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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Was this sentence fair or extreme?

35 Year Old Atlanta Man Gets Life Sentence For Impregnating 13 Year Old… [MUGSHOT]

Feb, 28 2012 | Written by ATLien
 Meet 34 year old Stephen Troy Kendrick. Kendrick posed for the mugshot above last year after he and a 13 year old girl were found squatting in a vacant apartment compex on Godby Road in College Park, Georgia.
The young girl is back with her parents and the homeless man now has a permenant place to stay after a jury found him guilty of several charges relating to his relationship with the girl, whom he also impregnanted, and sentenced him to LIFE + 2 years in prison!
Details below…
According to the AJC, College Park police found Kendrick and the 13-year-old, whom he first claimed was his 18-year-old cousin, asleep in a vacant unit of the Cypress Glen Apartments on Godby Road last February.
The two were not related. In fact, authorities soon found out the girls real age when it was revealed that Kendrick met her while he was a boarder in her family’s home.
The girl’s parents became suspicious about their boarder’s affinity with their daughter and promptly asked him to leave, but the “relationship” continued when Kendrick continued to sneak into the house to visit the teen.
The young girl soon ran away from home to be with Kendrick and the two lived on the streets for over two months.  She was reunited with her parents, who had reported her missing, after police found the pair in that vacant unit but the damage had already been done.
Investigators learned that the girl was pregnant with Kendrick’s child.
Stephen Troy Kendrick was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and Thursday (February 23, 2012) a jury found him guilty of statutory rape, aggravated child molestation, child molestation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and criminal trespassing.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s office announced that he’d been sentenced to life plus two years in prison after being convicted of all charges related to sexual assaulting a 13-year-old girl whom he impregnated.

Does this seem fair? Or do you just need a good high priced lawyer?

Brooke Mueller Deep in Plea Bargain Talks Will NOT Serve Time 0227_brooke_mueller_tmz_EXBrooke Mueller will NOT go to jail for cocaine possession and possession with intent to distribute, because her lawyer and the prosecutor are "deep" in plea bargain negotiations and the issue of confinement is not on the table.

Sources connected with the case tell TMZ ... Brooke's lawyer, Yale Galanter, and Pitkin County, Colorado prosecutor Arnie Mordkin have been meeting, and we're told they're talking about a deferred prosecution ... meaning Brooke will probably have to take some drug ed classes and perform community service and then the charges will be formally dismissed.

Brooke was arrested December 2 and charged with felony possession of cocaine, felony possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, as well as misdemeanor assault. 

Brooke's next scheduled court date was set for March 5, but we're told it's been moved to April 2.  During that hearing, Brooke will be present and -- unless negotiations fall apart -- she will enter her plea and the judge will impose his sentence.

Sweet Ga Brown: Do you feel young people are desensitized today?

Sweet Ga Brown: Do you feel young people are desensitized today?: Alleged Ohio gunman rarely spoke about 'trouble' at home By the CNN Wire Staff updated 7:33 AM EST, Tue February 28, 2012 Students who witn...

Do you feel young people are desensitized today?

