Blog Archives

This was in the NY Times this morning and it left me horrified…

This morning’s NY Times had this article which I found both disgusting and horrifying. After talking about the anti-woman proclivities of Republican candidates today, seeing what attitudes against women can turn into can be mortifying. If you can’t stomach anything as bad as the title suggests,  avoid reading it now.

Officer Held in Plot to Cook Women and Eat Them

By

The police officer referred to the woman as Victim-1, recording details like her date of birth, height, weight and bra size. He made note of certain materials, like chloroform and rope.

And then the officer, Gilberto Valle, a six-year veteran of the New York Police Department, saved the document on his computer, titling the file “Abducting and Cooking (Victim-1): A Blueprint.”

In one of the most disturbing and unusual arrests involving a police officer, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation took Officer Valle into custody on Wednesday after they uncovered several plots to kidnap, rape, cook and eat women.

“I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus,” he wrote to a co-conspirator in one electronic communication intercepted by law enforcement authorities. “Cook her over a low heat, keep her alive as long as possible.”

When the co-conspirator asked how big the officer’s oven was, Officer Valle replied, “Big enough to fit one of these girls if I folded their legs.”

Two law enforcement officials familiar with the inquiry said the officer’s estranged wife recently contacted the F.B.I. to report that Officer Valle, 28, viewed and kept disturbing items on his computer. The couple has a daughter, age 1.

The criminal complaint suggests that Officer Valle, who worked in the 26th Precinct in Manhattan and lives in Forest Hills, Queens, never followed through on any of the acts he is accused of discussing.

His lawyer, Julia L. Gatto, said the officer committed no crime. “At worst, this is someone who has sexual fantasies,” Ms. Gatto said at a hearing on Thursday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

“There is no actual crossing the line from fantasy to reality,” she added.

But a federal prosecutor, Hadassa Waxman, said Mr. Valle had communicated with three co-conspirators about his plans to commit a crime, and at one point used a police car while dressed in uniform to conduct surveillance of a woman, approaching her in “an intimidating fashion.”

Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman ordered Officer Valle to be held without bail on charges of federal kidnapping conspiracy.

The evidence consists largely of e-mails and instant messages in which Officer Valle was “discussing plans to kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook and eat body parts of a number of women,” according to the complaint, which describes two episodes in which Officer Valle discussed abducting women. In each case, it appears that the women knew the officer vaguely. And in at least one case, the officer used the National Crime Information Center to get information about a third woman.

In a search of the officer’s computer, federal investigators discovered “files pertaining to at least 100 women,” according to the complaint. Some of them were his classmates from high school, a law enforcement official said.

“The F.B.I. has identified and interviewed 10 of these women, each of whom has confirmed to the F.B.I. that Valle is known to her,” the complaint said.

A law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said investigators feared that Officer Valle might soon carry out one of his plots.

In February, Officer Valle offered to kidnap a woman on an unnamed person’s behalf for a price: “$5,000 and she is all yours,” the officer wrote to that person, according to the complaint.

Officer Valle appeared to be under the impression that the person he was communicating with intended to rape the woman, according to the complaint.

“She will be alive,” he wrote. “I think I would rather not get involved in the rape. You paid for her. She is all yours, and I don’t want to be tempted the next time I abduct a girl.”

While the complaint does not identify the woman in question, F.B.I. agents later learned that cellphone tracking devices indicated that Officer Valle had made or received calls on the block in Manhattan where the woman lived.

On July 19, Officer Valle sent an instant message to the co-conspirator, indicating that he was meeting with Victim-1 three days later, according to the complaint. The victim, who was interviewed in October by the F.B.I., said she had met the officer that day “at a restaurant for lunch,” according to the complaint. What happened during or after the lunch was not disclosed.

A dating profile, which a law enforcement official confirmed belonged to Officer Valle, suggested an engaging and gregarious young man. He wrote that he had attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens and the University of Maryland, College Park. (At the court hearing on Thursday, the officer wore a red T-shirt affiliated with the university.)

“I can find the humor in any situation,” he had written, adding that he had “an endless supply of hilarious short stories from work that can’t be made up.”

@ NY Times 2012

 

Geez… another one. Judith Crist, Film Critic, Dies at 90

 

She was one of America’s most widely read film critics for more than three decades and a provocative presence in millions of homes as a regular reviewer on the “Today” show… and she died this morning at her home in Manhattan. She was 90.

She began at The New York Herald Tribune, the first woman to be full-time critic for a major American newspaper; went to New York magazine, where she was the founding film critic; and then TV Guide, which most defined her to American readers.

Crist was considered by many to be the most popular film critic ever… but film directors often had a different opinion:

 “Inviting her to review one of your pictures is like inviting the Boston Strangler to massage your neck.” – Billy Wilder

 

Leonard Harris dies at 81…

When I told my wife that Leonard Harris had died last Sunday, she said “Who?”. I guess if you weren’t from Connecticut where you watched CBS, Channel 3, you might not have recognized Harris by name, but from 1966 to 1974 he was our television film critic, eventually reporting nationwide. Prior to that he spent eleven years writing book reviews for The Hartford Courant.

What you might recall Harris for, however, is his role as Senator Charles Palantine, the Presidential Candidate in Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver” (1976). He also appeared in a couple of other movies.

Later he wrote three novels… wrote three novels. His first, “The Masada Plan,” was called “gripping, fast-moving, expertly engineered” by the novelist Meyer Levin in The New York Times Book Review.

Although he lived in Manhattan, he died of pneumonia in his old stomping grounds in Hartford.

Obama’s Turnaround: Military Courts not Federal Courts for 9/11 co-plotters.

clipped from www.mcclatchydc.com

Official portrait of United States Attorney Ge...

Eric Holder

In an about-face on the day President Barack Obama announced his reelection bid, a U.S. official said Monday that Attorney General Eric Holder will order military trials at Guantánamo for confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged co-plotters now held there for the mass murder of thousands on Sept. 11, 2001.

Holder had sought to try the five men in civilian court in Manhattan, a move that produced an outcry from politicians and some 9/11 families who feared that the alleged al Qaeda insiders would turn the case into a forum for promoting their cause.
In announcing the change, Holder made clear that he was reversing course only because Congress had passed legislation that made it difficult to hold civilian trials in the case and that he never doubted that civilian trials would have resulted in convictions.
It was a huge about-face by Obama, a former constitutional law professor.

“I am disappointed with the decision not to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a federal court,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. ” I believe that our justice system, which is the envy of the world, is more than capable of trying high-profile terrorism and national security cases. Federal courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists. The record in military commissions pales in comparison, with only a handful of convictions, and the ground rules still in flux.”
blog it

I have to agree with Senator Leahy… it looks like Obama has once again pulled in with conservatives who were pushing for the military courts instead of standing up for his 2008 campaign promises. Boy, I wish he’d quit doing that.

Jazzman George Shearing Dies at 91…

George Shearing, the blind, British jazz composer and pianist, discoverer of Mel Torme and leader of backup quintet to Frank Sinatra, died today in Manhattan at age 91.

From the NY Times yesterday:

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his manager, Dale Sheets. Mr. Shearing had homes in Manhattan and Lee, Mass.

In 1949, just two years after Mr. Shearing immigrated to the United States, his recording of “September in the Rain” became an international hit. Its success established him as a hot property on the jazz nightclub and concert circuit. It established something else as well: the signature sound of the George Shearing Quintet, which was not quite like anything listeners had heard before — or have heard since.

His noted work, “Lullabye of Birdland” is a perennial standard.

Here’s the George Shearing Quintet playing his big hit:

So we’ve lost another musical great in 2011 and it’s just February.