Monday, August 29, 2005

Karma Bomb?

Hundreds of people were in the Miami club when 'rap mogul' Marion "Suge" Knight was shot. When police began questioning the partyers, amazingly, almost nobody had seen anything.

A police report described the man who shot Knight in the leg Saturday at a party held in conjunction with the MTV Video Music Awards as black and wearing a pink shirt. (not a very detailed description) The party, hosted by Kanye West, at the Shore Club hotel in Miami Beach.

Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said early Monday there had been no further developments in the case. He told The Miami Herald that the investigation was being hampered by witnesses' unwillingness to talk. "We don't have any physical description. We don't know how many subjects were involved, which is mind boggling, with all those people around."

Witnesses who did talk said Knight was sitting at a VIP table when a man walked up and opened fire. No one else was injured. Screaming guests fled the party, streaming outside or taking cover in other parts of the hotel.

Is anyone amazed that nobody is willing to help solve this case? "Suge" was linked to both the Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. murders. Some have even suggested that "Suge" Knight was behind both murders.

"It's disturbing that someone can let off six shots in a packed club and can escape without being arrested," said Elliott Wilson, editor in chief of the rap magazine XXL. "The hip-hop community doesn't trust the police to confide info to them, and in turn the police have done little to make us feel like they give a damn about our safety. It's a vicious cycle."

Maybe the hip-hop community feels that "Suge" got what he deserved? He has stepped on many toes when he made his way to the top of the Rap scene. Maybe this is just the chickens coming home to roost?

A group of Knight's friends waiting at the hospital Sunday said he was alert and talkative after the shooting. His attorneys told hospital officials not to release any information on his condition, hospital spokeswoman Laurie Oliva said Monday. Knight's attorney in Los Angeles, Dermot Givens, did not return telephone calls Sunday or Monday. "Suge" is at Ceder's Sinai Mimai Beach.

I am of the camp that believes that "Suge" Knight ordered the deaths of both Tupac and Biggie. "Suge" was one of the most powerful and feared music figures of the 1990s. With superstar rappers like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur in his stable, plus a horde of "Bloods" gang members from his native Los Angeles on his payroll, he made millions and enemies in equal abundance.

His fortunes started to slide when Shakur was shot and killed in 1996 while riding in the passenger seat of Knight's car. The shooting took place after the pair stomped a gang rival in a Las Vegas hotel; that attack resulted in Knight being sent to prison for nearly five years for violating parole.

At the time, Knight had been cultivating a feud with Sean Combs' Bad Boy label in a so-called "rap war," and Bad Boy's top artist, the Notorious B.I.G., was gunned down months later in Los Angeles. Relatives of Biggie have accused Knight of involvement in that slaying, but police have never named Knight as a suspect.

I believe the motive for Tupac's murder was money. "Suge" was going to owe Tupac millions because he was going to leave "Death Row Records". Some have speculated that "Suge" planned to be in the car at the time of Tupac's shooting as the perfect alibi. "Suge's" hatred for Bad Boy is well-known, and this could have been one aspect of motive for Biggie's murder. Another could be that it offers the idea that "Suge" couldn't possibly have had anything to do with Tupac's death.

I'm not advocating violence, but I'm also not going to lose any sleep over "Suge" getting shot. Tupac Shakur (for all his faults) was an artist that doesn't come along very often. He spoke for a generation, and his words will last for ages to come. For some it was Kurt Cobain speaking for their angst... for others it was Tupac. Both told it like it was, that life isn't always pretty. Both were masters at their art. Both touched people and have left many questions after their deaths. Some put Biggie in Tupac's league of telling the story of "Thug Life". Many people feel that "Suge" was involved (whether directly or indirectly) with silencing these two rap icons. I don't suppose that many people are crying tears for "Suge".

Karma basically says that you get back what you dish out. Maybe this is just Karma giving "Suge" a taste of his own medicine?

Brains & Beauty

Now for something a bit lighter;

I mainly get my TV news from MSNBC. I watch all the cable news channels and read online, but I find myself staying on MSNBC for my news. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I figured out why I possibly do this.

