Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gee, who woulda thought?


So a nod, a BIG nod to trial lawyers.

Does this mean Texas would have to rescind its medical lawsuit tort reform laws currently on its books to receive the incentives?


Pelosi health care blows a kiss to trial lawyers
by Capitol Confidential

The health care bill recently unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi is over 1,900 pages for a reason. It is much easier to dispense goodies to favored interest groups if they are surrounded by a lot of legislative legalese. For example, check out this juicy morsel to the trial lawyers (page 1431-1433 of the bill):

Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.

So, you can’t try to seek alternatives to lawsuits if you’ve actually done something to implement alternatives to lawsuits. Brilliant! The trial lawyers must be very happy today!

While there is debate over the details, it is clear that medical malpractive lawsuits have some impact on driving health care costs higher. There are likely a number of procedures that are done simply as a defense against future possible litigation. Recall this from the Washington Post:

“Lawmakers could save as much as $54 billion over the next decade by imposing an array of new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, congressional budget analysts said today — a substantial sum that could help cover the cost of President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s health system. New research shows that legal reforms would not only lower malpractice insurance premiums for medical providers, but would also spur providers to save money by ordering fewer tests and procedures aimed primarily at defending their decisions in court, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, wrote in a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).”

Stay tuned. There are certainly many more terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad provisions in this massive bill.

Gemutlich = agreeably pleasant


I was there yesterday afternoon to early evening in the biergarden.

What a beautiful evening it was, the weather was quite cooperative. I got a real kick out of watching the kids dancing the chicken dance and of course, listening to the bands playing.

What more can anyone want? Beer, sausage, good times and just good old-fashioned family fun.


Its sausage time in New Braunfels
By Jennifer R. Lloyd - Express-News

NEW BRAUNFELS — The 10-day celebration of sausage, beer, polka and all things German kicked of with Wurstfest’s ceremonial biting of the sausage Friday as a visiting German couple celebrated a ceremony of a different kind.

Newlyweds Jessica and Antonio Mastandrea, from the area near Braunfels, Germany, were spending a week of their honeymoon experiencing New Braunfels’ version of the traditional German Oktoberfest. Festival officials predicted that between 120,000 and 150,000 visitors will attend the 49th annual Wurstfest this year. About half of those, like the Mastandreas, likely will come from outside New Braunfels, said Herb Skoog, director of Wurst Relations.

Jessica Mastandrea first visited New Braunfels eight years ago through a Wurstfest exchange program. After a fellow exchange student attended the couple’s wedding two months ago, the Mastandreas decided to return the favor with a visit to New Braunfels during their honeymoon.

The rest of the story:

Drug pushing trial to go forward


The poor woman is not even able to rest in peace.

But if this behavior did occur they should stand trial.


Judge orders 3 to trial in Anna Nicole drug case
By LINDA DEUTSCH -AP Special Correspondent

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Three key players in the troubled world of Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith have been ordered to stand trial after a hearing that plumbed the drug-fueled depths of her final years and the alleged roles of her boyfriend and two doctors in feeding her addiction to prescription drugs.

A judge who heard sometimes shocking testimony about the flood of drugs provided to Smith ruled Friday there was sufficient evidence to try the defendants on charges of conspiring to give Smith sedatives and opiates.

Defense lawyers had argued that lawyer Howard K. Stern, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor and psychiatrist Dr. Khristine Eroshevich tried desperately to save the doomed model in her waning years, including a period when she gave birth to a daughter and lost her grown son to a drug overdose.

The rest of the story:

Friday, October 30, 2009

But...they taste so good


And all this while I thought I just liked Reuben sandwiches because they tasted so darn good.

Who knew they could be so addicting?


Heroin hidden in sauerkraut in Bulgaria: Police
www.Breitbart.com

Bulgarian police in the central city of Plovdiv have seized just over 50 kilogrammes (110 pounds) of heroin, hidden in cans of sauerkraut, prosecutors said Thursday.

Eight people were arrested while transporting the heroin-laden cans in a minivan.

According to Plovdiv prosecutor Marin Peltekov, the drugs were destined for distribution within the country.

Separately, the Bulgarian customs agency said it seized 45 kilogrammes of heroin in a tourist bus that had entered the country via the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing with Turkey.

The rest of the story:

You're kidding....Right?


What?

WHAT??!!

Change the frickin' law to cover these kinds of abuse.

BTW I'm not saying Pee Wee Herman is involved. I just found him to be pretty creepy looking in this picture.



Mom says daughters forced to see porn
By John McFarland - Associated Press

DALLAS — A 1970s-era Texas law that allows parents to show “harmful material” to their children has come under fire after a prosecutor said he couldn’t file charges against a man accused of forcing his 8- and 9-year-old daughters to watch hardcore online pornography.

Randall County District Attorney James Farren has asked the Texas attorney general’s office to review his decision not to pursue charges in the case, which has prompted at least one lawmaker to vow to change the state’s public indecency law.

“Our hands are tied. It’s not our fault. I have to follow the law,” Farren said Thursday. “The mother of the victims in this case was less than happy with this decision, which I understand. We were less than happy with the statute.”

The rest of the story:

False travel claims


A very sad ending to one's career.

Mr. Alvarado is a former State Representative I believe.

I do not recall why he was originally disbarred.


Ex-lawyer admits to bogus claims

A former lawyer who worked for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid as a paralegal pleaded guilty Thursday to making more than $430,000 in fraudulent travel-reimbursement claims.

Leo G. Alvarado, who worked for the agency and a predecessor from 1992 to 2006, pleaded guilty to four felony counts of mail fraud for submitting false claims for mileage and per-diem reimbursement.

He claimed he had visited several of the organization’s clients to help them fill out their Veterans Affairs Department claims. In reality, the people he claimed to have visited were dead, did not exist or were not even clients of the TRLA, previously known as the Texas Rural Legal Aid. It provides legal services to the poor.