Alleged Ohio gunman rarely spoke about 'trouble' at home

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:33 AM EST, Tue February 28, 2012
Students who witnessed Monday's school shooting told CNN that the suspect was student T.J. Lane.
Students who witnessed Monday's school shooting told CNN that the suspect was student T.J. Lane.
  • A newspaper reports that Lane's father was arrested for violent crimes
  • Witnesses say T.J. Lane shot 4 people, 2 fatally, in an Ohio high school cafeteria
  • "He never would go into detail. He just said he had family trouble," a friend says
(CNN) -- T.J. Lane didn't belong to any particular clique in the schools he attended, fellow students said. Those who knew him described him as quiet, someone who was guarded and rarely spoke about his tumultuous family life.
But they never would have thought that he'd be described as a killer -- until Monday, when students say they saw Lane walk up to a table in the cafeteria of Ohio's Chardon High School.
Police have not identified the alleged gunman except to say he is a juvenile.
The suspect was arrested a short time later, after being chased from the school by a teacher.
Two people died in the shooting, while three others were wounded, authorities said.
Lane is scheduled for an initial juvenile court appearance Tuesday afternoon, CNN affiliate WJW reported. Authorities have not released the charges the 17-year-old sophomore may face.
All Chardon schools closed Tuesday; counselors on hand
Attorney: Shooting suspect 'remorseful'
Ohio student: 'We were at a loss'
Shooting suspect went to other school
Friend: Alleged gunman had sad look
Haley Kovacik, a friend who talked with Lane a few times a week, said the violence left her and others who knew him in "complete shock."
"He seemed like a very normal, just teenage boy," Kovacik said of Lane. "He did have a sad look in his eyes a lot of the time, but he talked normally, he never said anything strange."
Yet for all their talks, Kovacik noted there was a lot she didn't know about Lane.
Lane, who lived with his grandparents, remained slow to open up about his personal life, according to friends. While he was known by many around Chardon High School, located 30 miles east of Cleveland, at the time of the shooting he was there to be transported to Lake Academy Alternative School in nearby Willoughby.
The school describes itself as a place for "at risk" students who are "reluctant learners" struggling with problems such as "substance abuse /chemical dependency, anger issues, mental health issues, truancy, delinquency, difficulties with attention/organization, and academic deficiencies."
Lane may have been dealing with his own family problems, according to reports by The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland.
Lane's father, Thomas Lane Jr., has been arrested several times for violent crimes against female acquaintances, including Lane's mother, the newspaper reported citing court documents.
Between 1995 and 1997, the first two years of Lane's life, his father and his mother were both arrested for domestic violence against each other, the paper reported. His father also served prison time for assaulting a police officer and he also was charged with holding a different woman under running water and bashing her head into a wall, the newspaper reported.
It was unclear how much contact Lane had with his father.
Lane rarely opened up about his family, some said.
"I've asked him once or twice, but he never would go into detail. He just said he had family trouble," Kovacik said
Evan Erasmus, who said his family knew Lane's family, was among several students who said what happened Monday took them totally by surprise.
"I was really shocked when I found out it was him," Erasmus said. "He was quiet, but was one of the nicest kids there. You could talk to him really easily. He was funny."
According to Kovacik, Lane told her that "he enjoyed hunting, he enjoyed video games, just normal things."
"Everybody was in disbelief. Nobody could believe that T.J. (shot the students)," Kovacik said.
Recent posts on Lane's Facebook page show him sharing links to music videos from groups like Grimes and Blood on the Dance Floor, listing his sister in his profile and uploading photos of himself.
Yet one long, poetic rant, from December 30, appears to be darker.
The post refers to "a quaint lonely town, (where there) sits a man with a frown (who) longed for only one thing, the world to bow at his feet."
"He was better than the rest, all those ones he detests, within their castles, so vain," he wrote.
Lane then writes about going through "the castle ... like an ominous breeze through the trees," past guards -- all leading up to the post's dramatic conclusion.
"Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you," he writes. "Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you."
After getting three positive reviews, Lane wrote: "much obliged to all who 'liked' this. Wrote it myself in class one day ..."
CNN's Martin Savidge and Lisa Sylvester contributed to this report.

Monday, February 27, 2012

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: Sex strike brings peace to Filipino village

Sex strike brings peace to Filipino villageBy Karen Smith, CNNSeptember 19, 2011 11:38 a.m. EDTSTORY HIGHLIGHTSA separatist rebellion has existed in the Mindanao island since the 1970s UNHCR says women created a sex strike to get men to stop fighting The strike helped end clashes in July between villages on Mindanao island RELATED TOPICS Philippines (CNN) -- A group of women in a violence-plagued area of the Philippines came up with their own weapon to end the fighting -- a sex strike.
The women withheld sex from their husbands until they promised to quit fighting. Their stand helped end clashes in July between villages in rural Mindanao Island, a recently released U.N. Refugee Agency report says.
U.N. Refugee Agency report
A separatist rebellion has been underway on the Filipino island of Mindanao since the 1970s. Families of Dado village had been displaced because of it since 2008 and are working to rebuild their community with the help of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other aid organizations.
Women of the village came up with the idea of a sex strike as a way to help rebuild their village and to bring peace during a UNHCR sponsored sewing cooperative. Many of the women were fed up with not being able to deliver their products due to the violence that closed down a main road between two villages.
UNHCR Spokesperson for Asia, Kitty McKinsey, said she witnessed the women quietly implement the solution to withhold sex from their husbands until the fighting stopped -- and it worked.
"I told them, if you don't agree with me, you will get no salary from me," says Aninon E. Kamanza of the Dado village sewing cooperative in a UNHCR video report.
Within weeks of the strike starting, the UNHCR reports that the main village road re-opened and the fighting stopped. The women of the sewing cooperative along with other villagers were able to deliver their goods and start to rebuild the economy.
"Women wanted their husbands to not fight anymore and by using their feminine wiles they were able to enforce their wish," said McKinsey.
The idea of withholding sex for a cause is not a new one -- the ancient Greek play Lysistrata tells the story of women who organized a sex strike to end a war between Athens and Sparta.
More recently, a strike was launched in 2006 in the Colombian city of Pereira, known for its drug trafficking and violent crimes. The strike was implemented by wives and girlfriends of gang members to get them to change their lifestyle and hand over their guns.
A similar campaign was carried out by women in Kenya in 2009 to protest the growing divide in Kenya's coalition government.
Sporadic fighting is still present in Mindanao near Dado village, but it is very localized, McKinsey said.
The sex strike is just one of the ways the people in Mindanao are using to implement change.
"I was really touched by how people didn't want handouts," she says, "They were all really happy and eager to help themselves."

