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Hurricane Gustav Track

Hurricane Gustav Track: To Become Category 3 for New Orleans?
New Orleans is considering evacuations after forecasters predicted Tropical Storm Gustav will return to a hurricane and enter the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as a major storm by the weekend.

Tropical Storm Gustav continues to churn off the coast of Haiti, being downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm on Wednesday.

Hurricane forecasters were predicting on Tuesday that Gustav would skirt the western coast of Cuba and enter the Gulf of Mexico as a powerful Category 3 hurricane with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour by Sunday

Commercial Brokerage Corp's Ed Kennedy said Tuesday: "There's the possibility of a Category 3 to Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf on Sunday. There's major change in the track just since yesterday, and I'm sure there's going to be more, but that's what has everyone's attention right now. If we get a major hurricane in the Gulf there's going to be a lot more short-covering."

Officials in Louisiana have asked residents to start preparing for a possible hit from Gustav this weekend, saying they should buy plenty of food and water, enough for 4-5 days, and whatever they or their pet may need.

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Lesbian Activist Del Martin Dies At 87

World-renowned lesbian activist Dorothy L. (Del) Martin died Wednesday at UCSF Hospice in San Francisco.

An eloquent organizer for civil rights, civil liberties and human dignity, Del Martin created and helped shape the modern LGBT and feminist movements. She was a woman of extraordinary courage, persistence, intelligence, humor and fundamental decency who refused to be silenced by fear and never stopped fighting for equality.

Her last public political act, on June 16, 2008, was to marry Phyllis Lyon, her partner of 55 years. They were the first couple to wed in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court recognized that marriage for same-sex couples is a fundamental right in a case brought by plaintiffs including Martin and Lyon.

A broken arm two weeks ago exacerbated Martin's existing health problems, said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Martin is survived by her spouse, Lyon; daughter Kendra Mon, son-in-law Eugene Lane, granddaughter Lorraine Mon, grandson Kevin Mon, sister-in-law Patricia Lyon and a vast, loving and grateful LGBT family.

Born in San Francisco on May 5, 1921, Dorothy L. Taliaferro, or Del, as she would come to be known, was salutatorian of the first graduating class of George Washington High School and went on to study journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

At 19, after transferring to San Francisco State College, she married James Martin and two years later gave birth to their daughter Kendra. The marriage ended in divorce.

Del Martin met the love of her life, Lyon, in Seattle in 1950 when they worked for the same publication company. They became lovers in 1952 and formalized their partnership on Valentine's Day in 1953 when they moved in together in San Francisco. In 1955, they bought the small home that has been theirs ever since.

In what would prove to be an act that would change history, Martin, Lyon and six other lesbians co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco in 1955. DOB, which was named after an obscure book of lesbian love poetry, initially was organized to provide secret mutual support and social activities. It became the first public and political lesbian rights organization in the United States, laying a foundation for the women's and lesbian and gay liberation movements that flowered in the early 1970s and continue today.

Del Martin used her writing and speaking talents to challenge misconceptions about gender and sexuality.

"We were fighting the church, the couch and the courts," she often remembered years later, naming the array of social and cultural forces early activists confronted when homosexuals were treated as immoral, mentally ill, and illegal. As the first President of DOB, she penned stirring calls to arms.

"Nothing was ever accomplished by hiding in a dark corner. Why not discard the hermitage for the heritage that awaits any red-blooded American woman who dares to claim it?" She was the second editor (after Lyon) of DOB's groundbreaking monthly magazine, The Ladder, from 1960 to 1962 and ushered in a new decade of political engagement and media visibility for the nascent gay rights movement.

The Ladder grew from a mimeographed newsletter in 1956 to an internationally recognized magazine with thousands of subscribers by 1970, and thousands more readers who copied its contents or circulated it among friends and coworkers. Martin's many contributions to The Ladder ranged from short stories to editorials to missives: one of the most famous is "If That's All There Is," a searing condemnation of sexism in the gay rights movement written in 1970.

Due to Martin's influence, The Ladder provided one of the few media outlets confronting misogyny in the decade before the rebirth of women's liberation.

In 1964, Martin was part of a group that founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual in order to lobby city lawmakers more effectively to reduce police harassment and modify the sex laws that criminalized homosexual behavior. In later years, Martin was also a founding member of the Lesbian Mother's Union, the San Francisco Women's Centers and the Bay Area Women's Coalition, among other organizations.

