Everyday Erinyes #93

 Posted by at 12:10 am  Politics
Sep 232017

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”


Before I start on this first story, I want to rant a bit.  In our judicial systems, which mostly are hand-me-downs from British common law (Louisiana, I think has some Napoleonic influence), we generally do not consider fully acceptable witnesses, because “children lie.”  Well, yes, children do lie; some more than others; but why do they lie?  Well, we don’t let them handle guns on their own (mostly), we don’t let them have sharp objects (mostly), we may let them have boxing or self defense or martial arts lessons, but they are pretty well vastly outweighed by and less strong than adults.  We don’t let them handle large sums of money (such as one might need to hire an attorney).  What defensive weapon do they have, except lying?

However, by and large, and particularly if they are under the age of seven or eight, they tell some kinds of lies, and they don’t tell other kinds of lies.  They may tell fantasy lies (“There’s a fairy in the garden.”)  They may tell very simple lies (“I didn’t do it.” “I don’t know.” “Not me.”)  They do NOT make up possible but elaborate stories, in which cause and effect and adult motives hold together.  They may be sharp as tacks, but they do not have the experience to do that.

And that is why, in this case in Tacoma, WA, I absolutely believe the child who was burned by a firework gun in the hands of his father.  Dad says he was trying to teach the child a gun safety lesson, and there was an accident.  Son says Dad was grilling him about the whereabouts of his mother, he (son) was refusing to answer, and “He (Dad) shooted me.”

Though the story says nothing about the parents being separated or divorced and Mom having a restraining order or being in a DV shelter, why else would Dad be demanding to know where she was?  And, if not that, how could a six-year-old come up with such a circumstantial lie?  Well, at least someone on the spot believed the child.  Dad has been charged with third degree child assault.  Megaera, I hope you can keep track of this case and make sure justice is done.


On another news item, we probably could all rant.  In fact, we frequently do when we comment that someone, usually a Republican, seems not to grasp the Constitution.  Actually, that is throwing roses at it.  Here’s the title:

New survey shows a disturbing trend: Most Americans have no clue what is in the Constitution

The survey in question is from the Annenberg Public Policy Center.  It was conducted between August 9th to the 13th of this year.  The sample size was 1,013 adults.in the U.S.  Probably the most frightening single result was that

53 percent think that people who are here illegally do not have any rights under the Constitution. That incorrect belief is especially strong among self-identified political conservatives – 67 percent think it is accurate, compared with 48 percent of moderates and 46 percent of liberals.

Forty-six per cent of liberals?  Good heavens!

The three branches of government?  Only 26% could name all three (in 2011, 38% could).  But 33% could not identify ANY branch of government.

Well, it’s no wonder so many Americans don’t seem to grasp the Constitution.  They don’t know anything about what is in it.  It’s not really reasonable to expect people to grasp something they know nothing about.

There’s been some discussion about making voting in the U.S. compulsory, and some nations do have compulsory voting.  How do those nations handle the issue of civics education?  I think maybe we had better find out.  But we don’t need to find out every detail to realize we need to do better.  Annenberg has joined with 30 other groups to form the Civics Renewal Network to offer free, high-quaity educational materials on line.  Which is great.  But all the materials in the world cannot help if they don’t get used.

Alecto, here’s a project for you.  Come up with a coordinated, national civics education program (that’s the easy part), and then get every Federal and State legislator behind it so it can get passed and put into effect.  Oh, and don’t forget the territories.


In this final incident for today, the mills of justice sseem to be grinding.  At least, the perpetrators have pled no contest and been sentenced to 20 years in prison.  Probably not enough, but closer than many sentences we have been hearing about lately, especially when the victim was a child.

Rachel Jean Stevens, 29, and Kayla Ann Jones, 26, were each sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for beating the boy so severely that he suffered two strokes….

Investigators found the boy had been locked in a room and bound with duct tape over his eyes, and he told police that Stevens, his mother, and her girlfriend, Jones, had beaten him with a belt.

Police also said Stevens hit her son’s hand with a hammer and that Jones kicked him in the genitals until he bled.

As so often happens, though it beggars the imagination of normal people, there were two other children in the home who were completely physically unharmed. All three chidren are in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  Tisiphone, maybe you could put on your Eumenides hat and give them some love and strength.


The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.


Everyday Erinyes #83

 Posted by at 8:55 am  Politics
Jul 152017

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

I had better start with this story and get it off my chest.  The title is ‘I come from a rich and white family’: White dad denies responsibility for abused 5-year-old black stepson, and there is not too much more about it you need to know.  I am not a big fan of lookism, particularly turned onto people under 50 (Coco Chanel: “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.”)  But this guy is almost 30, and it appears to me that “life” has given him some pretty dead eyes in that face.

