Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Two more bridges to Indiana and a new Arena.... Is this what we have to look forward to?

I'm sure there's enough bridge building experience out there to make sure that most people will travel across both of the bridges safely. But when I read about the Big Dig, I have to wonder what Louisville is in store for with such massive public projects coming up, especially, given the fact we can't even PAINT a bridge properly. I do like how the East End Bridges are more pleasing to the eye. Maybe we can have a Bridgearama when it opens.

By BROOKE DONALD, Associated Press Writer
Tue Jul 25, 5:43 AM ET

BOSTON - Traffic was disrupted once again in a key Big Dig tunnel after inspectors found loose bolts in a ceiling panel — the same sort of problem that is believed to have killed a motorist earlier this month.

Three loose bolts — one had dislodged about a half inch — were found at the westbound entrance to the Ted Williams harbor tunnel Monday. Traffic was diverted around the questionable panel and it was shored up with a portable support device.

"This is a precautionary step. There was no sign of failure, but we are erring on the side of public safety," Jon Carlisle, a spokesman for the state Highway Department, said Monday night.

A connector tunnel system leading to the eastbound side of the Ted Williams Tunnel, as well as ramps leading from the Boston end of the westbound section, have been closed since several 3-ton concrete ceiling panels in the connector tunnel crushed a car on July 10, killing Milena Del Valle, 39, of Boston.

The bolt-and-epoxy system holding up the ceiling panels in those tunnels has been the focus of the subsequent investigation.

The Ted Williams Tunnel's panels are lighter and its suspension system considered more substantial, but the eastbound tunnel was closed for a day last week when two bolts were found to have slipped. Those areas are being reinforced with the same type of portable device as the westbound panel.

Gov. Mitt Romney has said the Ted Williams Tunnel, which extends Interstate 90 between downtown Boston and Logan International Airport, would get daily inspections until pull tests on the ceiling panels could be completed.

The latest problem was discovered hours after Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Chairman Matt Amorello, who has overseen the beleaguered Big Dig project, filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the governor from holding a hearing on Thursday seeking to demote him from his $223,000-a-year post.

Romney has long criticized his management of the Big Dig, and renewed calls for his ouster as chairman since the fatal ceiling collapse. Amorello's lawyers contend that the governor does not have the authority to demote him.

"The governor has invented a power he does not have," according to the 12-page lawsuit. Amorello's spokeswoman, Mariellen Burns, said the governor's actions are "politically motivated."

Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney spokesman, countered: "We are confident that we are acting within the law, and we will make our argument in court."

The $14.6 billion Big Dig project, the most expensive in U.S. history, buried much of the city's highway network in tunnels. It took over a decade to complete and has since been plagued by leaks, falling debris, cost overruns, delays and problems linked to faulty construction.


Associated Press reporters Glen Johnson and Denise Lavoie contributed to this report.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Terry Meiners -- FCC Poster Child?

Terry Meiners did one of his typically unfunny gay bashing bits yesterday, in which he read various news stories about gay people. One story he read was about a waiter filing a lawsuit for $150 million. He put a disclaimer in front of his statement that he was about to say something a bit rough, but Clear Channel's said he could say it.

Apparently the one of the comments made to the waiter was something about the harasser saying he wanted to "eat his ass."

I've always wondered why Mr. Ultra Conservative family values is so obsessed with gays and toilet humor.

That sounds like the type of think that would get Howard Stern and CC a huge fine.

I've already filed my complaint with the FCC.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where can I get a retirement card for a criminal priest?

Archbishop Thomas Kelly announced his retirement this past week. I know I should be a good Catholic and forgive him, but I think he should have been permanently retired, either to a jail cell or a monestary on an isolated island years ago.

During his tenure as priest, he presided over several coverups of sexually abusive priests. Rather than deal with it as a crime, he decided to treat it like a mild confession. Their penance was moving somewhere else with the promise never to sin again. Among the accused abusers he didn't stop were priests at both my wife's church when she was a child, and mine. In other words, she or I could easily have been a victim.

But the victimization didn't stop with the kids these sicko priests abused with Kelly's tacit approval. It continued with the ginormous settlement that Kelly agreed to with the victims. Why not? It's not Kelly's money. It's the money of the very people he was supposed to be serving. So the victims become the GOOD people of the Catholic Church. The people who contribute their time, talent, and treasure, and the many good priests who try to make do with minimal funding.

If you think I'm being hard on Archbishop Kelly, or think maybe his problems with alcohol and pain killers may have affected his judgement, I want you to read the story below and know why I think he deserves to be in jail.

Priest's abuse of children was known for years
Courier-Journal, The (Louisville, KY)
May 4, 2003
Estimated printed pages: 13

Records paint a disturbing portrait of Daniel C. Clark's addiction to child sex and the church's response to it.



The Courier-Journal

As a seminary student at Cincinnati's Mount St. Mary's, the Rev. Daniel C. Clark ranked last in his class after his first year, and faculty later described him as ``very much of a loner.''

