Friday, February 29, 2008

Go directly to jail, do not pass go

Well, talk about mixed messages. We want to be tough on crime but our jails are full, we can't afford to build more, so let folks out or do not prosecute some crimes.

What a mess.

Record-High Ratio of Americans in Prison

NEW YORK (AP) - For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America's rank as the world's No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 - one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it's more than any other nation.

The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.

The steadily growing inmate population "is saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime," the report said.

Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, said budget woes are pressuring many states to consider new, cost-saving corrections policies that might have been shunned in the recent past for fear of appearing soft on crime.
"We're seeing more and more states being creative because of tight budgets," she said in an interview. "They want to be tough on crime. They want to be a law-and-order state. But they also want to save money, and they want to be effective."

The report cited Kansas and Texas as states that have acted decisively to slow the growth of their inmate population. They are making greater use of community supervision for low-risk offenders and employing sanctions other than reimprisonment for offenders who commit technical violations of parole and probation rules.

"The new approach, born of bipartisan leadership, is allowing the two states to ensure they have enough prison beds for violent offenders while helping less dangerous lawbreakers become productive, taxpaying citizens," the report said.

While many state governments have shown bipartisan interest in curbing prison growth, there also are persistent calls to proceed cautiously.
"We need to be smarter," said David Muhlhausen, a criminal justice expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation. "We're not incarcerating all the people who commit serious crimes. But we're also probably incarcerating people who don't need to be."

According to the report, the inmate population increased last year in 36 states and the federal prison system.

The largest percentage increase - 12 percent - was in Kentucky, where Gov. Steve Beshear highlighted the cost of corrections in his budget speech last month. He noted that the state's crime rate had increased only about 3 percent in the past 30 years, while the state's inmate population has increased by 600 percent.

The report was compiled by the Pew Center's Public Safety Performance Project, which is working with 13 states on developing programs to divert offenders from prison without jeopardizing public safety.
"Getting tough on criminals has gotten tough on taxpayers," said the project's director, Adam Gelb.

According to the report, the average annual cost per prisoner was $23,876, with Rhode Island spending the most ($44,860) and Louisiana the least ($13,009). It said California - which faces a $16 billion budget shortfall - spent $8.8 billion on corrections last year, while Texas, which has slightly more inmates, was a distant second with spending of $3.3 billion.

On average, states spend 6.8 percent of their general fund dollars on corrections, the report said. Oregon had the highest spending rate, at 10.9 percent; Alabama the lowest at 2.6 percent.
Four states - Vermont, Michigan, Oregon and Connecticut - now spend more on corrections than they do on higher education, the report said.

"These sad facts reflect a very distorted set of national priorities," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, referring to the full report. "Perhaps, if we adequately invested in our children and in education, kids who now grow up to be criminals could become productive workers and taxpayers."

The report said prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect an increase in the nation's overall population. Instead, it said, more people are behind bars mainly because of tough sentencing measures, such as "three-strikes" laws, that result in longer prison stays.
"For some groups, the incarceration numbers are especially startling," the report said. "While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine."

The racial disparity for women also is stark. One of every 355 white women aged 35 to 39 is behind bars, compared with one of every 100 black women in that age group.
The nationwide figures, as of Jan. 1, include 1,596,127 people in state and federal prisons and 723,131 in local jails. That's out of almost 230 million American adults.

The report said the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation, far ahead of more populous China with 1.5 million people behind bars. It said the U.S. also is the leader in inmates per capita (750 per 100,000 people), ahead of Russia (628 per 100,000) and other former Soviet bloc nations which round out the Top 10.

The U.S. also is among the world leaders in capital punishment. According to Amnesty International, its 53 executions in 2006 were exceeded only by China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Sudan.

CSI: Hooterville

Is this the reason some bad guys call the good guys pigs?

I'm just sayin'

FBI using pigs to practice fingerprint techniques
Stacia Willson: KENS 5 Eyewitness News

They are considered clever animals, and now pigs are playing a huge role in solving crimes.

San Antonio's FBI office is turning to the animals to turn up new evidence, and dusting for prints has risen to a whole new level.

"Pig skin is the closest to human skin," forensic examiner M.K. Pritchard said.

Pritchard is using pigs to train other FBI agents on how to lift fingerprints from skin.
"When our ERT teams go out to crime scenes, and they find victims after rapes, murders or anything like that, a deceased individual, we want to see if we can develop latent prints of the suspect on the skin of the individual," Pritchard said.

Authorities say this type of technique has actually been used since the mid-70s, but popular programs like CSI have changed things.

"There hasn't been a lot of attention given to it until recent television shows and things like that," said Michael Wise, the supervisory special agent for the evidence response team.

Agents use glue to adhere to the oils of a fingerprint. After that, a special magnetic dust is spread across the skin.

"You have two latent fingerprints here. This is what we'd be going for when we are looking for prints on deceased individuals," Pritchard said.

Agents are also trained in fingerprint dusting for just about every kind of surface. Whether it's plastic, tile, a car or skin, FBI evidence response teams will search every inch for more clues.
"It would just be another forensic technique that we could utilize in order to get a suspect in a case," Pritchard said.

FBI instructors started using pigs to train agents last year. This week agents from all over the country are here in San Antonio learning about these techniques.

Another win for the home team

Way to go home team. Good for you too jury, not to let yourself be swayed by the poor tale of woe that he was just a misunderstood poor illegal immigrant who keeps falling in with the wrong crowd.

Good police work by Trooper Pack and DPS and good trial work by the Criminal District Attorney Geoff Barr, Assistant DA Von Bunn and Investigator Mark Mault, Kudos.

Man gets 6-year sentence
By Mitzie Stelte: The Herald-Zeitung

A Comal County jury sentenced a Mexican national to six years in prison and a $1,000 fine Thursday for possessing 110 pounds of marijuana. Anastacio Jaimes, 19, was arrested last June, along with two Uvalde teens, after a Department of Public Safety officer discovered the drugs during a routine traffic stop on I-35, north of York Creek Rd.

The DPS officer found the marijuana, with an estimated street value of $110,000, in the trunk of a 2001 Saturn driven by Melissa Rae Estrada, 19, after stopping her for an expired registration sticker.Jaimes, Estrada and another passenger, Michael Hill, 19, all were charged. Hill pled guilty and was sentenced in November to eight years in prison, while Estrada is awaiting trial.Jaimes will be eligible for parole after serving three-fourths of his sentence. Upon release, whether or not it is early, he will be immediately deported according to District Attorney Geoff Barr. Two years ago, Jaimes was deported after being arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon in Austin.

Jaimes maintained his innocence even after the verdict was read. He acknowledged he is here illegally, but said he was unaware of the marijuana in the car. Jaimes claimed he crossing the border and was hiking toward Uvalde when he accepted a ride with Hill and Estrada. Estrada testified that, on June 21, she got a call on her cell phone from an unknown source instructing her on how and where to pick up the drugs. She said three men, including Jaimes, loaded her trunk with the packs of marijuana on Highway 481 between Uvalde and the border. Jaimes, whom she hadn’t met before, then got into her vehicle with the intention of staying with the marijuana until they reached Austin, where the drugs were intended to be distributed.

Jaimes’ attorney, Joseph Garcia, argued that there was no direct evidence showing Jaimes’ involvement outside of Estrada’s testimony, which he deemed not credible, because of her dishonesty during her arrest.“Just because someone is present at a particular location, doesn’t mean they were participants,” added Garcia.

