Friday, June 22, 2018

Honduran Girl Crying -Tragic or #WompWomp?

A 2-year-old cries as her mother is searched near the U.S. border on June 12, 2018

The picture of a Honduran girl crying as she and her mother are detained in Texas has grabbed worldwide attention and come to symbolize the intense debate about separating children from their parents. 

Time magazine put the young girl on next week's cover, but the Border Patrol agent involved in the dramatic scene says the photo might be a little misleading. That agent said the mother and daughter were never separated and are still together. 
"We were patrolling the border. It was after 10 o'clock at night," Border Patrol agent Carlos Ruiz told CBS News' David Begnaud.
He was the first to encounter Sandra Sanchez and her daughter after they allegedly crossed the Rio Grande River into Texas illegally.
"We asked her to set the kid down in front of her, not away from her, she was right in front of her...So we can properly search the mother," Ruiz said. "So the kid immediately started crying as she set her down. I personally went up to the mother and asked her 'Are you doing OK? Is the kid OK?' and she said, 'Yes. She's tired and thirsty. It's 11 o'clock at night.'"

"They're using it to symbolize a policy and that was not the case in this picture," Ruiz said. "It took less than two minutes. As soon as the search was finished, she immediately picked the girl up, and the girl immediately stopped crying." 
Moore says Ruiz and other agents acted professionally that night. But he is happy with the cover and the response to the image.
"Oftentimes, immigration is talked about in terms of statistics, and when you put a human face and humanize an issue, you make people feel. And when you make people feel, they have compassion. And if I've done just a little bit of that, then that's OK," Moore said.
Ruiz said he and his fellow agents represent more than just the Border Patrol logo. 
"We are also fathers, we are also sons, we are also have families, and we do care, and we do our jobs, and we treat these people as humanely and as best as we possibly can," Ruiz said.
Sandra Sanchez and her daughter were arrested on June 10 and are still detained, so Sanchez has not been able to respond to any of this. According to U.S. Border Patrol, they were only in their custody for 72 hours and were then turned over to Health and Human Services. It's unclear where Sanchez and her daughter are now. 
The photo has reached the young girl's father in Honduras. He told Univision it broke his heart and that he hoped his wife and daughter's rights were respected. 
Finally the girl's went on the explain that the mother took it upon herself to travel to the United States to seek a better job and life. She paid a coyote $6,000.00 to take her across the border. She there are also numerous that she had previously been deported. 
Cedar's Take: Heart breaking or #WompWomp the story got a lot of mileage because it at least for the 24 hour news cycle fit the Democratic narrative that Trump and Republicans are heartless bastards.
The girl and her mother are from Honduras, which is an amazing country. Beautiful beaches fabulous resorts and stunning mountains. However there is, at least in the back country, massive corruption and crime. "Banditos" with "Pistolas" are everywhere once you stray of the tourist routes. I have traveled to Honduras several times and while it has a wonderful coastline its not without shocking poverty. It is after all a 3rd world country.
And it is the birthplace and former home to my sister-in-law, who now resides in Atlanta as an US Citizen. She came here 15 years ago speaking only Spanish on a work visa, in other words she's a legal immigrant.
It took Sanchez a month and $6,000.00 to travel to the Rio Grande River and cross the dangerous desert countryside and finally a river to step into the United States illegally.  . 
It took my sister-in-law a month's worth of paperwork and a $500 plane ticket.
So why do they do it? Why not go south to Brazil or Argentina countries with thriving economies? Why not enter the US legally? 
I don't have a clue do you?
Did you know that of the 2000 plus children being held because their parents tried to unsuccessfully enter the US that only 24 are from Mexico? The rest are from Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. 
Of course these are only those who got caught. 
Yesterday the cable contractor shows up at my house he's from Mexico via, California and his co-worker from Honduras in fact he knows the city where my sister-in-law is from. And he tells me he came here in January via Texas with six other men all from Honduras. They crossed the border at night waiting til just before first light to move then hiding just on the other side for another day before moving north. 
Crossing during the winter months gives a little more darkness, the long night tires the CBP Officers and they work in teams spaced a few minutes apart but taking different routes to predetermined points. 
The have what is basically slavery's underground railroad with passwords and safe houses. 
They do it for the money. Six months work here is 3 maybe 4 years of work at home. Because they travel on their own they are at great risk of capture from gangs and Mexican Police who will use them as decoys and bait for the US CBP. 
So why does Mexico allow them to travel across their country to break US laws? Because the migrant worker travel business is very lucrative.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

WCNC Charlotte's Clickbait Leader

Twitter is a mixed bag for news hungry people, in many cases it is the front line of breaking news. 

