Family held hostage – thug drank 15 cases of beer in a week


Dude looks a natural in orange

A New York state man drank beer while holding his girlfriend and their two children captive in their home for a week…

The woman was finally able to get assistance by convincing the boyfriend, Benito Lopez, she was playing games on the computer…

Lopez…was arrested Monday after probation officers were tipped the girlfriend, their son, 11, and daughter, 12 had been hostage in their home since New Year’s Eve.

Sullivan County deputies said Lopez disconnected the phone and confiscated electronic devices and car keys to prevent anyone calling for help.

The girlfriend eventually got help through Facebook by pretending she was playing computer games, police said.

Police said they found the equivalent of 15 cases of empty beer cans, as well as some liquor bottles.

Lopez was on probation for felony drunken driving

The dude should be locked up until he dries out. Should only take 10-20 years.

Brain dead, forced to stay on life support by the state of Texas


Erick and Marlise Munoz with their oldest son

The diagnosis was crushing and irrevocable. At 33, Marlise Munoz was brain-dead after collapsing on her kitchen floor in November from what appeared to be a blood clot in her lungs.

But as her parents and her husband prepared to say their final goodbyes in the intensive care unit at John Peter Smith Hospital here and to honor her wish not to be left on life support, they were stunned when a doctor told them the hospital was not going to comply with their instructions. Mrs. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant, the doctor said, and Texas is one of more than two dozen states that prohibit, with varying degrees of strictness, medical officials from cutting off life support to a pregnant patient…

“It’s not a matter of pro-choice and pro-life,” said Mrs. Munoz’s mother, Lynne Machado, 60. “It’s about a matter of our daughter’s wishes not being honored by the state of Texas.”

Mrs. Munoz’s father, Ernest Machado, 60, a former police officer and an Air Force veteran, put it even more bluntly. “All she is is a host for a fetus,” he said on Tuesday. “I get angry with the state. What business did they have delving into these areas? Why are they practicing medicine up in Austin?”

At least 31 states have adopted laws restricting the ability of doctors to end life support for terminally ill pregnant women, regardless of the wishes of the patient or the family, according to a 2012 report from the Center for Women Policy Studies in Washington. Texas is among 12 of those states with the most restrictive such laws, which require that life-support measures continue no matter how far along the pregnancy is…

The restrictive measures were largely adopted in the 1980s, with the spread of laws authorizing patients to make advance directives about end-of-life care like living wills and health care proxies, said Katherine A. Taylor, a lawyer and bioethicist at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The provisions to protect fetuses, she said, helped ease the qualms of the Roman Catholic Church and others about such directives.

These laws essentially deny women rights that are given others to direct their health care in advance and determine how they want to die,” Ms. Taylor said. “The law can make a woman stay alive to gestate the fetus.”

The question comes down to the hypocrisy of elected officials who swear above all else to honor the Constitution of the United States and then turn centuries backwards and accept the superstitions of one or another religion to guide their decisions. Pandering is the word that comes to mind. Pandering to the 14th Century beliefs of some voters to stay in power.

There have been times, there have been individuals in politics who lived up to the premise of providing guidance and leadership to the electorate. That’s why we speak of public service. Making a career of studying circumstances, acquiring the latest and most complete knowledge of subjects aiding the public interest, committing to the greater good is what public service is supposed to be about.

Lip service is paid by campaigners; but, so often, the immediate after-effect of even the least appearance of a mandate is opportunism, paybacks to the money boys, divvying up the spoils of political power among the most unproductive and uncompetitive elements of the power-hungry.

We end up with one more example of religious ideology ruled as mandatory for life and death in the medical-industrial complex. Fundamentalists rejoice as a family is forced by law and lawyers to let the decaying body of their loved one serve as an incubator. Freedom of choice, dignity, personal worth mean nothing in the eyes of what passes for law under the thumb of opportunist politicians.

Dissidents who burgled FBI, turned up crimes against activists, step out into daylight decades later


FBI field office in Media, PAPhoto Betty Medsger

…On a night nearly 43 years ago…burglars took a lock pick and a crowbar and broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in a suburb of Philadelphia, making off with nearly every document inside.

They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I. against dissident groups.

The burglary in Media, Pa., on March 8, 1971, is a historical echo today, as disclosures by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden have cast another unflattering light on government spying and opened a national debate about the proper limits of government surveillance. The burglars had, until now, maintained a vow of silence about their roles in the operation. They were content in knowing that their actions had dealt the first significant blow to an institution that had amassed enormous power and prestige during J. Edgar Hoover’s lengthy tenure as director.

“When you talked to people outside the movement about what the F.B.I. was doing, nobody wanted to believe it,” said one of the burglars, Keith Forsyth, who is finally going public about his involvement. “There was only one way to convince people that it was true, and that was to get it in their handwriting.”

Mr. Forsyth, now 63, and other members of the group can no longer be prosecuted for what happened that night, and they agreed to be interviewed before the release this week of a book written by one of the first journalists to receive the stolen documents. The author, Betty Medsger, a former reporter for The Washington Post, spent years sifting through the F.B.I.’s voluminous case file on the episode and persuaded five of the eight men and women who participated in the break-in to end their silence…

“It looks like we’re terribly reckless people,” John Raines said. “But there was absolutely no one in Washington — senators, congressmen, even the president — who dared hold J. Edgar Hoover to accountability.”

“It became pretty obvious to us,” he said, “that if we don’t do it, nobody will.”

The tradition that proceeds from Upton Sinclair to Ellsworth to Snowden now has another fine chapter. I saw the [ineffectual] FBI agent assigned to track these folks down 42 years ago – on TV, today. He was whining about their criminal guilt.

He was one of the criminals. They are the heroes.