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Rush Limbaugh Turns Himself In on Fraud Charges, Reaches Settlement
Friday, April 28, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Rush Limbaugh and prosecutors in the long-running painkiller fraud case against him have reached a deal calling for the only charge against the conservative commentator to be dropped if he continues treatment, his attorney said Friday.

Limbaugh was booked on a single charge that was filed Friday, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Jail. He left about an hour later, after Limbaugh was photographed and fingerprinted and he posted $3,000 bail, Barbera said.

The radio giant’s agreement to enter a diversionary program ends a three-year state investigation that began after Limbaugh publicly acknowledged being addicted to pain medication and entered a rehabilitation program.

Prosecutors accuse him of “doctor shopping,” or illegally deceiving multiple doctors to receive overlapping prescriptions. They learned that he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion.

Limbaugh pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge of fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions. Though he steadfastly denies doctor shopping, the charge will be dismissed in 18 months if Limbaugh complies with court guidelines, his lawyer Roy Black said.

“Mr. Limbaugh and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping, and we continue to hold this position,” Black said in an e-mailed statement.

Limbaugh spokesman Tony Knight said the commentator signed the agreement Thursday, and that it called for him to enter the not guilty plea. “It’s not in the system moving toward trial. It was all a formality. It’s a concluded deal,” Knight said.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state attorney’s office, said prosecutors had not yet received the signed agreement.

“I am not disputing the facts, the conditions that Black represented, but until his client signed the agreement, we don’t have a full agreement,” Edmondson said. “I am sure it’s just a timeline issue.”

He refused to comment further.

As a primary condition of the dismissal, Limbaugh must continue to seek treatment from the doctor he has seen for the past 2 1/2 years, Black said. Among other provisions, he also has agreed to pay the state $30,000 to defray its investigative costs, Black said.

The warrant alleges that sometime between February and August 2003, Limbaugh withheld information from a medical practitioner from whom he sought to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance.

Prosecutors began investigating Limbaugh in 2003 after the National Enquirer reported his housekeeper’s allegations that he had abused OxyContin and other painkillers. He soon took a five-week leave from his radio show to enter a rehabilitation program and acknowledged he had become addicted to pain medication. He blamed it on severe back pain.

Before his own problems became public, Limbaugh had decried drug use and abuse and mocked President Clinton for saying he had not inhaled when he tried marijuana. He often made the case that drug crimes deserve punishment.

“Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. … And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up,” Limbaugh said on his short-lived television show on Oct. 5, 1995.

Prosecutors seized Limbaugh’s medical records after learning about the painkillers he had received at the Palm Beach pharmacy. The investigation was held up as the prosecutors and Black battled in court over whether the records were properly seized.

Limbaugh reported five years ago that he had lost most of his hearing because of an autoimmune inner-ear disease. He had surgery to have an electronic device placed in his skull to restore his hearing. But research shows that abusing opiate-based painkillers also can cause profound hearing loss.


Rush’s mugshot and other interesting information…

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Jury Awards $500G to Woman Spanked at Work
By JULIANA BARBASSA
Apr 28, 2006

FRESNO, Calif. – A jury awarded $500,000 Friday to a woman who was spanked in front of her colleagues in what her employer called a camaraderie-building exercise.

The jury of six men and six women found that Janet Orlando, 53, was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual battery when she was paddled on the rear end two years ago at Alarm One Inc., a home security company in Fresno. The jury said Orlando did not suffer from sexual assault, as she had alleged.

Alarm One was ordered to pay her damages for lost wages, medical costs and pain and suffering. She had asked for at least $1.2 million.

The next phase of the trial — to determine whether she should receive punitive damages — was scheduled to begin Friday afternoon.

Orlando’s attorney, Nicholas “Butch” Wagner, said of the verdict: “It’s in the ballpark.”

K. Pancho Baker, an attorney for Alarm One, said it was excessive. “I think the jury was so upset at Alarm One that they went overboard,” Baker said. “Not to say that what Alarm One did was right, but this allows her to manipulate the system.”

Orlando quit in 2004, less than a year after she was hired, saying she was humiliated during the company’s camaraderie-building exercises.

