11th Hour IC News May 1st, 2008

(News graphic & background designed by Nysie)








St. Elizabeth's avoids legal action


NORTHEAST -- The federal government will get new authority to regulate D.C.’s troubled mental institution under a settlement that avoids federal litigation over massive problems in the hospital’s billing and accounting departments, The Examiner has learned.
St. Elizabeth's hospital will sign a “corporate integrity agreement” with the Department of Health and Human Services to avoid costly federal legal action over allegations of fraud in the hospital’s Medicare billing, according to sources with intimate knowledge of the negotiations.
The deal will give federal authorities broad power to regulate, monitor and if necessary, restructure St. E’s, which only emerged from a court-imposed receivership in 2002.
The Department of Justice began investigating the hospital in June 2007, on suspicions that the hospital was improperly billing the federal government for patient care.
While that investigation was pending, a team of inspectors from Justice came to St. E’s in February to check into allegations that the hospital was violating its wards’ civil rights. The integrity agreement may defuse both investigations, according to one source familiar with the case.
Sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are supposed to be secret.
D.C. was led in negotiations by its acting attorney general, Peter Nickles, who once was the lead attorney in a massive class-action suit alleging that St. E’s was failing its patients.
Critics say that the hospital is still dangerous for its wards. According to a January report released by University Legal Services, a nonprofit advocacy group, 11 patients died at St. E’s last year — the same as had died in the previous two years combined. The report’s authors concluded that the quality of patient care had declined under Mayor Adrian Fenty’s watch.
ULS’ report, “Patients in Peril,” was filed as part of ongoing litigation over St. E’s care.



Models Needed for Local Urban Fashion Show


NORTHWEST -- Mitch Warren, a 23 year old student at both GWU and Howard Universities, will be holding a fashion show on Saturday, May 10th at GWU.

Mr. Warren will be showcasing his urban fashion line, "Warren Wear." "We're ready to put DC on the map." says Warren, "You got your Sean Johns and Rockawears, but Warren Wear is ready to take over the whole industry! We're gonna keep it real close to the street, yet real classy as well."
Models are asked to be between the ages of 18 and 25, of either gender, and to be in reasonable physical shape. Those interested in modeling for Mr. Warren may contact him at *cell phone number here* or *college email address here.* [ST NOTE OOC: Contact Trenton for more info.]

Industry scouts will be on hand to review model portfolios. Models will be monetarily compensated for their time and participation.




"Shoot it... shoot it in the head, man!"

 A classic line from George A. Romero's 1978 cult zombie flick "Dawn of the Dead" may ring true on May 3rd, 2008, as "the dead will rise" at GWU, when a Zombie Lurch in honor of the release of George A. Romero's new zombie film, "Diary of the Dead" will take place. 
A zombie lurch is when people gather en masse, dressed as zombies, and march through parts of the city, such as shopping malls, or doing a pub crawl along a pre-selected route.

The lurch organizer, Vanessa Goldwyn, a 25 year old GWU student, commented, "At first, this lurch wasn't going to see the light of day, due to the original organizer having personal problems and having to fold the lurch all together, until I stepped up. We're not only doing this for Romero's movie, but for him!" 

Goldwyn also noted that the lurch is one week after the 25th anniversary of the debut of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. The Weinstein Company and Genius Entertainment have set 20 May 2008 as the release date for the Diary of the Dead DVD, as a simultaneous release with a new edition of Night of the Living Dead.

Participants are encouraged to bring their best zombie outfit, and their appetite for brains and human flesh, to GWU at 3PM, Saturday May 3rd, 2008. For more information, you may reach Ms. Goldwyn by e-mail at: decayingdeaddoll@gmail.com [ST Note OOC: this is a real address maintained by the player and should actually be used to respond]