The rest of the story:

Hello? Trick or treat!


Good job Folks!














55 sex-predator suspects swept up

By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

On the eve of a holiday on which kids roam neighborhoods at night, a coalition of local law enforcement officers was busy rounding up suspected sexual predators to make the streets safer.

The pre-Halloween initiative resulted in the arrests of 67 people, including 55 accused sexual predators who had warrants out for their arrest, authorities said.

Twelve people not on the target list were picked up on other charges.

The rest of the story:

Yummmy!


Okay, I'm working, I believe, on Monday evening from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm at the New Braunfels Republican Women's Booth.

Come and meet Jennifer Tharp who is running for Comal County Criminal District Attorney.

Come and get your Fried Pickles!!

You can meet me, Man o' Law, too!


Made with sausage, beer and commitment

-

The gates will swing open today to welcome visitors to the 49th annual Wurstfest, kicking off another celebration of New Braunfels’ German heritage with a seemingly endless supply of food, beer and polka music.

And like many long-time participants, Bucky Smith knows just how difficult it is to put together the 10-day salute to sausage so unique to New Braunfels.

“You can’t imagine how much work it takes,” said Smith, who has operated a booth at Wurstfest for more than 40 years.

She recently celebrated her 80th birthday, and she’s spent the past two weeks preparing for the annual onslaught of customers who will stop by “Bucky’s Pickle Factory” to treat themselves to her popular fried pickles. The stand benefits the New Braunfels Republican Women.

She’s been cleaning the kitchen, hanging lights, stockpiling food and getting her admittedly gaudy booth ready for another Wurstfest. And, as she has for more than four decades, she does it pretty much by herself.

“I guess I’m not sure why I still do it,” she said. “I think I just got started (in 1968) and don’t know when to quit, but I think I’ll probably keep it going until the good lord says ‘no more.’”

She’s just one of what Wurstfest Chairman Herb Skoog estimated to be 5,000 volunteer workers who will pitch in over the next 10 days. Many will work long hours.

Smith guessed that she’d be working the booth for just about every waking moment over the next 10 days.

“I may as well sleep here,” she said.

For Wurstfest veterans, it’s an annual commitment that can be taxing.

“I pretty much live here for three weeks,” said Patty Scheel, whose family operates five Wurstfest booths.

She’s been working the annual festival for 47 years.

Why does she come back every year?

“I’ve got five booths, I have to come back,” she said.

The original one-day festival was held downtown in 1961, according to Skoog. It moved to the current Wurstfest grounds in 1968, and longtime participants like Smith and Scheel have watched it grow in popularity since then.

“It’s just gotten so big, I can’t believe it,” Scheel said.

But the allure is the same as it was when the festival first started, according to Martin Palm, whose family has operated the Wursthaus Edelweiss booth since 1968.

“People still come here for food, beer and polka dancing,” Palm said. “And they’ll be back this year for the same thing.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This TV's reception is really lousy



Oh brother!

Okay it was in Australia, how much does anyone want to bet that some beer drinking was involved?



Switched-off thieves fooled by fake TV
Herald-Sun.com.au

WOULD-be television thieves in Melbourne were left red-faced after they tried to steal a cardboard cut-out in a bungled burglary.

Intruders broke into a vacant display home in Arnolds Creek Blvd, Melton West, between 7.30am and midday on Sunday after seeing a large plasma television through a window.

After smashing a front door window to gain entry, the thieves received a nasty surprise upon discovering the television set was a cardboard cut-out used for display purposes only.

The intruders took out their frustration by messing up a bed.

Police said the thieves fled empty-handed, leaving the cardboard cut-out behind.

Damage to the front door was estimated at $50.

Public defender's office


Perhaps a possible solution as well, particularly for smaller rural counties, would be to form a multiple county public defenders office.

Particularly since the District Court jurisdiction is multiple county as well. This way the costs can be shared across several counties.


Kerr County examines creating a public defender office
By Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

KERRVILLE — A spike in the local inmate population, combined with the high cost of court-appointed defense attorneys, has Kerr County commissioners considering the establishment of a public defender office.

The jail count had dipped to 96 inmates, a 15-year low, due to a special court docket initiated this spring that allows suspects to resolve their cases through plea deals offered soon after their arrest.

But 152 people were detained at the 192-bed lock-up Monday, which County Commissioner Buster Baldwin called “alarming” because the county may need to spend millions to expand the jail if the population isn't kept in check.

The rest of the story:

The ultimate price for freedom paid


Thank you for your service to our community and country Sergeant Staats. Our prayers are for you, your family and friends.

Also for Spc. Green. My condolences to all of your family and friends as well.



Services set for GI from Fredricksburg

SAEN-

A rosary will be said at 6 tonight in Fredericksburg, with funeral services there Friday, for Army Sgt. Christopher Neil “Chris” Staats of Boerne.

The 32-year-old Fredericksburg native died Oct. 16 in Afghanistan when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device that also killed fellow Texas National Guardsman Spc. Anthony “Gabe” Green, 28, of Yorktown.

Staats’ family will greet friends from 4 to 8 p.m. at Schaetter Funeral Home at 301 E. San Antonio St., where the rosary is planned. A Mass of Resurrection is set for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 306 W. San Antonio St., followed by a private burial.

49th Annual Wurstfest


Wurstfest kicks off tomorrow

The opening ceremonies at the Wursthalle begins at 4:00. the biting of the sausage is at 5:00.

The annual Festival of Sausage runs from October 30th through November 8th.

The beer czar, Mel Koehler, has informed me that 1300 kegs of beer have already been delivered and are ensconced in massive coolers in a hidden secret location. The weather for this weekend promises to be "Chamber of Commerce" perfect.