But Clark seemed to have one gift, according to his evaluations: He was great with children.

``His way with youths was really an asset to our parish,'' wrote Robert Sonntag, a church leader in Aurora, Ind., where Clark worked with Boy Scouts and other children in 1978, before he was ordained.

It was Clark's attraction to children, however, that ultimately destroyed his priesthood and damaged the lives of young parishioners, many of whom had turned to him for counsel.

In lawsuits filed against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, Clark, 55, is accused of molesting 19 children ages 5 to 17.

Convicted in 1988 of sodomizing one boy and sexually abusing another, Clark also faces 60 years to life in prison if found guilty of new criminal charges alleging he abused two other boys from 1998 until last May.

He has pleaded innocent a trial is scheduled to begin June 24 in Bullitt Circuit Court. Clark, who now wears an orange jail jumpsuit instead of his clerical collar, has been held in the Bullitt County Detention Center since his arrest Aug. 7, unable to make his $500,000 bail.

Clark, who was removed from all ministry last summer but remains a priest, declined to talk with a reporter, as did his lawyer, David Lambertus.

But records surrendered by the archdiocese - including Clark's 373-page personnel file and 20 years of correspondence with Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly - paint a disturbing portrait of the priest's addiction to sex with children and the archdiocese's response to it. The records show that:

½ Archdiocesan officials twice talked with Clark about voluntarily leaving the priesthood - once before his 1988 conviction ``because of his past record'' of molesting children, and once after. But when Clark balked both times, Kelly declined to petition the Vatican to defrock him.

½ Despite knowing Clark had told his psychiatrist in 1986 that he wouldn't assign himself to a parish because ``the risk is too great,'' Kelly assigned him the next year to serve as a part-time pastor at SS Simon & Jude church. Clark also was allowed to fill in regularly as a weekend substitute at other parishes.

The archdiocese also assigned Clark in 1986 to live with the Holy Cross Brothers, despite concerns he might abuse students at Holy Cross High School, which shares the campus. ``We will make it quite clear that he is not to be involved with the high school in any way,'' the archdiocese's clergy personnel director wrote to Clark's psychiatrist. ``But is he capable of keeping such a commitment?''

½ Immediately after his 1988 conviction, Clark confided to Kelly that he was ``terrified of doing it again.'' But while Clark was removed from public ministry upon his arrest and never again assigned to a parish, over the next 14 years he was allowed to volunteer his services to numerous organizations.

The archdiocese said it relied on Clark to tell the groups he volunteered with about the restrictions on his ministry, including that he was barred from working with children.

But representatives of several groups, including volunteer fire departments, ham radio organizations and the local Department for Disaster and Emergency Services, said they didn't know of his record or the restrictions - they just knew him as ``Father Dan.''

Citing in part the pending litigation, the archdiocese's chancellor and chief administrative officer, Brian Reynolds, declined to respond to questions about Clark and how the church dealt with him. Other priests mentioned in the files declined to comment or didn't return a reporter's calls.

``In the past year we have all heard so many new reports from people telling they were abused by Fr. Clark,'' Reynolds said in a brief statement by e-mail. ``Their stories are tragic and painful.

``I wish no child ever had to experience any form of abuse, especially by a member of the clergy,'' Reynolds said. ``In hindsight it is easy to say the church should have seen more or acted sooner.''


Clark said his pastor

molested him as a child

Daniel Cooper Clark's mother was Catholic, his father was not, and he wasn't baptized in the faith until 12 years after he was born on a farm in Winchester, Ind., in 1948.

He would later tell one of his victims, according to court records, that ``there was just a lot of bad things going on in my childhood.'' The records also show Clark would later tell one of his victims, as well as Kelly, that he was molested in his childhood by his own pastor.

When Clark decided to pursue ministry as a young man, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis sponsored him, then dropped him for unexplained reasons while he was pursuing his undergraduate degree at St. Meinrad.

Later, at Mount St. Mary's, where he was sponsored by the Archdiocese of Louisville, Clark nearly flunked out. Scott Andrew, a classmate and longtime friend who eventually left the priesthood and is now a family therapist, said Clark wasn't ``bookwise'' and liked to drink and party more than study.

Clark would be diagnosed in the 1980s as ``cross-addicted to sex and alcohol.''

In 1980, the faculty at Mount St. Mary's refused to recommend him for ordination, but the Louisville archdiocese interceded on his behalf. ThenArchbishop Thomas McDonough had said in a 1978 memo that Clark ``meets people well, he is concerned, he is involved and he is interested.''

In 1979, the archdiocese's vocational director reminded seminary officials that the Vatican had ordered seminaries to cooperate with dioceses in producing priests, and said, ``This report is meant to suggest (Clark's) readiness to be approved for major orders.''

``They were desperate for bodies,'' said Monsignor Lawrence Breslin, the seminary's former rector, who said he remembered Clark as ``immature'' and unimpressive.

Eventually, the seminary allowed Clark to graduate, and he was ordained on May 24, 1980.

