Thursday, January 31, 2008

More financial shennaigans from Clinton, Inc.

Oh yeah. she can control him and stop the funny money and the appearance of impropriety.

An Ex-President, a Mining Deal and a Big Donor
By JO BECKER and DON VAN NATTA Jr.: New York Times

Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.

Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.
Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.
The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.

Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.

Mr. Giustra was invited to accompany the former president to Almaty just as the financier was trying to seal a deal he had been negotiating for months.

In separate written responses, both men said Mr. Giustra traveled with Mr. Clinton to Kazakhstan, India and China to see first-hand the philanthropic work done by his foundation.
A spokesman for Mr. Clinton said the former president knew that Mr. Giustra had mining interests in Kazakhstan but was unaware of “any particular efforts” and did nothing to help. Mr. Giustra said he was there as an “observer only” and there was “no discussion” of the deal with Mr. Nazarbayev or Mr. Clinton.

But Moukhtar Dzhakishev, president of Kazatomprom, said in an interview that Mr. Giustra did discuss it, directly with the Kazakh president, and that his friendship with Mr. Clinton “of course made an impression.” Mr. Dzhakishev added that Kazatomprom chose to form a partnership with Mr. Giustra’s company based solely on the merits of its offer.

After The Times told Mr. Giustra that others said he had discussed the deal with Mr. Nazarbayev, Mr. Giustra responded that he “may well have mentioned my general interest in the Kazakhstan mining business to him, but I did not discuss the ongoing” efforts.

As Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign has intensified, Mr. Clinton has begun severing financial ties with Ronald W. Burkle, the supermarket magnate, and Vinod Gupta, the chairman of InfoUSA, to avoid any conflicts of interest. Those two men have harnessed the former president’s clout to expand their businesses while making the Clintons rich through partnership and consulting arrangements.

Mr. Clinton has vowed to continue raising money for his foundation if Mrs. Clinton is elected president, maintaining his connections with a wide network of philanthropic partners.

read more:

yeah sure, and if you believe that i have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to ya


Even if I thought I might consider voting for Hillary Clinton, because I was in a state of feverish delirium and I was kidnapped and taken to a voting place where rabid Democrats held my hand and pushed the voting button as I feebly plead with them to stop.

The thought of Hill and Bill in the White House again would make me even sicker.

I'm just saying.

Clinton Says She Can Control Her Husband

ABC News' Eloise Harper Reports: Senator Hillary Clinton, in an interview with ABC News' Cynthia McFadden for ABC News' Nightline, was asked about President Clinton’s controversial comments about race and Senator Obama in the past weeks. Clinton apologized for her husband.

“I think whatever he said which was certainly never intended to cause any kind of offense to anyone,” Clinton said, “if it did give offenses then I take responsibility and I’m sorry about that.”

"Can you control him?" asked McFadden.

“Oh of course,” Clinton replied.

He can be forgiven but should he stay as Mayor?

Being Detroit, they will forgive him. Being Detroit, they will never learn. Being Detroit, they will continue the slow, and sometimes, not so slow, decay of a once proud and mighty industrial part of America and the arsenall of Democracy.

Note: by they I mean the citizens of Detroit and the surrounding communities. Don't even try to make this a race issue.

From Tenfootman Blog:

"seems like the darling mayor of detroit did it again. now after the reports of dead strippers at the mayor's mansion were silenced, the scandal involving city SUVs being given to his wife subsided, he has come back with perjury. seems that he lied under oath about sleeping with an aide. lying under oath is bad, might cost him his job, the city of detroit a lot more money than the millions already paid out in the settlement of the case where it appears he lied, and his license to practice law. the best part is that he got caught because of text messages. 14,000 text messages detailing his affair which he adamantly denied under oath."

Show him to the door Detroit.

Detroit Mayor Pleads for Forgiveness

DETROIT (AP) - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded for forgiveness from his family and his constituents Wednesday in an emotional televised speech, his delayed response to recently revealed racy text messages that contradict his sworn testimony that he did not have a physical relationship with a key aide.

"I truly apologize to you," Kilpatrick said, turning to his wife, Carlita, who sat by his side, holding his hand, at their family church.
"I am the mayor. I made the mistake," Kilpatrick told Detroit residents, looking into the camera. "I am accountable."

He did not publicly specify, however, what he was apologizing for, saying legal matters prevented him from doing so.

A prosecutor is investigating whether the mayor and chief of staff Christine Beatty lied under oath during a whistle-blower's lawsuit last summer in which both denied having a physical relationship. A conviction of lying under oath can bring up to 15 years' imprisonment.

Kilpatrick vowed to remain mayor in the carefully orchestrated speech, which aired live in prime time on local television and radio stations.

"Make no mistake about it; since 2002, I have been in charge of the city. There have been ups and downs. There have been hills and mountains and valleys. But through it all, I remain in charge of the city," he said during the speech at Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ.

There was no audience and no reporters or photographers, save for the operator of the sole video camera used. Kilpatrick made no mention of the text messages or Beatty.
The mayor closed by saying, "God bless you, Detroit. I love you. I will see you at work tomorrow."

The speech ended a week of seclusion for Kilpatrick since the Detroit Free Press reported on the text messages. His only public response had been a written statement a week ago.

Carlita Kilpatrick also spoke Wednesday, describing the pain her husband had caused, but urging the city to remain committed to him.
"I am angry, hurt and disappointed," she said. "But no question I love my husband."

Kwame Kilpatrick, 37, is in his second term and could run again next year, but the revelation of the text messages from 2002 and 2003 could end his political career.
The messages call into question testimony Kilpatrick and Beatty gave in a lawsuit filed by two police officers who alleged they were fired for investigating claims that the mayor used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.

In court, Kilpatrick and Beatty denied having a physical relationship, but the text messages reveal that they carried on a flirty, sometimes sexually explicit dialogue about where to meet and how to conceal their trysts.

Kilpatrick wrote Beatty in 2002: "I've been dreaming all day about having you all to myself for 3 days. Relaxing, laughing, talking, sleeping and making love."
Beatty submitted a letter of resignation Monday, effective Feb. 8.

At a pro-Kilpatrick rally outside the mayor's office a few hours before his speech, supporters held signs reading "Leave Kwame Alone,""Protect the mayor - protect your city" and "Mayor Kilpatrick Progress."

"He is our mayor. We choose to judge this man by his entire character," said the Rev. Horace Sheffield III, pastor of New Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. "What the mayor has done is unexplainable but not unforgivable."

After another crowd gathered a short time later to call for the mayor's resignation, shouts of "resign" were drowned out by retorts of "We love Kwame."
"I feel he should go to jail for lying on the stand. He's embarrassing for everyone," said Joann Jackson, 63, who carried a white T-shirt bearing a depiction of Kilpatrick's face and the words: "JUST QUIT."

Controversy has surrounded Kilpatrick since his 2001 election as mayor.

Embraced by many Detroit residents for his boldness and confidence, Kilpatrick, then 31, embodied the new black politician and wore a diamond stud earring that helped foster his unofficial title as "Hip-Hop Mayor."

His first four years were marred by use of his city-issued credit card for expensive travel, the city's lease of a luxury Lincoln Navigator for his wife and unsubstantiated allegations of a wild party involving his security team and strippers at the mayor's mansion.

