Tag Archives: New York

Weiner does the decent thing — at last!

By Calvin Palmer

The fact that U.S. Rep Anthony Weiner (D-New York) has resigned comes as no surprise. Any politician who sends a picture of his erect penis to a woman he met online and then lies about it has no option but to resign. I cannot figure out what took him so long.

Apparently it takes nearly three weeks for someone like Weiner to grow a pair of balls. A man of honor, integrity, you know those values we come to expect of people holding political office, would have stood down within 24 hours, 48 hours at most, of the scandal breaking.

Weiner addressed the press this afternoon and read from a prepared statement.

“I am here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused,” Weiner said. “I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents, but I make it particularly to my wife, Huma.”

Weiner’s pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was not at her husband’s side at the announcement. And I don’t blame her.

It will be interesting to see if Huma stands by her man in the same way that Hillary stood by Bill. Only time will tell.

I suppose one way Huma could get back at her husband would be to tell him that he is not the father of the child she is expecting. Ouch!!!

So a tawdry chapter of U.S. politics has drawn to a close.

It is to be hoped Weiner seeks professional help. The man clearly has problems that could land him in far more serious trouble than what has occurred these past few weeks.

Somehow, I feel we haven’t heard the last of Anthony Weiner.

[Based on a report by The Washington Post.]

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Parked van sparks bomb alert in Times Square

By Calvin Palmer

Office buildings in New York’s Times Square were evacuated and streets cordoned off this morning while police investigated a suspicious parked vehicle.

The white 1992 Dodge van was spotted by officers around 11 o’clock.

“Its presence in Times Square, just before New Year Eve, causes us concern,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne of the NYPD. “That’s why we’re taking extra precautions.”

The vehicle was parked on the west side of Broadway, just south of West 42nd Street, and may have been there since Monday, police sources said.

Its windows were covered with a tarp. The vehicle identification number was obscured from view, and a phony police placard was on the dashboard.

NYPD Bomb Squad used a robot that is operated remotely and equipped with a camera to get near the van to look for explosive devices.

The Nasdaq and Condé Nast buildings were evacuated as a precaution and subway trains were diverted from Times Square station.

At about 1:00 p.m., police re-opened the streets and traffic began flowing again.

Police in New York are on high alert ahead of New Year’s Eve when a million revelers are expected to pack Times Square to see the crystal ball drop to mark the start of 2010.

[Based on reports by the New York Daily News and AFP.]

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Make that a double

By Calvin Palmer

An upstate New York woman was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated this morning after she arrived at the state police barracks to pick up a friend who had been arrested earlier for DWI.

Stacy E. Kolinski, 22, of Otisco, arrived about 2:25 a.m. at the barracks in Lafayette to pick up George L. Reddick, 34, who had been stopped for speeding two hours earlier and charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of cocaine and driving while intoxicated.

When Kolinski turned up at the barracks in LaFayette, troopers noticed that she smelled of alcohol.

Kolinski failed the standard field sobriety tests and was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.20.

She was charged with aggravated DWI and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

Kolinski and Reddick are due to appear in court at a later date.

[Based on reports by the Associated Press and The Post-Standard.]

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Mother held over teen locked in closet has conviction for child manslaughter

By Calvin Palmer

The mother in Oklahoma accused of locking up her 14-year-old son in a closet for more than four years was convicted of the manslaughter of her two-year-old child in New York City.

Oklahoma City police Sgt Gary Knight said detectives were able to confirm that LaRhonda McCall was arrested in New York in 1995 in connection with the death of her daughter. At the time she went by the name LaRhonda Pressley, he said.

Bronx district attorney’s office spokesman Steven Reed said the mother pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in 1996 and was sentenced to jail and probation. It is unclear how much jail time she served.

McCall, 37, and her friend, Steve Hamilton, 38, have been arrested on 20 complaints each of child abuse and child neglect relating to the 14-year-old. Both remain jailed in Oklahoma City on $400,000 bond.

They have yet to be formally charged because police have not completed their investigation, said First Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland, but charges are expected to be filed later this week.

The investigation began on Friday after the boy, malnourished and covered with scars and bruises, wandered up to a National Guard armory about a mile and a half from his home and told security guards there he escaped and needed police.

An affidavit released today said McCall and Hamilton admitted to repeatedly beating the boy and locking him in a closet for days. McCall told investigators she choked the teen at least once and used a belt, ruler and broom handle to beat him numerous times over the last three years, according to the affidavit.

Hamilton also told police he also beat the teen, identified as “B.M.,” multiple times with a belt and wire cable “when he got out of line,” and once struck him in the head with a tire jack, the affidavit said.

“Steve advised he saw B.M. locked in the closet on at least 27 different occasions,” the affidavit said.

Managers of the last two apartment complexes where the family most recently lived said they occasionally saw some of McCall’s seven other children but never saw the teenage boy. All seven of McCall’s minor children have been taken into custody of the Department of Human Services.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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Nun charged with DWI after losing control of car and hitting tree

By Calvin Palmer

A New York nun was freed from jail today after being charged with alcohol-related driving offenses.

Sister Lauren M. Hanley, 68, of Wantagh, lost control of her car and hit a tree on Tuesday evening after leaving work at St Frances de Chantal Church.

Police officers called to the scene detected the smell of alcohol on her breath, her speech was slurred and she had bloodshot eyes, said Det Sgt Anthony Repalone.

The car Hanley was driving belonged to the church. On the back seat, officers found a small plastic water bottle containing alcohol.

