Monthly Archives: December 2007



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Woman’s Family Says She Went to the River to Perform a Hindu Ceremony

Anu Solanki
An undated photo released by the Solanki family shows Anu Solanki, 24, of Des Plaines, Ill. Solanki disappeared Monday after going alone to a forest preserve in Wheeling, Ill., to deliver a religious statue to the river.  (Family Photo/AP Photo)
Divers entered an Illinois river today, and a helicopter was called in to search for a woman who disappeared Monday while attempting to follow the religious orders of her Hindu priest.Anu Solanki’s car was found Monday afternoon near the Des Plaines River in the Cook County Forest Preserve District, according to district spokesman Steve Mayberry. The car door had been left open and the vehicle’s engine was running.

Solanki was last seen leaving her job at the gift shop in a Westin Hotel in Wheeling, Ill., and her husband, Dignesh Solanki, told ABC News’ Chicago affiliate WLS that she had been planning to stop by the river after a religious idol of the Hindu deity Ganesha kept at their Des Plaines home broke.

The family’s priest, citing a tradition of the religion, had instructed the family not to keep the broken statue in the house but instead to either bury it or bring it to a body of water.

The diving team and helicopter joined the search for Solanki after officers from the forest preserve and sheriff’s office spent Christmas day on foot scouring the area around Solanki’s vehicle for clues.

“The initial ground searches turned up nothing,” Mayberry said, “which is why we are there today.” Mayberry said there were no immediate signs of foul play.

But Dignesh Solanki told WLS that he believes his wife may have been the victim of a crime. After Solanki left her hotel job around 2 p.m. Monday, her husband said, she telephoned a friend to say she thought that four men were following her as she drove to the forest preserve. Five minutes later, she called the friend back to say that the men appeared to be gone. It was the last time her family and friends heard from her. Her abandoned car was found at 4:30 p.m.

The woman’s family told WLS that the woman’s cell phone and laptop were missing from the car.

Dignesh Solanki did not return a phone call from ABC News, but a man who answered the phone at the family’s house said he had left to go to the river to help search for his wife.

He told WLS today that he is leaning on his loved ones as the search for his wife in a freezing Illinois river intensifies.

“I’ve got really good support with her family and friends,” he said. “They are doing everything. I have good support and they are helping me.”




Solanki appears to be alive and well:

 Solanki expresses regret, embarrassment at prompting search for her:–Embarrassment-At-Pro/1404543

Missing woman “wanted clean break”:


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BENAZIR BHUTTO (June 21, 1953-December 27, 2007)

Pakistani former premier Benazir Bhutto looks at her supporters during her last election compaign rally in Rawalpindi. Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber Thursday, plunging the nation into one of the worst crisis in its history and raising alarm around the world.(AFP/Aamir Qureshi)

AFP Photo: Pakistani former premier Benazir Bhutto looks at her supporters during her last election compaign rally…

Elsewhere on the Web

    by Nasir Jaffry

    RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AFP) – Former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a stunning suicide attack Thursday that plunged the Muslim nation deeper into crisis and sparked alarm around the world.

    Less than two weeks before general elections, a suicide bomber pierced her security cordon to shoot her in the neck as she left a campaign rally. He then blew himself up, killing at least 20 people, police and party officials said.

    The powerful blast tore off limbs and shredded clothes. Many people ran in panic, screaming as they trampled over pieces of human flesh. Puddles of blood dotted the road.

    “There was an enormous explosion, and then I saw body parts flying through the air,” said Mirza Fahin, a professor at a local college.

    “When the dust cleared, I saw mutilated bodies lying in blood. I have never seen anything so horrible in my life — just parts of human beings, flesh, lying in the road.”

    The slaying horrified world leaders who appealed for calm and warned that extremists must not be allowed to destabilise the nuclear-armed nation before the January 8 vote.

    US President George W. Bush called it a “cowardly act” and telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf — a crucial ally in the US-led “war on terror” against Islamic extremism — to discuss the crisis.

    Unrest broke out across Pakistan as mobs of protesters torched buildings, trucks and shops, blocked roads and uprooted rail tracks. Two people were shot dead in rioting in the eastern city of Lahore and another two were killed in southern Sindh province.

    Police and paramilitary forces were put on the highest “red alert” level.

    Musharraf, who announced three days of national mourning, urged people to remain peaceful “so that the evil designs of terrorists can be defeated.”

    But the attack raises questions about whether the election can go ahead, as well as speculation that Musharraf may re-impose the emergency rule he ended earlier this month.

    Nawaz Sharif, another former premier and Bhutto’s biggest political rival, said he would boycott the election and urged Musharraf to resign to “save” the country.