At the start of his second term, Kilpatrick vowed to not make the same mistakes and announced a residential redevelopment along Detroit's dormant riverfront, a successful Super Bowl that shone a light on the city's renewal efforts and other improvements.

No car is worth this price

Okay, talk about Ironic and such a waste.

Russia's most famous - and glamorous - female bodyguard killed as her Porsche is carjacked in Moscow

Russia's most famous female bodyguard Anna Loginova has been killed after failing to prevent her own Porsche being carjacked.

The glamorous 29-year-old died from head injuries after clinging on to the door handle of the Cheyenne and being dragged along the street at high speed as the car screeched away.
"She suffered serious injuries and died at the scene," said a police spokesman.

Police believe that she was killed in a random carjacking and was not the victim of an attack based on her work for wealthy high-profile Russian clients.
Loginova ran an agency for female bodyguards, some trained by the ex-KGB, to give discreet protection to Moscow's billionaires and their wives and mistresses.

The glamorous bodyguard was killed as her Porsche was carjacked
In a recent magazine interview, she insisted that she and her team of glamorous bodyguards gave better protection than the more traditional beefy male security men.

Loginova, 29, had recently foiled a thief by using her Jujitsu moves before pulling a gun on him
"I do think that a girl should be a girl, not a Terminator," she said. She posed semi-naked for a Moscow men's magazine to make it clear that she was feminine as well as good with a gun.
She was highly respected for her bodyguard skills. "A normal man gets sick and tired of male bodyguards around him all the time," she said.

"In addition, many restaurants now do not allow a guard inside. They can come in and check everything but then they are asked to wait in the lobby.

"In contrast, you can take female bodyguards inside, she will sit down at the table and nobody would guess that she's a weapon herself - and can react appropriately in any dangerous situation."

She spoke of a recent carjacking incident in Moscow.

"I got out, locked the car and at that moment a man ran up and squeezed my hand with keys. I reacted immediately with a Jujitsu move, bending back his hand and hitting his face with my elbow.

"He did not expect such a reaction. The next moment, I took out my handgun but a Honda car passed by and he jumped in."

Last year, 50 Porsche cars were stolen in Moscow, including 12 within the last two months. Only three were ever found.

Cleaning up

Some call it "Art", I call it Bullshit. Way to go NBPD, keep up the good work!

City cracking down on vandalism
By Mitzie Stelte: Herald-Zeitung

Four juveniles were taken into custody by the New Braunfels Police Department Tuesday for allegedly vandalizing Panther Canyon in Landa Park.The offenders, who allegedly are responsible for some of the graffiti on the nature trail, were taken in for delinquent conduct and were released to juvenile authorities.

According to Det. Mike Penshorn, information from the public has been extremely instrumental in identifying those responsible.

Eleven juveniles have been taken in this month as part of an ongoing campaign against graffiti orchestrated by the NBPD. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to the graffiti or any gang affiliations, said Penshorn.

In addition to the four juveniles apprehended for the vandalism at Panther Canyon, three others have been taken into custody for graffiti at Canyon Middle School, two in the Savannah Hills subdivision and two at the Comal Farms subdivision.

I'm trying to get some help, Y'all!

Here's hoping she gets some much needed help. Our local morning DJ's are giving her less than 2 years before she goes belly-up. Some thought more like 1-2 months.

Britney Spears Hospitalized Again for Evaluation

Britney Spears was hospitalized at UCLA Medical Center for a psychiatric hold early Thursday morning, after being transported by ambulance from her Studio City home around 1 a.m.

A LAPD source tells PEOPLE: "Spears was escorted by police and is on her way to get help." The singer, 26, was transported to UCLA for a 72-hour emergency hold, known as a 5150. Police or a mental health professional can request one if a person is deemed to be a danger to him and herself or others. (Spears was held at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on such an order earlier this month, following her Jan. 3 custody standoff with police.) Spears's mother, Lynne – who's in the midst of a tense reunion with her daughter – friend Alli Sims and confidant Sam Lutfi were all inside the gated mansion when police and the fire department arrived.

What brought on the hospitalization? "She was driving around her neighborhood like a mad-woman," says a Spears family source. "Britney has been prescribed medication which she refuses to take. This is just another sad, sad evening."

Earlier in the evening, Internet rumors claimed that the singer had attempted suicide, but Lutfi and Sims both denied those claims to PEOPLE. Since the January standoff, Spears has been stripped of visitation rights for her two sons Preston, 2, and Jayden, 1. Two sources have said she suffers from a psychological disease, with one source saying, "there is no question she is bipolar... she's had manic episodes for years." As last night's incident unfolded, a Spears source told PEOPLE simply, "Pray, please."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A raw deal

Hmm? Sounds a bit fishy to me.

No stinky sushi, please.

Japanese restaurants invited to win approval of the sushi squad

It may look like sushi, taste like sushi and wriggle like sushi, but for the gourmet in London, Paris or New York, the question remains: just how Japanese is this raw fish?

Officials in Tokyo are offering a worldwide “authenticity screen” for restaurants that purport to be Japanese. The scheme, they say, may lead to an equivalent of the Michelin star system for the world’s 25,000 Japanese restaurants. The kitchens of these establishments will soon be visited by teams of experts, run under the auspices of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, who will assess the provenance of ingredients and how far they offer a real taste of Japan.

The origins of the wasabi horse-radish (preferably from the Izu peninsula), miso paste (preferably from the Nagano mountains) and pickled ginger (preferably from Tochigi) will all be scrutinised. Rice is expected to be the most frequent area of failure: a true sushi master will insist on Japanese koshihikari rice grown in Japan.

The same variety grown in California might, just, be acceptable. Faux pas may include serving Chinese soy sauce, or miso soup in a porcelain cup.

The organisers, who see the campaign as promoting Japanese food and its health benefits, are anxious not to appear to be unleashing a squadron of international “sushi police”.

When an authenticity screen was mooted last year it was condemned by chefs round the world as “meaning-less”. The popularity today of Japanese food was self-evident without diners being bothered about authenticity, it was argued. Officials at the Japanese Foreign Ministry admitted that the original plan had soon become a “PR catastrophe”.

But organisers of the new scheme emphasised that certification would not be used to denounce as “fakes” those restaurants that did not meet their standards. Instead, establishments that serve genuine Japanese food will receive a seal of authenticity to act as an assurance of high quality.

The seal will be useful for those drawn to the food’s health benefits, which depend on the genuineness of ingredients, particularly the fish and the tofu. The life expectancy of Japanese people has caught the eye of Russia’s billionaires, and miso soup, once just a staple of the ordinary Japanese home, has become a red-hot export market.

The seal’s design, displayed yesterday, resembles a coat of arms, with chopsticks, a Rising Sun background and the petal of a cherry blossom. The award will go to restaurants that meet five criteria of authenticity and can show that they have mastered the classics of Japanese cuisine.
The scheme is to be administered locally. The inspectors are already in Bangkok, Shanghai and Taipei. They will arrive this year in London, Amster-dam, Los Angeles and Paris.

Don't Taze me Bro, Number 8

Hmm? I wasn't there but could it have been excessive on the part of the officer? After further review, Naah! Good job, Officer.

