Archive for June, 2007

June 27, 2007

Ex-Marine teaches pickpocket a lesson

Good for him!

From Yahoo! News:

Tue Jun 26, 11:11 PM ET
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Bill Barnes says he was scratching off a losing $2 lottery ticket inside a gas station when he felt a hand slip into his front-left pants pocket, where he had $300 in cash.

He immediately grabbed the person’s wrist with his left hand and started throwing punches with his right, landing six or seven blows before a store manager intervened.

“I guess he thought I was an easy mark,” Barnes, 72, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story Tuesday.

He’s anything but an easy mark: Barnes served in the Marines, was an accomplished Golden Gloves boxer and retired after 20 years as an iron worker.

Jesse Daniel Rae, the 27-year-old Newaygo County man accused of trying to pick Barnes’ pocket, was arraigned Monday in Rockford District Court on one count of unarmed robbery, a 15-year felony.

Barnes said he had just withdrawn the money from a bank machine and put it in the pocket of his shorts before driving to the Marathon service station and Next Door Food Store in Comstock Park, a Grand Rapids suburb.

He remembers noticing a patron acting suspiciously, asking the price of different brands of cigarettes and other items. While turned away, Barnes felt the hand in his pocket, so he took action.

“I guess I acted on instinct,” he said.

Kent County sheriff’s deputies said the store manager quickly came around the counter. The three of them struggled through the front door, where two witnesses said the manager slammed Rae to the ground and held him there.

“There was blood everywhere,” said another manager on duty, Abby Ostrom, 25.

Barnes was a regional runner-up in Golden Gloves competition in the novice and open divisions before enlisting in the Marines in 1956.

He lived most of his adult life in Comstock Park with his wife, Patricia, before recently moving to Ottawa County. The couple have three children.

After retiring as an iron worker, he now works part-time as a starter at a golf course.

Barnes said he’d probably do the same thing again under the same circumstances, if for no other reason than what he would face back home.

“I wouldn’t want my wife to give me hell for lettin’ that guy get my money,” he said with a smile.

___

Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, http://www.mlive.com/grpress

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June 25, 2007

I changed my ethnic background on Myspace

I decided to tweak my Myspace profile under the ethnicity category.  Although I am more Asian than anything else, I just didn’t feel totally honest having that as my official race on my profile.  I feel like I am excluding other parts of my close family who are also a big part of who I am by just putting down one race. However, I do not want to put down “Other” as my ethnic background, either.  I put down EurAsian, Hapa, Caucinasian (I’m Irish/British, 1/8 American Indian, and 1/2 Korean, among other categories) and Amerasian (which is arguable since there are different definitions for the term “Amerasian”).

Some people think it might be ridiculous to have these terms for mixed races. They might think it’s going too far or getting too specific. But really, would those people feel comfortable denying one of their parents or grandparents?  Those people also probably don’t realize or forget that Hispanic is an ethnicity that is a mix of other ethnicities (Amerindian, Spanish, sometimes African/Black descent).

Taken from http://www.projectrace.com/aboutprojectrace:

About Project RACE

Biracial and multiracial people do not have a box to check on forms. Being forced to choose only one race forces us to deny one of our parents. It also requires us to do something illegal, since we are defining ourselves as something we are not.

Multiracial people should have the option of recognizing all of their heritage. “Multiracial” is important so that children have an identity, a correct terminology for who they are. “Other” means different, a label that no person should bear. Also, without proper racial and ethnic classifications, multiracial people are “invisible” in the health care system.

Mission Statement

Project RACE advocates for multiracial children and adults through education, community awareness and legislation. Our main goal is for a multiracial classification on all school, employment, state, federal, local, census and medical forms requiring racial data.

June 14, 2007

When I finally wasn’t broke, this happened…

Last week, I had to drop over $1200 on my car! I had to get the brakes done – but not just the brake pads and shoes. Oh, no. I had to get the pads, shoes, calipers, rotors, and the master cyllinder done.  And get this, it was only the back brakes that I got done. I had to spend $600 a few months ago getting a bunch of stuff done to the front brakes. My g-d. It’s ridiculous. And yes, I took my car to a few different places over the past few months, so the mechanic was telling me the truth – unless they all lied. I just hate the fact that it’s so hard to ever get a new car. Whenever I save up a little bit of money for a potential down payment, I have to spend it all on the car I have now. And it’s on stuff that I can’t just ignore.  I don’t want to end up killing someone because my brakes are shot.

So basically, I am broke for a while.  I won’t be able to see Margaret Cho or any of the awesome bands that are performing on the True Colors tour. It’s coming to town Sunday.

This kind of stuff is so frustrating.

