Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Trial against Fr. Robinson begins

The murder trial of sister Margaret Ann Pahl can be seen on court tv.

The news:

Witnesses recall scene in priest's murder trial
Testimony begins in nun's slaying
Assistant county prosecutor Dean Mandros questions a witness and uses a mannequin to illustrate how the victim's body was found in the 1980 slaying of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

In the first day of testimony in the Rev. Gerald Robinson's murder trial, a nun said the killing in 1980 appeared to be "ritualistic," and a retired police officer said Father Robinson lied when he told investigators that the killer had confessed to him.

Sister Phyllis Ann Gerold, a nurse and administrator who lived and worked with the victim at the then-Mercy Hospital, told a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury yesterday that she has seen "quite a few" deaths in her career but none like that of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.
The April 5 crime scene filled her with horror, the nun said under questioning by Dean Mandros, a Lucas County assistant prosecutor.

Sister Phyllis Ann Gerold said the murder scene was sad and horrifying.

"It was terribly strange and sad and horrifying," Sister Phyllis Ann, 76, said.
Sister Margaret Ann had gone into the sacristy - where the Holy Eucharist is kept between Good Friday and Easter Sunday - to prepare for the evening's Mass.
The nun, described as a "perfectionist" who would have turned 72 the next day, was strangled nearly to death, then stabbed 31 times. Her blue uniform jumper was pulled up around her chest and her undergarments were pulled down around her ankles, exposing her nakedness, Mr. Mandros said.
The nun's arms were at her sides and her legs were extended straight out.
"I felt horror," Sister Phyllis Ann said. The victim's body was lying "so straight ... people usually don't die so straight."
Mr. Mandros used a mannequin, with gray hair and a blue jumper like Sister Margaret Ann's, to illustrate how the victim's body and clothing were found.
The prosecution team showed some photos of Sister Margaret Ann and a 1980 picture of Father Robinson, maps of the hospital's floor plan, and some grisly black-and-white crime scene photos.
Sister Phyllis Ann said she tried desperately, but in vain, to find the sacristy's phone to call for emergency help.
Her memories of that moment are vivid even 26 years afterward, she said. She noticed that the victim's face was "very swollen," which she said happens when a victim is stabbed in the chest and air is sucked into the body.
Defense attorney Alan Konop challenged the accuracy of the witnesses' memories and, at one point, shouted at retired Toledo police Lt. William Kina, saying angrily that his testimony was based not on his own notes, but on "recall and reports supplied to you by the prosecutor's office."
"That's true," the retired police officer replied.
Sister Phyllis Ann also said she was surprised that she did not see any blood at the scene, although crime scene photos showed blood on Sister Margaret Ann's jumper in the chest and neck areas.
Sister Phyllis Ann said she believed the killing was "ritualistic."
Under cross-examination by Mr. Konop, one of Father Robinson's four defense attorneys, the nun said she did not have experience with ritual killings but that the "weirdness" of the scene gave her that impression.
It was "unnatural," she said.
In opening statements Friday, Mr. Mandros said Sister Margaret Ann had been strangled with such force that the killer broke two bones in her neck and burst blood vessels in her eyes.
The nun, barely alive, was laid on the floor and stabbed nine times over the heart in the shape of an upside down cross. The killer then covered her body with an altar cloth and stabbed her 22 more times, according to the prosecution.
The retired police lieutenant said yesterday that investigators in 1980 quickly decided that the killer must have known the victim because, he said, "it would take somebody with a vendetta to kill someone in such a ferocious manner."
He also said a police examiner told him the nun's wounds were made by a knife-like object at least three inches long with a blade no wider than half an inch.
When Lieutenant Kina and Detective Art Marx went to Father Robinson's apartment, they opened a desk drawer and found a "saber-type letter opener" about a foot long with a narrow, four-sided blade, a knuckle guard, and a medallion, the lieutenant said.
Lucas County's cold-case squad used blood-transfer pattern analysis to link the letter opener to the murder, Mr. Mandros said.
Lieutenant Kina and Detective Marx interviewed Father Robinson about two weeks after the killing and said during questioning the Toledo priest claimed that another person had confessed to him that he killed the nun. When pressed, Father Robinson "admitted it was a lie," Lieutenant Kina said.
The retired police officer also said that two witnesses told police they heard someone running in the hallway - one called it "frantic footsteps" - around the time of the murder and that they stopped in front of Father Robinson's apartment.
Sister Madalyn Marie Gordon, the first person to find Sister Margaret Ann's body, said she noticed a small man "in a big hurry" going down a hallway toward an exit around the time of the killing.
Sister Madalyn Marie said she went to the chapel to help Sister Margaret Ann get ready for that evening's Holy Saturday Mass. The nun, who was the chapel's organist, said she entered the sacristy to call Father Robinson about the music for that evening's Mass.
Speaking softly and sadly, her hands folded in her lap, Sister Madalyn Marie said when she walked into the room, her "first thought" was that someone had left a CPR mannequin on the terrazzo floor. She also noticed that there was no blood. But when she bent down to take a closer look, she realized her friend had been killed.
"I was in there a matter of seconds. Then I ran out of the sacristy and screamed," the nun said.
Her screams brought doctors, nurses, and nuns to the scene, but it was too late to save Sister Margaret Ann's life.
If convicted, Father Robinson faces a possible sentence of life in prison.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Stop the Conservative overthrow

