Thursday, December 31, 2009
I hope that all of you will have a Healthy, Prosperous and Happy New Year!
Be safe and don't drink and drive. If you do drink make other arrangements to get home. Take a cab, have a designated driver or some other way to get home.
Don't become a statistic.
Man o' Law
Say it ain't so.
How stupid was this?
Bexar County sergeant accused of shoplifting
A Bexar County Sheriff's Office sergeant is one of two women accused of shoplifting nearly $200 worth of clothing and jewelry from Macy's in South Park Mall on Tuesday evening, officials said.
San Antonio police arrested Sgt. Laura Delgado, 31, and Lori Marsden, 36, about 6 p.m. on one count each of theft from $50 to $500. They were held on $1,000 bail, with Delgado released after posting it early Wednesday.
An 11-year veteran most recently assigned to the detention unit, Delgado was placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Deputy Ino Badillo. Delgado was off duty Tuesday night, he said.
Well expect this to continue in the legal headlines for several years of litigation.
Putting that aside, Go Red Raiders in the Alamo Bowl!
Texas Tech fires Coach Leach
San Antonio sports enthusiasts were abuzz Wednesday after Texas Tech fired coach Mike Leach, the quirky offensive mastermind who in 10 years won more games than anyone in the history of Red Raiders football.
Tech relieved Leach of his duties three days before Saturday's Valero Alamo Bowl.
On the day the coach took the school to court in an effort to overturn his suspension for alleged mistreatment of an injured player, he was fired with cause, meaning the university doesn't feel obligated to pay off the rest of the coach's five-year, $12.7 million contract.
In Lubbock, school officials handed a termination letter to Leach's attorney Wednesday morning, before the two sides were to appear in court for a hearing on the coach's request to work the Alamo Bowl.
This weekend, in Comal County and many other counties in Texas, including nearby Bexar County, if you drink, you drive, you get pulled over and you are suspected of being intoxicated, you cannot refuse to blow.
There will be blood....ok well, a blood test anyway.
By Bryan Shettig - The Herald-Zeitung
The “No Refusal” policy for drunken driving that New Braunfels Police started Dec. 21 has already yielded three arrests and will continue until Monday.
The policy calls for suspected drunk drivers who refuse a Breathalyzer test to have blood drawn after police obtain a search warrant from one of several judges on call.
So far, there have been three arrests made from refusals, said NBPD Spokesman Lt. Mike Penshorn. There have been a total of six arrests on charges of driving while intoxicated made since Dec. 21.
“It’s working very well,” Penshorn said. “Our No. 1 concern is to get drunk drivers off the road and this adds more evidence to show if someone is intoxicated or not.”
The “No Refusal” policy will be in effect until Jan. 4.
Penshorn said police are reviewing how often the policy will be used in the future, noting that some departments have a permanent “No Refusal” policy, but didn’t say whether New Braunfels would go in that direction.
“We’re still looking at different kinds of implementation,” he said.
New Braunfels Police Chief Ron Everett said previously that the policy is “well supported by state law” and urged those who have been drinking to seek a different mode of transport, such as getting a ride from a designated driver.
Police have been enforcing the policy alongside the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, Garden Ridge Police Department, Bulverde Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Ummm....Okay, if you say so.
Nice picture BTW.
I have my doubts you are up for the task to fix this but please try.
U.S. will 'find and fix' system's vulnerabilities
By Janet Napolitano
Friday's attempted terrorist attack against Northwest Flight 253 near Detroit is a powerful illustration that terrorists will go to great lengths to try to defeat the security measures that have been put in place since
While we took swift action immediately following last week's incident at airports around the country and throughout the world, our defenses should never have allowed this individual to board a plane bound for the United States. The administration is determined to find and fix the vulnerabilities in our systems that allowed this breach to happen.
President Obama has ordered, and the
We have also instituted enhanced security procedures for both domestic and international flights, including enhanced inspections at security checkpoints and increased pat-downs, bag searches, explosive detection canine teams, air marshals, behavioral detection officers and other measures, both seen and unseen.
We are grateful for the traveling public's patience with these new measures, and most important, for your continued vigilance. The public remains one of our most valuable layers of defense against acts of terrorism. Last week's attempted attack failed due in no small part to passengers and crewmembers who acted quickly and courageously to subdue the attacker and gain control of the situation.
