December 29, 2007

Ohio Man Tasered During Arrest For 13th DUI

(The Weekly Vice) - Wayne Wykof, a 49 year old Ohio resident, was tasered during his 13th DUI arrest Thursday after he allegedly refused to stop biting himself.

What's more, the suspect also reportedly spit in an officer's face while he was being placed in a holding cell. Video cameras recorded the defiant man as he refused to cooperate with officers who were processing the arrest. The man also stripped and exposed himself to several officers.

Wykof may be charged with a felony count of harassment with a bodily substance.

View Myfox video of the incident HERE

Vice Reaction:

The real story here is not necessarily the spitting or the non-cooperation of the arrested man. Officers encounter unruly drunks on a daily basis. What insults the imagination in this instance is how a man is free to get behind the wheel after 12 prior DUI arrests or convictions.
This man qualifies in most states as a habitual violator after the 3rd or 4th DUI conviction. This designation (if the state of Ohio wasn't asleep at the wheel) should have triggered longer jail time long before arriving at a 13th DUI arrest.

It's just another example of how habitual violators like this are walking the street while first time petty offenders are using up valuable prison real estate for minor possession charges. The war on drugs is a failed policy, and cases like this aggravate that failure further.

We'll be looking at this case further to see what kind of sentences have been imposed on the accumulative DUI count. We'd like to know how the Judge from the 11th and 12th DUI charges overlooked the obvious danger this man imposes on society with his habit. How many other times did the man drive while intoxicated and NOT get caught?
Danny Vice

December 27, 2007

Mischa Barton DUI Mugshot

The 2007 Celebrity DUI jinx continues. Former OC star, Mischa Barton adds to the long list of celebrities arrested for DUI this year. What few people are reporting thus far is that Mischa was also nailed for possession. Extra picture added for those of you in disbelief.

I won't add a long commentary here, as this will certainly not be the last celebrity dui, however I would like to point out LA County's mis-pelling of Mischa's name. Gasp. How dare them!

Danny Vice

December 26, 2007

Des Moines Man Becomes Trapped In Septic Tank On Christmas Eve

Des Moines, Iowa (The Weekly Vice) - Where's the most undesirable place you'd want to be on Christmas Eve. The in-laws home? Perhaps a grocery store purchasing last minute items for Christmas Day dinner?

It's likely that Robert Schoff has you beat.

This Christmas Eve, the Des Moines resident found himself in a rather foul situation, to put it mildly. The 77 year old man had stumbled onto toilet trouble, so he went outside to investigate his septic tank.

He attempted to remove a clog he thought he'd found, when he suddenly found himself a part of the problem. Robert, soon lost his balance and fell head first into the Christmas cheer, while his legs kicked in the air. He had become wedged in the opening, for nearly an hour as his yells for help went unheard.

Toni, his wife began to wonder where he'd disappeared to, unaware of his head first dive into a world of unbearable odor. She peered out a window hoping to find him. What she found were a pair of legs dangling in the air.

"I saw these kicking feet and ran out, but couldn't get him out," she recalls.

She contacted emergency personnel and two deputies from the Sheriff's office arrived to pull him out. "I thought it was the end of my life," said Robert. "Thank God my wife saw me. I don't think I could have stood staying there much more," he added.

The Vice would venture to guess that million dollar fudge and chocolate pie were not the dessert of choice for the remainder of the evening.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

Apple's Stock Value and Market Share Spikes Mean Something More!

Dec. 26 - Apple Inc. hit a new milestone today. Of course this isn't anything new really. Apple has been breaking records, setting trends and pioneering the world of electronic gadgetry for decades now. What sets this new milestone apart from all the others is that this particular success is due in large part to consumer confidence in the Apple brand.

Apple stock briefly spiked above $200 per share in mid-afternoon trading for the first time in Apple history. Although Nasdaq closed with the stock settled in at $198.95, the spike is uncharted success for Apple and an extremely good indicator of continued growth potential.

So what's so special about this number?

Although tech stocks continue moderate growth, they are still somewhat bee stung from the market meltdown nearly a decade ago. Computer and electronics manufacturers have enjoyed fairly solid profitability in 2007, however when it comes to stock, consumer confidence has kept the industry in low gear when it comes to stock values. Yes the gains are there, but not nearly an par with pre-recessionary growth from 6 and 7 years ago.

Apple however has enjoyed an apathy bucking surge in 2007, that has even surpassed Apple's expectations.

While much of this success can be attributed to the success of the iPod and iPhone, there's another important element in play when it comes to stock values, and that is consumer confidence.

Recent polling from the University of Michigan has showed Apple customer satisfaction CSI ratings at an all time high, while the industry dominant Dell computer brand has slipped roughly 6.3% since 2004.

The powerball component of these numbers hint that as consumers migrate over to the Apple platform, they are happy with the conversion. Most companies who are experiencing major sales growth typically has it's hands full keeping it's customer satisfaction index high.

Rapid changes in product, new user questions and the introduction of new product like the Apple iPhone, normally will bring tide after tide of customer service issues. A high CSI result, says a lot about how Apple is handling it's success. It also speaks to Apples abilities to successfully handle additional growth.