If you desire a stranger whom opposes you and your beliefs to control your rights then continue to be indifferent about the current direction of our country. If you desire an institution that intimidates , misleads, corrupts itself, you and your rights then continue to be indifferent about the current direction of our country. If you are in denial of the injustices of the past then continue to be indifferent about the direction of our country. If not, leave this blog briefly and email your Senator, and demand that he or she to vote against the nomination of Samuel Alito.

Your Senators will respond to your email. Your Senators always need to know your interests. Blame yourself if our government ignores your demands not communicated to it.

U.S. Senate website

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sort of abandoned this blog

As you can tell I dont write much on this blog. Once TalkingPointsMemo.com opened a community blog, TPMCafe.com, I blog there mostly.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Senator Levin avoids discussing the Federalist Society

Last week I wrote Senators Levin and Stabenow about my concerns regarding the Federalist Society. I'm sure all of us have been under the impression that the courts are independent of political agendas. Our impression is fading fast thanks to conservative efforts to corrupt the courts.

Liberal minded justices such as Earl Warren interpreted the law his own way, he was not a member of a liberal effort to influence the courts. Conservatives have for decades resented justice Warren's liberal viewpoints and have been trying to convince people that he was a member of a liberal machine, entirely false. Conservatives also obviously believe their own delusion and have felt the need to see their delusion (political influence of independent courts) realized with the creation of the conservative Federalist Society in the 80's. So truth be told, it is conservatives not liberals who are bringing politics into the courts to their detriment. The Federalist Society is to blame and nominee Priscilla Owen (former Episcopalian who left the church because of its support for homosexuals) is the organizations newest success story.

I am very concerned that the successful efforts of the Federalist Society will become common place and there wont be fair justice in the courts. I had hoped Senator Levin would comment on the society and agree that it is corrupting the courts and act against it. But his staff only offer the dry, non confrontational letter to my concerns. Poor effort Senator Levin

Dear Mr. Lathrop:

Thank you for contacting me about the appointment of judges to the federal bench. I appreciate hearing your views on this matter.

The Constitution established three separate but equal branches of government. Among the checks and balances provided for in the Constitution, it gives the President the authority to nominate individuals to the Supreme Court and to other federal courts and gives the Senate the responsibility of carefully evaluating judicial nominees and exercising independent judgment in deciding whether to confirm them. The Senate's constitutional duty to advise and consent on the President's nominations to the federal courts is particularly important given that these are lifetime positions.

Overall, the agreement reached by a bipartisan group of 14 Senators on May 23, 2005, to avert the so-called "nuclear option" was a positive outcome. For more than 200 years, the rules and traditions of the United States Senate have protected minority rights and the system of checks and balances through the right of senators to extended debate. Senate rules require 60 votes to end debate in the Senate and to bring a matter to a vote whether that matter is legislative, ratification of a treaty or the confirmation of a nomination. Throughout the Senate's history, this rule has served not only to protect the minority, but also to encourage senators in the majority and the minority to work out their differences. The agreement reached on May 23rd preserves the traditions of the Senate and does not break the Senate's rules to amend the rules, as the "nuclear option" would have done.