Sweet Ga Brown: ATTENTION BUSINESS OWNERS: Do you know your worth?...

Sweet Ga Brown: ATTENTION BUSINESS OWNERS: Do you know your worth?...: Did you know... If You Live By Price, Then You Will Die By Price Everyone is too concerned with price. Frankly, I think it's ridiculou...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What do you think?

My Take: Stop sugarcoating the Bible

Editor's note: Steven James is the author of more than 30 books, including "Flirting with the Forbidden," which explores forgiveness.
By Steven James, Special to CNN
(CNN) – The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It deals with people just like us, just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.
Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how earthy the Bible really is. They feel the need to tidy up God.
For example, look in any modern translation of Isaiah 64:6, and you’ll find that, to a holy God, even our most righteous acts are like “filthy rags.” The original language doesn’t say “filthy rags”; it says “menstrual rags.” But that sounds a little too crass, so let’s just call them filthy instead.
And let’s not talk so much about Jesus being naked on the cross, and let’s pretend Paul said that he considered his good deeds “a pile of garbage” in Philippians 3:8 rather than a pile of crap, as the Greek would more accurately be translated.
And let’s definitely not mention the six times in the Old Testament that the Jewish writers referred to Gentile men as those who “pisseth against the wall.” (At least the King James Version got that one right.)
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
The point?
God’s message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they’re at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet.
Dozens of Psalms are complaints and heart-wrenching cries of despair to God, not holy-sounding, reverently worded soliloquies. Take Psalm 77:1-3: “I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help” (New Living Translation).
And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to St. Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don’t consider nice or agreeable.
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I believe that Scripture includes such graphic material to show how far we, as a race, have fallen and how far God was willing to come to rescue us from ourselves.
God is much more interested in honesty than pietism.
And that’s what he gives us throughout Scripture, telling the stories of people who struggled with the same issues, questions and temptations we face today.
Peter struggled with doubt, and we hear all about it.
Elijah dealt with depression; Naomi raged with bitterness against God; Hannah struggled for years under the burden of her unanswered prayers.
David had an affair and then arranged to have his lover’s husband killed. Noah was a drunk, Abraham a liar, Moses a murderer. Job came to a place where he found it necessary to make a covenant with his eyes not to lust after young girls (Job 31:1).
It’s easy to make “Bible heroes” (as Protestants might say) or “saints” (as Catholics might refer to them) out to be bigger than life, immune from the temptations that everyone faces.
I find it encouraging that Jesus never came across as pietistic. In fact, he was never accused of being too religious; instead he partied so much that he was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matthew 11:19).
Jesus never said, “The Kingdom of God is like a church service that goes on and on forever and never ends.” He said the kingdom was like a homecoming celebration, a wedding, a party, a feast to which all are invited.
This idea was too radical for the religious leaders of his day. They were more concerned about etiquette, manners, traditions and religious rituals than about partying with Jesus. And that’s why they missed out.
That’s why we miss out.
According to Jesus, the truly spiritual life is one marked by freedom rather than compulsion (John 8:36), love rather than ritual (Mark 12:30-33) and peace rather than guilt (John 14:27). Jesus saves us from the dry, dusty duties of religion and frees us to cut loose and celebrate.
I don’t believe we’ll ever recognize our need for the light until we’ve seen the depth of the darkness. So God wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with us about life and temptation and forgiveness. And grace.
Only when the Bible seems relevant to us (which it is), only when the characters seem real to us (which they were), only then will the message of redemption become personal for us (which it was always meant to be).
We don’t need to edit God. We need to let him be the author of our new lives.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Steven James.