Archive for September 2009

Vitter To Face Sanctions From La Bar?

September 30, 2009

No way it’ll happen, but this complaint is still awesome:

A Washington-based public watchdog group said Tuesday it has asked a Louisiana state agency that reviews lawyer conduct to investigate allegations that U.S. Sen. David Vitter solicited prostitutes. . . .

CREW’s letter notes that solicitation for prostitution is illegal in Louisiana and the District of Columbia. It cites the state court system’s Rules of Professional Conduct, which state that committing a crime constitutes misconduct. Complaints, if found valid, can lead to penalties ranging from private reprimands to disbarment by the state Supreme Court.

My first thought at reading that was that this is old news, nothing happened when it broke, nothing will happen now. The reasoning, though, is what makes it great:

CREW executive director Melanie Sloan stated, “Sen. Vitter’s zeal to see ACORN criminally investigated for offering advice in setting up a prostitution ring reminded me he has yet to be held accountable for his own role in a prostitution ring. While ACORN’s conduct is indefensible, so is Sen. Vitter’s and what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”

Tough to argue with that. Vitter doesn’t, either, simply accusing CREW (Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington) of being a partisan group. They aren’t, they’ve previously attacked Mary Landrieu and their current list of most corrupt congressmen is evenly split between the parties. But even if they were, that has nothing to do with the validity of the charges. If he solicited a prostitute, he broke the law and therefore the rules of professional conduct. He shouldn’t get a pass. He will. But he shouldn’t.

Mountain Bike Season Is Here

September 29, 2009

Tonight I enjoyed the best mountain bike ride I’ve had since probably last April.

First, my bike worked. Sometime last spring I caught a stick or something between my rear wheel and my rear derailer. Result: Bent derailer hangar. What that means is that no amount of adjusting would aline the derailer with the rear cogset. With the two out of line, shifting was iffy at best. Sometimes the chain would respond correctly to shifts, sometime it wouldn’t go at all, sometimes it would rattle and then go about ten or fifteen seconds after I needed to change. Not having the skills to fix it myself and not wanting to spend the money to take it to the shop, I basically rode a single speed for the last five months. Eventually that got old, so I took it to the shop last week. Now it rides like new. Sweet.

Second, my favorite local trails – the Stoner woods system – are in the best shape since the tornadoes last spring. After those things blew through the area, most of the trails were blocked entirely or at least covered in debris. Not long afterwards, the weather heated up and then we had all kinds of rain in July. With the trails a sloppy steamy mess, no one rides them. With no riders, no one wants to fix them, either. Thankfully, with the return of fall, the truly dedicated have cleared out many of the trails. South of the Shreveport Barksdale Bridge parts of the trails are still under water, north of the bridge, though, everything is perfect. No debris, nice tacky surface, a few new trails that make for some sweet loops: It is fun, fun, fun.

Finally, the weather. Evening rides at Stoner are always nice, the sun sets behind you making the river beautiful. We don’t have many scenic views around here, but this is one of them. More than the blue sky and vibrant late evening colors, it was the temperature that made the ride. Low seventies at the start with no humidity. For months, the idea of “cold” or “cool” or even “comfortable” has been completely inconceivable. I mean, during the summer you know at some point you will again wear long sleeves. But that’s it, you just know it, like some academic fact you accept as true even if you don’t understand it. On the way home tonight, though, I almost felt like I could be wearing long sleeves.

All in all, the perfect way to spend an evening after work.

Just A Good Ole Boy

September 29, 2009

This guy is still at work:

Jim Thompson, principal at Stockwell Place Elementary in Bossier City, was booked into a Bossier Parish jail Sept. 18 with bond set at $2,300. Besides DWI and speeding, the Benton Police Department also charged Thompson with having an open container of alcohol and littering.

Benton Police Chief Charles Pilkinton said Thompson threw a Bud Light beer bottle out of a moving vehicle and hit the chief’s personal pickup parked outside his Pine Street home. Pilkinton hopped in his pickup and followed Thompson, in a late-model Toyota Avalon, and radioed for help. A Bossier sheriff’s deputy and Benton police officer in a marked car pulled Thompson, who was alone in the car, over on Linton Cutoff, near Cypress Bayou Reservoir.

Drunk driving and throwing s**t out of a vehicle in a residential neighborhood! Nice! This isn’t just getting drunk at the house; this is endangering people’s lives and property. Not really the example educators ought to set. Thompson will now have zero credibility with teachers and students.