Bicyclist tased when he runs for minor infraction

HAMILTON CITY -- A man riding a bicycle with improper lighting equipment was shot with a Taser stun gun Wednesday night as he ran from a deputy who tried to stop him for the infraction.

After repeated attempts, Glenn County sheriff's deputy Cale Smith said he finally got the attention of the rider on Sierra Street, who jumped from the bike and began running.

After a half-block chase and several warnings from Smith that he would use the Taser, he did.
Sgt. Scott James said only one probe struck the man, identified as Omar Herrada Rivera, 39, and he received no shock.

Smith caught up with him near the garage of a home, and took him into custody after a brief struggle.

James said Smith was fully justified in firing his Taser, because Rivera was running toward a home, and could have endangered people inside.

"We consider the Taser as being at the same level of force as other weapons, including pepper spray and batons," James said.

He added that deputies don't deploy Tasers against subjects who are driving or riding a bike because of the risk factor.

Rivera was transported to Glenn Medical Center, where he was cleared for booking into the Glenn County Jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, riding a bicycle without proper lighting, riding under the influence of alcohol and use of false citizenship/government documents.

Another cockroach caught II

It must be cockroach day in our area. Another scumbag fleecing poor unsuspecting folks who were being kind-hearted.

Seguin man is eyed in funeral-funds scam
Roger Croteau: Express-News

A Seguin man is suspected of bilking area residents out of their money with a made-up story about needing to cover funeral expenses for a dead infant.

"It's really strange," Seguin police Detective Aaron Seidenberger said. "But if you think about it, people are generally softhearted. When it comes to children, people have deep pockets. He picked what is probably the most rotten scam I've heard of, but for sure, one that would get him some money."

Scott Teel, assistant manager at Goetz Funeral Home, said he started getting calls last week from people inquiring about money being raised for funeral expenses for a dead baby. He didn't know anything about it and assumed that people were calling the wrong funeral home.

Then on Friday, one caller said a man was at her door soliciting money. Later, another caller identified the man as Fidencio Magallanes Jr., 26. Some callers said the man showed them a photo of an infant while making his appeal.

"We knew right away it was a scam," Teel said. "It's about the most despicable thing a person could do, to try to capitalize on a tragedy like that."

Teel went to the Seguin Police Department, and officers picked up Magallanes late Friday. He was detained at the Police Department on a probation violation, police Lt. Juan San Miguel said.

He since has been released.

San Miguel said investigators are hoping someone who gave money to Magallanes will come forward.

"We just need one person to give us an affidavit," he said.

Magallanes was arrested several times between 2001 and 2007 on charges including burglary, theft, assault, evading arrest and possession of marijuana. He most recently was released from jail in October.

The angels weep

I hope they find the creep and he rots in jail, then Hell. Its crap like this that just wants to make me cry. A child, tossed out like some unwanted piece of garbage on the side of the road.

Baby boy's body found on side of Galveston road

GALVESTON — Police began a nationwide search Tuesday night for the father of a 3-month-old boy who matches the description of a body found Tuesday near a child's car seat on the side of a Galveston road.

Galveston police wanted to question Travis Mullis, 21, after the child's mother viewed a photo and identified the child as hers, Detective Jeremy Schwartz said.

The body, described as a blond, blue-eyed child wearing a disposable diaper, was discovered about 9 a.m., Galveston police Lt. Jorge Trevino said.
The body is the second in three months to be discovered on or near Galveston Island.

"One death is too many, and the fact that we've now had two in such a short time span is beyond comprehension," Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said.
Trevino said a couple hoping to view wildlife stumbled across the body.

"A couple was driving ... and saw what they thought was a doll," he said.
But something looked odd, and they stopped and discovered the body next to a child's car seat, he said.

Trevino said it appeared that the child may have been thrown from the car while sitting in the car seat. He said it was unlikely that the child could have somehow fallen out of the car without the driver knowing it.

An Alvin woman whose 3-month-old was last seen with Mullis between 6 and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday began phoning hospitals in the area, and a hospital contacted Galveston police, Trevino said.

Volunteer search organization Texas EquuSearch also called police with the same information about 15 minutes later, he said.

True Lies (not)

WOW! Call me naive, I guess I just would not believe so many folks would outright lie on their resumes. I can understand some "puffery" but not outright lying on jobs, schools and the like. This situation arose out of the finding out that the City Manager of eagle Pass, lied on his resume about prior jobs and where he went to school. He listed the University of Maryland instead of a "school" that gives you a diploma based on life experiences and $ paid.

I disagree with Professor Chang who says it is the responsibility of the employer to "catch" the lies on a resume! How about its the responsibility of the job seeker not to lie on their resume?

Eagle Pass: Padded resumes common deception
Vincent T. Davis: Express-News

The recent firing of Eagle Pass City Manager Glen Starnes for lying on his resume has the business and political communities buzzing. People from both camps said they understand how false document scandals can happen even in an age of the Internet and technological advances when almost anybody can check credentials.

According to a recent survey from Hire Right, an online employment screening service, inflated credentials are prevalent across the country. The study showed that 80 percent of resumes are misleading, 30 percent claim distorted work dates and 27 percent included false references.

Mike Perez, president of the Texas City Management Association, said incidents similar to the one in Eagle Pass are rare among the 1,093 members of his organization. A city manager from McAllen, Perez said stringent rules prevent applicants from getting hired based on false resumes.

Members are required to take an ethics class within six months and a refresher course every two years, he said.

"Those of us in this profession understand that we work for a public entity that's funded by tax dollars," Perez said. "We need to be transparent. People have a right to know where we went to school (and worked.) We knew when we decided to get into this profession that's part of the way it works."

Dr. Susan Dollar, director of career services at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said she tells her students that a resume is their face to the world. She helps them list prior jobs as transferable skills and if they were ever laid off or fired. Being truthful on a resume about prior offenses or convictions, she said, would make her want to interview an applicant.

"You cannot embellish a 2.8 GPA," Dollar tells her students. "It doesn't round up to a 3.0."
Dollar said some people enhance their identity because it's easy to do and they don't think anyone will check their claims.

"The consequences can be devastating," Dollar said. "Like anything, there's a percentage that never get caught, but are you willing to risk that?"

She said she encourages her students to attach cover letters, which can address any points that might be confusing.

Pepe Lee Chang, a business ethics professor at UTSA, said that when it comes to resumes, it's all about being competitive, which leads to applicants padding resumes to increase their marketability. She said it's the responsibility of the person reviewing the resume to catch inflated entries and verify the claims.

"It's fine to make what you've done seem as great as possible," she said. "But it has to be true."

Another cockroach caught

Ok, more cockroaches inserting themselves into trusted positions and preying on hapless children. If found guilty I do not envy his time spent in prison where child sex abusers are ranked by the inmates below used car salesmen and the defense attorneys who lost their cases causing them to be locked up.

Also, why does the guy look so dang happy in the picture, was he happy he got caught?

Elementary school principal jailed
Colin McDonald, Michelle Mondo And Michelle De La Rosa: Express-News

An elementary school principal who has worked as a San Antonio educator for nearly two decades was arrested Tuesday in connection with the molestation of a 13-year-old student, authorities said.