Sales teams were encouraged to compete, and the losers were made fun of, forced to eat baby food, required to wear diapers and spanked with a rival company’s yard signs, according to court documents.

Lawyers for the company said Orlando and others took part in the exercises willingly. The company has since abandoned the practice.

During the trial, company attorneys revealed that Orlando had sued a previous employer, also claiming that she had been sexually harassed.


Birth Erotica – i know, some of you are going to say either “eeewww! that’s gross” or “giving birth is very definitely NOT sexy” but it has a strong scientific basis: the orgasm is an analgesic that is 10 times more powerful than any drug, and the orgasm is also exactly equal to a very powerful uterine contraction. it aids the birthing process in two very profound physical ways, plus getting it on also guarantees that the baby will be born into an even more intimate, loving environment than it would be already, so i say, without being facetious (although it is a nice pun) what the fuck?

It’s Just A Plant – even if you’re not a parent, YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK!

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i suppose it was too good to be true…

i went over to ‘ house today to play my keyboards. i had been there for about 2 hours when there was a commotion upstairs and one of his housemates came storming downstairs and started yelling at me because i have a swastika on my car. he said he “hates hatred” and “takes grave offense” at my swastika, despite the fact that he wouldn’t listen when i tried to explain it to him.

i hate hatred just as much as he does, if not more, but when hatred is directed at me, particularly when i don’t deserve it, then i just want to get out of there. i packed up my keyboards and left as quickly as possible. of course, i had the small car, so i couldn’t get both keyboards, but i’ll go back on sunday (i’m going to bellingham tomorrow to fix a saxophone for warren) with the big car to get it.

people shouldn’t be angry with the swastika because of the nazis, they should be angry at the nazis because of the swastika.

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Local Teacher’s Run-In With Homeland Security Creates Insecurities
April 5, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A local school employee said a rough run-in with a couple of Homeland Security officers has left him with a strong sense of insecurity. Leander Pickett says he was handcuffed, roughed up and humiliated by two Homeland Security officers who refused to move their car from the path of waiting school buses.

Leander Pickett, a teacher’s assistant at Englewood Elementary, said he was manhandled and handcuffed by two plain clothed Homeland Security officers in front of the school Tuesday for no reason at all.

“I would like to treat people the way I would want to be treated, and yesterday I wasn’t treated that way,” Pickett said.

Pickett has been working at Englewood for two years, and his principal and colleagues told Channel 4 they have never met a harder worker or nicer guy.

“He’s well loved by everyone because he’s willing to do anything to help children,” said the Englewood Elementary Principal Gail Brinson.

However, Tuesday afternoon Pickett’s niceness turned to anger, disappointment, and betrayal when, as Pickett was directing bus traffic, he said he was handcuffed and roughed up and humiliated by the very people that were supposed to protect him.

“I walked up to him and said, ‘Sir, you need to move.’ That’s when he said ‘I’m a police officer. I’m with Homeland Security … I’ll move it when I want to.’ That’s when he started grabbing me on my arm,” Pickett said.

However, Homeland Security tells a different story.

The department said the only reason the officers were at the school was because they pulled over to look at a map.

The department also said it’s looking into what happened, and that Pickett’s version is wrong. It claims he was antagonizing the officers.

Several people were outside of the school, watching the incident take place, and those witnesses agree with Pickett’s story.

“Mr. Pickett asked the guy blocking the bus loading zone to move, and the guy told him he would move his car when he got ready to move it,” said Englewood coach Alton Jackson.

“At that point I intervened and I went up to the gentleman and said, ‘Mr. Pickett is an employee here,’ and they said that didn’t matter,” said Englewood media specialist, Terri Dreisonstok.

“‘We’re with Homeland Security,’ and on and on they went, and pretty soon, before you know it, he’s handcuffed and slammed against a car,” Brinson said. “All the children are watching, they’re all upset.”

After about 30 minutes, the men released Pickett.

“The part that really upsets me is all these students were watching, and that and it isn’t good,” Jackson said.

Pickett said he plans to sue.

“You now you hear these stories everyday and say, ‘This will never happen to me,’ but yesterday it happened to me,” Pickett said.

