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commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

While U.S. Schools cut back to Four Days…Chinese School are Six days a week…..

[CovJump2]

[ Students in China, where schools give 30% more hours of instruction than in the U.S., take a college entrance exam. ]

In a country that prides itself on its smarts and resislance…we seem to be going backwards on educating our children…..

While I’m really not for steady six days a week schools….there has to be something wrong where we…. in this country… are going to four-day weeks for schools ….while Asian schools regularly send their student’s to school more hours and have better grades than our students…..

Our country which prides itself on individualism….is racing to fall behind in education, healthcare and well being while spending money on frivolous unneeded things while important things beg for money….

And it doesn’t seem that things are going to get better anytime soon…..

“He who labors diligently need never despair, for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.” —Menander

How many days a year did the future Alexander the Great study with Aristotle? Did Socrates teach Plato on Saturdays as well as weekdays? During summer’s heat and winter’s chill?

Though such details remain shrouded in mystery, historians have unearthed some information about education in ancient times. Spartans famously put their children through a rigorous public education system, although the focus was on military training rather than reading and writing. Students in Mesopotamia attended their schools from sunrise to sunset.

In the face of budget shortfalls, school districts in many parts of the United States today are moving toward four-day weeks. This is despite evidence that longer school weeks and years can improve academic performance. Schoolchildren in China attend school 41 days a year more than most young Americans—and receive 30% more hours of instruction. Schools in Singapore operate 40 weeks a year. Saturday classes are the norm in Korea and other Asian countries—and Japanese authorities are having second thoughts about their 1998 decision to cease Saturday-morning instruction. This additional time spent learning is one big reason that youngsters from many Asian nations routinely out-score their American counterparts on international tests of science and math.

Some U.S. schools have figured this out. Those that boast extraordinary success with poor and minority youngsters typically surround them, like Mesopotamians, with learning from dawn to dusk. The celebrated Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), a network of over 80 charter schools around the country, subjects its middle-schoolers to 60% more instructional time than the typical public school—including eight-to 10-hour days, Saturday morning classes and abbreviated summer breaks.

More…….

“Summer learning loss” is no joke. When they return to school in late August or early September, many children, especially the least advantaged among them, have shed a sizable portion of what they had learned by May—a full month’s worth, by most estimates, adding up to 1.3 school years by the end of high school.

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Counterpoints, Education, Government, Home, Law, Media, Other Things, The Economy, Updates | , , , , | 4 Comments

Michele Obama and the kids escape the fuss at a Broadway show…..

First Lady Michelle Obama outside The Shubert Theater on W. 44th Street, New York, NY, Sunday.

[ The First lady comes to the ‘Big Apple’ to enjoy a Broadway show ( ‘Memphis’ ) with the kids…...]

The First Lady and her daughters escaped to New York to catch a Broadway show while her husband stayed in Washington to fight for health care.

Michelle Obama – with Sasha, 8, and Malia, 11, and about a dozen other people in tow – took in the matinee performance of “Memphis” Sunday.

Security blocked off 44th Street outside the Shubert Theatre when  their motorcade arrived. Obama, the girls and their friends were hussled in through a side door to seats reserved in the first four rows of the theater.

“They didn’t make an announcement but when they came in, everybody noticed and started taking pictures. Then people started clapping too and there was a standing ovation for them,” said Terri Mertz, one surprised audience member.

“I knew she was tall but I didn’t realize she was that tall!,” said Mertz, referring to the striking First Lady, who was wearing a black dress.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/03/21/2010-03-21_first_lady_michelle_obama_escapes_health_debate_by_taking_daughters_to_broadways.html#ixzz0isCoxPT6

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Counterpoints, Family, Fiction, Government, Media, Music, Other Things, Updates, Women | , , , | Leave a comment

House Approves Landmark Bill ( Senate Version ) to Extend Health Care to Millions……

By a vote of 219 to 212, the House passed the bill after a day of tumultuous debate that echoed the epic struggle of the last year. The action sent the bill to President Obama, whose crusade for such legislation has been a hallmark of his presidency.

After a year of partisan combat and weeks of legislative brinksmanship, House Democrats and the White House clinched their victory only hours before the voting started on Sunday. They agreed to a deal with opponents of abortion rights within their party to reiterate in an executive order that federal money provided by the bill could not be used for abortions, giving the Democrats the final votes. Democrats said that in expanding access to health coverage for uninsured Americans, they were creating a new program every bit as important as Social Security and Medicare, while also putting downward pressure on rising health care costs and reining in federal budget deficits.

