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Thursday, April 12, 2007

A moment of silence for my favorite author

link | posted by Jae at 11:52 AM | 1 comments

Steal this Blog!

Mevludin Hidanovic needs our help. He was convicted (and sentenced to 18 months in jail) for his involvement in a fight last summer during the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, North Dakota. There was a brawl, involving 20 to 30 people and a baseball bat.

Mevludin was the one who got charged for fighting with the baseball bat (the bat has since disappeared). Mevludin has maintained his innocence since the beginning. Mevludin has also voluntarily taken a lie detector test (along with a witness and his wife). The evidence against him was shaky at best, it relied on one person who said they might have seen him there. But evidence (or lack there of) aside, after the trial a juror admitted that she found him guilty because of her past experiences with Roma Bosnians.

Here are a few statements from the juror's affidavit: "I used my own experiences with ethnic groups, specifically Bosnians and/or Gypsies, to influence the jury." "I told the jury that I had personal experience with Bosnians and that they stole from my business and in the same experience lied to me regarding the theft and their conduct. Even though I had never met Mr. Hidanovic, or any of the witnesses, Mr. Hidanovic and the witnesses' race was discussed in a negative way." "I interjected into the deliberations the concept that if Mr. Hidanovic wasn't guilty of this crime he was guilty of something else."

After this was made public, the judge STILL refused to grant a new trial. The Hidanovics have lost their home, car and faith in the justice system over this ordeal.

Here is more on the story- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17974011/ http://www.in-forum.com/articles/index.cfm?id=161853┬žion=news

Here is what his wife sent me [Graeme Anfinson] after I wrote about the situation on my blog, and asked for a few more details-

"Well, basically Mevludin and I, along with our four kids, were at the fair the evening of June 24, 2006. We were playing games and watching our kids go on rides. We ran into my co-worker Annie (witness#1) spoke to her for awhile and went on our way. We also ran into out friend Nurija (witness#2) who begged us to go on a ride with him. He even paid for us.

I am not a ride person, so we found the smoothest ride out there. You just lay on your stomach (it fits three across) it lifts you up, turns you a round a few times and brings you down. So Mevludin, Nurija and I went on the ride and the kids sat on the bench and watched us. When the ride was ending Nurija's phone rang and someone told him there was a huge fight and some of our family may have been hurt. The ride operator had to line us up to our show that were on the ground and it seemed like eternity.

I got my shoes on; grabbed the kids and started running. My main and only concern at this time was Melvudin's little 12 year old brother. I knew he was there. Now the scene was chaos. People were running in every direction. I just followed Mevludin. We got the the area where the fight happened and everyone had pretty much ran away. There were groups of people standing around talking about it.

I saw no fight. I saw no injured people (perhaps they were transported somewhere). I, in essence, missed everything. We stood around for a few minutes and asked if anyone had seen our brother and no one knew. So we decided to leave. We packed up the kids and were driving home.

That is when we finally saw cop cars flying towards West Fargo. A couple of days after the fair a police officer called Mevludin's phone and asked if he was at the fair and he said yes he was there with his wife and family. They asked if he fought and he said no. Then SIX WEEKS later; we are up watching the news. They showed Mevludin's picture saying he is wanted in connection with the fair fight. We were shocked!

Everything that happened from that point on is unbelievable. I have ordered the copy of his actual trial because I want to read over it. It is just unbelievable.

Basically there was no physical evidence (no bat at the trial) and eye witness testimony of no one that was positive it was him. I am an educated person. I actually went to school to be a paralegal and I cannot believe this has happened. Mevludin has maintained his innocent and belief in our system the whole way through this. He was offered a Misdemeanor and 30 days in jail and didn't take it because he had nothing to do with this. Now he is sitting 18 months!

Our system has failed us. I have no hope. I have no one to listen and help us. Whatever you can do I appreciate. I was even happy to see your website addressing the issues at hand here.
Thanks, Chanda Hidanovic

Graeme: Mevludin did not receive a fair trial. He was convicted because of his race, not because of his actions. The Hidanovics cannot afford to appeal this case. He is going to go to prison and then be deported. Besides an appeal, I really don't know what his options are.

The only thing I can think of is public pressure. If you have a blog, please post about it. If you have a ton of people on your email list, let them know. Awareness is key. The local paper doesn't seem too concerned about the whole situation, (they haven't printed any "letters to the editors" his supporters have sent) so we have got to spread the word.

This is the email for the Cass County State's Attorney: attorney@co.cass.nd.us

Let them know the world is watching.

link | posted by Jae at 10:23 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

First - Don't vote for Norm Coleman; 2nd A bit about Giuliani

New Yorkers Remember Rudy Giuliani
By Ted Rall

Every presidential candidate has a past as a local party-machine hack. During every presidential campaign the hometown journalists and local politicians who best know their ex-local pols weigh in.

Arkansas Democrat editorial page editor Paul Greenberg, famous for coining the nickname "Slick Willie," warned America about Bill Clinton's estrangement from the truth when he ran in 1992. We chuckled at the folksy sobriquet and voted him in anyway.

