Saturday, June 30, 2012

Prayers for Colorado

Voter ID Laws- why the fuss?

I guess I'm missing something. I really want you to educate me. I have lived in four major cities and worked with homeless/mentally ill/disadvantaged populations. Everyone i knew had a photo ID.
 One cannot get food stamps, assistance checks, medical help without one. One cannot get ANYTHING without a photo ID.

Everyone i know has an ID. pharmacy, beer, drving, flying, smokes, writing checks, little cigarrillos--cashing  checks--Everyone.
Why is the argument made that 1) this will Disenfranchise poor voters, and 2) people who want to make sure voter rolls are correct are evil or agenda-driven?

Really, what am i missing?
In fact, when i first started hearing about the issue I felt a little troubled, then ticked off --that people assume that the poor or mentally ill (or really!? people of a certain race!) are too what--Feeble? WEAK? to be like the "REST OF US" ??
That seems really patronizing to me.

so someone tell me what i am missing. srysly. i am not arguing, i am asking.

One arguing view HERE

another arguing view here

Can't we all just get along???

Does a Derecho (Land Hurricane)- Bring Land Sharks?!

Super Derecho, batman! Freaky stormcloud images portend 90 mile an hour winds
from crazy Chicago land to Indiana to Washington D.C.
 Picture Site HERE.
Damage story HERE

Timelapse weather radar click HERE

super derecho in chicago
stormclouds in indianapolis

Here's a li'l somsin fer ya: COOL and SUPErCOOL

A derecho is a land hurricane. Of most concern: Do  they bring land sharks??

Knock knock

Stunning clouds formation after a tornado here in kansas click HERE

Thursday, June 28, 2012

thursday june 28 2012

The Road

 country road at sunset
 country road sunset
 Country road shadows
 clouds at sunset
 Kansas skies
 sun and clouds

Cox Brothers Bar B Que Tonight- Contest!

HOly SMokin Pulled pork-- a "Barbeque-off?
so, bud and bobby are gonna have a contest and you have to eat barbque? I'm in.
HERE is the Site.

more cox brothers HERE

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pinterest Beauty

Some of my friends' faves from pinterest:

Bomb-sniffing Dog Eli Adopted

Pfc. Colton Rusk, killed in Afghanistan by a taliban sniper, spoke of Eli so much the family thought of him as part of the family. Here is the bittersweet picture and story: click on pic to enlarge.
More beautiful Black Labs HERE

More Military Dog stories click  HERE and also HERE


soldiers returning home to Good Dogs: dogs-welcome-home-their-deployed-troops

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Capital Murder Trial for Luis Aguirre: Day Three; Forensic Pathologist Dr. Erik Mitchell's Testimony

Photo Credit HERE
Dr. Erik Mitchell, who performed the autopsies on the bodies of Tanya and Juan Maldonado, testified regarding the cause of death of the two victims. He has practiced medicine and served as a forensic pathologist in North Carolina, Florida, New York, and Kansas. His focus is on disease/injury/pathology involved in death; he also served on a Child Death Review Board which reviewed ALL deaths of children in Kansas; part of this was to determine paths of prevention.
He described one element of his job as collecting as much information as possible, in order to have context and greater perspective in determining the causes of death. The Riley County coroner asked for his assistance. He has performed over 11,000 autopsies.
Dr. Mitchell's testimony
contradicted the various stories told by the defendant as to causes of death. Using photos to buttress his testimony, he suggested that there was serious blunt force trauma to both mother and child; this trauma was to the left side of the chest and was much greater on the body of Tanya than of Juan. Dr. Mitchell suggested that this was due to the greater force needed to subdue an adult compared to the force needed to subdue a 13 month-old child.
He discussed how blood moves when tissue is living; how trauma appears when it occurs pre- or post- mortem.
During the testimony, autopsy pictures were briefly shown that reflected the bruising that went clear to the bone of the chest. The picture that was most moving for me was one that showed a hair tie, still around Tanya's ponytail. Although I know the spirit and soul of Tanya was no longer connected to the remains, nonetheless the hairtie is such a small, human thing. The act of pulling one's hair into a tie is so common that seeing that photo for 2 seconds brought a flood of feeling for our humble humanity.

Photo of Dr. Erik Mitchell: HERE

Dr. Mitchell tesitfied that in his opinion, the deaths were not accidental. He also stated that the possibility of two healthy people dying accidentally within minutes of each other was infinitesimally small.

Read more details of Erik Mitchell's testimony: story by Lindsey Rogers at Channel 13 WIBW-- excerpt:
"...Mitchell says he could not tell exactly how the victims died because of the lapse in time before they died and when their bodies were found. Animals had also disturbed their remains. Mitchell told the jury he found evidence of blunt force trauma on Tanya’s chest consistent with injuries he’s seen in major falls and in people who have been hit by a car. He also found hemorrhaging on Juan’s chest that was similar to his mother’s injuries but not as severe. He said he did not find any injuries consistent with CPR being performed..."