More than 200 of President Bush's nominees have been considered by the full Senate, and only a handful have failed to achieve confirmation. Over 95 percent of President Bush's nominees have been confirmed, resulting in the lowest vacancy rate in the federal courts in over 13 years. This contrasts with more than 60 of President Clinton's judicial nominees who were denied even a vote in the Republican controlled Judiciary Committee and therefore were blocked. One independent observer of the nominations process, political scientist Sheldon Goldman of the University of Massachusetts, concluded that "the Bush administration has been spectacularly successful in getting the overwhelming proportion of its judicial nominations confirmed."

With regard to the few judicial nominees of President Bush who were brought to the Senate floor but did not achieve confirmation, each of them has either failed to demonstrate a record or demeanor worthy of a lifetime appointment or demonstrated views that placed them outside the mainstream of the American legal profession. After careful consideration, I could not support these nominees. I will continue to give full and fair consideration to each of the President's judicial nominees as they come before the Senate for confirmation.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Carl Levin

Im live on TPM Cafe

Well it didnt take long to get published at the cafe. My first article is here.

My first contribution to TPM Cafe

Josh Marshall of the internet's most popular liberal blog, Talking Points Memo, has started a new blog TPM Cafe. I have enjoyed reading Josh's monologue at TPM but have always felt he should share. My blog at least allows for comments to my posts, his does not. His new blog is even better because now we his readers can contribute fully. I joined and posted the article below. The article didnt post automatically I guess Josh reads the article and decides to post it. So if Josh feels my article is worthy of posting I'll be grateful to him. In the mean time I have it here for your reading pleasure.

Yes, I wrote and called the Daily Show to get them to interview Senator Leticia Van de Putte because I'm sure they would do the story right.

Democrat legalizes sex

The same sex marriage debate has gotten everyone in government talking about sex. Visiting your state congress during its debate will turn your trip from a dull one to a very interesting one indeed. Recently Texas debated the same sex issue and one Democrat considered an interesting approach to defeating anti-same sex marriage legislation, mandating sexual intercourse for heterosexual couples.

Throughout the nation state legislators are debating and defeating or adopting same sex marriage rights. Homosexuals are losing the fight and sympathetic Democrats may or may not lose on Election Day as well. The same-sex marriage issue is the make it or break it issue for the Democratic Party.

Averages of fifty percent of the members of the Democratic aisle of state legislations have voted against same-sex marriage bans. Practically every Republican in the debating states has voted for the ban and Republicans aren’t ashamed to use their position to win them seats in their state congresses. Only time will tell if Democratic support for same-sex rights will help or hurt the Democratic Party.

In Texas where same-sex advocates know they’ll lose before the debate even begins, one Democratic Senator was brave enough to try a novel approach to defeating anti-same-sex legislation. Leticia Van de Putte (D) along with nine other Democratic Senators dissented against the majority opinion (21) on banning same-sex rights. Weeks before the state house had passed the ban by a vote of 101-29. All twenty nine no votes were Democrats. The ban of same-sex rights is a done deal in Texas all that is needed next is the sure to be realized support of the Texas voters.

How then to defeat legislation that discriminates? Senate Democrats tried delaying tactics but you can’t delay forever. Democrats instead made several attempts to amend the bill with language sure to shock and disgust the Republican majority and hopefully cause the defeat of the entire bill. Senator Jaun Hinojasa (D) introduced amendment no 7 which stated, “This state may not recognize a marriage if either party to the marriage has previously been married three or more times in this state or in another jurisdiction." Multiply married and divorced Republican and Democratic constituents are sure to object to that idea. Senator Hinojasa withdrew the amendment.

It was Senator Van de Putte’s amendment that is oh so revealing of her interests and her sense of humor that lightened the mood of the contentious three hour debate. President Bush speaks of his mandate and apparently Senator Van de Putte is in favor of the concept of mandates and so a mandate for sex in the Texas State constitution might be desired by Texas voters greatly desiring to be mandated upon. Amendment no 8 of House Joint Resolution Six is one such mandate that many Americans might possibly desire. It mandates that, “A union in this state, of one man and one woman, must include some sexual intercourse.”