"There is something inevitable about it," he commented after Clinton's perjury impeachment. "His whole career had taught him that he could get away with this stuff--in fact, that this was the secret to his success. But he left all these loose ends around, loose ends of truth, like roller skates in the living room."

Molly Ivins, the Austin-based columnist who'd watched George W. Bush's rise to prominence as governor, warned in 2000 that the man she dubbed "Shrub" would "Texanise" the nation--and that that wouldn't be good. "Our kids don't have health insurance, our air is filthy and we rank near the bottom in practically every public thing they keep score in," she wrote of her home state.

Now it's my turn, as a New Yorker, to tell you the truth about "Rudy Giuliani." (The quotes refer to the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination, a man whose image bears little resemblance to our mayor from 1993 to 2001.) I knew Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani was a mayor of mine. And Rudy Giuliani was no "Rudy Giuliani."

"America's mayor," Oprah Winfrey gushed after 9/11. Giuliani, wrote Time as it declared him its 2001 Man of the Year, "arrived at the World Trade Center just after the second plane hit, watched human beings drop from the sky and--when the south tower imploded--nearly got trapped inside his makeshift command center near the site. Then he led a battered platoon of city officials, reporters and civilians north through the blizzard of ash and smoke, and a detective jimmied open the door to a firehouse so the mayor could revive his government there."

Here in New York, 16 million eyes rolled at a myth only an out-of-towner could love. After all, one of the most boneheaded and widely criticized decisions of his mayoralty led to his brush with death on 9/11--not to mention his need for an ad hoc office in a firehouse.

After the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, Giuliani moved to build a high-tech Emergency Operations Center to coordinate local, state and federal responses to future emergencies. Despite numerous warnings by Port Authority officials and journalists--New York Times columnist Bob Herbert derided it as a "skybox bunker"--he located it on the 23rd floor of 7 World Trade Center, across a narrow street from the Twin Towers. He went there on 9/11 but never got to use it; the 47-story building burned and collapsed at 5:20 pm.
As it turned out, the 7 WTC fire may have been caused by, and certainly was worsened by, the placement of 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel to be used for the EOC in case of a blackout. "Fire Department officials warned that [the tank]...posed a hazard and was not consistent with city fire codes," reported The New York Times. "The Fire Department repeatedly warned that a tank in that position could spread fumes throughout the building if it leaked, or, if it caught fire, could produce what one Fire Department memorandum called 'disaster.'"

Giuliani's 9/11 legacy isn't bravery--it's loudness. And stupidity.

The 343 members of the FDNY who died were the iconic heroes of the day. They too recall a less-than-Churchillian mayor. "If Rudolph Giuliani was running on anything but 9/11, I would not speak out," said Sally Regenhard, mother of a fallen firefighter. "If he ran on cleaning up Times Square, getting rid of squeegee men, lowering crime--that's indisputable."

Firefighters say Giuliani ignored over a decade of requests for up-to-date radios to replace defective "handie talkies" that had failed during previous fires, including during the 1993 WTC bombing. When FDNY officials ordered firefighters to pull out on 9/11, firefighters didn't hear the "mayday" alert. He sparked more anger by calling off the search for bodies, which were scooped up with debris and dumped into a garbage landfill on Staten Island.

"He has alienated pretty much everybody in the 8,000-member fire department--by and large, we all resent him," Fire Captain Captain Michael Gala told Salon.

Giuliani's early "quality of life" initiatives--running off the windshield washers from entrances to bridges and tunnels, cracking down on aggressive subway panhandlers--were popular. But the credit for cleaning up New York really goes to the economic boom of the late '90s. Millions of Wall Street and dot-com dollars poured into city tax collection accounts, reducing poverty and allowing the hiring of more cops and sanitation workers.

By the end of his term the mayor's relationship with New York had turned sour.
"Giuliani was a frustrated and not very popular mayor on September 10, 2001," Slate editor Jacob Weisberg wrote. "Today, most New Yorkers do see him as a hero, but also as a self-sabotaging, thin-skinned bully. To put it more bluntly, we know he's a bit of a dictator."

Like other dictators Giuliani thought his police could do no wrong. "Probably until the day I die, I will always give police officers the benefit of the doubt," he said after cops shot Amadou Diallo, an unarmed Bronx man, 41 times. "We also have a vicious form of anti-police bias which leads to entertaining every doubt possible against the police, and you know, police officers are human beings also." New York City settled his family's wrongful death lawsuit for $3 million.

"The police can't get an even break here," he complained after Patrick Dorismond, an unarmed security guard, was shot to death by an undercover policeman who had attempted to entrap him. (Dorismond's last words were his angry statement that he was a law-abiding citizen, not a drug deal.) In 2003 the city paid $2.25 million to the victim's family.

Most disturbing to Americans looking forward to the end of eight years of illegitimate rule by an unelected coup leader, Giuliani tried to exploit 9/11 to remain in power at least three extra months beyond the scheduled end of his term in January 2002. He even threatened to file a lawsuit to overturn the city's term limits law and run for reelection if the Democratic and Republican primary candidates refused to let him stay in power.

They called the wannabe dictator's bluff. So should we.

link | posted by Jae at 9:10 AM | 2 comments

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