Michael Alcoser, the 41-year-old principal of Carrillo Elementary School in the South San Antonio Independent School District, was charged with aggravated sexual assault. He remained jailed Tuesday evening on a $75,000 bond. And school administrators said he was placed on administrative leave pending an outcome of the criminal investigation.

The arrest came several days after authorities searched Alcoser's home and took computers, digital cameras and videos, including images that they said depicted the teenage boy. That search, executed last Thursday, was the result of an investigation that began this month after the boy's mother told police about her son's claims.

According to the affidavit, detectives found at Alcoser's home two compact discs that "depicted adult men having sex with adolescent male children" and handwritten notes from children that were "inappropriate and sexual in nature."

Authorities also seized pictures of other unidentified children, and police on Tuesday said they believe other victims might exist.

"In these cases, historically, we are never done with one victim," said San Antonio Police Sgt. Gabe Trevino. "Odds are good there may be more victims."

Boo, I see you

Fighting "La Eme", the Mexican Mafia, is sorta like shining a light into a bathroom and watching all the cockroaches scurrying away as you try to step on them as quickly as possible. With the Fed's help maybe more will get caught.

Racketeering charges hit gang
Guillermo Contreras: Express-News

A federal grand jury indicted almost two dozen alleged Texas Mexican Mafia members Tuesday on racketeering charges that involve more than 20 slayings in San Antonio, Austin and Atascosa County.

Most of the 23 defendants, part of the state's largest prison gang, already were in custody on lesser or temporary charges.

FBI agents, San Antonio police and members of a gang task force fanned out to arrest the remaining few only hours after the indictment Tuesday, according to law enforcement and legal sources.

The indictment ups the ante, with charges that could result in the death penalty against some of the defendants, if approved by the Justice Department. One lawyer representing some of the defendants said he learned the charges could include murder, racketeering, drug-conspiracy and money laundering.

The indictment, expected to be unsealed today, ends a four-year investigation into the gang, also known as Mexikanemi.

The gang, founded by San Antonio native Heriberto "Herb" Huerta in 1984, has been recognized as the largest in the Texas prison system. It's not directly related to the Mexican Mafia prison gang of California, which started in that state's prison system 50 years ago.

Experts, however, say Huerta was a member in that gang and eventually got permission to start his own version in Texas. He's serving a life sentence in Colorado for racketeering-related charges.

Outside prison, its members have an ominous presence and are blamed for at least 10 percent of San Antonio's total homicide rate, according to, a Web site about prison life in America.

The Web site estimates that the gang has 30,000 members across the United States.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cage boy

OK, its not okay for him to poison you and the rest of the family, but its not okay for you to put him in a feces filled dog cage.

Sheesh! Maybe she wasn't present in class when they covered the part about raising children and not putting them in dog cages.

Woman Put Grandson In Dog Crate After He Laced Drinks, Police Say
10-Year-Old's Brother Also Charged In Incident

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. -- A Washington County woman is accused of locking her 10-year-old grandson in a feces-filled dog crate for about 90 minutes.

Police said 51-year-old Rhonda Lehman, of Washington, put the boy in the crate Saturday because the boy laced the family's drinks with lamp oil and household cleaner called "Bam."

Lehman has custody of the boy, who told police he did it because "he was angry because he didn't get to go on a trip" last year, said Washington police Officer James Markley. It is possible the boy had been spiking the drinks for a while, authorities said. Family members became sick, but were not hospitalized.

Police said Lehman also told a county agency if someone didn't come for the boy, she would bury him alive in the back yard. Lehman was charged with child endangerment and making terroristic threats.

On Saturday, the boy was put in a 3-foot-by-4-foot plastic dog cage with only a small metal door for him to look out, Markley said.

The boy's 24-year-old brother, Michael McCreery, is charged with punching the youngster.

"When I asked the brother, I said, 'Why would you punch a 10-year-old in the eye?' he said, 'It's better than what I wanted to do to him,"' Markley said.

Markley said the defendants told authorities they don't believe they did anything wrong.
"They were very calm, like this was nothing," Markley said.

The 10-year-old is now in the county's Children and Youth Services, which is treating him for mental health issues, authorities said.

Lehman and McCreery remain at the Washington County Jail on $25,000 bail. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Feb. 5.

My cup runneth over

Another win for democracy, equal justice, equal opportunity and the American way!

Women get bra price equality

LONDON (Reuters) - Forty years after feminists threatened to burn their bras, British women have won another battle in the fight for equality.

Asda, Britain's second-biggest food retailer and owned by U.S. giant Wal-Mart, says it will no longer charge women more for bigger bras in its George fashion range.

"We're putting an end once and for all to one of the last prejudices -- that of the bigger-busted woman," said brand director Fiona Lambert in a statement.

"From now on, all bras at George will be exactly the same price from A cup through to F cup."

A public service announcement

As a public service message I am presenting you with the list of the world's top 10 most dangerous travel destinations. I think however, they should have added Nuevo Laredo, Mexico however, as a tie for the 10th spot due to the drug cartel war going on there. Maybe even add Detroit too, well, because its Detroit, I lived there, years ago, I lived to tell the tale.

BTW that is a picture of a house by Brush Park in Detroit. Looks like something in Berlin at the end of WW II don't it?

Travel Picks: The world's top 10 dangerous destinations

NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters Life!) - People are opting for more unforgettable holidays but some countries can be risky even for the most adventurous travelers. has compiled a list of the most dangerous destinations. The list is not endorsed by Reuters.

1. Somalia
This Horn of Africa country has been in the grip of warlords for the last decade, fighting for control of drug and weapon trafficking rights. Risks include military clashes, kidnapping, landmines and pirates.

2. Iraq
Military action, collateral damage, insurgency and suicide bombings are daily occurrences in the country. Security experts say unstable areas include Baghdad and stretch from Tikrit in the north to Hillah in the south and from Mandali in the east to Ramadi in the west.

3. Afghanistan
Even though the ruling Taliban regime was officially ousted in Afghanistan in 2001, attacks from those still loyal to it and to al Qaeda continue. Military personnel and civilians are killed by improvised explosive devices daily.

4. Haiti
Sharing the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with top vacation destination Dominican Republic, Haiti, the western hemisphere's poorest country, is plagued by civil unrest, police corruption and readily available firearms.

5. Pakistan
The country, which borders Afghanistan, suffers from ongoing geopolitical turmoil. Bomb attacks and rioting between Shia and Sunni Muslim communities are a threat. In December 2007, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated during a suicide bombing after months of strife over delayed elections.

6. Sudan
Despite a peace agreement in 2005, areas of extreme danger due to battles between government troops and militias and local insurgent groups dot the country. Areas to avoid completely include the western region of Darfur, Ethiopian and Eritrean border regions and all of southern Sudan.

7. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
A civil war that formally ended in 2003 still affects the country. As Rwandan and Ugandan troops pulled out of DRC towards the end of the war, rival militias have been fighting each other to fill the power vacuum this created. Crime is rampant in major cities and security conditions can fluctuate drastically even within minor distances.

8. Lebanon
Culminating in the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, Lebanon is split by pro- and anti-Syrian forces vying for control of the government. Other risks include military battles in the south with neighboring Israel and civil unrest.

