Monday Night Open Thread: Abuse of an Elder Abuser?

BTD is traveling, and I'm on my way out to dinner.

Anthony Marshall, Brooke Astor's 85 year old son was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison today for larceny and fraud in connection with his mother's estate. His 66 year old co-defendant, a lawyer pal, got the same sentence.

Whoopi Goldberg and Al Roker wrote letters of support for Marshall. Marshall's lawyer had argued that this should have been an estate case rather than a fraud or elder abuse case. The jury disagreed. I didn't follow the trial, but after reading about it once the verdict came down, had this to say:

I have no idea if the jury made the right call. Elder abuse sucks. But isn't it just another form of elder abuse to send an 85 year old non-violent offender to prison, even if he's an elder abuser himself?

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    At 85, I'm not sure I would (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by oldpro on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 08:00:56 PM EST
    think of incarceration  as 'punishment,' depending - of course - on the prison and the warden and staff running it.

    As I near that age, I'm thinking...hmmm...3 meals, clean/dry bed, no responsibilities...not much different than a nursing home which I'll never be able to afford.  And all the 'neighbors' wouldn't be old people like myself!

    Don't they have to provide you (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 05:52:52 AM EST
    with healthcare too?  And there's no premiums or deductibles :)  You could get some denials from evil wardens, but you have to fight those on the inside or the outside. On the inside your denial was free of charge :)  

    That's cold oldpro.... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 07:51:51 AM EST
    Locked in the Atlantis Resort is still locked...you just don't get it.

    If I ever get so old and broken that incarceration seems like a good deal, I hope somebody has the decency and courtesy to put me down like you would a beloved dog...starving freedom beats well-fed inprisonment in my book, and it ain't even close.


    Your book is not the only book (none / 0) (#64)
    by oldpro on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 01:23:56 PM EST
    in the library of reality.

    In theory, liberty is everything...until hunger or pain realign your priorities...or, for some, institutionalization.  Remember Shawshank?

    It depends, of course.  In the 60s when I taught at a juvenile institution, many kids ran away just prior to their parole date...determined to stay 'locked up' rather than be returned to the streets and homes from which they came.  The institution was the best place they had ever lived and freedom was only a word to the young, helpless and bewildered.

    You think I don't 'get it?'  Actually, I do.  And I am prepared to hold out as long as possible...and take 'the cocktail' just in time.  I am prepared to decide for myself, if able...but I am not so arrogant or inexperienced that I cannot imagine a different choice made by others.  A little compassion goes a long way.


    This old man is not institutionalized... (none / 0) (#69)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 01:54:44 PM EST
    you are not institutionalized old pro...then I could maybe understand the "prison is great! free food! a bed!" sentiment, for an instutionalized person, or maybe a child who has only known squalor and abuse (good point there about the kids btw).

    But for a free non-institutionalized elderly adult? After reading your clarification I really don't think you mean what you said in your original comment, for elderly people who have only known freedom prison is not and never can be a good deal...suicide is a better deal, imo.

    Another point taken though, reasonable people can disagree I guess, though its hard for me to wrap my head around how...for me prison being a preferred option to a life of struggle, or even death, is simply unfathomable.  Speaking from the experience of having been chained and caged for a very very brief amount of time....there is little or no greater torture to the mind or the soul then being denied your freedom that I can contemplate or imagine.


    I was only half kidding. Yes, I'd (none / 0) (#71)
    by oldpro on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 02:04:02 PM EST
    choose suicide, assuming that I make the decision 'in time'...before I 'forget' what that bundle of pills is for!

    Unfathomable?  You're not taking your empathy pills or not reading enough literature or something... There is more than one kind of prison...a hospital bed, a nursing home (visited one lately?)

    Just sayin'...not trying to start a fight!  Yes...you guess right:  reasonable people can disagree!

    Have a lovely holiday, old man.


    Me either... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 02:15:46 PM EST
    I'm a lover, not a fighter:)

    I guess its a pet peeve when I hear the "prison, no big deal!" type of tone, didn't mean to jump on ya pal.

    I used to volunteer in a nursing home...I'd rather die than end up in one of those joints too, at least like the one I volunteered in...another form of torture, for sure, I'll never forget the wails and screams of "help me" almost constantly echoing down the instutional-smelling halls...the staff seemingly indifferent after hearing it day after day (kinda like prison guards that way)and having no clue how to help them myself except maybe get those poor souls a lethal dose of morphine.  No doubt there is more than one type of prison...and its unfathomable to me to wish to be in any of them just to dodge some free suffering.


