❝ A woman in Iowa was arrested this week on suspicion of voting twice in the general election, court and police records show.
Terri Lynn Rote, a 55-year-old Des Moines resident, was booked Thursday on a first-degree charge of election misconduct, according to Polk County Jail records. The charge is considered a Class D felony under Iowa state law.
❝ …Rote is a registered Republican who cast two ballots in the general election: an early-voting ballot at the Polk County Election Office and another at a county satellite voting location…
Rote hadn’t planned on voting twice but said it was “a spur-of-the-moment thing” when she walked by the satellite voting location…
❝ She added she has been a supporter of Donald Trump since early in his campaign, after Republican candidate Mike Huckabee dropped out of the primary race.
Rote told Iowa Public Radio that she cast her first ballot for Trump but feared it would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton.
“The polls are rigged,” Rote told the radio station.
❝ Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald told the Register that it was the first time in 12 years he could remember having to report possible voter fraud.
I hope you don’t expect reality to interfere with nutball ideology. Trumpkins are perfectly happy with their ever-changing system of logic, belief and obedience.
❝ Depending on your perspective, the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against three agriculture-heavy Iowa counties to hold them accountable for harmful nitrate contamination in the Raccoon River water supply can be a few things: a battle between farmers upstream and urban water users downstream, a common sense plan to get polluters to pay or a costly intrusion into private land use…
❝ For Bill Stowe, general manager of the Des Moines Water Works, the nitrate problem was so acute in 2015 that the decision to sue was necessary…
We have spent several decades trying to work collaboratively with agriculture groups. Realistically that has gotten us nowhere. The curve continues to deteriorate in terms of water quality that we are experiencing here in central Iowa. We think that we are in a water quality crisis…It’s clear that we are facing a far worse condition in 2016 than we did 25 years ago.
❝ The federal lawsuit came in 2015 after the Water Works was forced to operate their nitrate removal system for long stretches when record-high levels of the toxic nitrogen compound were present in the Raccoon River, the water supply for 500,000 people in the Mississippi River basin. Sac County, named in the suit, had testing done on its waterways that empty into the Raccoon and some were found to be five times higher than the standards EPA deems safe, according to the utility. Besides simply recovering the $1.5 million it cost to run the denitrification system in 2015, the utility had higher aims of halting pollution at its source. In this case the utility established that the primary pollution source is runoff from farm fields and animal operations that flow from tile drainage (subsurface drains) and end up in streams, lakes, rivers and, eventually, the mighty Mississippi.
Farmers and producers offer the usual crap conservative solution: voluntary compliance. Hasn’t worked. Never will.
❝ Frustration and lack of an aggressive water quality plan led Water Works to the courts to pursue a novel legal strategy that asserts that county drainage districts are point-source polluters that are directly identifiable because their infrastructure carries nutrient-rich farm runoff. The districts manage and maintain this infrastructure, so it’s the Water Works claim that the districts, supervised by the counties, are on the hook for the water…
Agribiz has their knickers in a bunch because any reasonable finding of responsibility leaves them open to lawsuits from everyone downstream from their pollution. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for them to free up a little money from their favorite hedge funds and act responsibly.
❝…In an interview with the CEO of “a big data intelligence company” called Dstillery…The CEO told public radio program Marketplace something astounding: his company had sucked up the mobile device ID’s from the phones of Iowa caucus-goers to match them with their online profiles.
“We watched each of the caucus locations for each party and we collected mobile device ID’s,” Dstillery CEO Tom Phillips said. “It’s a combination of data from the phone and data from other digital devices…”
❝What really happened is that Dstillery gets information from people’s phones via ad networks. When you open an app or look at a browser page, there’s a very fast auction that happens where different advertisers bid to get to show you an ad. Their bid is based on how valuable they think you are, and to decide that, your phone sends them information about you, including, in many cases, an identifying code (that they’ve built a profile around) and your location information, down to your latitude and longitude.