While the investigation continues into the affiliations of the attacker, and as we address the circumstances behind this specific incident, we must also recognize the evolving threats posed by violent extremists, and take action to ensure our defenses continue to evolve to defeat them. At the Department of Homeland Security, we have increasingly focused on understanding the behaviors associated with violent extremism, from known terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda, to home-based individuals acting alone.
We know that terrorists motivated by violent extremist beliefs desire to carry out acts of catastrophic violence. Preventing, detecting and mitigating these threats require multiple layers of defense, all working in concert with one another.
President Obama has made it clear that we will be unrelenting in our efforts around the world, using every element of our national power to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda and other violent extremists wherever they plot against our country.
Here at home, we will continue to inform and train federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and security personnel about the tactics and techniques used by terrorists.
We will continue to invest in proven technologies to detect explosives and other dangerous materials, and deploy them as rapidly and efficiently as we can to transportation hubs across the country.
We will continue to strengthen international agreements to better coordinate and share information to eliminate the gaps that terrorists seek to exploit.
And over the long term, we will continue to work to counter violent extremism and radicalization in the United States and overseas through the full engagement of our people, our communities, our businesses and government agencies at all levels.
This reality makes it all the more critical that we are working together at all levels — federal, state and local governments, our international partners, and the American public — to counter threats. We must ensure we are using every tool at our disposal, and collaborating to the fullest extent possible, to prevent, detect and deter terrorism. This is a shared responsibility in which we all have a role to play — from the traveling public alerting authorities when they see something suspicious to federal agencies working together to piece together clues to foil potential plots.
Make no mistake: The Department of Homeland Security and agencies across the federal government are working quickly to address what went wrong on Christmas Day. If we work together, if we remain vigilant and if we refuse to live in fear, we can and will protect our country.
Boy oh boy.
Let the court circus begin. The only winners here will be the lawyers.
Court clash starts today in CPS' fight over project
CPS Energy and its nuclear-expansion partner face off in a Bexar County courtroom for the first time today in the $32 billion lawsuit spawned by their now-faltering deal.
Today's hearing in district court likely will be limited to setting dates for more sessions in January, when the partners will begin arguments in what has become an increasingly nasty legal battle.
Both sides ratcheted up the rhetoric Monday with another round of filings.
Okay. But why wasn't the boy being monitored by the doctor?
Big lawsuit coming folks.
Also 'doctor feels bad'? wow!? That sure shows some empathy for the family.
Doc's lawyer says morphine 'within limits'
An anesthesiologist who administered pain medication to a 22-month-old boy during a dental procedure gave the toddler morphine, but the dosage given should have been safe, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Maddoux Cordova was taken off life support at 7 p.m. Sunday at Wilford Hall Medical Center, where he spent more than two weeks after he stopped breathing after treatment for tooth decay at Village Specialty Surgical Center.
While the Bexar County medical examiner's office has not yet determined exactly what killed Maddoux, the child died from complications of a dental procedure, officials said. The office has ordered a toxicology report to further investigate Maddoux's death.
Yes, I know I've written about this before but it still really bothers me.
I mean does what happened on the plane on Christmas day really mean we have to be so much further inconvenienced such as not being able to use the rest rooms, no use of computers, no reading materials, and nothing in your lap, during the last hour of a flight?
No use of a backscatter x-ray machine will stop the stupidity that was on display when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to get on board an International Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit:
1. Without a passport;
2. Having purchased a one-way ticket;
3. Having paid for the one-way ticket in cash; and
4. Having no luggage.
Didn't any of these things set up any red flags in anyone's mind?
No amount of check lists and no-fly lists or sophisticated machines will prevent this from occurring again when no one spotted this when he purchased his ticket that day and shows up with no passport and no luggage.
I mean Really???
Fire Janet Napolitano, get someone who is competent to replace her and then hire someone competent and place them in charge of the TSA.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
God rest your soul Staci.
Justice awaits for the one that harmed you.
My condolences to your family and you and they are in my prayers.
Woman laid to rest
Family and friends overflowed the Zoeller Funeral Home Chapel in New Braunfels on Monday to say goodbye to Staci Michelle Montgomery, whom they remembered as a vivacious adventurer.
Montgomery, 25, who returned to Texas in November after working for three months as a nanny for a family in Italy, was remembered as the life of the party, a lover of fashion and an avid traveler.
Police in Addison, near Dallas, believe Montgomery was a homicide victim.
How and why did this happen?
Its sad and troubling.
