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John Wayne Rogers, a blind man acquitted of killing his friend James Dewitt under Floridas Stand Your Ground statute, successfully sued the state to have his guns returned to him.
Prosecutors had charged Rogers with first-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of his house guest and drinking companion, James DeWitt. Rogerss attorneys contended that he was a blind man defending himself from a drunken guest, but the prosecution had witnesses willing to testify that Rogers can see.
DeWitts girlfriend, Robertson, told Seminole County deputies that the two men had been play fighting when Rogers shot him.
Rogers was freed from Seminole County Jails on January 9, 2014, mere hours after Circuit Judge John Galluzzo granted his Stand Your Ground motion.
Rogers, who was blinded in a work-related accident in 2001, has an extensive history of violence. In 2010, following another night of drinking, Rogers shot at his cousin and roommate, Michael Rogers, 15 times with a handgun. Michael Rogers was not shot, and John Rogers eventually plead no contest to one count of unlawfully displaying a firearm, for which he was placed on probation.
That probation was revoked when, in 2011, he punched a woman, which led to him spending 71 days in jail on domestic violence charges.
Judge Galluzzo agreed, saying that I have to return property that was taken under the circumstance. I have researched and havent found case law to say otherwise. He ordered the return of the 10 millimeter Glock that Rogers had used to shoot at his cousin, Michael, and the hunting rifle with which he shot James DeWitt.
The judge did, however, order that all the confiscated ammunition be destroyed, claiming that it was too old and dangerous.
'cuz whats the worst that could happen, right?
An environmental project is providing some of the first specific numbers about people who may have been affected by the boom in natural gas drilling. Here's what the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project has found in Washington County south of Pittsburgh and how experts and the industry are reacting to it:
Air pollution seems to be more of a threat than water pollution. Only seven of 27 cases of people who believed they were hurt by nearby natural gas activities involved water pollution. The rest involved air pollution. The numbers don't represent a full survey of the area, just cases so far with plausible exposures.
Huge processing stations that push gas into national pipelines might be more of a problem than the drilling sites themselves. One of the worrying findings of the project was extremely high levels of air pollution found inside two homes about 1,000 feet from a large gas processing station.
One expert not involved in the findings said more work needs to be done to confirm that residents were affected by natural gas activity and not by other factors, but he called the project an "important start."
The gas drilling industry says that in general air quality has sharply improved because of natural gas since it emits far less pollution than coal-fired power plants.
Glenn Beck Is Done With America: 'I'm Really Considering Burning The Flag'
Submitted by Kyle Mantyla on Wednesday, 2/19/2014 4:35 pm
Whatever America once was and once stood for and once represented, Glenn Beck said on his radio program today, that it is all over ... and he really doesn't even care anymore if they just burn Washington, DC and all of its monuments to the ground.
"I will tell you this," he bellowed, "the country, the institution, what that flag, those buildings that the flag flies over, what the flag is becoming, what it means to the rest of the world, I DON'T KNOW! I don't care!"
No matter what happens though, Beck proclaimed that he was never going to change and would give his life in defense of the Constitution, if necessary.
"Shoot me in the head if you have to," he said, "you're not changing me."
Saying that he despises them, by which he means progressives who are responsible for everything that is wrong in the world, Beck said he is working on becoming entirely indifferent to them, so much so that "I don't really care" if they were to burn down the entire city of Washington, DC and the Capitol Building and the White House and all the monuments.
"I don't care," he shrugged. "I don't care. I'm not about the buildings, I'm not about the flag, I'll burn the flag every day. In fact, I'm really considering burning the flag. I may do a show really super soon where I burn the flag. And if you don't like it, then maybe you should figure out what the flag means."
While he vowed to defend the Constitution to his last breath, Beck said "I'll burn the flag every day of the week":
Montana judge admits fault for blaming victim of rape
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 7:32 EST
Rape is rape sign (AFP)
A Montana judge, under fire for suggesting a 14-year-old girl was partly to blame for being raped by a teacher, admitted on Tuesday that he violated judicial standards and invited censure from the states highest court, documents show.
Judge G. Todd Baugh drew fierce public criticism last year when he sentenced the former teacher, 54-year-old Stacey Rambold, to just a month in prison for the 2007 sexual assault of his student, Cherice Moralez, who later killed herself.
In a complaint filed with the Montana Supreme Court earlier this month, a Montana panel that oversees jurists sought to discipline him over the sentence as well as for saying the girl appeared older than her chronological age, and as much in control of the situation as her teacher.
The Montana Judicial Standards Commission said Baugh undermined public confidence in the judiciary, created an appearance of impropriety and justified the unlawful sentence by blaming the child victim, according to papers from the commission.
Baugh, in a response filed with the state Supreme Court on Tuesday, agreed that his comments violated judicial codes.
My remarks were the proximate cause of the firestorm of criticism and, thus, in violation of judicial conduct, he wrote in legal documents, in which he also waived formal proceedings before the commission to submit himself to the state supreme court for reprimand or censure.