The child, a little boy, whose name is (wisely, IMO) not provided, is five years old.  He cannot speak or walk.  He weighed, when taken into the hospital, 24.9 pounds – so low the weight did not register on the growth charts for a five year old.  When found, he was reaching into the carpet for cereal to eat.

His hands and feet were orange and blistered, apparently from chewing at them — an action his mother said let him know he was hungry because he is nonverbal. She also told police she often would not feed the boy for days at a time, and that he was not on his required medication for some developmental issues he has.

There are two other children in the home which the – father? stepfather? what do I call this PoS? – claims are his.  A different source said the other two children are younger, so infidelity doesn’t appear to be a factor.  Not wanting to support “some other guy’s kid,” however, apparently looms large.

Tisiphone, revenge here is definitely appropriate.  But my heart wants you to put on your Eumenides hat and find this child a home where he can receive care and love.  Good luck.  You’ll need it.

Back on the third of April, a group of 31 county sheriffs, representing every county across the border between the US and Mexico, took a meeting and unanimously voted to adopt face (specifically eye) recognition hardware and software as a new enforcement tool.  You see, it can happen that unauthorized immigrants’ “fingerprints can be disfigured through manual labor or self-inflicted wounds.”

Well, we can’t have that, can we.  If an immigrant has worked at manual labor so long and hard that his (or her) fingerprints have become disfigured, or has become so desperae as to attempt to disfigure his or her fingerprints through self-inflicted wounds (not as easy as it sounds, BTW), well, we just have to find another way to kick him or her out.

Didn’t that use to be called “kicking a man when he’s down”?  Oh, wait – law enforcement now does that literally and routinely.

Well, I’m sure that is not the point for the company, Biometric Imformation and Identification Technologies, affectionally nicknamed BI2, which is giving the sheriffs a FREE three-year trial of their stuff.  No, I’m betting it’s much more important that the company will add – “a huge influx” – of biometric information to its existing national iris database.

From the company’s senior vice president (John Leonard, pictured):

The frustration law enforcement has is this: ‘Alright, I got this criminal, the guy raped three kids. He’s back in my community again. I don’t even know who he is, and the federal government has never given me what I need….’

You get all these people that say, ‘Well Trump is going after all these illegals, these immigrants, who have made America great.’ Well there’s a lot of immigrants that have made it great, but there’s a lot of assholes, too.  So BI2 is stepping up to the plate and donating this.

Personally, I think that anyone who believes this will have any impact on immigration, legal or not, might be interested in a bridge that TomCat has for sale.  Alecto, can you – I know it’s a long border – but kind of watch out for the innocents and give them some protection from the abuses this will lead to?

For the third story here (out of SIX I bookmarked on Monday alone), I want to issue some warnings about a group known as the ACRU.  We all know about the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union.  Well, the ACRU is the American Civil Rights Union, designed essentially to oppose everything the ACLU dies or wants to do.  R for Right, L for Left, I suppose.

In June 2014, the five Election Commissioners of Noxubee County, Mississippi, received a letter threatening legal action if they did not purge their election rolls, legal action would be taken.  Because, the ACRU claimed, “there were more people registered than there were voting age citizens on the county.”

Noxubee County could not afford to lawyer up; however, the Board pushed back as best they could.  They ignored the letter.  In November 2015, the threatened lawsuit was filed.  The ACRU was pushing for a consent decree which would agree to remove voters.  After some time, the commissioners were being leaned on to sign that consent decree.  Three caved.  Two didn’t.  As one commissioner said, “We are not gonna get those [voter] cards back.  I promised my voters I would look out for them, and to me, that’s not looking out for them.”

Now the ACRU is pushing the court for a default judgement.

Mother Jones mentions three lawyers who are purging voter rolls.  The first is J. Christian Adams.

[Adams is] a former staff attorney in the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adams joined the department in 2005, when high-ranking official Bradley Schlozman was found by the department’s inspector general to be illegally using political ideology to fill the Civil Rights Division with conservative lawyers. Adams, a conservative attorney from South Carolina, was “exhibit A” of Schlozman’s hiring practices.

The other two are Chris Coates and Robert Popper.  Both are bio’ed on the site – the backgrounds are similar.

Much attention has been paid to voter ID laws, which heaven knows are bad enough.  this goes deeper, and is intended simply to prevent anyone not a Republican from voting.  These attorneys speak about “election integrity.”  But in reality, integrity has nothing to do with it.  The battle is just moving from ID card to voter rolls.