He was assigned to St. Rita on Preston Highway, and a month later began complaining in memos to the archdiocese that his $467 in salary and stipends left him unable to repay student loans or even leave the parish on his days off.

``As a result,'' he wrote five months after becoming a priest, ``I am experiencing a burned-out feeling.''

Within a year, he had molested his first victim at St. Rita, he admitted later in court. Thirteen plaintiffs contend in lawsuits against the archdiocese that they also were abused by Clark when he was at St. Rita.

They include Paul Barrett, who said he was 16 when he went to see Clark for counseling after his parents' divorce. ``I reached out my hand to him for help, and he bit me like an old dog,'' said Barrett, now 38.

Barrett alleges that Clark fondled and later masturbated him under the guise that girls were interested in him and would want to touch him, and that the priest could ``help me through it.''

Barrett says he tried to report Clark to the church's pastor, but another priest, now dead, told him to ``leave the church premises.''

Another plaintiff, Brian J. Weatherbee, said he told his mother in June 1981, when he was 13, that Clark, after luring him to his apartment, stuck his hand in Weatherbee's underpants while consoling him for breaking a vase.

Harriet Ann Weatherbee testified in a deposition last year that she reported her son's allegation to St. Rita's pastor, the Rev. Vincent Schweizer, on July 3, 1981, and that Schweizer assured her that it had been reported to the archdiocese.

At least one other parent reported Clark to Schweizer for allegedly molesting his son, Schweizer acknowledged in a deposition last year. Schweizer said he referred the man to the archdiocese, but never followed up, taking Clark's word that he had been referred for counseling.

Clark later pleaded guilty in Jefferson Circuit Court to molesting two children at St. Rita, including an 11year-old whom he called out of class about a week after the boy's brother was killed.

Other plaintiffs who have filed suit against the archdiocese allege that Clark molested them at St. Rita under the guise of helping expel their evil spirits, checking them for ``nerves'' and curing stomach aches.


Sex, marijuana use

reportedly continued

In June 1982, about a year after allegations about Clark reportedly were made to the archdiocese, Kelly - who had recently been installed as archbishop - transferred Clark to another parish, St. Dominic in Springfield, Ky.

``I know that you will bring great zeal and fidelity to this assignment,'' Kelly told Clark in a letter, ``and I am equally confident that you will be well-received by the people you are to serve.''

St. Dominic parishioner John Willis Grider, then 17, would later say the newly ordained Clark appealed to him because he drove a Jeep, drank at a local bar and was relatively young.

Grider was sent by his mother to Clark for counseling because, according to court papers, the boy had been drinking, smoking pot and having problems in school.

``We had a few beers, and Clark produced a green, tin lock box containing marijuana, rolling papers and pipes,' Grider said in court papers, describing his first counseling session in the summer of 1982.

``After a few hits of marijuana, Clark said he would teach me some relaxation exercises in his bedroom upstairs. . . . Clark massaged my chest and subsequently loosened my belt and unzipped my jeans.''

Grider said that after Clark fondled and sodomized him, he walked home and told his mother, who reported it to St. Dominic's pastor, the Rev. James T. Blandford. Blandford said in an interview that neither parishioners nor Kelly ever told him about any improper conduct involving Clark.

Clark, however, apologized to Grider, according to an Oct. 18, 1982, letter addressed ``Dear John'' that is now in Clark's personnel file:

``I ask for forgiveness for the anxiety I may have caused you,'' Clark wrote. ``John, I am most sincere when I say I beg your forgiveness - I trust now in the Lord.''

On April 6, 1983, Clark began seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Robert O'Connor, for ``emotional illness,'' according to records from the archdiocese, which paid for the counseling.

Two months later, Kelly transferred Clark to St. John Vianney parish on Southside Drive, where over three years he allegedly abused four boys, according to suits pending against the archdiocese.

While at St. John Vianney, Clark also befriended a Bullitt County woman, Geraldine Henry, who had four children, two of them boys. Clark would take the family food, money and toys, and take the boys, John and Ralph, on fishing trips, recalled April Divine, one of Geraldine Henry's daughters.

``We looked at him as a father figure, because we didn't have one,'' Divine said in an interview.

She said Clark began a relationship with her mother, once promising to leave the church and marry her. But eventually, Ralph and John would confide in their mother that Clark had molested them, according to Divine and lawsuits both men have filed against the archdiocese.

Divine said her mother, who has lost her voice box to cancer and cannot talk, now believes Clark was only interested in her sons.

Divine said her mother told Clark to stay away after her sons' revelations, but after Clark apologized in writing and assured her that he'd undergone treatment, she allowed him to visit again.

``Everybody thought he was a changed man,'' Ralph Henry told a Shepherdsville Police Department detective last year. ``I mean he wears a collar of God.''