In the past 42 tons of sausage have been consumed along with 42,000 kartoffel puffers, 22,000 shish-ka-bobs, 19,000 ears of corn and 10,000 turkey legs!

Friday's admission is free until 7:00 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

"PROSIT" !

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taking matters in hand


I'll bet he doesn't do this again.


Austin solo Adam Reposa, who made obscene gesture before judge, loses fight at CCA
-- Mary Alice Robbins from Texas Lawyer

Adam Reposa, the Austin criminal-defense solo who made a gesture simulating masturbation toward a prosecutor while standing before Travis County Court-at-Law No. 6 Judge Jan Breland, faces 90 days in jail.

In an 8-1 decision today, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Reposa’s application for a writ of habeas corpus in his contempt case. Judge Lawrence Meyers, the lone dissenter in Ex Parte Adam Reposa, did not write an opinion.

The CCA’s unpublished opinion, written by Judge Paul Womack, presents the following summary of Breland’s testimony at Reposa’s contempt hearing: On March 11, 2008, Reposa appeared as counsel for a defendant in a criminal case in Breland’s court. Breland asked Reposa to stop whispering to his client while she was trying to explain a plea offer to the client. After the prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Bill Swaim, protested about Reposa’s continued whispering, Reposa made the simulated masturbation gesture toward the prosecutor while looking at Breland.

Acting on Swaim’s motion, Breland held Reposa in contempt. Senior Judge Paul Davis of Austin, sitting by assignment, subsequently found Reposa guilty of contempt and sentenced him to 90 days in jail. Reposa appealed to the CCA on June 2, 2008. The CCA had set bail for Reposa pending the disposition of his case.

In its decision today, the CCA overruled Reposa's five issues challenging the judgment of contempt and sentence. With regard to Reposa’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, Womack wrote for the majority, “Regardless of the fact that the gesture was not directed at Judge Breland, it nevertheless was a purposeful act of disrespect and an affront to the dignity of the court. As such, it rises to the level of criminal contempt.” Swaim declines comment on the CCA’s decision.

Travis County Attorney David Escamilla as well as Austin solo Karyl Krug, who represents Reposa in the habeas corpus writ application, each did not immediately return a telephone call. When told of the CCA’s decision, Reposa said, “Oh well.” When asked what happens next, Reposa says he doesn’t know. “I need to talk to my lawyer,” he says. But Reposa adds that he does not think he can file his writ application in another court.


Holy kee-rap!!


Ugggh!

I've had sh**ty clients in the past but this one really takes the prize.

Buh-bye!


Man who threw feces in courtroom draws 31-year sentence for robbery
By Dana Littlefield
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO – A man who sneaked a small bag of feces into a courtroom during his robbery trial, smeared the contents on his lawyer and threw it at jurors, was sentenced Monday to 31 years and four months in prison.

Weusi McGowan, 38, pleaded guilty to robbery and residential burglary in connection with the original case, and two assault charges in connection with the feces-flinging incident.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Frank Brown recommended that McGowan be housed at California State Prison in Lancaster, which a defense attorney said was better suited to handle McGowan's mental health needs.

McGowan was tried in January on charges stemming from an October 2007 robbery in Barrio Logan. According to court documents, McGowan demanded money from a 54-year-old man and hit him with a rock that was inside a sock.

During jury selection, McGowan asked the trial judge to declare a mistrial because he believed members of the jury had seen him in restraints while being escorted into the courtroom, according to court documents.

Judge Jeffrey Fraser spoke to the four jurors in question, then dismissed them from the proceedings. He then allowed the selection process to continue.

According to court records, McGowan “became very boisterous and somewhat belligerent” after his request was denied. At one point, he told sheriff's deputies, “You better put the chains back on before I do something.”

Three days later when the trial was under way, the jurors stood for a mid-morning break. As they began to file out of the courtroom, McGowan pulled out a bag of feces he'd hidden in his clothing, rubbed excrement on his lawyer and threw it at the jury.

It did not hit anyone in the jury box, but some landed on a computer case that belonged to one of the jurors.

Fraser declared a mistrial and a new defense attorney was picked to handle McGowan's case.

On Monday, Deputy District Attorney Christopher Lawson said in court that McGowan clearly has mental health issues, but he committed an intentional act when he threw the feces.

Brown, who took over the case after the mistrial, ordered McGowan to pay $129 restitution to replace the juror's computer case.

After the hearing, attorney Stephen Cline – who did not represent McGowan at trial – said his client is “very moody” and suffers from bipolar disorder. He was not taking his medication

“When he hits the bottom, he gets angry when he is mistreated or when he feels he is mistreated,” Cline said.

Pay him and send the other to prison


As if the Texas Lottery doesn't have enough problems.

Now they have paid someone else's prize money to an employee at the store that sold the winning ticket. They probably did not have a duty to make sure the fellow who presented the winning ticket actually was the true owner of the ticket despite what Mr. Willis's attorney says.

There is, IMHO, a bigger issue here, a public relations issue. Pay the winner his money. Collect the recovered funds and prosecute the thief.

Lottery winner wants his prize
By Peggy Fikac - Express-News

AUSTIN — A man cheated of his million-dollar jackpot wants the Texas Lottery to pay up.

The case of Willis Willis drew widespread attention a week ago after a store clerk was indicted after he allegedly kept Willis' winning ticket and claimed the 67-year-old Grand Prairie man's prize in June.

The clerk, identified as Pankaj Joshi, is now considered a fugitive.

The rest of the story:

Exit stage right


Uhhh....good riddance Reginald Blanton.

Your appearance is no longer required in this vale of tears.

My condolences to your family, my condolences to your murdered victim and his family as well.


Condemned San Antonio murderer put to death
By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

Reginald Blanton, in his final words, thanked his supporters, told his victim's family that he understood their pain and decried the drugs used to put him to death.