On "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" they did a skit on the "news babes" of TV. For some reason MSNBC hogged the spotlight for this skit. I think there may be a connection between me trusting my news to these beautiful women. I mean look at the alternative: Dan Rather; Ted Koppel; Larry King, Geraldo Rivera; Britt Hume; Alan Colmes; and Bill O'Reilley are old, and quite frankly, not good to look at. It seems that the "Old Boy" network has gone the way of the dinosaur.

It was all started (for me, at least) by Ashleigh Banfield. She was the first woman I saw on TV that was both beautiful and intelligent. Ashleigh reported the news and made you believe that she knew what she was talking about - not just some ex-pageant model wanting to be in communications.

Thankfully, she wasn't the exception to the rule, but the beginning of a new trend. I don't want the news from someone who reminds me of my grandfather, I want my news from a younger, hip perspective. I don't know why I'm more willing to put my trust in women, but I'd rather see the headlines from an E.D. Hill than a Cal Thomas.

So, I have comprised a list of the women I trust to tell me what is news, trendy, technology advanced, and fun.

1. Monica Crowley - MSNBC

Monica has a PhD and has spent some time in the political trenches. I like that she can usually outsmart the person she is debating, while being a class act in the process. Plus it's fun to see her put that punk Ron Reagan in his place from time to time.

2. Morgan Webb - G4TV

I like to play video games and I look to Morgan for the best games to play. She plays games doesn't pull punches when it comes to her reviews. If a game sucks, she will tell you.

3. Allison Stewart - MSNBC

I loved her as a pseudo-newscaster on MTV (she lended legitimacy to a joke segment of MTV) and I'm glad to see that someone was smart enough to put her on a real news network. Allison is young & hip, and she is witty enough to add some humor to a news piece. When she fills in for Keith Olbermann I think she actually does a better job of being funny.

4. Amanda Grove - CourtTV

When I want to hear about the latest in trial news, I look to Amanda Grove. She is elegant and reminds me of a Audrey Hepburn movie.

5. LeAnn Tweeden - Speed

I loved her when she was on Blue Torch TV and then on "The Best Damn Sports Show, Period" and I like her on the Speed channel's Nascar Nation. I don't like racing much beyond Dale Jr.; Danica Patrick; and Angelle Sampey, but LeAnn can make the world of "go fast, turn left" worth watching.

6. Sarah Lane - G4Tv

Sarah is always up on what' s cool to play around with technologically and she let's me know where the cool places on the internet are.

7. Summer Sanders - Fox Sports

I like my sports, and Summer can bring it to you with authority because she's an Olympian. I like her kooky lists, and just watching her remind me that sports isn't all guys with so many muscles they can't even wipe their own butts.

8. Amy Robach - MSNBC

After that idiot, Don Imus, is done I can enjoy my morning pleasantly because Amy tells me the news of the morning. She is a breath of fresh air in the morning, and I need it since I am usually grumpy at 9am.

9. Nancy Grace - CNN/CourtTV

Even though I think she puts too much emotion into her program, it's that passion that makes me watch Nancy Grace. When she sheds a tear for some victim or their family, it makes you realize how human these stories are.

10.Lisa Daniels - MSNBC

Lisa makes sure that the early afternoon is just as pleasant as the morning on MSNBC. She makes the bad news a bit easierto take.

Some very talented and pretty woman are:

11.Ashleigh Banfield - CourtTV
12.Julie Banderas - Fox News
13.Chris Jansing - MSNBC
14.Kari Byron - Mythbusters (Discovery Channel)
15.Natalie Schmidt - Animal X (Animal Planet)

Keep up the wonderful work ladies, and thank you for making my day/night.

All The News That's Fit...

I'm very angered at what some broadcast journalists feel I need to know as news. Too often I am bombarded by topics that I don't care about, or ones that oversaturate the airwaves.

A prime example of this is the disappearance of Alabama teen, Natalee Holloway. Far too much attention is being paid to this story. It is on par with the Michael Jackson molestation trial, it has become a three ring circus.

Now don't get me wrong, I am sympathetic to this young woman being missing for so long - but this is not on the level of say, the Israeli pullout of Gaza. This is a personal tragedy that has been brought to the world, and I'm not sure we are the better for it.