Yes, for the vast majority of people, ad networks are doing far more information collection about them than the NSA – but they don’t explicitly link it to their names…
❝So on the night of the Iowa caucus, Dstillery flagged all the auctions that took place on phones in latitudes and longitudes near caucus locations. It wound up spotting 16,000 devices on caucus night, as those people had granted location privileges to the apps or devices that served them ads. It captured those mobile ID’s and then looked up the characteristics associated with those IDs in order to make observations about the kind of people that went to Republican caucus locations (young parents) versus Democrat caucus locations. It drilled down farther (e.g., ‘people who like NASCAR voted for Trump and Clinton’) by looking at which candidate won at a particular caucus location…
❝One thing that isn’t in the data is personal identifiable information. The data and system are completely anonymous. We have no idea, for example, what your name is. All we see are behaviors and everything we do is based on analyzing those behaviors writ-large…
I guess that makes me feel a little better. Erm.
❝Dstillery: This application is an extension of what we do every day in our core business. Our entire mission as a company is to find the right consumer at the right time with the right message. We had to do some special setup and analysis due to the caucus dynamics, but this sort of experiment – seeing things in the data that no one else has before – is our bread and butter.
Warms the cockles of your heart, right? American entrepreneurs showing the way for the NSA.
If you’re using an iPad or iPhone, iOS operating system, go to SETTINGS > PRIVACY > ADVERTISING > turn on LIMIT AD TRACKING if it’s off.
Every little bit helps. We dump all cookies every day to start the day. We have location tracking turned off for just about everything – and specify that it’s on only when the app is in use. Only apps like MAPS, WEATHER.
Seven years on the force – probably had one of their shiny new police cars
A veteran police officer shot and killed an unarmed man this week in Des Moines, Iowa, after firing through the rolled-up window of her patrol car. Police say the man, identified as 28-year-old Ryan Keith Bolinger, “walked with purpose” toward officer Vanessa Miller’s vehicle when she fired the fatal shot.
According to police, the incident began on Tuesday night when Bolinger pulled up his Lincoln sedan to a Des Moines police patrol car helping to make an unrelated traffic stop of another vehicle. Bolinger was allegedly so close to the pullover that the officer inside could not open his door.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Des Moines police sergeant Jason Halifax said Bolinger then got out of his car and began “dancing in the street or making unusual movements in the street”.
Halifax said that Bolinger then got back into his vehicle and led police on a low-speed chase before making a U-turn, giving officers an opportunity to block his path with their patrol cars.
It was at this point, Halifax said, that Bolinger got out of his Lincoln and rushed toward the officer’s vehicle. Officer Miller, a seven-year veteran, fired one shot at Bolinger’s torso, who died on the scene.
Life in America. Anywhere in these United States. Your life is in the hands of someone with a gun.
Now there’s some poop worth stealing
The Des Moines Police Department responded to a report of an attempted burglary around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. Upon arrival, a man told police someone broke into the driver’s side door of his truck sometime last month.
According to a police report, the person who tried to steal the truck checked the bed of the vehicle and grabbed what turned out to be “a bag of dog feces.”
Police say they haven’t identified any suspects in the crime, but that he or she could face third-degree burglary charges.
The Des Moines Register reports that the dog poop has been valued at $1.
Who would pay a dollar for a bag of dog poop?
A former youth pastor in Council Bluffs, Iowa claims he had sex with teenage boys because it was his duty “to help [them] with homosexual urges by praying while he had sexual contact with [them].”
Brent Girouex, 31, was arrested on 60 counts of suspicion of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist after authorities found out about his actions.
In February Girouex confessed to Council Bluffs police detectives that he had sexual relations with four young men starting in 2007 to help them gain “sexual purity” in the eyes of God. However, at least eight men have come forward with complaints that the pastor molested them.