But the judge, who has said he would not run for re-election when his term expires at the end of the year, rejected the commissions description of the rape sentence as overly lenient.
It is a subjective observation. In any sentence, it is possible that some see it as lenient while others may see it as harsh, Baugh wrote.
The judge technically sentenced the former Billings high school teacher to 15 years in prison with all but 31 days suspended and gave him credit for one day served.
State prosecutors have asked Montana justices to overturn the sentence, arguing that state laws required Rambold to serve a minimum of two years in prison for his crime.
It was unclear on Tuesday when Baugh might face disciplinary action or what penalties were to be imposed.
The commission has declined to say if it was seeking a reprimand or Baughs ouster, but said it received eight formal complaints against Baugh as well as hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls from those outraged by his remarks and the light sentence.
The Montana chapter of the National Organization for Women, which lodged one of the formal complaints, wants him ousted, its president Marian Bradley said on Tuesday.
There is only one right decision to be made in this case: remove Baugh from the bench, she said.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and G Crosse)
Couple New To Florida Aren't Happy With Gay Neighbors
By Abigail Van Buren 9 hours ago Dear Abby
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I relocated to Florida a little over a year ago and were quickly welcomed into our new neighbors' social whirl. Two couples in the neighborhood are gay -- one male, one female. While they are nice enough, my husband and I did not include them when it was our turn to host because we do not approve of their lifestyle choices. Since then, we have been excluded from neighborhood gatherings, and someone even suggested that we are bigots!
Abby, we moved here from a conservative community where people were pretty much the same. If people were "different," they apparently kept it to themselves. While I understand the phrase "when in Rome," I don't feel we should have to compromise our values just to win the approval of our neighbors. But really, who is the true bigot here? Would you like to weigh in? -- UNHAPPY IN TAMPA
DEAR UNHAPPY: I sure would. The first thing I'd like to say is that regardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person's sexual orientation isn't a "lifestyle choice." Gay people don't choose to be gay; they are born that way. They can't change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual.
I find it interesting that you are unwilling to reciprocate the hospitality of people who welcomed you and opened their homes to you, and yet you complain because you are receiving similar treatment.
From where I sit, you may have chosen the wrong place to live because it appears you would be happier in a less integrated neighborhood surrounded by people who think the way you do. But if you interact only with people like yourselves, you will have missed a chance for growth, which is what you have been offered here. Please don't blow it.
and this week the program was pretty good - wounded warriors - vs last months Sharia Law speaker.
But what got me was the local Teabilly who called Sen Cronyn an "Obama Democrat" over the budget. After as it was breaking up I heard more remarks regarding chagrin over the GOP giving forum to the Tea Party than anything said in any sort of support of the gas bag.
Texas may not go Blue by 2016, but its going to get bluer.
What a pothead!
An Australian teenager has been arrested for robbing a 7-11 gas station with a chainsaw while wearing a flower pot over his head.
Steven Frank Steele of Ipswich, Queensland, was arrested Monday morning after cops responded to a call from employees terrified by a man brandishing a chainsaw.
The suspect, identified by police as Steele, wore a flower pot over his head in an attempt to conceal his identity, the Queensland Times reported.
Steele allegedly lunged at the employees and damaged a window and several display racks with his power tool. He also flashed his buttocks. He allegedly stole a single bottle of soda before making his escape.
Police say Steele damaged a parked car while leaving the crime scene.
Steele was arrested a short time later after police saw him walking down the street. The chainsaw was found in a bush near a service station, Menafn.com reported.
Steele has been charged with multiple crimes, including one count of armed robbery, two counts of willful damage, and one count of public nuisance.
Investigators say Steele was drunk during the late-night rampage, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Steele isn't the only guy who allegedly used a chainsaw a bit excessively.
In October, Petr Svacha, a 36-year-old man in Zlin, Czech Republic, reportedly used a chainsaw to cut a hole into the front door of a restaurant so he could retrieve the dessert he wasn't allowed to finish at closing time.
Last June, Lynn Marie Herzog of Winfield, Mo., was accused of trying to scare children by approaching them with a chainsaw while wearing a ski mask.
When chainsaws are made criminal only the criminals will have chainsaws.
1. Where the jobs went.
Outsourcing (or offshoring) is a bigger contributor to unemployment in the U.S. than laziness.
Since 2000, U.S. multinationals have cut 2.9 million jobs here while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg, as multinational corporations account for only about 20 percent of the labor force.
When was the last time you saw a front-page headline about outsourcing?
2. Upward wealth redistribution and/or inequality.
In 2010, 20 percent of the people held approximately 88 percent of the net worth in the U.S. The top 1 percent alone held 35 percent of all net worth.
The bottom 80 percent of people held only 12 percent of net worth in 2010. In 1983, the bottom 80 percent held 18 percent of net worth.
These statistics are not Democratic or Republican. They are widely available to reporters. Why arent they discussed in the liberal media?
Source: Occupy Posters
If there was a corporate organization that drafted laws and then passed them on to legislators to implement, wouldnt you think the liberal media would report on them?
