Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's Pickton Redux, but South of the 49th

Families of missing, murdered women hold fundraiser

Posted: Today at 5:30 p.m. Updated: Today at 6:49 p.m.
Rocky Mount, N.C. — Relatives and friends of eight missing or slain Rocky Mount women held another fundraiser Saturday to keep the names and faces of these women in the public eye. The families have formed the community group MOMS (Murdered or Missing Sisters). They have held fish fries, motorcycle rides and other events to raise money for three electronic billboards, which show each woman individually and then all together. A question mark represents a sixth unidentified victim.Minnie Jones, whose sister Christine Marie Boone went missing in 2006, said the goal is make the “public aware that this is going on in the city of Rocky Mount.” “We really need to know what is going on with these women,” Jones said Saturday. Boone, 46, was last seen at 801 S. Grace Street in August 2006. Family members said they filed missing persons reports three separate times. In addition to Boone, two other women – Renee Joyce Durham and Yolanda Renee Lancaster – remain missing. The three women have similar backgrounds as five other women whose bodies have been found.The remains of Jarniece Latonya Hargrove, 31, Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35, Ernestine Battle, 50, Melody LaShae Wiggins, 29, and Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28, were found in a rural area of Edgecombe County over the past four years.Each woman was black, from Rocky Mount and had a history of drug use and run-ins with the law. Each was reported missing before their bodies were discovered.A sixth body discovered in February has yet to be identified.

The group said they may not be able to afford to keep the billboards up and, instead, may make a public service announcement.

Lamar Advertising gave the community group a significant discount on the billboards, which went up on July 28. The group paid $1,300 for all three signs.

Two billboards are on U.S. Highway 301, and the other is near Winstead and Sunset avenues.
Anyone with information about the cases is asked to call the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office at 252-641-7911.

Holly Desimone and the progress of Victims Rights in Canada

A story so good it deserves to be printed in its entirety:

On the night she was sexually assaulted by an acquaintance, Holly Desimone became a member of a club no one ever wants to join: that of crime victim.

"It was the most alone I've ever felt in my life," says the 47-year-old Calgarian as she looks back on the events of Dec. 14, 1990, when the then Red Deer resident was brutally attacked by Ali Rasai, an Iranian who had fled an attempted

rape charge in Australia and entered Canada on a fake passport.

"I called a friend and her advice to me was, 'Never, ever, tell anybody, no one will believe you.' "

Those first few days were just a taste of how alone Desimone would feel in the coming days, weeks, months and years after she decided to speak out and fight for justice. Ultimately, her courage helped spur improvements in attitudes and legislation regarding victims' rights across the country.

Today, funds help victims attend parole hearings and laws prevent criminals from profiting off their crimes, such as from books.

Victims' rights are also high on the agenda of federal and provincial politicians. In June, the Harper government said it wanted to give more rights to victims of crime, including enshrining in law the right to participate in parole board hearings.

But when Desimone began her struggle with the justice system nearly 20 years ago, there seemed to her to be little consideration for those most greatly affected by murder, rape or other criminal acts.

For her, the first blow came in the spring of 1991, when an Edmonton judge granted Rasai--a man who would later be charged with the sexual assault of two more women--$3,000 bail.

A week later, Desimone walked out of her apartment building and saw Rasai standing in the street, watching her.

"I couldn't believe my eyes," she says, noting she hadn't been warned about his release, and there was no order from the judge to stay away from her.

Rasai fled Canada, and it seemed there was little interest in finding him.

That's when Desimone did the unthinkable for sexual assault victims at that time: she went public. She contacted the Calgary Herald and set a Canadian precedent by allowing her name and photograph to be published. Stories of Desimone's fight for justice put pressure on politicians at both the provincial and federal levels.

"No one was working on my behalf as a victim," says Desimone. "I had to be my own advocate."

Her dogged determination eventually paid off: Rasai was brought back to Canada in 1996, where he was convicted of sexually assaulting Desimone and two other women, and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

In 1998, Desimone travelled to Manitoba to attend Rasai's parole hearing. However, since the federal government had yet to begin providing funds for victims to attend parole hearings, which it does today, the young victim had to rely on the help of a friend.