Blanton was condemned to die for the robbery and shooting death of his acquaintance Carlos Garza, 22.

"Believe me, I shed plenty of tears behind Carlos," he said, looking towards five of Garza's relatives, including the victim's mother. "Carlos was my friend."

The rest of the story:

Betrayed trust


Very sad.

Trusts betrayed. Children preyed upon. Families reeling with the news of what happened to their children. Other teachers and the school itself having to rebuild the bonds with the families, the students and each other.

All allegedly betrayed by one man.


Teacher allegedly lured teens for sex
By Eva Ruth Moravec - Express-News

A 37-year-old teacher accused of creating a “secret society” to lure teenage girls into having sex with him was arrested Monday evening after a girl he allegedly wanted to recruit into the group complained to police, authorities said.

Robert Louis Rosseau taught Bible classes — among other subjects — to eighth-graders at Christian Academy of San Antonio, a private school on the West Side.

Rosseau, who isn't certified by the state to teach, remained in Bexar County Jail on Tuesday on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He was being held on $100,000 bail.

The rest of the story:

Petition drive


A tempest in a teapot?

More costs and legal expenses for the County? Grandstanding?

Not an impressive way to run a campaign for County Judge or to show a predominantly right of center conservative elctorate you would be a good steward of resources.

BTW I have never heard of getting partial petitions verified as you go along. Turn them in ahead of time when you have what you believe are more than enough signatures and then coolect additional ones if you have the time left to do so.


Voter registrar denies batch of signatures

-

Residents seeking to have the construction of the Comal County Justice Center put to a vote are crying foul, after county authorities told petition organizers Tuesday they needed more signatures before the verification process could begin.

Glen Peterson, who is leading the petition effort to force a bond election, wrote a protest letter to various county officials contending that the county should begin verifying signatures on his petition, even if he does not yet have enough to trigger a bond election.

Petitioners need to gather more than 3,300 verified signatures before Nov. 19, when Comal County Commissioners could likely vote to forego an election and issue debt to pay for a $36 million downtown justice center.

Peterson sought Tuesday to have the county begin verifying 1,076 signatures he and others gathered. He was denied his request by the County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office.

Tax Assessor-Collector Cathy Talcott said that if organizers wish to submit a partial petition early, the Texas Election Code requires more signatures.

She said for this type of petition, any early verification must be turned into the tax office 10 days before the set deadline with well above 5 percent of the registered voter turnout in the past election — which in this case is more than 3,300 voters.

Peterson said in the protest letter that he disagreed, and that the tax office should begin verifying and counting them. Peterson hand delivered his letter to Judge Danny Scheel, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Tharp and Cathy Talcott, Comal County Tax Assessor.

The tax office also told Peterson he could not submit voter registration cards he was attempting to file in person for 138 other people. Talcott said, unless submitted by an official deputy voter registrar, voters must be present when attempting to register in person to prevent possible fraud.

She said the registration cards could be submitted by mail. Peterson requested legal clarification on each matter from Comal County.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary


Great detective work and deductive reasoning!


One-legged man held after one shoe goes missing from shop
metro.co.uk

Police say a one-legged suspect was caught after only one shoe went missing in a store in Belgium.

An amputee was an immediate suspect when a store attendant found one shoe missing from a shop in the western Belgian town of Maldegem.

Police spokesman Rik Decraemer said Monday authorities were alerted and quickly found the man who fit the description by shopkeepers. The shoe was also recovered.

Ooops!


This was an embarrassing mistake, no?

At least they hadn't released a violent criminal defendant.


Man released by mistake is back in custody
By Eva Ruth Moravec - Express-News

A Bexar County detention officer accidentally released the wrong man early Monday morning when he failed to double-check a 44-year-old suspected thief's identity.

Officials said Justo Munoz was released around 2:30 a.m. after authorities received a surety bond to release 19-year-old Agustin Munoz. San Antonio police had arrested both men Sunday night — Justo Munoz is accused of shoplifting at a Walmart Supercenter in the 1600 block of Vance Jackson and faces a charge of theft from $50 to $500; Agustin Munoz faces one charge of possession of under two ounces of marijuana.

Deputy Ino Badillo, a spokesman for the Bexar County sheriff's office, said the elder Munoz was mistakenly released because a detention officer failed to double-check the suspect's identity.

The rest of the story:

Esta mujer pendenja


They saw each other at a church?

Then this went on?

Nice.

Mom charged after ramming ex's vehicle
By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

A woman who police said chased down and rammed her ex-boyfriend's car, causing her to lose control and crash through a fence while her two sons were with her in her SUV, has been charged with several counts of assault.

Lorena Tovar, 29, was charged with two counts of assault with bodily injury to a child and one count of assault with bodily injury-non family and given a $31,600 bond, according to county records.

The crash occurred around 8:30 p.m. Sunday in the 500 block of N.W. 36th Street on the city's West Side after Tovar got into a fight with her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend after all three saw each other at a nearby church, San Antonio police Sgt. Mark Hubbard said.

The rest of the story:

Owning the railroads


The Attorney General's office will make its decision.

Things will move along and I hope that Commissioner Parker gets to stay in office. However, having said that, the law must be followed if the AG decides otherwise.



AG opinion will decide commissioner future



As of Monday, the direction of Comal County Commissioner Greg Parker’s future is in the hands of the Texas Attorney General.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office received a 39-page document Monday morning from County Attorney Geoff Barr, requesting the attorney general’s opinion on whether Parker, county commissioner for Precinct 3, triggered the “resign to run” provision of the state election code through questionable fundraising activities over the past three months.

The 39-pages contains evidence collected by Barr, including affidavits from Comal County residents Barron Casteel and Ed Clark and a letter from James and Norma Blackwell. Clark, Casteel and the Blackwells each claim they were personally solicited by Parker for his campaign for Texas Railroad Commissioner.

