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Monday, June 14, 2004 New page by 10 a.m. Monday-Friday

Foreign contractors' convoy bombed in Baghdad

Interrogators reported prison abuse Beginning in November, a small unit of interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison began reporting allegations of prisoner abuse, including the beatings of five blindfolded Iraqi generals..

Brad's Ten-Foot Poll on Election RESULT
posted 920am-11pm Mon 6/14/2004
The way it's looking now, who's likely to win the election?

Bush (I'm glad)
Bush (darn it)
Kerry (I'm glad)
Kerry (darn it)
Someone else
Total votes 364


Doubts linger as Kerry campaigns
Many Democratic voters, officials and even members of the Massachusetts senator's staff express an ambivalence -- or angst -- about their presidential candidate.

After Terry Nichols' 2nd trial, both sides frustrated

'Fallujah brigade' fails to hit rebels A new Iraqi-run brigade set up to enforce peace in Fallujah has yet to begin any missions against bands of insurgents who still roam the frontier town, U.S. officials say.


Flying on Saturday afternoon 6/13/2004 ... click for 49K


Brad's Ten-Foot Poll on Proper Dress---RESULT
posted 9:10am Fri 6/11 - 10am Sun 6/13/2004
Is wearing flipflops or halter tops acceptable for viewing the casket of Ronald Reagan?

Yes, informality is okay
No, it shows disrespect
Total votes 333


Ft. Bragg trials to offer rare public glimpse of military justice
Army reservist Pfc. Lynndie England is scheduled later this month for a weeklong pretrial hearing on charges that she abused prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last year. In the fall, Sgt. Hasan Akbar will be court-martialed on charges that he threw grenades into tents of sleeping soldiers and shot them as they emerged in Kuwait last year.

Picking a tutti-frutti tree Chilean agronomic engineer Luis Carrasco, in a display of fatherly dedication and encouragement, has achieved a scientific first — growing a tree that yields five different fruits.

Country Joe says no American singer Country Joe McDonald, whose satirical "Fixin' to Die" anthem condemned the U.S. war in Vietnam, said he will not go to Hanoi to receive a World Peace Music Award

938am Supreme Court won't allow atheist father to sue over pledge " least temporarily preserved the phrase "one nation, under God," in the Pledge of Allegiance today.."




Kids write the darnedest things to presidents

Free boat launches disappearing from Austin area

Orange cauliflower finally hits market "..has about 25 times more vitamin A than its pale cousin.."

Pentagon seeks authority to spy inside America

Guardian UK
US running secret worldwide prison system "The United States government, in conjunction with key allies, is running an 'invisible' network of prisons and detention centers into which thousands of suspects have disappeared without trace since the 'war on terror' began..."

WRTV-TV 6 Indianapolis
TSA surprisingly unconcerned with baggage tampering

Sarasota Herald-Tribune
E-Voting controversy claims Florida elections chief "Touchscreen voting machines in 11 counties have a software flaw that could make manual recounts impossible in November's presidential election.."






I have known Peter Sakai for years. Although I try to avoid family law cases, I have handled quite a few on a pro bono basis and have been in Judge Sakai's court on several occasions. I have always been struck by his careful review of the facts of each case, by his objectivity and, mostly, by his compassion. His job, in my opinion, is the toughest in the courthouse. I believe he handles more cses involving Child Protective Services than any other judge in Bexar County.

Judge Sakai is an associate judge. Along with Jim Rausch and Richard Garcia, Judge Sakai assists the elected district court judges with family law cases. All three of these judges have to deal with tough, emotional and hotly contested cases every day. They really don't get enough recognition for the wonderful, difficult work they do, day in and day out.

But Peter Sakai deals with tragedy every day. He has to make decisions on whether kids and parents are reunited or whether parents who beg to have their children returned are to be denied. These decisions are never easy. As a general rule, the law favors the rights of parents to raise their own children. For kids to be taken away from parents, strong evidence must be present. And the law doesn't require parents to be perfect; if it did, few of us would be allowed to raise our own children. There must be evidence that the child's safety is at risk for a child to be put in the CPS system. And once that happens, the parents are generally given a plan to follow to allow for family reunificatin if certain steps are taken. If the plan is followed, the parent is brought back into court and the judge rules on whether reunifiction is to tke place. Unless CPS presents some evidence that the parent failed to meet the stated goals, the child is usually given back to the parent.

The system is not perfect. The fact that a parent can follow a plan (go to meetings, take classes, get counseling, stay drug free, keep a job, e.g.) does not necessarily mean that the parent will do well once the child is back home. Sometimes the system breaks down and a tragedy occurs.

For the sake of the system and for the sake of Peter Sakai, I hope he can get past the emotional trauma that this situation has caused him. I hope he can use his experience, his wisdom and his compassion to continue to try to help children at risk and to try to make families in Bexar County stronger.

Sometimes kids need to be taken from their parents; sometimes CPS oversteps its bounds and takes kids away inappropriately. Sometimes parents who place their kids at risk learn from their mistakes and become better parents; sometimes they don't. Only God could accurately sort the possibilities and make the right decision every time.

We have no right to demand perfection from our judges. Peter Sakai comes as close as one could hope. For my part, I hope that this tragedy, as horrific as it was, does not get compounded by the loss of one of our more valuable public servants.

Your friend,

Steve W.



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