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Sad Saga of O.J. Simpson and Other True Confessions

O.J. Simpson is back in the news, this time for something really bizarre, if that’s even possible. About three weeks prior to the alleged armed robbery that landed him in jail, the FBI blew off warnings about the self-organized sting operation from “O.G.loved One” and his co-conspirator, Thomas Riccio, refusing to take part in another “weird celebrity case.” According to the Jordan Falls News,

|FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Riccio did not indicate a crime
|would be committed.

So, let me get this straight. The FBI plopped a gob of goo on the laps of Nevada authorities because the idiots who orchestrated this reality TV heist neglected to inform the feds about possible use of force? How exactly did the FBI envision an O.J. confrontation with an alleged memorabilia-stealing wheeler-dealer?

“Hello there. I’m O.J. Simpson. Would you like me to autograph this stuff? Gee, thanks. Now that I’ve got everything I need, I’ll be seeing you around…”?

It’s bad enough the feds sat on intelligence normally channeled to local authorities, but what goads me is their insipid excuse for doing so. That got me thinking about the O.J. saga in general and how this development from another planet is one more miserable notch in the “couldn’t make this stuff up” belt.

Of course, when it comes to making stuff up, O.J. takes top honors. Who else would have the unmitigated gall to pen something as rancid as If I Did It, call it fiction, and expect to profit? I couldn’t bring myself to look at this repackaged tripe and, apparently, neither could a lot of other people. Thankfully, the “O.G.loved One’s” ill-advised foray into true crime confession is now #125 on Amazon.com, although I do feel for the Goldman family as the book’s gathering freefall means less sour grapes for the juice.

When the book placed in the top ten, it stood in a class all its own. Nothing from its genre had ever garnered so much attention. In fact, the book paved the way for anyone – group, individual or heir — wanting to peddle a compelling true story as fiction. I had a strange inkling about a possible literary trend, so I decided to do some digging around. What I uprooted is indeed stranger than fiction. Take a look at the top seven manuscripts rumored for publishing in 2008:

1. If We Perpetrated A Cover Up, by the Warren Commission
Subject: Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Summary: Back in the day, before Freedom of Information and the JFK Records Act, there was no need to consider a conspiracy. We could pretty much investigate however we pleased. The development of forensic science was primitive in comparison to today’s methodologies. Also, the lack of meaningful oversight allowed us to omit key information with no immediate consequences. As the months dragged on, it became readily apparent if we reported the destruction of material evidence or numerous irregularities in our own fact-finding mission, then too many “good old boys” would lose their jobs. Blaming a dead man and those bozos in the Secret Service became our ticket out of Dodge.

2. If I Caused It, by Yoko Ono
Subject: The break up of The Beatles.
Summary: John always most talented of that group. But inside, he still insecure like little boy. From minute we meet eyes, John drawn to me, like young butterfly to flowing nectar. I suppose it not hurt I also master of ancient Japanese technique. I plan all those bed-ins, make John my sex slave. Very soon, John do exactly as I say. I say world revolve around us, not mopheads. John take me everywhere, let me deal with cheeky leeches. Everyone fight. Only one sure way to make end.

3. If We Pushed Illegal Drugs To Do Our Dirty Work , by George H.W. Bush
Subject: Ending the counter-culture revolution.
Summary: All those commie subversives from the ‘60s — Black Panthers, Brown Berets, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr., Young Lords, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee – they all swore an oath to destroy America. Our secret intelligence tried every known tactic to squelch those vermin. Yet, as fast as we could pick ‘em off, another would take their place. The CIA still denies any involvement in illegal drug trafficking, but it took me less than a year to find out how we were sweeping those pinkos off the streets into the crack houses and prisons where they belonged. Of course, with my political aspirations being what they were, once I caught on, I had to resign my position as Director. Told everyone I needed to spend more time with Babs.

