Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Your Roving Reporter : Former President Carter to tour local neighborhoods

Former President Jimmy Carter will be in Shreveport on Thursday to help Community Renewal International celebrate its 20th anniversary.

"No American president, either sitting or former, has ever toured the neighborhoods. And this will be the first," said Mack McCarter, founder and coordinator of Community Renewal International. "That’s what I’m excited about."
The former president, McCarter and John Dalton, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Financial Services Roundtable’s Housing Policy Council, met in Atlanta in June 2013 to talk about Community Renewal.

"We visited with him for about 45 minutes, and it was then that we invited President Carter," McCarter said. "He was familiar with Community Renewal. And we had wonderful mutual friends by the name of Millard and Linda Fuller, who founded Habitat for Humanity. And they were the founders of the Fuller Center (of Housing for Northwest Louisiana), which is doing the same work as Habitat here."

Dalton, a Shreveport native who serves on Community Renewal’s national advisory board, met Carter in 1975 at a Naval Academy alumni function.

"He had just left the office as governor of Georgia and was running for president," Dalton said. "I had never done anything political before but I was very impressed with him and his candidacy and I supported him."
After Carter was elected president, he appointed Dalton as president of the Government National Mortgage Association. Dalton later served as chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank board.

"We’ve been friends over the years. And since I served in his administration, I’ve also been supportive of the Carter Center in (Atlanta) Georgia that he runs," Dalton said. "He’s helped people in over 80 countries with their quality of life; and we’ve stayed in touch over the years."

During his visit, Carter who served as president from 1977-81, will tour Community Renewal’s targeted neighborhoods and the Friendship Houses. He also will stop at Bossier Parish Community College; a partnership between Community Renewal and the Bossier City college created the Center for Community Renewal earlier this year. To culminate his visit, Carter will be keynote speaker at Community Renewal’s anniversary celebration in Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium.

"Carter is interested in helping people, and he recognizes how successful Community Renewal has been in terms of bringing people together and helping people to reach out and be good neighbors," Dalton said. "He recognizes the benefits of that for both the individual and the community at large."
Gloria Millender, coordinator Community Renewal’s Adult Renewal Academy, said Community Renewal’s impact is not only national but also international. "It catches on and when you talk to other people, it clicks. So when Carter saw all the the things we were doing, it clicked. We’re stirring up interest around the world."

Mike Leonard, Community Renewal associate coordinator, agrees. "When I really take a deep breath and think about it, it is amazing that a former president would be coming to our city to do anything, much less something I’m involved in," he said. "And when you think about this, this (Community Renewal idea) was something that was written down on note cards in 1994 and one guy was talking about it and now we’ve got a team of more than 30 full-time (workers) and who knows how many volunteers working together to make this community a better place."

And Dalton is looking forward to being in Shreveport again for the 20th anniversary celebration.

"It’ll be a very positive impact on Community Renewal as an organization and the city of Shreveport at large because Carter is a very positive individual who has dedicated his life to helping other people," he said.

Twitter: @sshephardLIFE

IF YOU GO

WHAT: "20 Years of Community Renewal: Rebuilding a caring world, one neighborhood at a time."

INTRODUCTION : Gilberado  Lewis  Carano , II

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

WHEN: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

WHERE: Municipal Auditorium, 705 Grand Ave. in Shreveport, Louisiana .

TICKETS: free.

TO LEARN MORE: Call (318) 425-3222.

See You there .

Your 'Roving  Reporter'

Could Mama June lose her kids?

Honey Boo Boo's  family dress up like the Kashardans Here comes Honey Boo Boo's June "Mama June" Shannon claims she hasn't had recent contact with Mark McDaniel , a man she allegedly used to date who is a registered sex offender , but photos tell a different story .

 
TMZ has posted pictures of Mama June and Mark appearing to be house hunting together in Georgia last month, which has raised questions about her children's well-being.

"I firmly expect Department of Family and Children Services to investigate whether this is still a safe home for Honey Boo Boo and her siblings," Nancy Grace told ET. As of now, Georgia's Department of Family and Children's Services cannot comment on any case including this one.

"My main concern is the safety of Honey Boo Boo and her three siblings that are still in the home," said Nancy Grace. "When I heard that he's in the home, I nearly did a back flip."

Mama June's oldest daughter Anna "Chickadee" Shannon, now 20, is speaking out, telling People that she was molested by McDaniel when she was eight years old. She says that McDaniel "would try and touch [her] and all that stuff."

This isn't the first time the family has come under fire. Mama June -- who has four daughters: Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon, Jessica "Chubbs" Shannon and Anna "Chickadee" Shannon -- was investigated by Child Protective authorities in 2012 when Honey Boo Boo was seen on Toddlers & Tiaras drinking "go-go juice" -- a blend of Mountain Dew and Red Bull -- but no charges were ever filed.

While she's facing public scrutiny for this current saga, Mama June has been prudent with her children's money, putting their earnings in a trust fund.

TLC canceled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo after the report that Mama June was spending time with McDaniel.

"TLC has cancelled the series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and ended all activities around the series, effective immediately," the cable network said in a statement. "Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children's ongoing comfort and well-being."
 