But Barr disputed these arguments, saying “This case is not rocket science.” Barr said two trained officers — each with about a dozen years of experience — found that everything Estrada said corroborated what the evidence was telling them.The jury deliberated for a total of about four hours.

According to Barr, the jury weighed the defendant’s age and that he didn’t have much of a criminal past when making the decision. “I’m pleased with the verdict and believe justice was served,” said Barr. “I think that in this war on drugs, we need to send loud messages to drug smugglers that it won’t be tolerated here in the county, in the state, and across international borders.”

Buh Bye, don't let the door hit you on your way out

Okay, he's ordered to be deported. Now they'll relook at it.

I say, fine, he's an American citizen? Then send his ass to prison to serve his time. Oh, and furthermore, prosecute his ass for perjury for all the previous times he lied to Judges, in open court and on the record, telling them he was in this country illegally so they'd deport him rather than send him to jail, then, after being released in mexico he would come back in showing the border folks he was an American citizen.

Man up, Dude.

Judge Orders Man Who Claims He's a U.S. Citizen To Be Deported

Reported by: Erik Runge Email:

For 6 weeks Saul Espinoza has been locked up in a federal jail waiting to find out if the country he says he born in would kick him out. (News 4)

A father of five from Boerne who lied about his citizenship in court is now fighting to stay in the United States, the country in which he says he was born.Thursday morning, a judge ordered 36-year-old Saul Espinoza deported to Mexico. Thursday afternoon, his attorney told News 4 he may get a break because immigration officials plan take another look at the case.

For 6 weeks Espinoza has been locked up in a federal jail waiting to find out if the country he says he born in would kick him out.It wasn't a great day in court for Josue Martinez, or his client, Espinoza."We are no longer contesting the case here in immigration court, and the judge did enter a final ruling that he be deported," explained Martinez.

The ruling will free Espinoza from jail, but bar him from coming back to the United States. Martinez says Espinoza is from the U.S., and he has school records, a baptismal certificate, and a U.S. birth certificate to prove it."The Department of Homeland Security has not properly investigated this case and has not done what is right and just," Martinez said.

An immigration spokesperson said last week agents did investigate the case."We don't go around arresting people at random. There has to be a reason we are going after this individual," Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) spokesperson Nina Purneda told News 4.

Martinez said I.C.E. told him they'd be willing to do more investigative work and interview some witnesses before deporting Espinoza, but I.C.E. officials would not confirm that with News 4.Espinoza's got into the mess after being arrested on several felony charges and telling the court he was a Mexican national. He's been convicted in federal court for being in the U.S. illegally.

Since a judge ruled on his nationality once, case law won't allow for it to be argued again.Martinez told News 4, "He doesn't know anyone in Mexico...No friends; No relatives."Since Martinez can't show the courts the documents that show Espinoza was born here, he plans to apply for a U.S. passport and U.S. citizenship, with the hope that the government will then realize he is a citizen.

Immigration officials can withdraw their charges, which would allow Espinoza to stay in the country. But they would not comment on the case Thursday.If the deportation does go through, Martinez said he may sue the federal government.Another U.S. citizen who is from Los Angeles and mentally disabled, just sued the government for wrongly deporting him. He spent months in Mexico before being allowed to come back to the U.S

Thursday, February 28, 2008

But it all flows downstream

Will China ever set up any standards for environmental protection? Will they ever acknowledge they are less than pristine about their manufacturing practices?

Maybe they wanted the river to turn red for the Olympics because it is Red China after all.

Pollution turns Chinese river system red
By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING - Pollution turned part of a major river system in central China red and foamy, forcing authorities to cut water supplies to as many as 200,000 people, the provincial government and a state news agency said Wednesday.

Some communities along tributaries of the Han River — a branch of the Yangtze — in Hubei province were using emergency water supplies, while at least 60,000 people were relying on bottled water and limited underground sources, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Residents in some towns were getting water from fire trucks, the Hubei provincial government said on its Web site.

Five schools were closed in Xingou township, while others could not provide food to students, the Xinhua report said without elaborating.

The pollution was discovered Sunday when water plant workers from Jianli County found that the Dongjing River, a tributary of the Han, had turned red and foamy, the Hubei Web site said.
Water plants along the river suspended intake and cut tap water to as many as 120,000 people, according to reports on the site. Xinhua said 200,000 people were without water.

Tests showed the polluted waters contained elevated levels of ammonia, nitrogen, and permanganate, a chemical used in metal cleaning, tanning and bleaching, Xinhua said. The pollution apparently flowed down from the Han River, the Hubei government said without elaborating on its source.

Water from nearby Lake Chang was being diverted to dilute the pollution.

Most of China's canals, rivers and lakes are severely tainted by industrial, agricultural and household pollution. Chinese leaders say the country faces a critical water shortage, partly due to chronic pollution and chemical accidents.

In one of China's worst cases of river pollution, potentially cancer-causing chemicals, including benzene, spilled into the Songhua River in November 2005. The northeastern city of Harbin was forced to sever water supplies to 3.8 million people for five days. The accident also strained relations with Russia, into which the poisoned waters flowed.

A paper mill dumped waste water directly into the Han in September 2006, forcing authorities to cut water supplies for a week in some areas, the Xinhua and government reports said. They did not say how many people were affected.

C'mon baby, Light my fire

Holy Smokes!

This is pretty bad.

Conn. Girl Lights Teacher's Hair On Fire
Jonathan Law High School Student Arrested, Expelled

MILFORD, Conn. (CBS/AP) ― Milford officials expelled a Jonathan Law High School student, who was accused of lighting her science teacher's hair on fire during class. Police said the girl was arrested after igniting George Lardas' ponytail with a lighter. A police spokesman said Lardas did not require medical attention, but his hair was singed. School officals said the incident occurred in late January, but became public on Tuesday. School officials called police after the incident. The student has been charged with reckless endangerment, third-degree assault and breach of peace.

Roll over, play dead

Somebody payed for this research?

Probably us. Oh wait it was done in Denmark, nevermind.

Does MJ say to Spiderman, "play dead for me, Spidey!" ?

I'm just sayin'

Male spiders play dead for sex: study

Advice on how to score with the ladies would probably never include the strategy that works best for at least one species of male spider: playing dead.

Not all male nursery web spiders looking for a little arachnid sex adopt this technique, but those that do more than double their chances of hitting the jackpot, according to new study in Behavioral Ecology, reported Wednesday in the British magazine New Scientist.

In experiments designed by Trine Bilde of the University of Aaarhus in Denmark, researchers set up date-and-mate opportunities for Pisaura mirabilis, a species native to Europe.

All the males sought to attract partners by offering a gift of food, held in the mouth.

But the ones that lay flat and motionless -- even if meant getting dragged about by a female that had latched onto the victuals -- wound up in a much better position, as it were, to engage in sexual activity.

The hapless males that tried the direct approach wound up keeping the free meal but not getting what they were really after.

Males that played dead were also allowed to copulate longer than males that did not, ensuring more eggs could fertilized, the researchers reported.

Playing dead is a well-known defence mechanism in nature, but this is apparently the first time such behaviour has been observed as a strategy for obtaining sexual favours.

Hair raising problem

I'm sure the school and the school district have better things to do than to suspend a kindergarten kid because of a "mohawk" haircut. Maybe his mother should claim that they are of native American indian descent and doing this infringes on their rights.

