27 April 2022

27 April 12022

  27 April 12022 is doubtless some holiday or other, but lack of energy and the physical difficulty of doing the research keep me from being interested enough to make the effort to find out. In the news I see that Hamas is putting on display the snake-crowned head of a statue of a woman—supposedly part of a Canaanite statue of the goddess Anat dating from 7500 (2500 BCE). I am curious how the identity of the woman and the date of the statue were identified, seeing as it was found in a field sans inscription or context. Still, it’s striking—even if it was manufactured a week or so ago in somebody’s faux antiquities workshop.

Update: Terance Calhoun is no longer imprisoned for crimes that he did not commit. Here’s what we have, updated with further information: on 26 September 12006 somebody attacked a 15-year-old girl (Victim 1) near Fenkell Avenue and Gladstone Street in Detroit. (The charges were Attempted Kidnapping, Kidnapping, and Criminal Sexual Conduct - Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration.) She described her assailant as having braids and a puzzle tattoo. A month later, on 27 October 12006, somebody sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl (Victim 2) near a liquor store on Fenkell Avenue. (The charges were Criminal Sexual Conduct First-Degree, Kidnapping, Felony Firearm, and Criminal Sexual Conduct - Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration.) A used condom was found at the scene of the attack. Victim 2 (the 13-year-old) filed a police report and helped in the creation of a sketch of her attacker. The sketch was posted at the liquor store, where Terance Calhoun was arrested on 3 November.

Both girls identified Terance Calhoun as their attacker in separate lineups. (It should be noted that Terance Calhoun did not have braids or a puzzle tattoo, as described by Victim 1.) As part of a plea agreement charges of Kidnapping and Criminal Sexual Conduct - Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration were dropped in the case of Victim 1, and the charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct - Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration was dropped in the case of Victim 2; Terance Calhoun pleaded no contest to the rest on 21 February 12007, and was sentenced 28 March.

Now that no contest plea is at least slightly interesting—it means that while Terance Calhoun did not dispute the charges, neither did he admit any guilt. As this was part of a plea agreement, I can’t help but wonder whether Terance Calhoun, seeing no viable defense to the charges against him, chose the lesser of two evils in not contesting some in return for more serious charges being dropped. Assuming that he was innocent, a plea of no contest might well feel more satisfying than a plea of guilty, even if the result was basically the same.

Because here’s the thing—Terance Calhoun is innocent of the charges against him. According to the authorities, on 15 June 12007 the DNA evidence found in connection with Victim 2 cleared Terance Calhoun of involvement in the crime. For unknown reasons he was not informed of this development, and was allowed to remain in prison.

Now subsequently the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office Sexual Assault Kit Task Force determined that there was somebody in the system with a puzzle tattoo, and that the DNA evidence pointed to a serial rapist; I am assuming that the serial rapist and the man with the puzzle tattoo were the same person, but I don’t find this explicitly stated anywhere. As part of the case they were building now against this person it was obviously necessary to clear Terance Calhoun of involvement.

In any case the wheels of justice have ground slowly on, and Terance Calhoun was scheduled to be released on Friday. Family members had come from out of town to celebrate—and then the unthinkable happened. Like a scene from an old black-and-white movie, a Detroit police officer—one Robert Kane—showed up with a binder of supposedly new evidence proving Terance Calhoun’s guilt. According to at least one account, the supposed evidence included confessions to both crimes. On the strength of Robert Kane’s conviction—she (quite properly) didn’t look at the binder contents—the judge delayed the proceedings until today.

It turned out, however, that Robert Kane was grandstanding; there was nothing new in the file, nothing to counter the DNA evidence that had cleared Terance Calhoun. Robert Kane has some explaining to do. Clearly “a police officer acting alone with no authority [who] could not face the facts” forced Terance Calhoun to be “wrongfully incarcerated” for a few extra days. Fortunately he is now free. Whether Robert Kane will face any penalty for his attempt to subvert the course of justice is unknown; it was a reckless and inexcusable stunt.

25 April 2022

24 April 12022

  24 April 12022 is the day the French election was held, and it looks like Emmanuel Macron has thoroughly crushed Marine Le Pen. Not as thoroughly as five years ago, mind you, but crushed nonetheless. Le Pen’s defeat is a victory for the forces of Light and Reason; Macron’s reelection not so much. All of which goes to show that you can’t always get what you need even when what you want is out of reach regardless of what the old song says.