Apple stock has more than doubled since January. Apple stock has enjoyed growth from a 2007 low of $76.77 per share to a growth factor of 134% for the year. (source)

Apple also continues to increase it's share of US computer sales, capturing over 8% of overall computer sales across the US. While this number is only about 1/3 of Dell's US sales, it's almost double Apple's market share from just a few years ago. Apple is hot, and all indicators suggest this train isn't going to slow down anytime soon.

When you add the remarkable growth of Apple's computer sales together with it's dominance in the MP3 player market and successful first year with the iPhone, most experts agree that Apple's market presence has yet to reach it's apex.

Why should the consumer care about this?

Although the PC vs. Mac wars have raged on through the years with a loyal following on either side, Apple's contribution to revolutionizing the industry and pioneering completely new products has been an established and re-established reality of the industry.

Marry the research and development funds that come with rapid growth together with Apple's pioneering spirit and you end up with a sure bet that Apple will be producing some tremendously cool new products in the coming years that will make the iPod as ancient as the Walkman is today. Product revisions that took well over a decade in the past, become revised now in two or three years.

Apple has a flair for completely redesigning it's products every few years, as opposed to the Microsoft approach which has largely resisted major change. For those who are forever intrigued by the inflow of cool new gadgets and aggressive changes in computer upgrades, the future is bright. Very bright.

December 24, 2007

NORAD Tracks Santa - A Christmas Eve Tradition

North Pole - Got Kids? If so, you certainly don't want to deprive them of this little pearl which NORAD (North American Defense Command) puts on every year.

Santa Tracker is a real time - interactive presentation that you and your kids can use to spot-check where Santa is during Christmas Eve. There is no log-in required, most computers can easily dispay the site features, and it's fun (especially for your kids).

I do recommend however that you log in early and STAY logged in. Traffic to the site increases as the evening progresses, and it becomes a little harder to get the site to load as it becomes jammed with hundreds of thousands of users around 7:30 to 11:00 pm.

GLE EARTH teams up with Santa Tracker

This year, there's something new. Google Earth teams up with Santa Tracker to provide a Santa Tracker 3D experience. You must download Google Earth first and then launch the Google Earth Santa tracker program which is also on the NORAD Santa tracker site. All instructions are clearly displayed on the Santa Tracker interactive screen. It took me

If you do not have a computer, or if all efforts to log on fail, you can still get an update by telephone. It's TOLL FREE

Speak To NORAD Santa Tracker in person: 1-877-446-6723

Do not let the load time dissuade you. With a little effort, you'll get in. It's worth the effort, and your kids will absolutely love it!

How did Santa Tracker get started?

Many people know about Santa Tracker, but few people know the story of how NORAD got involved with this annual event. I found the answer on Check it out!

December 23, 2007

Isaac Nathan - Florida Teacher Busted For Indecent Proposal To Student

Bartow, Fla - (The Weekly Vice) Give the teacher and A for arrested. A 16 year old girl assisted police in the sting of yet another Teacher sex scandal which also hit the news this week.

Police have now charged a Isaac Nathan, a Florida math teacher for soliciting sex with a minor according to the Polk County arrest report included above.

The girl told police that on Tuesday, she asked Tillis how she could "go about enhancing her grade" in his class. She inquired about the possibility of any 'extra credit' that could be done to bring her grade up in his class.

According to the girl, Tillis did have extra credit in mind. Something that she could do for him personally. According to other sources, the teacher included a note in a hall pass to the minor suggesting a 'blow job' in exchange for an 'A' in the class.

The girl reported the lewd suggestion to her parents and police, which promptly set up a sting to catch the teacher in the act.

The minor scheduled a rendezvous with the teacher, while wearing a wire. According to police statements, the man dropped his pants in a bathroom stall for the teen just moments before the police jumped in to make the arrest.

The teen's parents have commented that they were aware of the sting, and that the operation was closely monitored to protect their daughter during the execution of the sting.

The Weekly Vice Reaction:

While I'm normally quite critical of officials in child exploitation cases, this case gives me a chance to balance my criticism out with some well deserved compliments.

It appears that police, the school, the teen's parents and the teen involved all worked together extremely well to not only bust this perp, but went further to strengthen the case against him with a well executed sting. Many parents would be understandably apprehensive about their teen's participation in a sting like this. Both the teen and her parents are to be commended for their efforts in busting this idiot.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

Wife Stabs Husband For Opening Christmas Present Early

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. ( The Weekly Vice) - A woman stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife following an argument that began when she accused him of opening a Christmas present early, authorities said Friday.

Misty Johnson, 34, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and battery, a felony, and misdemeanor domestic battery. Her husband, Shawn Fay Johnson, 34, was treated at a hospital for a wound to the chest, police said.

Misty Johnson made an initial court appearance Thursday in which she requested a court-appointed attorney, authorities said. She was released after posting bail, which was set at $7,500.

There was no telephone listing for her in Rock Springs.

Authorities said Shawn Johnson called 911 just before 1 a.m. Wednesday to report that his wife had stabbed him. He told police that his wife started arguing with him over his opening a Christmas present, according to court records.

As the argument escalated, Misty Johnson accused her husband of having an affair, authorities said. Police found a marriage license in the couple's apartment stating they were married in late September.

Police Detective David Thompson said he didn't know what the present was, or if it was intended for the husband.