Pastor told archbishop

of ongoing problems

Clark's involvement with Geraldine Henry was no secret to the archdiocese, its records show. Nor was his interest in her sons. In a July 1985 letter to Kelly, St. John Vianney's pastor, the Rev. James J. Lichtefeld Sr., said: ``John Henry's mother's name is Geraldine and since he goes over there often it could be that she is the Gerri that he is infatuated with. However, the evening he talked about John Henry . . . he made it clear that it was not . . . John's mother, that he was interested in.''

Lichtefeld also wrote that Clark had mentioned his ``involvement with some high school boys when he was at St. Rita's.''

Lichtefeld complained that Clark was ``just going through the motions with Mass'' and ``not praying,'' and that he was drinking often and early in the day. Urging Kelly to grant Clark a leave of absence, Lichtefeld concluded: ``I do know that he doesn't and can't operate as a priest and he knows it too. If he stays here and continues as he is, he will be causing scandal.''

Kelly granted the leave, noting in a memo that he approved it because of Clark's relationship with Geraldine Henry, his lack of enthusiasm for preaching and his ``continued starving for attention.''

When Clark returned to the archdiocese, his psychiatrist offered a bleak prognosis to the Rev. William L. Fichteman, the archdiocese clergy personnel director.

``Dr. O'Connor has seen very little progress in Dan and believes that he is, for the most part, in a state of denial of his situation,'' Fichteman said in a May 1986 memo. ``Instead of relating priest to people, he still relates to people in categories such as son to parent, intimate friend, etc. Thus, he forms relationships with people which are inappropriate for a priest.''

Fichteman also expressed reservations about Clark's return to active ministry.

``We are concerned that he is simply ineffective as a priest and has nothing to offer a parish,'' Fichteman wrote. ``This perception is affirmed by the fact that three or four pastors who have been approached about Dan coming to their parishes have said, `Absolutely not!' ''

Fichteman added that Clark - when asked by his psychiatrist to reverse roles and say where he should be assigned - ``finally said he would not assign himself to a parish. . . . The risk would be too great.''

Fichteman said O'Connor rejected the idea that Clark request laicization, or removal from the priesthood. ``There is no way Dan could function as a lay person,'' O'Connor said, according to Fichteman's memo.

The records show Clark worked on Kelly to salvage his priesthood.

``Perhaps it sounds strange, but I would like to experience death as a priest of the Lord,'' Clark wrote the archbishop in June 1986.

After ``careful consideration,'' Kelly allowed Clark to work as chaplain at the old Highlands Baptist Hospital and in 1987 assigned him as a parttime pastor at SS Simon & Jude.

He was serving there and living at the Passionist Monastery on Newburg Road when one of his victims from St. Rita called him on June 14, 1988 - in a conversation recorded by detectives from the local Crimes Against Children Unit.

``Did you really care, or were you using me?'' asked the victim, then 18.

``No, I really cared and I still do,'' Clark said. ``I prayed for you a lot. I still do.''

``Then why did you do it?'' the teenager asked.

``Because I was sick - I was very mentally ill, which is obvious and no one in their right mind would do something like that.''

Clark was arrested nine days later. Kelly passed on that news to his fellow priests by letter.

``One of our brother priests has been arraigned on charges of child abuse,'' Kelly wrote. ``Our first concern must be with those who made these charges. . . . At the same time, I have offered to Father Dan Clark our prayerful and fraternal support.''

Kelly then removed Clark from public ministry.

Clark's friend, Scott Andrew, said that when he visited the priest while he was awaiting trial, Clark told him that he had molested ``numerous children in numerous Kentucky counties, and across state lines in Indiana.''

Clark eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison but was required to serve only 90 days in a work-release program. He was ordered to have no contact with children during his probation, which was set at five years.

In 1989, the archdiocese paid one of the prosecuting witnesses, Michael Thomas Mudd, $207,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against it and Clark - with the stipulation that he never disclose the terms of the accord or that it was settled.


Clark stayed busy

with volunteer groups

It was about that time that Clark began sponsoring local Sex Addicts Anonymous groups and serving on the steering committee of a national council on the subject.

The Rev. William F. Medley, who succeeded Fichteman as the archdiocese's clergy personnel director, rejected Clark's proposal that he be appointed as the church's contact person for priests with sexual problems - problems that Clark predicted then would cause the church ``economic devastation.''

In a January 1990 memo addressing Clark's future as a priest, Medley wrote that Clark was ``shocked'' to learn that the church's lawyer had decided he could never be assigned a ministerial role because doing so ``implied a position of trust,'' even if it did not specifically involve children.

``An example would be that of chaplain to a nursing home,'' Medley wrote. ``There would, obviously, not be any direct ministry to minor children but his position there could obviously lead to contact with children and he would be viewed as holding a position of trust.''

Two years later, Kelly would assign another priest, the Rev. Louis Miller, to be chaplain at a nursing and retirement home, despite knowing that Miller had admitted in a mental health evaluation to fondling boys his entire adult life.

In his own memo about a conversation with Clark, Kelly said he told the priest it was so expensive keeping him on salary and housed in the Passionist Monastery that ``I planted the idea - which he loathed - of possible laicization.''

