Thursday, February 25, 2010

Approaching New Snowfall Record in Garrett County

Forget the last Garrett County snowfall chart. We now are approaching 250 inches, and February is not over. I write this as a nice little blizzard with 40+ winds is going on outside. (The Anderson house is warm, thank you.)

Unfortunately for me, this is not X-C snow. The 2-3 feet we have outside has turned to near-concrete, not something fit for my skis. Now, if we can just get some snow to stay on top of that "base," we might have some more good skiing ahead of us.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Email to a North Carolina Prosecutor

After reading about the exoneration of Gregory Taylor in North Carolina -- wrongfully convicted of murder in 1993 -- I wrote this email to the prosecutor that convicted him, Colon Willoughby, Jr., of Wake County. After a North Carolina panel on innocence recommended Taylor be freed, Willoughby declared:
“I told him I’m very sorry he was convicted,” Mr. Willoughby told The Associated Press. “I wish we had had all of this evidence in 1991.”
As you can tell, such statements make me sick. Willoughby had the same information available in 1991 that he has now. He wanted a conviction, and he got it. Will he face any punishment or sanctions? Right. It is quite clear that prosecutors misrepresented the evidence that they had, so Willoughby's "apology" truly is a joke.

Anyway, here is the email I sent to him (I won't hold my breath for a reply):

Mr. Willoughby,

I see that you have attributed the wrongful conviction of Gregory Taylor to not having the correct evidence. Please. The evidence that exonerated him existed in 1991, and had you and your fellow prosecutors been interested in finding the truth, you could have done so.

I began following the exploits of North Carolina prosecutors when the Little Rascals case exploded, and I watched as your profession railroaded innocent people into prison on the most outrageous and unbelievable charges. (I am supposed to believe that an adult can put a sword up the rectum of a child and leave no marks. Amazing. Don't try this at home.)

What I have found is that prosecutors in North Carolina go by the ethic of conviction first, explanation later. Where were you when Mike Nifong was running amok in neighboring Durham, fabricating "evidence," lying to judges and to everyone else, and breaking every ethics rule that supposedly govern your profession? I never remember hearing any concerns from you, and I followed this case very closely and wrote more than 60 articles about it.

Are you going to try to reform your grand jury system so at least we have transcripts of grand jury proceedings in North Carolina, or will the grand jury continue to be your plaything, the prosecutors' toy in which you can indict a "ham sandwich" if you so choose? When Mark Gottlieb and Ben Himan lied to grand juries in Durham regarding the Duke Lacrosse Case, they could do so without any fear at all of being indicted for perjury.

So, unless prosecutors in North Carolina get serious about actually trying to find the truth and do justice instead of just getting convictions at all costs, I am not going to take any of your apologies seriously. You took 7,000 days of a man's life, and you will not be inconvenienced a whit. Your session at the Presbyterian church where you serve as an elder will not ask you anything about your integrity or whether or not you have the basic decency even to serve in that capacity. You might remember that the Apostle Paul laid down very, very strict rules about the conduct of an elder, and if in your line of work, you are not willing to go by those directives, then maybe you should resign from your position or at least from your session.

Your half-hearted "Gee, I did not have the information" apology means nothing, absolutely nothing. You will show up at your office and proceed to try to throw other people -- maybe some innocent people -- into prison as though the Taylor case never happened. It was not that the information necessary had not fallen into your lap; it is that you were not interested in finding whether or not Taylor was guilty or innocent, which the ethical rules governing prosecutors say you must do. No, you wanted your conviction, and you got it, and Taylor was deprived basically of his life.

In a very real sense, you took a man's life, but you will not be punished for it. So, please do not say justice has been done. Indeed, it will not be done until you have to spend 7,000 days in prison yourself. Obviously, that never will happen, as prosecutors are part of a protected class of people who never have to pay for wrongdoing.

You say that Nifong lost his license and his job? Wow! He knowingly tried to railroad three innocent people into prison, forced families to spend millions of dollars to defend their children against obviously-false charges, and destroyed the reputations of a number of people, all to win an election. And all he lost was his job? That is not justice; that is a slap on the wrist.

So, if the maximum penalty for a prosecutor in North Carolina who has done wrong is a slap on the wrist, how can anyone say the system is just? It is not, and the Taylor case once again shows us that North Carolina prosecutors really are a law unto themselves.

William L. Anderson

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crystal Mangum's New Day of Reckoning

It seems that the Duke Lacrosse Case just won't stop. Crystal Gail Mangum, the woman who lied about the original charges and set in motion an orgy of political correctness at Duke University and in the mainstream media, has been arrested on a variety of charges. It will be interesting to see if the horde of Duke faculty members, Durham racialists, feminists, and the Usual Suspects will rise up to defend the honor of Miss Crystal.

K.C. Johnson has a good and insightful post in his Durham-in-Wonderland blog, mentioning something that was overlooked during the case. Wendy Murphy, the lawyer and former prosecutor who seems to specialize in lying, claimed that there were 1,000 page in the case file that somehow would "prove" the original charges of rape, but that the attorneys were refusing to release the information. The unreleased pages were true, but Murphy's explanation was yet another lie.

The pages, which never were unsealed for public viewing by a judge but were known to both prosecution and defense, involved Mangum's mental health history. Nifong did not want the information released because he did not want the public to see just how unstable his "client" really was. At any rate, it looks as though the saga of Crystal Gail Mangum is drawing to a mad close. As they say at the end of the opera "Pagliacci," "La commedia e finite!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Outrages from the Police

For many years, I have written of the abuses committed by the police around the USA, but this one strikes closer to home. I live about 90 minutes from Chambersburg and just a couple miles from the Pennsylvania state line.