December 22, 2007

Mesa Teacher Has Lesbian Affair With Student

UPDATE: Gay Lyn Turley Found Guilty

Gay Lyn Turley pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain to sexual conduct with a minor and admitting that she had sexual contact with the teen in the month of June 2003. Sentencing is scheduled for August 27th.

Under the terms of the plea arrangement, Turley will receive at least 10 years of probation and will register as a sex offender. She will also surrender her teaching certificate and have no contact with the victim.

Previous Report

(The Weekly Vice) - Mesa High School teacher and activities coach Gay Lyn Turley was arrested Wednesday, Dec. 19th on suspicion of having a four-year long sexual relationship with a female student who attended the Mesa, Arizona school.

The 42 year old Turley was arrested just hours after the school ended it's semester for winter break. She was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on suspicion of 10 counts of sexual contact with a minor.

Turley, a Mesa High School physical education teacher and softball coach admitted to the affair, which apparently began when the victim (now 20 years old) was a 16 year old student at the school.

Police said Turley's relationship with the former student began in 2003 when the girl was 16, and that all sexual contact between the two took place at Turley's home in Gilbert. When the victim turned 18, she moved in with Turley.

Following a dispute, the victim moved out of the suspects home in 2007 and reported the relationship to police on December 10th. Investigators who interviewed Turley say she had planned to commit suicide when the investigation was over.

Turley was denied bond and was placed under house arrest with an electronic monitoring system.

"Mesa Public Schools placed Turley on paid leave, and the district is working with police and conducting an internal investigation, said Kathy Bareiss, a spokesperson for the school. "If it's found that she has broken laws and district policy, the likelihood is that she will be terminated, she added. has posted a copy of the police report here.

The Weekly Vice Reaction:

Apparently this is a case of revenge on the part of the now 20 year old adult who is using the charge as retribution. When the affair was hot, the teen moved in.... When things turned bad, she wasted very little time in playing the jail bait card.

While every instance of child exploitation is wrong and should be prosecuted, one certainly can't have a whole lot of compassion for the victim in this particular case, who as an adult carried on the relationship for a solid two years before deciding she was a victim. It really sort of underminds those who are truly victimized, while watching their oppressors walk away from court with little to no jail time for their offense.

Consider the case of Andrew James, the scumbag who plead guilty and was convicted of molesting a 4 year old boy 10 different times. He was sentenced to 30 months to 5 years in jail, however the Judge suspended the entire jail term in lieu of sex offender therapy and a warning to 'refrain from criminal behavior'.

Even worse, the court failed to process the sex offender notification paperwork, and James walked out of jail with no provisions ordering him to stay away from the child. He was completely free to molest again.

Although statutory rape of a 16 year old is a serious crime, I wonder how this case will compare to the Debra Lafave case which resulted in house arrest for a mere 2 to 3 years before she violated her probation.

The minor in this case is 2 significant years older than the boy of the Debra Lafave case, which has been known to effect the felony status of a statutory rape case. It will be interesting to see how this story develops, considering the teacher in this case is no Debra Lafave.

Justice under the law? We'll see. I bet she gets jail time. No matter how wrong, the attractiveness of teachers in these stories often affect the final outcome of the imposed sentence

Danny Vice

December 19, 2007

Edwards Campaign - Death By Pregnancy

(The Weekly Vice) Well, there's no doubt about it. John Edward's campaign is over at this point. Regardless of his good showing in current polling, there's a land mine awaiting his campaign if he were to ever be nominated - and the Rapid Fire Media knows this.

While the National Enquirer's story of an Edward's infidelity claim has failed to gain major traction, it has something far worse.... It's a slow drip story.

This means that as new speculative updates to this story come out, the less electable Edwards becomes, as he trails the Democratic pack in most states anyways.

While few people really believe Edwards has a real shot at the nomination anyway, the story has a bigger significance. Where will Edwards supporter's votes go when they figure out he's unelectable?

Excerpt from the National Enquirer's Story:

Presidential candidate John Edwards is caught up in a love child scandal, a blockbuster ENQUIRER investigation has discovered.The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively that Rielle Hunter, a woman linked to Edwards in a cheating scandal earlier this year, is more than six months pregnant — and she's told a close confidante that Edwards is the father of her baby!

The ENQUIRER's political bombshell comes just weeks after Edwards emphatically denied having an affair with Rielle, who formerly worked on his campaign and told another close pal that she was romantically involved with the married ex-senator.

The ENQUIRER has now confirmed not only that Rielle is expecting, but that she's gone into hiding with the help of a former aide to Edwards. The visibly pregnant blonde has relocated from the New York area to Chapel Hill, N.C., where she is living in an upscale gated community near political operative Andrew Young, who's been extremely close to Edwards for years and was a key official in his presidential campaign.And in a bizarre twist, Young — a 41-year-old married man with young children — now claims HE is the father of Rielle's baby!

But others are skeptical, wondering if Young's paternity claim is a cover-up to protect Edwards.Meanwhile, Edwards' cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth has joined him on the campaign trail. In a statement issued to The ENQUIRER through her attorney, Rielle said: "The fact that I am expecting a child is my personal and private business. This has no relationship to nor does it involve John Edwards in any way.