The attack on the US Consultant in Benghazi was a perfect example. My Twitter feed was filled with images and details in near real time. I knew what was happening in Benghazi long before CNN or even Hillary Clinton thanks to following a number of international journalists.

So it pains me greatly to see the idiot and fake journalists at WCNC use Twitter to clickbait followers into fake news stories with little and in most cases no substance.

Their hope is that followers will keep clicking adding to their page view count and perhaps even click on a few of their clickbait ads disguised as news. Classic examples are "Why men can't get enough of this underwear" or "You wont believe what Hillary Duff looks like now."

Today WCNC offers up yet another fine example of how the station views their follower's IQ and the station's role is reporting news in Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Crews responded to a call from Charlotte Douglas airport Tuesday night after suspicious noises came from one of the planes.
Officials did not specify what kind of noises the plane was making or what caused it to happen.
Airport officials did not release the number of passengers affected by this report.
Stick with for the latest on this developing story.
Sign up for NBC Charlotte’s 5 Things to Know newsletter and get the latest in your inbox each morning!

Yep that's it a plane made funny noises! Sadly they will probably receive an Emmy for this in-depth reporting.

If you work for this station you might as well be flipping burgers at McD's because you have about as much integrity as a Filipino dice game.

Go ahead add WCNC to your CV and point to your accomplishments as I generated clickbait news for Charlotte's ratings loser.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Charlotte City Council Members Quietly Add Personal Assistants To 2019 Budget

Charlotte City Council Members are so stressed out and over worked that they are requesting individual personal assistants to help with their voice mail and manage their email accounts.

The cost to you, the taxpayer is 3/4 of a million dollars next year.

Adding 7 staff members increases next year's budget by $733,617.00 but that's on top of the staff increase last year that doubled the support staff from 2017.

Just so out of touch:

Over the last 5 years Charlotte City GuvCo has been singularly living in a "Socialcentic" world where everything they do is driven by a social agenda.

From Tranny Potties and Same Sex Partner Benefits to Give-Away Housing.

But they are so caught up with social justice and equality that they have completely forgotten the basics running a city. Things as simple as Police and fixing pot holes!

Their are six potholes that slam, rock, jam, shake, jar and hammer my car between my driveway and @HarrisTeeter 1.5 miles away. My annual donation to Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte is north of 25k yet I only see a CMPD Officer in my neighborhood only about 3 times a year!

The median along the way to that Harris Teeter looks like crap the grass isn’t cut and trash is omnipresent except where my $1,000 a year HOA fee pays to maintain the city property.

The curb along Rea Road at Piper Station Drive
So it really grinds my gears when  Charlotte City Council tries to quietly slide under the door a 3/4 million dollar budget item for personal assistants to help them with their part time jobs!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day 2018 Brave Men

Lost on millennials and much of "Libtard" America is not just the meaning of Memorial Day, but how we got here and at what price.

The New York Times ran a piece yesterday about how the "Southerners" tried to cover up the African American origins of Memorial Day. Turning a National day of Honor into yet another "whitey done us wrong" race issue. See: The Unofficial History of Memorial Day

Perhaps main stream media needs to look within their own ranks and to the past. There they might find that the words of a real journalist, Ernie Pyle are Important:

"They never gave an inch," a general says. "They died right in their foxholes."

I heard of a high British officer who went over this battlefield just after the action was over. American boys were still lying dead in their foxholes, their rifles still grasped in firing position in their dead hands. And the veteran English soldier remarked time and again, in a sort of hushed eulogy spoken only to himself:

"Brave men. Brave men."

Dispatch from Ernie Pyle Northern Tunisia April 22, 1943 the full read is here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Harry and Meghan and a Wedding Sermon

I'm always surprised how the media spins things to drive up viewers, readers and clicks. I shouldn't be surprised but I'm old school and old habits dead slowly. I grew up on Paul Harvey, Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley, back in a time when news was reported for facts and not spun for opinion or viewer tastes.

The wedding of Harry and Meghan last Saturday became a side show about color and not love.

Meghan was reported as bi-racial, as a woman of color, as the first African American to marry into the Royal Family and on and on. There was more yapping about her skin color than the color of Kate Middleton's dress.