Clark rejected the idea in a Feb. 6, 1990, letter to Kelly: ``After a great deal of prayer, discussion with Dr. O'Connor, feedback from colleagues and brother clergy, a request for laicization is not an option I can or should embrace.''

For many of the next 12 years, Clark was listed in the official national Catholic directory as being on ``special assignment.'' He served on the archdiocese's Priest Council, and, according to annual memos he wrote to Kelly, was ghost-writing decisions for a priest appeal board, among other duties.

He also kept busy as a volunteer.

He was a storm spotter, for example, for the old Louisville-Jefferson County Department of Disaster and Emergency Services, becoming known as the ``Priest in the Bell Tower.'' As bad weather approached, Clark would climb to the highest perch at the Passionist Community.

``We always felt safer when the priest was in the tower watching the skies,'' said Curran Copeland, the agency's former hazard mitigation officer.

Copeland added that as the agency's informal chaplain, Clark ``would do whatever was needed, whether it was cleaning toilets or comforting someone who had just lost his spouse. . . . He really did care about people, and he had an undying, unlimited faith in God.''

Others praised Clark for his willingness to help addicts in the middle of the night.

Cecelia Price, the archdiocese's spokeswoman, said Clark was expected to inform the volunteer groups about his history.

But the Camp Taylor Fire Department, didn't know about Clark, where he was chaplain until last year, according to Chief Harold Adkins. Nor did Kentucky REACT, a group of private radio operators that Clark was involved with in the 1990s.

``If I had had that information, he wouldn't be on our board - we had teenagers in our program,'' said Ruby Gordon, retired program director of the Health Department's methadone program, which in 1994 invited Clark to serve as a director.

Copeland also said his organization didn't know. ``He seemed to have no sex at all. . . . He could crack a dirty joke now and then, but it came off kind of lame, like he had read the joke but was just repeating it.''


Ex-colleague tells Clark

to stay away from his children

In one of his last recorded letters to Kelly, in April 2000, Clark insisted he was in control of his urges, saying he could ``maintain strict boundaries in my ministry.''

And as recently as 1999, Kelly indicated that he thought Clark had successfully rehabilitated himself. ``I am very proud of you,'' Kelly wrote to him after he received an award from the National Council on Sexual Addictions: ``You have turned ultimate misfortune into the ground of a successful ministry, and we are all grateful for your generosity of spirit that prompts you to continue so faithful in this work.''

But according to his Bullitt County indictment, he was - at that very time - visiting the Henry home and sodomizing two additional boys, ages 11 and 12.

Clark's friend Andrew said he decided last year that he could no longer have the priest around his own two children, who once affectionately addressed him as ``Uncle Dan.''

Andrew called and left a message that Clark was no longer welcome in his home when his children were there.

``I told him, `the truth of it is you're a pedophile' and that there is no cure,'' Andrew recalled. ``It broke my heart that it ended our friendship. But I couldn't trust him.''

The Rev. Daniel C. Clark, convicted of sodomy in 1988, has pleaded innocent to abusing boys from 1998 until last May. He is jailed in Bullitt County.


Daniel C. Clark, shown with attorney David Lambertus, was arraigned in Bullitt County in August. Clark was removed from all ministry last summer but remains a priest in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, left, declined to petition the Vatican to defrock Clark, although church officials talked with Clark about leaving the priesthood.
Edition: MET;METRO
Section: NEWS
Page: 01A

Index Terms: RELIGION; CHURCH; CATHOLIC; Rev. Daniel C. Clark; Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly
Copyright (c) The Courier-Journal. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: lou2003061314541120

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Shane Ragland -- Can somebody actually make him stick to the conditions of his release?

Shane Ragland has a habit of violating whatever restrictions are in place for him, be it the laws of the commonwealth, conditions of sentencing, or conditions of his bond. His family likes to pretend that he's a fine guy caught up in a case where he's been framed by the Lexington Police. But his criminal history would suggest that, at the very least, he has the sense he is untouchable and that the laws you and I abide by every day are not important.

While I certainly hope this trial goes without incident and he is convicted again fair and square, my biggest hope is that the law is on him like white on rice every step of the way and that the slightest violation puts him back in jail.

Shane Ragland out of jail

By Jeffrey McMurray
Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Shane Ragland, facing a second trial on charges that he murdered a University of Kentucky football player, was released from jail yesterday after his father posted $1 million bail.

Ragland left the Fayette County Detention Center about 3:30 p.m. EDT, said Lt. Darin Kelly, a jail spokesman. Ragland told reporters outside that complete vindication was his goal.

"This is the best for the case so that I can actually communicate with my attorneys and do what's right," Ragland said. "That's all I can ask for. I just want a fair trial."

Under conditions of his release, set by Judge Thomas Clark, Ragland was fitted for electronic monitoring and must stay within 100 feet of his father's Frankfort home, where he has decided to live during his trial. He also must pay for drug tests and is subject to global positioning tracking.