School suspends boy over Mohawk

PARMA, Ohio - A kindergarten student with a freshly spiked Mohawk has been suspended from school. Michelle Barile, the mother of 6-year-old Bryan Ruda, said nothing in the Parma Community School handbook prohibits the haircut, characterized by closely shaved sides with a strip of prominent hair on top. The school said the hair was a distraction for other students.
"I understand they have a dress code. I understand he has a uniform. But this is total discrimination," she said. "They can't tell me how I can cut his hair."

An administrator at the suburban Cleveland charter school first warned Barile last fall that the haircut wasn't acceptable. The school later sent another warning to her reiterating the ban.
Mohawks violate the school's policy on being properly groomed, school Principal Linda Geyer said. Also, the school district's dress code allows school officials to forbid anything that interferes with the conduct of education.

Ruda's hair became a disruption last week when Ruda arrived freshly shorn, Geyer said. Administrators called Barile on Friday telling her to pick Ruda up from school.
"This was his third infraction," Geyer said Tuesday. "We felt that we were being extremely patient."

Rather than request a hearing to appeal the suspension, Barile said she'll enroll him at another school. Changing the hairstyle is not an option, she said.

"It's something that he really likes," Barile said. "When people hear Mohawk, they think it's long, it's spiked, it's crazy looking, and it's really not."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Transparent government? Si, se pueda!

What the Heck? She's clearly for more transparency in government.

Hee Hee, sometimes I slay myself with my wit, even though I'm only half-armed.

Arlington mayor recalled in close vote

ARLINGTON, Ore. - The mayor of a small Oregon town who came under fire for racy pictures of her posted on the Internet was recalled in a close vote Monday.

According to the person who spearheaded the recall drive, Ron Miller, the vote was 142 in favor and 139 against the recall of Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist.
She came under fire after she posted photos of herself posed in lingerie on a fire truck on her MySpace page.

She told KATU News Tuesday that she had no regrets about posting the photo online, and she seemed to harbor no hard feelings about the recall.
"My reaction is that the democratic process took place, and that is a good process that we have in the United States, and it's fair," she said.

There are 366 registered voters in Arlington. Dozens of them held meetings and organized after the photo was publicized, and many participated in Monday night's recall vote.

But the voters weren't really just angry about the picture, some said.

Miller said the recall vote was also about some of her decisions as mayor of the small town, located along Interstate 84 between The Dalles and Pendleton in the Columbia River Gorge.

That included her management of the city golf course, where she eliminated two positions during the fall and winter. That apparently did not sit well with some of the big golfers in town.

He said Gronquist will leave office immediately.

The Arlington City Council President will take over as mayor until a new mayor is selected.
As for Gronquist, she said she is selling a poster of herself on eBay. A portion of the proceeds, she said, will go to the Arlington city ambulance company.

Hasta La Vista, Baby!

Of course they are, don't tell me you people never saw a Terminator movie?

Its like Skynet all over again. Where's sarah Conner when we need her? Holy smokes this is like a bad dream. Wake me up before the machines take over.

Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity': expert

Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP.

"They pose a threat to humanity," said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey ahead of a keynote address Wednesday before Britain's Royal United Services Institute.

Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world -- from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones -- can already identify and lock onto targets without human help.
There are more than 4,000 US military robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as unmanned aircraft that have clocked hundreds of thousands of flight hours.

The first three armed combat robots fitted with large-caliber machine guns deployed to Iraq last summer, manufactured by US arms maker Foster-Miller, proved so successful that 80 more are on order, said Sharkey.

But up to now, a human hand has always been required to push the button or pull the trigger.
It we are not careful, he said, that could change.
Military leaders "are quite clear that they want autonomous robots as soon as possible, because they are more cost-effective and give a risk-free war," he said.

Several countries, led by the United States, have already invested heavily in robot warriors developed for use on the battlefield.

South Korea and Israel both deploy armed robot border guards, while China, India, Russia and Britain have all increased the use of military robots.

Washington plans to spend four billion dollars by 2010 on unmanned technology systems, with total spending expected rise to 24 billion, according to the Department of Defense's Unmanned

Systems Roadmap 2007-2032, released in December.

James Canton, an expert on technology innovation and CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, predicts that deployment within a decade of detachments that will include 150 soldiers and 2,000 robots.

The use of such devices by terrorists should be a serious concern, said Sharkey.
Captured robots would not be difficult to reverse engineer, and could easily replace suicide bombers as the weapon-of-choice. "I don't know why that has not happened already," he said.
But even more worrisome, he continued, is the subtle progression from the semi-autonomous military robots deployed today to fully independent killing machines.

"I have worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination terrifies me," Sharkey said.

Ronald Arkin of Georgia Institute of Technology, who has worked closely with the US military on robotics, agrees that the shift towards autonomy will be gradual.
But he is not convinced that robots don't have a place on the front line.

"Robotics systems may have the potential to out-perform humans from a perspective of the laws of war and the rules of engagement," he told a conference on technology in warfare at Stanford University last month.

The sensors of intelligent machines, he argued, may ultimately be better equipped to understand an environment and to process information. "And there are no emotions that can cloud judgement, such as anger," he added.

Nor is there any inherent right to self-defence.

For now, however, there remain several barriers to the creation and deployment of Terminator-like killing machines.

Some are technical. Teaching a computer-driven machine -- even an intelligent one -- how to distinguish between civilians and combatants, or how to gauge a proportional response as mandated by the Geneva Conventions, is simply beyond the reach of artificial intelligence today.

But even if technical barriers are overcome, the prospect of armies increasingly dependent on remotely-controlled or autonomous robots raises a host of ethical issues that have barely been addressed.

Arkin points out that the US Department of Defense's 230 billion dollar Future Combat Systems programme -- the largest military contract in US history -- provides for three classes of aerial and three land-based robotics systems.

"But nowhere is there any consideration of the ethical implications of the weaponisation of these systems," he said.

For Sharkey, the best solution may be an outright ban on autonomous weapons systems. "We have to say where we want to draw the line and what we want to do -- and then get an international agreement," he said.

Cut it out

Okay then, Now I feel safe if I go to Los Angeles because pets must be sterilized.

What about the gang problems? Will you have them sterilized?

Will the police be too busy enforcing this law to worry about the gangs?

Pet Sterilization Becomes Law in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday signed one of the nation's toughest laws on pet sterilization, requiring most dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered by the time they are 4 months old.

The ordinance is aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating the thousands of euthanizations

conducted in Los Angeles' animal shelters every year.

"We will, sooner rather than later, become a no-kill city and this is the greatest step in that direction," Councilman Tony Cardenas said as he held a kitten at a City Hall news conference.
Councilman Richard Alarcon, who like Cardenas is a co-author of the bill, brought his two pet Chihuahuas to the event to be neutered in a van operated by the city.

The ordinance does exempt some animals, including those that have competed in shows or sporting competitions, guide dogs, animals used by police agencies and those belonging to professional breeders.

The average pet owner, however, must have their dog or cat spayed or neutered by the time it reaches 4 months of age (as late as 6 months with a letter from a veterinarian). People with older unneutered pets and newcomers to the city with animals also have to obey the law.

First-time offenders will receive information on subsidized sterilization services and be given an additional 60 days. If they still fail to comply they could be fined $100 and ordered to serve eight hours of community service. A subsequent offense could result in a $500 fine or 40 hours of community service.

