Archive for January 2009

Best. Soundtrack. Ever.

January 31, 2009

I’ve been listening to this soundtrack again a lot lately.  I’ve never heard one that tells a story – especially that tracks withe movie it was created for – so well.  The story starts – more or less – here:



January 30, 2009

Via Digby (who else?), this:

New court documents reveal disturbing details of what happened to Reynaldo “Reny” Cabral, the young Orland man who became paralyzed from the neck down when he rammed his head against a wall during a schizophrenic episode in the Glenn County Jail.

The CN&R has previously reported (”Breakdown in mental-health care,” Dec. 13, 2007) how, in the morning of Jan. 6, 2007, sheriff’s officers arrested Cabral after he assaulted his girlfriend, Torrie Gonzales, at his family’s Orland home. At the time, Cabral’s brother Arturo and others told them he was ill and needed medications.

According to an amended complaint, the jail nurse, Donna Tomisch, and Jail Staff Cpl. Rosemary Carmen initially refused to receive Cabral until he’d had a psychiatric evaluation. However, a sheriff’s deputy, Brandy McDonald, told Carmen that there would be no evaluation “because inmate Cabral had tried to kill someone and that he needed to be in jail,” not sent to a mental-health facility.

Over a period of several hours, while Cabral was kept in a holding cell, various people—his brother; his mother, Rosa Cabral; his girlfriend, who didn’t want him jailed; Tony Nasr, MD, a family friend; and officials at Butte County Behavioral Health, where he’d been placed on an involuntary hold just three days before—contacted the jail to say Cabral was mentally ill.

Efforts to get him seen by health professionals were fruitless. A single call was made to Glenn County Mental Health, which punted responsibility to Dr. Robert Zadra, whose company, Sierra Family Services, was under contract to provide mental-health care at the jail. But Zadra was on vacation, and his office referred the matter back to GCMH, which in turn said it had no contract with the jail.

There was a contract, but it was with Glenn Medical Center, the local hospital. In any event, there is a “handshake agreement” between the jail and Mental Health, said Scott Gruendl, the Chico City Councilman whose day job is director of Glenn County Health Services. “If the jail requires our assistance, we’re going to provide it,” he said.

Not this time, apparently.

By early the next morning, court documents continue, Cabral began hearing voices and showing signs of mental illness. He took off his clothes, vomited, and began throwing feces, urine and vomit around his cell.

Jail staff wanted to move him into the padded “safety cell.” Lacking the help of a health-care professional, and without contacting anyone in Cabral’s family, they called in a total of four officers from the Willows Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office. Three Highway Patrol officers showed up later.

Cabral wasn’t being violent, but Deputy Paulette Blakeley testified that he was “scooping water from the toilet in his cell and rubbing it on his body, and that the water, possibly containing his own waste, was spread elsewhere in the cell.” At this point, Willows PD Officer Jason Dahl ordered Cabral to come out of the cell. When Cabral refused, saying “I’m fine,” Dahl pointed his Taser weapon at Cabral “and said he would shoot him with it if he did not do as Officer Dahl demanded.”

“Shoot me,” Cabral replied. The officers stormed the cell.

By the time it was over, Dahl had alternately demanded that Cabral come out of his cell and, when he refused, Tasered him a total of eight times, for five seconds each time, over a period of 4-1/2 minutes. “Each time, the [officers] watched … Cabral react with great pain and slide down the wall, seeking protection of the toilet,” the documents read. The Tasering stopped only when the weapon’s battery ran out of charge.

“The officers then left the cell but observed that … Cabral had reacted to the shocks by chewing on the telephone in the cell and observed that he was bleeding from the mouth.”

And so it went. The officers again stormed the cell, this time using an electric stun-gun-type shield that they applied directly to Cabral’s wet, bare skin. Cabral slid to the floor in agony. When that didn’t convince him to leave, Dahl subsequently Tasered him three more times.

Again the officers pulled back, this time to wait for the CHP to show up. Then, all seven officers went into the cell, determined to remove Cabral physically. Cabral was having none of it, continuing rather “to throw water on himself stating that he wanted to play with the water and that it was fun.” Officer Dahl then emptied a 4-ounce can of pepper spray on Cabral, covering his face, head, shoulder and back. Cabral used toilet water to try to wash it off but only got it in his eyes.

When he asked to speak with his mother, the officers said he could if he came out. He did so and was quickly handcuffed. He wasn’t allowed to make the call.

