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Since I am taking a few days off, I am putting you to work on this blog.
In today's blog, I have posted some of your e-mails to the show and some articles that I combed from the wires. As always, the postings are random — don't read anything into the e-mails selected and posted or the articles. I read many, many, many e-mails each day and the ones that get posted are usually the ones I read first. I don't want to overload you on this blog, so after picking about 10 to post, I just respond directly to the others and don't post them.
Some randomly selected e-mails:
E-mail No. 1 — This first one refers to Florida teacher Debra Lafave:
Hope you are enjoying your few days off. What a joke about the teacher, Debra Lafave. Had she been a male, he would have gone to jail lickety-split. The real injustice here is for the children that were molested — they are sentenced for the rest of their lives for being abused, and she gets to walk. That just makes me sick. How sad I feel for the parents of these children, and for the children.
E-mail No. 2
News of the GM layoffs certainly caught my attention: 30,000 jobs is huge! Most of those positions have specific skills — where are they going to go? I know for a fact GM can cut back in other areas. I have a friend that worked for GM. Now retired at a relatively young age, mind you, one of their benefits continues to be employee discounts — if I remember correctly one retiree may pass along employee discounts to no more than five relatives within a year. That has to add up to big numbers for GM when you think about it. Instead of closing so many plants and cutting a huge amount of jobs to save money, couldn't they take away a few of the unnecessary "perks"? They say they aren't selling the big cash cow — the large SUVs. Where aren't they selling them? New York and DC? I travel extensively (and own two of them myself) and I see nothing but new Tahoes, Yukons, Suburbans and Escalades all over the roads. Maybe the big guys should take a pay cut... but then they'd have to adjust to live on only $2 million a year. Rough. I really feel for the affected employees, and I will continue to buy GM to support not only them, but the entire U.S.
Have a great Thanksgiving. I hope you don't eat as fast as you speak... that would be unhealthy!
E-mail No. 3
I just read where the female teacher accused of molesting a teenage boy is not going to jail. If this were a male teacher, he would be locked up — hopefully — for a long time and rightfully so. I don't agree with this double standard.
I'd just like to hear what your thoughts are on this.
E-mail No. 4
Greta, it was quite refreshing listening to "On the Record" on Monday, November 21 2005. The host of the program was fair, balanced and did not advocate any position on the "Beth Twitty" case. Greta, do not insult the viewers, be fair, report the facts and let us decide. Beth's opinions are not facts, she keeps changing them like the weather and you present them as facts. I was quite pleased to see Jeff on the program, I hope he eventually replaces Bernie who seems to have no views of his own but echoes those of Beth. Jeff adds the other side of the case and viewers can appreciate a more fair and balanced coverage, which was greatly lacking in your past coverage. I am quite surprised that Beth hasn't demanded his instant removal from the show. Be careful she doesn't boycott your show, remember what Beth wants... she gets. I want you to note especially how Beth's interview involved hard questions, not sugar coated ones like yours. You have become so dull and predictable that is was becoming a pain listening to you, Beth and your "Beth Panel" I sincerely hope the days off give you a chance to put things in new prospective and once again rise to the level of being a professional journalist. Take a few pointers from the host of last night's show. She did exceedingly well. It was truly a powerful change.
E-mail No. 5
I enjoy reading your blog most of the time. I always find it interesting to read the comments of people who seem to dislike you/your program. Maybe they are not smart enough to change the channel? The only reason I don’t watch is that the time is inconvenient for me, as I enjoyed it the few times I have been able to watch. As to the GM job losses, what do they expect? The unions have pushed so often and hard for more money, more benefits, that the price of a new car is at an all-time high. That means that the average consumer has difficulty buying a new car, and sometimes even a used one. That means lower demand, thus excess capacity for the factories. Would the employees be willing to take a serious cut in pay to keep their jobs? I don’t think the UAW would even consider that option. Then, again, would GM, Ford, etc., be willing to lower the sticker price based on such a cut, thus making a new car purchase a more attractive thing? I doubt that too. Can you say “vicious circle”? GM is just the start. Delta Airlines is not going to be far behind, and guess what, the unions will still keep making money and telling the workers how much they have done for them. In the 1930s, there was a need for unions because of the lack of government intervention. I won’t agree with the way the unions worked then, but we have progressed a long way since then, and Wal-Mart is still thriving because they refuse to unionize, despite the tactics the unions are using to push the employees that way. Maybe the union leaders are feeling that their cushy existence is in jeopardy? If we want America to progress, if the automotive industry wants to continue, if the employees want to keep their jobs, we need to reconsider what the unions are doing to prices in this nation of ours.