Horror Writer moves to DC and brings his monsters with him


MIDTOWN - Packing up boxes wasn't all horror writer Janko Karovic had to worry about when he moved to D.C earlier this month. His novels, which tell the story of an ancient vampire named Edward Aberdeen, who masquerades as a private detective in modern times, has moved from city to city to work on difference cases, and rumor has it the next book will take place in Washington D.C., so Karovic had to give his anti-hero a reason to come.
Looking for inspiration for the new story and remembering pictures of D.C. from books at home when he was still in his native land of Vukovar, Croatia, Karovic decided it was time for a change of scenery for him and Aberdeen.
Karovic moved to the United States a few years ago after serving in the Croatian army and being honorable discharged when his time of service was up. He attended a community college in New York State, where he says he was inspired to start writing the first of his now seven novels about Aberdeen and his various cases.
Vivid descriptions of violence and sex have cornered him an impressive fan base among the young and old alike. Critics have compared him to Laurell K. Hamilton and Anne Rice, though Karovic modestly says he is not quite that popular.
Janko Karovic will be doing book signings at local Borders and Barnes and Nobles bookstores for his last released book, Children of a Silent God, this month.

Fallen Star hopes to rise again

MIDTOWN -- When her career ended five years ago,  Annika Sandburg who was once a rising star in the classical music and opera circuit closed the book on that part of her life and she moved into a small house in California  forgetting about the lights and applause.
But now the Minnesota native has moved to D.C. and hopes to come back to the stage.
“It just seems to be the natural path my life now is moving to,” she said when we spoke to her about her plans to return to the stage from her new home in the Georgetown area that she shares with her boyfriend, none other than  Azazel Sevren of recent Dark Asgard fame and their pet cat, Andrew.
Sitting on her back patio, Sandburg, who still looks much as she did as a young teenager on the stage fragile graceful and polite, spoke to us about her plans for the future.
“Right now I am working on some music with Loki, and just trying to get into the swing of things again with performing,” she said, adding, “in between planning a summer wedding.”
Ms. Sandburg says right now nothing official performance wise is lined up but we at the Star will be the first to know when something concrete is set up. She is hoping to release a new album, the first in over eight years, by the end of this year.




D.C. police step up presence in response to neighborhood violence


MIDTOWN -- Metropolitan Police will double the number of officers in a section of Northeast Washington that has been hit with five killings in four days, authorities announced Friday.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that in the last few weeks police have been working extra overtime hours to address the violence. Now she will add more patrols and deploy drug- and gun-recovery units in the vicinity of the Trinidad neighborhood. Police will work double shifts and desk officers will walk the beat.
"I am concerned about the rise of violent crime in the past week," Lanier said in a statement. "We will use every resource available to address this issue."
The extra officers will interact with residents to develop leads and help prevent more crimes, said Commander Lamar Greene, head of the Fifth Police District that has been the site of the recent killings.
Greene wasn't sure how long the increased patrols would continue, but the police will be evaluating the progress weekly, checking to see if the violence subsides or whether significant arrests are made.
"We do not have a definite ending date," Greene said.
Five people have been killed in the area since Monday, police said. Two of the killings might be connected to years-old disputes, Greene said.
Twenty-nine-year-old William Foster, of the 100 block of U street, was gunned down in broad daylight at North Capitol and R Street. The next day, around the same time, Gary Oliver English, of the 2000 block of Lincoln Road Northeast, was killed with multiple gunshot wounds.
On Wednesday, the partially clad body Tonette Gail Ferguson, 38, was found in an alley in the 1600 block of Montello Avenue. She died of apparent blunt-force trauma to the head, police said.
Citywide there have been 42 homicides, down from 47 at this time last year.
The increase in patrols came two weeks after D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. called for a crime emergency in the neighborhood to quell the spate of violence that has troubled the community over the last several months.