Republicans said the plan would saddle the nation with unaffordable levels of debt, leave states with expensive new obligations, weaken Medicare and give the government a huge new role in the health care system.

The debate on the legislation has highlighted the deep partisan and ideological divides in the nation and set up a bitter midterm Congressional election campaign, with Republicans promising an effort to repeal it or block its provisions in the states.

The health care bill would require most Americans to havehealth insurance, would add 16 million people to the Medicaidrolls and would subsidize private coverage for low- and middle-income people, at a cost to the government of $938 billion over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The bill would require many employers to offer coverage to employees or pay a penalty. Each state would set up a marketplace, or exchange, where consumers without such coverage could shop for insurance meeting federal standards.

The budget office estimates that the bill would provide coverage to 32 million uninsured people, but still leave 23 million uninsured in 2019. One-third of those remaining uninsured would be illegal immigrants.

The new costs, according to the budget office, would be more than offset by savings in Medicare and by new taxes and fees, including a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans and a tax on the investment income of the most affluent Americans.

Cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, showing that the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $143 billion in the next 10 years, persuaded some fiscally conservative Democrats that they should vote for the bill.

More…….

Commentary from the Dog…..

The Dog is happy to see the issue finally get done….it has been along and circular path for this huge piece of legislation….President Obama after finally getting involved pulled an issue that had become quicksand for Democrats into something they finally got together behind the White House and forged into a success for a lot of people who will be the better after its enactment……

While the Republicans sink into their tried and true scare tactics…in the end the Democrats assumed the role of a majority party and got their shit together…..

The Republicans will try to run against the House members that did their duty…so be it…..politcians have the job of making tough decessions….its what they should accept  to do when they take the job……..

The Dog agrees that Federal money should NOT pay for abortions….and figure bear out that this is really and issue in so much that reports are that only 3% of Americans use their insurance policies money to terminate pregencies…..so be that….

In the end Republicans will get over the vote…..

They will wake up tomorrow..get dressed and go about their business just like they do every day…..

Life goes on……

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Healthcare, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates, Women | , | 20 Comments

Large Rally in Washington D.C. for Immigration…….

While the Healthcare drama plays out in Congress and the White House other issues are simmering……

Thousands of immigrants and their supporter’s gathered in Washington D.C. to protest no action from the White House on their promise to address the issue……while it was though they could attach an immigration Bill to the Healthcare Bill….that does not appear to be the case……..

Tens of thousands of immigrants and their supporters from across the United States packed the Mall on Sunday in a last-ditch effort to spur Congress and the White House to overhaul the nation’s immigration system and offer its 10.8 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship this year against increasingly long odds.

Warmed by occasional bursts of sunshine, the festive crowd beat drums and waved American flags and placards reading “Change takes Courage” and “Obama Don’t Forget Your Promise!”

“We’ve been patient long enough. We’ve listened quietly. We’ve asked politely. We’ve turned the other cheek so many times our heads are spinning,” Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez(D-Ill.), who has led the push for immigration legislation within the House of Representatives, shouted, to roars of approval. “It’s time to let immigrants come out of the shadows into the light and for America to embrace them and protect them.”

D.C. officials do not give crowd estimates, so it was difficult to determine whether turnout reached the several hundred thousand estimated by organizers. But the rally, which stretched from Seventh to 12th streets in a dense carpet of humanity, appeared to be the movement’s largest show of strength since 2006, when mass rallies in favor of a legalization plan erupted in cities across the country.

As at past rallies by the movement, most of Sunday’s participants appeared to be Latino, including many who broke into repeated chants in Spanish, such as “Sí, se puede!” (Yes, we can!) But there were also displays of diversity, including a group of Senagalese immigrant women, who had perched tiny American flags in their traditional headdresses, and immigrant Thai families carrying signs written in the script of their native country as they pushed their American-born children in strollers.

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Other Things, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Tiger Woods gives a interview………

[ Through therapy, “I saw a person that I never thought I would ever become,” Woods told ESPN. ]

The Dog saw the interview…which ESPN ran every half hour…..My only impression was the man looks lost…….He knows he has to talk to the press and so is doing that…..There are going to be very few people that will be on his side…But the Dog thinks this golfer has lost his way ….and is trying to find his way back…..The good thing is he knows what he did…and that’s a start…..

Tiger Woods answered questions from reporters for the first time in four months Sunday in two separate five-minute interviews that aired simultaneously on ESPN and the Golf Channel.