As an early member of the National Organization for Women Del Martin worked to counter homophobia within the women's movement. She and Lyon were the first lesbians to insist on joining with a couples' membership rate, and Martin was the first out lesbian on NOW's Board of Directors. Their efforts helped to insure the inclusion of lesbian rights on NOW's agenda in the early 1970s.

"Lesbian/Woman," the book they co-authored in 1972, is one of Martin and Lyon's landmark accomplishments. The book described lesbian lives in a positive, knowledgeable way almost unknown at the time. In 1992, Publishers Weekly chose it as one of the 20 most influential women's books of the last 20 years.

For many years, Martin was a leader in the campaign to persuade the American Psychiatric Association to declare that homosexuality was not a mental illness. This goal was finally achieved in 1973.

Martin's publication of "Battered Wives" in 1976 was a major catalyst for the movement against domestic violence. Martin became a nationally known advocate for battered women and was a co-founder of the Coalition for Justice for Battered Women (1975), La Casa de las Madres (a shelter for battered women) founded in 1976, and the California Coalition against Domestic Violence (1977). She lectured at colleges and universities around the country. Martin received her doctorate from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in 1987.

Martin's keen political instincts and interests extended her influence into the mainstream Democratic Party. She and Lyon were co-founders, in 1972, of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, the first gay political club in the United States. Martin was appointed chairwoman of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women in 1976 and served on the committee until 1979. She worked as a member of many other councils and boards, including the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. Throughout the years, many politicians recognized their stature as community leaders and sought advice and endorsement from Martin and Lyon.

It is difficult to separate Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon and write about only one of them. Their lives and their work have intertwined and their enduring dedication to social justice has been recognized many times.

In 1979, local health care providers established a clinic to give lesbians in the San Francisco Bay Area access to nonjudgmental, affordable health care and named it Lyon-Martin Health Services in their honor. In 1990, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California awarded the couple its highest honor, the Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award.

In 1995, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein named Martin, and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi named Lyon, as delegates to the White House Conference on Aging, where they made headlines by using their moment at the podium to remind the 125,000 attendees that LGBT people grow old, too, and must be included explicitly in aging policies.

The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality gave Martin and Lyon their Outstanding Public Service Award in 1996. They are among the most beloved figures in the LGBT community and have served as grand marshals at Pride marches across the nation and been honored by every major LGBT organization in the country.

Martin identified her own legacy in 1984 when she said that her most important contribution was "being able to help make changes in the way lesbians and gay men view themselves and how the larger society views lesbians and gay men." She had the courage to be true to herself when the world offered only condemnation for lesbians.

Martin showed all of us how to have what she called "self-acceptance and a good sense of my own self-worth." Del Martin never backed down from her insistence on full equality for all people and, even at 87 years old, she kept moving all of us closer to her ideal.

Gifts in lieu of flowers may be made to honor Del's life and commitment and to defeat the California marriage ban through the National Center for Lesbian Rights' No On 8 PAC at

A public memorial and tribute celebrating the life of Del Martin will be planned in the next several weeks. (National Center for Lesbian Rights)

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FAA Computer Failure

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Airports across the United States were experiencing flight delays Tuesday afternoon after a communications breakdown at a Federal Aviation Administration facility, the administration said.

The facility south of Atlanta had problems processing data, requiring that all flight-plan information be processed through a facility in Salt Lake City, Utah -- overloading that facility.

The two facilities process all flight plans for commercial and general aviation flights in the United States, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

By 5 p.m. ET, delays were beginning to clear as the Salt Lake City facility began processing flight plan requests at closer to normal speed, said Hank Krakowski, chief operating officer for the FAA's Air Traffic Organization.

The largest remaining delays from the glitch were at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, he said.

The administration said there were no radar outages and said they had not lost contact with any planes. The roughly 5,000 flights that were in the air when the breakdown happened were not affected -- just those that were waiting to take off.

"This is really not a safety issue, this is an aggravation issue," said CNN aviation expert Miles O'Brien. iReporter stuck in Philadelphia

The problem appeared similar to a June 8, 2007, computer glitch that caused severe flight delays and some cancellations along the East Coast. Are you stuck at the airport?

iReporter Stephanie McCauley sat on the tarmac for more than an hour at Baltimore/Washington International Airport Tuesday on a flight bound for Albany, New York.

"It happens. It's just weird because you're sitting and you don't know if it's going to be 20 minutes or 2 hours," McCauley said.

Cheryl Stewart, spokeswoman for Baltimore/Washington International Airport, said as of about 3:40 p.m. some flights were being allowed to take off, but the FAA was no longer accepting new flight plans.

