Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bush upholds Execution Order

Bush upholds Execution Order

Monday President Bush decided against commuting the death sentence of former Army cook Ronald A. Gray who was convicted for multiple rapes and Murders in Fayetteville NC in the late 1980’s.

In civilian courts in North Carolina, Gray pleaded guilty to two murders and five rapes and was sentenced to three consecutive and five concurrent life terms. He then was tried by general court-martial at the Army's Fort Bragg. There he was convicted in April 1988 and unanimously sentenced to death.


Job well done President Bush!!!!
However, the appeals process and possible litigation is still in play and that according to the article:

Bush's decision, however, is not likely the end of Gray's legal battle. Further litigation is expected and these types of death sentence appeals often take years to resolve.

Often take years to resolve?
How many more years can it take? This criminal has been sitting in Leavenworth Military Prison for 20 years. He was not only convicted and sentenced harshly by the State of North Carolina but he also was court marshaled by the Armed Services and sentenced to death. The evidence in this case is overwhelmingly in the prosecutions favor as there was even an eye witness account of Mr. Gray’s terrible acts.

So we need to ask; what is to appeal?

According to Gray’s former attorney the factors of State of Mind of the criminal and the Competency of the criminal’s legal council, need to be looked at and are items for appeal.

Alright let’s look at those two items first. As to state of mind we can all agree that anyone who is prone to rape and murder is suffering from some kind of mental disorder. They are unable to either curb their violent urges or they simply do not understand that said urges are wrong. In either case, by succumbing to the passions that so caused the perpetrator to commit rape and murder, they are making clear that they are mentally deficient in some way. For to commit the act, they admit through actions the failure of their minds.

Does this exclude society from punishing the criminal? I think not, for if it did then no criminal would ever be prosecuted as they would all be proven as mentally deficient. Needless to say, State of mind, and temporary insanity defense strategies have been plaguing our judicial system and will continue to do so for many years to come. However, let us be honest, the State of Mind of the criminal is but smoke and mirrors put forth in their defense in attempt to lessen or dismiss sentences and or charges. How long do you think it takes to come to that conclusion, especially for those lawyers and judges who practice the art of law everyday?

Evidently it takes about 20 years for them, for the rest of us it takes about 15 minutes.
So the next appeal question is; “Did the defendant have sufficient, competent legal representation at his/her trial?”

This is a very important issue and one not to be taken lightly considering the fact that the death penalty is being imposed. If the defense team, is shown to be incompetent, or that they failed to give their client a vigorous and thorough defense then of course this, I say, is definitely grounds for appeal of a conviction. But, how long does it take to make such a determination?
From time of arrest to trial, Mr. Gray had approximately a year to not only formulate his defense but to determine if his lawyers were adequate to the task. Right, so it takes 12 months to build a defense, and 20 plus years to decide if that case was properly represented? Am I the only one here that has a problem with this? It doesn’t make one bit of sense for; if the courts and the military cannot decide the facts and merits of the case in at least the same time it took to build in the first place then I say those who are charged with investigating the conduct of the trial are in need of a bit of schooling.

Not only is this 20 years of appeals and delay an insult to those who fell victim to this animal, it is also a giant red flag for we the people, as concerns the inner workings of our judicial system.

And what about the Military?

They unanimously sentenced this soldier do death, and yet he still lives. Perhaps I was taught wrong and that things have changed for the men and women in Uniform. What I was taught was that though the civilian authorities do have every right to prosecute criminal behavior by military personnel, that does not exclude or supersede the jurisdiction of the Military over one of its members and that courts-martial and subsequent sentences of courts-martial have precedence in such matters. This is why prisons such as Fort Leavenworth were built to begin with.

So has the Military simply washed their hands of this execution? Or have they become so bogged down with the whys and wherefores of the judicial branch that they cannot even carry out this most simple of sentences? Is it not only their right but also their Duty to execute such sentences once handed down? For by allowing delay they show a weakness on their part which I am sure cannot be good for discipline.

Regardless, this whole case is a travesty, and one that deserves our attention. It is an example of a failed judicial system and a testament to our own weakness.