One of the prime offenders is Nancy Grace. Her show on CNN should be called "All Natalee - All The Time" because she doesn't spend much time on other topics. Even when Nancy Grace took a week vacation it was still Natalee TV on the Nancy Grace Show. Her guest host even went so far as to say that Nancy was "singlehandedly keeping this story alive". I guess the fill-in host has never seen Fox News because Gretta Van Susstren has her own version of Natalee TV, and so does Geraldo Rivera. You can see many versions of "All Natalee - All The Time" on the cable news channels. Nanacy Grace isn't the only one reporting this story, but you would think so if you listened to her guest host. Nancy isn't even the only one on CNN "keeping the Natalee Holloway story alive"; Larry King does his fair share of segments on the topic. But that didn't stop Nancy's guest host from proclaiming that Beth Holloway is grateful to Nancy Grace for being the sole person to keep the public aware of the story.

This guest host makes me sick. I am not going to mention her name here, but I feel that she is the most unprofessional person to host a show this side of Howard Stern & Don Imus. She puts her emotions into her reporting, offering opinion in the place of facts. We watch the news for an unbiased view of the news, not for someone to interject that the man who kidnapped Shasta Groene is a scumbag. Do I think he's a scumbag? (YES, I do) Do I need a broadcaster telling me she thinks he's a scumbag? (NO, I don't - unless we are having a personal conversation) Geraldo is guilty of this as well, and because of it I don't trust his reporting.

Another thing that upsets me is that people refer to Natalee's mom as Beth Holloway. That isn't her name, and neither is Beth Holloway Twitty. She is no longer married to Dave Holloway, so just call her Beth Twitty - please. She's Natalee's mother, she doesn't need the "Holloway" to give her pain more value. I'm offended that people like Nancy Grace put "Jug" Twitty, Beth's husband into the spotlight and not Dave Holloway. I have never seen Beth & Dave being interviewed at the same time, even if it was from two different locations. It's always Beth & "Jug" or Dave and his wife. Somehow I think "Jug's" pain at Natalee's disappearance pales to that of Dave's.

I have some real problems with this case, but I don't see many people asking these questions:

1. Why didn't someone look into where Natalee was when it was obvious that she didn't come back to the hotel by 4am... or 6am?

2. Why didn't someone ask questions when Natalee didn't make her way to catch her flight?

3. Why wasn't there a system in place to assure that the students were accounted for so that when Natalee didn't make the second flight an alarm would have been set off?

4. If Natalee had so many friends, why didn't her "friends" make sure that she was accounted for long before the time to meet for her flight home?

5. Why did her friends allow her leave Carlos & Charlie's with three men that nobody really knew?

6. Why aren't the "friends" and chaperones being called to task for their neglegence in failing to make sure Natalee was around to leave the island?

7. Why did the chaperones allow the second flight to take off without alerting the police that one of their students was missing?

I'm upset at how this is beinghandled, on all sides. The Aruban authorities have bungled this investigation. Natalee's friends and the chaperones mishandled the situation by not keeping tabs on all of the travellers. The media has oversaturated the airwaves with this story. And Beth Holloway has gone a bit too far in trying to find her daughter.

I'll list a few things I think Beth has done wrong in her search for Natalee:

A. She was staying in the very room that Natalee stayed in. I find this a bit creepy because at this point people had no idea that Natalee might not be found alive.

B. She went on record every day, on any network, expressing her outrage at the three main suspects.

C. She went too far by making a world appeal to not let the Kalpoe brothers have a safe harbor after they were released. She insulted the people of Aruba by insinuating they weren't helping enough,and calling the Kalpoe brothers "criminals" when that hasn't been proven ... yet.

D. She proceeded to "stalk" the Kalpoe brother who worked at the internet cafe. Beth Twitty went on Scarborough Country and announced that she was going to keep doing this harassing tactic, every day if necessary until he gave her answers.

E. The head of Equusearch did similar tactics with Joran Van Der Sloot's parents. He ended up being wanted for questioning by the police - for either harassing the Van Der Sloot's or disrupting the environment durring a search.