9. Zimbabwe
Anti-western sentiment prominently expressed by officials, out-of-control inflation and oppression employed by the government to silence dissenting voices are common in Zimbabwe.

10. Palestinian Territories
The region is caught in a brutal tug-of-war between pro-Fatah and pro-Hamas factions. Political and military battles with Israel, especially in the Gaza Strip, have made the security situation in this territory very unstable. Poverty and chronic violence add to the instability.

Helloooo, Mr. Obvious

Manager of the obvious.

Probably soon to be the former manager of the obvious.

Spears' manager says singer has "mental issues"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sam Lufti, the manager and companion of troubled pop star Britney Spears, has said the singer suffers from "mental issues" and has seen a psychiatrist, talk show host Barbara Walters revealed on Monday.

On her ABC television show "The View," veteran broadcast journalist Walters said she spoke with Lufti by phone after he reached out to her.

"He said that Britney is suffering from what he describes as mental issues which are treatable," Walters said on "The View." "He said that she has been to a psychiatrist and that she, I assume, is starting some kind of treatment."

Walters said Lufti has been staying with the singer "constantly" and added that Spears has been having "mood swings, she's been having trouble sleeping."
Walters said she did not know whether Lufti was indeed telling the truth.

Spears, 26, has seen her life spin out of control in the past year since her late 2006 divorce from ex-husband Kevin Federline.

She has exhibited bizarre behavior in public, including being photographed not wearing underwear, and she and Federline have waged a bitter legal battle over custody of their sons.
(how can we also forget her shopping nekid too!)

Late last year, Spears lost custody and visitation rights to Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, and was ordered to undergo drug and alcohol counseling and parental coaching.

She has failed on numerous occassions to appear in Los Angeles family court for hearings dealing with her and Federline's custody issues.

Fly the naked skies

Okay. I think this is just wrong on so many levels. I'm not a prude, but think more like, air turbulence and hot coffee or tea. Got the idea? For all of those thinking I'll get to sit next to some fabulous looking hunk or gal, you might wind up sitting next to a guy like me and that ain't a pretty picture, trust me.

OK, you fly nekid if ya dare.

Fly naked on Germany's first nudist holiday flight

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German nudists will be able to start their holidays early by stripping off on the plane if they take up a new offer from an eastern German travel firm.

Travel agency said it would start taking bookings from Friday for a trial nudist day trip from the eastern German town of Erfurt to the popular Baltic Sea resort of Usedom, planned for July 5 and costing 499 euros ($735).

"It's expensive, I know," managing director Enrico Hess told Reuters by phone. "It's because the plane's very small. There's no real reason why a flight in which one flies naked should be more expensive than any other."

The 55 passengers will have to remain clothed until they board, and dress before disembarking, said Hess. The crew will remain clothed throughout the flight for safety reasons.

"I wish I could say we thought of it ourselves but the idea came from a customer," Hess told Reuters by phone. "It's an unusual gap in the market."

Naturism, or "free body culture" (FKK) as it is known in Germany, was banned by the Nazis but blossomed again after the Second World War, particularly in eastern Germany.

"There are FKK hotels where you can go into the restaurants and shops naked, for example," Hess said. "For FKK fans -- not that I'm one of them -- it's nothing unusual."

"I don't want people to get the wrong idea. It's not that we're starting a swinger club in mid-air or something like that," he added. "We're a perfectly normal holiday company."

You can (or should) trust the Man (or Woman) who wears the star

This is a continuation of the story I outlined in Trust and the Thin Blue Line yesterday. We entrust our lives and safety to those in law enforcement and for the most part the number of officers who respond positively to this trust is overwhelming. The vast majority of law enforcement officers I have been privileged to meet are hard working, well meaning and deserving of our trust.

All the more reason to make sure none but the best and trust worthy are hired into the force.

Blame ineptitude, not affirmative action, for SAPD's bad hire
Jaime Castillo: San Antonio Express-News

The story of former San Antonio Police Officer Joseph Evans is one full of baffling ineptitude.
Evans, whose checkered history was detailed in Sunday's Express-News, never should have been hired in 1994.

Cops in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and even San Antonio took one look at his past and said he didn't deserve the opportunity to carry a gun and a badge.

Yet, a member of the SAPD brass at the time overruled a captain under him and cleared the way for Evans — and his rap sheet with drunken driving and hit-and-run convictions — to become a cadet.

To what should have been no one's surprise, Evans' 12-year run as a cop in-name-only ended when he pleaded guilty last year to looking the other way while his girlfriend dealt methamphetamine from their house.

Worse, nobody wants to own the mistake of his hiring.

According to several former police officials quoted by reporters Todd Bensman and Guillermo Contreras, Evans, who is black, was brought on "amid political pressure from City Hall to hire more black and female officers."


Evans was hired because of one word: stupidity.

Four agencies, including SAPD in 1992, repeatedly rejected Evans' application.
Are we to believe that the supposed political pressure that existed in 1994, when Evans was slipped through the process at SAPD, wasn't there two years earlier?
Sorry, affirmative action might be an easy scapegoat, but simple incompetence is a more apt description.

Even the most passionate fans of affirmative action know that the worst thing that can happen under such a program is to make bad hires.
If rules are relaxed and corners are cut for a woman or a racial or ethnic minority, the failure of that person becomes an inglorious part of that organization's whisper mill.
"See. We took a chance on one of them, and look what happened."

To believe that Evans was hired to fill an unspoken quota is to believe that SAPD couldn't find any black candidates better than him.

Put another way, an organization built to investigate crimes couldn't find a single black man or woman who didn't have two prior convictions, who didn't try to hide a criminal trespass arrest and who wasn't investigated for sexual misconduct at a previous corrections officer job.
That's not believable.

But if it is true that SAPD recruiters in the early 1990s couldn't find better applicants than Evans, then they were downright lazy.

One can only hope that the community can take the comments of current Police Chief William McManus at face value.

McManus, who was not here in the 1990s, acknowledged that his office is under pressure to meet the goals set forth in the city's affirmative action plan.
But, while it should be the goal of every city department to reflect the community it serves, McManus said he won't do it the wrong way.

"We're way low on our numbers in terms of women and black officers, yeah," he was quoted as saying. "But you've got to look at some other method of retention, as opposed to lowering standards."

As the story of Joseph Evans proves, a bad hire is a bad hire. Hiring goals are there to encourage officials to try harder, to resist convention and to look for candidates in nontraditional areas.
Bluntly, they are there to stop bosses from saying, "We couldn't find any."

To lower the bar and then cry affirmative action when things don't go right is reckless and the coward's way out.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Trust and the thin blue line

Years ago in a civil case I reviewed employment records of a SAPD officer and wondered how come he got hired after being turned down twice by SAPD as well as agencies in Houston and I think Dallas, then got hired eventually at SAPD.

Later, he was involved in a shooting in San Antonio, while off-duty which many to this day believe was questionable.

We have to be careful folks on who we trust with the authority and power to protect us and society.

Law keeps public in dark on police hiring practices
Guillermo Contreras and Todd Bensman

Twenty years ago, police unions in Texas converged on the Capitol with a mission.
They found friendly legislators to push a bill that appeared to address only a mundane administrative matter about personnel record-keeping. It quickly passed in 1987 with little public notice.