If ever there was a case that cried out for the old Nordic law “A wolf in hallowed places” this is it. A wolf in hallowed places was a sentence given by the Althing to those who were convicted of such crimes as rape, murder, and robbery. Though they too did hand out death sentences the label A wolf in hallowed places was far more terrible a fate. Once convicted, the accused usually had until dusk to find his way out of the village or hamlet, and that no person could speak, address or assist the convicted in any way. After sundown, the convicted then was fair game for anyone to hunt and kill throughout the country much like one would do to a wolf that prowls through one’s town today.

Savage? Yes but effective.

I congratulate President Bush on his decision to condemn this animal, even though it will have no real bearing on the long drawn out process of appeals and litigation.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Hooting

Main Entry:
Middle English houten, of imitative origin
13th century
intransitive verb
1 : to shout or laugh usually derisively
2 : to make the natural throat noise of an owl or a similar cry
3 : to make a loud clamorous mechanical sound
transitive verb
1 : to assail or drive out by hooting
2 : to express or utter with hoots

Last week, I was taken aback and amazed at the amount and magnitude of what I call “The Hooting”.
It seems that the Fourth of July, with its Fireworks and various celebrations, has such a hold some people that they must simply Yell, Scream, Holler, and yes Hoot. The amount of noise that boomed out across the landscape of my little village, from the throats of people, was really quite scary. The primitive outbursts were almost continuous for the four days I had off.

So I have begun to ask myself, “From where does this come, this need to yell and shout?” I personally cannot recall ever Hooting out “WHOOO HOOO” at the top of my lungs nor can I say I have witnessed any of my friends or associates doing so either. So I am perplexed as to what causes one to “Hoot”.

Being inquisitive, I began to ask various people, at random, “do they personally Hoot?”, and if so “what is the catalyst that causes them to lose control and assault the world with their noise?” My finding’s were enlightening and I feel the need to pass on this most valuable knowledge to my fellow man, in the manner of friendship and understanding that I am so well known for.

Well, of the ten persons asked only two admitted to ever Hooting. This I found strange in that the amount of sound coming from the lake below my mountainside home told of a far greater proportion of screamers than just 20%. When asked why they shouted out so, the answers where interesting. One person said they found the sight of a man’s backside exciting enough to Hoot, the other proclaimed that they Hooted when witnessing someone fall into a mud puddle. As both of those particular incidents, are rather mundane for, how many male backsides do you see in a day? And how many trips and falls has a person witnessed in their life? I found it odd that one would feel the need to Hoot over them.

So I asked the next question; what were you “The Hooter” doing at the time that you hooted?


Alcohol seemed to be the underlying lynch pin in the release of hoots upon the world. Even those who have never hooted themselves can invariably trace back to a witnessed hoot, the consumption of alcohol of some sort. If I was to venture a guess, the drink of choice would be Budweiser or perhaps Allen’s Coffee Brandy for the ladies.

But this none too startling revelation answers not the question, for along with my kind, caring and understanding demeanor, I have also been known to have a Pint or two, or three, or four etc. And during my peak times whilst I swilled fifth’s of Bushmill’s and Stoly’s on a daily basis nary a Hoot did I or my mates let out. So it seems that, though alcohol, is partly responsible for the existence of Hoots (the sound) and Hooters (those who make said sound), it is obviously not the main factor. So what is?

If we look at a particular Hooter or two, such as the pair mentioned above, we can see that some sort of event was going on and that through the use of alcohol, the Hooters felt comfortable enough to let themselves free for the entire world to enjoy. Once Anheiser Bush removes the need to compose one’s self in a civilized manner, Hooters begin their primitive screaming. Reaching down, probably not too far, into their inner being and embracing the savage nature that is man, they hoot out in delight over the simplest things. The formation of words or even common gestures of approval for an act or sight is no longer needed as their primordial instincts kick in. Having not the pleasure of embracing that savage inner self, outside of a murderous impulse on occasion, I have become fascinated with these Hooters and their ways.

As I have ascertained, Hooters are probably about 20% of our population. That means 20% of all people feel closer to their primitive selves and have the ability to embrace it through minor stimuli and alcohol consumption. I believe, that the Hooters themselves, are unaware of how close they are to our cousins the apes who make loud outbursts as well as in savage fury or joy, but I feel they would benefit greatly by this small bit of knowledge. For through understanding we grow, do we not?