    “I demand that Musharraf quit power, without delay of a single day, to save Pakistan,” he told reporters, calling for a nationwide strike.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing, but Bhutto had previously accused elements in the intelligence services of trying to kill her and said she had also received death threats from Islamic militant groups including Al-Qaeda.

    “The attacker fired and then blew himself up,” said one police official who asked not to be named.

    “She was waving to the crowd from the sunroof of her car and then there was a blast,” Bhutto spokesman Farhatullah Babar told state television.

    Bhutto, 54, became the first ever female prime minister of a Muslim nation when she took the helm in 1988 for the first of her two premierships.

    Her father, also a prime minister, was hanged by the military in 1979 after being ousted from power.

    Educated at Oxford and Harvard, Bhutto’s return here in October after eight years of self-exile brought hopes of a power-sharing deal with Musharraf.

    That optimism was quickly shattered.

    Her welcome home parade was hit in the deadliest terror attack in Pakistani history, killing 139 people, while her talks with Musharraf ended in acrimony after he declared emergency rule on November 3.

    As Bhutto’s husband Asif Zardari flew in from Dubai, sources said that her funeral was likely to take place Friday in Larkana, her home town deep in the rural south.

    There were frenzied scenes as hundreds of people mobbed her simple wooden coffin as it was borne uneasily out of the hospital to a waiting ambulance for the journey to the airport.

    It had a piece of clear plastic or glass in the lid that allowed people to see her body, wrapped in a white shroud.

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Bhutto’s party successor and Zardari by telephone to press US support for the elections to go ahead, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

    World leaders swiftly condemned what neighbour India called an “abominable act.”

    “The US strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy,” Bush told reporters.

    United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon described it as a “heinous crime,” and the UN Security Council condemned the “terrorist suicide attack” after meeting in emergency session to discuss the crisis.

    Britain called for Pakistanis to show restraint and unity.

    But unrest broke out in Karachi, Bhutto’s stronghold, where demonstrators torched scores of vehicles and blocked key roads; in Peshawar in the northwest where police used tear gas and batons to break up crowds; and in the central city of Multan.

    Some protesters fired into the air, while others shouted slogans including “Musharraf is a dog.” Violence broke out in other towns including Jacobabad in the south, where shops belonging to relatives of interim premier Mohammedmian Soomro were set alight.



     Benazir bhutto 1988.jpg
    Benazir Bhutto on a visit in Washington, D.C. in 1988

    She was Pakistan’s first Prime Minister.  She headed the Pakistan Peoples Party, a centrist-left political party in Pakistan affiliated to the Socialist International. Benazir was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having been twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was sworn in for the first time in 1988 but removed from office 20 months later under orders of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption.

    In 1993 Benazir was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari.  Benazir went into self-imposed exile in Dubai (UAE) in 1998, where she remained until she returned to Pakistan on  October 18,  2007, after reaching an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.

    She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of Sindhi descent, and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of Iranian-Kurdish descent. Her father was hanged by the military in 1979 after being ousted from power. Her two brothers were murdered. Her mother is deceased. Benazir was the last of her family line.

    After eight years in exile in Dubai and London, Benazir returned to Karachi on October 18, 2007 to prepare for the 2008 national elections, campaigning for a third term in an attempt to unify Pakistan.

    En route to a rally in Karachi on October 18, 2007, two explosions occurred shortly after Benazir had landed and left Jinnah International Airport. She was not injured but the explosions, later found to be a suicide-bomb attack, killed 136 people and injured at least 450. The dead included at least 50 of the security guards from her Pakistan Peoples Party who had formed a human chain around her truck to keep potential bombers away, as well as 6 police officers. A number of senior officials were injured. Benazir was escorted unharmed from the scene.

    Benazir later claimed that she had warned the Pakistani government that suicide bomb squads would target her upon her return to Pakistan and that the government had failed to act. This time, they not only acted, they were finally successful in taking the life of a chasismatic leader.

    Bbcnews24 bhuttokilled.jpg
    Benazir leaves her election rally, moments before the assassination.

    She was beloved and revered by many people in Pakistan, and those who heard of her death took to the streets rioting in despair and grief.

    Benazir stated she wanted a better life for the future children of Pakistan, a better life than what she and many of her generation lived through.

    We will never know what a third term of the former Prime Minister Bhutto might have wrought in her legacy, but, what is known is how she had a tremendous and enduring impact on those in her beloved Pakistan, and around the world.

    Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Rest in peace.

     Benazir Bhutto.jpg


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    By Mark Stuart Ellison

    Associated Content/The People’s Media Company

    December 25, 2007

    Another internet hoax has ended in tragedy. This one has the stench of a teenage Ku Klux Klan rally supported by a cast of “Twelve Angry Men” characters.