Case in point: Terance Calhoun, still imprisoned for crimes that he (apparently) did not commit. Here’s what we have: on 26 September 12006 somebody attacked a 15-year-old girl (Victim 1) near Fenkell Avenue and Gladstone Street in Detroit. (The charges were Attempted Kidnapping, Kidnapping, and Criminal Sexual Conduct - Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration.) A month later, on 27 October 12006, somebody sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl (Victim 2) near a liquor store on Fenkell Avenue. (The charges were Criminal Sexual Conduct First-Degree, Kidnapping, Felony Firearm, and Criminal Sexual Conduct - Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration.) Victim 2 (the 13-year-old) filed a police report and helped in the creation of a sketch of her attackers. The sketch was posted at the liquor store, where Terance Calhoun was arrested on 3 November.

Both girls identified Terance Calhoun as their attacker in separate lineups. As part of a plea agreement charges of Kidnapping and Criminal Sexual Conduct - Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration were dropped in the case of Victim 1, and the charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct - Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration was dropped in the case of Victim 2; Terance Calhoun pleaded no contest to the rest on 21 February 12007, and was sentenced 28 March.

Now that no contest plea is at least slightly interesting—it means that while Terance Calhoun did not dispute the charges, neither did he admit any guilt. As this was part of a plea agreement, I can’t help but wonder whether Terance Calhoun, seeing no viable defense to the charges against him, chose the lesser of two evils in not contesting some in return for more serious charges being dropped. Assuming that he was innocent, a plea of no contest might well feel more satisfying than a plea of guilty, even if the result was basically the same.

Because here’s the thing—Terance Calhoun apparently is innocent of the charges against him. According to the authorities, DNA evidence found in the examination of previously unexamined rape kits shows that someone else—a serial rapist no less—was the actual perpetrator of the crimes in question. Not Terance Calhoun.

Now I’m taking the word of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office Sexual Assault Kit Task Force that the evidence is as they say it is. This goes against the grain for me; I prefer to examine the evidence, or at least the results, for myself. We are told that untested sexual assault kits were responsible for the new evaluation of the evidence, but not the specifics. Was Victim 1 tested? (There is no mention of her filing a police report.) Was Victim 2? Are there two sexual assault kits involved, or one, or what? How much of this is hard evidence, and how much inference and speculation? For the moment I am assuming that a rape kit for at least one of the victims turned up, and that the DNA results exonerated Terance Calhoun and implicated somebody else. But this is speculation on my part, and nothing more.

In any case the wheels of justice have ground slowly on, and Terance Calhoun was scheduled to be released on Friday. Family members had come from out of town to celebrate—and then the unthinkable happened. Like a scene from an old black-and-white movie, a Detroit police officer—one Robert Kane—showed up with a binder of supposedly new evidence proving Terance Calhoun’s guilt. According to at least one account, the supposed evidence included confessions to both crimes. On the strength of Robert Kane’s conviction—she (quite properly) didn’t look at the binder contents—the judge delayed the proceedings until Wednesday.

Given that the DNA evidence has cleared Terance Calhoun I would hope Robert Kane has hard evidence—something more solid than confessions or eyewitness identifications. I don’t know what it could be, honestly. We hear that there is nothing new in the binder—though I don’t know if that’s the result of actual examination or just grandstanding for the crowd. But as it stands, it certainly sounds as if “a police officer acting alone with no authority [who] could not face the facts” has resulted in Terance Calhoun continuing to be “wrongfully incarcerated”.

15 April 2022

15 April 12022

  15 April 12022. I think it's Good Friday, but I don't have the energy to confirm it or to deny it. I had my operation on Tuesday, and my arm is sore, but at least the bones are probably back in their correct order. I had blog entries started that I intended to post—pieces about Henry Kuttner and Tom Lehrer, who recently had birthdays; some stuff about how Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain, and why the standard story about home on the range may be a crock of shit. I'll probably rework this stuff and post it later but for the moment I don't feel up to it; I mostly want to lie here quietly as my arm (I hope) heals. I'll try to get something posted at any rate but I find dictating it instead of typing it is incredibly awkward and slow. Possibly I'll get used to it. Maybe I'll even come to prefer it. So far, however, It's been mostly tedious, horrible, and exhausting.