But buried inside were provisions that ever since have kept taxpayers in the dark about some of the most important management practices of public institutions in Texas.
The law forever closed to the public whole sections of city personnel files.

Because of this change, known as Section 143.089 of the Local Government Code, most Texas taxpayers — with the exception of Dallas — never can know how their police departments carry out the vital functions of vetting and evaluating recruits. They also can't readily know how thoroughly officers accused of misconduct are investigated.

Through the years, 143.089 has impeded the public from exploring these practices.
Emblematic of the problem is the case of former Police Officer Joseph Anthony Evans who, the San Antonio Express-News has learned, was hired in 1994 despite a checkered past that disqualified him from being a cop. After 12 years on the force, Evans faces sentencing Wednesday for allowing his live-in girlfriend to peddle methamphetamines.

Documents in his personnel file, normally cloaked by the law, became public while he was being prosecuted. The city, citing the law, refused to release to the Express-News similar documents that would show whether other officers were hired despite a cloud.

University of Missouri journalism Professor Charles Davis, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, said Evans' hiring exemplifies how the Texas law "flies in the face" of a strong public interest in knowing how people given a gun and the authority to kill are being hired.

"Where people are invested with a fair amount of power, then you better be doggone careful about how you are selecting people," Davis said. "I think there is a very clear link between a transparent process and hiring good people. If these people's records cannot withstand public scrutiny then why are we hiring them in the first place?"

The personnel information that is public is limited to awards, misconduct resulting in suspension or higher discipline and periodic evaluations. The public can't see records that show hiring practices — applicant background investigations, recommendations for hire, academy scores and cadet field training evaluations.

Additionally, the law masks another kind of information that, if made public, could open to debate other important management practices: internal affairs investigations that are inconclusive or result in discipline lesser than a suspension.

Congratulations Dr. Lofgren!

I am proud to serve with Dr. Ruth Lofgren on the board of the AACOG (Alamo Area Council of Government) Criminal Justice Advisory Comittee. She is always a consensus builder and a valued voice on the committee.

Good going Dr. Lofgren and congratulations.

Group selects ecology pioneer as S.A.'s first peace laureate
Tracy Idell Hamilton: Express-News

San Antonio has its first peace laureate.

Dr. Ruth Lofgren, 91, an early pioneer in the field of ecology, was bestowed the new title Sunday evening during the peaceCENTER's fourth annual Blessing of the Peacemakers.

The blessing marks the start of the Season of Nonviolence, a 64-day campaign between the anniversaries of the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. During the campaign, groups from around the world raise awareness of the power of nonviolence.
The idea of naming a "peace laureate" for the city grew out of "Soul of the Citizen," a conference convened in November to foster a dialogue about faith in public life.

"We're not, as a nation, very comfortable talking about the intersection of faith and politics," said the Rev. Ann Helmke, who led Sunday evening's blessing. "We wanted to foster that conversation."

From the conference came the idea of anointing someone in the community to be a voice for wisdom and experience, Helmke said. "So many of us are missing the connection to our elders. Ruth personifies that."

Lofgren, who came to San Antonio after a successful career as a scientific researcher and educator, has recently turned her still-sharp mind to the study of consciousness.
As the peace laureate, Lofgren will be available to speak to schools, faith groups and civic organizations, Helmke said. The peaceCENTER would also like to publish a book Lofgren hopes to write about her foray into the expanding study of consciousness.

"I want to be able to write about my search in a way that opens up my questions to the public," Lofgren said. "I want each person to find the creative, divinely guided self within them."
Lofgren is especially concerned with children, whom she first got close to when she taught science enrichment to troubled youths at a Quaker school in the 1970s.
It was there, she said, that she saw the healing power of the natural world work to relax young bodies tense with the various traumas of their situations.

Too many children are dulled by the demands of institutionalized learning, she said. "Even fourth-and fifth-graders, they're so passive already. They have no energy. They're shut down.
"I want to wake up parents, people in general," she said. "We have to stay whole to appreciate the individuality of people, the divine that comes through the mind."
Lofgren may be the first peace laureate anywhere.

Helmke said that when she told international organizers of the Season for Nonviolence about the idea, they were thrilled with it and may replicate it elsewhere.

San Antonio's peaceCENTER, an interfaith group working toward peace through prayer and education, has taken part in the Season for Nonviolence for almost a decade, Helmke said.

As part of the service, held in the Mennonite Church on South St. Mary's Street, the 70 or so who attended meditated on the concepts of community, commitment, compassion and clarity before hearing from Lofgren, who drew a standing ovation.

Tracking 'em down

They got their man.

Bexar jail escapee captured
Moises Mendoza: Express-News

David Sauceda, the Mexican Mafia gang member and murder suspect who escaped from Bexar County Jail in October, was back behind bars Sunday after he was apprehended by Mexican law enforcement officials, authorities said.

Sauceda, 28, was captured outside a house in Tangancicuaro, a remote city of about 30,000 in central Mexico, where he was living with his girlfriend and two children, who allegedly fled to Mexico with him, according to the Bexar County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service, which held a joint news conference Sunday.

Sauceda tried to run but was quickly taken into custody by Mexican immigration officials and state police, who have been working with U.S. authorities, officials said.
"This shows exactly what can be done when there's cooperation between law enforcement agencies," Bexar County Sheriff Rolando Tafolla said.

Sauceda walked out the front door of Bexar County Jail on Oct. 28, in part by duping detention officers. He handed them the card of his cellmate, whose personal information he'd memorized, and bypassed the fingerprinting system.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The sky is falling

Yes, I know the odds are very much against it striking a population center and it will either burn up or crash in the ocean or an uninhabited region. But it also feels a bit like playing celestial Russian roulette.

Dead Spy Satellite Could Hit Earth Within a Month, Officials Say

WASHINGTON — A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit the Earth in late February or early March, government officials said Saturday.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret. It was not clear how long ago the satellite lost power, or under what circumstances.

"Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, when asked about the situation after it was disclosed by other officials. "Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause."

He would not comment on whether it is possible for the satellite to perhaps be shot down by a missile. He said it would be inappropriate to discuss any specifics at this time.
A senior government official said that lawmakers and other nations are being kept apprised of the situation.

Such an uncontrolled re-entry could risk exposure of U.S. secrets, said John Pike, a defense and intelligence expert. Spy satellites typically are disposed of through a controlled re-entry into the ocean so that no one else can access the spacecraft, he said.

Pike also said it's not likely the threat from the satellite could be eliminated by shooting it down with a missile, because that would create debris that would then re-enter the atmosphere and burn up or hit the ground.

Pike, director of the defense research group, estimated that the spacecraft weighs about 20,000 pounds and is the size of a small bus. He said the satellite would create 10 times less debris than the Columbia space shuttle crash in 2003. Satellites have natural decay periods, and it's possible this one died as long as a year ago and is just now getting ready to re-enter the atmosphere, he said.

As for possible hazardous material in the spacecraft, Pike said it might contain beryllium, a light metal with a high melting point that is used in the defense and aerospace industries. Breathing beryllium can lead to chronic, incurable respiratory problems.