Andrew Young is the father of my unborn child."But a source extremely close to the 43-year-old divorcée says Rielle has told a far different story privately: "Rielle told me she had a secret affair with Edwards. When she found out that she was pregnant, she said he was the father."Rielle loves Edwards and will do anything to protect him, the source says. source

December 18, 2007

Man Voyeur Jailed For Secretly Taping Step Daughter

MIDDLETOWN - (The Weekly Vice) - A retired New Haven firefighter has been sentenced to six months in prison for secretly videotaping his stepdaughter.

Richard Stevenson has been accused of setting up hidden cameras to tape his stepdaughter undressing and having sex with her boyfriend.

The 59-year-old Stevenson, a Hamden resident, admitted that he hid cameras inside the East Haddam home he lived in with his former wife and her daughter.

Stevenson said he put cameras in a carbon monoxide detector, the basement ceiling and on a night table in the stepdaughter's bedroom.

Stevenson, sentenced Monday, had faced 18 months in prison after pleading no contest in October to one count of voyeurism. source

Danny Vice

December 15, 2007

Debra Lafave Parole Violation

Ruskin, Fla - (The Weekly Vice) - For those who have been feeling a little Teacher Sex Scandal deprived, Debra Lafave has felt your pain. Lafave is back in the news after allegedly having contact with a 16 year old minor in violation of her probation.

In 2004, Debra Lafave became a household name after she was arrested and charged with having sex with a 14 year old boy. Her case quickly gained popularity when sexy modeling photos of her surfaced shortly after charges were announced.

Her status as a middle school teacher and apparent attractiveness bolstered the case quickly. It also deepened the debate about child predator law, and what appropriate punishment for these kinds of acts should be.

Lafave plead guilty in 2005 to two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior as part of a plea arrangement with prosecutors. The sentence provided that Lafave would not serve jail time, but would remain under house arrest ( community control ) for three years. If she completed the first two years of community control without violating her parole, she would be allowed to petition the court to convert the 3rd year to probation.

Her sentence also provided 7 years of probation, orders to attend a sex offender treatment program and explicit instructions that she not have contact with any person under the age of 18.

Details Of The New Charges

According to a Department Of Corrections spokeswoman, Lafave was having "intimate discussions" with a 17 year old female coworker while employed at a Sun City Center restaurant. "Lafave talked with the coworker about their boyfriends, violating terms of her probation that prohibit her from having unsupervised contact with minors."

Lafave is expected to appear before Circuit Judge, J Rogers Padgett on January 7th, 2007 to answer the new charge.

Curiously, patrons of the restaurant Lafave worked at during her parole have signed a petition requesting Lafave's release from the charge and that she be allowed to return to her job as a waitress. "We feel it is terrible that they are raking her over the coals again," said Ed Leary, a 78 year old petitioner.

Scott Griffin, the manager of the restaurant said that everyone there was "shocked" by the arrest. He said she never waited on minors and he never saw her talk or act inappropriately with a minor or anyone else. Hostesses knew not to give her a table with minors, he said.

The Weekly Vice Reaction:

While we at the Weekly Vice are normally rather unrelenting when it comes to child exploitation of any kind, this new case is ridiculous. It's obvious from the reactions of the store manager and patrons, that a dilligent effort was made from all parties to keep the employment arrangement as compliant with the court's wishes as possible. But why was this employment approved by the parole officer to begin with?

Those on parole are normally expected to report employment changes to the parole officer, especially while under house arrest. Since officials in this case were aware of Debra's employment, part of the blame belongs to them. Maybe all of it.

Just about everyone knows that restaurants regularly recruit teenagers to staff their establishments. How does one work side by side with a minor without establishing contact?

Restauraunt employees are expected to communicate and work as a team. Waitresses, hostesses, kitchen employees and management are always communicating with each other in order to expedite hot food and cleanliness expectations of the customer.

This case is a sham, as it would appear at this point that parole officials are either dumber than a rock, unrealistic in their expectations, or simply fell asleep at the wheel.

The Parole Officer could have rejected this employment arrangement altogether, knowing that contact with minors was an unrealistic expectation of this kind of employment. Instead, thousands upon thousands of tax dollars will be spent prosecuting a case where the arrangements were dubious from the start.

Danny Vice

December 13, 2007

Lori Drew - We Don't Believe You

Dardenne Prairie, Mo (The Weekly Vice) - There are times in a handful of cases when the needle on the B.S. meter stands straight up. When attorneys or officials in a case go so far in their rhetoric, you simply have to begin calling them out on their nonsense. The case of Megan Meier, the 13 year old teen who committed suicide after she was lured into a downward spiral, has reached such level.

We have a county prosecutor and a defense attorney who have gone on the record with statements that flat out rewrite history and previous statements. This flat out stinks of corruption that's increasingly becoming on par with the Duke Lacrosse Player's scandal.

If we were to believe that the statements Lori Drew is now making are truthful, and the police report she filed (above) in Nov. 2006 is now incorrect, then why shouldn't Lori Drew should be prosecuted for filing a false police report or charged with making a false statement? Why is she not being charged for obstruction of justice?

Lori Drew, through her attorney Jim Brisco,e has made the following statements:

"Everything, as far as Mrs. Drew knew, was that all the communication was nice and polite and there was no harassing going on. She did not create the MySpace account. She did not instruct anybody to create the MySpace account. She never made any communications through the MySpace account."