The ordinance brings the nation's second-largest city into line with about a dozen of its neighbors that have similar laws.

Many states require animals adopted from shelters to be sterilized, and New York City requires the same for animals bought from pet shops, but restrictions such as those in Southern California are rare. A 2006 Rhode Island law requires most cats to be sterilized.

A measure similar to Los Angeles' passed the California Assembly last year but did not gain state Senate support.

Los Angeles animal shelters took in 50,000 cats and dogs last year and euthanized approximately 15,000 at a cost of $2 million, according to city officials.

Bob Barker, the retired game-show host who famously ended every "Price is Right" show with a call for sterilizing pets, pushed for the law's adoption and was among those at Tuesday's news conference.

"The next time that you hear me say, 'Help control the pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered,' I can add, 'It's the law in Los Angeles,'" a jubilant Barker said.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Yup, all they seem to learn is how to do more crime.

Its like sending them away to a private school.

Not so nice to see you again

Elizabeth Allen: San Antonio Express News

Prosecutor Jan Ischy had just wrapped up two murder pleas in the 187th District Court involving young men who couldn't even buy a legal drink when they shot another young man in a confrontation that may have arisen from their intent to rob him, but nobody seemed sure.

Ischy and fellow lawyers were talking about how hard it was to watch such young people throw their lives away, and she remarked that she must have developed a soft spot for troubled kids as a juvenile prosecutor, which she was until recently.

That's when another lawyer noted that Ischy knew one of the young men sentenced today from her days in juvie.

Ischy confirmed that, but would not say which, citing the privacy of juvenile records.
He wasn't the first familiar face, though.

"My first day over here, I said, 'Hey, that guy looks familiar,'" she said, sizing up up the inmates lined up in the box, in grownup orange instead of juvie blue. The young man recognized her as well, she said.

Ischy will probably get used to it. District Judge Juanita Vasquez-Gardner has relayed tales of seeing defendants graduate from juvie to felony court, and Senior District Judge Pat Priest last year after a murder sentence remarked that he'd recognized the defendant as the son of a well-known local tough guy.

We shall fight on to the last of your money

Hah! Brain trust? NEISD Administration? The two shall never meet.

Picture from last NEISD Board meeting, guess which one Richard Middleton is.

Ken Rodriguez: NEISD's refusal to pay teacher doesn't pass common-sense test
San Antonio Express-News

The brain trust of the North East Independent School District does not appear to be smarter than a fifth-grader.
Consider the case of John Kelley, former special-ed biology teacher at Lee High School.

In June 2001, Kelley worked as an usher at graduation ceremonies. Since commencement occurred days after he says his teaching contract expired, Kelley asked to be compensated for the extra time worked.

NEISD denied the request. Kelley appealed. Almost seven years later, NEISD has spent more than $68,000 in legal fees fighting Kelley's claim to $209.52.

A Bexar County Court judge recently ordered NEISD to pay Kelley for the extra day, plus interest and his legal fees. The district will appeal.
Both sides are bracing for a fight that could reach the state Supreme Court.

"In 2001, I would not have predicted we'd be doing this in 2008," says Tom Cummins, executive director of North East chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. "I never thought this would go past the superintendent."

Technically, the legal dispute centers largely on wording in Kelley's contract. Did he work beyond his contractual obligation or didn't he? But the larger battle appears to be about district control.
Can NEISD call teachers into work on certain weekends and summer days within a 10-month contractual window without additional compensation?

The district says "yes." Kelley says "no."

"It's a power struggle over workers' rights," says Kelley, now a newspaper editor in Corpus Christi.

Kelley says he worked the 187 days required by the state, and ushered on the 188th, June 4, 2001. Pay up.

NEISD says teachers work on state-mandated 10-month contracts, and Kelley's 188th day fell within that window: Aug. 7, 2000 to June 7, 2001. No extra payment required.
Two years ago, Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott agreed that Kelley's contract required only 187 workdays. Two weeks ago, Judge David Rodriguez ordered NEISD to pay.

What a price. Kelley's legal fees are more than $46,000, and Rodriguez also ordered NEISD to continue paying those fees if the district appealed.

Meanwhile, one document shows NEISD's own legal fees totaled $68,217.21 from Jan. 1, 2001, through Aug. 15, 2007. No telling how much more it's shelled out since.

District Superintendent Richard Middleton defends the fight on financial grounds. If not appealed, Middleton said in a written statement, the ruling "would result in a significant increase in the cost of education." He also said "the District's appeal is intended to save taxpayers money in the long run."

Cummins doesn't follow the logic. He laughs. Others scoff. "North East should compensate that teacher," one non-NEISD school official says.

The Northside Independent School District doesn't require teachers to work when graduation exercises fall after the 187-day contracted period. The district solicits volunteers and other employees still under contract.

NEISD? More than a few teachers say they feel coerced to work on noncontracted days. One recently left NEISD over that very issue for another local school district. "The attitude was, 'You need to be here because kids are No. 1,'" the teacher says. "But my own kids count for something, too."

NEISD says Travis County has proper jurisdiction over the Kelley case. And that's another reason to appeal. In the end, NEISD is sure taxpayers will appreciate the money spent in this principled fight.

Man without a country

How bizarre. Claim you're an illegal alien to escape charges now, you're facing deportation and you claim you're an American citizen.

Some pretty big constitutional issues here however, he is on the record and swore he's not an American citizen, but does that mean your citizenship can be stripped from you? Perhaps it can be considered a repudiation of your citizenship and a voluntary waiver of your citizenship.

Anyway you slice it, it's not nice to fool ICE, they get angry.

Facing deportation, man now says he's American
Hernán Rozemberg: Express-News

Saúl Espinoza readily admits he's no angel — his life is a chronology of felony convictions — and that he deserves to be punished for being a weasel with the justice system.
But that shouldn't include getting booted out of the country and not being allowed back, he said.

Espinoza, 36, claims he's a U.S. citizen about to be wrongly deported to Mexico. He's expected to receive a final deportation order Thursday at a court hearing in San Antonio.
"Just because I've done bad stuff in the past shouldn't mean they can take away my citizenship," he said by phone Tuesday from a downtown federal detention facility.

Because he once routinely told authorities he was in the country illegally to avoid being charged for crimes — and admitted as much in court — an immigration judge has refused to allow him to prove he was born in the United States.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the case, other than noting Espinoza is "in violation of federal law" and that it's up to the courts if he stays or goes.

Judges aren't allowed to be interviewed and her agency doesn't comment on individual cases, said Susan Eastwood, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department's Executive Office of Immigration Review, which runs the national immigration courts.

But the government needs to take another look at Espinoza's case, his relatives said.

"He's got some serious issues," said Javier Vega, Espinoza's uncle, who grew up with him in Brownsville. "He needs to face the music, do his time, get help — here. He's not from Mexico. He doesn't know anybody over there."

But he certainly has been to Mexico many times.

Convicted in Texas and Georgia for felonies such as burglary, arson and dealing marijuana, Espinoza was able to evade other charges by telling police he was an undocumented immigrant.
The simple scheme worked quite well — he would sign a document using an alias, acknowledging he was in the country illegally. "Voluntarily returned" to Mexican border towns, he would easily re-enter the United States, claiming citizenship at border crossings.

He did it for years, despite a criminal history and even after he was formally deported in 1991, when immigration agents caught on to his concocted identity — Joel Garza Trevino.