"We're just kind of waiting for further word," Stewart said.

On the FAA's Web site, delays were being reported at all 40 airports on the administration's primary flight information map.

The worst delays were in the Northeast, Bergen said. Chicago's Midway and O'Hare airports in Illinois were reporting delays of up to 90 minutes.

The Web site, which normally lists the length of expected flight delays, was no longer listing that information Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of flights affected was unknown, although it was believed to be in the hundreds.

Mark Biello, a CNN photographer sitting on a delayed flight at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, said flights there were being cleared for takeoff one at a time.

"They're releasing the planes, but on a one-by-one basis, so it's really backed the whole system up -- at least in the Atlanta area," Biello said.

At Philadelphia International Airport, in Pennsylvania, iReporter Randy Hehn and his wife were on their way home to Denver, Colorado, after a trip to Europe. He said he'd left Stockholm, Sweden, 11 hours earlier.

"I don't really want to spend the rest of the evening in the airport; I'm hoping they get this fixed," Hehn said in a video posted on "I see planes moving around, but I don't know.

"We're just coming back from Europe, we're really tired and this is bad news."

Original Source : 3D Chat Room 3D Chat Room is the pioneering platform in 3D virtual communities and rich immersive environments. Launching in 1994, Worlds leverages its patented proprietary technology in partnership with brand leaders in specific market segments to offer users multi-user environments that have interactive Avatars, rich media graphics, text chat, voice-to-voice chat, video and e-commerce.

The 3D communities allow visitors to interact with each other, teleport throughout the Worlds environment as well as participate in shared experiences. Besides partnering with existing content providers that have strong brands and an existing following, Worlds also encourages individuals to create their own virtual spaces, communities and unique Avatars with easy-to-use tools. Worlds was and remains true “social networking” well before the term became mainstream.

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Texas Deputies Add To Chupacabra Legend

The legend of a mythical blood-sucking animal roaming South Texas gained new life over the weekend as two DeWitt County sheriff's deputies spotted what they said they believe was the creature.
Video: Chupacabra Caught On Camera?

Cpl. Brandon Riedel was training a new deputy on Friday when he said they saw something running down a dirt path along fence lines.

"You need to record something like this because it's not everyday you find something that looks like this, running around out in the middle of the county," he said.The short-legged, hairless animal had a long snout that looked like a coyote, Riedel said. But he admitted he wasn't convinced.

"You know, it's just kind of one of those things to hear about and talk about, but to actually see something on video that may actually be a live one, that's pretty amazing," DeWitt County Sheriff Jode Zavesky said.

Friday's sighting isn't the first time locals believe they've seen the mythical animal, which is rumored to attack livestock and pets. Stories about the chupacabra go back to the 1990s.

And a rancher in 2007 found a dead animal near the town of Cuero that was thought to be a chupacabra.

Biologists at Texas State University-San Marcos tested DNA taken from the remains of the animal and found it to be a coyote."It's like every good urban legend," Erik McCowan said. "Maybe it's better to just think it is the chupacabra and just leave it at that."

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Tallan "T-Man" Latz

Tallan "T-Man" Latz8-year-old guitar wiz has reason to sing the blues

ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) -- An 8-year-old Wisconsin guitar wiz says the problems he's had trying to play legally will make him a better blues artist.

Tallan "T-Man" Latz has been playing since he was 5 years old. He's played with Les Paul and performed in bars and nightclubs, including Chicago's House of Blues.

That's before an anonymous tipster complained to state officials that child labor laws bar Tallan from playing in taverns and clubs. And before his booking agent got an anonymous death threat.

Earlier, the boy's father says he heard a local guitarist say Tallan shouldn't be in a bar and that he was going to turn him in. The man denies badmouthing the youngster.

Tallan can still play at festivals. But the boy's father is asking a legislator for help changing the law.

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Mark David Chapman Conjugal Visits

John Lennon's killer Mark Chapman has conjugal visits

JOHN Lennon's killer has been enjoying conjugal visits with his wife for the past 16 years.

Mark David Chapman has been visited at least once a year by his wife Glorio Hiroko Chapman since 1992, reports say.

Chapman murdered the former Beatle in New York on December 8, 1980. He has been held in the Attica Correctional Facility, New York, since 1981.

Under a "family reunion" scheme, Chapman gets to spend up to 44 hours at a time with his wife in a special unit.

Gloria, who was married to Chapman at the time he killed Lennon and who still lives in Hawaii, visits at least once a year, sources said.