    Heh. Don't kid a kidder! (none / 0) (#84)
    by oldpro on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 02:02:23 AM EST
    You're a fighter, alright.

    Is Goldberg just trying to show support for (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by tigercourse on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 08:13:51 PM EST
    every unpopular high profile defendant out there? Next up "Let Madoff go"!

    Better punishment (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 08:31:15 PM EST
    I thought it was a ridiculous sentence when I read about it earlier today. A harsh fine and community service would have served the purpose just as well. Fine him whatever he stole plus and have the money go to a senior abuse program or institution.

    The community and justice would have been both served without the additional cost of keeping him in prison.

    That's an excellent suggestion n/t (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Ellie on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 08:45:36 PM EST
    I've been working in the area of estates (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 10:34:26 PM EST
    and trusts for a long, long time, and nothing bothers me more than family members trying to get over on their elderly relatives.

    The hardest thing people have to come to grips with is that their relatives have the right to leave their estates to whomever they choose (keeping in mind that most jurisdictions have spousal election provisions which, absent pre-nuptial agreements that waive those rights, do give spouse the right to elect against the Will, and take the share that would have devolved to them in intestacy).  It means that even if it doesn't seem fair, Mom or Dad can leave all their money to charity, or the grandchildren, or the next-door neighbor.

    What Marshall did was wrong, and he deserves to be punished.  Is prison the best place for him?  Well, I don't know - seems like a man who thought he was so special that he deserved millions upon his mother's death, did all he could to have the use of her money before she died, and tried to engineer a Will more favorable to him, might be fittingly punished by having to mix and mingle with the great unwashed.

    When people decide to take a course of action, and fail to consider the consequences, I don't feel any obligation to feel sorry for them when the day comes that they have to face those consequences.

    A banner day for TL posts and food for thought (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Ellie on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 10:39:47 PM EST
    Everything I've read here today touches on so many areas surrounding the core topic, I'd be hard pressed to know what "side" I'd land on. (No dichotomies here, so a good reading day.)

    Still, one of the more disappointing moments came from Prof. Krugman himself, my bro, my peep, my all time champeen shrill librul who bore high, when it was not even cool, the liberal beacon as surely as the Repug and DINO talking points just bored.

    BTD's earlier thread quoted this Krugman article and this brain-splinter:

    And I have to say that much as I disagree with Ben Nelson about many things, he has seemed refreshingly honest, at least in the final stages, about what he will and won't accept.

    Oh, Kroogy, no. Is that what Nelson's condemnation of women back to medieval medical torture is to my favorite schmatty? Refreshingly honest???

    I'm almost glad I'm already dry-heaving with flu-like bugginess cause I'd prefer to think I imagined reading that.

    There's been a couple of brain splinters (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 05:55:49 AM EST

    I spent most of yesterday (none / 0) (#21)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 07:23:19 AM EST
    out shopping - planned to do this some time ago, before the Great Blizzard of 2009 that had everyone sitting home on the Last Big Shopping Weekend Before Christmas - but the couple of times I looked at the "news," I could not seem to summon up a whole lot of anything new to say about this health care mess - or should I say, this health insurance mess.

    Krugman is a HUGE disappointment.  Congress is ridiculously disappointing.  Blogs that disappointed in 2008 did not do much to regain my trust; I keep wondering if all those people that decided a slogan-devoid-of-content - "robust public option" - was worth getting behind, but failed to outline what, exactly, they were championing, are considering that maybe that strategy wasn't so great after all.

    That Obama has disappointed does not surprise me.  That Congress has truly failed, on issue after issue, to do the right thing, is a disappointment I wish I could be surprised about.

    One by one by one, we have been abandoned, by those elected to serve, by those who wanted to be our voice, and I feel a collective and deep ennui beginning to set in across the country - and no announcement of historic health care, even if accompanied by stirring and striking optics (Obama-as-Santa, accompanied by Congressional Elves?), is going to pull people out of it.


    To MO Blue (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:02:06 AM EST
    A list of early deliverables.

    Does the phrase, "applies to all (none / 0) (#42)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:03:21 AM EST
    new plans" bother anyone but me?  Would this mean that existing plans would not benefit from some of these changes and "reforms," and those insured under them would have to re-apply in order to get that benefit?

