Friends Like These
Woman sexes hospitalized pal's teen
By Richard Connelly
When her good friend was hospitalized, Karen Lee Carstens volunteered to help watch her 13-year-old son.
For two years, cops say, she and the boy had a sexual relationship, one where he apparently was more worried about birth control than she was.
According to court documents, at one point the boy said he had intercourse with her and, although he ejaculated on her stomach, "he cried believing he had impregnated [Carstens] but [Carstens] assured him not to worry because her menstrual cycle was due soon."
At another point, the boy thought of another way to avoid pregnancy: anal sex.
The two were upstairs in his bedroom when he was 15 while his mother was again in the hospital.
The boy "stated that he asked [Carstens] if he 'could have sex up the ass because he didn't have a condom,'" the court documents say. "Complainant stated [Carstens] refused at first, citing that it would cause her pain, but agreed to the request. [The boy] stated that he inserted his penis inside [her] rectum and that he 'ejaculated' inside the anus."
The boy told investigators the sex had begun around 2007, when he was 13. (Carstens is now 41.) At first it involved the boy just touching her breasts and genitals, but soon, he said in the court documents, the defendant "sucked his dick" at least four times, including once in the family's living room.
Carstens has been charged with sexual assault of a child under 17, a felony. A warrant has been issued for her arrest, but she is not in custody. She lives in Riva, Maryland, after living for a while in Spring.
Houston Saved from Bootleg Clacker Balls
By Richard Connelly
The eagle-eyed inspectors at U.S. Customs and Border Protection have prevented Houston from suffering a scourge of unimaginable proportions: clacker balls.
You may be too young to remember, but an entire generation of baby boomers was almost wiped out by playing with clacker balls, two balls on opposite ends of a small rope that, ummm, clacked together if you did things right. (Hey, there was no cable or Call of Duty at the time.)
But the U.S. government — a.k.a. The Man — banned the toy for its tendency to shatter right near kids' faces. A design flaw, to be sure.
But the hunger for clacker balls cannot be so easily quenched, it appears. We don't know whether a new generation has latched onto them, or if it's boomers getting nostalgic for things shattering dangerously in front of their faces, but federal officials intercepted a shipment of 4,900 of the toys which were "destined for Harwin Drive."
Oh, but it gets worse.
Also nabbed were "275 plastic flashing ladybugs," which either would blind kids with the sheer laser intensity of their death-ray light or, more likely, could be broken into parts that presented a choking hazard.
The shipment of 32 cartons of unsafe toys came — wait for it — from China. Since China is known for nothing so much as its fanatical dedication to producing safe products, we can only assume the so-called "toys" were part of a nefarious plot to kill kids.
From the CBP press release: "Our officers work diligently to ensure the facilitation of legitimate trade through our ports of entry by reviewing entry documents and selecting shipments for thorough inspection," said Houston CBP Acting Director of Field Operations Judson W. Murdock II. "This seizure is an example of commodities that not only violate U.S. trade laws but also pose a serious hazard to the American consumer."
LBJ & the Chronicle: BFFs
By Richard Connelly
The latest volume of Robert Caro's epic Lyndon Johnson biography is out — The Passage of Power covers 1958 through 1964.
A quick check of the index shows there's not much Houston-related content except for one episode describing how LBJ got the Houston Chronicle "in his hip pocket," supporting everything he did in the White House.
LBJ had been angling for newspaper support in Texas, and used the fact that Chron president John T. Jones Jr. was also head of a bank seeking a merger that needed federal approval.
Johnson refused to approve the merger, Caro writes, until an agreement over the paper's coverage of him was done. The deal included a letter confirming the paper would be supportive of him and also would write news stories on items the White House wanted mentioned.
LBJ even dictated what he thought a reasonable letter might look like: "Dear Mr. President...So far as I'm personally concerned and the paper is concerned, it's going to support your administration as long as it's there. Sincerely, your friend, John Jones."
Johnson also wanted the paper to send managing editor Everett Collier to their DC bureau; Caro describes Collier as "a Johnson acolyte since he had been one of his students at Sam Houston High School, one who idolized him and always followed him around."
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Eventually, Caro writes, LBJ got his wish and his letter. He then told Jones "from here on out, we're partners."
"We're partners" — Johnson's statement to the Chronicle's publisher was borne out by the newspaper's eagerness to comply with their agreement. Even [Johnson] could find no fault with their efforts. Talking with Albert Thomas on January 20, he asked "Is the Chronicle for us now?" and answered the question himself. "All out, all the time, aren't they?" ("They've been that for about two or three [weeks]," Thomas replied. "Every other page" has a favorable story now, the congressman said.) When, on February 9, Johnson told [Jack] Valenti to plant "a paragraph" in the Chronicle, Valenti said he was positive William P. Steven, the Chronicle's editor, would comply. "Bill Stevens [sic], every time I send him, ask him anything, boy, he has it in the paper the next day...Stevens has been real good about it."
The paper endorsed Johnson's re-election, and never again endorsed a Democrat for the White House until Obama.