E-mail No. 6
This story of the Wisconsin woman disappearing on December 4, 2004 is weird! First, how do they know she went overboard? Nobody! Second, seeking $15,000 in damages? Hopefully if that ever happened tome my family would think I was worth more than that! Something is fishy here.
Kitty Hawk, NC
E-mail No. 7
Congratulations on a few days off. (Hurry back!) In reference to the GM layoffs, I am afraid for America. The way I see it, if people continue to buy Hondas and Toyotas, and shop only at Wal-Mart, what else can we expect? I would love to buy American products and support America. Where can I find "Made in America" products? I buy them whenever I can find them, but where can I find a store in America that sells American products, made in America? I drive a Ford, but not much of that is now made in America!
Keep up the wonderful job of informing us.
Happy Thanksgiving from Washington state.
E-mail No. 8
I think one of the reasons we are seeing an increase in jailbreaks is the same reason we see increases in "petty" crimes. There just aren't enough law enforcement officials to do the job. Local governments, from state on down just do not have the funding (so they say) to increase their police and emergency response departments to keep up with an ever-increasing population. As you are most likely aware living in the D.C. area that a good percentage of our police and emergency people live in West Virginia or Pennsylvania and commute to our area. They cannot afford to live in the communities they are to serve in. That has got to be a stumbling block when they go to recruit new prospects. This can also create a situation where the local police forces do not care as much about the areas they are to protect because they are not residents of these communities. I recently read a story where a town (in the Midwest I believe) had to go to college campuses to recruit police officers for it's aging (another problem) police force like our military does. They had little success. Again it was the salary, or lack of, that they were offering. We may all be aware of this, however no one seems willing to address this issue. Most of us never think about a cop, a fireman, paramedic, or jailhouse guard until we need one. Unlike a lot of our jobs, we cannot outsource these. I know it's an old saying but "we need to get our priorities straight" or accept that we will see more jail breaks, increases in crimes and longer response times from our emergency technicians in the near future.
Anyway, we appreciate (at least I do) a news person that stays in touch with her watchers. Have a great Thankgiving.
Some articles that you might find interesting...
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — There are at least eight avenues to explore in the stepped-up search for information for missing Gulf War Navy pilot Scott Speicher, Sen. Bill Nelson said Tuesday.
Speicher, a former resident of Jacksonville suburb Orange Park, has been missing since January 1991, when his FA-18 Hornet was shot down on the first night of the Gulf War. Speicher may have ejected and may have been captured by Iraqi forces. His status is currently listed as "missing in action/captured" by the Navy.
Nelson learned of the developments in letters he received last week from Gen. George W. Casey, the Army's top general in Iraq, and a U.S. Embassy official in Baghdad, according to a release from Nelson's office.
Details of what the military officials call the "eight unanswered questions" surrounding the Speicher case remain highly classified, Nelson said.
The search for Speicher recently led investigators to excavate a potential gravesite in Baghdad on Sept. 19, but searchers found nothing linking the site to Speicher's disappearance.
"... I assure you that we will continue to develop and pursue every lead regarding Capt. Speicher," Casey's letter said.
David Satterfield, an embassy official, wrote that finding Speicher is a top priority.
Nelson said the letters indicate the military is continuing to aggressively pursue all leads in the case and it appears to be taking the search seriously.
"I'm going to make sure the search continues to receive attention from the military and the U.S. government until the Speicher family has some answers," Nelson said.
Cindy Laquidara, a spokeswoman for Speicher's family, said the family appreciates Nelson's continued attention to the case.
The family is frustrated that defense attorneys for Iraqis, who are being tried with Saddam Hussein, are not being asked about Speicher, Laquidara said
She believes those associated with Saddam have "seen something or know something" about Speicher's fate.
