Monthly Archives: July 2011

Rio Grande Cafe: The Right Place for Lunch

It is hard for me to criticize the Rio Grande Cafe. The place has great food, great atmosphere, and generally good service. It has become my “go to” when nothing else will fit the bill for lunch.

During my most recent trip over to Rio Grande, we arrived a little after the noon hour, and we expected a crowd at just about anywhere we stopped to eat. You can imagine our pleasant surprise, then, when despite the crowd (and there was one), we were greeted with a smile, seated immediately, and quickly offered drinks and menus.

I’m a fan of almost all foods Mexican (it’s the beans and rice, see), so rather than parse through the options, I took the daily special. I was treated to a combo of a tamales and an enchilada swimming in refried beans and rice, sided by lettuce and tomatoes. Both were delicious, more than I expected, and my plate was cleared before I had time to notice.

Next time you’re down town, check it out. It’s great for families, for a lunch time tête-à-tête, or groups. A patio shaded by trees makes it nice during the summer, as well.

Rio Grande Cafe on Urbanspoon

Is this how they see Republicans? And how they see themselves?

I’m just sayin’…

“I have often wondered why economists, with these absurdities all around them, so easily adopt the view that men act rationally.”

“I have often wondered why economists, with these absurdities all around them, so easily adopt the view that men act rationally.  This may be because they study an economic system in which the discipline of the market ensures that, in a business setting, decisions are more or less rational.  The employee of a corporation who buys something for $10 and sells it for $8 is not likely to do so for long.  Someone who, in a family setting, does much the same thing, may make his wife and children miserable throughout his life.  A politician who wastes his country’s resources on a grand scale may have a successful career.”

Ronald Coase, “Comment on Thomas W. Hazlett” (1998: 577) Quoted in The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies by Bryan Caplan

When truth is stranger than fiction: a revenge plot foiled

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Or at least would make good fiction.

Straight from the pages of the New York Times comes this story about rape, revenge, conspiracy, mistaken identity, and an innocent wrongly accused. It’s definitely good enough for an episode of Castle, if not for one of Dick Wolfe’s many iterations of  Law and Order.

It started when Seemona Sumasar, a young restaurant owner in New York, met Jerry Ramrattan in her restaurant. He said he was a police detective, and they hit it off, began dating, and soon he moved into her place. However, from there the relationship went south. Seemona asked him to move out. Not only would he not, but she claims that he one day cornered her, duck taped her mouth shut, and raped her.

Then it gets weird. After she accused him of rape, and he released on bond, Ramrattan began to get his revenge, sending friends to intimidate her. Not only that, they threatened that he would see her put in jail in his place.

It worked.

One night, Ms. Sumasar was pulled over by the police. Before she could speak, detectives slapped handcuffs on her. “You know you did it,” she said one later shouted at her. “Just admit it.”

Just like that, and suddenly Seemona was a criminal.

Booked on charges of armed robbery, police arrested her “based on what the police said was a wealth of evidence, including credible witness statements and proof that her car was the getaway vehicle.” With bail set at $1 million, the plot would not unravel until just before Sumasar was supposed to go to trial in December of 2010 when a fake witness  finally confessed to the police.

The key to his scheme, prosecutors [of Ramrattan] said, was to spread fake clues over time, fooling police into believing that all the evidence pointed to Ms. Sumasar.

They said he coached the supposed victims, driving them past Ms. Sumasar’s house so that they could describe her Jeep Grand Cherokee and showing them her photo so they could pick her out of a police lineup.

The setup began in September 2009, prosecutors said. An illegal immigrant from Trinidad told the police that he had been handcuffed and robbed of $700 by an Indian woman who was disguised as a police officer and had a gun, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Mr. Ramrattan had persuaded the immigrant to lie, telling him that he could receive a special visa for victims of violent crimes.

Six months later, another man said he had been robbed in Nassau County by two police impersonators and described the main aggressor as an Indian woman about Ms. Sumasar’s height. The man said he had managed to take down the first three letters of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s New York license plate — AJD.

The final fake crime was conjured in May 2010, officials said, when an acquaintance of Mr. Ramrattan said she had been held up by a couple posing as police officers. She said they were driving a Grand Cherokee, but she gave a full Florida license plate number.

She said she heard the pair call each other by name — “Seem” and “Elvis.” Elvis was the nickname of another former boyfriend of Ms. Sumasar, who owned the Jeep.

When the police looked into the Florida plate number, they found that the day after the purported March robbery, the title and the plate for the Cherokee had been transferred from Elvis to Ms. Sumasar’s sister in Florida.

Ms. Sumasar, who holds a Florida driver’s license, had driven the car to Florida to register it. To the police, she seemed to be covering her tracks.

 If “[h]ell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” then I don’ t know what you would say about Ramrattan. As a result of his insidious revenge, Seemona has changed her number, uses credit cards instead of cash to provide a papertrail to back her up, and checks with New York State’s Rikers Prison web site each day to assure that Ramrattan has not been released. If Ramrattan’s plot has failed and backfired, he’s still managed to extract a revenge that will continue to haunt Seemona down the road.

Worse, I don’t know what you could say about law enforcement in this case, either. Not only did they get the wrong guy, but they let a ‘Law and Order’ junkie manipulate them into arresting the victim at the perp’s behest. That’s worse than justice blind justice–that’s incompetent justice.

Find the story at “A Revenge Plot So Intricate, the Prosecutors were Pawns” in the New York Times.

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Apparently, I need to misspel something.