4. If I Erased It, by Rose Mary Woods, as told by her best friend (name withheld upon request)
Subject: The missing Watergate tapes.
Summary: In a desperate attempt to save my career, I purposefully erased about ten minutes of those tapes. Even an average jane secretary knows her boss is going down when he’s reckless enough to record himself disparaging minorities. I swore an oath to Tricky I’d never tell, but seeing as how he resigned, I can’t see the harm now. I immediately stopped erasing when an aid barged through my door. After everyone had left the office for the day, I went back to retrieve an old sweater. There was Tricky, all flustered and sweating like a cow, poor thing. He was desperate to work the erase pedal. I gently tried to show him how, but he stubbornly insisted on doing it himself. Before he could get the hang of it, Pat barged in. She ordered him upstairs. I quickly put on my sweater and left. Heard her saying something about finishing what he started. Never did learn what.

5. If Humans Were Bred With Extraterrestrials , by Paul Bennewitz, as told
by an extremely concerned neighbor (name withheld upon request)
Subject: Area 51.
Summary: They poisoned me, those S.O.B.s, my mind, my water, all my food, everything I hold near and dear. They know it, I know it, and now the whole world will know. They used that off limits base to breed humans with aliens. It’s the only way the United States will remain a world power. When I found out, they implanted a chip in my brain to keep me from blabbing. They know it, I know it, and now the whole world will know. Don’t mind all the crazy drawings posted on my walls. Do you hear voices? I need a cigarette. Will you please make the voices stop? Where’s my cheese?

6. If It Wasn’t An Accident, by Prince Philip
Subject: Death of Princess Diana.
Summary: I always felt responsible for forcing that disastrous marriage, more so when she and poor Charles divorced. Those half naked tabloid pictures with that ghastly Arab, well, that’s what did her in, I’m afraid. As mother of heir to the royal throne, she still had our dignity to maintain. Bett tried to warn her by floating rumors, but the little tart paid no mind. She left the House of Windsor no choice. Putting my brilliant stroke of genius into action was quite easy, really. We knew her itinerary. We had a discreet link inside the DGSE. We set up a ruse for some chap to pose as a photographer. The rest, shall we say, is history. My one regret is Henri. He wasn’t supposed to be on service detail.

7. If Daddy Orchestrated It, by Jenna Bush
Subject: 9/11.
Summary: It’s no secret Daddy used drugs and alcohol to cope with his inadequacies. I’ll be the first to confess, being the do nothing offspring of a powerful man is mucho depress-o. At some point, Mum threatened to leave Daddy unless he sobered up. The next thing I knew, Grandpa and Uncle Dick promised Daddy the White House in return for a whole buncha stuff. Something about that Bin Laden dude and Halliburton. Does Saudi mean anything to y’all? Anyhoo, every who was anyone in the Republican party leaned all over those supreme court robes to sway Daddy’s election. Then, Condi worked out a plan involving stealth planes and missile fire — still a tad hazy on details – something about increasing Daddy’s ratings in opinion polls to impress Mum. I feel bad innocent people had to die, but I’m sure glad my folks stayed together. Umm. Well. Can y’all excuse me? Henry and I gotta party.

Supreme Court Rejects El-Masri Extraordinary Rendition Litigation Without Comment

For cripes sake, here we go again. Overstepping established civil liberties in the name of preventing terrorism. Invoking the state secrets privilege to block all discernable means of fact finding. Summary dismissal by “The Supremes” without comment Get out my life, why don’t cha babe. Election 2008 cannot come soon enough for moi.

This time, the “alleged” victim, Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, sought $75,000.00 in damages, an explanation, and apology after five months of unlawful detention and torture at the hands of the CIA. We’re talking textbook, straight out of The Good Shepherd, diapering, drugging, stripping and beating torture, the kind supposedly reserved for our “noble” government’s most dangerous enemies. Turns out the CIA nabbed the wrong guy. No apology, no explanation, just a “whoops, our bad,” and release via commercial airliner.

