July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Hey Barack ... Are You Ready for Some Football?


July 29, 2013

Taser Death: Deomain Hayman (Wilmington, DE)

It happened again! This time an unarmed and frightened 28-year old Deomain Hayman died shortly after being tased twice by unidentified Wilmington (DE) police officers.

Police said Hayman led police on a high-speed chase about 8:10 p.m. on Sunday, July 21, when they tried to pull over the minivan that he was driving for a registration violation. Police abandoned the chase, but officers were later flagged down by witnesses who saw the van about a mile away.

The police say that Hayman became combative and police deployed Tasers. Here is where the story gets a little cloudy. The police say that the taser guns both malfunctioned. They won't say what the malfunction was ... just that the 50,000 volts of electricity unleashed by the two unidentified police officers didn't do their jobs.

And yet this unarmed man ... guilty of avoiding a traffic stop ... is dead.

It took four officers and several sets of handcuffs to take Hayman into custody. Police say that he was placed in a seated position on the ground. Minutes later, he had trouble breathing and appeared to go into cardiac arrest.

Officers removed his handcuffs, started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, and applied a defibrillator, according to police spokesman, but could not revive Hayman, who was rushed to Wilmington Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

We will see if the clouds can part and clarity be declared on this death. What we know for sure is than an unarmed man is dead ... and tasers were used. When will police stop reaching for their taser guns when a little commonsense and patience might do the trick?

July 28, 2013

Taser Death: John Wrana (Park Forest, IL)

It happened again! Unidentified Park Forest (IL) police officers couldn't handle the disrespect that they received from an angry 95-year old John Wrana at Victory Centre, a senior living community -- so they killed him.  

Yep, you read me right ... the guy was 95-years old! Older than your grandparents. Heck, he is probably older than your great-grandparents would be if they were still living. What was the punishment for disrespecting the police? They electrocuted him to death with their taser guns ... and then for good measure fired some bean bags into the elderly man.

John Wrana was ornery. Most 95-year old folks are ornery. He was being 'involuntarily' committed for medical treatment by the Victory Centre staff. The private ambulance firm that was onsite called 911 to get assistance from the police with a "combative" resident.

When police arrived, the man was threatening staff and paramedics with a metal cane and a 2-foot metal shoehorn, according to a police press release. Police demanded that he drop the cane and shoehorn, but he did not comply and then picked up a "12-inch butcher type kitchen knife." So, if the press release is to be believed, Wrana, had three (3) weapons in this two hands -- cane, shoehorn and a "butcher" kitchen knife (what the hell is a "butcher" kitchen knife)? Sound credible to you?

Unidentified police officers continued to command the man to surrender and follow their orders. They felt disrespected when he didn't comply immediately. Eventually the police pulled out their taser guns ... pointed the 50,000 volts of electricity at the 95-year old man ... and shot. That wasn't enough. The police then fired bean bag rounds at the man to get him to drop the knife and surrender. He did so and was taken into custody. Shortly, thereafter Wrana was declared dead by the local hospital staff.

What is the justification for electrocuting a 95-year old man? Are the Lake Forest police truly that inept that they can't subdue a man born in 1918 without killing him?

July 27, 2013

Obama's Weekly Address: 'A Better Bargain for the Middle Class'


In this week’s address, President Obama tells the American people about his speech at Knox College on Wednesday, where he discussed the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class, including having a good job, a home that is your own, quality education, a secure retirement, and affordable health care.

Watch this week's Weekly Address.


July 26, 2013

Taser Death: Dainell Simmons (Suffolk County, NY)

It happened again. This time an autistic 29-year old Dainell Simmons was in need of help. The folks at the group home where he lived called 911 to seek assistance. Three unidentified Suffolk County police officers arrived. The officers initially were able to calm Simmons after they were summoned to the Maryhaven Center of Hope facility, a tidy, two-story house with brown shingles and black and white trim in Middle Island. [SOURCE]

But when they told Simmons they were taking him to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, he began kicking and punching them ... and within minutes one officer began to pepper spray the mentally-ill man, while the other two police officers unleashed their taser guns on Mr. Simmons. He was tased at least twice by the officers.

Simmons became unresponsive. He was transported to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, where he died.

The police told reporters that Simmons was acting "violent and uncontrollably" and that the decision to use a Taser appeared appropriate under the circumstances. Of course, that is usually how the police try to justify the unjustifiable. There were multiple police officers at the scene. Mr. Simmons was unarmed and he was autistic. Perhaps there are better ways to handle the situation then to pump 50,000 volts of electricity into his body on multiple occasions?

July 22, 2013

Unique Building * Hang Nga Guesthouse or Crazy House (Vietnam)

I've never traveled to another continent. I'm not proud of it ... it just turned out that way. If I were to travel to Vietnam ... it is likely I would find my way to the city of Da Lat. Folks say that Da Lat is a very romantic city with mountains and pleasant weather.

One of the sights to see in Da Lat is the Hang Nga Guesthouse and Gallery ... or 'Crazy House' as it is known by the Vietnamese.


The base of the house is an actual tree. Apparently, the architect is a woman (Hang Nga) whose father (Truong Chinh) used to be president of Viet Nam. The house is unique with its 'Jungle Book' theme. For example, many of the steps are designed to look like tree stumps. There are also several rooms (like the one in the photo below) with animal themes.

I wonder if either of the Obama daughters will grow up to be architects?

July 9, 2013

Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship

The Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship Program is designed to help cultivate minority students for potential recruitment in the field of technology. The scholarship amount award depends on the student's tuition balance, academic excellence and classification.

Applicants must be academic high-achievers with a GPA average of 3.0 or better and must be US citizens or visa-holding Permanent Residents of African American, Asian, Pacific Island, Native American, Native Alaskan, or Hispanic descent. The scholarship is not available to spouses and children of Xerox employees.

Applicants must also be enrolled as a full time undergraduate or graduate student in any of the following technical fields: Chemistry, Computing & Software Systems, Information Management, Material Science, Printing Management Science, Laser Optics, Physics, Material Science, and all forms of Engineering - including Software Engineering.

The deadline for this scholarship is usually in SEPTEMBER of each year, and the award amount is usually $1,000 - $10,000
.

For more details, visit www.xerox.com/jobs/minority-scholarships/enus.html

July 6, 2013

VIDEO: The People Want Mandela

Nic Hofmeyr dug this one out of the archives, and remastered it from two damaged tapes. `THE PEOPLE WANT MANDELA' was a song that came from an initiative by the South African Musicians Alliance to celebrate the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990.



Written by Jennifer Ferguson, Rashid Lanie, Victor Ntoni and Ray Phiri, the song was recorded by some of the top South African artistes and musicians of the time.