In his affidavit, Clark said, “Parker stated to me that he had already raised over $30,000 in contributions for his campaign for Texas Railroad Commissioner.”

Along with the affidavits, the 39-page document includes an Oct. 2 Herald-Zeitung article titled, “Commissioner under review,” as well as images of a Web site registered to Parker that solicited donations under the heading, “Greg Parker, Republican for Railroad Commissioner.”

Lauri Fuathoff, a spokeswoman with the AG’s office, confirmed Monday the office was in receipt of the document, initiating a 180-day period for state attorneys to review the evidence and submit a brief to Abbott. In the packet, a nine-page fact review of Parker’s actions prefaces Barr’s request for Attorney General Greg Abbott to issue an opinion on two points: Whether, based on the evidence, Parker has “announced his candidacy”, or whether Parker has become a “candidate in fact” for the Office of Texas Railroad Commissioner under Article 16, section 65 of the Texas Constitution.

Barr said he expects an opinion within 45 to 60 days.

Abbott will make an official ruling and return it to Barr, who will convey the results to County Judge Danny Scheel. Scheel is responsible for replacing Parker should he be found in violation of the “resign to run” provision.

“If he is found in violation, I will replace him immediately,” Scheel said Monday.

Scheel previously said he believes Parker is in violation of the provision, which requires county commissioners running for another public office to resign from their current post if they have more than one year left on their term of service. Parker has three years left on this term as commissioner.

The Investigation

Parker’s campaign activities drew the interest of county officials after questions were raised by the Herald-Zeitung in September asking whether his actions put him at odds with state law.

ParkerforTexas.com operated as recently as Sept. 29, soliciting donations through a PayPal account and providing a link for supporters to purchase campaign gear. Photos of merchandise bearing the “Greg Parker, Republican for Railroad Comissioner” logo were included in the document submitted by Barr, which also confirms the site is registered to Parker.

Under state law, a person becomes a “candidate” for public office if they take “affirmative action for the purpose of gaining nomination or election to public office.” Examples of affirmative action include “the soliciting or accepting of campaign contributions.”

In two newspaper interviews with Parker on Sept. 29 and Oct.1, the commissioner denied he had announced a candidacy for Railroad Commissioner and said any funds he raised would fund his role as county commissioner.

Parker contributed a statement in the document submitted Monday, including his interpretation of the “resign to run” provision.

“While I have spoken privately to some individuals about my desire to seek the gubernatorial appointment … I have not stated in any public meeting or press release that I would run for any particular office,” Parker said in his statement. “Further … an expression of interest does not constitute an announcement of candidacy under constitutional provision article XVI, section 65. I do not believe I have triggered an automatic resignation ….”

Monday, October 26, 2009

Duck! Incoming!!


New front glass facade of Police station represents new transparency in the PD?

Who spews out this hooey? Worse yet, do they believe it?

Is it bullet-proof glass?


LA officials to unveil $437 Million police headquarters
apnews.myway.com

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Police Department is officially being handed the keys to its new headquarters.

Local officials including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and outgoing police Chief William Bratton are scheduled to open the gleaming 10-story, $437 million downtown structure Saturday morning.

The so-called Police Administration Building will replace Parker Center four blocks away. The 1955 facility has outlived its service life and is likely to be demolished.

Voters in 2002 approved a bond measure for new police facilities, and construction began on the new headquarters in 2007.

The new building features a broad glass front police say represents a new era of transparency for a department once resistant to public scrutiny.

UN investigates


What?

WHAT?!!!!

You're kidding me. have we become a third-world country now?

Is ACORN involved too? How about the housing plan for prostitution and human trafficking, is that a Human Right as well?


United Nations Investigator Launches Probe Into US Housing Crisis


The sting


This, dear readers, is a big chunk of change that was stolen.

A really big chunk of change.

I doubt that USAA will see much in restitution from these folks.


Two sentenced for defrauding USAA out of $1.5 Million

Two Virginia men have been sentenced for defrauding USAA Bank in San Antonio out of more than $1.5 million by stealing people's identities and pretending to be in the military to get loans.

Joseph M. Cherry II, 29, of Norfolk, Va., was sentenced Friday to 112 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Bruce Bridges, 26, of Virginia Beach, Va., was sentenced last week to 79 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Cherry was ordered to pay restitution of $796,801, and Bridges was ordered to pay back $803,087.

Bridges pleaded guilty on June 23 and Cherry pleaded guilty on July 28 to conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud and a separate charge of money laundering. More than 20 other charges, which included aggravated identity theft, were dismissed as part of their plea deals.

The rest of the story:

Secure the border


Is this something we need to be concerned about for our southern border?

I'd sure hate to think that the violence will "spill" over onto American soil, even though, apparentlt, bullets have.

DHS needs to get busy soon, I think.

FYI, in case you don't know, Comal County is just NE of San Antonio on the map and the I-35 "interstate drug highway" runs through it.


Zetas terrorizing Mexican border cities

MATAMOROS, Mexico — This border city near the mouth of the Rio Grande is eerily quiet most days — because its streets are largely the lair of the Zeta gunmen, the most feared and savage gangsters in Mexico.

On other days, gunbattles ensue in broad daylight between heavily armed Zeta enforcers and those who get in their way — as happened last month when soldiers stopped a suspicious carload of men on a street that runs along a Rio Grande levee through a wealthy Matamoros neighborhood. The gunmen opened fire and tossed grenades. Bullets tore into houses and businesses and even flew across the Rio Grande, hitting buildings and a parked car at the riverfront campus of a University of Texas branch campus.

“We have this fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said anthropologist Tony Zavaleta, acting provost of the University of Texas at Brownsville, whose family has lived on both sides of the Rio Grande for centuries.

The rest of the story:

Not cost effective, thank God


Not a thriving business in Comal County and that is a good thing.