In the interviews, which were taped near his home in Windermere, Fla., and aired at 7:30 p.m., Woods gave some of the reasons for and some of his reactions to the car accident in front of his home last November, and the sex scandal and resulting fallout that have sent him into rehabilitation for 45 days and dominated his life since.

Dressed in an olive sweater over a yellow golf shirt, Woods was far more relaxed and animated than he was during his live 15-minute apology last month. Though the questions from the ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi and Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel were as probative as the format allowed, Woods did not reveal a great deal more than he had in his original apology.

But he did reveal some. Once again accepting blame for the multiple incidents of marital infidelity and acknowledging the hurt he had caused to many of his family, friends and fans, Woods responded to a question from Tilghman with a vivid look at how he finally owned up to what he had done.

“You strip away the denial, the rationalization and you come to the truth,” he said, “and the truth is very painful at times, and to stare at yourself and look at the person you’ve become, you become disgusted.”

Woods was interviewed for the first time since he answered questions after he won the AustralianMasters last November. The machinations behind the process of setting up the interviews were nearly as interesting as the two five-minute slices. So was the news, offered by Tilghman, that Ari Fleischer, the former spokesman for President George W. Bush who had been advising Woods, was no longer part of his team.

The networks were each contacted last week by representatives of Woods offering the opportunity for the interview. The ground rules were simple, and the two main restrictions concerned time.

“The understanding was no restrictions on the questions,” said Vince Doria, the senior vice president and director of news at ESPN. “We were able to get the person we wanted to do it, Tom Rinaldi, and they wanted to place a five-minute limit on it, and an agreement that we wouldn’t air it until 7:30.”

More…….

Link……..

ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi interviewed Tiger Woods on Sunday in Windermere, Fla. The interview was the first one granted by the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer since his Nov. 27 car accident outside his home. The following is a transcript of that interview.

Rinaldi: What’s the difference between the man who left Augusta national a year ago and the one who is about to return?

Woods: A lot has transpired in my life. A lot of ugly things have happened. Things that…..I’ve done some pretty bad things in my life. And uh, all came to a head. But now, after treatment, going for inpatient treatment for 45 days and more outpatient treatment, I’m getting back to my old roots.

Rinaldi: For a lot of people, the spark of those bad things is Nov. 27. Early that day, what happened?

Woods: Well, it’s all in the police report. Beyond that, everything’s between Elin and myself and that’s private.

Rinaldi: Why did you lose control of the car?

Woods: As I said … that’s between Elin and myself.

Rinaldi: If it’s a private matter, why issue a public apology?

Woods: Well, I owe a lot of people an apology. I hurt a lot of people. Not just my wife. My friends, my colleagues, the public, kids who looked up to me. There were a lot of people that thought I was a different person and my actions were not according to that. That’s why I had to apologize. I was so sorry for what I had done.

Rinaldi: You’ve said you’ve made transgressions. How would you, in your own words, describe the depth of your infidelity?

Woods: Well, just one is, is enough. And obviously that wasn’t the case, and I’ve made my mistakes. And as I’ve said, I’ve hurt so many people, and so many people I have to make an amends to, and that’s living a life of amends.

Rinaldi: You said you were in treatment. The simple question is, for what?

Woods: That’s a private matter as well. But I can tell you what, it was tough, it was really tough to look at yourself in a light that you never want to look at yourself, that’s pretty brutal.

Rinaldi: What’d you see?

Woods: I saw a person that I never thought I would ever become.

Rinaldi: Who was that?

Woods: Well, I had gotten away from my core values as I said earlier. I’d gotten away from my Buddhism. And I quit meditating. I quit doing all the things that my mom and dad had taught me. And as I said earlier in my statement, I felt entitled, and that is not how I was raised.

Rinaldi: Why not seek treatment before all of this came out?

Woods: Well, I didn’t know I was that bad. I didn’t know that I was that bad.

Rinaldi: How did you learn that? How did you learn it?

Woods: Stripping away denial, rationalization. You strip all that away and you find the truth.

Rinaldi: How do you reconcile your behavior with your view of marriage?

Woods: That’s living a life of amends and that’s just working at it each and every day.

Rinaldi: Given all that’s happened, what’s your measure of success at Augusta?

Woods: Well, playing is one thing. I’m excited to get back and play. I’m excited to get to see the guys again. I really miss a lot of my friends out there. I miss competing. But still, I still have a lot more treatment to do, and just because I’m playing, doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop going to treatment.