Her blood alcohol level when she was arrested was 0.18.

She has been charged with two misdemeanors, driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated, and one infraction for driving an uninspected vehicle,

Mary Lyons, whose home is near to the scene of the accident said her three grandchildren were playing ball outside before Hanley came speeding through the neighborhood.

“She came flying past the house,” Lyons said, “and apparently went up on the curb or something, and then she just lost control of the wheel. She didn’t know what the heck she was doing.”

Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the diocese, said in a statement today: “Hanley’s work and ministry has touched many people and has inspired many into greater service to the church.

“During this very difficult moment we pray that the Lord give her strength to endure this difficult time so that she may continue to be of service to her congregation, the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Catholic Church of Long Island.”

Hanley has no previous DWI convictions. She is due to appear in court tomorrow.

[Based on a report by Newsday.com.]

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Federal agents smash sex-slave ring

By Calvin Palmer

More than 100 federal agents and police raided several homes and bars early today to smash a sex slave ring in New York.

The raids targeted Suffolk County where undocumented women from El Salvador and Honduras were hired as waitresses and then forced to become prostitutes.

Federal agents and rounded up 23 of the women and were questioning them at an undisclosed location.

According to court documents, most of the women had entered the United States illegally but some were recruited in their native countries via advertising on the Internet.

The bars raided were La Hija del Mariachi, in Farmingville, and Sonidos de la Frontera, in Ronkonkoma.

The raids were based on evidence gathered from four women cooperating with authorities.

One of the women told investigators that she entered the country illegally on her own in 2006 and was recruited by the operators of the ring as a waitress when she was 17-years-old. She said she had been repeatedly beaten and raped.

She eventually agreed to perform stripteases and to be fondled by patrons after ring operators threatened to report her to federal officials as an undocumented resident. She also said she was repeatedly raped by one of the operators of the ring, who smashed her head into the pavement of a parking lot repeatedly as a way of enforcing discipline.

The woman said she had been told she would receive a salary of $40 a day and would be paid half of the $20-a-shot glasses of tequila she convinced the patrons to buy. But she was not initially told that she would also be expected to work as a prostitute. She said she was also told that if she attempted to go to the police she would murdered.

The operators of the alleged scheme were identified as Antonio Rivera, 34, of Patchogue; his sister Jasmin Rivera, 31, of Medford; and John Whaley, of Bellport.

Antonio Rivera is listed as a sex offender and served time on a 1998 conviction for the rape of a 13-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl, according to New York State records.

They are accused of slavery, trafficking in sex workers, and harboring undocumented workers through threats of force and are due to be arraigned this afternoon.

[Based on a report by newsday.com.]

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FedEx Priority Overnight gets lost in translation

By Calvin Palmer

I like to think that I have a reasonable grasp of the English language and know what words mean. I also believed that those meanings were universal, thus enabling easy and unequivocal communication between individuals. Apparently I am mistaken.

I sent a package to Carl Zeiss, to its headquarters in Thornwood, New York, on Tuesday. The package was dropped off at the FedEx location in Avondale, Jacksonville, around 12:15 p.m.

Since Carl Zeiss was footing the bill, I chose FedEx Priority Overnight, working on the logic that the quicker the package arrives, the sooner it will be returned to me. It is my one and only lens for my DSLR camera.

Today, I decided to check if the package had been duly delivered yesterday as per the terms of FedEx Priority Overnight, which state that packages will be delivered the next business morning to most locations. To my mind, Florida to New York state is a breeze compared to, say, Florida to Shanghai.

The tracking history revealed the package had been delivered to the right place. But something was wrong, very wrong. The delivery was timed at 10:19 a.m. TODAY.

It would appear that “overnight” in FedEx terms, at least in Jacksonville, Florida, means the item will have an overnight stay languishing in a FedEx depot before its journey commences. I hope my lens received five-star treatment and free drinks.

Here is the full tracking history:

Jul 28, 2009,  6:13 p.m.     Picked up.                                          Jacksonville, FL

Jul 28, 2009,  8:49 p.m.     At local FedEx facility.                 Jacksonville ,FL

Jul 29, 2009,  9:05 a.m.     Picked up.                                           Jacksonville ,FL

Jul 29, 2009,  7:34 p.m.     Left FedEx origin facility.            Jacksonville, FL

Jul 29, 2009, 11:07 p.m.   Arrived at FedEx location.          Memphis, TN

Jul 30, 2009,  3:32 a.m.    Departed FedEx location.             Memphis, TN

Jul 30, 2009,  6:52 a.m.    At destination sort facility.          Newburgh, NY

Jul 30, 2009,  8:11 a.m.    At local FedEx facility.                    Elmsford, NY

Jul 30, 2009,  8:23 a.m.    On FedEx vehicle for delivery.    Elmsford, NY

Jul 30, 2009, 10:19 a.m.    Delivered.                                            Thornwood, NY

The package clearly fell short of what is commonly accepted as “overnight” — that is, the next day.

Why did the package remain at the Jacksonville facility for more than 25 hours?

I guess the answer is known only to employees of FedEx.

But evidently the common meaning of “overnight” has been castaway in these parts or someone clearly dropped the ‘Wilson’ ball with regard to my package.

I bet that nice Mister Hanks would be appalled at the service his company is providing these days.

If, perchance, someone of sufficient senior rank in the FedEx organization happens to read this post, and stranger things have been known to happen – one post once elicited a rebuke from an Air Force Lt Col at the Pentagon – I would be grateful for an explanation of the tardy delivery that befell my package.

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