June 14, 2007

10-year sentence for teen sex thrown out

Many of you have probably seen this article on Yahoo! News from a few days ago. I just think it’s sad this kid’s life is screwed up because some judge wanted to prove a point. He’s lost some of his most crucial years to this crap. I do believe that sex crimes are horrible. But when a 15 and 17 year old have consensual sexual relations, I do not believe it’s anywhere near the same thing as say… someone being sexually assaulted and forced to have sex.  And while a 17 year old maybe shouldn’t be getting oral sex from a 15 year old (of course, that’s debatable), it certainly shouldn’t have landed him any jail time, especially not ten years. They better let him out of jail NOW.

From http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070611/ap_on_re_us/teen_sex_case:

By SHANNON McCAFFREY, Associated Press Writer Mon Jun 11, 7:51 PM ET

ATLANTA – A former high school football star who became a national symbol for the extremes of getting tough on sex offenders was ordered released from prison Monday by a judge who called his mandatory 10-year sentence for consensual teen sex “a grave miscarriage of justice.”

But the joy felt by Genarlow Wilson’s family rapidly turned to disappointment as Georgia’s attorney general announced he would appeal, a move that will keep the honor student behind bars for now.

Wilson’s sentence was widely criticized as being too severe, even by members of the jury that convicted him and the author of the 1995 law that put him behind bars.

His case became a cause celebre that grew from local blogs and TV stations to national news shows and editorial pages. Some supporters, including former President Jimmy Carter, have said it raised questions about race and the criminal justice system. Wilson and five other males charged in the case are black, as are the two teenage girls involved.

“As far as I’m concerned, this case is a throwback to Southern justice,” said state Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat.

Wilson, homecoming king of his school, has served more than two years of a mandatory 10-year sentence for aggravated child molestation. He was captured on videotape having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2003 when he was 17.

If the sentence stands, he would also be placed on Georgia’s sex offender registry.

At the time of his crime, Wilson would have faced just one year in prison if he had sexual intercourse with the girl. The “Romeo and Juliet” exception in Georgia law also would have allowed him to avoid the sex offender registry.

Lawmakers last year voted to close that loophole. But the state’s top court said the new law could not be applied retroactively to Wilson, now 21.

Opponents of Wilson’s release said it could open a floodgate for other cases. Georgia prisons currently hold 189 inmates who were sentenced for aggravated child molestation when they were 21 or younger.

Of those, 56 percent were white and 44 percent black, state figures show.

Black community leaders planned a protest outside Attorney General Thurbert Baker’s office late Monday. Baker, who is black, is now pushing to keep Wilson in prison, arguing that his sentence is valid.

In his notice of appeal, Baker argued that Georgia law does not give a judge authority to reduce or modify the sentence imposed by the trial court. He said he would seek an expedited ruling from the Georgia Supreme Court. And he noted that a plea deal is on the table that would release Wilson in a maximum of five years and also remove him from the sex offender registry.

Not good enough, said Wilson’s lawyer, B.J. Bernstein.

“It is really ridiculous when you consider that we had a judge that just said it is a misdemeanor that carries no sex offender registration,” she said.

“It is extremely, extremely disturbing that the attorney general would take this action now.”

Bernstein said her office was seeking bond for Wilson, which would allow him to leave prison while the appeal is pending.

The judge’s ruling Monday threw out Wilson’s 10-year sentence and amended it to misdemeanor aggravated child molestation with a 12-month term, plus credit for time served, and he would not be required to register as a sex offender.

“The fact that Genarlow Wilson has spent two years in prison for what is now classified as a misdemeanor, and without assistance from this court, will spend eight more years in prison, is a grave miscarriage of justice,” wrote Judge Thomas H. Wilson, who is no relation to Genarlow Wilson.

“If this court or any court cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish … justice being served in a fair and equal manner,” the judge wrote.

When the judge’s order arrived Monday morning, Wilson’s lawyers applauded and hugged his mother, Juannessa Bennett, who wiped away tears.

“I just feel like a miracle happened,” Bennett said.

After the notice of appeal she looked stricken.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Bennett said.

Wilson’s prominent supporters included Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who declared he would boycott Georgia until Wilson was free, and Carter, who wrote a letter in support of Wilson to the state attorney general.

The court battle over Wilson’s fate also drew comparisons to the rape charges leveled against Duke University lacrosse players last year, with critics saying prosecutors in both cases overreached.

Wilson was also charged with rape for being one of several male partygoers at a hotel to have sex with another 17-year-old girl, but was acquitted. The party was captured on a videotape that was played for the jury.

The five other male partygoers took plea deals in the case. One of them has been released from prison and is now in college.

June 3, 2007

Good looking people in grocery stores

Has anyone else noticed that more good looking people shop and work at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s than at regular grocery stores? Maybe it’s just my weird taste.
The one downside to this is that I usually go grocery shopping after rolling out of bed and so I don’t particularly look my best.