    On December 23, 2007, The New York Post reported that John White was convicted of manslaughter in the August 2006 shooting death of 17-year-old Daniel Cicciaro. The incident took place in an upscale neighborhood of Suffolk County, New York. White faces up to 15 years in prison.

    Mr. White, 54, is black. Ciccario was white. The killing stemmed from an internet chat room message that appeared to have come from Mr. White’s son, Aaron, now 20. The message contained a threat to rape Ciccario’s female friend. It turned out to be a hoax.

    That hoax set in motion a series of events ending in Ciccario’s death. Aaron, who was also a friend of Ciccario’s, arrived at a party on that fateful August evening. When the female friend told Ciccario about the message, Aaron was asked to leave. He did. A short time later, Ciccario and four other young white men arrived at Mr. White’s driveway shouting racial epithets. Aaron told his father that the group was going to kill him. Mr. White, a slender man, confronted the teens with a handgun. When Ciccario challenged him, the gun somehow went off, killing the 17-year-old.

    The key issue in this case involves the right of a man to defend his life and property from trespassers. But because of the racial makeup of the parties, the nearly all-white jury, and the epithets employed, it has become yet another black-white cause celebre.

    The jurors–at least most of them–apparently believed that Mr. White was reckless in approaching the young men with a gun and that he should have stayed inside until police arrived. That would probably have been prudent, but in the heat of the moment, people don’t always do the most rational thing, especially when they’re afraid of dying. What if, before the police arrived, the teens threw a brick or molotov cocktail through Mr. White’s window? Or burned a cross on his lawn? Should he have also turned the cheek then?
    It seems that the common law “Castle Doctrine” would apply here. According to this well-established principle, a person has no duty to retreat when he is being threatened on his or her property. Another well-established legal concept is that a person has a right to use deadly force when he or she is motally threatened, or has a reasonable belief that deadly force is imminent. Mr. White is a man of slight build who had five aggressive young men trespassing on his land. According to published reports, Aaron had told his father that they intended to kill him. It would, therefore, seem that Mr. White had a right to defend himself and his son.

    Perhaps he went too far. I don’t know because I wasn’t on the scene, nor was I at the trial. We’ll probably never know for sure.

    And there’s plenty of blame to go around. Ciccario could have calmly tried to confirm whether Aaron actually penned the message before going vigilante on him. The female friend could have told her parents or the police about the message instead of the hot-headed Ciccario. Then there are the four geniuses who accompanied Ciccario. Had he confronted Mr. White alone, Ciccario would have been less threatening. Under those conditions, use of a firearm would have been less likely.

    But one thing is certain: the hoaxer set this deadly process in motion. If not for the hoaxer, none of the parties would have done what they did, and Ciccario would be alive today. Why isn’t anyone in the media talking about this?

    In a previous piece, I discussed the case of Megan Meier, a 13-year-old Missouri girl driven to suicide by adults posing online as an amorous teenage boy. Because there was no applicable law, the adults were never charged with a crime.

    There may yet be hope for John White. A December 24, 2007 New York Post article indicated that Francois Larche, a white South African immigrant, was bullied by fellow jurors to convict Mr. White. According to the article, Mr. Larche was repeatedly subjected to name-calling and other forms of intimidation. There is also evidence that the trial judge put undue pressure on the jury to come up with a verdict shortly before Christmas. If these allegations are true, they are excellent grounds for appeal.

    While there is hope for John White, there is none for Megan Meier and Daniel Ciccario. They’re dead, and they’re not coming back.

    Eleven of the twelve jurors in the White case were Caucasian. The lone black juror consistently voted for conviction. In addition to Mr. Larche, a white woman had been holding out for acquittal.


    The White and Meier cases indicate the need to identify and punish senders of malicious electronic messages. People can communicate in harmful ways by more traditional means such as snail mail, but electronic communication is much faster and easier. It is also quickly disseminated around the world, posessing an impact unimaginable before the internet existed. Contrary to the old adage, words can kill. Numerous scenarios come to mind. The possibilities are endless.

    There should be a Federal law requiring a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years for anyone communicating in any medium when they know, or should know, that their message is likely to result in serious bodily injury or death, and such injury or death occurs. In the Meier case, the adults knew Megan suffered from depression and was on medication. The message in the White matter would constitute “fighting words” in any sane court. Civil libertarians will scream First Amendment bloody murder, but with proper safeguards, a law like this can pass Constitutional muster. Call it the Malicious Communications Act of 2008. Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, and Mr. McCain, are you listening?