As for why this guy is still working, my first thought was, well, he hasn’t been convicted yet. But if this was in Caddo, he’d be on paid administrative leave until the case was settled. Then I saw this quote:

Superintendent D.C. Machen Jr. said there isn’t anything under Bossier Parish School District policy that would punish employees for misdemeanor charges.

That means even if Thompson is convicted, he will still be principal at Stockwell. There’s a reason people like working in Bossier’s education system. This, however, is taking loyalty to employees way too far.

Misleading Lede? Or Double Standards In Sex Offender Cases

September 28, 2009

Here’s the lede:

A former North DeSoto High School teacher will not spend any time behind bars after admitting today to having an improper relationship with one of her teenage students earlier this year.

The teacher, a 23 year old female, had consensual sex with a 16 year old male student.

Given those facts, and the lede, the comments to the story are mostly some variety of “What? If the sexes were reversed the teacher would never see the light of day!” Probably true, but I think the outrage is a bit premature. It might be that she does not face jail time yet.

This story first broke last spring, when DeSoto authorities discovered inappropriate text messages between the student and the teacher. However, the actual sex took place in Shreveport, where she was charged with molestation of a juvenile. She just pled in DeSoto to indecent behavior with a juvenile. The story makes that much clear. What it does not make clear is whether or not she still faces the charges in Shreveport, or whether the plea also included an agreement with the Shreveport authorities. Obviously, the molestation charges would be more serious and would probably result in jail time. If they do not? Then it’s time to ask about double standards.

AT&T Sucks

September 26, 2009

So we go to send an e-mail but find the internet is out. Annoying, but not a surprise, AT&T’s internet service is ridiculously unreliable. When we try to call, though, we find annoyance number two:  The phone is out, too. Time to pick up the cell and call customer service.

Now for annoyance number three. The animated answering service tells us “Your area is experiencing a high volume of calls right now due to . . . [new voice enters after time to think of an excuse] severe weather [new voice ends] please stay on the line and a service representative will be with you.” It’s sunny and eighty degrees. Hasn’t stormed in over a week.

Finally someone picks up. Now the annoyances turn into white hot rage. She runs some over the phone check and discovers the problem is with the line. Now, guess who was out at the pole not ten minutes before we noticed our service was out? Yep. An AT&T tech. So what do you think happened? Did a squirrel happen to chew through the line at the same time the tech was outside? Or did the tech screw up our line while servicing someone else’s? Of course it was their fault. But hey, the guy only left ten minutes ago, so surely he can come right back and fix his mistake, right? Right? RIGHT? Oh no, says the sales rep, we have no way of contacting the techs, and hmmm, let me look this up, it will be uhh, NEXT M.F.’N SATURDAY before anyone else can come fix it!

In sum, AT&T f**ked up my phone and internet and will now wait a week before fixing it.

Thankfully, this is the age of the internet. We’ve already found a new internet service provider and as soon as that’s done, we’re going Vonage.

For now though, I’m posting from the library. I doubt I’ll post again until we have the new service at home. That’ll be before next Saturday, but it’ll still probably be a few days. In the meanwhile, anyone with a blog who reads this, do me a favor and send some link love. Unlike Lance Armstrong, whose complaint about AT&T to his two million followers on Twitter got him service in no time, I don’t have much of an audience. Still, I’d love to spread the shame as far as possible.

Celebrate Banned Books Week

September 25, 2009

Starts tomorrow.

In spite of their stereotype as hushing meanies, librarians are all secret subversives. I didn’t realize banned books week was next week until our last trip to the library. They had a big display set up, in the children’s section. It was as if they were intentionally flipping off all the busybodies who “for the sake of the children” would burn all those books. Loved it.

Because Being In The State’s Care Will Be A Big Improvement

September 24, 2009

Guy busted growing pot for his own use, kids taken by state.

To be fair, the article isn’t clear whether there is a causal relationship between the two, saying the cops discovered the pot while in the home “following up on a child welfare concern.” Maybe the welfare concern was independent of the drugs and enough by itself to justify removing the kids.

If not, that Dad gets high certainly is not so bad that it justifies ripping the kids out of the home. What’s worse for them? Pops toking after they go to bed? Or becoming nomads marched at the state’s orders from family members to foster care to who knows where else with never any certain idea where they’ll be next week. Maybe neither is perfect, but the latter situation seems like it would be much worse for the kids.