Saturday, December 06, 2008


What the heck is Hulu?

You seriously need to check this out - tons of videos, tv shows, all kinds of videophile stuff.

I'm watching Alfred Hitchcock episodes right now - it was my favorite show when I was much, much younger - and it still holds up today.

Very clean streaming, no stutter, etc. It's free, of course, or I wouldn't be babbling on about it. There are brief ads - and none I've run across were near as loud and obnoxious as tv. Great fun - try it.

Detroiters Truly Do Create Their Own Problems...

Which one are the voters of Detroit most proud of (after KK, of course)?

The guy who (allegedly) can't keep his hands off his employees or this woman, Wayne County Commission Chairwoman Jewel Ware, who has hired seven convicted felons:

  • Kwasi Akwamu, who earned as much as $82,900 as director of commission affairs. He pleaded guilty to assault with intent to murder and weapons charges in 1988. He quit when his record came to light.
  • Terrance Dortch, who made $35,828 as a legislative staff assistant. He was convicted of second-degree murder and a felony firearm charge in 1992. He took another job before the controversy.
  • Sherri Johnson, a legislative aide who made $10 an hour. She was convicted of larceny in 1990. She quit when her record came to light.
  • Eltha McClendon, who made $34,000 as a legislative staff assistant, was convicted of larceny in 1991. Her aka is Patricia McClendon. She is on administrative leave.
  • Demetrius Jones, whose aka is Vincent Tubbs, has convictions including armed robbery in 1992 and kidnapping in 1983. He was a legislative aide who earned $10 an hour.
  • Tino Jarod Odum, a community outreach specialist for Ware, earns $10 an hour. He was convicted of armed robbery and a felony firearm charge in 1992. His contract was not renewed in early 2004.
  • Edward James, a legislative aide who earned $16.50 an hour, convicted of home invasion, armed robbery and firearm charges in 1992.
    Source: Wayne County records
Wayne County Commission Chairwoman Jewel Ware, in the last few weeks before the county's auditor general is set to release a report on her hiring practices, said Terrance Dortch and Kwasi Akwamu - two who spent time in jail with her husband - are being singled out for unfair treatment (poor babies).

"It is very unfortunate and unfair about what has happened to Terrance and Kwasi," Ware said recently.

"Their past criminal background should not prevent their employment with the county." Now mind you, they didn't actually work for the County - they were allegedly no-show employees, which is just the problem here. Ware hired them, they did no work for the County, although they did, of course, turn in time sheets and get paid. For what, one wonders?

The auditor general is investigating claims that Dortch and Akwamu were no-show employees who collected county salaries to work for Ware's husband and their former prison-mate, Jesse Long-Bey, at his resort in Idlewild in northern Michigan. The investigation - which will scrutinize payroll records of the commission's 72 staffers - emerged after an anonymous letter was widely circulated that included the claims.

Ware denies wrongdoing, saying some workers pitched in at the resort, Morton's Motel, on their own time. Sure, sure, sure - makes perfect sense to me - how about you?

Most of the felons hired by Ware apparently did not cause problems, but as a for instance, one staffer's contract was not renewed after allegations arose of missing checks from the commissioner.

Are there really not enough people, decent, honest, law-abiding citizens, in Detroit that Ware feels she needs to hire murders and armed robbers? Perhaps not, since her choice in spousal material, currently known as Jesse Long-Bey, aged 59, and born Jesse Beverly Long, was convicted at least a half-dozen times from 1970-87 on charges ranging from manslaughter to forgery, from burglary to carrying a concealed weapon. He used aliases of Bobby Earl Gaines, Rufus Gaines, Rufus Dudley and Clarence Dudley, according to police records. His last conviciton, for manslaughter, in 1987, saw him serve ten years. He is currently out on bail, awaiting trial for check-kiting. If convicted (again!) he faces a possible 14 years in the penitentiary.

Since leaving prison, Long-Bey has worked as a city editor for the Michigan Citizen. The Web site for J&J Associates, the consulting firm owned by Long-Bey, says he left that job, worked for the city and has been hired as a consultant during campaigns for the former mayor turned felon and currently incarcerated, Kwame Kilpatrick, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and for various statewide ballot initiatives. The site lists its only other employees as Akwamu (the alleged no-show employee and felon who did time with Ware's husband) - supposedly a writer, photographer and graphic designer -- and Tim Johnson, who makes $85,000 a year as the commission's spokesman, as a "marketing communications and community relations specialist."

Long-Bey also lobbied on behalf of Synagro Technologies Inc. - the sludge-hauling giant - for a city contract that is now being probed by the FBI. Agents are investigating whether city officials accepted cash to approve the deal last year. Ware's husband, convicted felon a half-dosen or more times over, testified twice before the City Council on that deal and was quoted in the Detroit News as saying he was "disappointed" he didn't receive work for his efforts.

Ware's chief political rival, Commissioner Burton Leland, who has been speaking out against Ware's practices, is apparently having issues of his own. One of Ware's newest hires, a former cop, accused him of assault. Leland acknowledged touching the officer, but called it "male bonding" and nothing more.

Wake up, Detroiters - look around. Your city is exactly what the majority of voters fashioned it into.