Girouex told investigators that the longest relationship he had with any of the victims lasted four years. He said that it started when the boy was 14 years old and that the “mutual” contact took place 25 to 50 times. The victim, who is now an adult, told investigators the real number of times was between 50 and 100 times.
Three of the victims who came forward told authorities the sexual encounters took place at Girouex’s house. They all said that they went there to be helped with “sexual purity.”
“When they would ejaculate, they would be getting rid of the evil thoughts in their mind,” Girouex allegedly told detectives.
Uh-huh! And the Angel Gabriel said you should blow his horn.
For Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics and astronautics graduate student and amateur fashion photographer, a photo project that involved NASA researchers dressed as Vikings was just a creative way to promote space science. “I started this project hoping maybe one day some kid will look at it and say, ‘I want to work for NASA,’ ” says Chirayath, a student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who also works nearby at NASA’s Ames Research Center…
He never suspected that his fanciful image would put him in the crosshairs of a government waste investigation triggered by a senior U.S. senator.
Earlier this month, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, wrote to NASA chief Charles Bolden, asking him to investigate whether Chirayath’s photos involved the possible misuse of ARC funds and staff time. An “interested observer” had brought the photos to Grassley’s attention, Jill Gerber, the senator’s communications manager, tells ScienceInsider. In his 10 July letter, Grassley raised concerns about NASA spending on “non-mission critical activities” and asked Bolden to help him “better understand the participation of NASA employees and resources in this for-profit photography exhibit.”
Soon, agency investigators were asking questions—much to Chirayath’s surprise. “They made contact with just about every person who took part in the shoot,” he says. But there’s no smoking gun, he adds. His effort was strictly not-for-profit and didn’t involve ARC funds…
Being legal, being legit, of course, doesn’t mean a whole boatload to a dillweed bumpkin like Grassley. He’s still whining over the invention [and cost] of color TV.
Last year, Chirayath began working at ARC, where he helps develop small, compact research satellites known as “CubeSats.” The technology, developed in part at Stanford, reminded him of Viking explorers who, from the eighth through 11th centuries, “travelled farther and saw more in much smaller ships than had been used before their time.” That connection inspired his Space Vikings photos, which led to a shoot this past December at a Palo Alto park on a weekday afternoon…
After he posted the pictures online, Chirayath heard rumblings from co-workers that a blogger took issue with the executive staff’s appearance. He thought little of it until investigators started asking questions.
NASA News Chief Allard Beutel says that although the agency has yet to send an official reply, it has concluded that “there were no taxpayer funds used” for Space Vikings. “The employees were on their time, not on work time.”
The flap has left Chirayath perplexed. “NASA can’t afford to promote their missions in this way and this is partly why I started this project,” he says. And that’s ironic, he adds, because “more was probably spent in taxpayer employee man-hours investigating me, my exhibition, and those involved than it might have cost” to produce the photos professionally.
Our Congress-critters do little enough work of any kind – especially productive work. Most of their time is spent promoting their re-election [inquiries like this one qualifies in Iowa] and fronting the various lobbyists who own everything including their underwear.
For a clotted turd like Grassley to whine about a non-profit event promoting NASA is beyond absurd. He should stick to the promotion of racist code words, Herbert Hoover economics and scratching his butt in the nearest corn cob silo.
A look into one of the bunkhouse bedrooms
In a decision that legal experts are calling “stunning,” an Iowa jury this morning awarded $240 million to the 32 mentally disabled men who faced decades of discrimination and abuse while working for Henry’s Turkey Service in Atalissa.
When jurors announced the judgment, after less than eight hours of deliberation, Sherri Brown, the sister of one of the 32 men, broke down in tears inside the Davenport courtroom.
“I totally lost it,” she said later. “I wanted the jury to make a statement so that my brother Keith and all of those men would know that someone had heard them. And if this isn’t a statement, I don’t know what is.”
The $240 million judgment reflects $2 million in punitive damages for each of the 32 men, plus $5.5 million in compensatory damages for each of the men.