    From your link:

    Recognizing the special vulnerability of children, the Managers' Amendment prohibits health insurers from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for children, effective six months after enactment and applying to all new plans
      So, if you your child is covered under an existing plan, except for coverage for a pre-existing condition, do you have to apply for a new plan in order to get this coverage?  What are the chances the new policy will otherwise be the same as the previous one?

    protects patients' choice of doctors by allowing plan members to pick any participating primary care provider, prohibiting insurers from requiring prior authorization before and woman sees an ob-gyn, and ensuring access to emergency care. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all new plans.

    Same question re: "new plans."  Also, are there even still plans that do not recognize or consider an ob/gyn to be a primary care provider?  And what's the deal with "participating?"  And what "plans" are they talking about?  The universe of insurance plans?

    will require insurers to permit children to stay on family policies until age 26. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all new plans.
     Again with the new plan thing - will people with children need new plans in order to get this extension of coverage?

    will require coverage of prevention and wellness benefits and exempt these benefits from deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements in public and private insurance coverage. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all new plans.
     This "new plan" thing is beginning to get on my nerves.

    will prohibit insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all new plans.

    will tightly restrict insurance companies' use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care, effective six months after enactment for all new health plans

    will stop insurers from rescinding insurance when claims are filed, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact. This provision takes effect six months after enactment and applies to all new plans.
     Will those of us with existing private plans still have to worry about rescissions?  How would that be fair?

    all new health plans will implement, within six months of enactment, an effective process for appeals of coverage determinations and claims. And, states will provide an external appeals process to ensure an independent review.
     Oh, come on.  

    New plans, new plans, new plans...I'm not convinced this is going to help people as much as some think, and I'm struggling to understand how, somehow, existing policyholders are not going to get screwed.


    Yes, that's a concern (none / 0) (#43)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:05:47 AM EST
    But with any luck, new plans should be available before long.

    New plans for whom? (none / 0) (#44)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:11:20 AM EST
    Anne's question is what happens to people who already have plans?  Does the insurance company have to re-issue and re-do my plan so it's "new" or will it start cutting benefits and call it "new"?

    All I can say is "right." (none / 0) (#45)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:12:07 AM EST
    Time will tell how this is implemented.

    My concern wasn't about when (none / 0) (#51)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:41:08 AM EST
    these new plans would be available, but that so many of the immediate reforms/changes will only be available to those with new plans, and those with existing plans might be forced to re-apply to get the benefit of the reform.  

    I have a feeling those of us with private plans may hear "we're sorry, but that plan is no longer available to new subscribers; we can offer you something similar but it won't cover as much and it will cost more."

    If that's the case...


    It bothers me a great deal (none / 0) (#58)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 12:07:16 PM EST
    Basically, if the insurance companies choose not to write new plans, these reforms are meaningless.

    Also, some of these reforms exempt companies that self insure. Many of the largest companies self insure so that these exemptions would impact millions upon millions of people if those companies choose to ignore these reforms.


    The Dems are leaving themselves open to (none / 0) (#59)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 12:13:42 PM EST
    a major backlash if they do not at least explain to people who need these reforms exactly what they must do to get them under the "all new plans" provision." Also, they must clarify that there are exemptions for self insured plans.

    Somehow, I really don't expect them to do this because it might impede their PR blitz.


    a holiday story to warm your heart (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:10:59 AM EST
    my best friend died of AIDS in 1989.  he was in every sense my best friend. the person who knew me best and that I never had to explain myself to. I still miss him every day.
    this morning I got this from his mother. when Don was 16 he got a girl pregnant and they gave the child up for adoption. 39 years later the family now meets her. and her 21 yr old daughter.... Don had a one year old granddaughter when he died but he never knew it.  Ruth is Dons mother.  Karen is the woman who gave up the child and Michelle is the child.  this is all happening over the holidays.  just in the last week or so.
    the mail:

    Hi Ruth:

    I didn't get much sleep last night because I was so energized from Michele's and my meeting.
    I'm quite tired today and have preparations for company tomorrow..Been needing to take little breaks on and off today. I don't have the energy for the telephone today, but really wanted to share my joy.

    What can I say?? We had a wonderful time. We really and truly like each other. What a great day it was and we both want to be each others' life in a big way and plan to do so..

    One thing that happened to me was very , very special that I needed to share and maybe its best to do so in writing.

    I think I told you that I have had dreams about Don on and off since he was very sick.
    Its not a regular occurance, but over the last 20 years I can say that he tops the list in dream appearance.

