As always your cat blogger
Pook T. Cat
The Wolf Credo: Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack. Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between. Share your affections. Voice your feelings. Leave your mark.
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 1:00 PM
Chicago Tribune Update
Teen is first of possible hundreds to be freed from a scandal-ridden juvenile justice system
By Howard Witt
Tribune senior correspondent
Published March 31, 2007
HOUSTON -- Shaquanda Cotton, the black teenager in the small east Texas town of Paris whose prison sentence of up to 7 years for shoving a teacher's aide sparked nationwide controversy, will be released Saturday morning, prison officials confirmed on Friday.
Her release, ordered by a special conservator appointed to overhaul the state's scandal-ridden juvenile prison system, is the first of what could be hundreds as a panel of civil rights leaders begins reviewing the sentences of every youth incarcerated by the Texas Youth Commission to weed out those being held arbitrarily.
"We have no confidence in the system that was in place," said Jim Hurley, spokesman for the conservator, Jay Kimbrough. "And this case is an example of what we expect to happen if something wrong has been done to youths being held inside that system."
Cotton, who is 15, had no prior criminal record when she was incarcerated a year ago under an indeterminate sentence that could have lasted until her 21st birthday. Her case rose to national prominence and became the focus of ongoing civil rights protests after a March 12 Tribune story detailed how a 14-year-old white girl convicted of the more serious crime of arson was sentenced to probation by the same judge.
Cotton's case occurred against a backdrop of persistent allegations of racial discrimination inside the Paris public schools -- allegations that are the subject of a continuing probe by the U.S. Department of Education to determine whether black students in the district are disciplined more harshly than whites.
"When I learned about this case, I thought, this just looks so bad and smells so bad it made me hurt," said state Rep. Harold Dutton, the influential chairman of the Texas Legislature's juvenile justice committee. "I told [prison officials] I wanted her out of there immediately."
The superintendent of the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood, Texas, where Shaquanda Cotton is being held, called the girl's mother, Creola Cotton, Friday afternoon and told her she could come pick up the youth, Creola Cotton said.
But because it is a five-hour drive from Paris to Brownwood, and the weather in the area on Friday was severe, Creola Cotton said she couldn't reach the prison until Saturday morning.
Later Friday, prison officials, who had not told Shaquanda of her impending release, allowed her to call her mother.
'She nearly fell on the floor'
"She thought they were bringing her to the office to tell her I was not going to be able to visit this weekend like I was planning because of the bad weather, so she was already crying," Creola Cotton said. "I said, 'Oh, I'm still gonna come see you tomorrow. But you're going to be coming home with me.' She nearly fell on the floor."
Officials said Shaquanda Cotton was being released on 60 days' probation to allow her to access state health and counseling services. But after that, she would be completely free, they said. Creola Cotton said her daughter would not return to the Paris public schools but would pursue her GED at home.
What effect her release might have on the pending legal appeal of the youth's case was unclear.
Since she has been in prison, Shaquanda Cotton said that she had grown despondent surrounded by other youths who were hardened criminals, and that she had tried to commit suicide. Her sentence, which ultimately was up to the discretion of prison officials, had twice been extended, first because she would not admit her guilt as required by prison regulations and then because she was found with "contraband" in her cell -- an extra pair of socks.
Those sentence extensions drew the attention of Kimbrough, who was confirmed by the state Senate on Thursday as conservator of the youth prison system, which has been rocked by a sex scandal over allegations that guards and administrators coerced inmates for sex.
Kimbrough, a former deputy attorney general, said last week that he was convening a special committee to examine the sentences of all 4,700 youths in Texas juvenile prisons to determine how many might have had their sentences unfairly extended by prison authorities -- and that Shaquanda Cotton's was the first case he intended to review.
Prison officials said it was Kimbrough who personally ordered the girl's release on Friday.
Since the Tribune's first account of Shaquanda Cotton's case, her story has been circulated on more than 400 Internet blogs and featured in newspapers and radio and TV reports across the country. Two protests demanding her release were held in Paris and a third, to be led by Rev. Al Sharpton, was scheduled for Tuesday.
Even before news of her impending release broke Friday, the Lamar County District Attorney's office, which prosecuted her and pressed for her to be sent to prison for up to 7 years, made an abrupt turnaround and said the youth had served enough time and ought to be freed.
Court discrepancy revealed
"Let her out of TYC," said Allan Hubbard, spokesman for Lamar County District Atty. Gary Young. "Hell, she's done a year for pushing a teacher. That's too long."