Ragland's father, Jerry, said yesterday he is confident his son will be exonerated.

"It's going to be a lot different result this time," Jerry Ragland told WKYT-TV in Lexington.

Ragland was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the shooting death of Trent DiGiuro while DiGiuro was celebrating his 21st birthday in 1994. The state Supreme Court ordered a new trial in March based on inadmissible evidence concerning a bullet.

Ragland's arrest came years after DiGiuro's death when a former Ragland girlfriend contacted police. She told investigators Ragland told her some years earlier that he had shot DiGiuro as revenge for DiGiuro's keeping Ragland out of a fraternity. Police arranged for the woman to meet with Ragland again and get him to talk about the case.

Joshua Northup -- Rest in Peace

No matter how you feel about her politics, in my estimation, it is the worst thing in the world to have one of your children die. I can only imagine how it feels. Some of my wife's friends worked with Joshua and my understanding is that he was a really great guy. My sympathies go out to his family.

Rep. Northup's son Joshua, 30, dies at his home

By Kay Stewart
The Courier-Journal

U.S. Rep. Anne Northup's 30-year-old son, remembered yesterday as a beloved presence in a family of six children, suffered from a severe, undiagnosed heart problem that led to his death, a family spokesman said.

Friends and family of Joshua Northup grew worried about him yesterday after he didn't show up for work at Humana two days in a row.

His father, Robert "Woody" Northup, went to check on him at his apartment on South Galt Avenue in the Crescent Hill neighborhood.

EMS was called, and Joshua Northup was pronounced dead at his home just before noon by Gayle Norris, a deputy coroner.

She said the official cause of death was awaiting toxicology reports, but the death appeared to be the result of natural causes.

Terry Carmack, Northup's chief of staff, said the autopsy revealed a severe heart problem that led to his death, although not all the details are known.

Carmack said Joshua Northup had been diagnosed with high blood pressure about two months ago and was on medication for that, but a heart ailment had not been diagnosed. He said Northup had not been ill recently.

A statement from Anne and Woody Northup said: "He was a beloved member of the family. We are grieving his loss and have a hole in our hearts that will never go away."

Joshua, one of the Northups' two adopted children, was 2 months old when he joined the family at Christmas, Carmack said.

"He was brought out in a giant Christmas stocking," he said. "It is one of the family's fondest memories."

Joshua was the third-oldest among the six Northup children.

David Northup, 35, remembered his younger brother as "welcoming to everyone." He said he was gentle with an impish sense of humor and had a wide range of interests including books, movies, history and current events.

"He touched a lot of people," he said.

Anne Northup, R-3rd District, flew back from her Washington office when she received word of his death.

Carmack said Joshua Northup had worked for Humana for four years and had been a supervisor for more than a year. He was a 1994 graduate of St. Xavier High School and a 1998 graduate of St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, Ind.

In his spring semester of college in 1995, he studied in Tanzania, where he was also a volunteer in a leprosy colony, Carmack said. In Louisville, he was a volunteer for Wesley House Community Services.

His mother's campaign for a sixth term is suspended for now, said her campaign manager, Patrick Neely.

John Yarmuth, Northup's Democratic opponent in the fall election, issued a statement saying his family extends "heartfelt condolences and prayers to the Northup family. We ask our friends, supporters and the entire community to join us in prayer for the Northup family during this very difficult time."

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's statement said, "Elaine joins me in offering Anne, Woody and the entire Northup family our loving prayers during this sad time. I have come to consider Anne and Woody close personal friends over the years and know their deep faith and close family will see them through the loss of their beloved Joshua."

Tom Simms, a teacher at St. Xavier, said Joshua Northup had been involved in the Kentucky Youth Assembly, which teaches students about government, while in high school.

"He was sharp, he was articulate and he loved the government process, maybe in part … because of his mother," Simms said. "He did really well debating bills and writing laws."

"He was such a nice kid," Simms added.

Humana's statement read: "Joshua was an exemplary Humana associate, beloved by his colleagues and held in high esteem by his supervisors. We are deeply saddened by his death and extend our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt sympathy to his family."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup Soccer -- Why I don't give a $&!^

Before everyone gets nasty with me about what great atheletes World Cup Soccer players are and how it's the world's sport, let me give you my awful American opinion.....

Soccer sucks. Why would I want to watch an hour or more of people chasing a white ball around a field the size of a small town only to have the game settled by penalty kicks? Penalty kicks seem to be the sports own acknowledgement that there is a limit to how much boredom one can take. Honestly, if the sport was that exciting, why would they need to get into fist fights, spectator trampling riots, and set fire to the stadium during the games?


Italy beats France for 4th World Cup title By BARRY WILNER, AP Sports Writer
1 hour, 5 minutes ago

The beautiful game turned vicious, even venomous Sunday. It was all still beautiful to Italy. And very ugly for France, which lost captain Zinedine Zidane with a red card after his nasty head butt in extra time, and then went down 5-3 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw.