    Rachel, a fellow blogger at Rachels Tavern, originally brought the cases of John White and Renato Hughes to my attention. I posted my thoughts on her blog on the ramifications of both of these cases, and how black citizens fare horribly when it is they who find themselves trying to defend themselves when they kill a white, regardless as to which side of the law they are on.

    These two cases(Renato Hughes and John White)  do not surprise me.

    �One thing I find striking about both cases is that in both cases black men were charged with crimes. In one case, the black man was part of the home invading group, and in the other case the black man was the home owner. The cases also bring up the issues related to self defense, gun rights, and over zealous sentencing.�

    In the first case you mentioned there was marijuana in the white man�s home. Could it be possible that this was a drug deal gone bad? [�Depending on which account you believe, the three men went to the Edmonds� home to buy or steal marijuana (and there was marijuana in the home). The Edmonds� might have been selling drugs, but they are claiming the marijuana was for medicinal use.�]

    In the case of drugs being involved, who is going to believe the word of a black man against the word of a white man?

    Per the news article:

    “On Thursday, a judge granted a defense motion for a change of venue. The defense had argued that he would not be able to get a fair trial because of extensive local media coverage and the unlikelihood that Hughes could get a jury of his peers in the county. A new location for the trial will be selected Dec. 14.

    “The sparsely populated county of 13,000 people is 91 percent white and 2 percent black.”

    I would definitely say he cannot receive a fair trial by a jury of his peers with the population 91 per cent white and 2 per cent black.


    In the second case, it still holds that in the eyes of white-run America back citizens are still not to defend themselves even when they are up against possible murder from a lynch mob/posse of whites.

    For centuries, America has said to black citizens [via Justice Taney�s court] that black citizens �have no rights that a white man was bound to respect�. That still holds true in 2007 America.

    It has long been understood that black citizens had no right whatsoever to defend themselves against murderous lynch mob whites; that mentality still exists in American society. Never mind that white America is the one that has shown the face of brutality and vicious race hatred against black America for 400 years. Anytime it comes down to blacks defending themselves from whites, in the eyes of America, in the eyes of the courts, blacks always will come out on the short end of the shitty stick in this country.

    �Initially, the prosecutor�s charged Mr. White with murder, but the grand jury subsequently reduced charges to manslaughter. Prosecutors have suggested that Mr. White should have locked his doors and called 911, rather than confronting the teenagers with a handgun.

    So what do you think?�

    Mr. White should not be charged with manslaughter or any charge. He and his son were threatened on their own property. Mr. White had the right to use deadly force. These humans came to HIS home intent on attacking his son. What was he supposed to do? Fall down, beg and plead, �No, no, Massa, please, don�t hurt me or my son?�

    Black people are sick and damn tired of white racists who still think they can run rough-shod over black citizens; white racists who still think that the WRITTEN law still states that it is still okay to murder and destroy black citizens, on their own property, such as Mr. White.

    Maybe not on paper anymore, but, most definitely still in the minds of racists white supremacists. Obviously 400 years of white rage/hatred against black America always shows its true colors when altercations between black and white occur.

    Whites still think they can destroy black life and get off with minimal sentencing.

    What the hell, they can, and often do.

    Black people can be rest assured that THEY will be painted as the horrible criminals no matter what led up to the incidents, especially in the case of Mr. White.

    �One day a black teenager goes to a party where alcohol is served and a white teenage girl asks him to leave because she feels �uncomfortable� around him. He complies and goes home, but the girl then tells a male teenager at the party that the black teen had threatened her once before in an Internet chat room. The white teen then calls the black teen on his cell phone and yells at him using the N-word. Unsatisfied, the white teen then gathers four other white teenagers and they drive to the black teen�s house.�

    On the “words” of this fake website by Longo, on the word of the white girl, these �humans� went to the young man�s house, forming a lynch mob bent on attacking him. Ah, yes, the supposed inviolable �purity� of the defenseless, virginal, pure white woman. Her word is always right and true. Many a black man AND woman have lost their lives behind the words of white women.

    And white males.

    Just as white men could lie on many an innocent black man or woman, and be believed, this case is no different.

    On her word……alone.

    On his word……alone.

    Martin could have reacted differently to this supposed threat of rape from Aaron; she could have alerted her parents/the cops to check out this site instead of telling her boyfriend, but, unfortunately she did not. Did Martin really believe that her boyfriend was not going to go wild and not confront and attack Aaron when she told him of the “rape” threats on the fake myspace site?:

    “Those phony messages were soon spotted by the girl. One of them, which threatened rape, particularly disturbed her. She then told Cicciaro what she thought Aaron was planning to do.”

    But, she did not tell an adult/parent, and Ciccario is dead.

    And Longo, the liar who created this hell that led to Ciccario’s death.

    He is the one who is guilty and responsible for Cicciaro’s death.