Rest now little one.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Toddler dies of possible morphine overdose
A toddler who might have been given too much morphine immediately after a dental procedure this month died Sunday night, authorities said.
Maddoux Cordova was taken off life support at 7 p.m. Sunday at Wilford Hall Medical Center, where the 22-month-old spent more than two weeks after he stopped breathing following treatment for tooth decay at Village Specialty Surgical Center.
Dr. Bill Berlocher, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said morphine, a narcotic derived from the opium poppy plant, is occasionally given to children undergoing dental procedures but that serious complications resulting from its use are “extremely rare.” In dental procedures, it's mostly used to sedate patients before surgery or in conjunction with anesthesia, he said, adding that he doesn't prescribe the drug.
If making sure the guy next to me underpants don't explode on my next flight is to let some poor TSA operator see me nekkid in the backscatter machine I say that's fine.
Heck, give 'em hazard pay for having to view me.
Better airport scanners delayed by privacy fears
By JOELLE TESSLER and ARTHUR MAX
Associated Press Writers
The body-scanning technology is in at least 19 U.S. airports, while European officials have generally limited it to test runs.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of trying to ignite explosives aboard a Northwest Airlines jet as it was coming in for a landing in Detroit, did not go through such a scan where his flight began, at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.
These folks will get caught soon.
Then our office will handle them.
By Bryan Shettig - The Herald-Zeitung
Burglars broke into and stole about $2,000 Sunday from the Freiheit Country Store at 2157 Farm-to-Market 1101, the third restaurant burglary in the city in the past week. Police are unsure if the burglaries are related.
This is the third time Freiheit has been broken into in the past four months, said owner Mike Reimmer.
Burglars broke a glass door and took the register, leaving the register’s monitor on the ground in the parking lot.
The first burglary took place, Reimmer said, four months ago, after he remodeled the store with a new bar and several flat screen televisions. Burglars stole all the TV sets, valued at almost $6,000, Reimmer said.
The second time, a couple months later, an alarm system thwarted the burglars, he said.
Reimmer is getting frustrated.
“I’ll give them my number, call me and I’ll meet you on the corner and give you some money for dope or whatever, as long as you stop breaking into my place,” Reimmer said.
The broken doors alone cost almost $5,000 to repair, he said, in addition to the cost of repairing damaged wiring.
There are no descriptions of the burglars, not even fingerprints, Reimmer said, because they seem to be wearing gloves.
Last week, burglars broke into two other local restaurants, Los Gallos and Adobe Verde.
Burglars broke into the Los Gallos restaurant off Loop 337 late Wednesday night by smashing a glass door. The burglar or burglars took about $200 from a cash register, according to police reports.
The next morning, burglars broke into the Adobe Verde restaurant off Hunter Road and stole beer, said NBPD spokesman Lt. Mike Penshorn.
In that case, the burglars pried open a back door to get inside.
Penshorn said businesses are mostly what burglars target at night, especially stores like Freiheit, which are on more remote roads with few lights and traffic.
The recent restaurant burglaries are still under investigation, he said.
Any connection is speculation, he said.
New Braunfels Police have been regularly watching the Freiheit Country Store at night, something that Reimmer describes as “wonderful,” but he said he thinks burglars might be aware of this and time their break-ins around surveillance.
“It’s just frustrating,” Reimmer said. “You try to do nice things for the community and these bums steal from you.”
Monday, December 28, 2009
Hey!! Janet Napolitano!
Read The Sun willya?
Then you can buy a clue.
COPS fear that 25 British-born Muslims are plotting to bomb Western airliners.
By ANTHONY FRANCE Crime Reporter and ALEX WEST
The fanatics, in five groups, are now training at secret terror camps in Yemen.
It was there London-educated Umar Abdulmutallab, 23, prepared for his Christmas Day bid to blow up a US jet.
They are due to return to the UK early in 2010 and will then await internet instructions from al-Qaeda on when to strike.
A Scotland Yard source said: "The great fear is Abdulmutallab is the first of many ready to attack planes and kill tens of thousands.
"We know there are four or five radicalised British Muslim cells in the Yemen.
Jesus! The system worked when the guy got on an international flight without a passport??!!
Yessir change we can believe in.
No passport needed to fly into the country. That will stop those nasty man-made disasters.
Flight 253 passenger: Sharp-dressed man aided terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab onto plane without passport
By Sheena Harrison | MLive.com
Now she's trying to walk back her comments that the system worked.