The New York Times even reported on the cadence of the "Black American Church" in referring to the Archbishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry. Calling him a "Black Preacher" and "Pastor".

So lets be clear "The Episcopal Church" is not a "black church" nor is it a "white church" it is an Anglican Church founded just after the end of the Revolutionary War. (Not be confused with the AME Zion Church which is headed quartered in Charlotte, North Carolina or the African Methodist Episcopal Church that is head quartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Both of which are in fact predominantly African American churches.)

Michael Curry is the head of the predominantly white Anglican church often described as Protestant, yet Catholic, aka whiskey-palians. As a member of the Episcopal community I really never considered Bishop Curry's skin color. He's been a part of the North Carolina Episcopal Church scene as long as I can remember.

So forget for a moment about the color of his skin or that of Meghan now Duchess of Sussex.  And read this sermon about love:

And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


From the Song of Solomon in the Bible: Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.

The late Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said, and I quote: "We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way."

There's power in love. Don't underestimate it. Don't even over-sentimentalize it. There's power, power in love.

If you don't believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved.

Oh there's power, power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There's a certain sense in which when you are loved, and you know it, when someone cares for you, and you know it, when you love and you show it - it actually feels right.

There is something right about it. And there's a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant - and are meant - to be lived in that love. That's why we are here.

Ultimately, the source of love is God himself: the source of all of our lives. There's an old medieval poem that says: 'Where true love is found, God himself is there.

The New Testament says it this way: "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God, and those who love are born of God and know God. Those who do not love do not know God. Why? For God is love."

There's power in love. There's power in love to help and heal when nothing else can.

There's power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.

There's power in love to show us the way to live.

Set me as a seal on your heart... a seal on your arm, for love is as strong as death.

But love is not only about a young couple. Now the power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we're all here. Two young people fell in love, and we all showed up.

But it's not just for and about a young couple, who we rejoice with. It's more than that.

Jesus of Nazareth on one occasion was asked by a lawyer to sum up the essence of the teachings of Moses, and he went back and he reached back into the Hebrew scriptures, to Deuteronomy and Leviticus, and Jesus said: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."

And then in Matthew's version, he added, he said: "On these two, love of God and love of neighbor, hang all the law, all the prophets, everything that Moses wrote, everything in the holy prophets, everything in the scriptures, everything that God has been trying to tell the world ... love God, love your neighbors, and while you're at it, love yourself."

Someone once said that Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in human history.

A movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world - and a movement mandating people to live that love, and in so doing to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself.

I'm talking about power. Real power. Power to change the world.

If you don't believe me, well, there were some old slaves in America's Antebellum South who explained the dynamic power of love and why it has the power to transform.

"They explained it this way. They sang a spiritual, even in the midst of their captivity. It's one that says 'There is a balm in Gilead...' a healing balm, something that can make things right.

"'There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.'

"And one of the stanzas actually explains why. They said: 'If you cannot preach like Peter, and you cannot pray like Paul, you just tell the love of Jesus, how he died to save us all."'

"Oh, that's the balm in Gilead! This way of love, it is the way of life. They got it. He died to save us all.

"He didn't die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He didn't... he wasn't getting anything out of it. He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life, for the good of others, for the good of the other, for the wellbeing of the world... for us.

That's what love is. Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world.

"If you don't believe me, just stop and imagine. Think and imagine a world where love is the way."

Imagine our homes and families where love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities where love is the way.

Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce where this love is the way.

Imagine this tired old world where love is the way. When love is the way - unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive.

When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again.

When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook.

When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary.

When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields, down by the riverside, to study war no more.

When love is the way, there's plenty good room - plenty good room - for all of God's children.

"Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well... like we are actually family.

When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all, and we are brothers and sisters, children of God.

My brothers and sisters, that's a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family.

And let me tell you something, old Solomon was right in the Old Testament: that's fire.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin - and with this I will sit down, we gotta get y'all married

French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was arguably one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.

Jesuit, Roman Catholic priest, scientist, a scholar, a mystic.

In some of his writings, he said, from his scientific background as well as his theological one, in some of his writings he said - as others have - that the discovery, or invention, or harnessing of fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history.

Fire to a great extent made human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to cook food and to provide sanitary ways of eating which reduced the spread of disease in its time.

Fire made it possible to heat warm environments and thereby made human migration around the world a possibility, even into colder climates.

Fire made it possible - there was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire.