Jeffrey Richelson, a senior fellow with the National Security Archive, said the spacecraft likely is a photo reconnaissance satellite. Such eyes in the sky are used to gather visual information from space about adversarial governments and terror groups, including construction at suspected nuclear sites or militant training camps. The satellites also can be used to survey damage from hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters.

The largest uncontrolled re-entry by a NASA spacecraft was Skylab, the 78-ton abandoned space station that fell from orbit in 1979. Its debris dropped harmlessly into the Indian Ocean and across a remote section of western Australia.

In 2000, NASA engineers successfully directed a safe de-orbit of the 17-ton Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, using rockets aboard the satellite to bring it down in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean.

In 2002, officials believe debris from a 7,000-pound science satellite smacked into the Earth's atmosphere and rained down over the Persian Gulf, a few thousand miles from where they first predicted it would plummet.

They made me do it

Just because you can make a charge "stick" does not mean you should always do it. The DA's office knows what the legislature has intended to implement here in Bexar County. There is discretion when one is a prosecutor, a prosecutor is to seek justice not convictions.

Is this an attempt to put a chilling effect on a program disapproved of by the DA, Susan Reed? Arguably, what they were doing was not within the purveyance of the proposed program but it sure seems like she is sending a message to those who will be putting it into place.

Trio's arrest pits prosecutorial duty against public health issue
Jaime Castillo: Express-News

It's not easy for a prosecutor to see criminal activity in shades of gray.
And looking the other way is especially difficult when, like Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, you have a reputation as the law-and-order type.

But it's hard to imagine the community is going to be a better place if the book is thrown at 73-year-old Bill Day, 67-year-old Mary Casey and 39-year-old Melissa Lujan.

The trio is more drive-by Florence Nightingale than Bonnie and Clyde.

Their trail of "criminal depravity" is spelled out in a recent police report.

On Jan. 5, an officer observed the group's minivan parked on a West Side corner and surrounded by "several known prostitutes and drug addicts."
In broad daylight, Day and his fellow members of Bexar Area Harm Reduction Coalition were trading clean syringes for dirty ones in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis.
Approached by the officer, Day explained what they were doing and produced a typical syringe kit for his inspection.

What happens next is where things get a bit tricky.

According to the report, Day presented himself as a county employee who had permission to pass out syringes. He also produced the business cards of two high-ranking local law enforcement officials to add to his air of credibility.

Trouble is Day is not a county employee. And his nonprofit organization is also not part of an official effort to create a pilot syringe-exchange program in Bexar County.
That program, which would be the first legally sanctioned one in Texas, has been put on hold until the attorney general's office rules on Reed's contention that the legislation that created it was faulty.

Day, meanwhile, has alleged that the police report contains errors, but hasn't offered specifics.
The upshot is this: On the day of the alleged offense, Day, Casey and Lujan were each cited on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia — a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.

On Thursday, police refiled the case with Reed's office as a more serious Class A misdemeanor, distribution of drug paraphernalia, which carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Even if Day misrepresented himself, nobody in the public health community I talked to believes that a 73-year-old retiree and two "accomplices" in a minivan are trying to make it easier for junkies to do "smack."

Neel Lane, the group's attorney from the influential firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, said he thinks the charges have more to do with the politics of those who don't approve of such programs.

"There are needle-exchange programs in Austin, Dallas and Houston that are more or less open about it, and they have not been prosecuted," said Lane, who is part of a pro-bono legal team that includes high-profile criminal defense attorney Gerald Goldstein.

First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg scoffed at the notion, saying Day and the others were cited by an officer on routine patrol.

"Nobody went out looking for this," he said.

A decision hasn't been made, but Herberg acknowledged the Class A charge could stick because the group was providing more than clean syringes.

The "kits" also included silver caps, which are used to "cook" drugs like heroin before they are injected.

While health officials argue it makes little sense to provide clean syringes to addicts who use dirty spoons, Herberg said the pilot program legislation does not provide for such items.

If there is punishment, let's hope it fits the crime and nobody forgets that a public health issue is buried here somewhere.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Shocking! comment.

Kinky Sex, Shocking Death
Pennsylvania man charged with electrocuting wife during nip zip

A kinky sex escapade ended this week with the electrocution death of a Pennsylvania woman and the arrest of her husband for manslaughter. According to cops, Toby Taylor, 37, first claimed that his wife Kirsten was shocked by her hair dryer. But he then admitted that the couple was "into weird sexual behaviors," according to a probable cause affidavit. Taylor then explained that he hooks clips to his wife's nipples and "plugs the cord into a electric strip" and shocks her.

On Wednesday evening, Taylor said, Kirsten removed her clothes, attached the clips, and shocked herself. He then picked up the electric strip and shocked her several more times, adding that he had placed a piece of electric tape over her mouth during the jolts. After the last shock, Kirsten, 29, "fell over on to her face." Taylor initially thought his wife was joking, but quickly realized she was unconscious. He then dressed her in preparation for driving to the hospital, but instead called 911 when she stopped breathing. Taylor, pictured in the below mug shot, told investigators that the couple had "been engaging in electric shock sex and other types of extreme bondage for about 2 years."

He was charged yesterday with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment and was jailed in the York Count lockup (where he remains in custody on $100,000 bail).

She who laughs last

I am trying to understand why the Judge still shaved one year off of the maximum sentence she could have received.

Laughing jailhouse phone call gets woman tough sentence
Arrington's attorney says she really is remorseful about bicyclist's death

TUCSON, Arizona (AP) -- A judge sentenced a woman to nearly the maximum prison term for negligent homicide after hearing a recorded jail conversation in which she made light of the bicyclist she killed.

Melissa Arrington, 27, was convicted two months ago of negligent homicide and two counts of aggravated DUI in connection with the December 2006 death of Paul L'Ecuyer.

She could have gotten as few as four years behind bars, but Superior Court Judge Michael Cruikshank sentenced her Tuesday to 10½ years -- one year shy of the maximum.
Cruikshank said he found a telephone conversation between Arrington and an unknown male friend, a week after L'Ecuyer was killed, to be "breathtaking in its inhumanity."

During the conversation, the man told Arrington that an acquaintance believed she should get a medal and a parade because she had "taken out" a "tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot."

Arrington laughed. When the man said he knew it was a terrible thing to say, she responded, "No, it's not."

Assistant Public Defender Michael Rosenbluth told the judge his client has never been "cold, callous or flippant" about L'Ecuyer's death and has always felt remorseful.

Arrington said words couldn't express how she feels, and that once she's out of prison, she hopes to share her story with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

L'Ecuyer, 45, was riding his bike the night of December 1, 2006 when Arrington swerved off the road, hit him and then continued for 800 feet before stopping, according to Deputy Pima County Attorney Jonathan Mosher.

Arrington's blood-alcohol content was .156 percent, nearly double Arizona's .08 legal limit. She had been driving on a suspended license for a prior DUI.

Someone call a Texas Ranger

What a mess and a prime example of why politics, grand juries and prosecution are never a good mix.

Judge blisters Harris County DA over Medina case

Says Rosenthal's error nullified the grand jury's work

By BRIAN ROGERS and DALE LEZON: Houston Chronicle

A judge criticized the Harris County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday for not supporting a grand jury's decision to indict a Texas Supreme Court justice and his wife for a 2007 arson that destroyed the couple's Spring home.