There are no cameras or guards inside the units, New York's Daily News reports.

The news comes during the week that Chapman made another request to the authorities to be released on parole. It was denied, and he will remain in jail for at least two more years.

He has been turned down four times since he became eligible in 2000.

Lennon's widow Yoko Ono had notified the parole board that she is still opposed to Chapman's release.

In 2000, Ono wrote to the board telling them about her concerns for her safety if Chapman was ever released.

"Myself and John's two sons would not feel safe for the rest of out lives," she wrote.

"With his one act of violence (Chapman) managed to change my whole life, devastate his sons, and bring deep sorrow and fear to the world."

Because of his notoriety, Chapman is kept in a unit apart from the general population.

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WexTrust Capital Owners Charged in $100 Million Fraud

WexTrust Capital Owners Charged in $100 Million FraudAug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Two owners of WexTrust Capital LLC, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm, were charged with using a Ponzi scheme to cheat investors including members of an Orthodox Jewish community out of more than $100 million.

Steven Byers, of Oakbrook, Illinois, and Joseph Shereshevsky, of Norfolk, Virginia, were arrested today on charges that they stole funds raised in private placements. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued WexTrust and the two men and is seeking an order freezing the company's assets.

``One of the defendants used his extensive connections in the Orthodox Jewish community to solicit more than $250 million from unsuspecting investors,'' Andrew Calamari, the SEC's associate director of enforcement, said today in a statement. ``Our complaint alleges an affinity fraud of very large scale.''

Ponzi schemes traditionally involve using money from new investors to pay off old ones. WexTrust has raised at least $255 million from at least 1,196 investors in the U.S. and abroad, and stole more than $100 million, the SEC alleged. WexTrust is a private-equity company specialized in real estate and investment banking, with offices in New York, Atlanta, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, and Boca Raton, Florida, according to a January statement by the company.

A WexTrust spokesman, David Gutierrez, declined to immediately comment.

Guilty Plea

Byers, 46, the firm's chairman, and Shereshevsky, who until recently was chief operating officer, were arrested on a securities fraud charge in Illinois and Virginia, respectively, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia in Manhattan said in a statement. Shereshevsky, 51, pleaded guilty in 2003 to bank fraud, the SEC said.

According to authorities, Byers and Shereshevsky used money raised from private placement investors to fund the firm's operations and repay earlier investors. The government claimed that, for example, $9.2 million raised by the company from investors would be used to buy and operate seven properties that would be leased to the U.S. General Services Administration.

``The seven GSA properties, however, were never purchased, the monies raised to purchase the properties were used for some other purpose, and investors were not informed,'' Garcia said.

A private placement is a negotiated sale in which securities are sold directly to investors, rather than through a public offering.

60 Percent

Byers owns 60 percent of WexTrust, and Shereshevsky owns 20 percent, the SEC said. WexTrust is owner of at least 120 entities formed to acquire real estate interests, and it conducted at least 60 private placements between 2005 and 2008, the SEC said.

``Defendants have been fraudulently raising money in the various offerings, each of which purportedly is for a particular investment, without disclosing that funds raised were actually being used to pay prior investors in unrelated offerings,'' the SEC said in its complaint.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Byers, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The SEC case is SEC v. Steven Byers, 08-cv-7104, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Blizzcon 2008

Blizzcon 2008Blizzard Entertainment, makers of World of Warcraft, have posted details of their forthcoming BlizzCon 2008 event, taking place on October 10 - 11, 2008 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.

BlizzCon is Blizzard’s now-annual gathering of gaming enthusiasts to celebrate Blizzard’s popular games. Blizzard is the developer of the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo game series. The company is developing new games or expansion packs for all three franchises, and they’re developing them all for the Mac as well. Tickets to BlizzCon 2008 cost $100 each.

BlizzCon features tournaments for players who want to test their skills against others in Warcraft III and World of Warcraft. The top prize is $25,000 per player, and players and teams will be venturing forth from North America, Europe, Korea and Taiwan. There will also be a StarCraft Invitational.

Other events planned for BlizzCon 2008 include a costume contest for cosplayers who want to dress up like their favorite Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo characters, a diorama contest, original song contest, motivational poster contest, BlizzCon dance contest, “silly contest” and more. Attendees will also get a “goody bag” filled with exclusive stuff.

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Because the rich people have such a hard time finding dates, there's Actually, you don't have to be a certified millionaire to join, anyone who earns $150,000 and above annually qualifies for This dating site guarantees complete anonymity so you can be sure that your potential mate likes you for your personality and not your status in life.'s features include chat, email, search, blog and one of the most interesting dating forums around.