The advances of fire and technology are greatly dependent on the human ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good.

Anybody get here in a car today? An automobile? Nod your heads if you did - I know there were some carriages. But those of us who came in cars, fire - the controlled, harnessed fire - made that possible.

I know that the Bible says, and I believe it, that Jesus walked on the water. But I have to tell you, I did not walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here.

Controlled fire in that plane got me here. Fire makes it possible for us to text and tweet and email and Instagram and Facebook and socially be dysfunctional with each other.

Fire makes all of that possible, and de Chardin said fire was one of the greatest discoveries in all of human history.

And he then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love - it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.

Dr King was right: we must discover love - the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world, a new world.

My brother, my sister, God love you, God bless you, and may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Why LaWana Mayfield is a Total Nut Bird

Mayfield's agenda is spewing lies and directing hate at Police Officers.

She and the Black Lives Matter crowd continue to spread the false narrative that the Police are terrorizing and murdering unarmed black youth across our nation.

So lets start with the big number:

987 that's the number of people shot and killed by law enforcement in 2017.

If you ask me that's a lot.

But only 68 of the 987 were unarmed or 6.8%

457 of the 987 were white and 223 black or 22.5%

Only 28 were under the age of 18 and only 298 under 30 so 326 or 33%

So we can interpolate that in simple terms

Of the 223 African American killed by police only 33% or 73 where really youth.

of the 73 only 6.8% where unarmed.

So in reality only 5 met the mythical standard of being:

Black Unarmed Young and Shot Dead by Police.


And we can name them all.

You can argue that my method is flawed. But the percentages don't lie, and even if you double the numbers or even triple them it is far from the false narrative that LaWana Mayfield is spewing via Social Media during Charlotte City Council meetings.

LaWana Mayfield Again Violating Charlotte City Council Code of Ethics

Cedar Posts re-tweeted LaWana Mayfield's nauseating BS back on April 30th.
"Being Black in America under #45 has created homegrown terrorist wearing blue uniforms"
adding the anarchist hash tag #AReckoningIsComing 
CP Pointed out how sad it was that she had to endure hours of boredom as a member of Charlotte's City Council and thankfully she had the outlet of twitter. 

Her March 26th tweet apparently didn't get a lot of traction until WSOC picked up on it Thursday morning.

I'm glad MSM joined that party, but what's lost on WSOC and the me too Stations WBTV and WCNC, is that Council Member Mayfield is tweeting her hate for law enforcement from the Charlotte City Council dais during a regular city council meeting on March 26th. 

What is even more revolting that she's doing this in a gallery full of CMPD Officers.

Charlotte Cuty Council has a "code of ethics" which Mayfield continues to ignore.

Mayfield's tweet at 6:28 on Monday March 26th is a new low for the fat monkey!

Can you imagine if Bill James had tweeted a comment about gays? Local media would be on it within minutes. 

This is how Charlotte media works, this is the me too method of news dissemination.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Jury Duty Avoid at All Costs

My close-up look at our justice system started with this view

and ended with this envelope.

In the end I am neither pleased nor troubled.

Living in Charlotte my entire life and never being "summoned" for jury duty I was surprised, no actually shocked when I received the letter requesting my presence. In the words of Clark Griswold "Oh Eddie, if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet I wouldn't be more surprised".

On the fifth floor of the Mecklenburg County Court House, tucked into one corner of the triangle shaped modern building is the jury assembly room. The county staff, try to help you make the best of the situation. The process of being a juror is simple, check-in, get your parking ticket stamped, and take a seat in one of the movie theater - lecture hall style seats. Wait for the brief introduction, swearing in and general rules followed by a "movie".

This past week the movie was Jumanji, which in itself is ironic because the plot is a group of strangers who are sucked into a alternative world where they must solve a puzzle while avoiding death and losing all of their three lives in order to escape.

The jury selection process begins when a judge requests 30 jurors. The jury pool staff asks that those called respond with "here" or "present" and then proceed to the lobby area. My name is the 23rd  called and I answer here. Welcome to the alternative world of criminal justice.

We line up just outside the Jury assembly room, against the cool granite walls of the fifth floor corridor. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Deputy introduces himself as "Deputy Dickason" and asks us to count off. Like nervous Marine Corps recruits it starts slowly and with his help 1, ... 2, he silently mouths the number 3, finally the chosen few get the idea, 4, 5, ..... 21 22, I say 23, and following me in quick succession 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29... Dickason waits, "where's 30?", his voice commands. Number 30 rounds the corner unaware, Dickason's eye roll and "there's always one" garners laughs and we count off again.