    The night before I saw Michele I had a dream about him, which really didn't surprise me.
    I told Michelle. As soon as I did I could see his spark and his essence in her looking right back at me..It was so amazing. Its easy to see myself in her, but here I was seeing him just as vividly. Of course I told her and that totally pleased her..

    So thank you once again for all of your loving efforts that have made my life so complete.

    Will be in touch.

    A bittersweet story. Thanks for sharing (none / 0) (#35)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:20:13 AM EST
    The circle is unbroken (none / 0) (#61)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 01:12:26 PM EST
    in it's brokeness.

    My brother died from AIDS in the ninties, and like Don, he had an instinct for finding the kind of good people that make life "full and round as a sphere to warm us many times over".

    Great story, Cap.


    its true (none / 0) (#63)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 01:23:46 PM EST
    not fishing for sympathy at all but I lived in NYC in the 80s and 90s so I lost dozens of friends. including two former partners.  but somehow Dons death effected me more than any of the others.  not to sound insensitive but lovers and even life partners come and go but best friends, when they truly are, are supposed to be forever.
    and in a way I suppose he is.  but I miss him.

    That bright firebird Saladin (none / 0) (#68)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 01:47:33 PM EST
    went like an arrow, and now the bow trembles and sobs.

    It's always nice when the first final grade you (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:40:24 AM EST
    get back is an A+. Yes, I did a double take.

    And I thought the exam was hard. . .

    Great news (none / 0) (#38)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:48:47 AM EST
    Why am I not surprised.

    heh, well (none / 0) (#40)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:53:06 AM EST
    let's just say that I don't always do quite that well.

    Let's talk DOMA (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 11:55:53 AM EST
    Rmember back when a federal judge ordered the Administrative Office of US Courts to submit the paperwork for a 9th Circuit employee to cover the employee and her same-sex spouse? Apparently, the administration (the OPM) is defying that order, even though it is a policy the administration supports.

    Up is down, down is up.

    Last month, Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, ordered the Office of Personnel Management to allow health insurance companies serving federal staffers to provide benefits for same-sex spouses of the court's workers.

    But on Friday, the OPM told the attorney for Karen Golinski, a court employee, that the agency would not obey the judge's order.

    "OPM must administer the FEHBP [Federal Employees Health Benefits Program] in a lawful manner, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) has advised the OPM that providing those benefits would violate the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act,' " OPM General Counsel Elaine Kaplan said in a statement.

    The OPM is between a rock and a hard place because the Obama administration wants to ditch the act, a.k.a. DOMA, something Kaplan subtly made clear by calling it a "so-called" act.

    To emphasize the point, she added: "As the President has explained, the Administration believes that this law is discriminatory and needs to be repealed by Congress -- that is why President Obama has stated that he opposes DOMA and supports its legislative repeal."

    But in the meantime, the administration feels duty-bound to enforce what it believes is a bad law.

    Kozinski, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, doesn't agree with that interpretation. "Even as limited by DOMA," the judge wrote, "the FEHBP permits judicial employees to provide health insurance coverage to their same-sex spouses."

    In addition to a responsibility to enforce the law, administration officials say they are within their rights to ignore the judge's order because, they reason, he issued it in his capacity as the court's boss, not in his role as a judge. The judge's decision was not issued as a formal court order because Golinski's complaint went through the court's administrative Employee Dispute Resolution Plan, rather than a judicial process.

    Didn't this abuse go on for a long time? And (none / 0) (#1)
    by Angel on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 07:16:59 PM EST
    isn't Mr. Marshall pretty spry for an 85-year old?  He seems healthy and somewhat robust.  Hard to say, but some form of punishment seems necessary to me.  I'm wondering why the wife wasn't charged.  

    What abuse? He didn't live w/his mother. (none / 0) (#23)
    by ding7777 on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 07:59:44 AM EST
    He hired professional caregivers to care for his mother (Note: none of Brooke Astor's "friends" and "family" claimed any abuse until it suited their agenda)

    Tony was beneficiary of Brooke Astor's original will but upon his death the trusts would revert "charity" (aka as Brooke Astor's BEST FRIEND Annette de la Renta's Metropolitan Museum of Art)

    Tony tried to change the will so that he could pass his inheritence on to his wife after his death.

    Was it wrong?  Yes.  A criminal matter?  No.