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is such an organization. Need legislation drafted? No need to go through a lobbyist to reach state legislatures anymore. Just contact ALEC. Among other things, ALEC is responsible for:
Stand Your Ground laws
Voter ID laws
Right to Work laws
Health savings account bills which benefit health care companies
Tobacco industry legislation
Many legislators dont even change the proposals handed to them by this group of corporations. They simply take the corporate bills and bring them to the legislative floor.
This is the primary reason for so much similar bad legislation in different states.
Theyre meeting in Chicago this weekend. Maybe the liberal media will send some reporters.
5. The number of black people in prison.
In 2009, non-Hispanic blacks, while only 13.6 percent of the population, accounted for 39.4 percent of the total prison and jail population.
In 2011, according to FBI statistics, whites accounted for 69.2 percent of arrests.
Numbers like these suggest a racial bias in our justice system.
To me, this is a much bigger story than any single incident like Travyon Martin. Or, at the very least, why didnt the liberal media ever mention this while covering the Martin story
The truth is this truth may not be so obvious to you if it weren't for DU.
DU: Education and facts for progressives. I may not be smart but DU makes me smarter every single day.
Martin and Davis are two of at least 26 children and teens who have died in Florida Stand Your Ground cases. Stand Your Ground laws that have proliferated in at least 20 states are associated with vigilantism, authorizing violence by individuals who perceive a reasonable imminent threat to their life, without any duty to attempt retreat. But they have also taken the lives of a dramatic number of young victims. Out of 134 fatal Florida cases analyzed by the Tampa Bay Times in which the Stand Your Ground defense was raised or played a role, 19 percent saw the deaths of children or teens. Another 14 involved victims were 20 or 21. And another 8 teens were injured in nonfatal cases. The Tampa Bay Times last updated its database last year, and there have likely been more such deaths since.
Here are some of the young Florida victims:
The youngest was nine-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins, who was killed in the crossfire of a dispute in which the defendant unsuccessfully raised the Stand Your Ground defense.
18-year-old Daniel Amore was stabbed to death by his 31-year-old legal guardian Kunta Grant, after Amore punched him during a dispute. Grant was given Stand Your Ground immunity by a judge.
19-year-old Christopher Araujo was shot by Norman Borden, who said he was walking his dogs when three men in a Jeep shouted threats at him and warned they had bats as weapons. Borden went into his home and came back out armed. He told his friends to leave the area. The Jeep returned, and Borden said they tried to run him down. He pulled a gun and shot five times through the windshield, then nine more times after the Jeep hit a fence post and stopped. A judge denied the Stand Your Ground motion, but Borden was acquitted by a jury of first-degree murder and other related charges.
18-year-old Carlos Mustelier was shot to death, after he and his 16-year-old friend approached Thomas Baker jogging, and one took a swing at him. Thomas responded You wanna play games? You wanna play games? and fired eight shots. The surviving teen said they planned to rob Baker, but neither was armed. A Hillsborough County prosecutor opted not to charge Baker.
19-year-old Christopher Cote was killed by his neighbor, after a dispute over walking his dog on his new neighbors property. When Cote came back, unarmed, to talk to 62-year-old Jose Tapones about the dispute, Tapones answered the door with a shotgun, stepped outside onto the lawn, and shot Cote twice. A judge declined to grant Tapones Stand Your Ground immunity during his first trial, but was granted a new trial and acquitted the second time around.
Some of these defendants were granted immunity; others were not. But the Stand Your Ground law can come into play in a number of ways. First, law enforcement officers sometimes use the Stand Your Ground law as a basis for not charging the shooter to begin with. That was initially the position of police who cited the law in not arresting Martins killer, George Zimmerman, for more than a month. Second, many defendants who are charged request a special Stand Your Ground hearing and may be granted immunity by a judge before even going to trial. Third, defendants may raise the Stand Your Ground defense during the trial as a basis for acquittal. And fourth, as evidenced by the George Zimmerman case, the language of the Stand Your Ground law may be incorporated into the jury instructions and factor into the jurys decision, even where the defense is not explicitly raised by the defendant.
A teen who was playing loud music, which is what my teens do. That is sort of the attitude of the teenager, Watts told ThinkProgress. You dont have the right to kill an innocent unarmed teen.
Afghan civilian deaths climb
February 8, 2014 9:37 PM
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Civilian deaths in the conflict in Afghanistan rose sharply last year, nearing the record levels of bloodletting reached in 2011, according to U.N. statistics released Saturday.
The annual report showed that more women and children died in conflict-related violence than in any year since 2009 as more ground combat occurred in populated areas and insurgents increased their use of improvised bombs in public places.
The statistics were a grim reversal from 2012, which saw civilian deaths decline for the first time in six years. The total of 2,959 deaths recorded by the U.N. in 2013 was a 7 percent rise from 2012 and brought the number of civilians killed since 2009 to more than 14,000. An additional 5,656 Afghan civilians were injured in 2013, a 17 percent increase from 2012.
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