Rinaldi: What reception are you expecting from fans?

Woods: I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m a little nervous about that to be honest with you.

Rinaldi: How much do you care?

Woods: It would be nice to hear a couple claps here and there. But also hope they clap for birdies, too.

Rinaldi: Eleven months ago, here at Isleworth, I asked you, ‘How well does the world know you?’ What’s your answer to that now?

Woods: A lot better now. I was living a life of a lie. I really was. And I was doing a lot of things, like I said, that hurt a lot of people. And stripping away denial and rationalization you start coming to the truth of who you really are and that can be very ugly. But then again, when you face it and you start conquering it and you start living up to it. The strength that I feel now, I’ve never felt that type of strength.

Rinaldi: In the last four months, Tiger, what’s been the low point?

Woods: I’ve had a lot of low points. Just when I didn’t think it could get any lower, it got lower.

Rinaldi: An example?

Woods: When I was in treatment, out of treatment, before I went in, there were so many different low points. People I had to talk and face like my wife, like my mom.

Rinaldi: What was that moment like, either one?

Woods: They both have been brutal. They’ve both been very tough. Because I hurt them the most. Those are the two people in my life who I’m closest to and to say the things that I’ve done, truthfully to them, is … honestly … was … very painful.

Rinaldi: What was your wife’s reaction when you sat down and had that first conversation?

Woods: She was hurt, she was hurt. Very hurt. Shocked. Angry. And, you know, she had every right to be and I’m as disappointed as everyone else in my own behavior because I can’t believe I actually did that to the people I loved.

Rinaldi: I ask this question respectfully, but of course at a distance from your family life. When you look at it now, why did you get married?

Woods: Why? Because I loved her. I loved Elin with everything I have. And that’s something that makes me feel even worse, that I did this to someone I loved that much.

Rinaldi: How do you reconcile what you’ve done with that love?

Woods: We work at it.

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Entertainment, Family, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Sports, Updates, Women | , | Leave a comment

The Vote is 224 to 206 in the House on procedures….clearing the way for the vote tonight…..

Landmark health-care legislation passed a series of procedural hurdles in the House of Representatives and headed toward a crucial vote on final passage Sunday night after President Obama reached a deal with Democratic holdouts on an executive order designed to allay their concerns about abortion funding.

After 5 1/2 hours of often contentious floor speeches and a string of procedural votes, the House approved the rules for final debate on a Senate-passed health-care bill and a House package of fixes by a vote of 224 to 206. That vote set the stage for what House Democratic leaders hoped would be the penultimate milestone later Sunday night of Obama’s year-long effort to overhaul the nation’s $2.5 trillion health-care system.

Following the House votes, Obama planned to launch a campaign aimed at countering conservatives’ criticisms of the health-care bill, aides said.

Rallying last-minute support for the overhaul, Obama announced Sunday afternoon that he would issue an executive order after passage, attesting that the bill is consistent with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions.

The arrangement won the support of a key bloc of anti-abortion House Democrats, whose leader, Rep. Bart Stupak(D-Mich.), said at a news conference, “I’m pleased to announce we have an agreement.”

Appearing with Stupak were half a dozen other holdout Democrats. With them on board, “we’re well past” the 216 votes needed in the House to approve the health-care legislation, Stupak said.

After 5 1/2 hours of often contentious floor speeches and a string of procedural votes, the House approved the rules for final debate on a Senate-passed health-care bill and a House package of fixes by a vote of 224 to 206. That vote set the stage for what House Democratic leaders hoped would be the penultimate milestone later Sunday night of Obama’s year-long effort to overhaul the nation’s $2.5 trillion health-care system.

Following the House votes, Obama planned to launch a campaign aimed at countering conservatives’ criticisms of the health-care bill, aides said.

Rallying last-minute support for the overhaul, Obama announced Sunday afternoon that he would issue an executive order after passage, attesting that the bill is consistent with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions.

The arrangement won the support of a key bloc of anti-abortion House Democrats, whose leader, Rep. Bart Stupak(D-Mich.), said at a news conference, “I’m pleased to announce we have an agreement.”

Appearing with Stupak were half a dozen other holdout Democrats. With them on board, “we’re well past” the 216 votes needed in the House to approve the health-care legislation, Stupak said.

More…….

White House pictures from Talkandpolitcs.…..

Check out these photos from inside the White House today, as congress debates the Health Bill and the final vote in the House of Reps.