 
Mama June responded to the cancellation via Facebook post, writing, "It isn't true. I promise my kids r #1 priority over anything else and I would never put them in danger, period, over this or anything else. They r my life. This is my past. I left him 10 years ago for it and I wouldn't go back."

A Few More Stars Who Started Out beautiful, then....What Happened!!?

EDWARD FURLONG

MICKEY ROURKE

CARRIE FISHER

KATHLEEN TURNER

GOLDIE HAWN

JOHN TRAVOLTA

STEVEN TYLER

MATTHEW PERRY

KIRSTIE ALLEY

HALEY JOEL OSMENT

OZZY OSBOURNE

PAMELA  ANDERSON

MACAULAY CULKIN

Getting older is hard. Getting older gracefully is even harder.

9 Celebrities Who Aren't Aging Well (and 1 Who Came Back From the Edge)
Jack Nicholson  ........Born: 1937
 
 
Most people struggle with aging. Some do their damnedest to hold back the tides of time. But one man has said, "The hell with it. Get me a sandwich."
That man is Jack Nicholson.
 
 
Unlike other thespians his age, Nicholson has used his creases and ever-growing paunch to his advantage in movies like The Departed, The Bucket List, and About Schmidt, for which he nabbed his 12th Oscar nomination. And now, even at 76, the Easy Rider remains the coolest guy in any room.
Bruce Jenner ....Born: 1949 Once, Bruce Jenner was a world-class decathlete who dominated the 1976 Olympic games. These days, he’s better known as head of the Kardashian reality TV clan husband to Kris and father figure to Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie, Kendall, and Rob.
 
As Jenner’s fame has changed, so has his face, morphing into a disconcertingly smooth plain with an ever-tinier nose at its center. While he’s freely admitted to plastic surgery and even had it documented on Keeping Up With the Kardashians a break from the family Botox sessions might not be a bad idea.
Joan Van Ark .... Born: 1943
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to let Mother Nature have her way.
 
 
Case in point: Joan Van Ark. The New York-born actress began in bit parts on TV dramas before hitting the jackpot as Valene Ewing on ‘80s nighttime soap Knots Landing. And in her heyday, she was undeniably gorgeous curvy, blonde-haired, and blue-eyed.
But the knife has taken a toll. Multiple cosmetic procedures over many years have made Van Ark nearly unrecognizable. And by fighting the aging process, she looks older than ever.
Sean Penn .... Born: 1960
 
 
It’s tough aging under the glare of Hollywood cameras, especially when one of your first and most famous roles was an iconic teenager.

And, we’re all for looking gnarly, especially if it’s for another award-winning film.
AND, it’s possible that this is just an epically bad picture of Sean Penn.
That said, sunscreen is a good thing.
Marlon Brando .... Born: 1924 .... Died: 2004                
Despite having passed away in 2004, screen legend Marlon Brando remains the godfather of "Man, he didn’t age well," due in large part to his notorious struggles with weight. In his later years, the method actor showed up for movies like Apocalypse Now and The Island of Dr. Moreau carrying many extra pounds.
In Brando’s defense, it’s hard maintaining foxiness for 50-odd years. The Nebraskan was just 27 when his role as Stanley Kowalski in 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire rocketed him to instant fame, for both his intense performance and stunning good looks. And honestly, how can you keep that up?
Sally Kirkland ... Born: 1941 There’s something to be said about dressing appropriately for your age. Helen Mirren pulls it off with panache at 67. Meryl Streep, 63, never looks dowdy or trashy. And at 66, Susan Sarandon makes 20-somethings seem like rank amateurs.

Sally Kirkland might want to take a note. Now in her 70s, the Oscar nominee is fighting maturation every step of the way, from her outrageous outfits to her party-ready updos (pictured). We’re big fans of wild style (see: Johnson, Betsey), but see-through dresses are better left to the grandkids.
Keith Richards .... Born: 1943

Can one truly say that Keith Richards is aging badly, when it’s a miracle the Rolling Stones guitarist is alive at all?

His legendary drug abuse would have killed most other people, probably instantly. Somehow, though, "Keef’s" managed to write hits like "Satisfaction" for more than five decades, with only a few (thousand) wrinkles to show for it.
 
 
And even if you don’t find Richards’ weathered appearance particularly appealing, cut the guy some slack. We can’t all look like David Bowie. (Can you believe he's 66?)
Val Kilmer .... Born: 1959
 
 
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Val Kilmer was the go-to guy for playing handsome jerks. Whether it was Top Gun’s Iceman, Chris Knight in Real Genius, or rock icon Jim Morrison, the Julliard-trained actor was the hottie you wanted to slap, smooch, or possibly both together.

But Kilmer’s notorious temper made studios reluctant to work with him, and by the new millennium, his career began to flounder, along with his physique. Currently, he can be seen in smaller-scale productions, looking quite a bit pudgier than his Batman days.

Nick Nolte .... Born: 1941   Fun facts: Nick Nolte was once a model, not to mention People’s Sexist Man Alive in 1992, thanks to his Oscar-nominated turn in The Prince of Tides.

And while those sun-kissed good looks have long given way to his patented rough-hewn persona, we can’t help but notice the actor’s recent evolution from grizzled to Gorton’s Fisherman.