Even though the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which came into force in 1992, allowed victims to witness parole hearings by this time, Desimone's appearance was considered a bold move.

"Before this happened to me, I knew nothing about our country's justice system," she says. "I had to educate myself, in the days before the Internet, because no one else was going to fight on my behalf."

Back in the early-to mid-'90s, much of what is taken as a given today for victims of crime was either non-existent or still in its infancy, such as the presence of victim-support workers in courtrooms, the inclusion of victim-impact statements and organizations that provide information and support to victims of crime.

"There was pretty much nowhere, or no one, to turn to," says Desimone. But her fight prompted change: in Alberta, then-attorney general Ken Rostad demanded an accounting of the bungling in Rasai's case; victims of major crimes would now be alerted when their accused attackers sought bail. Her case also helped change Canada's Immigration Act, inserting into it provisions that would allow officials to turn away would-be immigrants who are believed to have committed a crime outside Canada punishable here by a term of 10 years or more.

Like many who came before her, Desimone learned the hard truth that the court and prison systems often treat offenders more favourably than victims, according them the kinds of adequate services, compensation and rights that until recently have been out of reach for those who find themselves on the receiving end of crime.

"People like Holly forced incredible change in the country," says Steve Sullivan, the new federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, who back in 1998 accompanied Desimone to Rasai's parole hearing, in his previous role as the head of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime. "These were people who suffered horrendous tragedies, who you could understand if they were unable to even get out of bed in the morning, and here they were fighting for rights that we now have today--they are true pioneers."

Today in Canada, most provinces and territories have instituted compensation programs for victims of crime. In 2007, Alberta enacted a Victims of Crime Act, which outlines rights to be accorded to victims such as providing them with information and support about both the criminal justice process and the details of their individual cases. Most police departments across the country have victim support units that guide victims through every step of the process. In 2007, the federal government set up the Office of the Ombudsmen for Victims of Crime, which works in co-operation with several agencies that have sprouted up over the past two decades to assist victims.

But recognition of crime victims has been a long time coming. "It's only been 15 years since victims of crime have been allowed to attend parole hearings," says Sullivan. "In a legislative arena, that is a very short period of time."

While many today see victims' rights as part and parcel of a truly just system, Doug King says it's understandable why it's taken so long in the context of our criminal justice system.

"When you see R. versus an accused (on court documents), it means Regina, which stands for society at large," says King, chair of justice studies at Mount Royal College. "The real victim has always been treated as secondary."

While this might sound patently unfair, King says the Canadian style of criminal justice has worked well.

"It's a balancing act, courts have to keep a certain distance away from the emotion of the victims--once you lose the presumption of innocence, you can make some terrible mistakes."

But he sees the incredible growth of services for victims over the past decade or so as an important trend.

"We need to make sure the right person is convicted of an offence, but we also need to work to heal the harm done to the individual victims," he says.

"This is a movement that has been largely propelled by the victims themselves."

No discussion of those pioneers can overlook people like Gary and Sharon Rosenfeldt, whose experience as victims of crime led to a lifelong commitment to the cause.

"We were just incensed by the way we were treated, we had to do something," says Sharon, whose 16-year-old son Daryn was murdered in 1981, becoming one of the 11 young victims of serial killer Clifford Olson. (Gary Rosenfeldt died in February of cancer at age 67.)

The Rosenfeldts suffered a host of indignities that included everything from the RCMP initially refusing to take their son's disappearance seriously, to an officer calling up Sharon one day and casually telling her that a body found was that of her child. The parents also learned that Daryn had been sexually assaulted before being killed by Olson, by reading that in a newspaper.

"There was nothing for us, nowhere to turn," says Sharon of a justice landscape that had yet to be peopled with victim support workers, compensation programs or any other kind of help.

But there was inspiration from another growing movement: that supporting victims of sexual assault.

"Shelters had started to spring up around the country, and people were speaking out on behalf of those victims," says Sharon, who with Gary started Victims of Violence, a national organization that through promoting the rights of child victims has had a large impact on the rights for all victims of crime.

"We were the first to be allowed to have an office servicing victims in a courtroom," says the former Edmontonian who runs her organization today from Ottawa, to be closer to the country's decision-makers.