On November 28, 2006, the CBS Evening News ran the following item:


Now that I think about it, this case sounds an awful lot like the Matt Damon movie. Don’t remember seeing any publicity about The Good Shepherd’s origin, but I’ll bet El-Masri v. U.S., Case No. 06-1613 played more than just a superficial role in development. Unlike the movie, however, where the victim committed suicide, El-Masri rightfully sought vindication in America’s hallowed halls of justice.


Poor sap. In this day and age, one can almost bet the farm on obfuscation from the Bush administration. Both lower courts dismissed the lawsuit against former CIA Director, George Tenet, et al. citing the state secrets privilege. I suppose it didn’t matter whether El-Masri also sued private entities Premier Executive Transport Services of Massachusetts, Aero Contractors Limited of North Carolina, and Keeler and Tate Management of Nevada. What’s secret is secret. The U.S. refused to acknowledge detaining him and the whole case was fried.

As reported this morning by MSNBC,


The state secrets privilege, formerly used sparingly now invoked more times than the vast right wing conspiracy theory, allows our government to withhold information deemed necessary to protect national security. All such classified material is off limits to public review. Eventually, as time passes and memories fade, The Freedom of Information Act permits public access, but by then, generally, any legal means to redress injustice are gone.

Human rights watchdogs believed El-Masri would have his day in court after the ACLU filed appeal briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court. Wrong again, my dear Watson. This morning, the nine robed wonders denied review without comment, essentially kicking the case for good. German authorities dropped their investigation against 13 unnamed CIA agents, declining to press extradition after the Bush administration balked and refused to comply. Don’t cha just love when world powers roll over and play dead?

So, where does that leave El-Masri? I’d answer, but this is supposed to be a family friendly blog. I’m also outraged over this low blow to the American people. As American citizens, we are entitled to know the circumstances under which we can expect to be summarily stripped of our constitutional rights without consequence. As so eloquently stated by USA Today reporter, Joan Biskupic,


That about sums it all up for me. Where are agents Mulder and Scully when you need them?

Maryland High Court Moves Gay Marriage Battle to Legislature

I tend to be open-minded, but every now and then, like a petulant toddler in the middle of a meltdown, my conservative side demands my undivided attention. Never mind the abuse I’ve been hurling at it lately, what with all the warrantless wire tapping, clamps on fundamental freedoms, and other similar executive orders oozing from Pennsylvania Avenue.

After an onerous battle over gay marriage, the Maryland Court of Appeals had their say. The bow-tied wonders towed the line on banning same-sex unions, permanently reversing a lower court decision nullifying Maryland’s marriage laws on the basis of discrimination. Surprisingly, I must applaud the 240-page 4-3 split decision emanating from Annapolis. Not that I have bothered to slog through it, mind you. I just graze the headlines reaching my own cursory conclusions, then tool around here in an effort to achieve some sense of smug satisfaction.

Come on all you gay people, lighten up.

Life is too short not to be gay.

Now there’s an idea for a bumper sticker.

Writing for the court, Judge Glenn T. Harrell, Jr. refused to recognize “homosexuality as an immutable characteristic,” thereby determining Maryland’s marriage laws are not discriminatory. I suppose if science developed a definitive method to identify “gay” and “straight,” this decision could have gone the other way. Can you say “ACDC?”

Seriously, if gender ceases to be a legitimate requirement for marriage, what’s next? Species? Look at the controversy swirling around United States Senator Larry Craig, the Republican hoohah from Idaho. On second thought, let’s move on.

If I correctly follow the court’s logic, Maryland’s definition of marriage as a legally binding union between a man and a woman does not discriminate against same-sex couples because partners of the same sex do not meet the necessary criteria for this type of union. That is not to say same-sex couples cannot unify themselves in some other legally binding manner. It just means Maryland courts will not sanction marriage, as that term is legally defined, as a way to do it.

Like I said, I applaud the court, but its opinion leaves me slightly uneasy. What happens when one partner is transgendered? Are couples the same sex if they share internal sexual characteristics but have different exterior equipment? And what about hermaphrodites? Better yet, is any state government going to require sworn affidavits attesting to the manner in which a couple seeking to marry arrived at their differently gendered status? No, resting a decision on gender isn’t going to cut it in this day and age. Eventually, that too will go by the wayside and traditionalists will be plenty peeved.