The deputy, long a veteran with the department gives a few basic rules and we are escorted into the court room. The Assistant District Attorney seated on the left and the Defense Attorney and the Defendant seated on the right.

Not surprising the defendant is black. What is surprising is that despite his dreadlocks he's wearing a well fitting suit and glasses. The combination gives the appearance of a mid management banker about 30 years old. My first thought is this clearly this must be some sort of mistake.

Katie Hughes the Assistant District Attorney and a Wake Forest Law School grad is young, attractive and relatively inexperienced and it shows. Having joined the DA's Office under Andrew Murray in 2016 she's one of dozens of lawyers who work the grind of misdemeanor and low priority felony cases. As part of the DA's crimes against property team her work load is intense. She has just enough experience to work this case by herself and she does so with confidence. 

Via LinkedIn

The defense attorney Thomas Blackburn may be one of the area's best. With 30 years of law behind him he is comfortable, warm and soft spoken, he's the essence of a southern gentleman that you would expect to give a passionate summation at the end and he doesn't disappoint.

The judge Karen Eday-Williams, a strikingly attractive black woman who has just been called up from the district courts to superior court with this case. She is clearly in charge and her voice booms against the courtroom walls thanks to a microphone placed directly in front of her. But she doesn't need it, as her voice is clear and every word she speaks carries a sense of authority.

Back to our Deputy Dickason officially the court's bailiff, he is the best part of the process, jaded, seen it all, and matter of fact, he takes the edge off the proceedings, calling us his "professional jury" and asking that we make him look good.

Seating the jury is a swift process, and while colorful it is just one step on the way to a verdict. The selection process begins as the court clerk calls out 12 names, and each takes a seat in the jury box at the direction of Deputy Dickason.

ADA Hughes introduces herself and outlines the case, the judge fills in the blanks and then Tom Blackburn addresses the jury. And in his words I find my possible escape. If I'm called and there are at least six jurors ahead of me, I'll politely explain that while I'm capable of thoughtful, unbiased and deliberate consideration my son is a fraud investigator with the victim's bank and I have numerous friends and family members within CMPD. Certainly I'll be excused as totally biased and unfit.

Jurors are questioned and those offering lame excuses are gently admonished by the ADA Hughes. A common tactic is to feign hearing loss, but deputy Dickason has that covered with loaner head phones, still one gentleman plays dumb putting the headphones on the wrong way and shouting answers at the ADA. Another explains he has to leave the country, and I silently beg the ADA to ask "are you is some kind of trouble?"

The questions continue, education, experience with crime, and yet some are not questioned at all and still others answer with just a simple nod of the head to affirm. Both lawyers listen intently to each juror and their answers.

Ms. Hughes then dismisses four of the jurors including those with lame excuses and the selection process begins again. I suspect she tossed those who are not focused or smart enough to pay attention. Four more members of our group sitting in the gallery are placed in the "hot seat" as Ms. Hughes calls it.

Two more jurors are excused, and with their removal, a CMPD Officer named Ericsson is called and like lightening my name also. We both take a seat in the jury box. And just as quickly the jury is dismissed for lunch, but not before the judge reminds us not to re-search or talk among ourselves about the case.

During the lunch break Ericsson and I discuss common acquaintances avoiding the topic of the case we are about to hear and idly chat with Deputy Dickason. We know a lot of the same people. After a hour break for lunch we are escorted back to the court room for the process to continue. As we walk down the corridor Officer Ericsson turns and suggests that he'll be dismissed and he assures me that I will be dismissed also.

Within minutes of returning to our hot seats, Officer Ericson is dismissed (with considerable thanks) by Tom Blackburn. I certain I'm going home next, but Blackburn glances my way and says he's satisfied, and with that I'm on the jury of 12.

One alternate also needs to be selected, so the process is repeated. But the first name called is a short Latino man who is obviously eager to serve his community and fulfill his civic duty in his new home country. But he admits that he only understands about 80 percent of the english he hears. He's dismissed by the judge before the ADA can make the request, he understands but is clearly heart broken over his dismissal.

Nine minutes later an alternate selected and "we the jury" are sworn in.