But there has been a bigger downside to "All Natalee - All The Time". There was a woman in Philadelphia that was also missing. Latoyia Figueroa was five months pregnant when she went missing after visiting the doctor with her baby's father. This story wasn't national headlines until after much blogger activity. Some said that if Latoyia was caucasin, blonde, with blue eyes maybe people like Nancy Grace would have cared more. A similar situation happened in Florida when a Hispanic girl's body was found burned. She wasn't given the attention that Jessica Lunsford was, and maybe she could have been saved if she was treated the same as Natalee Holloway, Shasta Groene, or a Jessica Lunsford.

Now a missing woman in Ohio is beginning to get Natalee-like coverage. Is Julie Popovich getting more coverage because she is a model & caucasin? Hopefully she will be found alive and well.

I wish the best for Natalee Holloway and her family. I pray that she is still alive and that she is returned to her family. I send out prayers for all the missing people, even the ones not getting much press. In my area of Pennsylvania we have a missing man, Ray Gricar - Centre County District Attorney. Ray has been missing since April 15th. He received some media attention. I called Fox News and gave them the info. Amazingly Gretta Van Susstren went to the location to report the story. Nancy Grace didn't give Ray much time, but I did see that she mentioned him after someone supposedly spotted him in Texas recently.

What I'm asking for is QUALITY reporting, not QUANTITY. Give equal time to ALL the missing people. Help bring them all home.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What's Your Excuse?

On August 24th, 2005 a fight happened outside a McDonald's in Pasco county, Florida between Martin Robless-Taylor and Anthony Makowski. I'm sure fights happen all the time, but this fight was different than most in that Anthony Makowski was killed. What makes this the subject of this blog is that the Florida State Attorney's Office isn't going to prosecute Martin Robless-Taylor because they are calling it an "excusable homocide".

A homicide is excusable when it is committed by accident in the course of doing any lawful act by lawful means or by accident in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation or upon a sudden combat without any dangerous weapon being used and not being done in a cruel or unusual manner.

Allegedly Makowski was the aggressor. Being 6 foot 4, 271 pounds, and 4 years younger than Robless-Taylor this might be easy to believe. The video from the drive-thru at the McDonald's recorded the incident, so it's not going to be hard to figure who was the aggressor.

"We enhanced the tape and the young man always doing the beating is the one who died," the Florida State Att orney's Office said. "It's self-explanatory."

Makowski died because Robless-Taylor put him in a choke hold. (supposedly only to stop Makowski from beating on him) Prosecutors say the videotape shows Makowski charging Robless-Taylor, then battering and body-slamming him. When Makowski jumped on top of Robless-Taylor (an Army-trained 25-year-old), Robless-Taylor put him into a choke hold.

Witnesses said the choke hold lasted from two to three minutes.

Robless-Taylor would have received training in hand-to-hand combat while in the military. Robless-Taylor would have been taught that it only takes 10 - 15 seconds to knock a person out with a choke hold. When the brain is denied blood flow and oxygen for two to three minutes it will cause death. It is unreasonable (or should I say impossible) for Robless-Taylor to not know this. It's the same as if a golden glove boxer kills a person in a street fight. The "victim" should be held to a higher standard because of his military training. Reasonable force to restrain Makowski would have stopped way short of "two to three minutes".

I'm trying to think which offense is more criminal: Robless-Taylor going too far to restrain Makowski or the Florida State Attorney that isn't prosecuting this case.

The fight began when Makowski was in a car behind Robless-Taylor, at the McDonald's drive-through, said Bruce Bartlett of the Florida's State Attorney's Office. "Mr. Makowski became agitated when it took longer, and he started to blow the horn although they were waiting for the McDonald's people," Bartlett said. "Words exchanged, and ultimately the victim's car pulled over and Martin Robless-Taylor walked toward the victim and the victim started to hit him on his face and continued to strike."

Alcohol may have fueled the brawl. Makowski's blood-alcohol level was 0.14, according to a sheriff's report. The attorney's office said all four men involved in the altercation had been drinking.

What isn't sure is the blood-alcohol level of Robless-Taylor. Is that because the police never bothered to find out? I'm not the only one who is offended that the prosecutor isn't putting much effort into this death. The parents of Anthony Makowski are outraged, as they should be.

Wayne and Cathy Makowski, are calling the lack of investigation a cover-up. "It's not a fair investigation and this is extreme injustice," Cathy Makowski told "Good Morning America.