"At the time, there were offices serving offenders, and what we were doing was considered highly controversial."

Rosenfeldt says that while there has been incredible progress made since her first experience as a victim of crime, there is still room for improvement, as Canada is "still in the pioneer stage of victims rights."

More is needed in educating people, aiding victims and changing attitudes, she says. "We want to see victims' rights entrenched into the Charter of Rights," she says. "Until we're there, there will never truly be victims rights."

Nearly two decades after her ordeal and eight years after her tormentor was deported from Canada, Desimone shares her fellow victim-turned-activist's determination.

"Stepping forward unequivocally changed my life," says Desimone, who says she continues to suffer emotional and physical problems stemming from her victimization.

"But I did it to survive. We all need to care about the rights of crime victims, because it can happen to anyone--and it does, every single day."


Assistance to victims of crime in Canada has grown in leaps and bounds over the past decade, but is it enough? Are we doing all we can as a society to help heal victims?

It's Network, The Running Man AND Carnavale all together in one happy death bag of fun!

Perdue orders State agencies to cut again

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seinfeld on Leno - ughh!

Allow me to be the first to say it:  In the galactic continuum of life Seinfeld represented about a nano-second.  A blueshift memory in a useless comic decade. Please go and reinvent yourself, but stay away from comedy. As Potsie said, you're about as funny as a crutch. RIP:

NDP proposal to change party name could prove embarrassing in Quebec

Words I Never Thought I'd Come To See

Who Killed Theresa's Blog?

Hi All. Temporarily blogging over here while I wait for Google to restore WKT and my blogging privileges (I got some porn-spam or something clogging the site).  Anyway, in the mean time I will post what I left on Who Killed Theresa Yesterday:

Harper Government Considers Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Financial Crimes:

Gotta Say, I am no fan of mandatory minimum sentences.   It has been a failure in many U.S. States. It reduces the discretionary power of judges, allowing them to go on auto-pilot, and sometimes restricts them from issuing much harsher sentences. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - Tuesday, December 12th, 2007

Easy Stomach

Mmmmmmm.... nothing says Christmas like Kraft Holiday Recipes!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I like this Zayre's promo with Batman and Robin:

Monday, December 10, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - Monday, December 10th, 2007

Have a Six-Million-Dollar morning:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Best Xmas video ever?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

At Is That Legal? Eric's having kittens over Ultravox being pompous...

Ya, but Mr-X was sooooo cool!

My complaint about Vienna was the bridge sounded too much like these guys:

(who I might add are beginning to look more and more like the systems engineers they always were - and still are so cool!)

Anyway, if you want 80s pompous, what about these guys:

(Nevermind that I loved, and still love The Blue Nile)

A lot of people thought these guys were pretensious, but I just thought they were FAB-U-LAS!

Mick Karn on the fretless bass... good lord. Check him out here years later riffing on Sons of Pioneers:

The 24 Days of YouTube - December 8th, 2007

The Thin White (very white) Duke does The Snowman

To all you naysayers who claimed it didn't happen; here is the original opening to Raymond Briggs' The Snowman with the introduction by David Bowie (looking a little too "Let's Dance" for my taste):

Friday, December 07, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - December 7th, 2007

What-the-hell, enjoy some Kinks:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - December 6th, 2007

Les Joyeaux Lurons

While Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe debate Christmas lights, Jack Layton contemple "un nasty parti, man!"

It's a Quebec thing, just deal with it:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The 24 days of YouTube - December 5th, 2007

Cold War Choo-choo

Lionel Trains has just the thing for your cute little war-monger. A mobile missile launcher! Take that portable WMDs!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The 24 days of YouTube - December 4th, 2007

A Bozo Christmas Carol.

The title says it all: this is too painful to be imagined, luckily they only give us the intro:

Monday, December 03, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - December 3rd, 2007

A Forest Rangers Christmas Special

On this very special Forest Rangers, MacLeod - channeling his best Festus - steals a pocket watch, then discovers the true meaning of the season.

(if you REALLY want to view the other parts of the episode you can You Tube them yourselves):

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - December 2nd, 2007

This seemed appropriate given Evel's Exit. I believe I got the stunt cycle for my 12th Christmas - Pure magic:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The 24 Days of YouTube - December 1st, 2007

First up this year is the animated version of Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince. It has nothing to do with Christmas. This used to come on during the holidays in the 70s, and many remember it fondly...

but looking at it again, what a bringdown!