    Jury said it was abuse. I think this is abuse: (none / 0) (#46)
    by Angel on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:17:13 AM EST
    "In the last year of Astor's life, the nasty family feud over her care played out in the newspapers, including allegations she was forced to sleep in a torn nightgown on a urine-soaked couch."

    There was no abuse. (none / 0) (#53)
    by ding7777 on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 11:19:18 AM EST
    On December 5, 2006, an independent court evaluator released a report stating that the specific claims of elder abuse were not proved.

    He was convicted of 14 counts of conspiracy, grand larceny and possession of stolen property.


    That's really stretching (none / 0) (#67)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 01:41:36 PM EST
    If abusing trust was a crime we wouldn't have enough people outside prison to guard those inside.

    IIRC (none / 0) (#85)
    by ding7777 on Wed Dec 23, 2009 at 04:57:17 PM EST
    he did not "forge his mother's signature on a fraudulent will, in order to redirect her fortune to him"

    the fortune always went to him... but, and its a big but, the fortune reverted to the trust on his death (which is what he was trying to change)


    Not for nothing... (none / 0) (#76)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 02:26:58 PM EST
    one theory I heard floated i one of the local papers is that the son was merely a victim of spousal abuse himself, and his wife was the brains behind securing an inheritance for themselves.

    Maybe his old lady... (none / 0) (#80)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 02:42:55 PM EST
    ordered him not to take the stand?

    But I hear ya...all useless speculation.


    All mandatory sentences (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 07:56:43 PM EST
    are unjust, and should be repealed.  The sentencing judge should have discretion to impose the type and amount of punishment which is sufficient, but never greater than necessary, to attempt to achieve the public purposes of the criminal justice system on the complex and varying facts and circumstances of each case.  Apparently in this instance, the New York legislature had made a sentence of at least one to three years mandatory, presumably because the larceny victim was elderly.  I'm sure they never contemplated a case of an 80+ year old stealing from the assets of his 100-yr-old mother.  Legislatures, looking a general categories of offenses, never have the same insight into justice as judges in individual cases.

    the problem is (none / 0) (#7)
    by nyjets on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 08:44:15 PM EST
    The problem by not having non-mandatory sentecing is that there would to much variablity in sentencing. Judges that are to lenient will never ever punish criminals sufficiently. Judges that are too harsh will always give the max.

    There are lots of better ways (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Peter G on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 09:43:38 PM EST
    to control arbitrary sentencing.  Advisory guidelines, requirement to state reasons for the sentence, appellate review.  Rigid, arbitrary laws are not the answer to the problem of imperfect judges.

    other mandatory sentence purpose (none / 0) (#9)
    by diogenes on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 08:51:15 PM EST
    Weren't bribed judges famous for giving light sentences to mafia crooks in the bad old thirties and forties?

    As a global human rights geek I can confidently (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ellie on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 08:27:33 PM EST
    ... say that exploitation and abuse of the elderly and disabled will be THE big issue to surface immediately ahead. I'm sorry to phrase it in PR terms, but do so because it's been so overlooked for shallow reasons (ie, not telegenically friendly, not something people want to think about because it's horrifying and inconceivable, etc.)

    Some of the emerging factors: real estate issues; a culture of short-term, scorched-earth gain; the Cheneyesque "So?" attitude, still cruelly viewed and admired as alpha-macho profit-making.

    It's not like taking candy from a baby. It's worse.

    The ethical considerations of sending abusers, who may be elderly themselves, to prison is another ball of wax. The abuse outside the imprisonment mentioned up top is apparently so widespread, that in itself contributes to the "invisibility" of the practice. (It's like when domestic battery was condoned by law enforcement cause, hey, if some poor guy's getting "nagged", whaddaya gonna do?)

    As a human rights extremist myself... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 08:00:33 AM EST
    I'm hoping exploitation and abuse and draconian punishment of prisoners starts getting some attention too.

    If you don't want to go to prison at 85.... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 10:18:42 PM EST
    ... you might consider not committing crimes at 80, especially if you are already a multi-millionaire.

    Funniest post (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 05:54:29 AM EST
    And on the flip... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 08:03:08 AM EST
    what if you don't want to live in and fund a sick society that throws 85 year olds in cages?

    90% of elder fraud (none / 0) (#83)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 04:34:35 PM EST
    is perpetrated by a family member - generally a child.

    where is the abuse? (none / 0) (#15)
    by pitachips on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 11:19:14 PM EST
    was he sentenced to 40 lashes?

    the man is clearly not senile or mentally unstable - and i don't see any real mitigating circumstances. he wasn't stealing because he was poor or in debt. this guy is the poster child (or grandpa) of someone who should rot in jail.