You don't have to earn more than $150,000 to belong to It may seem like it, but actually encourages anyone to join because rich people are looking for a quality relationship and they don't care how much their partner earns.

CEO, celebrity, sports star, etc. If you've got a busy lifestyle and big bank account, is for you.

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Hanny Van Arkel Armchair Astronomer

Hanny Van Arkel Armchair Astronomer

Armchair astronomer discovers unique 'cosmic ghost'

Hanny van Arkel was poring over photos of galaxies on the Internet last August when she stumbled across a strange object in the night sky: a bright, gaseous mass with a gaping hole in its middle.

"It looked a bit like an irregular galaxy, but I wasn't sure what it was," Van Arkel told CNN. So she posted a query on the Web site of the Galaxy Zoo project, which encourages members of the public to join in astronomy research online.

Van Arkel is a 25-year-old schoolteacher in Heerlen, The Netherlands, not an astrophysicist. But her startling find -- a mysterious and unique object some observers are calling a "cosmic ghost" -- has captivated astronomers and even caught the attention of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has agreed to take a closer look next year.

"This discovery really shows how citizen science has come of age in the Internet world," said Bill Keel, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Alabama and a Galaxy Zoo team member. "There was a time when I spoke pejoratively of armchair astronomers. And I've gotten up at a star party and publicly apologized for that."

Not so long ago, the term "amateur astronomer" conjured images of stargazers peering through backyard telescopes. But today's citizen astronomers are as likely to be analyzing reams of sophisticated data collected by observatories and posted on space-related Web sites.

Armchair observers like van Arkel increasingly are making significant contributions to science, said Steve Maran, spokesman for the American Astronomical Society, a group of 6,500 professionals. Amateurs have been invited to present papers at recent AAS conferences, "which wouldn't have happened years ago," he said.

A successful example of amateur-professional collaboration, the Galaxy Zoo project was launched last year by Yale University astrophysicist Kevin Schawinski and his colleague Chris Lintott at the University of Oxford in England.

The pair were looking for help in cataloging archived photographs of galaxies -- one million images -- taken by the robotic Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope in remote southern New Mexico.

Knowing the human eye is sometimes more sensitive than a computer at picking out unusual patterns -- and that they didn't have time to do all the work themselves -- Schawinski and Lintott posted the images on the Galaxy Zoo Web site last summer.

The professors then invited amateur astronomers, with the help of a brief online tutorial, to classify the galaxies as spiral, elliptical or something else. Online galaxy-sorting might not sound as fun as, say, surfing YouTube, but it was an immediate hit.

"We were overwhelmed by the response. It completely melted the server," Schawinski told CNN. "People tell us it's addictive. Some of [the volunteers] are professional astronomers, but most of them are not. They're just regular people who got excited about the project."

During the last year, more than 150,000 armchair astronomers from all over the world volunteered their time, submitting more than 50 million classifications.

The public's collective wisdom -- the same principle that guides jury trials, or Wikipedia -- proved remarkably astute, Schawinski said. For example, if 33 of 36 volunteers thought a galaxy appeared elliptical, then astronomers could be confident the classification was correct, he said.

Van Arkel had been classifying photos on Galaxy Zoo for about a week when she came across the the image that quickly became known as "Hanny's Voorwerp," or Dutch for "object." The primary school teacher does not own a telescope -- "my [astronomy] background doesn't really go further than looking at the stars when walking outside in the evening," she said -- but when she posted her finding August 13 on the Galaxy Zoo forum, the astronomers who run the site began to investigate.

They soon realized van Arkel might have found a new class of astronomical object. The Galaxy Zoo team asked scientists working at telescopes around the world to take a look at the mysterious Voorwerp.

Their best guess: The Voorwerp is probably a cloud of hot gas punctured by a central hole some 16,000 light years across and illuminated by the "dying embers" of a nearby quasar, Schawinski said. Quasars are distant, highly luminous astronomical objects powered by black holes; scientists suspect light from the quasar still illuminates the Voorwerp even though the quasar itself burned out sometime in the past 100,000 years.

"It's this light echo that has been frozen in time for us to observe," said Lintott, the Oxford scientist. "It's rather like examining the scene of a crime where, although we can't see them, we know the culprit must be lurking somewhere nearby in the shadows."