"One of these lower people will have an answer," she said.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The teacher from the Tampa area whose sexual liaisons with a 14-year-old student made tabloid headlines won't have to wear a monitoring bracelet while on house arrest.
But prosecutors say 25-year-old Debra Lafave is subject to random checks from a community control officer who must approve all of her movements. She will be allowed to leave the house only for work, to go out to shop for essentials and for other necessary trips approved by the officer.
Debra Lafave pleaded guilty today to having sex with the boy in a classroom and her home. The 25-year-old will serve three years of house arrest followed by seven years probation in the plea deal reached with prosecutors.
The judge said Lafave will have to register as a sex offender, will forever lose her teaching certificate and can't have any contact with children, including the victim.
She also must complete an outpatient sex offender treatment program within four years and continue getting psychiatric treatment. She also must pay court costs and restitution for all the victim's psychiatric and physical care.
Lafave still faces similar charges in Marion County.
SEATTLE (AP) — A couple who apparently got bus tickets to Seattle from Texas church officials who believed they were Hurricane Katrina victims — have been arrested.
They're accused in the death of the man's mother in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Investigators today detained 38-year-old "Scott" Kevin Belk, 38, a white supremacist who served time for bank robbery, and his wife, 37-year-old Rhonda Simpson Belk.
They're accused of being involved in the slaying of 59-year-old Margarette Moser Kalinoski.
Her body was found in her homes October 30th. So far no motive for the killing.
Investigators believe the Belks stole a truck and diesel fuel from Belk's former employer on October 22nd, then drove to Gainesville, Texas, where they reportedly have relatives.
They then took a bus to Seattle. A tip led deputies to an apartment south of Seattle.
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — An extradition hearing against an American fugitive on the U.S. Marshals Service's most-wanted list will begin Dec. 13, a Dublin judge ordered Tuesday.
Frederick Russell, 27, of Pullman, Wash., didn't speak during his brief appearance in Irish High Court, where judge Michael Peart approved his lawyers' request to delay the hearing until Dec. 13. On that date, the court is expected to specify the date when the full extradition hearing will begin, most likely just before Christmas or in early January.
Police arrested Russell in Dublin Oct. 23 — four years to the day after the former Washington State University student fled three counts of vehicular homicide and four counts of vehicular assault in the northwest U.S. state of Washington.
On Nov. 14, Russell testified that he would face death threats if returned to face trial in Washington, but a lower District Court judge rejected his application for bail.
Washington police and prosecutors contend that Russell was over the state's drunk-driving limit when he tried to overtake other cars in a sports utility vehicle at about 90 mph and crashed into other cars, killing three fellow university students.
A tipster spotted Russell working as a security guard in a Dublin lingerie shop in January, shortly after his details and photo were posted on the U.S. Marshals' Web site listing its 15 most-wanted fugitives.
REXBURG, Idaho (AP) — A doctor facing homicide and drug charges in Montana has pleaded innocent to bank robbery charges in Idaho.
James Stephen Bischoff pleaded innocent in Seventh District Court yesterday to felony burglary and felony robbery with a weapons enhancement. He's accused of robbing the U-S Bank in Rexburg on March 16th, wearing ski goggles and brandishing a gun.
Prosecutors claim that Bischoff robbed the bank while he was free on bail on the Montana charges. In the Montana case, Bischoff has admitted to negligent homicide and two felony drug charges for supplying an elderly woman with drugs that apparently caused her fatal heart attack. He's scheduled for sentencing in that case on January Ninth.
Meanwhile, he's being held on a 750-thousand dollar bond in Madison County, waiting for his February First trial for bank robbery. If convicted, Bischoff faces up to life in prison.
SANTA, Idaho (AP) — Water commissioners in the tiny north Idaho town of Santa have voted to change the town's name for a year to SecretSanta.com.
A Philadelphia promoter is paying the Santa Water and Sewer District at least 20-thousand dollars to change its name for a year — and to put up two signs with the new name, one at each end of town.
Promoter Mark Hughes is using the name change to draw attention to a gift-giving Web site.
Not all of the 100 or so residents of Santa agree with the name change.
But Gidget McQueen, a spokeswoman for the water district, says the district needs the money.
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