The Paterno blunder up close, Giffords' goodbye video, solving suicide in northeast Minnesota, the return of Art Shanty, and stuff public radio listeners say
Should county attorneys in Minnesota carry guns in the courtroom?
Rep. Tony Cornish, a police officer himself, has filed two bills. One would increase the penalties for assaulting or causing the death of a prosecuting attorney (but not the defense attorney?). Another would authorize the county attorney to carry a gun.(4 Comments)
Smartphones, you're killing Target, apparently.
It's becoming an increasing practice that people patrol brick-and-mortar stores, check the prices, see the cheaper price online, and order it via their phone. This is reducing the stores to little more than showrooms for an online store.
Target, the Wall St. Journal reports, wants to stop it, and has sent a letter to vendors with a plea for products that can't be found online, or lower prices to compete:
"What we aren't willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display your brands," according to the letter, which was signed by Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel and Kathee Tesija, Target's executive vice president of merchandising.
Showrooming is an increasing problem for chains ranging from Best Buy Co. to Barnes & Noble Inc., at the same time that it's a boon for Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers. This year store sales overall edged up 4.1% during the holiday shopping season, while online sales jumped 15%. And while online sales represent only 8% of total sales, that is up from just 2% in 2000.
Some analysts in the story say Target won't succeed since it's using an old business model to compete with online sites that have reinvented the game.(10 Comments)
What do you suppose it was like the last time a long-time professor at Penn State died?6 Comments)
Every so often -- and too often -- a case hits the Minnesota Court of Appeals that is an example of how children are caught in the middle of custody disputes between adults. Equally often, the Court illustrates why legislators have to be precise when passing laws. Today, a case related to both.
The Court of Appeals today overturned the conviction of a woman on charges she hid her children from their father a custody dispute.
The case stems from an argument in 2010 between Tammy Fitman of Austin and the father of her two children. After an argument over the father's intention to claim the children as dependents on his taxes, Fitman did not allow the father to have custody of the children for the following weekend, though he was supposed to have custody every other weekend.
Later, Mrs. Fitman refused to allow the father custody on Easter, even though the divorce decree spelled out where the children would go on each Easter.
Today's court ruling tells the rest of the story:
The Fitmans expressed concern that M.B.'s (the father) residence was unfit for children, referencing a specific allegation that had previously been investigated and found to be without merit. The lieutenant explained that the allegation had been investigated and that the Fitmans could be charged with a crime if they did not allow M.B. visitation. The Fitmans continued to refuse. M.B. then agreed to allow the matter to go through the courts rather than to have the police physically remove the children from the home. Again, although the police and M.B. were not allowed to see or speak with the children, there is no evidence to suggest that they did not know the children were at the Fitmans' residence.
Fitman was charged with concealing minor children from a parent. She was found guilty.
In its decision today, the Court focused on the meaning of one word: "conceal."
The common definition of the word "conceal" is "[t]o hide or keep from observation, discovery, or understanding; keep secret." The American Heritage Dictionary 304 (2d ed. 1985).
The evidence does not support the conclusion that appellant concealed the children, and the state did not attempt to prove that she did conceal them. Concealing children requires actively hiding them or attempting to keep another from discovering their whereabouts. While neither M.B. nor the police saw the children at the Fitmans' house on March 12 or on April 2, there was no evidence that appellant intentionally prevented M.B. from observing them or discovering their whereabouts. The record does not suggest that the children were not at appellant's home, that appellant was hiding them, or that M.B. did not know they were there.
Moreover, two facts indicate the contrary. First, M.B. and the police came to the Fitmans' home on March 12 and on April 2 because they assumed the children were there; second, the police and M.B. discussed the possibility of forcibly removing the children from the home, which they would not have done if they had not thought the children were in the home. This evidence supports the conclusion that appellant was not concealing the children.
The Court said "conceal" in custody cases generally means parents who go into hiding with the children.6 Comments)
Maybe it's time to step back from the TV and take a deep breath.
Kyle Williams, the kid who botched San Francisco's chance to go to the Super Bowl yesterday, had a Twitter account full of death threats after the game, Mashable reports:
After the game, Williams's Twitter mentions were a list of posts denigrating his value as a person and player. Fans wished for him to "burn in hell" and kill himself. The worst came from user @javpasquel, who posted this on Sunday night:
@KyleWilliams_10. I hope you, youre wife, kids and family die, you deserve it
22 Jan 12
The tweet went viral on the network, with scores of fans retweeting it along with incredulous comments; many directed their vitriol back at Pasquel. One user looked through Pasquel's timeline to find a likely reference to his personal email account, then posted it for other fans to see.
The person behind that particular tweet claims his Twitter account was "hacked." As of this afternoon, however, it's disappeared.
If a Marine makes a plea deal to cut short a trial on charges he killed innocent people in Iraq, has he been exonerated?
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich of Meriden, Conn., led the Marine squad in 2005 that killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha after a roadside bomb exploded near a Marine convoy, killing one Marine. Wuterich had told those under his command to shoot first and ask questions later.
According to the Associated Press:
Prosecutors said he lost control after seeing the body of his friend blown apart by the bomb and led his men on a rampage in which they stormed two nearby homes, blasting their way in with gunfire and grenades. Among the dead were women, children and elderly, including a man in a wheelchair.
The most serious charges were dropped against Wuterich, leaving only a single "derelection of duty" charge.
The sergeant could have received life in prison had his trial proceeded. Instead, he'll serve three months in confinement.
After the deal, his attorney let loose on the media:
"No one denies that the events ... were tragic, most of all Frank Wuterich," defense attorney Neal Puckett told the North County Times. "But the fact of the matter is that he has now been totally exonerated of the homicide charges brought against him by the government and the media. For the last six years, he has had his name dragged through the mud. Today, we hope, is the beginning of his redemption."
Puckett's comments mirror those on a website set up to raise money for Wuterich, which claimed the charges were the result of "media bias."
Three years ago, he told his story to 60 Minutes:
Last month, the New York Times discovered many of the documents from interviews with Marines in Haditha that might've been used in the trial, in a junkyard.
(Photo: Maliya Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, whose father and other relatives had been allegedly killed in a fatal U.S. Marines raid, shows the picture of her mother Khameesa Toama Ali, age 65, who was killed in the raid. Photo by Akram Saleh/Getty Images)