The trial begins in earnest with a video and testimony from a Food Lion assistant manager, followed by a Walmart loss prevention officer, a CMPD Detective, a CMPD Officer, a former CMPD Officer now working for the GPS Ankle bracelet monitoring company and others. There is so much circumstantial evidence that the case goes to a second day. The testimony is dull dry and endless. In total we will watch about 20 minutes of silent video, but the process of doing so will take hours.

Then there is a surprise, the defendant takes the stand early in the morning on day two. He is unintelligible, his rapid fire staccato explanation is at such volume that he is repeatedly asked to repeat himself and to back away from the microphone. Even so I understand only about 80 percent of what he is saying.

Public defender Blackburn's hope of a acquittal or hung jury has just vanished and he moves quickly to slow his client down and desperately tries to salvage the testimony.

Interesting fact, once the defendant takes the stand and offers his testimony his past criminal record can be used to discredit his testimony. A half a dozen prior convictions does not help his credibility.

After several hours of video that often does not play, which requires the jury to leave the court room while the judge debates the viability of the DVD player, the defendants testimony and cross examination the evidence is complete and its time for each lawyer to give a summation.

Blackburn's summary is short and to the point, he points to the fact that the GPS data proved his client didn't steal the credit card and therefore he didn't know the card was stolen. His summation lasts less than 3 minutes, there are no pregnant pauses or Law and Order dum-dums.

Note to public defenders if the defendant is going to invoke the “my momma” defense, momma should at least be seated in the court room. Family or lack there of weighed large on this jury and I suspect this is big on all juries.

Hughes summary is based once again on graphics and the computer system that is full quirks and fails. At one point Hughes presents a graphic with the 3 key points of law pivotal to her case. Sadly 3 seconds later and the screen is gone. The one screen that made her case went poof into power point oblivion never to return again. Its hard to say if this was an error or deliberate.

Random thought, the MeckCounty DA needs to have a group of IT/AV pros on staff. The poor ADA fumbled one PowerPoint exhibit after another. Using video surveillance evidence is great except when the ADA has no clue how to make it play. "Source not found" is the graphic I recall seeing on the computer screen in front of me most often.

Bonus suggestion to Mecklenburg County ADA if you talk with your hands don’t forget to turn off or at least put down the laser pointer before giving your long and passionate summation. The jury box looked like a dozen crazed cats fascinated by a red dot racing around the room as she gave her soliloquy.

The contrast between the two lawyers is stunning. Blackburn totally old school and Hughes struggling with technology and not connecting with the jurors who are distracted by the computer screens.

With both lawyers completing their summations we turn our attention to Judge Williams. She instructs the jury as to the point of law to consider and we are excused to the jury deliberation room.

Deputy Dickason tells us we need to select a foreman and before he can close the door, I am singled out as the chosen one. I apparently have a problem with saying no to women.

Suddenly my most disturbing nightmare has became very real. I am locked in a room with no windows, and only a single door with an armed guard for escape from a room where I am trapped inside with 9 angry women. Outnumbered, my only way out of this alternative universe is to get them all to agree!

While I sincerely appreciate my fellow jurors unanimously electing me “foreman” I didn’t expect we’d have a 2 hour discussion on intent.

Accepting the position or burden of foreman, I tell my fellow jurors that I am totally convinced the defendant is innocent. The look of shock is priceless, but I add that the hits just kept coming. Who wears a distinctive hoodie while attempting to use a stolen credit card and then posts a selfie in the same hoodie on Facebook? I end with "therefore I'm saying guilty".

On the first polling two jurors are hold outs on a guilty verdict, two otters are guility but are waffling.

The ankle monitor that cleared the defendant of breaking into the victim’s car a misdemeanor, is convicting him of possessing her credit card a felony.

In his own testimony the defendant admitted he tried to use the card. It was clear that the owner of the card had not authorized the defendant to use the card. So the point of question becomes intent.

As a whole we are confused about intent. Judge Williams has instructed us that in order to convict the ADA must prove 3 points, missing any one of the three and we must acquit.

  • the cardholder did not consent to the taking.
  • the defendant took the financial transaction card from the possession or control of another.
  • the defendant intended to use it.

  • To the First Point, the defendant did not have the card owner's consent. This was clear. The Second Point the card must be taken from the possession of the owner. While the defendant did not take the card from the victim he acted "in-concert" with someone who did. The defendant admitted he used the card that he got from his friend and it didn't work, the video evidence, GPS data, and store credit card detail proved this as well.