Local autopsies performed in other counties

-

Comal County has no medical examiner, which means all autopsies are performed outside of the county.

At a cost of $2,000 to $3,000 per autopsy, county officials say funding a medical coroner’s salary and office is too expensive at this point.

“The facility and the staff would be phenomenal in cost,” said County Judge Danny Scheel. “It just doesn’t pay. Compared to the population of the city, we don’t have that many autopsies. It’s cost prohibitive at this time.”

Scheel said in the event of mass casualties, such as deaths associated with an H1N1 outbreak, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) would provide a mobile morgue.

“Somewhere down the line, (a coroner) might become a necessity, but it’s just cost prohibitive right now.”

Justice of the Peace offices order autopsies. Jennifer Saunders, JP for Precinct 4, ordered 21 autopsies in 2007, eight in 2008, and 20 as of Oct. 21. She said she was satisfied with the results and the response time she got from labs in San Antonio, Austin and Lockhart.

JP Diana Guerrero reported 10 autopsies for 2007, 16 in 2008 and 12 as of Oct. 20.

Medical coroners in Bexar and Travis County most often perform the autopsies. The results are returned to Comal County JPs usually within 60 days.

“I don’t have a problem at all with the work they do,” Saunders said.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Then what?


And then what if they don't agree nor comply?

Anything?


Iran misses atomic deal deadline
Al Jazeera English


Iran is facing mounting pressure from the international community after it missed a deadline to accept a UN nuclear agency deal on its atomic programme, saying it would respond to the proposal next week.

The US, Russia and France all met Friday's deadline and agreed to the proposal for most of Iran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) to be sent abroad.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said: "Iran is precisely examining different dimensions of the contents of the proposed agreement about the provisional supply of fuel for the Tehran research reactor.

"After final evaluation, I will give the result to Mr ElBaradei [the IAEA director-general] when I return to Vienna next week."

Following Tehran's announcement, ElBaradei said he hoped Iran's response would be positive as it was important for a new "era of co-operation".

The rest of the story:

Congratulations are in order


Congratulations Judge Emerson!


Kerr's Emerson lands judicial appointment
By Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

Kerr County Attorney Melvin “Rex” Emerson was appointed Friday by Gov. Rick Perry to the state district judge's post vacated last month by E. Karl Prohl.

Emerson said he was “humbled and honored” to be picked from among eight contenders for the 198th judicial district position that covers five counties in the Hill Country.

“I believe in the integrity of the judiciary and will respectfully apply the legal precedent and statutes to dispense justice in a fair manner,” Emerson, 49, said in a statement.

The rest of the story:

No habla the law


This is pretty outrageous to say the least.

It seems to appear the law has been misapplied.


Dallas drivers have gotten 38 "no English" tickets since '06
By Anabelle Garay - Associated Press

DALLAS — This city’s police officers have improperly cited drivers for not being able to speak English 38 times in the past three years, Chief David Kunkle said Friday.

The discovery came after a woman was pulled over earlier this month for making an illegal U-turn and was given a ticket for being a “non-English speaking driver.”

The police chief said the citations are disappointing for Dallas, a city where Latinos make up 44 percent of the more than 1 million residents and nearly 45 percent speak a language other than English.

The rest of the story:

Friday, October 23, 2009

You're kidding? Right?


Now that would have been a sight to see.

The video is not of Dennis LeRoy Anderson’s motorized Lazy Boy, which also had a stereo and cup holders, but I thoght it was worth including a video of this new mode of transportation as a point of reference.


Man pleads guilty to DWI in motorized La-Z-Boy

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota man has pleaded guilty to driving his motorized La-Z-Boy chair while drunk. A criminal complaint said 62-year-old Dennis LeRoy Anderson told police he left a bar in the northern Minnesota town of Proctor on his chair after drinking eight or nine beers.

Prosecutors say Anderson's blood alcohol content was 0.29, more than three times the legal limit, when he crashed into a parked vehicle in August 2008. He was not seriously injured.

Police said the chair was powered by a converted lawnmower and had a stereo and cup holders.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Heather Sweetland stayed 180 days of jail time Monday and ordered two years of probation for Anderson. His attorney, David Keegan, did not immediately return a call for comment.



Don't taze me Bro! XXIV



Wow, it'll look like the scene in The Hangover.

Not a pretty scene......definitely not.



SAPD stands by its use of stun guns
By Valentino Lucio - Express-News

Despite an advisory issued last week warning law enforcement officers against firing stun guns at a person's chest because of a “remote potential risk of cardiac arrest,” authorities in San Antonio and Bexar County said they would continue to rely on the weapon as a less-than-lethal tool to defuse escalating situations.

“SAPD's training exceeds that recommended by the manufacturer and is in line with the latest warning in reference to the proper target zone,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said in an e-mail Thursday, adding that he is confident his officers are properly trained to wield Tasers, carried by 236 members of the force.

Officers undergo 16 hours of training to use the 50,000-volt stun guns, which have been deployed hundreds of times since distribution began in December 2006. This year, officials said, Tasers have been used 95 times.

The rest of the story:



Killing for insurance money


Good work AUSA Bill Baumann.

Now, Judge Rodriguez, send her to prison for the rest of her life.

She's lucky she can't meet the fate of Ruth Snyder, pictured here in the electric chair for murdering her husband to collect his insurance money.


Dead airman's wife guilty

A federal jury Thursday convicted a San Antonio woman of having her estranged husband, an Air Force sergeant, killed to collect nearly $600,000 in insurance and survivor's benefits.

Theresa Ann Tolliver faces life in federal prison when she's sentenced Jan. 27 by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez.

Tolliver was in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Tech Sgt. Derrick Tolliver when he was shot twice in the head Nov. 20, 2000, at his Converse home. The couple had two sons together and Theresa Tolliver had a daughter from a previous relationship.