"She knew these girls were doing it and she didn't stop it. She wishes she did. If she could turn back the clock, that's the part she would do differently." told to TODAY's Matt Lauer

Well alright Lori - now that you've completely absolved yourself from the case in any way, shape or form, please explain how this squares with your previous statements. Why has your statement changed from when you were on the attack against the Meier family instead of defending yourself.

See, now everyone else is to blame besides you. The officer who took your statement is a liar. Your daughter is to blame. Your employee is to blame. The Meier family is to blame. Yes Lori, everyone is to blame besides you.

We have a long memory Ms. Drew. We aren't fools. We understand why your statements were different when you were attacking the Meier family. We understand why you now wish to play the victim.

But when it all comes down to it, we simply don't believe you. We'll take the officer's account of what you said above what your attorney says. He was not being paid to defend you and/or boost your public perception standings.

Jack Banas, we are calling for charges in this case one way or another.

Either the women did stalk this child, or she made knowingly false statements to the police prior to the surfacing of this report.

You cannot absolve this woman of complete wrong doing on both sides of the fence. Pick a side or step down and let someone take over who can. Too many admissions have been publicly made for you to continue to hide under your desk.

Danny Vice

December 10, 2007

Welcome NPR Listeners

Laura Conaway, a journalist for NPR's Bryant Park Project recently interviewed Danny Vice as part of her report which focused on the Megan Meier tragedy. This story is expected to be broadcast on Tuesday, December 11th. The story is expected to air during the 8:00 slot.

If you've arrived after hearing the story, please feel welcome. We know some of you will want to comment about what you've heard. The Weekly Vice invites you to share your viewpoint.

Read the articles. Share your thoughts. Participate in our polls. Your opinion counts! Thank you for caring about the Megan Meier case and taking an interest in it.

You can comment directly to NPR on this story HERE

December 09, 2007

Nicole "Nikki" Catsouras - Another Example Of The Internet Predator Problem

Meet Nikki Catsouras, a beautiful 18 year old who's life was brutally cut short in a gruesome car crash Halloween night, 2006. Traveling at what the California Highway Patrol estimates to be about 100 miles per hour, an intoxicated Nikki slammed her father's Porsche 911 into a concrete tollbooth.

The accident is really nothing unique unfortunately, but the events that followed provide an extremely sobering example of the evil that lurks within the Internet. It also exposes the tragic reality of how unreasonably ineffective our laws are for dealing with online predators, bullies and harassers.

The details:

Shortly after Nikki Catsouras accident, photographs of the accident were taken by the California Highway Patrol. This is normal policy and a widely followed practice of accident scene investigators who are seeking to preserve the accident scene. Unfortunately for the Catsouras family, this is the point where the their daughter's tragedy would be turned into an ongoing nightmare.

While some details of the case have yet to emerge completely. We do know that someone from the California Highway Patrol leaked these photos to the public. Within a matter of weeks, the accident scene photos succeeded in saturating the Internet.

The photos in question were extremely graphic. The twisted wreckage of the accident are convincing enough, however the most upsetting images were those of Nikki, who's nearly decapitated head was smashed open. Parts of her head were scattered across the scene while Nikki was still seat belted in the driver's seat of the car.

It's important to give a description of the photos, so you'll understand the heinousness of what came next. The Weekly Vice will not show the image of Nikki this article deals with because it is extremely graphic, and that Catsouras family has been plagued enough by it. We have shown one abstract photo of the wreckage, so you'll be able to understand the significance of the damage, and why the Catsauras family would like the more gruesome photos removed.

While the leaking of these images opens many issues about how law enforcement handles it's investigative material, the real outrage is what the Catsourus family was forced to experience next.

Soon after the release of these photos, while the Catsouras family mourned their daughter's death, the family began to receive taunting message along with the most graphic images from their daughter's accident scene. The photos quickly made their way to an estimated 1,600 websites across the Internet.

Just a few days after the accident, Nikki's teenage cousin opened her cell phone and was confronted with an image of of Nikki's mangled remains. This was no isolated event as many members of the Catsouras family began receiving emails, text messages and links to websites which repeated these graphic images over and over.

The statements that accompanied the images were often cruel, poking fun at the beautiful girl who was no longer beautiful. Even the deceased girl's MySpace page had contained anonymous postings of the accident scene, and a tribute site that was created for Nikki was eventually found to be little more than another front for displaying the grizzly photos.

Christos (Nikki's father) and Lesli Catsouras no longer go online or use email accounts. The Catsouras' three children also avoid using the Internet.

"It's evil!" says Nikki's mother Lesli Catsouras. "It's evil, and this was done maliciously as a joke. And it has devastated our lives completely. People should know that this can happen to them."

"There was threats that people were gonna put the pictures on my locker, in my locker," said Danielle (Nikki's sister). "I remember her in such a great way, I don't wanna see it and have that image stuck in my head."

Nikki's mother agrees. "I've stopped using my email," she says. "I don't want to see these every single day. ... And you know, I take a risk every time I go to the computer.

"We talk about Nikki all the time," says Nikki's father Christos. "We've got pictures of her everywhere. We laugh about her, cry. I always called her Angel."

