations after 9/11, according to a human rights organisation that has documented worldwide secret support for the programme.

At least 54 different governments – more than a quarter of the world’s total – were covertly engaged with the global kidnap, detention and torture programme, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based NGO. The greatest number – 25 – were in Europe, while 14 were in Asia and 13 in Africa.

Among the European participants, Macedonia has been found guilty by the European Court of the illegal imprisonment and torture of a German national. Proceedings are being brought against Poland, Lithuania and Romania after they permitted the CIA to operate secret prisons on their territory. Italy is facing proceedings in the European court over the state’s involvement in the abduction of a Muslim cleric, who was kidnapped in Milan and flown to Egypt to be tortured. Last week an Italian appeal court upheld the conviction of the CIA’s local station chief and two other Americans involved in the kidnap.

Amrit Singh, the author of the OSJI report, said she believes that other European countries that were involved in the CIA’s rendition could also find themselves before the European Court. “The moral cost of these programs was borne not just by the US but by the 54 other countries it recruited to help,” she said…

“There is no doubt that high-ranking Bush administration officials bear responsibility for authorising human rights violations associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, and the impunity that they have enjoyed to date remains a matter of significant concern,” the report says.

“But responsibility for these violations does not end with the United States. Secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, designed to be conducted outside the United States under cover of secrecy, could not have been implemented without the active participation of foreign governments. These governments too must be held accountable.”

The struggle for justice continues. Probably coming to courtrooms around the world long before our own government, present and future, gets sufficient courage to prosecute the criminals who defamed our standards, treaties and law with kidnapping and torture.