Galaxy Zoo leaders are eagerly awaiting images from NASA's orbiting Hubble, which is scheduled to train its powerful instruments on the Voorwerp in 2009. In the meantime, van Arkel is enjoying the fuss over her contribution to astronomy.

"It's amazing to think that ... amateur volunteers can help by spotting things like this online," she said. "What excites me the most is that all of this leads to more interest in science."

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Kwame Kilpatrick

Kwame KilpatrickMayor Kwame Kilpatrick is in jail (finally) and the City of Detroit is in its most precarious state in decades. But who's the fool in this horrible production?

It's not the mayor, despite his serial misbehavior, his unbelievable audacity, his ridiculous clinging to power. At this point, it's us - Detroiters of all hue, economic station, political affiliation, block club and neighborhood. It's the people who live here, who do business here, who care about this place and depend on its health and vitality.

We are the fools, for letting this awful chapter in the city's 300-year history develop to this point. We are the fools, for not standing up en masse to escort Kilpatrick out of the Manoogian, and out of our public lives. We are the fools, for enduring the national and international, embarrassment time after time, while prattling idly about his right to a fair trial, the sanctity of his elected status and various other irrelevancies.

Kilpatrick has ruled us as Caesar did Rome. He has turned our fair city into a renegade's playground where his ego, rather than the rule of law, reigns supreme. Kilpatrick's spectacular fibbing and manipulations were first exposed on Jan. 24 of this year, and in the 196 days since, he has done nothing but prove his unworthiness to lead. He has cast himself, against all odds, as the victim. He has played into the racial polarization of this region as a defense for his own misdeeds, most famously in a madman's tirade at the end of his State of the City address.

As a criminal defendant, he has defied the courts' restrictions on him time and again, while publicly dismissing the case against him as trivial, hate-inspired, or otherwise illegitimate. He has assaulted a sheriff's deputy who was not even on Kilpatrick's property, or serving papers on the mayor.
In any other American city - hell, in most banana republics - half of that would be enough to inspire near rebellion in an effort to change leadership.

But what have we heard from the other political leadership in Detroit? True, some have spoken out, but most have sat on their hands, taking precautions not to offend the mayor or his allies. Where is the outrage from the state's congressional delegation, which should have spoken with one voice about the outrages Kilpatrick has perpetrated? The state delegation in Lansing has also not acted collectively, though some of its more notable members (such as state senators Tupac Hunter and Buzz Thomas) have said their piece.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm began a process to consider removing the mayor, and lately, at least, has accelerated her timetable. But shouldn't her sense of urgency have been heightened well before the mayor's continued transgressions? And now, with misdeeds on the record in the form of his bond violations, doesn't she have enough power to act without the contemplative, judicial-like process she established before?

The business community, too, has largely taken a pass on leadership, or even self-respect, with regard to the Kilpatrick problem. Last week, Roger Penske, the racing magnate who heads the Downtown Detroit Partnership, even suggested there was no role for business leaders to play here. The judicial process should be allowed to work itself out, he said.

What a docile and sheepish cop-out, from a man whose business reputation is for tough negotiating and uncompromising discipline. At a time when Detroit needs leaders - those who see tough situations and do the right thing anyway - the city is stuck with cowards too tied to the mayor's power, or too afraid to cross him, to speak out. Even if Kilpatrick goes, we need to reconsider whether some of the private interests who seem so integral to the city's future truly have our interests at heart.

The city's religious and civic leadership has also been woefully absent. Why has the local NAACP, a chapter so rich in history and strong in tradition, been all but silent about the crisis in leadership in a city whose residents are overwhelmingly African American? Wendell Anthony, who heads the branch, has said little or nothing, and certainly hasn't pushed for Kilpatrick to leave. He has stuck to the "let the law work this out," line, which falsely conflates Kilpatrick's right to a fair trial with his position as mayor. And it allies the organization with the mayor's interests, above and beyond the interests of the hundreds of thousands of others who are being victimized by his leadership.

Why has New Detroit, the organization founded after the 1967 riots to help heal racial fissures in this region, been so silent about the racial overtones that have been drowning out some of the substantive issues in this scandal?

New Detroit has not only been silent about Kilpatrick's misuse of race, it has not even had anything to say about the role race may actually be playing in some of the response to this scandal. After seven months, how can that make any sense?

Fools, we all are. And Kwame Kilpatrick has made us that way.
Going forward, if we don't stiffen our spines and assert strongly that this is unacceptable, that the mayor must go and the city must move on, it will say nothing about Kwame Kilpatrick - and everything about us.

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