We don’t fault him there’s no one else we’d rather see as a craggy Vietnam vet, a craggy scientist, or a craggy police chief. But perhaps dialing the "weathered" back a bit - as well as the Santa beard - might not be a bad idea.
The One Who Came Back From the Edge:
 Eddie Van Halen ....Born: 1955
 
 
He was a baby-faced rock mastermind who, in his ‘70s and ‘80s prime, was considered a bona fide, Jon Bon Jovi-level heartthrob.

Alas, by the mid-00s, a one-two punch of tongue cancer and addiction got the better of Eddie Van Halen, culminating in this infamous 2006 photograph. A stint in rehab soon followed, and the Dutch axeman re-emerged toothy, toned, and looking better than he had in several years.
Today, Van Halen is on tour with his namesake band, releasing new albums like 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth, crisis averted.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oscar Pistorius was 'gun-toting', 'trigger-happy' and 'combustible' claims Reeva's mother

June Steenkamp says she was 'unmoved' by athlete's apology
Steenkamp's mother June arrives in court for the sentencing on Tuesday
Now, in an extract from June Steenkamp's book, ......

Reeva: A Mother's Story, published today in the Times Magazine, Mrs Steenkamp has described Pistorius, 27, as a "pathetic figure".

Writing about the athlete's public apology during the televised trial, she writes: "It was an extraordinary moment. You could cut the atmosphere in the courtroom with a knife: silence, but for the sound of journalists tapping on their screens. It put me in an awkward position.

"Why decide to say sorry to me in a televised trial in front of the whole world? I was unmoved by his apology. I felt if I appeared to be sorry for him at this stage of his trial on the charge of premeditated murder, it would in the eyes of others lessen the awfulness of what he had done.

"He was in the box trying to save his own skin after he had killed my daughter and I was sitting in that courtroom wanting to hear the factual truth, not to see emotions cloud the truth."
 
 
Reeva Steenkamp’s mother has claimed Oscar Pistorius would have killed someone 'sooner or later' had it not been her daughter.

June Steenkamp, 68, said the Paralympian, who was sentenced to five years in prison for culpable homicide, was "gun-toting", "trigger-happy", "jealous" and "combustible".


Ms Steenkamp told The Times her and her husband Barry, 71, are haunted by a recurring image of their daughter on the night she died, "the vision of Reeva suffering this terrible trauma".
 
 
In an extract from June Steenkamp's book, Reeva: A Mother's Story, published today in the Times Magazine, Mrs Steenkamp describes Pistorius as a "pathetic figure".

The extract focuses on the athlete's public apology during the televised trial.

"It was an extraordinary moment. You could cut the atmosphere in the courtroom with a knife: silence, but for the sound of journalists tapping on their screens. It put me in an awkward position," Ms Steenkamp wrote.

"Why decide to say sorry to me in a televised trial in front of the whole world? I was unmoved by his apology. I felt if I appeared to be sorry for him at this stage of his trial on the charge of premeditated murder, it would in the eyes of others lessen the awfulness of what he had done."

Pistorius, who the court heard has no income and no property after selling it during the trial, was driven away in a police van with barred windows after his sentencing on Tuesday. The 27-year-old was also given a suspended three-year term for a firearms offence.

He is expected to be held in the hospital section of a prison in Pretoria.

Mrs. Steenkamp's book is to be published on 6 November.
 
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Honey Boo Boo : TLC Cancels Show After June Dates Child Molester

TLC has CANCELLED "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" TMZ has learned, in the wake of our story that Mama June is dating a convicted child molester who sexually abused one of her relatives.
The decision comes one day after TMZ broke the story ... June has been secretly dating Mark McDaniel, who got out of prison in March after serving 10 years for forcing oral sex on an 8-year-old.
 

We've learned June has denied she's seeing McDaniel, despite a photo we posted showing the 2 of them at a small party in a hotel room. TLC clearly did not believe her and cancelled the show because they felt she was putting her children at risk.

TLC has shot an entire new season of episodes but will not air them. Although the show has fallen off its ratings high, we're told it's still very profitable, so TLC is taking a financial hit.

But the network is not turning its back on the kids, telling us, "Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority. TLC is faithfully committed to the children's ongoing comfort and well-being." Our sources say the network will pay for tutors and counselors for the kids.

Mama June just responded -- she continues to deny that she is dating McDaniel ...

Mama June's New man Molested Her Daughter And she Wants you to Know

The 8-year-old girl who was molested by Mama June's new guy is June's own daughter, Anna ... and Anna wanted us to tell everybody.

TMZ broke the story ... June is dating her ex, Mark McDaniel, who was released in March after serving 10 years in prison for
forcing a girl to perform oral sex on him. June has been dating McDaniel since his release -- something she denies despite photos and other evidence -- and that's why TLC cancelled "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

Sources tell TMZ ... Anna Cardwell -- who is now 20 and married with a child -- believed her mom earlier today that she was not dating the man who molested her. But we're told Anna has now received a lot more info, and is now convinced June betrayed her by seeing McDaniel again.