Megaera, if this is not grudging, I don’t know what is.  Have at it!

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4061508


Everyday Erinyes #59

 Posted by at 8:03 am  Politics
Jan 142017

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can't include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

Well.  Pennsylvania.  Grace Packer was fourteen when her stepfather, I guess you'd call it, and adoptive mother raped, killed, and dismembered her. 

The beginning of the end seems to have been when they took her to a new residence; once inside, Dad hit her in the face, took her to the attic, and raped her, while Mom watched (apparently, Mom always got a kick from watching.)  They attempted to kill her with an overdose of OTC drugs (not as easy to do as people think it is).  But finding her still alive hours later, Dad strangled her to death.

They then kept the corpse in the attic for four months, using kitty litter to mask the odor.

Eventually, however, they moved it, as, when found, it was found in pieces, in a wooded area, by hunters.  Mom may have done the actual dismembering; at any rate, she is the one being charged with abuse of a corpse.

I came across this story because there is a petition to the prosecutor for justice for Grace.  I am not sure what is most chilling about this story –

  • That it was done at all;
  • That it was done in part by a mother whose profession was that of adoption supervisor for a county child welfare agency;
  • Or that we are now so distrustful of our criminal justice system that we feel we need to petition them for justice in a case this flagrant.

Megaera – just in case it is necessary – follow this, will you?  Thank you.

Katelyn Davis, of Cedartown, Polk County, Georgia, was even younger than Grace Packer – just twelve.  She also had apparently been the victim of sexual abuse from a family member – a family member who had also told her that she was "worthless," and that she should just "go hang herself."

So she did.  And livestreamed it from her phone.  It took 42 minutes.

No one from her home or even her home town alerted police to the suicide.  They were tipped off by a police force in California.  They went to her home and rushed her to a hospital, but she was pronounced dead on arrival.  Does this outrage you?

She had posted the video on Live.me.  Someone or multiple someones copied it from that feed into YouTube, and into Facebook.  From there, it was picked up by other sites.  After several days, YouTube and Facebook were contacted and took it down (the YouTube one received nearly 40,000 hits before it was removed).  But other sites contiinue to show it.  Some will profit from advertising every time it is viewed.  Does this outrage you?

The Polk County Police Department has taken to Facebook to ask that anyone who has any "knowledge, videos, or comments" regarding this case please keep it off of the internet.  That is really all they can do.  They have no legal power to get any site to take it down; all they have is moral suasion.  Does this outrage you?

“But it’s just the common decent thing to do in my opinion.”  [PCPD]

And in my opinion too.  Tisiphone, I have a couple of things on my mind about this.  One is, who in Olympus's name told her she was worthless and to go hang herself?  And what else did this person do to her?  There are a lot of abuses being alleged, and none of them are mutually exclusive.  Not that I personally need to know.  But I'd like for you to know so you can act.  And also – can you get that video to go away?  Thanks.

Moving downward in age, Eliyah Elvidge, of AuSable Forks, New York, was um – two.

Prosecutors have charged [Patricia] Giddings[, his mother,] with criminally negligent homicide in the toddler's death, which occurred back in August, but she wasn't arrested and charged until just last week. Giddings and her boyfriend at the time, Brandon Bushey, are accused of leaving the child unsupervised in what prosecutors called a "holding pen," using a 4-foot high piece of plywood to keep the boy in a bedroom.

Ellyah's head allegedly became stuck in a notch at the top of the board while Giddings and Bushey watched TV. That allegedly led to the boy's death when he could not breathe.

Testimony Wednesday from investigators said the room Ellyah was being kept in was deplorable, including dirty diapers, animal feces and broken toys on the floor. 

If convicted, Giddings and Bushey could each serve up to four years in prison.  Alecto, make it so (and I too wish it could be longer.)  Thank you.

And, yes, this last victim was even younger (though, had he lived, he'd be a bit older than Eliyah now.)  Ezekiel Stephan was one (well, nineteen months) when he died of bacterial meningitis in 2012, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

David Stephan, Ezekiel's father, and Collet Stephan, thought Ezekiel had croup or the flu.  They were treating him with remedies including hot peppers, garlic, onions, and horseradish.  Ok, and with a nutritional supplement called EMPowerplus.  Which is made by a company called Truehope Nutritional Support.  Which was cofounded by David's father.  Apparently they treated him for about two and a half weeks before he stopped breathing, which prompted them to call 911.  Ezekiel was admitted, transferred once or twice to different hospitals with increasing capabilities, eventually removed from like support, and died.