Throughout his time in the criminal justice system, even during the 1991 deportation, Espinoza never claimed he was a U.S. citizen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Much ado about nothing?

If you don't know why this is of concern to others then you have no clue.

Which is kinda like the way you have run your campaign.

Clinton on photo: 'Why is anybody concerned about this?"

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Jacqueline Klingebiel Report: During a Monday interview with ABC's Dallas affiliate, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., did not flatly deny the DrudgeReport's charge that her campaign forwarded a photo of rival Barack Obama in traditional African dress.

She then turned the tables on her Democratic rival and accused him of using the controversy to distract the public's attention from deficiencies in his platform and experience.

"I know nothing about it," Clinton told ABC affiliate WFAA. "This is in the public domain. But let's just stop and ask yourself: 'Why are you -- why is anybody concerned about this?'"
Clinton said that she found questions about whether her campaign leaked the photo to be "really laughable."

"This is one more attempt by my opponent's campaign to change the subject," said Clinton,

"From his health-care plan that won't cover everybody, from an economic plan that won't produce jobs, and from a record that is pretty thin when it comes to national security and standing up for our country around the world."

The former first lady argued that there are photos of her from around the world wearing "the costume of the country" she was visiting.
"Every time I traveled to foreign countries, I wore the costume of the country. You can find dozen of pictures of me in different parts of the world," said Clinton. "You can find me wearing African outfits, Latin American outfits, Asian outfits, when you travel to foreign countries, it’s a sign of respect. What does that have to do with anything?"

During a Monday conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said that the former first lady's campaign "did not sanction" the leaking of the photo. But he stopped short of denying whether a Clinton aide may have passed it to the DrudgeReport.
"I'm not in a position to ask 700 people to come in," said Wolfson.

Back in October, The New York Times identified Tracy Sefl as the Clinton campaign's conduit to the DrudgeReport.

Asked by ABC News on Monday if she gave the photo to the DrudgeReport, Sefl, who is vice president at the Glover Park Group, said, "no."

Like Wolfson, she could not speak for all Clinton campaign associates.

Asked if she has contacted the DrudgeReport to seek a correction to its claim that the Clinton campaign is the source of the photo, she said, "No comment."
Here's a link to Bill Clinton saying "Elect me" while stumping for Hillary.
I think he is saying she says elect me, but with them who knows?

Stabbing pains

Another reason to not go to the movies besides:

a. the price of the tickets

b. the price of the refreshments

c. putting up with a crowd

d. the paucity and lack of good acting and good movies.

Also, now I will have to pack to go to the movies.

2 Stabbed During Horror Movie In Fullerton

FULLERTON, Calif. Two people were stabbed at a Fullerton movie house during the screening of a horror film on Sunday night. Police are still seraching for the suspect.The victims, who reportedly did not know each other, were sitting in separate areas of the same theater when they were attacked around 7:30 p.m. at the AMC Theater on Lemon St., Fullerton police Sgt. Eric Halverson said.

The stabbings took place approximately 45 minutes into the showing of "The Signal," an R-rated suspense/horror film. The suspect, who was described as a white male, fled out of one of the back doors, he said.

"The suspect is still outstanding," Fullerton police Sgt. Jason Schoen said early Tuesday.The assailant was described as a heavy set white man in his late to mid 20s, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with black hair.Investigators reviewed surveillance tape from the theater but the video was of poor quality, Schoen said.

One of the victims was hospitalized with a stab wound to the arm, which also punctured one of his lungs, but he was expected to survive, Schoen said. The other victim suffered a non-life threatening stab wound to the arm, he added.

The victims did not know each other or the attacker, he said.Police believe the attacker may be the same individual who had been kicked out of the theater that same day -- an intoxicated man who was very disruptive during a movie, Schoen said."We believe he (the assailant) is the same subject that had been removed from the theater earlier that day," Schoen said. "We're not positive but there are similarities in the descriptions of the subjects."Anyone with information on the attacks was asked to call the Fullerton Police Department at (714) 738-6800.

Now if it would only cover her mouth

That Hillary, she'll do anything to win.

Clintonite Stabs Obama Supporter
Cops: Man assaulted brother-in-law during political argument

Meet Jose Antonio Ortiz. The Pennsylvania man allegedly stabbed his brother-in-law in the stomach after the pair quarreled about their respective support of Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

According to cops, Ortiz, 28, stabbed Sean Shurelds last Thursday night in the kitchen of an Upper Providence Township home. According to a criminal complaint, a copy of which you'll find here, the 41-year-old Shurelds, an Obama supporter, told Ortiz that the Illinois senator was "trashing" Clinton (apparently in regard to recent primary and caucus results).

Ortiz, a Clinton supporter, replied that "Obama was not a realist." While not exactly fighting words, the verbal political tiff led to some mutual choking and punching. And, allegedly, a stabbing in the abdomen.

Ortiz was charged with a felony aggravated assault count and two misdemeanors and jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail. Shurelds was flown to Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition.

Driving while blind

You'd think they noticed him driving up to pick up his welfare checks?

Welfare cheat busted after pretending to be blind for years

SAPPORO -- A Sapporo man was arrested for fraud Monday after he claimed to be legally blind to get a heftier welfare handout for years even though his eyesight was good enough to permit him to have a driver's license, police said.

Shinichi Maruyama's alleged ruse was given away after police started investigating him when the apparently legally blind man filed a complaint with cops saying that he had been "run over by a red car."

Police discovered that although 50-year-old Maruyama was receiving additional payments on his monthly welfare handout because he had been declared legally blind, his eyesight was actually good enough to have permitted him to pass the eye test when renewing his driver's license in October last year.

Maruyama reportedly admits to the allegations police are accusing him with.

Police said Maruyama abused the welfare system by taking advantage of clauses that pay more money to those with disabilities. Police said the specific charge for which Maruyama was arrested involved him receiving about 41,000 yen a month for the period from November 2007 to February as a disability dispensation on top of the roughly 155,000 yen he received as a welfare payment from the Sapporo Municipal Government.

Maruyama is believed to have received the extra payments for the past five years and allegedly pocketed at least 2 million yen more than he should have. He has been living off welfare for the past 10 years.

Police said Maruyama applied to the Shiroishi Municipal Office to recognize him as being legally blind while he was still living on welfare in 1998. He submitted his application with a doctor's certificate saying that he was "almost completely blind." The municipal office approved Maruyama's application, officially recognizing him as legally blind.

In February last year, Maruyama filed a criminal complaint with the police, saying he had been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. But in the statement he gave investigators, Maruyama said he had been struck by a red car. Suspicious that somebody who was not supposed to be able to see could tell the color of a car, police began investigating Maruyama.

Police discovered that Maruyama passed the eye test when renewing his driver's license in Sapporo in October last year. The eye test requires drivers to have visual power of either at least 0.7 with both eyes and 0.3 or more in each eye whereas the level for legal blindness is 0.01 or less.

High Rollers

I have several friends who live in Victoria, British Columbia, I must ask them about this. You know, purposes. yeah, that's purposes.

How about naked in a parking garage?

Naked trio seen having sex in moving car

VICTORIA, British Columbia, (UPI) -- Police in Victoria, British Columbia, were alerted by startled motorists to a car on the Trans Canada Highway with a naked man and two naked women having sex.