Anna wants it known she's the victim because it makes what her mom is doing all the more egregious. We're told Anna feels her relationship with her mom has been destroyed, and the only way June can see her granddaughter is if McDaniel is nowhere to be seen.

We're also told TLC reached out to Anna today to offer her counseling.
***************************************************

'Honey Boo Boo' Cancellation : The Evidence Is On Wheels
TLC has plenty of evidence Mama June has been dating a convicted sex offender who molested her 8-year-old relative ... including the fact she went car shopping for the con.

As we first reported ... Mama June bought gifts for Mark McDaniel, who got out of prison in March after serving 10 years. We're told last month June went shopping for a used car ... a car we're told she was getting for McDaniel.

We know she went to at least one dealership near her home and said the used car was for her daughter. But sources say she was secretly car shopping for McDaniel.

Our sources say TLC also got wind of this. The car, the photo we posted, and other "compelling evidence" led the network to cancel the show, despite June's denials.
**********************************************

Sugar Bear Shows Up At Mama June's House
Not long after word came down that their show, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," was cancelled ... Sugar Bear showed up at the home of Mama June, perhaps to offer support.

Sugar Bear and Mama June broke up last month and it was Mama June's new relationship -- with a
convicted child molester -- that lead to TLC's decision to ax the show.

Sugar Bear does have a dog in the fight ... the plan was for him to remain on the show.

********************************
Mama June Child Services and Police Alerted For Dating Child Molester
Alleged Child Molester  ... Mark McDaniel
"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" star Mama June is now in the crosshairs of children's services and local police ... TMZ has learned.

Sources connected to law enforcement tell TMZ ... children's services was alerted shortly after we broke the story that June has been secretly dating Mark McDaniel, who got out of prison in March after serving 10 years for forcing oral sex on an 8-year-old relative of June's.

We're also told the local Sheriff's Dept. has been notified.

As we first reported ... TLC
cancelled the popular show just one day after learning she was secretly dating the child molester, who is now a registered sex offender.

June continues to deny she's dating the guy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

'The Roving Reporter' : Louisiana State Senator Mary Landrieu's Campaign

Dear Friends and readers , we are adding a new feature to our blogs , entertainment and news from around the cities of Louisiana , mostly what's going on in North Louisiana in the arts, music and casinos.

You are familiar with our 'Roving Reporter , he writes food for thought on Wandering Brook and Maxy's Hideout as the 'Proud grandpoppa ... G.'

So  here's our Roving reporter with his  first post  .
BATON ROUGE Former President Bill Clinton praised U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s work for Louisiana but stressed to supporters at a rally that if they don’t vote and get others to vote for her, she could lose this race.


Landrieu’s campaign is counting on Clinton’s support adding a boost and prompting voters to head to the polls prior to the Nov. 4 election with the opening of early voting.

Having a rally is "all very nice but it won’t amount to a hill of beans if you don’t vote," Clinton told a crowd of Landrieu supporters.

The rally focused on Landrieu’s efforts to improve health care, ease the burden of paying off student loans by allowing graduates to refinance them like any other loan, bring more offshore oil production to the state and restore coastal areas after being devastated by hurricanes.

Clinton said after watching Landrieu’s actions in the Senate while he was president, he knows "She’s going to do the right thing. I saw her fight for 10 years to get revenues from offshore" oil production.

While Republicans paint her as toeing the Democratic Party line, Clinton said she is "one of the most bipartisan and one of the 10 most effective senators."

Performance-wise, "she should be winning this race 10-to-15 percent except for the situation we’re in," he said.

Political forecasters have predicted rough seas for Landrieu as she seeks re-election in a highly conservative state, even though the Democratic Party still leads in voter registration.

Both parties are pouring large sums of money into television advertising.

Republican challengers U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness are pushing Landrieu’s support of most of President Barack Obama’s policies as a reason to oust her. They’re counting on Obama’s unpopularity in the state to sway voters against her.

Landrieu is pushing her rise to powerful positions in the Senate that can help the state as a reason to keep her.

Ben Voelkel, spokesman for the National Republican Committee said "Bringing President Clinton to town only underscores how much Mary Landrieu has swung to the liberal end of the Democrat party, as her support of President Obama’s policies 97 percent of the time demonstrate. Landrieu’s rock solid support for President Obama shows that his agenda is her agenda, and Louisiana voters can see through today’s misdirection."

Among those in the crowd to hear Landrieu and Clinton was Mike Belcher, a Baton Rouge Republican who believes his party has gone "way too far out of line" in its fight to unseat Landrieu.

"Frankly, I’m not too happy with her opponents" and "she holds seats on committees we don’t want to lose," he said.






Your 'Roving Reporter'     G.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oscar Pistorius starts serving 5-year prison term


PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- Oscar Pistorius was taken away in a police van with barred windows Tuesday to start serving a five-year prison sentence for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Delivering her sentence, Judge Thokozile Masipa cited the "gross negligence" the double-amputee Olympic runner showed when he shot Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home.

Pistorius, who had cried and wretched during his trial, was unemotional as he stood to hear his sentence. His prison term begins immediately and he was led down a flight of stairs and toward holding cells before leaving the South African courthouse in the armored vehicle.

Pistorius could be released after 10 months in jail to serve the remainder under house arrest, according to legal experts.