    Another crazy legal argument. (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 06:13:11 AM EST
    Lawyer argues that sex change is necessary for inmate

    A lawyer for a convicted murderer suing the state for a sex-change operation said Monday that the surgery is the only treatment that will significantly reduce the inmate's depression and anxiety.

    Pardon me if I have no sympathy for someone who murders his wife.

    hey jb... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 08:04:37 AM EST
    we agree!...the state should not be forced to fund sex changes.

    Christmas comes early for me! (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 08:16:18 AM EST
    kdog and I agree on something!  :)

    That's not prison issue attire... (none / 0) (#78)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 02:39:19 PM EST
    and hence forbidden...but a very nice sentiment Don:)

    What we could do is get her a good lawyer to get that conviction overturned so she can be free to change sex...now that would be a nice thing to do for Christmas.


    Dude (none / 0) (#82)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 03:46:31 PM EST
    "sex change" isnt the correct nomenclature. Sexual reassignment, please!

    Lobbyists see banner year in 2009 (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 07:04:20 AM EST
    Thought they were going to be run out of town with the new sheriff and all....

    Guess Santa came early this year

    Main Street has had a tough year, losing jobs and seeing little evidence of the economic revival that experts say has already begun.

    But K Street is raking it in.

    Washington's influence industry is on track to shatter last year's record $3.3 billion spent to lobby Congress and the rest of the federal government -- and that's with a down economy and about 1,500 fewer registered lobbyists in town, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Many lobbying firms have escaped the worst of the corporate belt-tightening, thanks, in large part, to the ambitious agenda set out by President Barack Obama -- who, ironically, came to Washington with a pledge to break what he considered the undue influence of special-interest lobbyists.

    Plenty of sectors have scaled back their K Street spending, including traditional big spenders like real estate and telecommunications. But Obama's push for legislation on health reform, financial reform and climate change has compensated for the grim economic times.

    And that's after Obama kicked off the year with a massive economic stimulus package -- and every major business sector tried to get a piece of the action.

    "Lobbyists love it ... when you've got an activist agenda like this, and you've got serious problems like this, and people want to do something about it," said James Thurber, director of American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies.

    "It is the most active time that I have ever seen in the advocacy business -- from 1973 on," Thurber added.

    "We've never had as good a year," said one lobbyist whose shop deals mostly with financial services and health care issues. "It's been a tremendously busy year, and it's going to keep getting that way," the lobbyist said, noting that both health care and financial reform will remain active as congressional action moves from drafting legislation to implementation to the inevitable fixes.

    The year-end lobbying expenditure figures don't come out until late January, but Thurber and others predict that the top line number will exceed the $3.3 billion spent in 2008. Groups spent $2.5 billion during the first three quarters of 2009, which is a slightly faster quarterly pace than 2008, according to CRP.

    More cop shooters (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 08:29:36 AM EST
    2 deputies shot in same county where 4 officers were killed last month

    Two Pierce County sheriff's deputies were shot while responding to a domestic violence incident at home near the town of Eatonville, south of Seattle, said Hunter George, a spokesman for the county.

    The incident involved two brothers and a young woman, said Det. Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

    One of the men invited the officers inside the house, while the other man went upstairs. He returned with a weapon and opened fire on the deputies, striking them multiple times, Troyer said.

    The "alleged" killer was shot and killed. Oh well.

    $42,000... (none / 0) (#29)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 08:45:20 AM EST
    ...bill for the Balloon Boy parents.  

    The parents in the "Balloon Boy" ruse have been hit with a tab of $42,000 from local, state and federal agencies for their October stunt that briefly left many fearing for the fate of their 6-year-old, their lawyer said Monday.

    The Heenes' attorney, David Lane, said the Fort Collins couple isn't ready to pay up, at least not yet.

    "Let's see the bills," he said. "They're not paying anything until they see some receipts."

    Receipts?  The FAA doesn't need no stinkin' receipts.

    Dancing to stay in the spotlight? nt (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Jen M on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:02:06 AM EST
    More (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 08:50:03 AM EST
    In a letter sent to Lane by the Larimer County district attorney's office, sheriff's officials estimate their department spent about $8,000 in overtime. Another $13,500 was spent by law enforcement agencies from the nearby communities of Greeley and Weld County, along with Colorado State University and the U.S. Forest Service, the letter said.