Tyler Offenhauser, the family's attorney laments the utter lack of legal recourse in cases like these. "The Internet is growing in leaps and bounds. The law is not," he explains.

The Catsauras family's lawsuit against the CHP for allegedly releasing releasing the accident scene pictures to the public was recently confirmed by a judge who set the case for trial before a jury.

"They were crime scene pictures that never, ever should have gone out," says Christos. "There was a big mistake made by the California Highway Patrol that was never really acknowledged, or they never wanted to help us once the mistake had been made".

While the CHP has admitted in a letter to the Catsouras family that it's dispatchers violated department policy, it has said it is not responsible for the Catsouras' anguish.

The Weekly Vice Reaction :

Example after example, the story is the same. Internet predators who victimize the innocent with calculating, heinous acts of disregard, continue to go free. Their activities sometimes even condoned as "free speech".

What may be most troubling however is the ever present excuse making of our elected officials who continue to hide under a desk when the public calls upon them for justice in these cases.

In the case of harassing emails, why didn't officials track down the author behind these offensive attacks? The technology certainly exists. Why would tossing a cigarette butt out a vehicle window constitute a graver offense in the eyes of law enforcement, thus prompting immediate action while cases like these languish in silence?

The excuse lawmakers use to let themselves off the hook stem from the growth of the Internet and how fast it's changing. This is a sham. Chat rooms, message boards, instant messengers and email have been in existence for far over a decade now. While the software used to transmit messages changes slightly, the basic essence of using the Internet to send a message is largely the same. Is a decade or two long enough to establish some basic decency laws in regards to Internet usage? The Vice certainly believes it is.

In both the Nikki Catsouras case and the Megan Meier case, we're continually reminded of how inept our laws are to combat such egregious acts of lawlessness, however these same officials ignore the call to pass the laws they say would convict such acts. We'd like to know what the hold up is.

In very few instances have I ever seen such a great disconnect between lawmakers and the public it claims it serves. In very few instances have I seen such a clear, concise message being sent to lawmakers to act. It isn't every day that an entire nation becomes outraged at the lack of law, yet lawmakers fail to heed the call.

In many Internet stalking/harassment cases, perpetrators refuse to take responsibility for their actions. In both cases here, we have a complete lack of real concern from officials towards victims of these cases. They simply continue to point out the lack of legal recourse as if it were a bragging right.

Why wouldn't voters be outraged at lawmakers who waste massive amounts of time running American troop activities into the ground, while our own children are exploited, harassed, stalked and even murdered - all the while excusing themselves from responsibility by casting it off as a freedom of speech.

Laws that are eventually enacted are so weak, they often times rival the seriousness of a speeding ticket. It's really time the issue be fully explored as a priority at both the state and federal levels. Unfortunately we aren't optimistic that this will be the case - as lawmakers have already played the "freedom of speech" card in both cases here.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

December 07, 2007

Lori Drew - The Jig Is Finally Up

Dardenne Prairie, Mo. (The Weekly Vice) - At last the Megan Meier story can finally be told in it's entirety. The iron curtain of the media, which has fought for over a month to conceal the identity of the adult behind Megan Meier's suicide, has finally dropped it's cloak of secrecy. The jig is up, and its about time.

Although Megan Meier's suicide occurred October 16, 2006, the story was shelved for nearly a year. Officials and attorneys close to the case had advised the parties involved to keep quiet about the case pending the investigation. When officials wrapped up the investigation, it decided against filing charges to the dismay of the Meier family and others who had expected some sort of justice for Megan in the case.

On November 10th, 2007 a journalist for the St. Charles Journal broke the silence, as Tina and Ron Meier finally told Megan's story.

Steve Poken, the journalist who initially published the story, made what he thought was a safeguard decision to NOT publish the name of the adult who spent 6 weeks luring, baiting and manipulating the teen into the downward spiral that eventually claimed her life.

Collectively, all major media outlets adopted the St. Charles Journal's policy of concealing Lori Drew's identity, despite the existence of public records which clearly established the parties involved.

When bloggers tracked down the police report confirming the adult's identity, the blogging community published it's findings much to the frustration of some news services. The media struck back.

Story after story aired, labeling the blogging community as 'Internet Vigilantes'. Some news services berated the blogging community for revealing the name. Others even expressed empathy for the Drew family. Either way, the media regularly demonstrates a willingness to publish names, regardless of whether charges have been filed in a case.

The refusal of news services to publish the name of the perpatrator behind the Megan Meier story clearly deviated from the media norm, which usually doesn't hesitate to print names unless the law bans them from doing so.

A media who normally champions it's freedom of speech rights has rarely resisted divulging information, even when it has resulted in mass violence.

Remember the case of the Muhammad cartoons? News outlets deliberately printed cartoons, knowing that mass outrage would lead to mass violence in Muslim nations. No, I'm sorry. I'm not buying the medias explanations of ethics behind concealing the name here. Either way, the issue is now irrelevant. Major media outlets have finally dropped the charade.

Nearly every cable news channel and dozens of print media news sources have now broadcast the name which was once considered taboo by these same news sources. Some are even publishing photos and video segments of the Drews.

Why now?

The Vice believes that as the Drew family lawyered up and began talking, the media finally found it's way again. That narrow ethical line news services had previously used to disqualify the posting of Lori Drew's name, suddenly became nonexistent. .

