Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Appalling Week 3 - The lighter side

This has been such an appalling week that I don't know where to begin. Everywhere people were appalled and usually with good reason.

But some of those appalled were simply appalling themselves. And others were "appalled" who didn't know what the word meant, an appalling trend. We have so few words left to express the horror that appalling really should be reserved.

Since there's so much ground to cover and all the appalling activities are so disparate, I've decided to divide this week's selections into separate posts, which I hope will allow me to get a grip on the material. But then, maybe not.

• DETROIT, MI — An appalling work-ethic

Local TV station WDIV-TV did what no news agency should ever do to a public official—follow him at work. This has put three parole officers in the stew. Dawson Bell reports that—

Three Macomb County parole officers, observed by a Detroit television news crew visiting a department store, tanning salon and bar while purportedly on duty, could face dismissal or even prosecution, state Department of Corrections officials said Thursday.

The three officers were suspended Tuesday evening in the latest setback for a department in turmoil since parolee Patrick Selepak was mistakenly released from prison and went on a killing spree in February.

Michigan Department of Corrections Director Patricia Caruso said Thursday the Macomb officers will be fired if the allegations ... are substantiated. Caruso said she was "appalled and disgusted" by the report and said the department also will confer with prosecutors about possible criminal violations.

Being appalled and disgusted may not be enough.

The latest blow to the department's reputation has increased pressure on Caruso herself, with one lawmaker suggesting she might need to be replaced.

State Sen. Alan Sanborn ... said Thursday that Caruso is "a nice person with a good resume."

"But there seems to be some disconnect in the department now where people think they don't have to follow the rules," he said. "You have to wonder how widespread is it...and is it a top-down thing?"

Most likely. The parole officers' union is incensed at the TV station for "sensationalizing the report."


• ALBANY, NY via VANCOUVER, CANADA — Appalling truth in the Drug War

David Soares, the district attorney for Albany County, went to Vancouver for the 17th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug-Related Harm and was apparently overcome by something in the air.

According to Greg Joyce, Mr. Soares said—

“My advice to Canada is stay as completely far away from U.S. drug law policy as possible. You (Canada) are headed in the right direction.”

If he had stopped right there, he might have gotten away with it. But he went on—

... Mr. Soares said lawmakers, judges and prosecutors in the U.S. know their system is ineffective.

But they support it anyway because it provides law enforcement officials with lucrative jobs.

He suggested that the heavy-handed drug fight in the U.S. is perpetuated by authorities' need to “give people a wonderful living” by hiring more police, more judges and more prosecutors.

He said, not sarcastically, that the U.S.'s well-known penchant for building more and more prisons was an accepted “economic development strategy.”

Well, you can imagine what happened when word reached home! Ronald Brooks fired off a letter to the Albany Times Union before you could say "Please pass the joint."

As the President of the National Narcotic Officers' Associations Coalition representing 62,000 police officers from throughout the country, including New York, I was appalled by the comments of Albany County District Attorney David Soares....

Mr. Brooks then used the same logical fallacy to justify the Drug War that's frequently used to justify the War in Iraq—that the death of people in the cause somehow becomes the justification for the continuation of the cause—

.... Since 1792, more than 17,000 American police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty, many while enforcing drug laws.

In the memory of the law enforcement officers who have been murdered while enforcing drug laws ..., I would urge the citizens of Albany County to reject the drug policies proposed by David Soares and deny him the opportunity to serve in such an important position the next time they go to the ballot box.

The Powers That Be joined in condemning Soares—

Soares' speech ... drew fire from Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, Albany Police Chief James Tuffey and Albany County Sheriff James Campbell. The Albany Police Officers Union called on Soares to resign.

Soares apologized for using the word "lucrative" in describing police salaries. But to his credit, he didn't back down—

"I would rather experience the alienation of 400 people, than stand by and witness the annihilation of an entire generation.'' Soares was referencing a statistic long highlighted by drug reform advocates: That the majority of people incarcerated on drug charges in New York's prisons are African American or Hispanic.


