Monthly Archive for November, 2008

Julie Amero no longer a felon

Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in Norwich, CT, who had the unfortunate luck of teaching children in a community where incompetence is how things get done, has finally put her legal problems behind.

She was the teacher whose in-class computer had caught a bad case of popupitis and started spewing a neverending stream of porn popups while she was teaching. The school administration had failed to keep the anti-virus / popup blocking software up-to-date, so the computer was completely defenseless against porn-peddling spammers. Instead of quietly updating the software on the computer, the school administration, after hearing from some of the kids’ parents, made a police complaint against Mrs. Amero.

She was eventually convicted of several felony counts because the local police force told the DA she’d knowingly viewed porn during class. The computer security experts were astounded and jumped on her defense.

After more than a year and a half, she can now put her legal problems behind, but at considerable cost. She’s pleading guilty to a single count of disorderly conduct and surrendering her teaching license. She has also suffered severe health problems since her ordeal begun. She’s had a miscarriage and she’s been hospitalized ever since her felony conviction was handed down.

Meanwhile the New London County State’s Attorney Michael Regan remains completely unapologetic after driving an innocent woman out of her profession and into the hospital. Quoting Mr. Regan from an article in Hartford Courant:

New London County State’s Attorney Michael Regan told me late Friday the state remained convinced Amero was guilty and was prepared to again go to trial.

“I have no regrets. Things took a course that was unplanned. Unfortunately the computer wasn’t examined properly by the Norwich police,” Regan said.

Nice work Mr. Regan. Julie Amero’s re-education is complete. Congratulations!

Update: ArsTechnica has more information about the case, including really interesting stuff about the “expertise” of detective Mark Lounsbury, the prosecutor’s star witness.

The security expert(s) who brought the case into public view have started an organization called The Julie Group, whose mission is:

To bring attention to those situations where injustice is being done through the misuse or misunderstanding of computers and computer forensics; and second, to prevent future injustice wherever we are able.

And finally The Julie Group has a well written piece about how just exactly the justice shown to Mrs. Amero really is. Theirs is the article I wanted to write about the case. Kudos to The Julie Group for expressing the thoughts of many so eloquently.


Eat out with infants at your infants’ peril

I have a 12-month-old baby. Now that she can sit and eat somewhat civilized on her own, we’ve been taking her out to lunch with the grownups more often. It’s great fun, she enjoys people watching tremendously and we enjoy feeding her different things and finding out what she likes and what she doesn’t like.

However, there’s one thing that really, really bugs me about taking her to restaurants.

It seems as though almost all restaurants completely avoid maintaining their high chairs. You know, it shouldn’t be that f***ing hard to replace broken safety straps, but apparently it is. I think we have about a 50/50 chance on getting a defective (and unsafe) high chair for her when we ask for one.

Earlier today we went for lunch to a bbq restaurant in Manhattan. Great place, good food, very nice service. But the high chairs were goddamn death traps. The first one had the usual safety strap problems…the plastic clips were completely shot, so we asked for another one. The replacement wasn’t any better, the safety strap was broken the same way as the first one. Whatever, I’ll just tie it in a tight knot and be done with I thought. And it worked, she was strapped on the seat safely. It would’ve been ok, too, if that was all that was wrong with the high chair.

Towards the end of our meal, she started getting a little restless, like she usually does when she’s had her food and she’s bored with playing with the napkins and utensils. So she started turning about in the high chair. What happened next caught us completely by surprise. The high chair’s left side railing broke under her weight, and she lurched forward about to fall down head first 3 feet onto the ground.

Thankfully the knotted strap held and she was held in her seat.

I took another look at the high chair, and the side railing was completely busted. There was a crack on both ends of it, and the railing itself had come completely off and fallen to the ground. There was no way in hell our baby broke it. It was already broken when the chair was given to us.

This is the last time I will be polite about broken high chairs. From now on, I’ll inspect every single one of them with a goddamn microscope to find out how badly the restaurant has been failing to maintain them. And I’ll be damned if I ever let my daughter sit in a broken one again.

I am getting increasingly pissed when writing this. These fuckers are putting my daughter and every other child sitting on their crappy chairs in danger. With the amount of broken chairs I see, it’s absolutely clear restaurants, by and large, don’t really give a fuck about their smallest and most vulnerable customers’ safety.


Yes we can!

Yesterday marked the beginning to an end of “compassionate conservatism”, “trickle-down economy” and all the other bullshit that’s been screwing up this country for the past 8 years.

It was fun watching the wake on Fox News with Karl Rove.



Snapped this photo while grabbing lunch today.

It was delicious!