Rahms office

The Oval Office

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Healthcare, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, Politics, TalkandPolitcs, Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

NCAA Basketball College March Madness Tournament Scores#3……

MEN’S BASKETBALL SCOREBOARD/SCHEDULES

Wisconsin's Jason Bohannon (12) goes for a basket as Cornell's Ryan Wittman (20) defends during the second half of an NCAA second-round college basketball game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

[ Wisconsin’s Jason Bohannon (12) goes for a basket as Cornell’s Ryan Wittman (20) defends during the second half of an NCAA second-round college basketball game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, March 21, 2010. ]

SUNDAY, MARCH 21ST 2010All Conferences

Final
(22) Gonzaga 65
(4) Syracuse 87
West Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Final
Georgia Tech 66
(5) Ohio State 75
Midwest Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Final
(13) Michigan St 85
(20) Maryland 83
Midwest Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Final
Missouri 59
(6) West Virginia 68
East Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
Final
Cornell 87
(16) Wisconsin 69
East Regional Second Round
Recap |  GameTracker |  Box Score |  Preview
1st Half 5:12
(25) Xavier 28
(18) Pittsburgh 18
West Regional Second Round
Preview |  GameTracker
1st Half 9:29
Texas A&M 19
(10) Purdue 13
South Regional Second Round
Preview |  GameTracker
1st Half 10:22
California 15
(3) Duke 18
South Regional Second Round
Preview |  GameTracker

(scoreboards will automatically update every 60 seconds)

Louis Dale scored 26 points, Ryan Wittman added 24 and No. 12 seed Cornell upset fourth-seeded Wisconsin 87-69 on Sunday, becoming the first team from the Ivy League since 1979 to advance to the round of 16.

The Big Red (27-8) will play top-seeded Kentucky in the East Regional semifinal Thursday in Syracuse, N.Y., about an hour from Cornell’s campus. It could be a tough ticket, though, since Kentucky’s basketball-crazed fans got a head start when the Wildcats advanced Saturday.

Cornell wasted little time taking care of its end.

The Big Red controlled things from the opening tip, picking apart Wisconsin’s vaunted defense the same way they did Temple in the opening round.

Cornell had a 12-point lead early, a 20-point lead late and very few moments of concern in between. The lopsided affair should make for some interesting conversation this week at the “Dog Pound,” the nickname given to the three-story, off-campus house that 13 players and a team manager call home.

Cornell became the lowest seed to advance to the round of 16 in this year’s tournament and the first Ivy League team to get that far since Penn 31 years ago.

Wisconsin (24-9), meanwhile, failed to get past the opening weekend for the fourth time in five years.

Jon Leuer led the Badgers with 23 points, including the team’s first 12. Jason Bohannon added 18, Ryan Evans chipped in 11 and Trevon Hughes finished with 10.

But Wisconsin’s problem was defense.

Cornell shot 61 percent from the field, 53 percent from 3-point range and just dominated every aspect of the matchup. Anyone believe the Big Red were seeded correctly now?

Jeff Foote had 12 points and seven rebounds. Chris Wroblewski added 12 points, and Jon Jaques finished with nine before fouling out.

More…….

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Sports, Updates | , , , | Leave a comment

Public Defenders don't defend…….

[ LAWYER AND DEFENDANT Kimberly Hurell-Harring was represented by Patrick E. Barber, left, in a case that could change the system. ]

They don’t….often over worked and under paid..they simply cope by making deals (Plea bargaining ) that have nothing to do with clients being guilty…or innocent.

Worst…in this case the public defender turned out to be the bad guy…and the defendant turned out to be dumb….. not a criminal……and lucky in the end……

SHE was poor and in trouble. He was the public defender appointed to represent her.

She was Kimberly Hurell-Harring, a nobody in the courts, a nursing home worker and a mother of two who had done something stupid. He was Patrick E. Barber, a lawyer with a silver stubble of a beard, paid by the county and state to help make the criminal justice system as fair to the poor as it is to the rich.

At his urging, she pleaded guilty and went to jail for a felony that turned out not to be a felony at all. “It seemed like he was on the D.A.’s side,” she said later.

He said recently that he had done what he could: “They had her dead to rights.”