    HE set into motion the chain of events that led up to this murderous altercation.

    The blame for Cicciaro’s death lays squarely at his feet, and no one else’s.

    Because of Longo, a black father was put into the crucial situation of defending his son against a murderous lynch-mob gang of bloodthirsty whites.

    Oh, I forgot.

    The word of a white person is inviolable.

    The word of a white person reigns supreme over the word of a black person in the good ‘ol USA.

    On my blog, I was viciously attacked by male commentors who considered Joe Horn as justified in killing the two alleged burglars who were OUTSIDE his home. Many of the commentors insulted me and railed against the Texas law on the use of �reasonable force� and �deadly force�, showing their utter, complete ignorance of laws that protect BOTH them and the alleged burglars, and that you use deadly force as a last resort, when you are under attack.

    I asked one angry commentor if the tables were turned and if Horn was a black man, and the two thieves were UNARMED white males, would he still be calling Mr. Black Horn a �hero�?

    I have yet to receive an answer from this commentor.

    In America�s eyes, ALL black citizens (male AND female) are murderous brutes who should be put down by any means necessary. Which is why this little known draconian California law is being applied against the black car driver, and which is why the black homeowner is now charged with manslaughter for defending himself against a pack of savage mob depraved, sadistic whites who still think it is open season on black citizens.


    Who am I kidding?

    America STILL thinks that way towards her black citizens.

    She is still intent on wiping us off the face of the earth in whatever way, shape and form she can do it in.

    Especially when she gets the law, no matter how racistly it is applied, on her side.


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    IN REMEMBRANCE, 12-23-07


    The first woman and the first black American to represent traditionally conservative Indianapolis in the U.S. Congress, Julia Carson was a bit of an anomoly in Washington. She did not graduate from college, wore big hats and liked to call friends “baby”. Yet in 1996 Rep. Carson won her seat in part by insisting, despite criticism for being soft on crime, that her budget proposals would focus more on computors for education than on pricey anticrime measures. Rep. Carson championed children’s issues, women’s rights and efforts to reduce homelessness. An early opponent of the war in Iraq, Rep. Carson warned in 2003 before the invasion, “We should have learned by the Vietnam War, but we did not.” Rep. Carson, who had lung cancer, was 69.   [Ann]



    U.S. Rep. Julia Carson
    By Michael Conroy, AP

    Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich., pauses at the flag-covered casket of Rep. Julia Carson after delivering remarks during funeral services in Indianapolis, Saturday.
    By Michael Conroy, AP
    Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich., pauses at the flag-covered casket of Rep. Julia Carson after delivering remarks during funeral services in Indianapolis, Saturday.

    December 22, 2007
    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Rep. Julia Carson was remembered at her funeral Saturday as a woman who rose from poverty to the halls of Congress and fought tirelessly for the poor.

    The 2,200-seat Eastern Star Church was nearly full with those who wanted to honor the six-term Democratic congresswoman, who died of cancer Dec. 15 at age 69.

    ‘BACK WITH A VENGEANCE’: Ind. lawmaker says she has terminal cancer

    Congressional representatives, senators, Gov. Mitch Daniels and Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan all said Carson, the daughter of an unwed teenager mother who worked as a housekeeper, never forgot where she came from.

    “She was a simple woman. She was a servant of the poor,” Farrakhan said.

    Television and radio host Tavis Smiley said Carson’s “definition of love was this: Everybody is worthy.”

    Carson, who was first elected to Congress in 1996, was the first woman and the first black person to represent Indianapolis in Congress.

    Former Sen. Birch Bayh said Carson dedicated her life to serving others.

    Bayh joked that she would likely be greeted in heaven and appointed to sing in a heavenly choir 24 hours a day — but would quickly organize choir members and fight for better working hours.

    “There’ll never be another Julia Carson,” he said. “I think the old man upstairs broke the mold when he made Julia Carson.”

    Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.



    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, December 14, 2007; Page B07

    Ted Corbitt, 88, a distance runner who introduced ultramarathon races to the United States and was a quiet, inspirational force in his sport for decades, died Dec. 12 at a Houston hospital. He had prostate and colon cancer and died of respiratory failure.Mr. Corbitt, who lived in New York, competed in the marathon in the 1952 Olympic Games but made his greatest mark by organizing running groups, pioneering the ultramarathon and developing accurate methods of measuring long-distance races.

    Ted Corbitt, who was in the 1952 Olympics, often ran as many as 200 miles a week.