Now, I do not have a problem with EMPowerplus, if adults want to use it.  I use supplements myself, every day.  But even I do not use supplements in place of antibiotics.  Our antibiotics are being compromised rapidly, but there are still some in existence which can and should be used to treat bacterial meningitis.  At 71, there are some things about my body which I know better than a doctor does.  SOME things.  But at nineteen months, before you can even tell mommy where it hurts, you need to be seen by a physician.  David Stephan doesn't appear to agree, even now.  Though it happened in 2012, it is in the news now because he is still hawking EMPowerplus.

He also said he worries the case sets a precedent for prosecuting loving parents whose care-giving style falls outside government-dictated norms.

Right.  Ladies, someone please take a look at this.  Thanks.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4030984


Everyday Erinyes #57

 Posted by at 8:08 am  Politics
Dec 312016

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can't include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

You may be familiar with the classic definition of chutzpah (insolence, impudence, gall) penned by Leo Rosten: "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."  I don't know whether that ever actually happened.  But I think we have a new definition, based on something which actually did happen: "that quality enshrined in a rapist who sues his victim, and the school which expelled him, for discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972."

Aaron Farrer, a 21-year-old from Lafayette, was accused of rape in September 2015 after a female student said Farrer took advantage of her drunken state. The woman showed police a text message she received from Farrer the next day apologizing for the incident. Farrer told police the woman consented to sex, and initiated the act.

So, he has just filed a Federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.  He says he was defamed.  He says he was a victim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.He says his constitutional rights were violated, and that he was not afforded due process.  He says the defendants "creat[ed] a gender biased, hostile environment against males."  Ah, me.  To the privileged, equality feels like persecution.

He says "the rape allegations against him were taken as truth from the outset."  Well, yes, when you admit and apologize to your victim in writing, and she is able to submit that as evidence, this is certainly a possibility.  It doesn't deprive you of due process.  Please explain that to him, Megaera, as only you can.

Question:  what would you do if you had adopted a dog or a cat and then decided you just didn't want it any more?  Trick question, right?  No on here would "just decide" they didn't want an animal any more after adopting it in the first place.  Or what if you just decided you didn't want your kid any more?  Really?  Would anyone do that?  Any human person?

In Halifax, PA, parents are facing multiple charges after police say three children were locked in a room, beaten and starved for three months because "they did not want them anymore."  I am not making this up.

Investigators found:

◦The six-year-old had a severe abrasion on his right eye; he said his father had thrown him across the floor as punishment, causing a severe facial injury
◦Victims told investigators that they would be locked in their bedroom at night and they could not leave the room
◦The four-year-old and five-year-old had visible signs of physical abuse; confessing to having been punched in the face
◦Victims said they would pound on the wall to get someone to take them to the bathroom, and they would urinate on themselves, on the bedroom floor, and no one would come
◦Victims said they didn't have a functioning heat source
◦Victims said the rooms were without furniture, and they would often peel paint off the walls
◦Victims said the last thing they could remember that they ate was an apple

"These were healthy kids, and while they were in their custody, these parents neglected them, starved them to such an extent they ended up the way they did," {Dauphin County District Attorney Ed] Marsico said. "We're prepared to prove they neglected these kids to such a point that they were near death."

There are things in the story which make me unsure to what extent the mother was a perp and to what extent she was a victim herself.  I cannot in conscience come down on one side or the other without more knowledge, so that's one thing I'm asking you to look into, Tisiphone.  Good luck.

So.  We've see two crimes of violence – sins of commission, as it were – and heaven knows there are more.  The guy in Las Vegas who was like, "How dare you object to me calling you a racial epithet, I'm going to beat you to death with this sign – oh, wait, my food's ready – OK, finished eating, I'll just beat you some more."  The woman who stabbed a black man in the New York subway because he offered her his seat – and he turned out to be transgender also – so she got a "twofer."  And, no, that isn't all.

But I want to turn to a sin of omission now.  WTF was this judge thinking?

TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas – An elderly Ranger man was sentenced to probation and community service after pleading guilty to multiple child sex crimes that happened at a church in Taylor County….  Wright was also ordered to pay a $1,500 fine and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. 

Well, sex offender registration is at least something.  But community service?  Is there anything in there that keeps him away from children? Or is he just being sent to a new happy hunting ground?

Okay, maybe prison is not the right place, but dammit, kids need to be protected, and if the church won't do it – and apparently it won't – the state needs to do it.  As one person commenting said"I can't belive, that we don't put child molesters in jail, they harm children, but we put drug addicts in jail for harming themselves. Just don't make sense to me."  Me neither, honey.  Alecto, I hope you'll keep an eye on him.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4028948