Club shooting victim dies; The Meeting Place temporarily closed


NORTHWEST -- D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier ordered an emergency closure of a jazz and go-go club near the Farragut North Metro Station on Thursday after a 30-year-old Northeast D.C. man was shot and killed Wednesday night.
The victim left The Meeting Place at 1707 L St. NW at about 10:20 p.m. and was waiting near his car when he was shot by an unidentified gunman. He was taken to the George Washington University Hospital where he died of multiple gunshot wounds to the body, police said.
The victim was identified as 30-year-old Edward Badenbaugh, of the 300 block of 63rd Street Northeast.
Lanier ordered a 96-hour closure of the business while the investigation continues, police said. This is the third time in about five months that she has used her emergency powers to shut down a nightclub.
An initial investigation by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration found no sign of an altercation inside the bar that might have spilled outside. The club was hosting a birthday party with entertainment from the band E-U, featuring Sugar Bear.
Victor Wexler, the local advisory neighborhood commissioner, said The Meeting Place was not on his radar as a bar to keep an eye on.
“Something like this can happen,” he said. “This came as a total shock.”
Violent crime in Farragut North is rare but not unprecedented. In the past 60 days, within 1,000 feet of 17th and L streets, there were eight violent crimes, according to police statistics — four robberies excluding a gun, three assaults with a deadly weapon excluding a gun, and one assault with a gun.
There were 39 property crimes during that same period: 25 thefts, two burglaries, nine thefts from auto and three stolen cars.



Local dance instructor missing


SOUTHWEST -- Local dance instructor Kayla Brown has been reported missing by her family this week. Her father called DCPD Missing Persons Department when his daughter stopped answering her phone last week.

"Kayla has always been prone to flights of fancy but not for this long of a period of time." her father said.

Ms. Brown was last seen in the Georgetown area and was rumored to be looking for space to host dance classes.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts are asked to call DCPD at (202) 555-1711.














Garment Rules Used to Control Women's Individuality, Former Cult Members Say

When the women of a Texas polygamist cult emerged from self-imposed seclusion into the media spotlight this week, it looked to some outsiders as if they had stepped out of another century.
Wearing heavy pastel-colored dresses buttoned up to the neck and reaching down to the ground, their hair pinned up into tight, tall waves, the women congregated on the porches of the sprawling Yearning for Zion Ranch and pleaded for the return of their children, 314 of whom are in state custody while authorities investigate allegations of child abuse.
Their unusual appearance garnered nearly as much attention as their tears and meek manner.
"The compound fence isn't the only cage for the women of polygamy," Rebecca Walsh, a columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune wrote in an article this week critical of the sect. "There is also a prison uniform: yards of pink and blue fabric, inches and inches of hair, and ugly orthopedic shoes."
Like many other religious groups, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a dress code, which in its case can be traced back to the late 19th century, a time when polygamy was still common in mainstream Mormonism. But those familiar with the cult say the women's attire is not just a matter of tradition or preference. Rather, they say, fashions are dictated by very strict rules imposed and revised by sect elders to promote modesty and enforce religious devotion.
Controlling dress is a way of controlling behavior, experts say, and isolation from the outside world is precisely the point.
"They see the world as filled with the presence of Satan," Stephen Kent, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who has studied polygamy, told ABC News. "The conservative dress of the women sets them apart from the outside world. It fosters among them the attitude that the outside world is sensual and bad."
Kent added that women in the polygamist sect are often proud of their appearance, seeing their attire as a reflection of their piety and proximity to God.
"These groups believe that they are the path to heaven," Kent said. "And so they value their public statements about their elite exclusivity."
Carolyn Jessop, a former member of the sect who was married to a 50-year-old man when she was 18 but later left the group, agreed. She told ABC News the distinctive style of dress was meant to make women feel not only separate from the outside world, but also more dependent on each other.
"It was just a way to control individuality," Jessop said. "Everybody starts looking like everybody else. And then you control it to the point where people can't be an individual."
Experts told ABC News that women in the cult, which is also known as FLDS, wear as many as three layers of clothing underneath their dresses, including an undergarment they consider holy, three pairs of stockings and sometimes pants. Patterns or bright colors are forbidden especially red, a color allegedly reserved for God and any hint of makeup or loose-hanging hair is reason for severe punishment by father or husband.
"They don't want anybody to lust after you," Irene Spencer, 71, a former polygamist wife who wrote a book about her experience and who has several sisters and nieces still living at the Yearning for Zion Ranch, told ABC News. "They used to tell us that if a man saw your elbow it would turn him on."
"We could never wear makeup," Spencer said. "You can't touch that wicked stuff to your face or your lips at all. You can't even have bangs. They're very, very strict." Fears of breaking the group's code of appearance can apparently run deep.
In a call to a family violence shelter on March 30, which prompted Texas authorities to raid the 1,700 acre Yearning for Zion Ranch, a 16-year-old girl reported being abused by her 50-year-old husband but said church members threatened that if she left, outsiders would "hurt her, force her to cut her hair, to wear makeup and [modern] clothes and to have sex with lots of men."
Spencer said such intimidation is common within the FLDS group.
"These people are scared spit-less," she said. "We were told all our lives that [outsiders] were wicked. These people are told that they are the only righteous people. It's no wonder that they live in the fear they live in."
Of all the different garments sown and worn by the women of the Yearning for Zion Ranch, former cult members told ABC News the underwear is the most important.
Covering the skin from neck to ankles and wrists, it is worn year-round underneath regular undergarments and said to be symbolic of the clothes that God provided for Adam and Eve to use in the Garden of Eden.
Seen as a kind of spiritual defense, some women don't remove the underwear even in the most intimate of situations.
"My grandmother and aunts and some of the people I knew wouldn't even take them off to bathe," said former polygamist Spencer. "They would leave them on one leg and bathe the rest of their body and put them back on."
She added that some women keep the garments on even while giving birth or having intercourse with their husbands.
"They were told that [the undergarments] were supposed to be a protection and nothing would happen to them if they wore them," Spencer said.