• CHARLESTON, SC — Freedom leads to appalling donation

Members of the Charleston County Council get to divvy up a $430,650 pot and distribute their portion as they see fit. It's a bit like the money your Congressman earmarks for his favorite friends and corporations except that in Charleston the money is actually within the budget.

Councilman Henry Darby, however, took his freedom a step too far and awarded a $500 grant to a group of undesireables. The AP reported

The chairman of the Charleston County Council said he was appalled the county put $500 in its budget to support a group that wants to reform South Carolina's drug laws.

Leon Stavrinakis said he recently became aware of the money that another council member directed to South Carolinians for Drug Law Reform.

"I'm appalled by it," Stavrinakis said. "I wish I had known."

The head of the group intends to return the money because a drug-reform bill was never drafted. The poor dear didn't realize that you can't begin to buy politicians for a mere $500.

Meanwhile the County Council is trying to assure that no member will ever have such freedom again.


• PEORIA, AZ— Foreign language spoken at Sears

Trina Jones had a horrific experience in her local Sears store and wrote this letter to the editor—

With all the rumbling about the illegal immigrants these days, I experienced something the other day that hit me really hard.

On my lunch hour I went into a local Sears store. Upon entering, I was greeted by some sort of message/promotion being played over the store PA system. When I say "some sort" of message/promotion, I am only guessing, since the message was in Spanish.

I was appalled. I couldn't move for an instant. I asked a fellow shopper if I had crossed the border. She looked at me with a disgusted look on her face and said she thought the same thing. I left the store immediately!

Wasn't it Sears that used the saying "Where America Shops" in its commercials?

My sense of patriotism seemed to have jumped right out of me, fists drawn. I was highly offended. It felt like my rights as an American had been violated in some way.

We must really address this language issue in our state. I heard some radio personalities talking about an issue to make the English language the official language. Excuse me, when did it change? Why do we have to pass a law that says so?

¡Ay! ¡Qué lástima!


• NAPERVILLE, ILL. — Miller sells beer to Leather crowd; Palmer House lets them in

Americans for Truth "exposes and opposes the homosexual, bisexual and transgendered agenda." I'm glad somebody's doing this because I'm still trying to find out what the agenda is.

The International Mister Leather contest just finished yesterday in Chicago, and it left Americans for Truth in an appalling state. Here's what they said—

Americans for Truth President Peter LaBarbera today condemned Miller Brewing Company and Palmer House Hilton for sponsoring and hosting an annual sadistic sex celebration in Chicago that glorifies ‘consensual’ sexual violence and degradation, and some of the most reprehensible perversions ever invented by men.

The International Mr. Leather (IML) contest draws homosexual, sadomasochistic “leathermen” from all over the world to Chicago every Memorial Day weekend. The IML’s vendors’ market shows what types of behaviors the IML celebrates: “gay” male porn videos featuring condomless, “barebacking” anal sex; whips, chains, “electrotorture” devices and other implements designed to inflict pain and humiliation; bondage materials; and even a booth for a group called “Water Boys” devoted to “sex pigs” who receive sexual gratification from urinating on one another during orgies.

This year’s event is being held from May 25th through May 29th at the Palmer House Hilton, a swank Chicago hotel which has often been host to this and other hedonistic homosexual events. Miller Lite is listed as an “IML Official Sponsor” on the International Mr. Leather website. Miller has been catering to the “leatherman” crowd, and other militant homosexual activists, for years through event sponsorships.

It is both appalling and mind-boggling that Miller Beer and the Palmer House Hilton would lend their corporate names to, and endorse an event that is dedicated to celebrating extremely dangerous behaviors which would absolutely repulse 99 percent of their customers,” LaBarbera said. “No corporation should seek to profit from sexual violence, albeit consensual, and organized perversion.”

LaBarbera said Americans for Truth will “work in the coming years to educate the American public on corporate pandering to the radical ‘gay’ and allied movements so customers can make informed choices on how to spend their hard-earned dollars."

Except for maybe taking them out for a walk on a leash, there's nothing more satisfying than watching the Christian Right organize a beer boycott.


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