LMAO, if it wasn't so damn serious. Put someone who isn't subject to stupidity in charge of Homeland Security please.
I'm waiting for them to blame Bush on this.
Napolitano (now) says airline security system failed
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the aviation security system failed when a young man on a watch list with a U.S. visa in his pocket and a powerful explosive hidden on his body was allowed to board a fight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
A day after saying the system worked, Napolitano said her words had been taken out of context. She said Monday on NBC's "Today" show that "our system did not work in this instance."
Napolitano said an investigation ordered by the Obama administration will look at why Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was allowed to board a U.S.-bound flight on Christmas Day despite being on a terrorist watch list.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Red meat from Maureen Dowd's brother who, apparently, wrote her column today.
Oh, No! Kevin’s Back!
MAUREEN DOWD -NY Times
As my brother Kevin headed off to Christmas Eve Mass in the Maryland suburbs, I asked him how he thought the first year of Barack Obama had gone.
He didn’t have to pray long over that one. “Fine,” he replied, “if you like unmitigated disasters like the Hindenburg and the Redskins season.”
If it’s Christmas, it must be time for my conservative brother to take over my column and turn it a blazing shade of red.
So without further ado, here is Kevin unplugged, offering a perspective from “the real America,” as one of his favorite Republican philosophers, Sarah Palin, likes to put it:
When I first heard about the 'occupation' of Iraqi territory by Iran taking over the well the news said it was all a mistake apparently and nothing happened.
Well apparently that isn't true as tensions are still high.
Watch for oil prices to shoot through the roof soon.
Iraqi and Iranian forces stand-off in oil well row
Iraqi troops say they will defend the well, where Iranian troops raised a flag for several days this month.
It is unclear how many troops are involved in the stand-off, but as many as 30 lightly armed Iraqi troops usually occupy border outposts in sensitive areas, and up to 10 in other areas. Some 11 Iranian soldiers are stationed near the disputed well.
The seizure of the well, which Iraq says is part of its Fakka oilfield in southeast Maysan province, triggered protests from the government in Baghdad and caused a rise in prices on jittery world oil markets.
The Iranian forces have since pulled back, but Iraq says they are still on its territory, stirring echoes of the border dispute that led to the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, in which about 1 million people died.
"These wells in the Fakka region are Iraqi, and we will defend them to the last drop of blood," said Brigadier-General Razak Abdul Hassan of the Iraqi border guards at Fakka.
The Iranians are 100 meters inside Iraqi territory, he said, some 80 meters from the disputed well. Iraqi troops watch from nearby, and both sides appear to be hunkered down behind earth walls at their bleak desert outposts.
Hassan said Iraq has deployed extra forces to other wells nearby, but declined to outline numbers.
The well, which has only been operative briefly in the 1970s, now sits in an effective no man's land as a binational committee prepares to begin work early next year demarcating the border in the oil-producing border region.
"After that the word will be very clear and precise. We expect and know the result is that the well is Iraqi, and the Iranians will admit this," said Ali Maarij, head of Iraq's state Maysan Oil Co., in charge of Fakka and surrounding fields.
Well No. 4 was drilled in 1979 and produced about 3,000 barrels a day, a small amount for a region that is home to some to the world's largest oil reserves. The well went offline in 1980 due to the Iran-Iraq war, and has been inactive since.
Yet the symbolism of the brief Iranian occupation was more serious. Fakka is part of the Maysan oilfield complex, with reserves of 2.5 billion barrels, which Iraq tried unsuccessfully to auction off to foreign oil firms this year.
The mere threat of future incursions or border feuds puts more risk onto the 10 oilfield deals the Iraqi government did secure this year, some of which are near the Iran-Iraq border.
Oil firms are already jittery about working in a country just emerging from years of bloodshed after the 2003 U.S. invasion, and where bombings and shootings are still common.
The occupation was also damaging for Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose party is contesting March 7 national polls. His government's response to the dispute was relatively muted, and Iranian troops faced no apparent military resistance.
Iran-Iraq ties have warmed since the ouster of Sunni Arab Saddam Hussein in 2003. Many in Iraq's new Shi'ite leadership took refuge in majority Shi'ite Iran during Saddam's reign.
But relations have been strained by accusations of Iranian interference in Iraq and by Tehran's opposition to the presence of U.S. troops. Being seen as close to Iran has become a liability for Iraqi politicians ahead of the general election.