Steven Schwartz, a disability rights attorney and former Harvard professor, said today’s judgment will be heard across the nation.
“It’s stunning,” he said. “It’s amazing. I’m almost incredulous. I think this verdict sends an incredibly powerful message to jurors all over the country. And of course it sends an equally powerful message to the people who cause this sort of harm. This is also an extraordinary testament to the EEOC and its attorneys, Robert Canino in particular, that they are willing to stand up for people with mental disabilities. They represent the best our government can be.”
Schwartz, who is trying to obtain community-support services in Texas for five former bunkhouse residents, said one of the biggest challenge in discrimination cases is convincing a jury that people with disabilities have just as much value as everyone else…
Through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the 32 former employees of Henry’s had sued the company in federal court, alleging unlawful harassment and discriminatory employment conditions at the company’s labor camp in Atalissa.
Over a period of 40 years, Henry’s sent hundreds of disabled men from Texas to Iowa where they worked in a West Liberty meat-processing plant for 41 cents an hour. The men were housed in a 100-year-old Atalissa school building the company converted to a bunkhouse. The operation was shut down in February 2009, after The Des Moines Register asked state officials about conditions inside the bunkhouse and the company’s lack of a license to care for disabled adults…
“The amount of this jury award is phenomenal in assigning responsibility for all of the wrongdoing that took place, and it also sends a message that this sort of conduct deserves more than a slap on the hand,” Dr. Sue Gant said. “But how do you put a value on decades of lost opportunity? You can’t recapture those years… These men were hidden away for decades, and for others’ personal gain. These were humans who were treated like cattle — like company property, like just another source of income for the company…”
RTFA for some of the disgusting details.
If you think the worst treatment for workers you ever read of only happened decades ago, have yourself another think. Here’s a firm that specialized in providing mentally-disabled men to live and work like serfs from the Dark Ages to optimize profits. That they were human beings wasn’t even an afterthought.
Two black men wrongly convicted in the 1977 murder of a white Iowa police officer hope to prove something they couldn’t during trials that sent them to prison for 25 years: that detectives framed them to solve a high-profile case.
During a civil trial that starts Wednesday in Des Moines, Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee will argue that Council Bluffs police officers coerced witnesses into fabricating testimony against them in the killing of John Schweer.
Schweer was found dead while working as the night watchman at a car dealership. Harrington and McGhee, then teenagers from neighboring Omaha, Neb., say detectives used threats against a group of young black car theft suspects to trump up evidence targeting them because of their race and pressure to solve the retired captain’s killing.
Despite little physical evidence, Harrington and McGhee were convicted at 1978 trials and sentenced to long prison terms. They were freed in 2003, after the Iowa Supreme Court found that prosecutors committed misconduct in concealing reports about another man seen near the crime scene with a shotgun. The key witnesses had also recanted their testimony, saying they were pressured into implicating the men.
After winning their freedom, they filed lawsuits against prosecutors and officers they blamed for forcing them to spend their adult lives in the Fort Madison prison. Their case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 over the issue of whether suspects have the constitutional right not to be framed by prosecutors. Before justices ruled, Pottawatamie County agreed to pay $12 million to settle claims against two former prosecutors while not admitting wrongdoing.
The settlement did not resolve claims against Council Bluffs and former detectives Dan Larsen and Lyle Brown…
“Larsen and Brown thought…they could pin the murder on…some ‘ghetto dwellers‘,” plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote, using a term detective Larsen once used to refer to Omaha residents. “Either way, Larsen and Brown would be putting blacks in front of a white Council Bluffs jury for the killing of a white Council Bluffs cop. That would mean case closed and they would be heroes.”
RTFA, follow the story. Justice delayed for 35 years is justice denied.
And why, pray tell, do you have to go to the Supreme Court for a ruling on whether suspects have a constitutional right not to be framed? Absolutely contemptible.