Hubbard also backed away from claims he and Young made this week in numerous media interviews that the judge in the case, Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville, had had no choice but to send the youth to prison because her mother had testified that she would not cooperate with probation officials had the judge sentenced the teen to probation.
On Thursday, Young's official Web site contained this assertion: "This juvenile's mother (Creola Cotton) told the judge she would not comply with conditions of probation."
But a review of the full court transcript shows no such testimony. In fact, Creola Cotton repeatedly answered "yes" when asked in court whether she would comply with any conditions of probation that the judge might impose.
On Friday morning, after an inquiry about this discrepancy by the Tribune, the district attorney's Web site was altered to read: "Through her actions of non-cooperation, Ms. Cotton told the judge she would not comply with conditions of probation."
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 12:15 PM
Just got word from Peace-lover on Paltalk that Shaquanda Cotton is at home with her mom tonight. Thanks to all who worked on this story, Hot2Speak, all the refuges on Paltalk -Kate, Spirit, Mits and everyone that read this blog and followed the link Thank You, Will update as soon as I get more info
Link to the Yahoo Site that has all the new Press Releases
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 11:17 PM
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 7:32 PM
|Witch Trials And Tribulations In The Land Of The Free |
By Charles C. Haynes
First Amendment Center
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 5:31 PM
Don’t fire Gonzales even though he’s incompetent because winning elections is much more important:More Rush: “USA Today’s got a poll: ‘Do you think something’s wrong about the firing of eight US attorneys?’ 72% said yes. 72% of the American people, a bunch of blithering idiots who have no idea what they’re talking about, but yet they voted, so these polls matter.”
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 10:53 AM
I am trying out a chat program on the blog. This is a brand new program that allows Video, Mic and you can also share your favorite You Tube Videos while you chat. There are a few simple games as well. To enter my room CLICK HERE , you can enter the room below or cut and paste http://www.youcams.com/Wolfdancer in your browser. The name of my room is Wolfs Inn. If I'm on line I'll see ya there.
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 8:39 PM
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Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 9:19 AM
Officer allegedly draws weapon on 7-year-old girl: "Mother, daughters stopped on way to Pee Wee League football game"
While working on getting information out about Shaquanda Cotton (see stories below), I ran a cross this one in The New Pittsburgh Courier.
Pamela Lawton of the Hill District said on Aug. 26, she was on her way to Homewood for a Pee Wee League football game with her two daughters, 7-year old Joshalyn, 8-year old Jasmine, and two other children ages 2 and 3. She said she was driving her green, 1998 Ford Windstar and was approaching the intersection at Kentucky Street and Negley Avenue when a Pittsburgh Police cruiser signaled for her to pull over.
“He was flying up behind me and I stopped immediately because I wanted to stay in view,” said Lawton. “I felt like there was something wrong—why would he fly up behind me like that? Plus, I had my kids in the car so it kind of scared me.”
What Lawton said happened next was beyond anything her initial fears predicted.
“I said, ‘What’s the problem, officer?’ and he said ‘Get your hands up,’” wrote Lawton in a prepared statement. “He repeated, pulled out his gun and pointed into the passenger side of the window where my youngest daughter was trying to get her seatbelt off. So, I put my hands up.”
According to Lawton, she and her children spent the next 20 to 30 minutes trying to convince Officer Eric Tatusko to put his weapon down or to at least go to the driver’s side to address the problem with the only adult in the car.
Click the link for the rest of the story
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 9:39 AM
Media Matters - Fox News obsesses over anonymous "1984" anti-Clinton attack ad, prompting smears from Coulter:
Ann Coulter get a FREAKIN LIFE!
"I don't know how anyone can vote for a Democrat after reading Orwell's 1984."
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 9:59 AM
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Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 6:40 PM
Crooks and Liars » Cleland to Cheney: “Where the hell were you in the Vietnam War?”
Max tells it like it is.
"Where the hell were you in the Vietnam War? If you had gone to Vietnam like the rest of us, maybe you would have learned something about war. You can't keep troops on the ground forever. You gotta have a mission. You gotta have a purpose."
You can't keep sending 'em back and back and back with no mission and no purpose. As a matter of fact, the real enemy is Al Qaeda, it's Al Qaeda stupid, it's not in Iraq.
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 9:41 PM
Crooks and Liars » The Internet’s Longest List of Right-Wing Hate Speech
I too will never forget this one!