Explanations were nonexistent for Zidane's action in the 110th minute of his farewell game. He was walking upfield near defender Marco Materazzi when, in his final act for his national team, he bashed his shaven head into Materazzi's chest.

"I have not seen the replays, but if it's voluntary then there's nothing you can say," France coach Raymond Domenech said. "But it's a shame. It's sad. He (Materazzi) did a lot of acting and for such a big man, a gust of wind made him fall over."

Not quite. Zidane, who is retiring, might have been provoked, but he definitely knocked over Materazzi.

"It's regrettable. We regret it, he regrets it," Domenech said.

Without their leader, the French still had their chance in the shootout. But the Italians, never masters of the penalty kick, made all five, setting off an hour of hugging, dancing and fist-pumping celebrations.

"This squad showed great heart," Gennaro Gattuso said. "Maybe it wasn't pretty, but we were hard to beat."

They were impossible to beat and gave up only one goal actually scored by an opponent. And no, it was not pretty.

Outplayed for an hour and into extra time, the Italians won it after Zidane committed the ugliest act of a tournament that set records for yellow and red cards, diving and, at times, outright brutality.

Asked if French soccer would miss Zidane, Domenech said:

"Yes, well, he was missed in the last 20 minutes tonight. It weighed heavily in the outcome."

Without their leader for the shootout, the French only missed once. But Italy was perfect. Fabio Grosso clinched the Azzurri's fourth championship, and his teammates had to chase him halfway across the pitch to celebrate.

"It's incredibly emotional. Words can hardly describe it," Grosso said. "Maybe we still don't realize what we have achieved. We really wanted to win and in the end we made it."

Only Brazil has more World Cups, five.

Until now, no team since the last Azzurri champions in 1982 had to endure the stress and anguish of a soccer scandal. Rather than be disrupted by the current probe ripping apart the national sport back home, the Italians survived.

"If the scandal hadn't happened I think we wouldn't have won the World Cup," Gattuso said. "It has given us more strength."

Verdicts in the match-fixing trial that could relegate four teams — and 13 of Italy's 23 players — to lower divisions are expected next week.

France underwent a renaissance of its own in the last month. The French, racked by dissension, nearly went out in the first round for the second straight World Cup, and then Zidane turned them around. They controlled the flow of play Sunday, only to fail to finish through 120 minutes.

Their only goal, Zidane's penalty kick in the seventh minute, was the lone score by an Italy opponent in seven games.

But the Italians put the ball into the net 12 minutes later on Materazzi's header off a corner kick. And then they held on in a game marked by sloppiness and maliciousness.

Rarely did Italy threaten over the final 75 minutes. But the Azzurri ignored recent history — they lost a quarterfinal shootout to France in 1998, when Les Bleus went on to their only championship.

Andrea Pirlo, Materazzi, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Del Piero all easily beat France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez in the shootout. The difference was the miss by rarely used David Trezeguet, which hit the crossbar on France's second attempt.

When Grosso connected with his left foot, the sliver of Italian fans in the opposite corner of Olympic Stadium finally could let out their breath — and screams of victory.

"We had fear of the penalties," said Gattuso, aware that Italy lost the only other final decided in a shootout, to Brazil in 1994. "Our history was not great, so that was the fear."

On the trophy stand, amid hugs and slaps on the back, Materazzi placed a red, white and green top hat on the World Cup Trophy. Captain Fabio Cannavaro then held it high as cameras flashed everywhere. An impromptu Tarantella by the players followed as silver confetti fluttered around them.

It was, by far, the prettiest sight of the night.

"I've won many championships," coach Marcello Lippi said, "but a joy so big I have never felt."

With a 25-game unbeaten streak dating back nearly two years, the Italians added this title to their championships in 1934, 1938 and '82 — when another match-fixing investigation plagued Serie A.

The hero then in Spain was striker Paolo Rossi, fresh off a two-year suspension for his role in match-fixing. This time, there were a dozen stars and a coach who seemed to make all the right moves.

Italy won its first-round group over the higher-ranked United States and Czech Republic, and Ghana. Then it beat Australia on a controversial penalty in the second-half extra time that Francesco Totti converted.

It routed Ukraine 3-0 before depressing the host nation with two stunning goals in the final minutes of extra time for a semifinal win over Germany.

Gianluigi Buffon made the save of the final match in the 104th minute as the ever-dangerous Zidane fed Willy Sagnol on the wing and then slipped into the area. Sagnol's cross was headed into the top of the net with the Italian keeper soared high to knock it over.

By then, the sea of blue supporters for both teams seemed as exhausted as the players. The crowd let out a short gasp, and then it was back to the tense and tentative action.

Zidane used his head again in the 110th, albeit the wrong way, and almost got away it. Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo didn't see the butt, and Buffon charged out of his net imploring Elizondo to seek help.

The ref finally asked his assistant on the sideline, then pulled out the red card.

For the remaining extra time, the fans whistled their displeasure.