The story about a law-abiding citizen in Pennsylvania being charged with assault against a police officer -- which carries a penalty of 10 years in prison -- is one that should outrage anyone with a sense of decency. I urge you to read this one in its entirety, as the reporter has done what I think is a fair account of the events.

In fact, because the reporter has done such a good job (as opposed to the usual cop-worshiping fare that passes as "journalism" these days), I will encourage you to read Vicky Taylor's account and make your own judgment. I must admit that I appreciate reading such an account, in part because there are too few reporters willing to do anything but be PR agents for the local police.

For all of the "protect and serve" mantra we hear from police, in reality, the police in this country today act more like an occupying army. They are unionized, have tremendous political leverage, and have a license to kill. You tell me whether or not such people make us "safer," or place our lives in even more peril. To make matters worse, they team up with prosecutors who are all-too-happy to come up with clever ways to help fill our prisons with non-criminals.

(Thanks to Will Grigg for the story.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Stand Corrected! We Are Approaching 200 Inches!

I recently posted that we must be nearing 100 inches of snow here in Garrett County this winter. Well, it looks as though I was a bit off. According to this snowfall chart, we are nearing 200 inches of snow for the winter of 2009-2010. Yeah, and we even had a White Christmas! Don't forget that the groundhog saw his shadow so we are destine to have winter until near the end of March.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ski at Last!

After a week, the snow has compacted to a point where I can do some reasonable X-C skiing on it. (The dogs had a much tougher time of it, as paws don't make for good snowshoes.)

Now, the trails and fields near my house still were not anything like the tracks and trails at Whitegrass or Backbone Farm, but nonetheless it was good to be out again and getting my workout in the snow!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Pictures from "Snowmaggedon II"

We are on the back end of a blizzard, which added nearly a foot to our current totals, and have turned the first mile of Pocahontas Road into a pile of drifts and whiteouts. Here are some pictures that I took this morning.

#1: A view of the front of our house. Our fence has disappeared under the snow (Notice the lamp post and plant hanger to the right)



#2: Looking down Pocahontas Road




#3: The McKenzie Farm; taken from our deck




#4: Habtamu (one of my two sons) enjoys life in a snow cave!



#5: Looking to our side yard and lower woods




From what I can tell, the winter is not over yet. I don't know how many inches we have received here, but I would guess that including the pre-Thanksgiving snows, we are close to 100 inches or more. A True Garrett County Winter!

While I have no pictures of Pocahontas Road south of us, the wind has drifted piles of snow, coving the right lane altogether and creating horrendous whiteout conditions. This afternoon, we drove into three of them, and I can only say that I feel for those people who are trying to navigate it after dark!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Snowstorm is Here

We are being hit with more snow just a few days after receiving 30+ inches from Mother Nature. However, the worst of it will be to the east. I might post some new pictures, except I don't know if you will be able to tell them from the old ones!

My favorite story out of this is that while D.C. has been receiving record snowfall, a Senate committee had to postpone a hearing on...global warming. Yes, when over the past few years, D.C. had not received much snow, the pundits claimed that "global warming" was the culprit. Now that it is snowing, no doubt we soon will hear that the storms are due to "global warming." In other words, with the Greens, it always is "heads I win, tails you lose."

Update: Like Pavlov's dogs, the editors at the state-worshiping "news" magazine Time have reacted to the recent snow by declaring that, indeed, the record snowfall is the result of...global warming. So, if it does not snow in DC, that is due to global warming, and if it snows, that, too, happens because of global warming.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Big Snow: The Morning After

The sun and clear skies have returned to Garrett County (at least for the time being), and here are some pictures taken from our deck.

#1 Looking North toward Pocahontas Road



#2 Looking toward Northeast and Little Savage Mountain



#3 The McKenzie Farm behind our House



#4 Our Side Yard to our Upper Woods

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We Have Survived the Great Blizzard of 2010

We were told when we moved to Garrett County nearly three years ago that sooner or later we would have The Big One. Here, The Big One is not an earthquake but rather a blizzard, and the Great Blizzard of 2010 has come and gone and has buried us under about 30 inches or so of snow.

Rather than telling you about it (other than we have dug ourselves out of the snow and the roads are relatively clear), I am posting some pictures that will tell some of the story.

#1 Looking up Pocahontas Road (our house is on the right)



#2 As you can see, we have to dig out our cars (the dogs seem amazed)



#3 Our neighbor, Dave Williams, helps dig out our driveway



#4 Our front-yard fence almost is covered with snow



#5 Johanna is on our deck putting out food for the birds



#6 Some Garrett County scenery just up our road



#7 My son, Alex, helps dig out the Subaru

Friday, February 5, 2010

Waiting Out the Storm

It is snowing - and snowing - outside, and has been for most of the day. I suspect that before this storm has passed (sometime Saturday afternoon), we are going to see about two feet outside our place.

I do love living in mountain Maryland (our place is at about 2,600 feet, an elevation most people don't equate with this state), and I love to X-C ski in the snow. However, this storm is going to be a bit, well, inconvenient. The plow trucks are performing heroically, even if theirs is a losing cause.

We have plenty of wood, food, and time. And a Subaru.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Patrizia Ciofi Sings Monteverdi

This one is a real treat! Italian opera star Patrizia Ciofi sings Monteverdi, accompanied by the incomparable Emmanuelle Haim and a number of fine musicians playing period instruments.