Court terminates 8-year-old girl's marriage


SANAA (Reuters) - A Yemeni court ordered the marriage of an eight-year-old girl terminated on Tuesday because she had not reached puberty.
The court also ordered the child's family to pay about $250 in compensation to the 30-year-old ex-husband.
The girl's lawyer and human rights activist Shatha Nasser said the minor had filed a suit in April asking for divorce and told the court that her husband had been physically abusing her and forcing her to have "sex with him after hitting her."
One of the people attending the trial volunteered to pay the compensation, the lawyer said, but did not explain the reason why the court ordered the compensation.
The ruling terminated the marriage instead of granting a divorce to prevent the husband from seeking to reinstate the marriage, according to the lawyer.
Many minor girls in Arab countries that observe tribal traditions are married to older husbands but not before puberty. Such marriages are also driven by poverty in countries like Yemen, one of the poorest countries outside Africa.


Psychics see big trouble over new laws

LONDON (Reuters) - Fortune-tellers, mediums and spiritual healers marched on the home of the British prime minister at Downing Street on Friday to protest against new laws they fear will lead to them being "persecuted and prosecuted".
Organizers say that replacing the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 with new consumer protection rules will remove key legal protection for "genuine" mediums.
They think skeptics might bring malicious prosecutions to force spiritualists to prove in court that they can heal people, see into the future or talk to the dead.
Psychics also fear they will have to give disclaimers describing their services as entertainment or as scientific experiments with unpredictable results.
"If I'm giving a healing to someone, I don't want to have to stand there and say I don't believe in what I'm doing," said Carole McEntee-Taylor, a healer who co-founded the Spiritual Workers Association.
The group delivered a petition with 5,000 names to the prime minister's office, although Gordon Brown is away in the United States.
With the changes expected to come into force next month, spiritualists have faced a barrage of headlines gleefully suggesting that they should have seen it coming.
But many don't see the funny side. They say the new rules will shift the responsibility of proving they are not frauds from prosecutors and onto them.
"By repealing the Act, the onus will go round the other way and we will have to prove we are genuine," McEntee-Taylor told Reuters. "No other religion has to do that."
The government said the new regulations form part of a European Union directive that is meant to harmonize unfair trading laws across the EU. It will introduce a ban on traders "treating consumers unfairly".
The British Humanist Association, a charity which campaigns against religion and supernatural beliefs, said stricter regulations were overdue because the current laws don't work.
"It is misleading for spiritualists to claim that, as ‘religious' practitioners they should not be regulated under consumer laws," said Chief Executive Hanne Stinson.
"The psychic industry is huge and lucrative and it exploits some very vulnerable, and some very gullible, people with claims for which there is no scientific evidence." 