By 3:30 that morning, Cabral had finally been placed in the “safety cell.” It had “little or no light, no furnishings other than a drain in the floor, and no monitoring other than a small sliding window. … The walls had a thin coating of hard rubber.” Cabral was naked.

The rest of the story already has been told—how Cabral, hearing voices from God and still stinging from the spray, charged into the wall head-first, breaking his neck; how he lay on the floor unmoving from about 4:45 that morning until nearly 2 in the afternoon, more than nine hours; and how he told jail staff he was paralyzed and several times asked for help but was ignored.

Cabral’s civil suit names numerous defendants, from the officers at the jail to the heads of various county departments, including Gruendl. The CN&R left messages for several of the attorneys representing them, but only John Whiteside, of the Sacramento firm Angelo Kilday & Kilduff, representing the city of Willows and Officer Dahl, called back.

The firm has filed a motion to dismiss, he said, on the basis that nothing the complaint alleges to have occurred is a violation of federal or state law.

“In layman’s terms: ‘OK, so what?’” Whiteside said.

While the problem is clearly that the officers in question have somehow become morally stunted, clueless, inhuman individuals, changing that is a large task.  In the short term, it would be nice to see Barack Obama push for a total ban on Tasers.

I am so fucking angry right now.

A bit more info can be found here.

I’m done with the DH

January 29, 2009

This post is about the Democrat-Herald’s decision to print the letter from Shannon Duffy that I posted on a few days ago.  I’ve been thinking about that letter and the comments it inspired on the DH website, and I’ve decided not only to stop posting about the DH and Hering, but to stop reading the paper altogether.

This is not as ‘so what?’ as it sounds, at least not for me – I love journalism, and I value the DH’s news coverage, or at least some of it.  But I think they’ve really crossed a line with this one, and I unless I see a dramatic change in their editorial staff and decisionmaking processes, and they are public about those decisions, I’m just not going to support or pay any attention to that paper anymore.  An apology isn’t going to cut it (not that I think they’re even going to do that).

… and yes, this means I don’t have to read Hering’s excruciatingly bad editorials anymore.  I am somewhat relieved about that.  It also means I’ll miss out on Jennifer Moody’s coverage of the LCSD, which is – by far – the thing about their news coverage I’ll miss the most.  However, I just don’t have the mental energy to pay attention to a paper that prints hate speech – and then lets the commenters make it far, far worse.

Ultimate Showdown

January 28, 2009

h/t HB

[DH] They get letters….

January 28, 2009

…. like this gem:

Emulate the terrorists?

Everybody is concerned about what to do with the terrorist prisoners in Guantanamo, and I have a simple solution. Find out what the terrorists would do if these were American prisoners held by them, and do the same!

Allan Jay Silver, Albany

I see no trace of sarcasm there, which leads me to suggest Silver is serious.  That someone would suggest something so simplistic and stupid…. ah.  There are no words.

Or this gem:

“President Obama warned the Republicans that if they want to get along with the Democrats and his administration then they need to quit listening to Rush Limbaugh.” Isn’t it great we now have a President that can tell you who you can listen to on the radio.

It’s not like the president even needs the Republicans to get his agenda passed, but does this give him the right to censor them for listening to whomever they want?

Did we vote to have our freedom of speech taken away from us when we voted for change, or is this just another extreme liberal forcing his view on the rest of us?

What happens when one of the major networks disagrees with President Obama? Will he censor them also?

I think the explanation for this is pretty straightforward, actually:  The author didn’t understand that Obama was not suggesting it should be illegal to listen to Limbaugh, merely that it was not a good idea.  Not could/can’t, but should/should not.

Paranoia is a funny thing.

[Hering] …. speechless….

January 28, 2009

This is the best thing I’ve ever seen him write.  Actual facts.  A reasonable conclusion.  A moderate tone.  A grasp of history.

No, seriously, credit where it’s due.

Big 3 execs to world: F*** You

January 28, 2009

Say what?

In a telephone interview this morning, Charles Territo, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is a party to two of the lawsuits [regarding emissions and fuel efficiency standards – RW] now in federal court, said that the association had no intention of altering its strategy just because some of its members had recently received billions in public money.

Y es, that means that all the public money just given to GM and Chrysler is going to be used to prop up companies while they sue the government.  It would be funny if it were any less tragic.

Found here, via this.