Calls began coming in Sunday afternoon from witnesses, some of whom trailed the car into the provincial capital city, Victoria Police Constable Kris Rice told the Victoria Times-Colonist."There were some reports that they seemed to be wanting attention from other drivers as they engaged in sexual acts," he said.

The owner of the vehicle was traced from the license plates and officers went to that address to await the car's return, Rice said.

On arrival, only one of the women was inside with the male driver, both in their 20s, the report said. The unidentified driver said he had dropped the other woman off."Both were determined to be in the nude," Rice said.

The woman was taken to a hospital for psychiatric assessment, while the driver will likely only face such charges as driving without due care and attention, as police didn't witness any sexual acts, the report said.

Hardly Shakespeare

Romeo, Romeo, where forth art thou Romeo?

Here I am!

That's him Officers, arrest him!

Romeo robber's downfall

A romantic robber who fell in love with the woman cashier at a post office he robbed was caught after he went back to ask her for a date.

Bruno Perez, 31, forced Lucia Marcelo, 21, to hand over the money at gun point at the post office in Genoa - but could not get her out of his head.

So the next day he bought a large bunch of flowers with some of the money and returned to the scene of the crime to apologise - and ask her for a date.

But his lady love kept him talking while she activated a silent alarm connected to the police station - and he was arrested minutes later.

A police spokesman said: "It seems he could not resist coming back to ask her out, even though he knew the risks."

What goes up must come down

My apologies for not posting the last couple of days but i am trying to finish up an appellate brief which is due. Thanks for being patient and reading this blog.

A bunch of bills owed to the city and more money owed to its students many of whom took out student loans to pay for flight school or air traffic control school. The loan repayments still have to be paid back by the students despite the fact that the schools closed. I've heard that some ATC schools are picking up the students to help them out. Thank you for that, as for the others good luck. perhaps some change needs to be made to the Bankruptcy Act to aid folks stuck in these kinds of situations.

City calculates loss of $140K in unpaid bills
By Gerard MacCrossan: Herald Zeitung

Silver State Helicopter’s bankruptcy could cost the city of New Braunfels $138,000 in unpaid fuel bills and utilities, air traffic control tower operators’ fees and equipment replacement.

City of New Braunfels Finance Director Deborah Korinchock told the city council Tuesday that in a best-case scenario, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Las Vegas would release the air traffic control tower and hangar contracts so that the city could lease the facilities to other clients. The city anticipates losing $44,120 in unpaid leases on the Silver State contract during that time.

A budget document shown to the council Monday evening showed that on Feb. 4, when Silver State’s operations ceased, the city had billed $73,604 for fuel and oil. The wholesale cost of the fuel and oil is $52,599.Lease payments totaling $27,070, utilities estimated at $7,840 and commercial activities fees totaling $82,48 also are owed. The total outstanding debt of services billed to Silver State is $116,762.

If the city is unable to lease the facilities before the end of the fiscal year, the airport fund could end the year $251,613 over budget. That projection would have been higher, except for $82,000 in unbudgeted revenue, including $63,534 from a recent legal settlement with NB Aero.Mayor Bruce Boyer said council’s direction is for city staff to work toward getting the bankruptcy court to release its hold on the city’s two buildings. “We need the hangar release so we can put a tenant in there,” Korinchock said.

A Las Vegas law firm was hired Monday evening by unanimous council vote, using funds already budgeted for contract attorney fees, to represent the city in the bankruptcy court.

Even if the leases aren’t released promptly, the city will continue to operate the tower, Boyer said.“The cost of operating the tower is not minimal (approximately $4,000 per week) but it’s important to keep the tower operating,” he said.Boyer said the city’s hands are tied until the bankruptcy court addresses the leasing issue. There is no guarantee the city will recover any of the $116,000 in unpaid Silver State bills.“There are over 3,500 unsecured creditors,” he said.

Regaining the ability to lease the Silver State hangar to another customer is a big factor in getting the airport fund back on track.“The we can get other customers we can sell fuel to,” Boyer said. “We can do pretty well as it relates to the cost.”

The city’s unpaid final bill to Silver State for $73,000 for fuel and oil that the city paid $52,000 at wholesale cost. That included the discount granted to Silver State and other high volume customers.Boyer said some changes will be made for future airport operations.

“The extending of credit beyond a month or so is obviously something we won’t be doing any more,” he said.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dumb, just plain dumb

Okay, your department puts GPS devices in your patrol cars, asks you to fill out daily logs and you can't figure out they'll discover you're not on patrol or working?

Two police officers fired for conduct

Allegheny dismisses twp. couple accused of tending to personal matters while on duty

By Kristy MacKaben, For the Mirror

Allegheny Township supervisors voted unanimously to fire two township police officers for spending ‘‘excessive amounts of time” at their private business or home while on duty.Supervisors based their decision on evidence presented at a public hearing Jan. 4 showing Robert Salimbene spent about 50 percent of his time at his home on Hilltop Drive or private business, Havana DayDreaming, while on duty as an officer.

His wife, Sandra, spent about 25 percent of her time at home or the business while on duty. Robert Salimbene, an officer for about 17 years, and Sandra, for about five years, were suspended Dec. 11 for neglect of duty.

From Oct. 31 to early December Global Positioning System devices were installed in the department’s cruisers. The officers submitted daily logs indicating that they were performing routine patrol duties during the periods in question, according to an Allegheny Township news release issued Thursday at the supervisors’ meeting.

At the Jan. 4 hearing, Robert Salimbene said he stopped at home while on duty to check on his 78-year-old mother, but he claimed that he left when he received police calls.‘‘Neither officer denied spending on-duty time at home but argued that it was necessary to care for a family member,” the release states. “While this may or may not be true, we all face challenges in our private lives that must be balanced with the obligations of our professional lives. The board of supervisors appreciates the past service of both officers but must take this action in order to maintain respect and confidence in the operation of the Allegheny Township Police Department,” the news release states.

The township hopes to hire two new officers. The township has four full-time and three part-time police officers. ‘‘Down the road, we will definitely need to hire more,” supervisor Donald Fowkes said.

Its in the bag

WTF? Okay you're carrying $150,000 in cash? in New York City in broad daylight? You figure that someone knew what you were carrying in the bag? Or was it because you opened the bag in front of folks at Starbucks to pay for the Non-fat mocha venti frappacino?

Man Robbed Of $150K In Midtown Attack

NEW YORK -- A gunman dragged a man down a sidewalk, beating him with a pistol, after fighting over a black bag in front of a Starbucks cafe blocks from Central Park on Friday, police and witnesses said.

Ijams was not shot but pistol-whipped in the back of the head, police said.
During the struggle, the gun went off firing an errant shot that did not hit anyone, police said.
Ijams, witnesses told WNBC, was left on the sidewalk, bloodied and robbed.

He was rushed to the emergency room of Weill Cornell Medical Center, police said, where detectives questioned him while he was being treated.
Witnesses said that the suspect got away with Ijams' bag which, sources told WNBC, contained almost $150,000 in cash.

Police said just before the attack, Ijams had withdrawn the money from Chase Bank on West 56th Street.

Witnesses said they saw the two men fighting over a black duffel bag in front of the cafe. The younger man then dragged the victim -- who was clinging to the bag -- down the street, beating him in the head with the gun, witnesses said.

Police were searching a suspect they described as a man between 25 and 30 years old who was wearing a black parka, black pants is about five feet 9 inches tall.
Zafer Incekara, a limousine driver from Lyndhurst, N.J., said the gunman fired a shot at the man before he fled.