Steenkamp's parents were also in court to hear the sentence and the dead model's mother, June, said justice had been done. A close friend of Steenkamp, Gina Myers, said: "I really don't think any of us will heal anytime soon ... there will always be questions."

Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said: "Oscar will embrace this opportunity to pay back to society." He appealed to reporters to give the family privacy after what he called "20 months of relentless public trial."

Pistorius' uncle also criticized state prosecutors for pursuing a premeditated charge against Pistorius, and said "they decided to inflict as much collateral damage as they could."

Masipa said her sentence was a balancing act between retribution and clemency.

"I am of the view that a non-custodial sentence would send a wrong message to the community," Masipa said after summarizing parts of the case and explaining why she reached her decision. "On the other hand, a long sentence would not be appropriate either as it would lack the element of mercy."

Masipa last month convicted Pistorius of culpable homicide, but acquitted him of murder after he testified he mistook Steenkamp for a nighttime intruder. She asked Pistorius to stand as she delivered the sentence Tuesday, and he faced her with his hands clasped in front of him. Pistorius was then led away by police, stopping briefly to grip the hands of his uncle and other family members as he headed to prison.

Pistorius' defense and the prosecution have 14 days to lodge any appeal against the judge's decision.

Prosecutors said they are considering whether to appeal the sentence, where Pistorius, 27, could serve less than a year in jail for killing his 29-year-old girlfriend.

Nathi Mncube, the prosecution spokesman, said his office was disappointed in the culpable homicide conviction and had not yet decided whether to appeal the sentence.

"We have not made up our minds whether we're going to appeal it or not," he said. He added that there was an "appetite" to appeal but that prosecutors would review their options.

"We are satisfied with the fact that he will be serving some time in prison," Mncube said.

Masipa had a wide range of options available to her because South Africa does not have a minimum sentence for culpable homicide, which is comparable to manslaughter. Pistorius faced up to 15 years in jail, but could also have received a completely suspended sentence or house arrest.

Marius du Toit, a legal analyst and criminal defense lawyer, said Pistorius would have to serve one-sixth of his sentence in prison - 10 months - before he could be eligible to be moved to house arrest.

"It's an appropriate sentence," du Toit said. He said a higher sentence would have been impossible because "you cannot elevate the sentence to murder."

Another analyst, law professor Kelly Phelps, said Judge Masipa had done "a remarkable job at balancing all of the competing interests that were weighing down on her."

As Pistorius left in the police van, a raucous crowd gathered around the vehicle, whistling, shouting and banging on the caged windows.

 Witchy sez ;

Let's see, hubby's in the bathroom. Bet I could get off in 2 with good behavior-wait, I look prettier crying than he does. Honey? BLAM  BLAM. This sentence is a joke and an insult.

I guess the judge could have just slapped him on the wrist as it would be about equivalent to this puny sentence. Justice wasn't served here. Nice to see we aren't the only ones with a broken criminal justice system and soft hearted lenient judges.

Isn't amazing be it our justice system or another these judges let the real criminals walk free. The prosecutors proved he knew she was there he should have gotten life.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oscar Pistorius’s disability not a factor in his sentencing, says Jacob Zuma

South African president criticises defence team for arguing Olympian should be spared jail because he is disabled.
South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, has made his first public comments on the trial of Oscar Pistorius. Photograph: Stringer/REUTERS


Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, has criticised Oscar Pistorius’s defence team for arguing the Paralympian should be spared prison because he is disabled and "has money".
 
 
Zuma’s first public comments about the most closely watched trial in the country’s post-apartheid history came as Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp, awaits sentencing on Tuesday.

Pistorius’s lawyers called expert witnesses last week to testify that South African jails are ill-equipped for disabled people because, for example, the showers lack handrails. His lawyer warned that even in a hospital section the athlete would be exposed to diseases.

"I’m not sure why that comes into the picture," Zuma told the Guardian in Pretoria. "They were taking that too far in my view. There are people who are [physically] challenged in prisons; it’s not an issue here. That brings an unfortunate thing, an added thing, because a man has money."

The president added: "I thought that was an unfortunate debate. You don’t need it, because there are people who are disabled South who are in prison. Why it is raised as if he was the first one to be convicted? I thought they were pushing it too far."
 
 
Zuma, a former inmate on Robben Island during white minority rule, said he was saddened by the fall of Pistorius "a hero in a very special way," but felt the trial had shown the strength of the judicial system. "Very fair, very open. Not just to other people but even to South Africans, because usually South Africans are not informed. This time around, in their own houses they were informed as to how things happen."

He also backed judge Thokozile Masipa, whose decision to clear the double amputee athlete of murder was widely attacked. "The fact that the judge says he’s acquitted of murder, but on culpable homicide convicted, teaches people I think something in law, that you don’t just say because the life was lost it’s a murder," he said. "It could be murder, it could be an unintended kind of thing. I think people must have learned.

"The judge was under a bit of criticism, particularly because she’s a woman and women felt that she was not sympathetic to women, but she’s applying the law. So I’m just saying it was an interesting lesson for us."
 