30 March 2022

29 March 12022

  29 March 12022 was the day I broke my shoulder and had 2 go 2 the emergency room. My ability to use the keyboard is limited and I am dictating this entry with sometimes surprising results. I will try to correct what it didn't get right. The accident was trivial; I tripped over a map handle in the laundry room and fell to the concrete floor, banging my shoulder against the washing machine on the way down. I could feel something give in my shoulder as it hit the metal surface, and when I was lying on the concrete floor I realized that my right arm was not working properly. So there you have it. Communications will probably be limited over the next interval; I am in some pain and have limited ability to use my right hand. I hope matters will improve, but I'm not betting on it. More later, I hope.

28 March 2022

28 March 12022

  28 March 12022 seems to be nothing in particular. It may be Teachers’ Day (Czech Republic and Slovakia), Serfs Emancipation Day (Tibet), and Seward’s Day (United States). I should probably recheck everything, but if I haven’t lost count it’s JD 2459667, 25 Veadar 5782, 25 Phalguna 2078, 15 (O.S.) or 28 (N.S.) March 2022, 19 Paremhat 1738, 24 Sha’ban 1443, and 8 Farvardin 1401. I have no saints listed, nor any birthdays, nor any historical events. A quick check of various online sources wasn’t any help either; the day seems to have no outstanding attributes—or at least, none that catch my attention.

27 March 2022

27 March 12022

  27 March 12022 is World Theatre Day. It is also International Whisky Day. In various corners of the world it’s Laetare Sunday (French Guiana), Armed Forces Day (Myanmar), Mothering Sunday (Nigeria), and the Day of the Union of Bessarabia with Romania (Romania) as well. The is also JD 2459666, 24 Veadar 5782, 24 Phalguna 2078, 14 (O.S.) or 27 (N.S.) March 2022, 18 Paremhat 1738, 23 Sha’ban 1443, and 7 Farvardin 1401. The saint of the day is John of Egypt (died 10394) who spent most of his life walled up in three cells carved out of the rock, giving audiences to selected pilgrims through a small window; even Theodosius the Great sent an envoy from time to time to get his opinion on key matters. People born on this date include Ferde Grofé and Thorne Smith (both 11892). (In honor of the event I’m listening to the Mississippi Suite as I write this; you might prefer to read Rain in the Doorway.)

26 March 2022

26 March 12022

  26 March 12022 is Make Up Your Own Holiday. Earth Hour is also observed today. Other holidays and observances include Independence Day (Bangladesh), Purple Day (Canada and United States), Prince Kuhio Day (Hawaii [US]), Martyrs’ Day (Mali), and National Day of Life, Peace and Justice (El Salvador). On various calendars in use today is JD 2459665, 23 Veadar 5782, 23 Phalguna 2078, 13 (O.S.) or 26 (N.S.) March 2022, 17 Paremhat 1738, 22 Sha’ban 1443, or 6 Farvardin 1401. The saint of the day is Richard Allen (11760–11831), who was born into slavery as “Negro Richard”, bought his way out of slavery to become a Methodist minister, and then was driven out of the denomination to found his own, the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Robert Frost, Bob Elliot, and Pierre Boulez all have birthdays today.

Yesterday when I went for a walk with my aging hound Harry we went up the little wooded trail to the park, and kind of circled around the northern end of it. Even though it was a fairly decent afternoon, only partly cloudy and warm for March, we had the place entirely to ourselves. We cut back through the tennis court to return home, and as I stared across it, empty except for autumn’s fallen leaves blowing across it, a kind of sadness seemed to pervade the scene. There would be life and activity again, I supposed, but it was bleak and empty now. Mind you, I prefer it that way; it’s just that there seems to be more hope with movement and activity. I guess it somehow suited us—the old dog and the old human being together in an otherwise empty landscape.

Well, I got back home and my roommate’s little Frenchie Rudy wanted his turn at a walk, so I got him harnessed and leashed and set out. He headed north, and then down the little wooded trail to the park as well—and when I got to the tennis court, the contrast couldn’t have been greater. A vigorous game was under way, with a small audience of friends, and even another dog. Rudy, of course, wanted to join in, and I had to steer him around the court and up through the park. There were children on the swings now, and other dogs on walks with their human counterparts, and things were generally more as I had sort of expected them to be on a decent Friday afternoon in March. It was like a scene from a different day—and yet not more than fifteen or twenty minutes could have passed, if that. Rudy was ecstatic; this definitely suited his mood and fitted his notions of what the world should be like, and it was all I could do to steer him through the park and back down our street to home.

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