Looking back, the Vice reflects on the twists and turns this case has taken and sees a silver lining here. The media's refusal to tell Megan's story in it's entirety may have very well succeeded in thrusting the story onto the world stage.

Had proper disclosure of the players involved been broadcast early on, thenews cycle would have likely been shorter in duration. By shrouding parts of this story in secrecy, the mystery of it spawned increasing interest.

Although the prosecutors in this case claim that Lori violated no law, very few people believe this. If the case had been brought before a judge, the case could have been disposed of with legal arguments instead of public arguments. Even if the case were not strong enough to result in prosecution, the public might have been more satisfied with the process - even though the same result was achieved.

The Vice believes that the official in the case and the media who sought to sanitize it, in turn did Megan a favor. The issue, which could have been a 2 day sound bite has taken on new life and created an almost cult-like following.

Perhaps a lesson can be learned from this story. Perhaps a silver lining can be found. Whatever the case, it's nice to know the tragic story of Megan Meier has finally been told.

Danny Vice

December 06, 2007

Legal Hallucinogenic Herb Spreads Across The Internet

(The Weekly Vice) - An herb with powerful hallucinogenic power is quickly catching on across the US and other countries. It's an herb that's said to create intense hallucinations even by an experienced drug user's standards. Some insist it's as potent as LSD and may be the strongest naturally growing drug in the hallucinogenic family.

What makes this herb/drug a little different than most is that it's perfectly legal and widely available.

Salvia Divinorum, also known as Diviner's sage , Magic Mint and Sally D, is a psychoactive herb that belongs to the sage genus and the Lamiaceae (mint) family.

Research has shown that Salvinorin A, the active ingredient in Salvia divinorum, works in the same region of the brain as morphine and many opioid pain reducers do. As research reveals more about the inter-workings of opioids and their effect on opioid receptors, Salvia may provide treatment for stimulant abuse. But for now, it's legal status worries both parents and lawmakers who see Salvia as a growing problem

Although Salvia is already banned in just a few states, there are no Federal laws that ban the substance. There are 3 states who currently outlaw the herb and 25 additional states are expected to vote on banning Silvia in 2008. Congress has taken up the issue, which resulted in failure to classify the herb as a controlled substance.

Salvia is available at many tobacco shops, herbal remedy stores and is available for order online, although most Internet sites that sell Salvia clearly point out it will not ship the substance to states that outlaw it.

Why has Salvia managed to remain relatively unknown to the mass public and why do bills that seek to outlaw this Magic Mint seem to fail so often? Despite the reported effectiveness of the herb, it does not yet seem to result in a significant number of hospitalizations, chemical dependance or cases of criminal activity.

The chief concern over Silvia seems to be that of parents who's teenagers are learning about the drug through Internet sites like U-Tube, which are popular with teens. While Silvia is not a recent discovery, many home grown legal stimulants like it have become increasingly known among teens due in large part to the Internet. While the long term effects of it are still being researched, critics charge that it is being sold under false pretense. They claim it is being advertised as a high, when in fact it's effect is very unlike that of Marijuana.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

December 05, 2007

Megan Meier - The Hunt For The Lori Drew Clone

Dardenne Prairie, Mo. (The Weekly Vice) - Could the case of Megan Meier become any stranger? First, an adult stalks a minor child to the point of suicide. Then an angry public goes on the march to expose this adult. Now, we are on a new hunt. The hunt to expose Lori Drew's apparent sympathizer.

Yes, there's a new chapter to the Megan Meier saga. A story that begun with the tragic suicide of a 13 year old girl a little more than a year ago.

On November 18th, 2007 a new blog titled "Megan Meier Had It Coming" was published with links to the blog being posted to several other blogs that were discussing the case.

Now, local officials have confirmed that an investigation has been launched by the county's Cyber Crimes division in an attempt to uncover the blog's author.

The blog, which was initially authored by a persona named "Kristen", first assumed the role of a young person claiming to know Megan Meier. The author described experiences with Megan Meier in an attempt to justify the stalking activities of Lori Drew, Mrs. Drew's daughter and an 18 year old employee of Drew's advertising business.

The blog then took a curious turn when a new post was added, claiming to be Lori Drew herself. This new post went into great detail describing the course of events leading to Megan Meier's suicide from a viewpoint sympathetic to the Drew family. At the conclusion of the blog entry, the author challenges readers "Here I am, Internet. Come and get me."

The Drew family's attorney, Jim Briscoe has not yet been reached for comment, however Lori Drew's father apparently did. According to Fox 2, the father stated that the Drew family had nothing to do with the blog and that the family welcomed the investigation into the blog's origin and author.

Tina Meier, the mother of teenager who took her own life following the MySpace taunting initiated by the Drews, also welcomed the investigation.

The Weekly Vice Reaction:

While I personally do not care for the blog in question, it's objective or it's author, there is one good outcome from it that I must point out. The blog, which is obviously sympathetic to the Drew's point of view is a double edged sword that also works against local officials in the case.

The truth is, lawmakers do not like this case and do not like the national scrutiny it brings. Extending this saga, continues a case that local officials desperately want to end.