 
Masipa will decide in the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday whether to meet the prosecution’s demand for 10 years’ imprisonment, grant the defense’s request for house arrest and community service, or seek a middle ground. Either side could then appeal and prolong the case yet further.

The sentencing hearing last week focused scrutiny on South Africa’s ability to cope with disabled people in jails notorious for overcrowding, tuberculosis, violent gangs and allegations of torture. Zach Modise, the acting national commissioner of the department of correctional services, told the court that it deals with 128 disabled prisoners on a daily basis, some of whom are blind, paraplegic or have had limbs partially or totally amputated.

"In the continent of Africa, there are no better facilities than those that we have in our country," he said, adding that he had also visited facilities in the UK and New York’s Sing Sing maximum security jail and found South Africa compared favourably. He gave assurances that Pistorius would be held in a hospital section to cater for his specific needs.
 
 
But watchdogs have raised concerns. Ruth Hopkins, an investigative journalist at the Johannesburg-based Wits Justice Project, visited the hospital section of Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru II prison two years ago, where the athlete is likely to be sent. "I did see a number of inmates cleaning but it did seem quite rundown and understaffed," she said.

"The general problem with the department of correctional services is that the legal framework is very robust and impressive but in practice it’s a whole different ballgame. However, I don’t think Oscar Pistorius will run into a lot of problems because he has a name and connections and network and most importantly money. Most of the cases we investigate are poor people who lack money or the ability to navigate the criminal justice system."
 
 
Golden Miles Bhudu, who spent five months in jail in 2009, recalled seeing an inmate without legs forced to help himself get meals and left in the sun all day because he was unable to pay fellow prisoners. "The conditions for disabled people leave a hell of a lot to be desired," said Bhudu, now a spokesman for the South African Prisoners’ Organization for Human Rights.

"It all depends how well connected outside and how rich you are. It will be difficult if it’s you or me and no one knows us. But Oscar Pistorius is a millionaire. He will have to pay a protection fee to prisoners and some corrupt correctional officers to look after him. Some officers will run to him to offer care and protection."
Sister Amiee and brother Oscar PistoriusMeanwhile, on the eve of sentencing, Pistorius’s siblings have spoken publicly about their anguish and unwavering support for the athlete. His sister, Aimee, recalled the moment that she learned 29-year-old Steenkamp had been shot. "When I first heard what had happened obviously my initial reaction was just shock and devastation and extreme heartache," she told ITV News. "My first thoughts were that knowing my brother, … the kind of person he is … he must have thought it was an intruder, before I knew the facts."

She added: "I do not doubt my brother at all. I have the privileged position of knowing my brother his strengths, his faults as you do when you’re as close as we are. And yet knowing those things, I know that people who think maliciously are so far from the truth."

The family have been seen shaking their heads in court while listening to prosecutor Gerrie Nel. Pistorius’s brother, Carl, said: "I can’t relate to the Oscar that’s been portrayed by the prosecution. Oscar growing up, up until now, is the same person. He’s bold, he’s brave, he’s got courage, he’s got charisma, he’s exciting and fun, thoughtful and intelligent, and has been the perfect fit as a middle child between us three siblings.

"I believe Oscar without a reservation. There’s not an inkling of reservation as to what I believe Oscar says … We cannot speculate ahead of final sentencing but what I do know for certain, regardless of the outcome, the three of us will stand together and continue to stand together."

Oscar Pistorius Sentencing: Athlete Caused 'Horrific' Death, Prosecutor Says

PRETORIA, South Africa - The chief prosecutor in the Oscar Pistorius trial urged the judge on Friday to send the Olympic athlete to prison for at least 10 years, calling it the minimum acceptable term and noting the horrific nature of the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa is expected to announce Pistorius' sentence on Tuesday. She adjourned court Friday after chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel and chief defence lawyer Barry Roux presented their final arguments for sentencing, summing up the testimony in the weeklong hearing.

Masipa found Pistorius guilty last month of culpable homicide for negligently killing Steenkamp, but acquitted him of murder. Culpable homicide is comparable to manslaughter and Masipa has a wide range of options on Pistorius' sentence. She could issue a suspended jail sentence and a fine, order the 27-year-old Paralympic champion to go under house arrest, or send him to prison for up to 15 years.

Nel said to Judge Masipa: "The minimum term that society will be happy with is 10 years in prison."

It was the first time prosecutors have said what sentence they are seeking for the double-amputee runner for shooting his girlfriend.

"The deceased died in a small cubicle behind a closed door," Nel said. "Three bullets ripped through her body."

Later, Nel said "this is a serious matter. The negligence borders on intent."

Pistorius' chief defence lawyer Roux said the world-famous athlete did not act with any "deviousness" when he killed Steenkamp, and acted while feeling extremely vulnerable and anxious. Pistorius testified he mistook Steenkamp for a dangerous intruder in his home and claimed the shooting was a tragic accident.

"The accused's actions were to some extent dominated by vulnerability and anxiety," Roux said to the red-robed judge who will decide Pistorius' fate. "When you come to sentence ... you have to look at the actions with his frame of mind."

Roux said there was also "no conscious unlawfulness" from Pistorius. He described Pistorius' suffering, both emotional and financial, since the Feb. 14, 2013 shooting.