"I saw the guy running out to Sixth Avenue" with the black bag after leaving the man in the street, said witness Amado Delacruz, 34, of Bayonne, N.J.

"You don't expect this. Not on 56th Street. Especially in front of Starbucks," Delacruz said.

A woman who answered the telephone at the Starbucks hung up on a reporter's call Friday.
The investigation is on-going.

Down Under Justice

Way to go Granny! Don't mess with her kin. Probably nobody here in Comal County would indict her.
BTW the picture is one of Annie Oakley, any resemblance in not coincidental.

The Rambo Granny of Melbourne , Australia

Gun-toting granny Ava Estelle, 81, was so ticked-off when two thugs raped her 18-year-old granddaughter that she tracked the unsuspecting ex-cons down - and shot off their family jewels.

The old lady spent a week hunting those men down - and, when she found them, she took revenge on them in her own special way, said Melbourne police investigator Evan Delp. Then she took a taxi to the nearest police station, laid the gun on the sergeant's desk and told him as calm as could be: "Those bastards will never rape anybody again, by God."

Cops say convicted rapist and robber Davis Furth , 33, lost both his Manhood and his family jewels when outraged Ava opened fire with a 9-mm pistol in the hotel room where he and former prison cell mate Stanley Thomas, 29, were holed up. The wrinkled avenger also blew Thomas' family jewels to kingdom come, but doctors managed to save his mangled manhood, police said. "The one guy, Thomas, didn't lose his manhood, "but the doctor I talked to said he won't be using it the way he used to,"

Detective Delp told reporters. "Both men are still in pretty bad shape, "but I think they're just happy to be alive after what they've been through."

The Rambo Granny swung into action August 21 after her granddaughter Debbie was carjacked and raped in broad daylight by two knife-wielding creeps in a section of town bordering on skid row. "When I saw the look on my Debbie's face that night in the hospital, "I decided I was going to go out and get those bastards myself "'cause I figured the Law would go easy on them," recalled the retired library worker. "And I wasn't scared of them, either - because I've got me a gun and I've been shootin' all my life. "And I wasn't dumb enough to turn it in when the law changed about owning one."

So, using a police artist's sketch of the suspects and Debbie's description of the sickos, tough-as-nails Ava spent seven days prowling the wino-infested neighborhood where the crime took place till she spotted the ill-fated rapists entering their flophouse hotel.

"I knew it was them the minute I saw 'em, but I shot a picture of 'em anyway "and took it back to Debbie and she said sure as hell, it was them," the oldster recalled. "

So I went back to that hotel and found their room and knocked on the door, "and the minute the big one opened the door, I shot 'em right square between the legs, "right where it would really hurt 'em most, you know. "Then I went in and shot the other one "as he backed up pleading to me to spare him. "Then I went down to the police station and turned myself in."

Now, baffled lawmen are trying to figure out exactly how to deal with the vigilante granny. "What she did was wrong, and she broke the law, but it is difficult to throw an 81-year-old woman in prison," Det. Delp said, "especially when 3 million people in the city want to nominate her for Mayor."

Friday, February 22, 2008

A winnuh every time!

Baby! I want to be a doorman in Vegas!

Feds take a look at LV cash flow

by Norm Clarke

A lot of people saw it coming.

Rumors have been flying for more than a year that the high-flying, cash-laden nightclub scene was being scrutinized by the feds.
The shoe dropped Wednesday when the Internal Revenue Service and other law enforcement authorities raided Pure nightclub and Pure Management Group headquarters, confiscating a number of computers.

Cash-heavy operations are known to get the attention of the IRS.

Sources have been telling me that doormen at several clubs are clearing $8,000 to $10,000 a night before they share tips. So much cash is pouring in that some doormen are making $400,000 to $500,000 a year, several nightclub executives told me.

"Pure has guys at the door making more than the president," said one executive with intimate knowledge of the cover-charge system. He was referring to the annual salary of the president of the United States, which is $400,000, plus benefits.

A Pure executive told me over the weekend that 5,000 people showed up for Paris Hilton's 27th birthday party and her guest appearance with the Pussycat Dolls.

About six months ago, on a busy night at Pure, I overheard two men bitterly complaining about the cover charge. "They wanted $1,000 per person. I said the highest I'd go was $800!" one said.

It's not just Pure, the largest club in town with a capacity of 2,400. Grumbles about nightclub gouging have been growing louder.

In my nearly completed book "Vegas Confidential: Sinsational Celebrity Tales," I write: "It's no secret that most clubs understand that the longer the line the higher the anxiety. That's where the 'line slide' comes in.

"If people have been waiting all night, they're not going to go somewhere else and start over," said a club exec (not at Pure).

"Club employees, usually the size of big league umpires, will go down the line and fish for people who really want to get in. The line guy might get $200, but now everyone in the group is still going to have to pay a $30 to $40 cover charge. Sometimes, the doorman demands more, maybe $50 to $100 per person."

Then there's bottle service, which means you have to buy a bottle to sit in the VIP section. The usual requirement is one bottle per three patrons. Two-bottle minimums are not uncommon. Bottles at most clubs are going for $350 to $650 a piece.

Complete stupidity

Excuse my French but what numbnuts thought to order the security standdown for weapons screening.

Hello?? Is it not conceivable that the first very viable Black candidate for the Presidency of the United States might not be a target for some nutjob?

Fire the dude who ordered this, or at least, demote him or put him out to pasture.

And this in Dallas of all places!!

Police concerned about order to stop screening
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Barack Obama speaks Wednesday at a Democratic rally in Dallas' Reunion Arena. Police were told to stop screening people for weapons before the rally began.

DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.
Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."
The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.

Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, the order was made by federal officials who were in charge of security at the event.

"How can you not be concerned in this day and age," said one policeman.

Go Ahead and Taze me Bro

If at first you don't succeed ......

Officer shoots man after Taser fails to faze him
Brian Chasnoff: Express-News

Bander Mashery Alshery has never been the type to let a Taser bring him down.
On two occasions since October, Alshery has been Tasered three times by the same San Antonio police officer, Emanuel Keith — each time to little effect.

After the stun gun proved less than efficient for a third time Thursday morning, Keith pulled out his service weapon and fired, striking Alshery, who was brandishing a knife, multiple times in the upper chest and arm, police said.

Alshery, 28, was in critical condition Thursday evening at Brooke Army Medical Center. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, with bond set at $50,000.
Keith, a 12-year member of the San Antonio Police Department who also used a baton in trying to detain Alshery, was placed on administrative duty while police investigate the incident.
"It appears the officer followed SAPD policy in use of force," said police spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino, adding that Tasers "are just tools. Nothing's 100 percent."

Alshery in the past decade was accused of resisting arrest twice, evading arrest once and taunting another cop with a toy gun and a knife, according to police reports. And less-than-lethal weapons have proven less than effective on him.
Alshery has "previously been pepper-sprayed, bean-bagged and Tasered with no noticeable effects," a police report says.

Thursday's shooting occurred about 5 a.m. at a convenience store in the 2900 block of East Southcross Boulevard.

According to the report, officers were called about a person harassing customers. Officer Scott Ambrose, who was also involved in the October incident in which Alshery was Tasered twice, arrived first and detained Alshery, whom he recognized as a habitual knife-carrier. But Alshery broke free and fled. Ambrose ran after him, and Keith soon joined in the chase. Both officers ordered Alshery to stop, an SAPD news release says.