I could ramble on, but I’d rather get to the point. No decent person wants to deprive gay people of rights afforded heterosexual couples through the institution of marriage. They just haven’t figured out a way to do it without enflaming the other side.

It’s a shame really, that the court missed this window of opportunity. Yes, same-sex couples can and will take this fight back to the General Assembly. But fighting for an amendment to the state constitution seems like overkill. Maryland’s laws can be changed to provide same-sex couples with all the legal protections of marriage simply by requiring the creation of a specific type of contract, like a will or a trust. The state could even set up a special oversight office, much like the Registrar of Wills or the Department of Motor Vehicles to regulate the legitimacy of such contracts and to arbitrate disputes. Whoever wants to have a special ceremony celebrating their contract can do so. No harm in that.

Like me, most people see marriage as a scared union. When people are asked to change their beliefs about the nature of that institution, they can’t or won’t give in. So why not settle for a win-win solution? If the legislature is willing to expand existing laws providing benefits to married couples, I believe same-sex couples can and will achieve marriage equivalency. Call it civil union. Call it partnering. Call it whatever sounds good, something uniquely identifiable and dignified.

Just don’t call it marriage. My conservative side finally ran out of steam.

Nebraskan Senator Ernie Chambers Mocks American Justice System

And I thought the Maryland General Assembly was a hunka bad. Compared to certain Nebraskan state legislators, however, our Annapolis representatives are a collective breath of fresh air.

I’m referring to none other than Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers. This noble champion of cornhuskers, entrusted to preserve the integrity and dignity of the powers bestowed upon him by our nation’s forefathers, is protesting the injustice of frivolous legal proceedings by filing his very own frivolous lawsuit in a Nebraskan state court. At issue is whether the court has the power to permanently enjoin “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”

Oh yeah. I left out one tiny detail. Senator Chambers filed this dilly of a lawsuit against none other than God.

Yeah. God. Anyone got a problem wit dat?

OMG!

A quick glance at this loony tune’s picture indicates he may very well be past his useful shelf life. Fuhgeddabout his ridiculous justification for filing the lawsuit and proclamation of proper jurisdiction over the defendant. Yes, God is everywhere. So what? That doesn’t mean anyone with an ax to grind can haul His holy rump into court.

I have a better one for the Honorable Senator Chambers (hey, that has a funny ring to it, like “Senate Chambers” and the like). How does the esteemed state senator intend to legally serve this little bundle of blather? Saint Peter?

Speaking of old Peter, I wonder if he has anything better to do than stand at the pearly gates greeting process servers. Who’s to say he has a direct link to God, I mean, do we mere mortals actually know? Taking a mighty big chance entrusting a lawsuit and summons to that wily old angel, if you ask me.

This story is too new, too fresh to pin down all the details. I have to believe there’s more brewing behind the scenes than meets the eye. Otherwise, I might be compelled to advocate Senator Chambers’ immediate ouster from public service. No matter how well intentioned, clogging the court system with blather so frivolous it borders on incendiary is not only irresponsible and foolhardy, but a mockery of our entire justice system. Even more so when the putative plaintiff is a state senator charged to uphold the laws of his home state and nation.

Dude. WTF?

Please do us all a favor. Next time you have a yen to make a point, hold a public protest rally instead. You’ll earn more brownie points with the media, as well as the undying admiration and respect of your colleagues.

Besides, doesn’t organizing a protest rally sound a lot easier than trying to serve God?

Fundamental Parent Rights of the Mentally Disabled Can Be Terminated

Are we really having this debate? Mentally disabled parents. Healthy newborn. Concerned grandparents. Understaffed and overworked state agency employees. Political correctness. Is this a recipe for anything other than disaster?