    Ted Corbitt, who was in the 1952 Olympics, often ran as many as 200 miles a week. (By Don Bray — National Distance Running Hall Of Fame)
    As one of the few elite African American distance runners of his time, Mr. Corbitt encountered discrimination on the track and off, but he forged ahead with a stoic determination that earned the respect of generations of runners. While supporting himself as a physical therapist, he spent much of his time in training, often running as many as 200 miles a week.He worked behind the scenes with many running groups, including the New York City Marathon. After helping design the course for the inaugural New York marathon in 1970, Mr. Corbitt, then 51, finished fifth in the race. His time of 2 hours, 44 minutes and 15 seconds was seven minutes faster than his mark in the Olympics 18 years earlier.”He’s sort of the grandfather of our sport,” Bill Rodgers, a four-time winner of the New York and Boston marathons, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “He kicked off the modern running boom in America.”

    In 1959, Mr. Corbitt organized the country’s first ultramarathon, a 30-mile race through New York and its suburbs that pushed beyond the marathon’s 26-mile, 385-yard limit. (Similar races had been run in Europe since Victorian times.)

    Mr. Corbitt won that 1959 race and went on to compete in 50- and 100-mile runs, as well as grueling events in which he ran for 24 hours without stopping. During his career, he competed in 199 marathon or ultramarathon races. The New York Times called him “the patron saint of the ultramarathon in America.”

    Although he was not a coach and seldom appeared in the media, Mr. Corbitt helped popularize his sport as president of the Road Runners Club of America, which he helped found in 1957, and the New York Road Runners Club. In the 1960s, he was at the forefront of the important but tedious task of accurately measuring the distances of running routes. He helped develop a technique that employed a calibrated bicycle wheel, with a counter that recorded each revolution of the wheel.

    “Long-distance runners have to be very strange people,” Mr. Corbitt once said of his lonely passion. “You have to really want to do it. You don’t have to win or beat someone, you just have to get through the thing. That’s the sense of victory. The sense of self-worth.”

    Mr. Corbitt was born in Dunbarton, S.C., on Jan. 31, 1919 — the same date as another trailblazing African American athlete, Jackie Robinson. Mr. Corbitt grew up running on his family’s farm and ran two miles to school. One of his early heroes was Ellison Myers “Tarzan” Brown, a Narragansett Indian who twice won the Boston Marathon and participated in the 1936 Olympics.

    Mr. Corbitt was a track star at the University of Cincinnati, from which he graduated. Because of his race, he was sometimes not allowed to compete in meets in the South and Midwest. He began to take his lunches with him — usually a butter and jelly sandwich — so he wouldn’t hold up the rest of the team while trying to find a restaurant that would serve him.

    During his Army service in World War II, Mr. Corbitt drank the one and only beer he had in his life. He received a master’s degree in physical therapy at New York University in 1950. He spent many years as chief physical therapist at the International Center for the Disabled in New York and also taught physical therapy at Columbia University and NYU.

    He often ran to his office from his home, sometimes completing the 31-mile circuit around the island of Manhattan on the way. He estimated that he had been stopped more than 200 times by the police, who were not accustomed to seeing a black man running through the streets of New York.

    Mr. Corbitt lamented his poor showing in the 1952 Olympics, when he finished 44th in the marathon, but he went on to hold the U.S. records for the 25-, 40- and 50-mile runs.

    He did a great deal of study on nutrition for runners — he gave up pork and beef in the 1960s — and maintained a weight of 130 pounds on his 5-foot-7 frame.

    In the 1970s, Mr. Corbitt developed asthma, which forced him to limit his running. He then turned to walking and could complete a marathon in less than six hours. As recently as 2003, he completed an ultramarathon by walking 68 miles in 24 hours.

    He was a member of the inaugural class of the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, N.Y., in 1988 and was inducted into the American Ultrarunning Hall of Fame in April 2006.

    His wife of 42 years, Ruth Butler Corbitt, died in 1989. Survivors include a son, Gary Corbitt of Jacksonville, Fla.



    — Brian Sean Griffith, a former bodyguard to figure skater Tonya Harding who admitted a role in the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan during Olympics tryouts, has died. He was 40.Griffith died Wednesday of what his doctor reported as natural causes, according to the Washington County medical examiner’s office. The specific cause of death is expected to be listed when the doctor files a death certificate, which could take two weeks, the medical examiner’s office said.Formerly Shawn Eckardt, Griffith had changed his name since the attack in an attempt to put it behind him.

    Griffith, of Beaverton, was Harding’s bodyguard when the Portland-born skater competed for a spot on the U.S. Olympic figure skating team in 1994.

    That January, an assailant clubbed Kerrigan in the knee, forcing her out of the competition. The International Committee of the U.S. Figure Skating Association granted Kerrigan a spot anyway, and she recovered in time to win a silver medal at the Olympics.