Murder Trial: Day One opening statements HERE
Day two: click HERE
Dr. Spencer Tomb's testimony: HERE

Closing statements click HERE

Nora Ephron, 1941-2012

A woman after my own heart. Nora Ephron passed tonight, at age 71,
 "...The cause was pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia, her son Jacob Bernstein said.
In a commencement address she delivered in 1996 at Wellesley College, her alma mater, Ms. Ephron recalled that women of her generation weren’t expected to do much of anything. But she wound up having several careers, all of them successfully and many of them simultaneously.
She was a journalist, a blogger, an essayist, a novelist, a playwright, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director — a rarity in a film industry whose directorial ranks were and continue to be dominated by men..."  so says charles mcgrath, (   ), who quotes Meryl Streep saying that Nora was "...'a stalwart. You could call on her for anything: doctors, restaurants, recipes, speeches, or just a few jokes, and we all did it, constantly,' she wrote in her e-mail. 'She was an expert in all the departments of living well'.”
 He noted that " In an essay for The New York Times in 2003, she said she was also probably the only intern that President John F. Kennedy had never hit on..."
more here:

"Everything is copy," she said.

I'm gonna find a tree to chop down...

I love you, but you don't know what you're talking about...   
I can't WAIT to see Moonrise Kingdom.

rotten tomatoes here

Women Against Sharia Law and Southpark Threats

Remember when Southpark TV show was in a little hot water for sort of depicting someone? Well, time passes, arrests are made, convictions happen. Southpark is offensive to most religions and to atheists and to animals and most plant life as well as being scorchingly funny.
more click HERE:
"...A Muslim convert from New York was sentenced on Friday to 11-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to threatening the writers of the satirical "South Park" television show for their depiction of the Prophet Mohammad and to other criminal charges. Jesse Curtis Morton, 33, who is also known as Younus Abdullah Muhammed, was put on three years of probation after he completes his prison term. The sentence was handed down in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, the U.S. Justice Department said. Morton, who ran a website that encouraged Muslims to engage in violence against enemies of Islam, pleaded guilty in February to making threatening communications, using the Internet to put others in fear and using his position as leader of the Revolution Muslim organization's Internet sites to conspire to commit murder..."

Women Against Shariah blog profile here:

More on Shariah Law HERE

100 Pimps arrested for enslaving teenage girls and boys in the U.S.

What do you call arresting 100 pimps? A small start.
The recent FBI arrest/rescue story HERE.

Yes, there is Human Trafficking in the USA. See more about domestic trafficking here and our own story,  more HERE

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Capital Murder Trial of Luis Aguirre: Testimony of Dr. A. Spencer Tomb

At 10 a.m. on day four of the capital murder trial of Luis Aguirre, the prosecution intended to bring in an expert witness regarding the findings at the grave site.
Opening statements click here day 1

Day two witnesses click HERE

This expert witness was the focus of the court for the rest of the day. The defense team decided to argue to the court that the testimony of this witness should not be allowed to be given/admitted. So the jury was not in the room when the arguments took place.
Eventually, Judge Wilson ruled that the Botanist could testify.
Dr. A. Spencer Tomb
Kansas State University Division of Biology

Dr. Tomb had received his PhD. in 1970 from University of Texas in Cytogenetics. At KSU his focus is on "systematic botany; evolution of flowering plants, cytogenetics,
and palynology. Betcha don't know what that means.

Wiki say, Palynology is defined as "the study of microscopic objects of macromolecular organic composition (i.e. compounds of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen), not capable of dissolution in hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acids."[2] It is the science that studies contemporary and fossil palynomorphs, including pollen, spores, orbicules, dinocysts, acritarchs, chitinozoans and scolecodonts, together with particulate organic matter (POM) and kerogen found in sedimentary rocks and sediments. Palynology does not include diatoms, foraminiferans or other organisms with siliceous or calcareous exoskeletons.

Palynology is an interdisciplinary science and is a branch of earth science (geology or geological science) and biological science (biology), particularly plant science (botany). Stratigraphical palynology is a branch of micropalaeontology and paleobotany which studies fossil palynomorphs from the Precambrian to the Holocene.

For  a list of Dr. Tomb's published writings: CLICK HERE. He particularly studies sunflowers.

