Today’s highly interesting read (02/28/19): In Robert Kraft Case, Don’t Forget Who the Real Victims Are

Today’s read is from Christine Flowers, an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. She writes:

It appears that the women in question were sex slaves, trafficked into the United States with promises of legitimate jobs and forced to service men who either couldn’t, or didn’t want to, earn the affection of their “date.”

As an immigration attorney, I have met some of these women (because they are virtually always young, young women), and I can tell you that the look in their eyes is a cross between terror and emptiness….what Kraft is alleged to have done is disgusting, immoral, and criminal. It’s unfortunate that the laws make it worthy of only a few months in the cooler.

Read the entire column here.

What’s wrong with the latest execution in Texas

Billy Coble is a triple-murderer. He will be given a lethal injection tonight in Huntsville, Texas, for those murders. His lawyers’ attempts at a delay have been rejected.

The Huntsville Item reports on this case:

Court records state that Coble was married to his third wife, Karen Vicha, and lived in a house across the street from her parents.

“The marriage quickly disintegrated and, after a year, Karen told Coble to move out and that she wanted a divorce,” court records state. “Coble attempted to talk Karen out of this decision and would randomly call her and show up at her work place.”

Testimony shows that Coble then kidnapped Karen as a further effort to dissuade her from divorcing him by hiding in the trunk of her car while she was at a bar with a girlfriend. When Karen started to drive home, Coble folded down the back seat and “popped out of the trunk with a knife.” Records state that he jumped over the console, halfway into the front seat and struck the victim with the knife against her ribs.

“Coble stated that if he couldn’t have her, then no one else could,” testimony shows.

Coble would let Karen go, but was later arrested for kidnapping at the urging of Karen’s brother Bobby. Nine days after Coble was released on bond he returned to Karen’s house where he handcuffed her three daughters, tied up their feet and taped their mouths closed. Then he left to shoot Karen’s father, mother and brother as each of them came home.

Records state that Coble returned to Karen’s house after the triple homicide and waited for his wife to come home from work. He told the children, “I wish I had blown you away like I intended to.” When Karen arrived, Coble came out of a bedroom with a gun and said, “Karen, I’ve killed your momma and your daddy and your brother, and they are all dead and nobody is going to come help you now.”

Testimony states that Coble then told Karen that she was lucky and that he hadn’t molested her daughters, and told her to kiss them good-bye. Karen talked Coble into leaving the house, taking her with him, where he had planned to torture her for a few weeks.

Coble drove Karen to a deserted field in Bosque County, where he threatened to rape her. However, shortly after dark, Coble drove passed a sheriff’s patrol car, which turned around and followed them. The suspect then grabbed a knife and started stabbing Karen’s chin, forehead and nose as he was driving. He stated that he didn’t want to die in prison, so he “floored it” and rammed into a parked car. Both Coble and Karen were injured in the crash, with authorities having to cut the car door open to get her out. The suspect was found with Karen’s father’s watch and wallet along with two revolvers.

The newspaper article included a fact I left out of the above: Coble is 70 years old, a point the news media is sure to make as they describe Coble as the oldest person Texas has put to death since the modern era of the death penalty began in the 1970s, according to prison data.

That’s not what is wrong about this story or even that it involves capital punishment. What’s wrong is that Coble was convicted of three murders nearly 30 years ago in 1989. Coble is one of nearly 30 inmates who have lived on Texas’ death row for more than 25 years. Is it any wonder death penalty opponents submit capital punishment isn’t a deterrent. How can it possibly be when the penalty is not imposed swiftly, often because of interminable appeals, unnecessary when guilt is an absolute certainty.

J.R. Vicha was just 11 years old when Coble murdered his father, Bobby Vicha, and grandparents, Robert John and Zelda Vicha. While J.R. was restrained in a bedroom with a rope or handcuffs (he can’t remember) Coble shot and killed Robert John and Zelda Vicha and Waco police officer Bobby Vicha inside their own homes.

“I was a prosecutor for eight years, so every day I dealt with criminals. A lot of bad cases, a lot of bad people,” J.R. told KXXV. “I’ve never dealt with anybody that I thought was as bad or as evil as he is. The last time they brought him here to set his execution date, he refused to come out of his cell which was a change. All the court appearances before that over the last 29 years he would come out smiling, stare at people like it was a show.”

J.R. will attend the execution.

“Knowing this whole time that he’s still alive and having a life, even though he’s in prison he has a life,” J.R. said. “So I guess finally knowing that he’s not there anymore, that will help.”

In an e-mail this week J.R. said, “Just as there are many men who have died that deserved to live, there are some who live that deserve death. Mr. Coble is without question one of those that deserves death. Although this justice has been delayed for nearly 30 years, it still needs to be done and I’m glad it’s a step closer.”

Karen Vicha will also be at the execution, driving in from San Antonio. She’s disappointed with a justice system that took so long to put Coble to death.

“I wish it worked differently and I certainly don’t think he should’ve been alive this long,” Karen said. “We’re glad to see that it’s finally coming to an end.”

Billy Coble needed to die. It should have happened a long time ago.

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The NBA is both bad and good for young basketball players

As a timer for dozens of high school basketball games in Milwaukee every year I see both high quality play along with the kind that makes your grimace. Most of the time I’m wincing.

I work games in the highly charged City Conference where play can be extremely exciting. More often than not, sorry, it resembles a three-on-three central city  playground contest in July.

Hogging the ball. Quick shots. Refusal to make the next pass. Selfish decisions. A total  lack of teamwork. All of these are killers when it comes to regional and sectional play going on right now.