"We are determined and persistent in the defense of our border. We will not give up even an inch. We are confident and able ... and ready for any action at any time," said Major General Habib al-Husseini, head of Maysan security operations.
Are we not going to say anything to give hope to the protesters?
Nah. The President is on vacation and voting present.
Witnesses: At least 4 Iranian protesters killed
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters in the capital Sunday, killing at least four people in the fiercest clashes in months, opposition Web sites and witnesses said.
Thousands of opposition supporters chanting "Death to the dictator," a reference to hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defied official warnings of a harsh crackdown on any protests coinciding with a religious observance on Sunday. Iranians were marking Ashoura, commemorating the seventh-century death in battle of one of Shiite Islam's most beloved saints.
Security forces tried but failed to disperse protesters on a central Tehran street with tear gas, charges by baton-wielding officers and warning shots fired into the air. They then opened fire directly at protesters, killing at least three people, said witnesses and the pro-reform Web site Rah-e-Sabz.
Not good news I'm afraid.
I can't help but think about the cases which will be appealed if wrong-doing is found.
Bexar narcotics deputies probed
The FBI is investigating the Bexar County sheriff’s narcotics unit over allegations that some of its deputies might have been unlawfully taking evidence or stealing money and property from people they detain or arrest, the San Antonio Express-News has confirmed.
The two-year-old probe includes allegations of civil rights violations, but has expanded as agents learned about deputies who are living beyond what their county pay could afford — group trips to Las Vegas and the purchase of a large property in South Texas, for example.
“There have been many complaints about that narcotics division,” said one law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation, one of several who confirmed its existence. “The complaints include stuff about rogue cops and deputies running roughshod, arresting people without cause and stealing money.”
Saturday, December 26, 2009
What was Santa thinking??
Wait is that Woody Harrelson dressed up as Santa?
Search of car turns up gift-wrapped marijuana
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Some people won't be getting the Christmas presents they were expecting.
Missouri troopers seized about 20 pounds of marijuana from a car this week - some of it in luggage, and some in boxes wrapped as Christmas gifts.
The Highway Patrol says troopers found the marijuana in the car they stopped for speeding on Interstate 44 near Joplin.
Two California women in the car gave troopers permission to search the vehicle. Both were charged Tuesday with one marijuana-related count and released on $1,000 bond.
How many more infants will die this way?
When will people learn?
My heart goes out to the family.
Baby dies while co-sleeping
A West Side couple awoke Christmas morning and made a heartbreaking discovery: Their 4-month-old boy had stopped breathing in his sleep.
Rene Montoya appeared to have been accidentally smothered sometime Thursday night or Friday morning as he slept in his parents' bed in the 5600 block of Brookhill Street, said Sgt. Lloyd Jackel of the San Antonio Police Department. His parents, whose names and ages weren't immediately released, called 911 around 10:15 a.m.
Medical personnel pronounced the infant dead at the home, where lights on a Christmas tree blinked through a garland-draped doorway guarded by police. Friends and family soon swarmed to the house, where Rene's mother could be heard wailing inside.
Be careful with any weapon.
ALWAYS treat any gun as if it is loaded.
Bullet from father's gun hits daughter
An infant girl was in critical condition Friday evening after a bullet accidentally fired from her father's gun struck her in the head at their home in Bandera County, officials said.
The child, 2, was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio with a single gunshot wound to the head, said Bandera County Sheriff's Office chief deputy Richard Smith. The bullet from the 9 mm pistol entered the back of the child's head and exited her temple, and Smith said she had a “good chance of recovering.”
The girl's mother called 911 to report the shooting around 1 p.m. at their mobile home in Bandera, Smith said. When officers arrived they were told the girl's father, 47, was cleaning his gun in the living room when it discharged one round, which went through a kitchen cabinet and struck his daughter. Smith said the father claimed he thought the gun was empty.
He probably wanted to blow himself up to prevent himself from deplaning in Detroit.
Okay, I'm just kidding. No, really I am.
This is going to be a problem til they figured out what he snuck aboard.
Passengers help foil attack on Detroit-bound plane
By JIM IRWIN
Associated Press Writer
The commotion began as Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew members from Amsterdam, prepared to land in Detroit just before noon Friday. Travelers said they smelled smoke, saw a glow, and heard what sounded like firecrackers. At least one person climbed over others and jumped on the man, who officials say was trying to ignite an explosive device.
"It sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase," said Peter Smith, a passenger from the Netherlands. "First there was a pop, and then (there) was smoke."