“If this is Homeland Security, I think we ought to be a little afraid,” Brinson said.

The central office of Homeland Security contacted Channel 4 about the incident and stated that it considers all allegations seriously and the matter has been referred to a neutral investigative entity.


Spanish version of ‘Star-Spangled Banner’?
By David Montgomery
April 28, 2006

Oh say can you see — a la luz de la aurora?

The national anthem that once endured the radical transformation administered by Jimi Hendrix’s fuzzed and frantic Stratocaster now faces an artistic dare at least as extreme: translation into Spanish.

The new take is scheduled to hit the airwaves today. It’s called “Nuestro Himno” — “Our Anthem” — and it was recorded over the past week by Latin pop stars including Ivy Queen, Gloria Trevi, Carlos Ponce, Tito “El Bambino,” Olga Tañon and the group Aventura. Joining and singing in Spanish is Haitian American artist Wyclef Jean.

The different voices contribute lines the way 1985’s “We Are the World” was put together by an ensemble of stars. The national anthem’s familiar melody and structure are preserved, while the rhythms and instrumentation come straight out of Latin pop.

Can “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and the republic for which it stands, survive? Outrage over what’s being called “The Illegal Alien Anthem” is already building in the blogosphere and among conservative commentators.

Timed to debut the week Congress returned to debate immigration reform, with the country riven by the issue, “Nuestro Himno” is intended to be an anthem of solidarity for the movement that has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to march peacefully for immigrant rights in Washington and cities across the country, says Adam Kidron, president of Urban Box Office, the New York-based entertainment company that launched the project.

“It’s the one thing everybody has in common, the aspiration to have a relationship with the United States . . . and also to express gratitude and patriotism to the United States for providing the opportunity,” says Kidron.

The song was being prepared for e-mailing as MP3 packages to scores of Latino radio stations and other media last night, and Kidron was calling for stations to play the song simultaneously at 7 Eastern Time this evening.

Rejecting assimilation?
However, the same advance buzz that drew singers to scramble for inclusion in the recording sessions this week in New York, Miami, Texas, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic has also spurred critics who say rendering the song in Spanish is a rejection of assimilation into the United States.

Even some movement supporters are puzzled by the use of Spanish.

“Even our Spanish media are saying, ‘Why are we doing this, what are you trying to do?’ ” said Pedro Biaggi, the morning host with El Zol (99.1 FM), the most popular Hispanic radio station in the Washington area. “It’s not for us to be going around singing the national anthem in Spanish. . . . We don’t want to impose, we don’t own the place. . . . We want to be accepted.”

Still, Biaggi says he will play “Nuestro Himno” this morning if the song reaches the station in time. But he will talk about the language issue on the air and solicit listeners’ views. He says he accepts the producers’ explanation that the purpose is to spread the values of the anthem to a wider audience. He adds he will also play a version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in English — as he aired the Whitney Houston version earlier this week, when the controversy was beginning to brew.

In the Spanish version, the translation of the first stanza is relatively faithful to the spirit of the original, though Kidron says the producers wanted to avoid references to bombs and rockets. Instead, there is “fierce combat.” The translation of the more obscure second stanza is almost a rewrite, with phrases such as “we are equal, we are brothers.”

An alternate version to be released next month includes a rap in English that never occurred to Francis Scott Key:

Let’s not start a war
With all these hard workers
They can’t help where they were born

“Nuestro Himno” is as fraught with controversial cultural messages as the psychedelic “Banner” Hendrix delivered at the height of the Vietnam War.

Pressed on what he was trying to say with his Woodstock performance in 1969, Hendrix replied (according to biographer Charles Cross), “We’re all Americans. . . . It was like ‘Go America!’ . . . We play it the way the air is in America today.”

Now the national anthem is being remade again according to the way the air is in America, and the people behind “Nuestro Himno” say the message once more is: We’re all Americans. It will be the lead track on an album about the immigrant experience called “Somos Americanos,” due for release May 16. One dollar from each sale will go to immigrant rights groups, including the National Capital Immigration Coalition, which organized the march on the Mall on April 10.