OK, so the first thing RCPD investigations wants to do after the discovery of human remains, is determine the who what where when, eventually why.
As i mentioned earlier, but for the fortuitously preserved fingerprint, which survived many things including animal activity, the "who" might have been difficult if not impossible. Eventually, i suppose, a missing woman and son report and other factors could have led to probable identification. But decomposition, when assisted by animal activity, may well have eliminated all remains within a fairly short period of time.
The night the criminal activity was discovered, detectives wanted to know how long the grave had been there. Someone, Detective Ratiger, i think, thought to call on K-State's Dr. Spencer Tomb, who had assisted RCPD a few times in the past in more minor criminal cases. The point of calling in Dr. Tomb was specifically to assist in dating the grave siteSince it was now mid-late October, and there had clearly been animal activity and the passing of time since the bodies had been buried, the movement of the seasons offered clues to this question. Mid-September through late October in fact would be rich in timeline clues since this is the summer -to -autumn moment, with its frosts, freezes, leaf fall, etc.
Dr. Spencer Tomb arrived at the scene and began to make observations. The defense on cross-examination hit him hard about not taking notes. I understand this, but i also know that simple quiet observation is the key to insight and aha moments.
I recall, when learning the science of therapy,
the real Art of it came to me in a zen koan:
As the roof was leaking, a Zen master told the two monks to bring something to catch the water. One brought a tub, the other a basket. The first was severely reprimanded, the second highly praised.
That is, one must listen quietly.
One must allow the rhythm of reality to wash over one, to join with what the truth is without words, rather than try to collect, hoard, detail each and every--- oh, you know what i mean.
OK interruptions abound.  i post, but shall return to this post later to expand.
 So, after lunch
 the jury came back into the courtroom. Dr. Tomb's credentials were described. Dr. Tomb is loquacious and humorous, and i think the jury got a good sense of the man as a truthful, thoughtful individual with a great deal of knowledge regarding botany. He is currently working on a book for children, to increase their interest in plants. When a question was asked, "What is a plant?" Dr. Tomb mentioned that a plant is AUTOTROPIC--capable of making their own energy [e.g., turning sunlight and inorganic materials into nutrient life for themselves] which i have always found very cool and mysterious.
(The defense on cross asked rather snarkily whether he had training in CSI? Had training in analyzing crime scenes? Of course, is this typically asked of say, expert witnesses in psychology or PTSD? They asked, have any of your publications involved crime scene analysis?-he answered, 'Not Yet'. heh.)
Dr. Tomb testified
that he walked about the burial site, first right under the Box Elder trees which formed a canopy over the grave, then continued out further and further into the soybean fields. He noted the variety of plant life and the effects of the fall weather.
The defendant watched this witness, more than any other. He had rarely looked up during the trial. He seemed to hang on every word of Dr. Tomb.
Dr. Tomb discussed the "borrowed dirt" that is left behind when someone fills a hole back in again, and how all the dirt cannot be replaced, He discussed the Broam grass that surrounded the grave and how some of it remained under chunks of dirt, the tops dry but the bottom still green with chlorophyll. He spoke about Box elders, how they are not anyone's favorite tree but they do withstand drought and so have been planted all around the world. He told the story of being near the Mongolian border (can you say 'siberia') with some Russian botanists out in the field and lo and behold-the single tree visible was "An old friend from home"-the Box elder. (This made the jury smile, even Sleepy man in the back; even Intense Girl, my favorite juror, was sleepy today.)

Dr. Spencer Tomb and his Golden
 The testimony was that the grave
had been dug recently,
perhaps 4-6 weeks.
He indicated this to the detectives on October 26-27 2009. Luis Aguirre had brought Tanya and Juan Maldonado to his Ogden apartment on September 21, 2009. (full story in the Manhattan Mercury here. by Katherine Wartell).
So-this gave detectives a good start in constructing a timeline.
However, Dr. Tomb observed something else. Leaves do various things, like "crinkle" when there is a light frost. Hard freezes, drought, early dropping, etc. are the stuff his expertise is made up of--and as Dr. Tomb was examining the area of the grave right up next to the bodies, which were not yet removed, something caught his eye. Under the body of Tanya Maldonado, there appeared to be just peeking out, flat leaves. Leaves that had been unaffected by freeze or frost. In fact, there seemed to be, perhaps, layers of flat leaves.
Working with investigations, Dr. Tomb obtained several samples of the mud/leaf layer which had remained undisturbed beneath certain parts of the body of the deceased. Spencer Tomb took these samples and through analysis--including a turn of fortuitous serendipity which he will no doubt publish in a journal-- determined that there had been significant leaf fall into the grave before the bodies were laid inside. At least 12 hours, perhaps 4-5 days must have passed between the digging of the shallow grave and the laying of the bodies.
Obviously, this directly contradicts the testimony of the accused that the grave was hastily dug and the victims immediately laid inside. Dr. Tomb had a detailed powerpoint presentation he used to explain the findings to the jury. There appeared to be at least three layers of the flat leaves under the bodies.

Mother Nature tells the truth.