"We prepared exactly how we needed to be at the top. You could see that in the second half and in extra time," Domenech said. "Once again we were largely superior to our opponents."

Both sides played nervous, sloppy soccer for 120 minutes, hardly befitting a World Cup final. There were far more mistakes than inspiration.

France's Thierry Henry went down in the first minute in a seemingly innocent collision with the impregnable Cannavaro. Henry stayed on the ground, clearly dazed, for two minutes before being helped off with an ice bag held to his head.

The striker soon came back and his first touch, naturally, was a header. It was a terrific one, too, falling at the feet of a breaking Florent Malouda.

Malouda stumbled — many might say dived — in the penalty area and Elizondo immediately signaled a penalty kick.

Zidane, whose penalty beat Portugal in the semifinals, lobbed it right as Buffon dived the other way. The ball struck the crossbar and fell 2 feet inside the net in the seventh minute.

For the rest of the half, the French showed little of the flair that carried them this far. And Italy tied it with one of its strengths: a set piece.

Mauro Camoranesi won a corner kick on right wing and was setting up to take it when Andrea Pirlo signaled Camoranesi to back off. Pirlo took the corner, a perfect spiral that found the head of defender Materazzi above France's Patrick Vieira.

Materazzi's header soared past goalkeeper Fabien Barthez to tie it.

Luca Toni hit the crossbar off another corner kick in the 36th.

Henry had the best opportunity in the second half, but Buffon lunged left to hand-save his right-footed drive. France got a scare, too, when Zidane fell on his right arm and shoulder and needed freeze spray applied before staying in.

Fun With Wal-Mart and Insight Cable

Last night our cable started acting up. The digital channels were completely disappearing and the analog channels looked like we needed to adjust the rabbit ears. Since our weather's been pleasant and every television in the house was acting up, I assumed it was a transmission issue.

So I called 357-4400, a number that probably rings far to familiar with most Louisvillians, and told them what was wrong. They "sent a signal" to our DVR boxes. They shuddered, blinked, flipped up and down (okay, that's not true) and then reset themselves to the familiar ugly purple promo for an on demand movie. Of course, my wife wasn't very happy because she was trying to see how the episode of "While You Were Out" ended. The signal finally came back and..... nothing.

So I called again. After going through the phone tree, entering my phone number again, and then repeating my personal information yet again, I explained my problem. The woman asked me if it was effecting all TVs. I said I didn't know, but my two digital boxes were out. She then said she would check to see when a technician could come out. She put me on hold, came back and said, "we can get someone out there on the 26th." You do the math. 17 days to have someone fix the cable.

"Unacceptable!" I said. She said she's have to check what she could do. After a lot of hold time and back and forth, she finally was able to get me an emergency appointment for the 12th, from 2:30 to 5:30. I said that was fine, and she had to disappear yet again to get a supervisor to approve it because "the supervisor is on the other side of the building." When she came back, I said I knew it wasn't her fault, but I found it ridiculous that I'm paying $5 a day and $160 a month and I have to get special permission to get someone to restore my service in less than 17 days, and that I have to take time off work to be here for the person to do the work. Insight seems to be spending a fortune on people to install cable and next to nothing on repair work. I also said that it was insane that I have to call again to get a credit on my bill. She apologized and said that if the guy was 1 minute late (in a 3 hour window, of course), that I would get a $20 credit on my bill. Big freakin' deal.

Later it was off to my favorite place to raise my blood pressure.... Wal-Mart. The shopping experience wasn't too bad, but once again, they had about 15 too few people working the registers up front. I got in the shortest line and everything was going swimmingly until the people had a 6 pack of beer on the conveyor. My cashier was only 16, so he couldn't physically pick up the beer and run it over the scanner. Obviously, the laws are there to protect him from accidentally absorbing the alcohol through the cardboard handle. I waited approximately five minutes for someone old enough to come and take the five second action. Only problem was that it took the guy who showed up another five to do it, as he explained to the cashier how long he'd been there and bitched about some other things going on. But hey, I did get 5 notebooks for 50 cents.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

New York Post on Ken Lay -- Tell Me You Weren't Thinking the Same Thing

GNC -- Live Well

While walking to the library in Fern Creek, I passed the GNC Nutrition store in the same shopping center. I looked up and saw a man hanging out the door in his GNC Golf Shirt, smoking a cigarette. Nothing screams healthy living like a guy with a cigarette in his mouth.

And now we have another police accident here in Louisville. I understand the need to get somewhere quickly, and the idea that the police are damned if they do and damned if they don't, I think there are too many instances in my own personal experience where the people with lights and sirens are paying less attention to the road ahead than the place they're trying to reach. There are many factors that they need to consider, including:

1) With air conditioning, loud stereos, car radios, and the general distracted state of people (cell phones, makeup, etc.), your siren may not be heard and lights seen until it is too late.

2) There is no good place to pull over in much of the county.

3) Some people panic when the lights and sirens are coming to them and they don't always make the wisest decisions.