Part I

Part II

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Prog-Rock Savior

Eleanor from the Fiery Furnaces

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Radiohead - In Rainbows

Ok, there's this point at the end of the third track, Nude where Thom sounds like he's seriously channeling that moment in The Little Mermaid where Arial loses her voice to Ursula...

Anyone else hear that?

On another note, I paid one pound Sterling for In Rainbows (selling England bt the pound).

I like it so far...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Attention Rennaissance Faire Geeks:

Blackmore's Night is headed to Raleigh:

Not since Ian Anderson girded his loins with a hefty codpiece, has middle earth been so satisfied. This combination madrigal-music-extravaganza, Celtic-mystic-riverdance promises to satisfy even the most ill-tempered Orc.
All Hallows Eve Special! Come in costume and receive free cup of Wassail and dragon scale.
Hope my dublet still fits. Almien!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I'm sorry, could you repeat the question?

NPR had an interesting piece today about the over use of laptop computers in college classrooms.

I've been in graduate school for 3 years now and I must say, I found this a completely fascinating phenomenon, after 20 years outside academia. For a while I tried typing notes in class but found I was causing too much of a distraction (I do a 4 finger peck that is VERY lowd; the younger you are, the softer your touch - all that practice in the tweenie years).

Though in the beginning I was lured by the novelty, and tried to take notes on my laptop, I must admit that I eventually reverted to written notes. I found I was better able to retain the material, and with the computer, I was often tempted to check my email and the sports scores.

The ONLY time I found using a laptop practical was in a municipal law course where the professor was constantly referring to state statutes, and it served everybody well to simply cut-and-past the statute reference from the state website into your written notes.

But this post is going out to many of my friends who teach, professors and piers studying at graduate school. So I put it to you, what's your opinion of the use of laptops during course lectures?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What-The-"bleep" Is This?

It's October 7th, and I'm being bitten by misquitoes?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Shhhhhhhh... I'm studying Gillian Welch's Time (The Revelator).

This could take all month.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Indy Election Endorsements 2007!

David Cronenberg's running for mayor of Cary?
More Ub Iwerks

Skeleton Dance is perfection:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ub Iwerks

Continuing with our theme of Halloween pleasures, Up Iwerks' Stratos Fear:

Had Uncle Walt stuck with Ub, Disneyland might have been a much more scarifying world.
They go in Threes

First they take Alice Ghostly, then mime legend, Marcel Marceau...

but Canadian hockey artist, Ken Danby?

(fittingly he died in a canoeing accident... the method of choice for most Canadians)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oh man, do you remember this? Like, dig those electronics! Move over Wii.

Some Pumpkins I have Known:

Traditional, yes very nice:

Barf pumpkin; always a good choice:

Wow, this one's really scarifying:

Oooo...this one's too ripe:

TheYoung Turk , sure to be all the rage this season:

Oh god, this one's too disgusting, don't even look:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Getting Ready for Fall

Thursday, September 20, 2007

There's been another Moosehead Beer Heist!!!!!

My brother's gonna be on the CBC this afternoon - he wrote a song about the first heist, in New Brunswick.

You can hear his song, Looking for Empties on Andre's MySpace site.

Interview: CBC Saint John... - Paul Castle's show, SHIFT.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Emily The Strange is pretty spooky, weird, wonderful:

... for now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Here's a good Halloween song. Love how he dedicates it to Clear Channel:

Monday, September 17, 2007

I Love Beistle Halloween decorations, but some are a little too creepy:

Hope this never crosses my path:

Skull-Kitty... nice, real nice:

Ahhh, the Beistle skeleton - a classic...
I think we had one of these as kids with green flesh attached. Nice touch:

Not quite sure the point of this one:

Satan.. waaaayyyy too disturbing:

Friday, September 14, 2007

General Petraeus says...

Bring the troops home:

As Chaney ponders...

And the insurgency continues...

And Condi Rice questions...

And Obama waits...

Bring the troops home:

Some Pix By Amelia

Sad Girl

Action Girl