Sexually deprived husbands (and wives) are rejoicing over this one.

Unfortunately Senator Van de Putte withdrew the amendment possibly because it’s just too silly of an idea or would turn out to be the Democrats worse election nightmare; the moral Republican majority would have a field day with this one.

Friday, May 27, 2005

ACU ratings of Michigan politicians

The American Conservative Union annually rates politicians on how they vote on issues the ACU supports. Politicians with a hundred percent can be viewed the most conservative or at least in agreement with the ACU.

Name, Party, 2004 rating, 2003 rating, lifetime rating, years of service

Carl Levin D025726
Debbie Stabenow D820114


Dave CAMP R88888914
John Conyers D010534
John Dingell D4241234
Vernon EHLERS R67727111
Peter HOEKSTRA R96829012
Dale Kildee D16281228
Carolyn Kilpatrick D41258
Sander Levin D016322
Thaddeus McCOTTER R8892902
Candice Miller R8488862
Michael Rogers R9288904
Nick SMITH R100969112
Bart Stupak D16382212
Fred UPTON R76807418

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Senator Stabenow responds to my filibuster letter

Senator Stabenow's response feels more personal. I like how she is considerate of respecting the religious views of people. I agree that the faith of a person should not be a point of consideration when selecting people.

Thank you . . .

. . for contacting me regarding your support for the filibuster rule of the Senate in relation to judicial nominations, also known as the "nuclear option." I understand your concerns about the increased role of partisan politics in the judicial appointment process.

You might be interested to know that the Senate has confirmed 205 of President Bush's judicial nominations to date, which is an over 95% confirmation rate. Only 10 of President Bush's nominees have faced serious opposition to their confirmation. As a result, we currently have the lowest court vacancy rate since Ronald Reagan was President.

As you know, Senator Frist has indicated that he will pursue the "nuclear option" this Congress. This would be a fundamental change in our constitutional system of checks and balances. Because federal judges receive lifetime appointments to a separate branch of government, our founders created two distinct steps in the selection process. The President nominates judges and the U.S. Senate must agree through the "advice and consent" process. Keeping the checks and balances in this process is critical to the American democratic tradition that minority views will be
represented and heard.

At a time when countries like Iraq are struggling to establish their own free democracies using the American system of checks and balances, I believe our country should not be weakening our own democracy. For these reasons, I do not support changing the filibuster rule.

Also, I am deeply dismayed that some have suggested that the opposition to the ten Presidential nominees is because they are people of faith. The personal faith of nominees was not used against the 205 judges that we have already confirmed, nor is it being used against those few nominations that are being opposed.

Thank you again for contacting me about this important matter. If ever I can be of assistance to you or your family, please let me know.

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

Dr James C Dobson- Un American

The constitution grants to all Americans the right of free speech. As an American with a 370 year heritage of defending American values I feel that I must take it upon myself to speak out against Americans who attack and corrupt American values. One such corrupting American is Dr. James C. Dobson. All of us who value personal freedoms granted to us by our founding fathers must be vigilant against attacks to our freedoms and if need be declare corrupters of American values as Un-American. And so I declare that:

Dr. James C. Dobson is Un-American

Dr. Dobson’s crime is the demand for the elimination of the filibuster, the free speech right of the minority voice. We can all be confident in believing that if Dr. Dobson’s political ambitions were in the minority camp (they are), he would definitely not call for the elimination of his right, the filibuster. He doesn’t hesitate to call for its elimination when it works against him however. For the moment he has found allies with the minority members of the majority party and has joined with them to corrupt the system to their advantage. The consequence of this attack on American values and traditions will be our continued loss of freedoms under the Bush administration.

On Monday moderates of both parties compromised and traded off, the filibuster will remain but a few nominees must be given a vote and the remainder can be filibustered. Compromise is an American tradition. Failure to compromise is tyrannical.

The ambitions of the tyrant are clearly to advance a conservative agenda- my comments are in parenthesis

This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. Only three of President Bush’s nominees will be given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote, and its business as usual for all the rest. The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist would never have served on the U. S. Supreme Court if this agreement had been in place during their confirmations. The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals.”