    Days after the attack, Griffith confessed, detailing a plan that he and Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, had hatched. The investigation also eventually netted convictions of Shane Stant, the actual attacker, and Stant’s uncle, Derrick Smith, who drove the getaway car.

    Griffith was sentenced to 18 months in prison for racketeering but was released four months early, in September 1995.

    He started a computer business, Applied Information Systems Inc., in 2001, but state records show it was dissolved in 2005. He was also sentenced to three years’ probation for misdemeanor assault in 2001.

    Family members refused Friday to comment on Griffith’s life before or since the infamous attack.

    “Shawn Eckardt died a long time ago,” his brother, Mike Skinner, told The Oregonian. “There is no other person than Brian Griffith.”

    Harding has always said she didn’t know of the plan. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder an investigation and was banned from U.S. Figure Skating Association competitions.



    December 14, 2007
    Press Contact: Nathaniel Frank, Senior Research Fellow, The Palm Center, University of California, Santa Barbara, 805-893-5664,

    SANTA BARBARA, CA, December 13, 2007 – Allan Bérubé, who died Tuesday from complications related to stomach ulcers, stumbled onto the “secret world of gay soldiers” in 1979. But he left their world irrevocably changed, as he did the larger universe of gay and community activism which his scholarly spirit indelibly touched. This week, historians and other colleagues and friends of Bérubé, who was 61, remembered not only his pioneering work on gay culture, but his passionate dedication to the many communities and causes he joined since first coming to progressive politics as an opponent of the Vietnam War.

    Bérubé’s 1990 book, Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two recounted the personal experiences of the previously invisible gay GIs from that war, and also brought to light the formative influence of military life on both gay culture and the wider American society. It showed how the medical profession joined forces with the military to establish an image of homosexuals as mentally ill non-conformists who were a threat to the military and to society.

    The project was born when a neighbor in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district handed him a stack of hundreds of letters written by gay GIs that his friend had discovered in a dumpster. “Reading those letters,” wrote Bérubé ten years later, “changed my life. It made me want to know more about both lesbian and gay GIs in World War II, so I set out to uncover and make public their hidden stories.”

    Bérubé was active in the gay liberation movement starting in the late 1960s and inhabited several experimental worlds of queer and artistic collective living. In 1978, he helped found the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. He took a slide show on the road that depicted women living as men, and soon after, began to research the history of gays in the military.

    The successful result was Coming Out Under Fire, which, together with Randy Shilts’ 1993 book, Conduct Unbecoming, became the twin foundational pillars of scholarship on the quiet struggles of gays and lesbians to serve their country with honor. The book won a Lambda Literary Award and helped raise Bérubé’s visibility as a scholar. In 1996, he earned a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and then received a Rockefeller Residency Fellowship in the Humanities from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY. There, he was working on research about gay union men in the 1930s and 1940s. He traveled widely to present his work, and published in many magazines, newspapers and academic volumes, including Mother Jones, The Advocate and Gay Community News.

    The book, which was cited on the Congressional floor during the dramatic 1993 hearings on the military’s gay ban, was adapted into a documentary in 1994 by Arthur Dong. Based on newsreels, military film footage, photos and interviews, the film, which won a Peabody Award, followed nine gay and lesbian veterans of World War II. Today, Dong recalled his close collaboration with Bérubé on the film. “Allan’s patience and sly humor were almost angelic,” he said, “along with his knowing smile whenever our production team finally ‘got’ yet another intricate point he was trying to make. I hear his chuckles now and can only be sure that he’s so gratified to be forever a part of the history that he so passionately documented.”

    Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center at University of California, Santa Barbara, which studies gays in the military, said the book was instrumental in launching scholarly investigations of gay and lesbian military service. He recalled Bérubé’s commitment to careful research in the challenging context of independent scholarship. “Bérubé’s brave and deeply respectful scholarship stands out among the most meticulously researched, thoughtfully argued and eloquently expressed in the field,” said Belkin. “He wrote his first book without any university sponsorship or financial support, taking day jobs to pay the bills.”

    John D’Emilio, professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and another early champion and practitioner of gay studies when such topics were still marginalized, remembered Bérubé’s “great pride in his role as a community historian,” who beamed at having written a book that “made a difference in the world” despite being authored by a college dropout.

    Bérubé spent his last years living in Liberty, NY, a slowly re-emerging Catskills resort town of 4,000, where he operated a bed and breakfast and an antiques store, and served as trustee and community-development coordinator of the village. The inn, “Carrier House,” gave discounts to writers, and Bérubé frequently sent his guests on a stroll through his twelve-acre “Carrier Grove” nearby, where they would find peace and inspiration in woods, orchards and a stream running through it.