Part of the blame is on coaches who for whatever reason neglect to pull on the reins. Then there are players who simply don’t listen and go off on their own.

Let’s not forget TV and professional basketball. The players, whether they like to admit or not, are role models. They are idolized by kids who, and many an adult can relate, dream in their backyards or playgrounds of making the dazzling play or shot that wins a big time championship.

How many times after a game I’ve worked has a player, sometimes from the losing team, approached the scorer’s table to inquire how many points he scored.

I don’t answer, in part because the scorer has not yet added up the totals, but mostly because the player is out of line. Instead, I instruct the player to return to his teammates where he belongs. If possible, I kindly inform the player’s coach what happened so that it doesn’t happen again.

This might not be the perfect example of the above headline and the point of my blog but I’m sure it is a factor. High school players watch the NBA and fantasize of being in the NBA someday. Undoubtedly their sets were tuned to the recent NBA All-Star Game.

Granted, the NBA All-Star Game is a no defense offensive explosion. All the more reason it has an impact, especially when Steph Curry made that bounce pass alley-oop to Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Are you telling me there aren’t millions of kids across America salivating at the very thought of pulling off the exact same amazing feat at a game in front of a gym filled with screaming fans?

Now here’s an idea. How about coaches show their players, whether it be via video, e-mail, smartphone, etc., this particular play from a game that actually meant something unlike the All-Star Game. This game was very important because it was the first regular season game for the Bucks after the All-Star Game. The opponent: the tough Boston Celtics.

High school coaches could impart a valuable lesson if they stress, how on a court loaded with stars, the NBA team with the best record (the Bucks), unselfishly executed three passes to set up what would be the eventual game winning basket. Watch. It happens quickly, but is pretty.

“Talent Wins Games, Teamwork Wins Championships.”
Grant Freeland, managing director at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

 

 

 

Once again the city of Franklin did what it does best

Spend money. The headline on My South Now:

Franklin and Greenfield are funding another study to explore shared fire department services

The key word there is “another.”

Let’s examine the news report from the website with excerpts in bold,

Franklin and Greenfield are funding a study focusing on where the two fire departments might be able to share services, such as personnel training or vehicle maintenance.

It’s the second time in seven years the two participated in such a study, and more communities may still participate.

That’s right. This has been studied before. But the Franklin Common Council just can’t help themselves. Dangle an opportunity in front of them to spend taxpayer dollars and they pounce.

I’ve been a close observer of politics for more than 40 years. Two of the most frustrating actions elected officials can and often do make are 1) Let’s form a committee, and 2) Let’s conduct a study. Either one is a clear indication they  have no idea whatsoever what they’re doing or what they should do or what they are going to do.

During the week of Feb. 18, the Franklin and Greenfield common councils authorized the two communities to each spend $5,000 to hire the Wisconsin Policy Forum to conduct the study, which will examine ways the two departments could potentially share services.

Only $5,000. But how does that old saying go? It’s the principle of the thing.

A 2012 study, also by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, explored service-sharing opportunities between fire departments in Franklin, Greenfield, Greendale, Hales Corners and Oak Creek. It provided three models with varying levels of shared services between the fire departments, although none of them decided to pursue any major changes, according to Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn.

Ponder that. The same group did the same survey years ago and offered not one but three solutions. Nothing was done. Now we’re asking them to reinvent the wheel.

When the study will be completed has not been determined, Cohn said.

Wonderful.

(Franklin Mayor Steve) Olson said this new study was a good idea that doesn’t commit the city to anything.

In other words, the money would be spent, the study would be done, and ultimately nothing could change. That’s wise and prudent, how?

If you’re scratching your head you’re not alone. I’ll bet lots of folks are wondering if Franklin, we’ve  been told, can’t handle the current emergencies with what we’ve got, then how can we deal with assisting other municipalities?

Common sense is a rarity at Franklin City Hall. But here’s an example.

Franklin Alderman John Nelson expressed some concern that Franklin residents could be put at risk if Franklin’s service area is expanded into Greenfield.

“I pay taxes to have what we have,” he said.

BINGO!

Look for this study to be deposited into a drawer, collecting dust, just like the one in 2012.

I close with this. Explain to me how this potential government program will save taxpayers money. There aren’t that many that do.

President Trump doesn’t tweet enough

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Today former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker filled in at NewsTalk 1130 WISN for Mark Belling. In response to a caller, Walker said that during an appearance on FOX News he called for President Trump to tweet even more.

Sure enough. In June of 2017 Walker did just that. Read the article and also watch the video on The Hill.

Around that same time, Jake Novak of CNBC took the same view.

Today’s highly interesting read (02/26/19): What if Trump Signed an EO That Congress Use VA Healthcare?

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Today’s read is from bestselling author, Major Scott A. Huesing USMC (Ret), who writes:

According to Lawyers and Settlements, and online legal news source, “In 2013 the [VA] tended to 5.6 million veterans, a 32 percent increase from 2002. Increasingly, more medical negligence claims have been directed toward VA medical malpractice claims involving a wide range of mistakes, from prescribing the wrong medication to botched surgeries to failing to diagnose illnesses. Some mistakes have resulted in death.”

And yes, Huesing addresses the question in the above headline here.

 

Today’s highly interesting read (02/25/19): The Four States of the Apocalypse

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Today’s read is from Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Let us state this loud and clear in the hopes that lawmakers in state capitals across the country are paying attention: The three states that have raised their taxes the most now have the worst fiscal outlook.

Read Moore’s entire column here.