Local law enforcement wants the story to die because monitoring the Drew family home from an angry public drains man hours. The prosecutors want the story to die because the community is losing faith in it's ability to prosecute other cases. While the county prosecutor is not an elected position, the state's Attorney General is. The sooner this story dies, the less significant it will be during the next election cycle.

The national press would also like this story to subside. Increasingly, both the televised and print media find themselves losing it's ability to influence what the public knows and talks about.

Slowly but surely, the blogging community enjoys an ever increasing market share of where the public gets it's news. Surely it must seem unfair to a career journalist armed with a political science degree to find his or her self competing with soccer moms and special interest groups who are not bound by the same 'ethics' requirements.

But the story refuses to die thus far and this is good news. Good because it keeps the pressure on lawmakers to move from rhetoric into legislation. Since we are months away from an election, it's important that this story isn't forgotten when a former attorney 'Claire McCaskill' promises to represent Missouri families for US Senate. It will be a good story to keep in mind when the next Matt Blunt considers new legislation to toughen Internet predator laws. It's a good story to remind folks that our Congress has a duty to the American people outside of sparring over the Iraq war.

No, I don't agree with or condone the message behind the 'Megan Meier Had It Coming' blog one bit. But there's an obvious silver lining here that may work to help motivate our lawmakers into real action.

Interestingly, it certainly is possible that this was the entire point of the blog in the first place.

Danny Vice

December 02, 2007

Megan Meier - The Media's Hypocritical Cover - Up

Dardenne Prairie, Mo (The Weekly Vice) - The Megan Meier Tragedy has sparked an activist culture of those who vehemently demand justice for Megan Meier to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Via countless blogs, city official telephones and even Lori Drew's own home, the message is coming through loud and clear. Something about this story has compelled many to take to the Internet and express their views strongly and often.

Now, a counter-culture is beginning to emerge to combat what seems to many to be a pretty straight forward issue. Small groups are beginning to push back against the tide of people who are looking for heads to roll in the Megan Meier case. Some who feel that the outing of Lori Drew perhaps went too far.

The naming of Lori Drew has sparked quite a debate indeed. Some major news services have chosen to name the perpetrator(s) behind this story such as the New York Times . Others have chosen not to. They all agree fairly conclusively that the blogging community should shoulder the 'blame' for revealing the name of the adult stalker who lured Megan into the downward spiral that inevitably claimed her life.

The only question I have in this debate is simple. What is new here? Since before the French Revolution, the media has been used to 'out' individuals who's actions seem to bear public relevancy in some way. Turn on any cable news channel and simply wait. It will be a matter of minutes before some poor soul's identity churns through the 24 hour news cycle until the story reaches it's saturation limit.

Although Lori Drew has not been charged in the case of Megan Meier, the media has never required formal charges to be made before running a story. Sometimes journalist like Dan Rather, run with stories before even confirming that they're true.

Media establishments who have chosen to NOT reveal Lori Drew's identity say they are doing so to protect the identity of the Drew's children.

I'm wondering if by doing this, the media plans to always withhold the names of interesting persons who outrage the community, if those persons have children. This would certainly be quite a ground-breaking event.

The media would have to reverse dozens of stories it is now airing, where the subject in the story has not yet been charged with a crime. Media outlets would have to completely rewrite it's entire objective of "bringing you the story first" to "bringing you the story only if the perpetrator has no children."

The media has earned it's reputation as the "drive by media" for a reason. It thoughtlessly reveals the names of anyone it deems newsworthy on almost every subject, in it's relentless bid to get the 'exclusive rights' to a story or simply gain market share.

Right at this moment, there is a story of a cop who is under investigation in the strange death of one wife and the disappearance of another. The cop in the story has a family. He has not yet been charged with any crime, yet the media has divulged his name and occupation for weeks. Visit the man's home and you'll see a media caravan that stretches on for blocks. Does his family deserve any less respect than Lori Drew's?

The Vice could go back and list thousands of stories where the media felt no shame in delivering the names and occupations of individuals that were later exonerated of any wrong-doing. The vice is aware of no instance where the same media later apologized to the family who it unfairly plastered across every screen and newspaper in the country. They simply dropped the story like a hot potato and grabbed the next name that promised higher ratings..

Don Henley's 1980's pop hit "Dirty Laundry" certainly nails it on the head rather well I think. The hypocrisy here is so well documented over decades of story telling, that simply opening tomorrow's newspaper easily confirms the silliness of it.

The Vice has concluded that naming Lori Drew was legitimate news. She is a primary subject of the story, is not a rape victim, and is not a minor. Identifying her breaks no new ground, nor does it deviate from what news outlets do on a daily basis.

The Vice also reminds readers that her name and her role in the Megan Meier tragedy were documented as public record. A public record that Lori filed on her own accord. This is a critically important fact in this case.

News outlets, bloggers and the general public were handed Lori's name and Lori's own self admissions when she herself filed that police report and sought to elevate the severity of the situation that had developed between her and the Meier family.

Had Lori Drew simply acknowledged what she did was wrong, and apologized - the police report that identified her may have never been filed, and the entire situation may have well been kept at the lowest profile.

The real story here may not even be about Megan Meier. It may simply be another example of why the Golden Rule has endured the many years it's been repeated. Do unto others, as you'd have them do unto you.

Will we see the media write about this? Not likely, it has new stories and new names to broadcast, that can't wait. photo credit CNN

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...