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July 25th, 2009
Why I Have A Problem With Juries

A jury in Clackamas County found parents, who prayed while their child died instead of calling 911, not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.

In explaining their mixed verdict, the presiding juror emphasized that the Worthingtons did not intentionally cause Ava’s death, even though intent was not a requirement for a guilty verdict on either charge.

“Regardless of what the instructions were, a lot of people on the jury believed there was supposed to be intent,” said Ken Byers, one of two jurors who believed Carl Worthington was guilty of manslaughter. “Some people couldn’t clear that hump.”

Mind the word “regardless” here. The judge explains the laws that are to be applied to the case and says that intent is not necessary for a guilty verdict. And yet the jury disregards this instruction and doesn’t return a guilty verdict because the parents didn’t intend to kill their daughter – they just let her die. Oh, wait, they prayed too.

Justice was not served for that poor little girl. The way I see it, if you are relying on faith instead of modern medicine, you do have intent to kill your children – you intend to let nature take its course, if God does not see fit to miraculously heal your child and save their life. In other words, you intend to let your children die.

But all that is neither here nor there. Intent is not needed for a guilty conviction of manslaughter. It doesn’t matter if they intended to kill their child or not. Here’s the law, go read it yourself. Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree. Seems pretty cut and dried to me. It’s laid out pretty clear in the definition of neglect:

Neglect or maltreatment  means a violation of ORS 163.535 (Abandonment of a child), 163.545 (Child neglect in the second degree) or 163.547 (Child neglect in the first degree) or a failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care that is likely to endanger the health or welfare of a child under 14 years of age or a dependent person.

Then there’s this: “Other jurors backed off on the manslaughter charge, he said, because they were convinced that the Worthingtons were good people and they felt sorry for their loss.” (Ken Byers again.) REALLY? REALLY? Oh boo hoo, you let your child die, we’re so sorry for you, we won’t hold you responsible for her death, you didn’t really mean it!

Jury FAIL.

Posted by Claire at 08:47 PM | Current Events, Rant | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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May 28th, 2006
Save it for Walmart

Whole Foods Market wants to open a store in Eugene – story here.

Apparently some residents of Eugene are unhappy about this, citing the usual array of complaints – they won’t buy local, they’ll put local business out of business, blah blah blah. However, that hasn’t been the case that I’ve seen so far. The Whole Foods in downtown Portland has some of the nicest selection of local products I’ve seen so far – heck, even our cat food is local now because they carry Castor & Pollux food, a Portland-based brand. It’s also supposed to be a pretty good place to work.

The objection to a parking garage is just plain silly. Pasadena’s “Old Town” is totally hopping now, and an example of why parking garages can be pivotal to revitalizing an area. Put in parking, they will come. They will park, and they will walk around and shop and eat and whatever… spending money left and right. The area in question in Eugene is apparently in need of some serious revitalizing – why are these people complaining?

As for Whole Foods eliminating local flavor – whatever. They do sell local products and make them available to me, the consumer, to discover and purchase. They FEATURE them, for crying out loud! They support local charities, they PROMOTE local charities – by making it super-easy for people to donate right at the register, with these bar coded swipe cards that allow you to donate a couple bucks for a hot meal at a homeless shelter or a hygiene kit for a battered women’s shelter.

Community is what you make of it. This is one of those companies that seeks to become part of the community, rather than putting up some homogeneous store like yet another Safeway or Walmart. People of Eugene, get over yourselves.

Posted by Claire at 11:56 AM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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May 18th, 2006
Update To My Rant Below

An FDA Advisory committee has recommended that the FDA approve the cervical cancer vaccine. Story here. There are several things pointed out that support giving the vaccine to girls (and boys) before they are sexually active – from the article: “Miller said Gardasil does not necessarily protect against one or more of the four viruses in people already infected before they get the vaccine, and can increase their risk for precursors to cervical cancer.” Also: “In addition, the FDA staff highlighted five cases where children with birth defects were born to women who received the vaccine around the time of conception.”

So, give the vaccine to young people before they become sexually active. It’s very simple.

Now, as long as the FDA doesn’t do some political jockeying and deny approval to pacify the religious right, this will be a good step forward for women’s health.

Posted by Claire at 01:09 PM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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April 29th, 2006
This is going to be political

So President Bu$h doesn’t like the Spanish-language version of the National Anthem. In case you care, here’s a link to the lyric: Click here. This disapproval seems a little contrived coming from a politician who otherwise has been very keen to court the Latino vote – commercials in Spanish, speaking the language at every opportunity, giving a Spanish language radio address…

But this goes beyond what the president has to say. I think it really cuts to the heart of the issue with immigration. It tires me no end to hear people whining about assimilation and “the norm” (what the hell is that?) and “national identity” and so on. Did you know 60% of Americans (presumably the English speaking ones) don’t know all the words to the National Anthem? Is that what we want our Spanish-speaking immigrants to aim for? Translating the anthem into Spanish means the citizenship-seekers will understand it, understand the meaning.

The norm. We’re a nation of immigrants. The only reason English is widely spoken is because this nation was originally an English colony – but ask any random person on the street what their ancestry is and I’m betting “I’m English, all the way baby!” isn’t going to be the answer. No, you’re likely to hear “Well my mom’s family is French and Italian and my dad’s family is Greek” or something like that. My own heritage is Mexican and Norwegian and Swedish with a little French and Native American tossed in for fun. Back to the French/Italian/Greek example – at some point those ancestors came here and they weren’t speaking English. But their hard work contributed to this nation, their culture was blended in, their language was blended in – some of them still speak that language, and what a shame it isn’t passed on to their kids.
Need I remind people that the US has NO official language? I’m getting to a point where I want to start telling the “Shut up and learn English” types to shut up and learn Spanish. Canada has two languages – French and English.

Maybe I’m just feeling punchy, but I’m getting pissed off listening to the pundits and opinionated drivel from the media. Dude, if we didn’t have immigrants here doing all the jobs they do, the economy would collapse. Not ALL that money they’re earning is going back to their families. They’re still buying groceries, paying the electric bill, buying clothes and movies and all the other stuff the rest of us buy. That money stays in the community (at least to the same extent as the rest of us that shop at big corporate conglomerates, but that’s for another post). In Oregon, anyway, they’re not getting any more health care on the government dime than the white folk, and since that’s a pretty small number (I used to work in this field, I know my stuff) thanks to massive cuts to OHP etc., well, it ain’t much. Illegals – well they’re not getting much at all, because the majority are too scared to talk to anyone official from the gubmint, even if it is to get health care dollars.

I’d rather every penny of my tax money went to health care FOR ALL, schooling FOR ALL, etc etc rather than funding the military industrial complex and the war machine. All this seems like so much window dressing to distract us from where the bulk of our tax dollars are really going. “Look over there, all those immigrants are getting SO MUCH OF YOUR MONEY!!” while the real story is the money hole that is the Iraq war and the war machine in general. It’s sickening.

Posted by Claire at 09:45 PM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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March 19th, 2006
A Good Step

According to this article the city of Calabasas, CA has banned smoking in all public places. Right on!

From the article, the city declared secondhand smoke to be a public nuisance and approved an ordinance banning smoking in all public places — indoors and out — where people might congregate. Having had to hold my breath numerous times while dodging smokers on sidewalks, hanging out in doorways, etc – I couldn’t agree more.

I congratulate the brave city councillors of Calabasas and would encourage more cities and states to do the same thing.

Posted by Claire at 07:43 PM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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