    But the question of intent becomes an issue. The two jurors are confused if intent is just to use the card or if he intended to use a stolen card. There is considerable concern that if he didn't know the card was stolen was he guilty given the points of law.

    Its clear we the jury are confused. We agree we need clarification on the law since we are interpreting differently. I write a note to Judge Williams, "your honor, with apologies we need clarification of the third point of law "intent" sincerely".

    Fifteen minutes later we are all back in the court room, but Judge Williams will only "repeat" her prior instructions. It doesn't help.

    Back in the jury deliberation room the debate resumes. After much heated discussion and various interpretations of the points of law I conduct the 4th polling and much to my surprise the voices sailed around the table clockwise with guilty. I ask if everyone is in agreement and answer is a overwhelming yes.

    I waste no time in signing the verdict form and delivering it to Bailiff Dickason. Who is genuinely surprised.

    No joy no satisfaction the day longing to be over.

    Within minutes we are back to the courtroom. As foreman I stand alone for the jury, it is a moment I never imagined I'd fine myself in. The words GUILTY of all charges and Yes your honor seem surreal and profound.

    The jury is excused and within minutes we are all going our separate ways.

    In a case that should have never gone to trial neither the state or the defense were brilliant. The case was weak, as was the ADA. The defense was eloquent but couldn’t control his client.

    In the end as it is with most criminal trials there are no clear winners. Judge Eady-Williams sentenced the defendant Mylieak Shawn Patterson to 8-19 months in prison, that sentence was suspended pending his successful completion of 24 months of supervised probation. 

    The defendant was convicted of a crime for which he never saw a dime, the resources of the state and county, the jurors, employees of Walmart and Food Lion, CMPD Detective and Officer cost us all thousands of dollars.

    The defendant Patterson it turns out is a career criminal a habitual felon that has been arrested more than 30 times in the last 2 years. He's only 20 and his prior arrests range from drug charges to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon to AWDW for apparently shooting at someone. 

    Not surprisingly he's been given a free pass being acquitted of most charges and given probation on everything else. This case was the state's last chance to put him behind bars at least for a few months.

    For those who know me as a law and order hard liner, and for Dickason who pointed out that he wasn't surprised I was quickly appointed foreman, I want you to know I didn't point the jury in any one direction. I simply let the conversation flow and only asked questions to keep the conversation progressing. I wouldn't hesitate to call anyone of the jurors my friend but only recall one or two of their names. Our brief several hours together forever etched in my memory. 

    And so it goes.

    CMPD is Short Handed?

    Blame whoever you like - But thanks to many factors our city of nearly 1 million found itself short on police manpower during Saturday's 3rd shift.

    Homicides routinely take a large chunk of manpower off the streets. Responding officers, supervisors, crowd control, crime scene preservation, interviewing witnesses and more. This response is necessary to push the odds of an arrest in the favor of the community. The concept of leaving no stone unturned doesn't happen without manpower.

    Yet, CMPD's ranks are so depleted that when a second homicide call came in on Saturday, resources were stretched thin. When the 3rd call came there were simply not enough officers able to respond.

    CMPD was short handed.

    Dispatch did the best they could sending calls for service to outside divisions, Officers in South responding to calls in Steelcreek. North running to Metro. But what that created was voids in the normal coverage and not enough manpower to respond to the 3rd homicide.

    Who is to blame? Raleigh for starters, CMPD won't say but the attrition rate among CMPD Officers is at an all time high and the cost to taxpayers is huge.

    Here's the issue, CMPD recruits and trains their own officers. Once they complete training they are an investment, but the life of a rookie officer isn't fun. It doesn't take much to start looking elsewhere or to discover with their training and major department experience they are highly marketable.

    Why Raleigh? They pay more 15% more on average, and then there's the cost of living which is considerably lower, traffic is less, crime rate much lower. And because the ranks of Raleigh's Police Department are growing there are more chances for advancement.

    Its not just Raleigh, DOJ, Homeland Security, and even private operations are looking for well trained officers.

    But the real blame goes to your city manager and the Charlotte City Council. Those potted plants that are more interested in spending tax player dollars on affordable housing and what happens to the Eastland Mall property to effectively address the CMPD pay issue.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2018

    LaWana Mayfield Nutbird of Another Color

    Say what you like about Charlotte City Council woman LaWana Mayfield, the people living in district 3 voted for her, yes the same people who elect Vilma Leake, which explains a lot.