David Motari speaks: "Puppy killer" claims he was only being "creative" by tossing dog to its death

On his profile at Bebo.com, Lance Cpl. David Motari of the U.S. Marines defends his tossing of a small puppy off a cliff: "What, you expect me to carry a stray sick dog from patrol 10+ miles back to camp with me. Did you know that we're not supposed to have dogs? Did you know that there isn't medicine available for animals out there? So what the fuck do you want me to do with it. It was going to side a slow and horrible death.
"Sorry you guys saw that, but it wasn't supposed to ever [sic] been shown. Usually what happens is we shoot them. I was being "creative" that day and decided to throw the dog instead. If I could take it back, I would. Either way, I did the dog a favor. Sorry if you can't understand that."
This would confirm that the dog was indeed alive and not already deceased, as some have speculated. If it is considered "humane" to put dogs to death—as many animal services agencies do—for being mangy, stray, old, or sick, then Motari's actions can hardly deserve the sort of vilification he and his family have been receiving.
Motari's family in Monroe, WA have received a number of death threats, prompting police to guard their home. Real estate agent Rayane Motari, David's mother, has had her profile deleted from a website for realtors and her mobile phone number posted around the internet alongside urgings to harass the poor woman—who will likely not sell any homes this week. The amount of hardship, harassment, and inconvenience the entire Motari family is being forced to endure over this incident is entirely out of proportion to the severity of David Motari's actions.
Whether the Marines have an official or unofficial policy of killing stray dogs I don't know, but regardless of the sensationalism surrounding this story there are so many more atrocious acts by the U.S. Military that have been documented on video but have not gathered the attention of the international media.
In a sick twist, an American general public that unnecessarily indulges in all-you-can-eat ribs and other delights of the recently-living flesh seems to have less sympathy for unarmed Iraqi motorists shot dead without reason than they do for a lost sick puppy in a country that has so many stray pooches they might as well be vermin.
Motari ought not to be prosecuted, court-martialled, dishonorably discharged, or harassed—he's already suffered more than he deserves. While we don't know the circumstances behind his finding this puppy, it's clear enough that his most major mistake was to have been so "creative" as to turn the harsh reality of dog disposal into a video skit that would later be seen by millions.









Entertainment and Gossip

From regular columnist

Kitty Whittier 





Esculapius come; I know right well
His laboure's lost when you may ring her Knell.
The fatall sisters doome none can withstand,
Nor Cithareas powre, who poynts to land
With proclamation that the first of May
At Ma-re Mount shall be kept hollyday...


-- Anonymous 17th Century Maypole Poem



Two quick bites for you, to tide you over until later this month. Both music related. Well, three, in truth.

First, I have left off the Loki watching somewhat in lieu of the fact that a full-length interview should be coming out later this month.

Secondly, in said interview will be further details on the upcoming multimedia presentation between his Trickster self, and Mlle Nouveau. The DVD is entitled "The Evolution of Man" and will be sold at a live performance of the collaborative work to be showcased at Dark Asgard. Be there.

Thirdly, on a curious side note, I was offered a delightful little indie treat from the mysterious one-eyed gentleman so often mixed up in Dark Asgard's debauchery in recent months. Turns out the mystery man is a musician named Steel, who was kind enough to provide me with one of his vintage recordings from his former band, Steel's Reapers. When he's not being modest about all this, he is the brains and brawn behind Steel and Rain dojo that advertizes elsewhere in this paper. I don't know if he'd be willing to reprint the CD commercially but you might consider asking. It's absolutely fascinating stuff.


On to things that are far more shocking... What is it with everyone and the Miley Cyrus pics? Yes, she's a minor, but you saw less skin than your average MySpace brat wears to the beach or puts on their Facebook, please, people. Her parents were both present on the set, and poor Annie L. worked her tuchas off on those pics, which Cyrus praised only a few days ago. Just stop it already!



Speaking of shocking photos of another sort, I have an absolute hate-on for the MILFilicious Heather Locklear, who is obviously in some kind of time stop. This shot is from earlier this month. Heather Locklear is photographed here filming her new movie, "Flirting with 40." According to IMDB: "A divorced mother approaching her 40th birthday falls for a younger man while on vacation." That's funny because Heather Locklear is pushing 50 in real life. So Heather not only flirted with 40, it had its way with her then, ironically, ditched her for Denise Richards.

Excuse me while I go dance around a pole with some ribbons on it, and then have my wicked way with some hot young thing. Until next time...