    Two National Guard helicopters launched to track the Jiffy Pop-shaped craft and possibly attempt to rescue the couple's 6-year-old son, reportedly inside the balloon, cost about $16,000.

    Also included in the estimate are $8,500 in damages to the field where the craft landed. Emergency vehicles rushed onto the field, and a police officer sprinted through it trying to catch up with the balloon.

    In another letter sent to Lane, the FAA said it conducted its own civil investigation and determined the Heenes launched an unauthorized aircraft and are subject to an $11,000 fine. Lane said that's a separate matter that he is studying.

    Officials rerouted planes around the balloon's flight path and briefly forced some planes to switch to a different runway for takeoff from Denver International Airport.


    I hope these people get socked with huge restitution and fines.


    Receipts...Classic (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 08:55:21 AM EST
    A for Effort for the Balloon Family, but they forget the age old adage "ya can't beat City Hall"...asking the men with guns for receipts...pfft, classic!

    Think the IRS would mind showing us some receipts for where our tax dollars go while we're at it?...:)


    Top ten (none / 0) (#36)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:36:02 AM EST
    Obama backlash moments

    I'm surprised they even acknowledge some of these.

    My # 1... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 09:51:54 AM EST
    didn't even make the cut.

    Let me guess..... (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:02:55 AM EST
    No need... (none / 0) (#47)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:23:49 AM EST
    see linkage...when he called all the online townhall questioners of marijuana prohibition a bunch of degenerates, in so many words.

    I may be a degenerate, but not all of us:)


    Admitting it is the first step ;) (none / 0) (#48)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:33:39 AM EST
    (just kidding)  :o

    You kidding... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:38:22 AM EST
    like one of my heroes said..."I'm gonna wave my freak flag high!"

    My degeneracy is a badge of honor:)


    Hey MileHi... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:39:23 AM EST
    is this Ariel Attack a friend of yours?

    I'd sure like to shake his/her hand.

    Naw... (none / 0) (#55)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 11:51:04 AM EST
    ...I'm a little long in the tooth to be hanging out with the anarchist crowd.  Except for concerts...

    And I'm a too allergic... (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 11:57:47 AM EST
    to cuffs to run in those circles...but its nice knowing they are out there, raising hell for all us sinners.

    "Mrs. Astor Regrets" by Meryl Gordon (none / 0) (#52)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 10:54:37 AM EST
    provided an interesting backdrop to the case. From my perspective, it was difficult to come down on the side of any of the cast of characters, including Mrs. Astor, although her NYC philanthropy, to an extent, redeems her role in this otherwise unseemly melodrama.  Tony Marshall was the inconvenient son, beginning with his alcoholic father, John Kuser, to the stepfathers, Marshall, and then Astor.  The neglectful fathering was passed on to Tony's sons, one of which turned him in for abusing his rarely visited grandmother. The dear friends of Mrs. Astor, such as David Rockefeller, Henry KIssinger and Annette de la Renta seemed unable to grasp the changes occurring with Mrs.Astor's advancing years, and considered elder abuse to include substitution of florist's bouquets with grocery store flowers. Upstairs/downstairs intrigue was in full throttle. Tony's third wife, Charlene, who left her preacher husband (pastor of Mrs. Astor's Bar Harbour parish) seems to be quite a piece of work. and appears to be at the heart of Tony's larcenous spousal protection program. And, not to go unheralded are the complicit lawyers.  Tony, at 85, is in poor health and this will probably impact his sentence. If up to me, either the whole lot should be sent off somewhere rather unpleasant, or let Tony go to spend his final days with Charlene-- penalty enough.

    Dems lose one (none / 0) (#54)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 11:31:00 AM EST
    He's been voting like one on just (none / 0) (#66)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 01:38:06 PM EST
    about everything, so I'm not sure the Dems ever "had him" in the first place.

    Cool news... (none / 0) (#60)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 12:47:20 PM EST
    NY City Council has approved a portion of Liverpool St. in Jamaica Queens will be renamed "Sean Bell Way", to honor the memory of police shooting victim Sean Bell.

    Unsurprisingly though, the law-n-order worshippers on the council have a problem with this and are expressing some "outrage", calling the honorary renaming "anti-cop"...if only we could get them to be outraged when police pump unarmed men full of bullets, and get them to consider that behavior "anti-cop" eh?