    Lisa Duggan, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University and an author of several books on sexuality and queer culture, knew Bérubé for three decades, and described him as the “heart and soul of the early lesbian and gay community history movement.” She said news of his death came as a “terrible shock and loss” and that his “truly democratic mode of intellectual activism” would be deeply missed.

    Bérubé is survived by his partner, John Nelson, his mother and three sisters.

    The Palm Center will co-sponsor a forum this spring at CUNY’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in New York City in honor of Allan Bérubé.


    The Palm Center, formerly the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, is a research institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Center uses rigorous social science to inform public discussions of controversial social issues, enabling policy outcomes to be informed more by evidence than by emotion. Its data-driven approach is premised on the notion that the public makes wise choices on social issues when high-quality information is available. For more information, visit



    December 22, 2007

    Jack Linkletter, who followed in his broadcasting icon father Art’s footsteps in the 1950s and became the host of TV shows such as Hootenanny and special events such as the Miss Universe pageant, died at 70.At 15, he began doing an interview show for CBS Radio, which was soon followed by an hour-long program featuring records and stunts called Teen Time.Linkletter was an English major at the University of Southern California in 1958 when he began hosting the NBC-TV prime-time summer-replacement quiz show Haggis Baggis.

    A year later, he was hosting On the Go, a daytime human-interest show in which he and a camera crew visited various locales for behind-the-scenes stories.

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    Monday, November 26th by Robert Loblaw

    Tabbaa v. Chertoff, 06-0119 (2nd Cir., Nov. 26, 2007)In an interesting civil liberties decision, the Second Circuit has upheld a Homeland Security decision to treat citizens as suspected terrorists based solely on their attendance at a religious conference.Over the Christmas holiday last year, more than 13,000 Muslims from across North America traveled to the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto Canada. The three-day conference involved “religious and cultural activities, musical performances, a series of prominent Islamic speakers, and communal prayer three times a day.” But the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection believed that something more sinister was taking place, as intelligence indicated that the RIS conference would also serve as a meeting place for terrorists.

    Based on this intelligence, the CBP decided to use enhanced screening measures for individuals who crossed the border to attend the RIS. As a result, the plaintiffs – all Muslim citizens with no criminal record or individual connection to terrorism – each spent four to six hours being detained, questioned, fingerprinted, and photographed on their way back from the RIS conference. They sued, alleging that the government’s decision to subject them to the same sort of border search as suspected terrorists violated the First and Fourth Amendments, as well as various federal statutes. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, and the Second Circuit affirms.

    Regarding the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment claim, the Second explains that border agents may conduct routine searches and questioning at the border. Although the plaintiffs argued that their experience could not possibly have been “routine” since they were singled out for terrorist-level treatment, the Court disagrees, noting that each individual aspect of the plaintiffs’ experience has been upheld as routine. Although the Second leaves open the possibility that the cumulative effect of being detained and searched and fingerprinted and questioned and photographed during a single border crossing may in some cases amount to more than a routine search, the Court sees no reason to reach that conclusion on these facts. Judge Straub writes,

    While plaintiffs were undoubtedly made uncomfortable and angry by the searches, and they may understandably have felt stigmatized, their personal privacy was not invaded in the same way as it would have been had they been subject to a body cavity or strip search, or involuntary x-ray.

    Accordingly, the Court sees no Fourth Amendment problem with the border detentions and searches. 

    As for the plaintiffs’ First Amendment argument, the Second agrees that the government’s actions significantly burdened the plaintiffs’ associational and religious rights. But the Court concludes that the government has a compelling interest in preventing terrorism, and that there is no way the government could have achieved this interest in a less restrictive manner. Thus, the Court concludes that the CBP’s policy survives First Amendment scrutiny.

    (Hat-tip to Decision of the Day, for this post)

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    Melbourne, Australia
    December 23, 2007

    Fans at Australia’s first Test against India could be banned from the Melbourne Cricket Ground for life if they are found to be involved in racial taunting of players and other fans, Cricket Australia (CA) said on Sunday.

    Anyone caught doing so by undercover surveillance officers would be ejected from the ground and face further action, a CA spokesperson told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper.

    “Our message to any mindless people who are thinking of going down that path is we won’t tolerate that sort of thing,” CA spokesperson Peter Young told the newspaper.

    “We will find anyone who does it, they will be ejected from the ground and they face life bans from ever re-entering the ground.”

    Police will also be checking for any offensive or racist slogans on banners while patrons will be encouraged to report any behaviour to groundstaff or the police.

    The players’ behaviour will also be monitored.

    Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds was the subject of racial abuse on their tour of India earlier this year.

    The first match of the four-Test series between Australia and India begins at the MCG on December 26. – Reuters

    (Article courtsey of the Mail & Guardian – Online)

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