    LaWana doesn't believe the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 are real. OK I get it, there are idiots among us who think the attacks where staged to change American sentiment towards Arabs.
    Her Facebook post stating "I am still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the alleged plane that opened the doors for US Citizens to loose (lose) all privacy rights (from the conspiracy theorist in me)"
    She included photos of the World Trade Center Towers and the caption: "It's Official: European Scientific Journal Concludes 9/11 Was A Controlled Demolition".
    I don't suppose I need to tell you which political party she belongs to do I?
    Cedar's Take: I flew into Greensboro around 3 yesterday saw a tweet tease from the Washington Post something to the effect of "NC council member claims 9/11 fake" and I assumed it was some backwoods imbecile from the far reaches of eastern North Carolina or someone west of Asheville.
    I should have known it was our very own LaWana Mayfield.
    Just for shits and giggles LaWana maybe you should read this account of that day. By the way I watched the second plane hit the tower it was as real as you are a freaking fat monkey.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018

    ICE Immigration Raids Quietly Grab 14 In Charlotte

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers arrested dozens across North Carolina over the weekend. While the arrests brought out protesters in Asheville and elsewhere, in Charlotte the arrests were little noted.

    Local media ignored the Charlotte arrests that ICE portrayed as the routine deportation of violent criminals. More arrests are expected this week as targeted persons are still being sought. 

    Cedar's Take: Interestingly enough none of those arrested on Saturday seem to have recent arrests in Mecklenburg County. Which seems to be somewhat contrary to ICE statements. 






    Monday, April 16, 2018

    Mecklenburg County Park and Rec - A Really Stupid Sit-Com

    Spring and baseball season is upon us and with that little league and soccer collide head on in the middle of April creating a sort of Armageddon of youth sports for any unprepared county park system.

    So in a city the size of Charlotte you would think Mecklenburg Park and Recreation would be staffed with well trained seasoned and prepared employees, not idiots.

    Welcome to a not so funny sit-com where idiocy reins supreme called Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.

    Thanks to "AJ in the QC" for filling in some of the details (@AndrewCarolinas) and giving us an idea what a mess it has become:

    Parks and Rec decided a month ago to enforce a never before enforced rule of no parking on grass at Freedom Park.

    That decision removed over 150 parking spaces from the ballfields at Freedom Park.

    Fast forward to Friday. Parks and Rec responds to the hundreds of complaints from baseball and soccer parents, as well as Freedom Park neighborhoods who were being overrun with cars parking in front of homes and people walking to the fields.

    We can now park on the grass.

    So yesterday, at 2pm, I'm leaving the ballfields. My car is the only one left in the grass. The entire tennis court paved lot by New HOPE road is completely open.

    But the park ranger has the sign blocking entry and is arguing with people stuck on East Blvd East Blvd was a parking lot from Bad Daddies to Kings/Queens.

    I get to the front and yell to the park ranger that there's now scores of parking spaces and he can let folks in. He rudely responds no and continues arguing with a motorist who wants in the park.

    Later on Saturday former candidate for Charlotte mayor Kenny Smith got into the fray:

    @KennySmithCLT Apr 14 More @MeckCounty you have to figure out a parking plan for freedom Park. The back lot is 1/4 Full and you were turning people away forcing grandparents to walk a long distance in 80° weather. Frustrations mounting. @mridenhour

    This prompted a reply from Mecklenburg County: We will pass your feedback along to @MeckParkRec and see if they can offer any insight into what was going on. Mecklenburg County

    Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour who is a rather responsive social media sort of stand up guy replied in short order: Thanks, @MeckCounty. Also looping in @DenaDiorio, as she & I spoke about this on Fri.

    Charlotte media has long lamented about budget cuts at Mecklenburg Park and Recreation.

    Sunday Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio tweeted:

    I am discussing with @MeckParkRec on Monday. Thanks for letting me know.

    Cedar's Take: Crickets from Mecklenburg County Park and Rec office, which is no surprise since they don't come to work on Monday until well past noon. Stressful weekends you know?

    But you would think, Myers Park residents pay outrageous property taxes, work hard to keep their homes and yards in top shape, and they aren't a crime burden on the city or county.

    The taxpayers around Freedom Park aren't the socially needy types, and they really ask for very little in return.

    So how about some respect from Park Rangers and maybe Park and Recreation can hire some common sense staffers and by doing so make youth sports and spring in Charlotte the joy it should be, maybe?