The rest of the story:

Lighting the fire


Under the old common-law felony murder rule this is true.

You commit a felony offense which results in a death then you have committed a felony murder.

The problem for the prosecutor is to get the jury to "connect the dots" and see that the stress of the arson fire caused the heart attack which led to the deqath of the victim.


Arson-related heart attacks murder? DA says yes


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) -- Retired accountant James McDermith's mad dash to retrieve a camper and pack it with belongings as a wildfire chewed closer to his home six years ago may have cost him his life. But it wasn't the flames or smoke that got him.

The 70-year-old church deacon was one of five men to have a heart attack during the 2003 blaze that surged through the San Bernardino Mountain foothills.

With evidence that stress from the wildfire led to the deaths, prosecutors took the unusual step this week of charging a suspected arsonist with five counts of first-degree murder that could signal a tough new standard for arson cases in a region held hostage by fire.

The rest of the story:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ach du lieber!


Ahhh!

Global warming. Chill out folks.


All-time October low recorded in Bavaria
www.thelocal.de

Meteorologists on Tuesday morning recorded the lowest ever October temperature in Germany, as the mercury dipped to a chilly -24.3 degrees Celsius in Bavaria’s Berchtesgaden national park.

The bitter cold was measured at the Funtensee, a notoriously frosty lake high in the Bavarian Alps. Jörg Kachelmann from the Meteomedia weather service said conditions overnight were ideal “with brisk cold air flowing in over freshly fallen powder snow.”

Kachelmann said the alpine sinkhole could register temperatures as low as -55 degrees in the middle of winter by similar conditions, making it in his estimation the coldest spot in Germany. But he said the Funtensee was likely to be a balmy 35 degrees warmer by Wednesday, as the Alpine Föhn wind is expected to push temperatures up to 10 Celsius.

The rest of the country will also warm up slightly midweek, according to the DWD German Weather Service. The Föhn will heat up the southern edge of Germany to 17 degrees, while the eastern half will be lucky to see seven degrees. Most regions will be cloudy, but are likely to stay dry. Overnight lows will drop to six degrees in the northwest to zero in the southeast.

The northern and eastern Germany will remain dry on Thursday, but will showers threaten the southwest. Highs will range between nine and 17 degrees.

South of the border


The drug wars continue.

This time in front of a day care center!

Holy smokes!!


Shootout leaves several dead in Nuevo Laredo
By MIGUEL TIMOSHENKOV - Laredo Morning Times

NUEVO LAREDO — Several people were killed and at least three were injured in a dramatic shootout Wednesday afternoon between Mexican soldiers and drug traffickers that broke out in front of a day care center as parents were picking up their children.

No children or parents were hurt; one of the injured was a woman who was driving by and suffered a minor cut from shattered glass.

“When I heard the gunshots at about 2:30 in the afternoon, I ran to the OXXO store,” said another woman who would only identify herself as Maria. OXXO is a popular chain of convenience stores on the Mexican border. “From there, I could see some men in cars ... taking out guns and then I saw them dead. I was really scared, but I wanted to know what was going on.”

The rest of the story:

Can you say frivolous lawsuit boys and girls?


This is a suit which should go nowhere.

I'll be kind and say he might need a psychiatric evaluation as well.


Former D.A. sues former A.G., others

BROWNSVILLE — The former Willacy County district attorney who drew national attention for indicting a cast of public officials including the U.S. vice president now has filed a federal lawsuit seeking damages from former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, state Sen. Eddie Lucio and 31 other defendants.

In a rambling, 35-page petition, Juan Angel Guerra claimed the defendants played various roles in inflicting emotional distress and forcing him out of office.

It's the latest chapter in Guerra's maverick campaign — he calls it “Operation Goliath” — to unearth what he says is a White House-led conspiracy of payoffs, kickbacks and cover-ups surrounding privately run detention centers and prisons.

The rest of the story:

Mass plea


Good job.


13 in Texas prison gang plead guilty

Thirteen members of one of Texas' largest prison gangs pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that they used extortion, violence and threats to reap profits from drug peddlers in San Antonio.

The 13 are among 14 members of the Texas Mexican Mafia who were named in a federal indictment in June, the sixth in 15 years. That indictment focused on leaders who rose to fill a void left by last year's FBI prosecution of three dozen high-ranking members. That probe solved more than two dozen brutal killings between 2000 and 2005.

Most of the targeted members in the June indictment are from San Antonio, where the gang is based. The indictment said the gang, also known as “Mexikanemi,” enforces a street “tax” of 10 percent, called the “dime,” so dealers can peddle drugs on gang turf.

The rest of the story:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The car seems to drive just fine but it has a lot of miles on it


What? He had permission to go on a test drive.

BTW is that name an a/k/a? Aleh Kot?


Man kidnaps car salesman, goes for 1,000 mile test drive

But Kot continued his epic test-drive for over 900 more miles, on a scenic tour of the Great Lakes region, before eventually being pulled over for speeding and reckless driving near Janesville in Wisconsin, heading in the direction of the Canadian border.

Kot, who is believed to be Russian, is being sent back to Massachusetts where he is expected to face charges including kidnapping, larceny of a motor vehicle and unarmed robbery.

You're kidding, right?


The moral of this story?

Don't be drunk and driving to the jail when you go to pick up your drunk friend who's in jail for DWI.



Cops: NY woman arrives drunk to pick up DWI friend

LAFAYETTE, N.Y. (AP) - Troopers have charged a 22-year-old upstate New York woman with aggravated driving while intoxicated after she showed up drunk at the state police barracks to give a ride to a friend who had been arrested earlier for DWI. Troopers said Stacy Kolinski had a blood alcohol level of .20 percent - more than double the legal limit - when she arrived at the Lafayette barracks 10 miles south of Syracuse around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

Kolinski came to the barracks to give a ride to 34-year-old George Reddick who was stopped for speeding earlier Sunday morning and charged with DWI and misdemeanor criminal possession of cocaine.