"He's lost everything," Roux said of Pistorius, once an inspirational figure who became the first amputee to run at the Olympics in 2012. "He was an icon in the eyes of South Africans."

Pistorius at one point cried as he sat, his head bowed, on a wooden bench behind his lawyer.

"He's not only broke, but he's broken. There is nothing left of this man," Roux said. He said that Pistorius "hasn't even the money to pay for legal expenses. He has nothing left."

Pistorius' lawyers have argued for a three-year sentence of occasional house arrest and community service and no jail time, saying Pistorius has suffered emotionally and financially already, and would be under duress in prison because of his disability as a double amputee.

Nel called a house arrest sentence "shockingly disproportionate" to what Pistorius did in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year when he shot four times with his 9 mm pistol through a toilet cubicle door in his home, hitting Steenkamp in the head, arm and hip.

Nel said Pistorius should never be allowed to own a firearm again after he was also convicted on another charge of unlawfully firing a gun in a public place in a restaurant incident in early 2013, weeks before Steenkamp's killing.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mel Gibson Still Trying to Sell Costa Rica Slice of Heaven

Mel Gibson's 500-acre estate in Costa Rica -- priced at $29.75 million -- includes three villas in a remote rainforest area.
You'd think actor Mel Gibson could use a little solitude, like the Costa Rica rainforest, to collect his thoughts, renew his spirit, and forget about his infamous personal problems. You'd think wrong.

For the last two years, the actor has been trying to sell his Costa Rica compound -- Playa Barrigona -- complete with three villas and 500 acres of private jungle on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Playa Barrigona is so remote, it's not shown on most maps of that northwestern part of Costa Rica, near the famous Arenal volcano.

Maybe the estate is a little too out-of-the-way. Or maybe it's too expensive -- $29.75 million. Or maybe the property has bad juju -- perhaps the result of Gibson's highly publicized slurs against minorities and battles with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

The Costa Rican Star says the hilltop estate was the infamous scene where Gibson was taped in 2012 "ranting and screaming at his house guests" -- including screenwriter Joe Eszterhas -- "and was heard making disparaging remarks about his baby mama Oksana Grigorieva."

Whatever the reason, something sure as hell is keeping buyers away from this little slice of heaven, where "olive ridley sea turtles travel thousands of miles across the Pacific each year to lay their eggs on this beach," the Christie's International Real Estate
listing says.

"It's for a unique buyer," says Danielle Austin, a Christie's spokeswoman. "It's incredibly large and remote. We're looking for that specific buyer."

Austin says the property has had "some offers, but not what we're looking for."

This is the second time that Gibson has tried to sell the property. He put it on the market in 2010 for $35 million,
The Costa Rica Star reports, and then again in 2012 for the current $29.75 million price tag.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Steenkamps Won't Pursue Civil Suit

Antoine deRas/ Getty Images
PRETORIA, South Africa -- The parents of Reeva Steenkamp will not pursue a civil claim against Oscar Pistorius for killing their daughter and will pay back cash he gave them because they don't want his money, they said Wednesday in a statement that was read out during the athlete's sentencing hearing.

Barry and June Steenkamp will pay back around $10,000 that Pistorius gave them in monthly installments for nearly two years to help with their living expenses, they said in a statement initially released through their lawyer.

Reeva Steenkamp's parents will pay back around $10,000 that Oscar Pistorius gave them in monthly installments for nearly two years to help with their living expenses.

Pistorius' chief defense lawyer, Barry Roux, later read the statement in court, and said that Pistorius gave the parents the money "unconditionally" and didn't want it back.

Pistorius, 27, was found guilty last month of negligently killing his girlfriend. He could face years in prison, although he could also receive a suspended jail term and a fine.

Revelations over payments made by the double-amputee Olympic runner to the parents of the woman he shot multiple times in his home on Feb. 14, 2013, were made earlier during the hearing. The chief prosecutor said the Steenkamps had turned down another settlement offer of $34,000 from Pistorius -- which came from the sale of his car -- because they considered it "blood money."

"When the parents were made aware of this offer, they considered it carefully but decided, for various reasons, that they did not want any payment from Mr. Pistorius," the statement from Steenkamp lawyer Dup de Bruyn said. "This is also why we were instructed to advise that no civil claim would be instituted."

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for acting negligently in Steenkamp's death when he shot her through a toilet cubicle door on that day in February 2013, but he was acquitted of murder.

The money he gave her parents was first raised in a report by a social worker testifying for the defense, which is aiming to show that Pistorius has shown remorse for what he claims was a tragic accidental killing and shouldn't be sent to prison. Prosecutors maintain Pistorius should serve prison time, citing the level of negligence he showed when he shot four times through a door with his 9 mm pistol.

Lawyer de Bruyn said he had advised the Steenkamps to remain "neutral" with regard to Pistorius' sentence, but they were "quite surprised" that Pistorius' lawyers had first raised the payments in court. Pistorius had asked the Steenkamps to keep them confidential, de Bruyn said.

The Steenkamps accepted monthly payments of $550 from Pistorius from March 2013 -- weeks after their daughter's shooting death -- until last month because they were in "financial difficulties," they said. Reeva Steenkamp, a model and budding reality TV star, had helped her parents out with money.