Yes, the mentally disabled should and do have rights. I’m just not sure they include the right to toss a newborn baby around like a pigskin and shake him like a Polaroid picture. Perhaps if they’d had enough sense to equip tiny dancer with some protective gear, none of this would have happened. Then again, I don’t think they make football helmets and shoulder pads in size 0- 3 months.

Baby Seth Mosley is dead. His mentally disabled parents, Richard and Giovanna Mosley, and their houseguest, Daniel Reilly, are behind bars, charged with second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse resulting in death. Jesse Stacy, the child’s maternal grandfather, and Denise Joseph, his paternal grandmother — the only characters who appear to possess a lick of sense in this horror story — wanted social services to intervene from day one and continued to press that agency and Child Protective Services for more oversight. Problem is, social services claims their hands are tied in such situations because state agencies must respect “fundamental parent rights,” even if the subject parents are mentally disabled.

Umm. Yah. Right. Does that mean the Free State must implicitly compromise the safety of helpless newborns and do no more than periodic oversight until a mentally disabled parent actually requests help or a concerned citizen lodges a complaint of abuse and neglect?

Did somebody forget to draw the line here?

According to Lauren Young, Director of Litigation for the Maryland Disability Law Center, yes. “It shouldn’t be assumed that having a disability and inability to parent are things that co-exist. There has to be a vigilant analysis, not focusing on disability but the parent’s conduct that needs to be examined. They have rights to have families, too.”

Well, what about when the parent in question is mentally disabled, say mildly retarded, ADD, and schizoaffective? Wouldn’t one or two surprise home inspections reveal such a person’s inability to effectively parent? I mean, for crying out loud, we’re talking about a mother who has never held a job, is unable to do simple tasks like write a check, and didn’t even know she was pregnant until prodded by a relative. The father, a brain-damaged car accident victim prone to violent outbursts, is likely similarly disabled.

Assistant State’s Attorney Bruce M. Smith so much as admitted the deficiencies of the two state agencies charged with Seth’s care. They couldn’t obtain regular oversight of the situation precisely because of the father’s violent outbursts and, according to the local rag, “an inability to reach the family for four weeks.”

Ohhhhkaaay. That about sums everything up for me.

As soon as state employees knew or should have known they did not have adequate oversight of little Seth Mosley, they should have filed court papers to determine whether he was a child in need of assistance. A court proceeding would have given the grandparents a chance to testify, and perhaps set the ball in motion to terminate parental rights.

A 2002 decision from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals,
In re Adoption/Guardianship No. 36
, does not require automatic deference to fundamental parent rights of the mentally disabled. In that case, numerous instances of discrimination against Mr. F, the mentally disabled parent, were readily apparent. The court also discounted testimony from the State’s expert witness. Tests to measure intelligence quotient and adaptability levels were not conducted due to “serious intellectual impairment.” A social worker observing the home testified Mr. F could learn necessary parenting skills. The “clear and convincing evidence” needed to terminate parental rights never materialized. Ultimately, the court reinstated Mr. F‘s parental rights because social services never provided programs tailored to his particular needs. The court did not, however, go so far as to reinstate his right to custody. Notably, Judges Harrell, Raker, and Wilner issued a scathing dissenting opinion.

Contrast this decision with the one issued by the same court in 2006, In re Adoption/Guardianship of Harold H. The boy’s mother, Mojisola A., was severely brain damaged by a medical condition leaving her with an IQ in the “mentally retarded range.” She exhibited obvious cognitive impairment, inability to make judgments for her own care, and could not work. Coupled with her long-term diagnosis, these factors clearly justified termination of Ms. A.’s parental rights. So, too, might have been the outcome for Seth Mosley had anyone recognized the need for immediate court intervention.

It’s a shame, really, Seth’s grandparents were so ill informed. Ironically, his grandmother works in a division of the office of the public defender. Perhaps some advocacy group should make it their mission to disseminate information about third party rights in situations of suspected child abuse or parental mental impairment. Certainly, citizens armed with such helpful information would not rely solely upon government to gain control of an obvious train wreck.

Unfortunately for Baby Seth Mosley, this train has already left the station.