"You really need to take that video frame by frame," Cathy Makowski said. "If you look at it slowly, you are going to see him [Anthony Makowski] not coming out like the state attorney would say, punching."

"The family is not happy," the state attorney's office acknowledged in a statement. "But legally speaking, we don't have a basis to pursue this case."

"That's nonsense," Wayne Makowski said. "The prosecutors need to bring the case to a grand jury, and those citizens need to decide if this is murder and should be tried … If they agree with the state attorney's office then that's fine, but this is an extreme abuse of justice."

If you feel this is an outrage, htne feel free to contact these people to complain:

State of Florida, State Attorney's Office, 13th Judicial Circuit
800 E. Kennedy Blvd.Tampa, FL 33602-4146
(813) 272-5400
(813) 222-2157

One final note is that looking at the video you can see about 10 people watching the fight. Why didn't they stop the fight? Why didn't they call the police sooner? Why didn't the guy in the car at the drive-thru do SOMETHING other than just gawk at the fight?

These people share some blame in Anthony Makowski's death, but Martin Robless-Taylor should be under arrest for murder.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Is Cindy Sheehan Stalking The President?

I'm all for the idea of free speech and the right to assemble/protest, but I think a person can go too far. My right to express myself by swinging my fist around extends only to the point before I hit someone with my fist. My rights can't infringe upon others. I think this idea has happened in the actions of Cindy Sheehan and her "friends" at the so-called "Camp Casey" outside the President's ranch at Crawford, Texas. Her claim of being a grieving mother is betrayed by her insane rantings. She dishonors her son by aligning herself with the radically liberal left like MoveOn.Org and Michael Moore. She is either too dumb or gullible to see that these people are using her and her pain to further their agenda. But Ms Sheehan is not an innocent in this, not by a long shot. When she compared the President to Hitler and a terrorist she lost any shred of credability she may have have had. (and it was a small shred) She also said that America is not worth dying for, and by doing that she shows that she deserves not one ounce of sympathy or respect from any American, let alone a past or present member of the Military. Cindy Sheehan has shown her stripes in her anti-American rhetoric. Her son CHOSE to join the military and serve his country. He died for his country, and to argue against that sacrifice demeans his call to duty. It's like Cindy is spitting on the grave of her son. But the dishonor isn't limited to that. These anti-war protesters have been using names of fallen soldiers for their cause without always getting permission. When a father took a cross with his son's name from their side and placed it on the side of those opposing the anti-war people, they just put another cross with his name on it back on the "Camp Casey" side. I have seen footage of "anti-war" protesters getting physical with those opposing them, pushing them on camera. So much for non-violent protest.

I believe that this protest has gone on long enough in Crawford. The local government should revoke any permits regarding assembly, and they should enforce parking on the roadway near the President's ranch. With people running down crosses and others randomly firing off guns, this is not far from a serious situation happening. If someone (ON EITHER SIDE) gets hurt it will be on Cindy Sheehan that the blame will fall. Now is the time for Ms Sheehan to mourn her son in private and let the radical liberal left follow the President, complaining about the war.

Here is the brutal truth Cindy Sheehan needs to understand:

1. The President isn't going to see you again.

President Bush has already seen you once. He knows your view that you want the troops home NOW. He doesn't share your opinion. And since you have gone to stalking him outside his ranch spewing your hate at him, can you blame him for not wanting to meet with you? Maybe if you hadn't called him a terrorist, or compared him to Hitler you might have had a chance. Maybe if you hadn't aligned yourself with & Michael Moore you might have got your meeting. Maybe if you didn't have Howard Dean's former P.R. man scripting you every move you might have got that meeting. But you chose a path that assured that you wouldn't get a meeting... or was that your desire from the beginning so that you could attack the President?

2. Your "friends" are using you.

They have an agenda and you fit in perfectly. When you are no longer useful to them they will drop you like yesterday's news.

3. You have disgraced your son, your family, and your country.

You, in your "grief" have alienated yourself from your husband, He has filed for divorce. Your mother is of poor health, and you have other children that need you. To paraphrase the bible, "Let the dead bury the dead, let the living deal with the living."

Cindy Sheehan, you should go home and take care of your mother. Spend time with your living children. Mourn Casey in a way that doesn't demean his service to our country. In short, it's time for you to MoveOn.