Reddick and Kolinski were both issued tickets to appear in town court at a later date. Troopers said they don't know if they have lawyers.

Career ender


A sad ending to a well-intentioned and otherwise outstanding career.

Good luck in your future endeavors, Judge Prohl.

The remaining investigations into the use of the forfeiture funds continue, as they should.


Judge's resignation stopped fund complaints
By Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

KERRVILLE — E. Karl Prohl's sudden resignation last month as state district judge resolved three complaints against him at the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, according to records released Tuesday by the panel.

The complaints prepared in 2008 by Kerrville attorney Richard Ellison, on behalf of himself and two criminal defendants, alleged Prohl was biased in favor of then-District Attorney Ron Sutton due to receiving money from a forfeiture account controlled by Sutton for uses that included buying office equipment and attending conferences in Hawaii.

A voluntary agreement to resign in lieu of disciplinary proceedings was signed by Prohl on Sept. 23, six days after he announced his retirement after 18 years on the bench in the 198th judicial district, which covers five counties in the Hill Country.

The rest of the story:

Tragedy averted


An extremely frightening and dangerous situation.

Without the quick thinking and instincts of Mr. Enloe this could have ended in tragedy.

Find the perps please.


Couple thwarts man during burglary attempt

-

When Edna Enloe looked out her kitchen window Monday afternoon and saw a vehicle pulling into her driveway on rural Bear Creek Drive, she had no idea she was about to experience the most terrifying moment of her life.

A trusting person, Enloe informed her husband, Ernie, that they had visitors and went with him to the front door. A sudden loud knocking put them on the defensive.

“He didn’t gently knock,” Ernie Enloe said. “I had my hand on the door unlocking the deadbolt when he proceeded to make that loud knocking and that got my adrenaline going.”

The Enloes will never forget what happened next.

“He opened the door and the man held out his hand,” Edna said. “He had a gun in his hand and it was right in my husband’s face.”

Ernie, a 63-year-old Vietnam veteran, grabbed the man’s arm and began struggling with him in the foyer, telling Edna to dial 911. While she was on the phone, Ernie managed to use the door to force the man outside. He slammed the door and locked it, and the man ran to his vehicle and fled the scene.

“It felt like it lasted an eternity,” Edna said. “The guy just wouldn’t leave. It was a struggle, and a struggle for my husband’s life. I was in total disbelief and shaking and I felt helpless. My instinct was to go help my husband, but I couldn’t because (the operator) kept saying ‘Stay on the phone!’ I knew something terrible was happening but it was hard to absorb.”

Ernie said he is not a hero, saying he just reacted automatically.

“When I saw the weapon, I determined I was going to do all I could to stop it,” Ernie said. “All I know is that that door had to be closed. I was fearful for my wife and I couldn’t allow him to come inside, because then he would have been in control.”

Comal County Sheriff’s deputies arrived minutes after the attack, but did not locate the attacker or his vehicle — a green Impala.

Ernie was not injured in the attack.

Edna Enloe described the assailant as a Hispanic male, 20 to 25 years of age, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, around 150 pounds with a shaved head. She witnessed a second man in the Impala, but the man never got out of the vehicle, she said.

Sgt. Brett Smith of the Sheriff’s Office said a total of five police units responded to the call. They dusted the door for fingerprints and are actively looking for the vehicle, Smith said.

Though the encounter was unusual, he said, the daylight hours are typically the time burglars target homes because owners are usually at work.

“This was in broad daylight,” Edna Enloe said. “I want people to be aware that these things are happening.”

She had no doubt what would have happened if the man had gained entry to their house.

“We would have died,” she said. “We came very close to losing our lives. He had a gun and he intended to use it. If my husband hadn’t been physically able to wrestle with that man and get him out of the house we would be dead.”

She thanked the deputies for their quick response.

“I want to praise them for being so professional, kind, and concerned for our wellbeing,” she said.

Smith advised the Enloes and all residents to keep their doors locked at all hours of the day and night and not to open the door to strangers.

“We have always helped people, but I will never again open my door to strangers,” Edna said.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Detroit's killer marathon


Heck, they're lucky they weren't murdered.

Okay, okay. That was a bit harsh.

They were lucky they weren't assaulted, robbed, murdered, and then raped.

It was held in Detroit, after all.


3 runners die competing in the Detroit marathon

DETROIT (AP) — A half-marathoner and two other runners died during the Detroit marathon on Sunday, organizers said.

Daniel Langdon, 36, of Laingsburg, collapsed at about 9:02 a.m. between the 11- and 12-mile markers, said Rich Harshbarger, vice president of consumer marketing for the Detroit Media Partnership.

Rick Brown, 65, of Marietta, Ohio, collapsed at 9:17 a.m., near where Langdon went down, and 26-year-old Jon Fenlon of Waterford collapsed at about 9:18 a.m., just after finishing the half-marathon in 1:53:37, Harshbarger said.

The rest of the story:

Potty Rage!


Holy smokes this guy needs some serious anger management counseling!

You just knew alcohol would have been involved as well, didn't you?


Police: Man Stabbed Son Over Clogged Toilet
Corkscrew Used In Vermont Attack
www.wptz.com

A Vermont man is behind bars after police say he stabbed his son with a corkscrew over a clogged toilet.

Nazeih Hammouri, 53, of Vershire, faces a first-degree assault charge in connection with the Monday morning stabbing.

Vermont State Police said they were called to Hammouri's home on Parker Road just after midnight and their investigation revealed Hammouri had stabbed his 19-year-old son in the stomach after an argument over a clogged toilet.

Police said Hammouri was drinking. He is being held on $15,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in Orange County Court Monday afternoon.