But critics including columnist Michelle Malkin, who coined it “The Illegal Alien Anthem” nickname say the rendition crosses a line that Hendrix never stepped over with his instrumental version. Transforming the musical idiom of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is one thing, argue the skeptics, but translating the words sends the opposite message: We are not Americans.

“I’m really appalled. . . . We are not a bilingual nation,” said George Taplin, director of the Virginia Chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, part of a national countermovement that emphasizes border control and tougher enforcement, and objects to public funding for day-laborer sites. “When people are talking about becoming a part of this country, they should assimilate to the norm that’s already here,” Taplin said. “What we’re talking about here is a sovereign nation with our ideals and our national identity, and that [anthem] is one of the icons of our nation’s identity. I believe it should be in English as it was penned.”

Yet, even in English, 61 percent of adults don’t know all the words, a recent Harris poll found.

Appealing to such symbols of national identity to plug into their profound potency is how new movements compete for space within that identity. During the rally on the Mall, the immigrants and their supporters also waved thousands of American flags and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. But they didn’t translate the pledge into Spanish. They said it in English.

Juan Carlos Ruiz, the general coordinator of the National Capital Immigration Coalition, said there’s not a contradiction. The pledge was printed phonetically for Spanish speakers, and many reciting the sounds may not have understood the meaning. Putting the anthem in Spanish is a way to relay the meaning to people who haven’t learned English yet, Ruiz said.

“It’s part of the process to learn English,” not a rejection of English, he said.

‘A communal shout’
While critics sketch a nightmare scenario of a Canada-like land with an anthem sung in two languages, immigrant rights advocates say they agree learning English is essential. Studies of immigrant families suggest the process is inevitable: Eighty-two percent to 90 percent of the children of immigrants prefer English.

“The first step to understanding something is to understand it in the language you understand, and then you can understand it in another language,” said Leo Chavez, director of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California at Irvine. “What this song represents at this moment is a communal shout, that the dream of America, which is represented by the song, is their dream, too.”

Since its origins as the melody to an English drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” circa 1780, “The Star-Spangled Banner” has had a long, strange trip. Key wrote the poem after watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814. It became the national anthem in 1931.

At least 389 versions have been recorded, according to Allmusic.com, a quick reference used by musicologists to get a sense of what’s on the market. Now that Hendrix’s “Banner” has mellowed into classic rock, it’s hard to imagine that once some considered it disrespectful. The other recordings embrace a vast musical universe: from Duke Ellington to Dolly Parton to Tiny Tim. But musicologists cannot name another foreign-language version.

“America is a pluralistic society, but the anthem is a way that we can express our unity. If that’s done in a different language, that doesn’t seem to me personally to be a bad thing,” said Michael Blakeslee, deputy executive director of the National Association for Music Education, which is leading a National Anthem Project to highlight the song and the school bands that play it in every style, from mariachi to steel drum.

‘A noble intent’
“I assume the intent is one of making a statement about ‘we are a part of this nation,’ and those are wonderful sentiments and a noble intent,” said Dan Sheehy, director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Benigno “Benny” Layton wonders. He’s the leader of Los Hermanos Layton, a band of conjunto- and Tejano-style musicians in Elsa, Tex., 22 miles from Mexico. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he recorded a traditional conjunto version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was instrumental.

“I’m a second-generation American,” Layton said. “I love my country, and I love my [Mexican musical] heritage, and I try to keep it alive. But some things are sacred that you don’t do. And translating the national anthem is one of them.”


BAD! BAD politician!

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a news conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official cars to drive the few blocks back to the U.S. Capitol.

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i have to say this:

on september 11, 2001, the united states was the victim of a crime. if we are to follow “the rules,” the victim of a crime cannot be involved in the investigation or prosecution of whoever committed that crime, apart from giving evidence. any other way of doing it makes the probability of the victim mentality creeping in and affecting the outcome very high, and, as we all know, justice is blind.

the united states has no right to declare war on, or to extract legal justice from afghanistan, iraq, iran, or any other place that may have been involved in the commission of the crime on september 11, 2001, regardless of what you might think. to do so would be just as much an act of terrorism as the crime itself.

i don’t know what the solution to the problem is, but the current situation is so far beyond fucked that i don’t even have an appropriate way to describe it.