As Alshery continued to resist, Ambrose and Keith used batons to try to subdue him, "but those efforts were not effective," the release says. Keith then used his Taser, striking Alshery with the weapon's electrical probes.
"It had no effect," says the police report.

Alshery took off running again but stopped. With Ambrose about two feet behind him, Alshery turned around, raised a knife and moved toward the officer, the report says.
Fearing for his colleague's life, Keith fired multiple times, the release says.

Ambrose and Keith had confronted Alshery in October after police were called to a South Side apartment. Seven men were throwing items at the apartment in an attempt to ferret out Alshery, with whom they were upset, a police report says.

Upon realizing that Alshery was wanted on a warrant, Keith and another officer informed him he was under arrest. A prolonged tussle ensued. Alshery and an officer fell to the ground, and Keith used his Taser twice to no effect, the report says.

Alshery finally was detained in that incident after Keith tackled him at the ankles and another officer dug her knees into his back.

Down for the count

An end to the sad tale, except of course the appeals process which could take a few years give or take.

Lawyer-wife sentenced to 10 years' probation
Guillermo ContrerasExpress-News

An attorney who schemed with her lawyer-husband to extort thousands of dollars from her paramours will have to serve 10 years' probation and 400 hours of community service, a judge ruled Thursday.

Amid tears, Mary S. Roberts pleaded for leniency from 226th District Judge Sid Harle so she could remain at home with her youngest child, age 11.

Recognizing she had committed a sin, Roberts said: "The consequences of that sin will be borne by my children ... and my parents. They have suffered."
Roberts had opted to be sentenced by the judge instead of by the jury that convicted her of all five counts of theft at her weeklong trial in December.

Her husband, Ted H. Roberts, was convicted of three of five theft counts last March, and Harle sentenced him to five years in prison. He has appealed and is out on bond.

His law license was suspended pending the appeal, a fate Mary Roberts now faces as well. Her attorneys said they plan to appeal her conviction.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

You drink, you drive, you go to jail (after 19 DWI's)

Is forever too short a time in a case like this?

Man gets 8 years for 19 DUIs
Judge lectures driver; suspends license forever

HAMILTON - A Hamilton man's 19th drunken driving conviction earned him eight years in prison and a lecture about his 30-year record, which ranks him among Ohio's six worst drunken drivers.

"You knew a long time ago that you had a problem with drinking and driving and you've never chosen to do anything," Judge Noah Powers told Stephen W. Wolf in Butler County Common Pleas Court during sentencing Tuesday.
Wolf faced up to 10 years in prison as a result of a hit-and-run crash in Fairfield Township last summer.

He's among four Ohio drivers with 19 drunken-driving convictions; two others are tied for the state record of 20 convictions.

Powers also imposed a lifetime driving suspension. But Wolf has disregarded suspensions since at least 1984.

Now 51, Wolf was first convicted of drunken driving in 1978, just before his 22nd birthday. Ohio law then allowed little jail time for repeat drunken drivers. Laws have toughened since.
Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper said Wolf's eight-year prison term is proof: "This guy is the example that shows everyone that drinking too much and getting in a car can land you in prison for eight years. That ought to be long enough to sober you up."

Piper said he understands alcoholism is a disease. But, he said: "No disease makes you get in a car and drive. If you want to get plastered, stay home and get plastered on the front porch instead of climbing into a car and risking the lives of innocent people. Stay at home with your 12-pack."

Enquirer readers e-mailed to express outrage about Wolf's driving record and about his lawyer, Robert Qucsai, urging leniency.

Lindy Ranz, of Harrison, wrote: "Would Mr. Qucsai let any of his family members ride in a car driven by Wolf? I certainly would not. We are all lucky that this 'drunk' did not kill anyone."

"Lock him up FOREVER," wrote Jimmy Combs of Newport. "Nobody deserves 19 chances to kill someone while driving drunk."

Qucsai called his client "a broken man" who suffers from multiple sclerosis, leukemia and alcohol abuse - and needs help.

Wolf apologized for his actions.
But Powers noted that Wolf at first denied driving during the Fairfield Township incident.

"When I look at everything you've done in the past, your record doesn't warrant any further consideration," Powers said.

On Stirke

As a father of three teenage girls in high school who seem to constantly be at war with each other I totally sympathize with this woman.

'On Strike' Mom Accused Of Neglect

OCALA, Fla. -- A Central Florida mother of four boys was arrested on Tuesday after telling authorities that she went "on strike" more than a month ago, leaving the teens home alone for hours every day because they would constantly fight.

Melissa G. Dean, 33, was charged with child neglect after telling Ocala police and the Department of Children and Families that she leaves her children, ages 17, 16, 14 and 13, home alone.
According to a charging affidavit, Dean said the children needed to start cleaning up and stop fighting and that she had no control over them. Dean also said she was fed up with being run over in her own home and having no privacy, according to the affidavit.

Dean told a DCF official that she decided to "go on strike" because no one would help with her children, saying the police and courts would do nothing to help her.

Dean, a Walgreens manager, said she spends nights at a friend's house and would only spend one night per week at her home, the affidavit stated.

The affidavit said that Dean would cook meals and take them to her children and would sometimes check on them. Dean said she called her children often, the charging affidavit said.

Police said they were called to the home on Monday because two of the children were fighting over a computer cord. One of the boys ran to a neighbor's home and police were called. Dean was not home at the time of the incident, police said.

Police have responded to the home several times in the past.

The friendly skies

WOW! Good job on finding this.
There's more to this story I am sure.

Airport Passenger Had Box Cutter In Hollowed-Out Book

TAMPA - A 21-year-old Clearwater man was arrested at Tampa International Airport this weekend after security personnel found a box cutter in a hollowed-out book, authorities said.

If convicted, Baines faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for a federal charge of attempting to board an airplane with a concealed dangerous weapon. He is currently serving a 30 day sentence after pleading guilty Monday to a state misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

About 7:30 a.m. Sunday, airport security ran Benjamin Baines Jr.'s backpack through an X-ray machine and saw the image of a box cutter, according to a report from the Transportation Security Administration.

When searching the backpack, a security officer found a book titled "Fear Itself." The book was hollowed out, and the box cutter was inside.

After Baines was read his rights, he said his cousin had cut away the pages to make the hollow section in the book. Later, reports state, he said he had hollowed it out himself to hide money and marijuana from his roommates.

Baines told officers he was moving to Las Vegas and forgot the cutter was in the book.

Officers found books in the backpack titled "Muhammad in the Bible," "The Prophet's Prayer" and "The Noble Qur'an." He also had a copy of the Quran and the Bible.

Several sheets of paper in the backpack included rap lyrics that referred to police, narcotics, weapons and killing. Baines told officers he is a rapper who writes his own lyrics and that rap music writers need to "play the part," the report states.

Officers performed a background check and found no record of crimes or active warrants.He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and booked into Orient Road Jail. At his first appearance in court Monday, Baines pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, according to an employee with the Hillsborough County clerk of court. He remained in Orient Road Jail today.
The U.S. Attorney's Office also filed a federal charge of attempting to board an aircraft with a concealed dangerous weapon. The federal charge against Baines was filed Sunday but was not announced until today, said Steve Cole, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.
Cole said Baines will be arrested by U.S. marshals upon his release from jail on the state charge.