Usually, such a minor case would go unnoticed; a little test of the constitutional right to a lawyer, results unknown. Instead it has made Mr. Barber an emblem of the problems of the state’s ramshackle system of providing lawyers for indigent defendants. On Tuesday, New York’s highest court is to considera class-action suit, filed by civil liberties lawyers in Ms. Hurell-Harring’s name, that seeks broad changes in the state’s frayed network of public defenders, who are routinely unmonitored and often overwhelmed. Her case, now being pored over by some of the state’s leading lawyers and judges, offers a window into the everyday corners of the legal system, where no one is usually watching.

It began two and a half years ago, in October 2007, in the Washington County Court here, not far from the Vermont border. In an area of the state where prisons are an industry, Ms. Hurell-Harring pleaded guilty to trying to sneak her inmate husband three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana in a condom she had hidden in her vagina.

From the courtroom benches, the few spectators saw a frightened woman who had never been in trouble before and a public defender who was not fighting for her. “She was sitting there looking stunned and confused,” said Daniel J. Freeman, a recent Yale Law School graduate who had been sent to observe by the New York Civil Liberties Union. “I didn’t see him interacting much with her.”

The story of this one defendant and her public defender, assembled through interviews and court records, is about a woman who was barely making it before the legal system helped shove her off track.

And it is also about a small-town lawyer and part-time public servant sinking in personal and professional quicksand that few people knew about when he showed up to represent Kimberly Hurell-Harring. Least of all her.

More…….

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Counterpoints, Crime, Education, Family, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Public Defenders don’t defend…….

[ LAWYER AND DEFENDANT Kimberly Hurell-Harring was represented by Patrick E. Barber, left, in a case that could change the system. ]

They don’t….often over worked and under paid..they simply cope by making deals (Plea bargaining ) that have nothing to do with clients being guilty…or innocent.

Worst…in this case the public defender turned out to be the bad guy…and the defendant turned out to be dumb….. not a criminal……and lucky in the end……

SHE was poor and in trouble. He was the public defender appointed to represent her.

She was Kimberly Hurell-Harring, a nobody in the courts, a nursing home worker and a mother of two who had done something stupid. He was Patrick E. Barber, a lawyer with a silver stubble of a beard, paid by the county and state to help make the criminal justice system as fair to the poor as it is to the rich.

At his urging, she pleaded guilty and went to jail for a felony that turned out not to be a felony at all. “It seemed like he was on the D.A.’s side,” she said later.

He said recently that he had done what he could: “They had her dead to rights.”

Usually, such a minor case would go unnoticed; a little test of the constitutional right to a lawyer, results unknown. Instead it has made Mr. Barber an emblem of the problems of the state’s ramshackle system of providing lawyers for indigent defendants. On Tuesday, New York’s highest court is to considera class-action suit, filed by civil liberties lawyers in Ms. Hurell-Harring’s name, that seeks broad changes in the state’s frayed network of public defenders, who are routinely unmonitored and often overwhelmed. Her case, now being pored over by some of the state’s leading lawyers and judges, offers a window into the everyday corners of the legal system, where no one is usually watching.

It began two and a half years ago, in October 2007, in the Washington County Court here, not far from the Vermont border. In an area of the state where prisons are an industry, Ms. Hurell-Harring pleaded guilty to trying to sneak her inmate husband three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana in a condom she had hidden in her vagina.

From the courtroom benches, the few spectators saw a frightened woman who had never been in trouble before and a public defender who was not fighting for her. “She was sitting there looking stunned and confused,” said Daniel J. Freeman, a recent Yale Law School graduate who had been sent to observe by the New York Civil Liberties Union. “I didn’t see him interacting much with her.”

The story of this one defendant and her public defender, assembled through interviews and court records, is about a woman who was barely making it before the legal system helped shove her off track.

And it is also about a small-town lawyer and part-time public servant sinking in personal and professional quicksand that few people knew about when he showed up to represent Kimberly Hurell-Harring. Least of all her.

More…….

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Counterpoints, Crime, Education, Family, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Former Congressman Fred Heineman passes…….

From The Daily Reflector:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Frederick Heineman, a law enforcement veteran who served as Raleigh’s police chief for 15 years before being elected to Congress, has died. He was 80.

Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue announced Heineman’s death in a news release Sunday morning. Heineman’s congressional biography says he is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served on the New York City police force for a quarter-century before becoming police chief in 1979.

Heineman retired as chief in 1994 to run for the 4th District House seat. The Republican won, squeaking past four-term Democratic Rep. David Price by a mere 1,215 votes. However, Price ultimately won back his seat in the well-educated, Democratic-leaning district in 1996.

RIP.

SE-779

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDogs SE posts, Politics, Updates | , , | Leave a comment