Though, I doubt if I would confront a Hooter with this bit of knowledge whilst they are in the midst of their boisterous noise making. This could prove dangerous for, the very same inner being and lack of inhibition, that causes Hooters to exist in the first place, lays very closely to the savage nature of man’s true self, and if said Hooter feels no restraint in joy, I am sure they more than likely feel no restraint in violence either. So to no good end could one address this point at such a time.

Perhaps the following day is best while their small ape like brains are suffering from lack of hydration (hangover).

I also found that Hooters and Hoots only appear and occur in groups. What I mean by that is, one rarely if ever hears a Whoo Hoo unless there are at least 4-5 people gathered together along with the other criteria established earlier, i.e. Alcohol, minor stimuli, and knuckle dragging personalities. If, by chance, one was to witness a hoot where the other criteria were not met, then one could only conclude that the Hooter was insane. Think of a person walking along a sidewalk mid day in any town in the world, and said person begins to Whoo Hoo. What would you think?


We cannot help but conclude that Hooters, (those that Hoot not the other kind) are much more easily influenced and controlled through stimuli, though the other type is as well, and that they are more than likely persons of lesser intellect and development. I daresay it is the duty of us all, to bring these souls up from their savage state and into civilized society through research and education, for the betterment of mankind. I urge you all, to examine Hoots and especially Hooters, very closely and do your part for our species by helping them to grow.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Belfast: Open for Business

Belfast: Open for Business
A decade after the Good Friday peace agreement, Northern Ireland's economy is blossoming.

That's right! Belfast Northern Ireland is booming according to an article in Business week On July the 3rd.


The article states that the Peace accord is finally paying off economically and that Belfast is becoming a real boom Town with businesses such as Citigroup, GE Healthcare, and Microsoft setting up shop. During the past 10 years over 100,000 jobs were created and that the unemployment rate, which used to be one of the worst in the UK, is at a 26 year low of 3.9%.

Why do I care?

Well for one, this article shows that if the governments of city's and towns are willing to work with businesses and corporations then prosperity can be had. I have known that to be the case for many years, but with my limited education and lack of political contacts I have been unable to convey this simple theory unto our elected leaders. Here before them today, rests evidence of the greatest magnitude.

The City of Belfast has been the center for much violence and discord for generations. Aptly named " the Troubles" the period from the late sixties until 1998, the violent struggle between the various factions of Loyalists and Republicans made the city a very tough place to get on indeed. During the 70's and 80's the PIRA actually performed bombing campaigns against foreign owned businesses. This of course, curbed any desire for companies to invest monies domestically as well as internationally.

I believe that if Belfast NI can overcome all of the terrible challenges of the Troubles and find a way to become economically prosperous, then there is a small glimmer of hope for us here in Maine. For this State, and it's communities, bear a likeness to Northern Ireland, sans the violence of the past. The only issue I see that our Leaders might raise is " taxes".

The tax incentive idea to entice business to invest in an area is not new or faulty, but what we see time and time again is that City, Town and State Representatives, just can't stomach the idea of not grabbing every penny they can from every source. Thus tax burden is of great concern and measure in new business development. This shortsighted and obtuse outlook has hindered our progress here for generations and will continue to do so until we can elect some people with common sense and intelligence.
Here's a quandary, Belfast being part of the UK, has a higher tax rate than the Republic of Ireland to the South, 28% compared to 12.5% corporate respectively. So why would Microsoft chose Belfast over Dublin, or for that matter Portland Maine?
Because, Belfast offers what we do not, Highly educated and skilled workers, Government cooperation in business set up, and incentives for businesses to create jobs and bolster the economy.

The second reason I take great pleasure in the prosperity of Belfast is that for two years now I have been telling every hapless soul who would listen, that Northern Ireland is the place to invest. The educated, hardworking, English speaking people of Northern Ireland are the perfect fit for industries of all types, and finally someone agrees with my assessment. My friend Vince, turned me on to this article, has been listening to my views on the subject for that entire time. It feels good to be right about something every once in a while.

So take heed, you Senators and Congressmen, you town Managers and Board Members, Prosperity can be had, we can all succeed and live comfortably, each and every one of us, if you would just get your heads out of the sand.
If that is too difficult of a task then just get out of the way and let us grow.


The attached Photo is of Victoria Mall in Belfast
Special thanks to Vince for sending me the article and listening to my Tirades.