I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped [9/11] happen.'"
- Jerry Falwell, September 13, 2001, on The 700 Club
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 2:22 PM
That the United States Government and The VA refuse to pay for Pagan/Wiccan head stones for my brothers and sisters that have served in the armed forces. This is a battle that has been going on for more than nine years now. Unknowing friends have asked me "Why are you complaining Wolf? Your going to be cremated when it's your time to go." There are some facts you should know about this issue:
1. The Government pays for thirty eight symbols of other beliefs and even Atheists and Humanists have markers (please don't take it personal if you are a member of those groups, just trying to make a point here). I have been a member of the AREN (Alternative Religions Education Network) e-mail list since they started it and was called the Witches Antidefamation League. AREN has been fighting this battle along with the folks at Witchvox and Circle Sanctuary's Lady Liberty League many years now.Please go to their sites for more info and updates.
2. The Wiccan and Pagan Beliefs are recognized by the US Government as religions. There is a chapter in the US Military Chaplin's handbook as well.
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 9:18 AM
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 12:44 AM
MyDD :: Direct Democracy for People-Powered Politics: "by Mat"
Also- Developing: Dems May Drop Fox Sponsored Pres. Debate
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 4:26 PM
You can listen to The People Speak Radio Show on Paltalk or Live365 over the net. This is a great internet radio show. I posted a link to their website on the sidebar. Past guests - Jesse Jackson, Howard Zinn, John Conyers, Immortal Technique, Ward Churchill, Pete Seeger, Chevy Chase, Ed Asner and many more. If you go to their web site you can listen to many of the shows that have been archived. The show is on Tuesday Nights starting at 8pm EST. The site also has info on how to listen through Paltalk (which I recommend because you get to chat with other people while you listen to the show) or Live365. See You There.
Posted by Art L aka Wolfdancer at 3:38 PM
Its been a rough week here and because my mind races sometimes when I get depressed I though I would write some of the shit down while it's flowing through my warped brain.
Mercury is in retrograde, sometimes it doesn't effect me but when it's going backwards through Pisces its unusually bad for me, can't wait for March 28th to get here. Merc Retro is also effecting some of my good friends. I don't feel alone in my misery.
Save The Penguins. Not the kind you see in the zoo or the Antarctic. I'm talkin bout the Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Team. Please all you politicians don't let them fly to K.C. We got a great young team that might make the playoffs for the 1st time in years. Every home game is sold out. Even my Canadian hockey freak friends think we got a chance for the cup and thats saying something.
Save PAT Transit. If they cut bus routes and raise fares again a lot of folks will be screwed. Lets hope they find a long term solution this time so we don't have to go through this every year. Seems like the politicians are more interested in saving the Penguins than fixing the bus system. I'm in a bind about this, I want both fixed.
Why are cats so dam picky? Since Wiskas discontinued the smaller bags of cat food Pook has been pissed at me. I've been mixing his Wiskas fish with Dads fish and you'd think it was the end of the world for the little fellow. He's really trying my patience but I won't cave in. This time.
Sometimes you feel like a hero, sometimes you don't. Doc Andy interviewed me and it's published in the Allegheny Chronicle. I work with Andy on Monday nights going to the homeless camps on the Northside. If I ever get a copy scanned I'll post it here and yunz can make up your own minds cause I sure don't feel like a hero when I get paid for something I love to do.
IBS is a bitch. I'm talking about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Had a bad attack this week and felt like I was dying. So did my brother Bob.
Paltalk sucks lately. Paltalk is a chat program that I have been on for years. I've been hanging out in Lady Arwens room in the Political section as of late. Over the years I have made many friends on PT but lately myself and a few of my friends have noticed that the masks are coming off some of our friends and they have been showing their true colors. I would love to hang out on IRC with some of my Pagan friends but they have disappeared. If I had a faster net connection I'd hang out in Second Life, seems to be the happening thing ATM.
Myspace. Ok, I gave it a try, didn't like the programing much and I deleted my account when I started getting spam in hotmail from some really pretty chicks. I have no idea who they are and they are wanting to be my friend, LMAO.
Thanks to Ken, Dave and Mr G. (who started a Blog) from Wellspring for the Food.
Guess thats about it for now, except to tell yunz that yunz might be seeing more links like the stories below cause Firefox browser has a neat add on called blog this.
BTW. Yunz is Pittsburghese for You All in case your not from Da Burgh and don't have a clue what I was saying.
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