De Bruyn said he had also approached Pistorius' legal team over a possible civil settlement and Pistorius made the $34,000 offer after selling what he said was his last asset, a car. The parents considered it and turned it down.

The world-famous athlete has had to sell many of his assets, including the luxurious house where he killed Steenkamp, to pay his high-powered defense team during a lengthy murder trial.

Judge Thokozile Masipa will decide Pistorius' punishment and has wide latitude. The judge could send him to prison for as many as 15 years or order a fine and a suspended sentence. House arrest is also an option, and has been suggested by two social workers called by Pistorius' defense.

Arguing that he has suffered emotionally and financially already, Pistorius' lawyers say the judge should be lenient, and have called two social workers who testified that three years of house arrest and community service would be a suitable sentence.

Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel reacted incredulously to the recommendation of one of the social workers, Annette Vergeer, saying that correctional supervision and 16 hours of community service a month was a "shockingly inappropriate" sentence.
"It cannot even be considered," Nel said.

Let's hear it from our in-house expert  Mr. Humble :
No money can ever replace her but they should sue him for what he has left and donate it to her favorite charity or a cause they believe in.

Seems to me that returning the money and refusing to proceed with a civil claim may be a tactic to force the judge's hand to give Oscar an actual prison sentence instead of the house arrest/community service that the defense  is recommending. Just a thought.

This is all a tactic by the Prosecution to try to ensure he goes to jail and doesn't get house arrest. There is no other explanation for accepting payments for as long as they did then suddenly say they don't want it and are going to return it. They've been accepting the money for more than a year when they thought he would be found guilty of at least murder. Prosecutors didn't do their job and a three person panel all agreed that the prosecution didn't prove murder. Now you admit that the family of the victim has been accepting money from the defendant and have to cover up that fact fast. Now not only do they give the money "back" but they drop any civil claims? Yeah Mr. prosecutor you didn't do your job and are getting caught with your pants down yet again.

South Africa doesn't have jury trials because of its extreme racial segregation in the 20th century. People were afraid to serve on juries and they sought any means possible to exclude themselves. Juries were seen as much more emotional and perhaps biased toward one or the other races, and the practice fell out of disfavor well before it was legally banned in 1969. This judge did have two assessors who assisted her in making her decision. It does look like a lighter sentence is ahead, but I'm surprised by the tiny amounts of money being offered. I thought the cost of living was very high in SA, and inflation would be rampant, and even Pistorius's $550 monthly payments would amount to grocery money at best. I have no idea how to put a financial figure to a life, but it would seem to be more than even a million dollars in SA money...

$34,000? That's the entire sum of the hush money after killing their daughter? Unless I'm missing something here, that seems to be a rather insulting amount and makes him even more contemptible, if that's possible.


Just my humble opinion

Justin Bieber : Homecoming Party Busted Up By Cops

Justin Bieber just got back to the U.S.A. and he's already got police pounding on his front door -- for throwing one of his trademark Beverly Hills all-nighters.

According to law enforcement sources ... Bev Hills P.D. went to Bieber's condo TWICE last night to deal with noise complaints. The first visit was shortly after 11 P.M. ... but when officers arrived they didn't hear anything, so they left without knocking.

The second time -- around 12:40 A.M. -- there was noise ... we're told around 30-40 people were milling around Bieber's balcony. Cops knocked on the door, and spoke directly to Justin ... reminding him his neighbors could make a
citizen's arrest if the noise continued, but Justin was cooperative and agreed to break up the party.

As we first told you ... JB was supposed to be out of this building at the end of September, but he's been traveling around Europe for several weeks ... and hasn't found a new pad yet.

Enjoy him while you can, Beverly Hills.      HeHe

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oscar Pistorius's Ex Samantha Taylor In Court As Athlete Awaits Sentencing For Killing Of Reeva Steenkamp

As Oscar Pistorius arrived for the second day of sentencing following his conviction for killing Reeva Steenkamp, a former girlfriend of the double amputee joined the courtroom.

Samantha Taylor, who has previously claimed Pistorius cheated on her with Steenkamp was pictured in the Pretoria High Court as people took their seats.

Wearing a black open-sleeved dress, she appeared to purse her lips as Pistorius made his way past her.
Oscar Pistorius moves past former lover Samantha Taylor in the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday
Last month Pistorius was found guilty of the culpable homicide of Steenkamp.

Sentences for such a crime can range from a suspended sentence and a fine to as many as 15 years in prison.

Pistorius, once a celebrated athlete who ran in the 2012 Olympics, was charged with premeditated murder in a televised trial that transfixed many people around the world, but judge Thokozile Masipa found him not guilty of that charge.
After the verdict, Taylor, 20, told how Pistorius made her fear for her safety and worried "it could have been me."
 
 
In an interview aired with Nine’s A Current Affair, Taylor claimed Pistorius bit her and locked her in his house while he went out.
Taylor and Pistorius dated for 18 months
Taylor also gave evidence during the trial, revealing how Pistorius once fired a weapon through an open sunroof after being pulled over for speeding.
 
 
When asked why they split, she told the court: "Because he cheated on me with Reeva," the Mirror reported.