Why did they bring the case to the grand jury if they didn't want the grand jury to do its job?" state District Judge Jim Wallace asked. "At that point in time, you ought to stand by, and abide by, what the grand jury wishes to do."

Adding another twist in a case that has brought accusations of political favoritism and juror misconduct, Wallace disbanded the grand jury that last week indicted David Medina and his wife, Francisca, citing a procedural error by Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal's office. At least two months of grand jury work is now nullified because the District Attorney's Office failed to file the proper paperwork to extend the jury's term, the judge said.

The ruling added to growing frustrations among the grand jurors who believe their efforts were wasted, while the prosecutor in charge of the case defended his actions to have the Medina indictments dismissed Friday.

The case should have been investigated further before dismissing the indictment, Wallace said.
"The unusual aspect of this case is that it was dismissed so quickly," said Wallace, a Republican judge who has served for 14 years. "It should have been allowed to run its course."
The procedural mistakes by the DA's Office also make it more difficult to find citizens to serve on grand juries, he said.

"That's my concern, because I know how hard it is to impanel grand jurors," Wallace said. "They think 'Why waste our time?' "

In all, Wallace ruled that the Medina indictments, plus more than 30 others in an unrelated mortgage fraud case, are now null and void.

'This is sheer lunacy'Grand jury foreman Bob Ryan said he is frustrated that the jurors' work on the Medina case, and others, is now irrelevant.

"I think voters of Harris County are entitled to a more competent staff in the District Attorney's Office than they have today," Ryan said Tuesday. "This is sheer lunacy and incompetence on the part of the elected district attorney. If it weren't so serious, I would be amused."
Ryan, along with seven other grand jurors, met with reporters Tuesday and criticized Rosenthal's office for frittering away time and resources by presenting evidence to a grand jury that lacked legitimacy.

The foreman and other jurors have already criticized the prosecutors for their decision to dismiss the indictment. David Medina's attorney, Terry Yates, requested a hearing to find them in contempt for speaking about grand jury proceedings, which are secret. That request is now moot, the judge said.

Assistant District Attorney Vic Wisner, who presented the arson case to the grand jury but also sought to dismiss the indictment, stood by his decision Tuesday.
"Regardless of my personal belief in the merits of a case, I cannot ethically proceed forward if I believe the prosecution will not survive an instructed verdict of not guilty and be an exercise in futility," Wisner wrote in an open letter to the Houston Chronicle. "I do not, nor should any prosecutor, conduct show trials."

Wisner's statement also addressed accusations of favoritism.
"If I wanted to help the Medinas and bury the case," he said. "I would never have brought it to a grand jury in the first place."

Wisner wrote that he has asked an "outside investigative agency to pursue the remaining investigative leads" in the arson case. Reached Tuesday by phone, Wisner declined to identify that agency.

His statement also notes that Ryan was a foreman of a previous grand jury which, despite the wishes of the prosecutor, returned several indictments of public officials.
"They were of course also immediately dismissed," he wrote.
Wisner would not identify the case. Ryan said later Tuesday that he recalled the case, but could not remember who it involved.

The DA's Office plans to move forward on one case Wallace dissolved Tuesday. Assistant District Attorney Lester Blizzard, whose division is handling the mortgage fraud case, said new indictments would be sought and secured today.

The grand jurors, including the foreman, had said they would consider reindicting the couple. Investigators have determined the fire was intentionally set.
Rosenthal on Tuesday denied that politics played a role in the decision to dismiss the case.
"Absolutely not," Rosenthal said. "It's part of my oath that I don't prosecute people if I don't think there's enough evidence to do so."

Rosenthal said there isn't enough evidence to justify pursing an arson charge against Francisca Medina and an evidence tampering charge against the judge, but that his office continues investigating.

He said the procedural mistake occurred when the prosecutor who was handling the mortgage fraud case asked that the grand jury be held over, beyond their three-month term. Rosenthal said the prosecutor didn't file the correct paperwork.

He said the chief of his grand jury division retired about a year ago and the new chief didn't catch the mistake.

He said he didn't think other grand juries have been held over for the past year, so there aren't any other cases that might suffer the same procedural snag.

The grand jurors' charge of political favoritism comes at a time when Rosenthal is battling to save the rest of his term. He withdrew from seeking a third term in office after e-mails surfaced with notes of adoration for his secretary, racist jokes and sexually explicit images.

Rosenthal also answered charges from fellow Republicans and community groups who have asked for his resignation.

"They've got their First Amendment rights to say anything they want to. I don't think it's true," Rosenthal said. "I think that people who have known me for a long time know that I'm neither sexist or racist. I haven't changed."

This is True I

Sad but apparently true stories from This is true stories.

Sent Packing

Charles D. McKinley, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., had four weeks of vacation coming, so he decided to visit his parents in DeSoto, Texas. Rather than buy a plane ticket for $320, McKinley, a shipping clerk, packed himself into a shipping crate and air-expressed himself home, charging the fees to his employer. When the crate was delivered to his parents' front step, McKinley pushed out of the box and shook hands with the "shaken and frightened" delivery driver. The driver called the police. After an investigation by the FBI, the U.S. attorney, postal inspectors, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, McKinley was charged as a stowaway, a federal misdemeanor. (Dallas Morning News) ...If he had only waited for the driver to leave, he would have been home free.

Shush, I'm playing with my new action figure

Disquieting Librarians are protesting a new "action figure" being released by Archie McPhee and Co. of Seattle, Wash. The $8.95 doll, complete with "amazing push-button shushing action!", is "a lovely idea and a lovely tribute to my chosen profession," says librarian Nancy Pearl, 58, whom the doll is modeled after. But other librarians don't like it one bit. "The shushing thing just put me right over the edge," says Diane DuBois of the Caribou (Me.) Public Library. "It's so stereotypical I could scream." (AP) ...Hey! What part of "shush" don't you understand?

What a man wants

Nine out of Ten Would be Adequate Researchers at Alabama's Auburn University say they have determined what men want in the "ideal woman": she is sexually inexperienced but likes sex, has a career but is a full-time homemaker, has a slim build, is athletic, and has pretty eyes, dark hair, good complexion and a firm butt. Large breasts are nice, but not all that important. The study's lead author, Erica Gannon, says the specifications are similar to what is found in the Bible. "Our participants, whether knowingly or unknowingly, espouse a view of the ideal woman that is very similar to the views held by individuals thousands of years ago." However, she adds, "It's hard to be this woman." (UPI) ...About as hard as being the ideal man: strong yet gentle, powerful yet sensitive, has a great career yet helps clean the house and raise the children, in control yet cries, and a sex expert who's only been with one woman.

Takes a hit and keeps on ticking

Use Your Head Virginia Tech is outfitting its football players with high-tech helmets with special sensors to gather data on the head blows the athletes suffer in normal games and practice sessions. The data are sent to a central computer in real time via a wireless link. "We'll get a better handle on how head injuries should be managed from a clinical perspective," says the school's chief athletics physician, Gunnar Brolinson. The system is called the Simbex Head Impact Telemetry System, or "HIT System" for short. (USA Today) ...Let's just say that wasn't their first attempt at a clever acronym.