"We are grateful to Majority Leader Frist for courageously fighting to defend the vital principle of basic fairness. (eliminating the filibuster is not fair, to state the contrary is to act as a tyrant and a buffoon) That principle has now gone down to defeat. We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust.”

A law whose purpose is to protect fairness of our right of free speech is truly American. Anyone who intends to eliminate such a law is Un-American plain and simple.

Sen Levin responds to my filibuster letter

I guess I can count on Mr Levin for a response to my concerns. His response reads like a form letter but at least its a response and the correct one too.

Dear Mr. Lathrop:

Thank you for contacting me about the threat by the majority in the Senate to use extraordinary and unprecedented parliamentary procedures, the so-called "nuclear option", to end the Senate filibuster.

For more than 200 years, the rules and traditions of the United States Senate have protected minority rights and the system of checks and balances through the right of senators to extended debate. Currently, it requires 60 votes to end debate in the Senate and to bring a matter to a vote whether that matter is legislative, ratification of a treaty or the confirmation of a nomination. Throughout the Senate's history, this rule has served not only to protect the minority, but also to encourage senators in the majority and the minority to work out their differences.

With respect to nominations, the need to gain the support of at least 60 senators has historically encouraged presidents of both parties to take this into consideration and select judicial nominees who are in the mainstream and who can attract the support of members of both parties. This is particularly important because federal judges hold lifetime positions.

Since the start of the Bush administration, the Senate has been carrying out its constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on the president's nominations to the federal courts. The Senate has confirmed more than 200 of President Bush's judicial nominees, resulting in the lowest vacancy rate in the federal courts in over 13 years. Only 10 of the president's nominees have not been confirmed. This compares to more than 60 of President Clinton's judicial nominees who were blocked by Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee from even getting a confirmation vote.

The right of extended debate in the Senate is an integral part of our system of checks and balances and an important historic protection of the rights of the minority in our country. I oppose the so-called "nuclear option", which the majority party is considering using. Under this scenerio, the presiding officer of the Senate would arbitrarily limit debate in contradiction of the Senate's rules, precedents and practices, and the majority would then uphold the ruling of the chair. If the majority wants to propose a change in the rules of the Senate, the right way to do so is to follow the long-standing procedures in the Senate's rules for changing the rules, not ripping up the rule book for a partisan advantage of the moment.

Carl Levin

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Texas Senate bans gay marriage

Yesterday the Texas Senate voted to constitutionally ban gay marriage by a vote of 21-9. The bill (HJR 6) was sponsored by Republican Todd Staples who commented that, "We should protect the institution of marriage as it is defined in law today. We should hold that higher up than any other relationship.", he also makes the point that "Polygamy is against the law" with the intention to lead us to believe that his law prevents polygamy and implies that homosexuality equals polygamy.

Domestic partnerships and civil unions could be interpreted as being illegal in addition to same sex marriage, the bill dclares. The voters will decide to approve or disapprove the constitutional ammendment this November.

Senate Democrats response:

"We're going to carve out a class of individuals and say you cannot share those benefits," - Eliot Shapleigh (D)

"At least they [Jim Crowe advocates] had the good sense to never write their bigotry into the state constitution. In some of our sister states, they did write that trash into their constitution, and they've had holy hell getting it out."- Rodney Ellis (D)

The no voters were: one senator was absent
  1. Gonzalo Barrientos (D)
  2. Rodney Ellis (D)
  3. Mario Gallegos Jr. (D)
  4. Juan Hinojosa (D)
  5. Eliot Shapleigh (D)
  6. Leticia Van de Putte (D)
  7. Royce West (D)
  8. John Whitmire (D)
  9. Judith Zaffirini (D)
The Democrats used some unusual tactics to get this bill to fail. Several unreasonable amendments were added by Democrats in the hopes that it would fail completely such as:
  • Amendment no 7- "This state may not recognize a marriage if either party to the marriage has previously been married three or more times in this state or in another jurisdiction."
  • Amendment no 8- "A union in this state, of one man and one woman, must include some sexual intercourse." I like this idea personally!!