Friday, December 25, 2009
Not a good thing.
Officer arrested in connection with attempted jailbreak
By Valentino Lucio - Express-News
A Bexar County Jail detention officer was arrested Thursday afternoon after an investigation revealed he supplied inmates with a hacksaw for an attempted jailbreak late last week, officials said.
Alfred Casas, 30, was arrested on the job without incident and is charged with providing implements for escape — deadly weapon, which is a second-degree felony, officials said. The officer has been with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office for three years, said Roger Dovalina, deputy chief of the detention division. Casas' bail was set at $15,000.
Dovalina said he is trying to restore confidence in his officers because their morale is low after hearing about the incident. He said he told them “to keep their heads up” and that “one bad apple” is not a reflection of every officer in the division.
The rest of the story:
Heck it was blowing so hard it blew out the Sonic sign where my daughters work.
One of them was working when it blew out and fortunately no one was hurt.
We also kept our power.
High winds leave thousands without power
Service was restored to most of the 12,500 San Antonio homes and businesses left without electricity Thursday after winds battered power lines throughout the day, a CPS official said.
Initially about 10,500 scattered customers lost power overnight, but it was quickly restored for all but about 1,300. The relentless winds caused more problems later in the day, however, producing a new total of about 12,500 customers without electricity, according to CPS Energy.
Crews were expected to restore power before midnight to nearly 200 customers that were still without electricity late Thursday, officials said.
Free speech doesn't exist in China does it?
Liu Xiaobo, shown here with his wife, received eleven years in prison for co-authoring a document calling for a political liberalization of the Chinese government.
I guess they are lightning up some because in the past he would have gotten a bullet in the back of his head and his family charged for it.
China dissident jailed 11 years
A Chinese court has sentenced a leading dissident to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power".
Liu Xiaobo, a 53-year-old academic, who was previously jailed over the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, had been charged for co-authoring a document appealing for political liberalisation.
The verdict was handed down by a Beijing court on Friday after a two-hour trial on Wednesday in which prosecutors accused Liu of "serious crimes".
Liu's lawyer, Shang Baojun, said he had 10 days to appeal, but Liu's wife, Liu Xia, had said on Wednesday that her husband had no plans to appeal.
Friday's sentencing came despite calls by the US and EU for Liu's release.
"We are deeply concerned by the sentence of 11 years in prison announced today," Gregory May, the US embassy's first secretary in China, told reporters outside the courthouse.
In June, Liu was charged with the "incitement of subversion of state power" and could have been jailed up to 15 years"Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally recognised norms of human rights."
May was one of a dozen diplomats stopped by the authorities from attending the trial and sentencing.
Jiang Yu, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, told reporters this week that statements from embassies calling for Liu's release were "a gross interference of China's internal affairs".
The highly-sensitive case has also been criticised by human rights groups, which said the trial was deliberately timed to coincide with the Christmas holiday period, in the hope that international media and foreign governments will overlook the case.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement condemning Liu's conviction on Friday, calling it a "travesty of justice".
Phelim Kine, an HRW researcher in Hong Kong, told Al Jazeera that "today, we have seen the true face of the regime, and the true face is that the Chinese government uses the judicial system to silence dissent".
"The fact is that it's a myth that China is now more tolerant of free speech. Liu Xiaobo is a high-profile figure, and they have used him to send a message that they will not tolerate these ideas."
Challenging one-party system
The case against Liu centres on his co-authoring of a petition titled Charter 08, which calls for the protection of human rights in China and reform of the country's one-party communist system.
Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan, reporting from Beijing, said Liu's conviction - the longest sentence for "inciting subversion" handed down since the crime was established in the 1997 reform of the criminal law - sent a clear message that the Chinese authorities do not tolerate his kind of opinions.
The charter co-authored by Liu sought amendments to the constitution and called for a multi-party system in China, which our correspondent said may have been seen as a direct challenge to the Communist party.
According to China Human Rights Defenders, a network of activists, the petition had been widely circulated online, and was signed by more than 10,000 people, including other dissidents and intellectuals.
Among the signatories was Bao Tong, an aide to Zhao Ziyang, the late general secretary of the communist party purged for sympathising with the Tiananmen protests.
Bao himself spent seven years in prison for sympathising with democracy advocates.
Liu is the only person to have been arrested for organising the Charter 08 appeal, but others who signed it have reported being harassed.
The petition, which said "we should end the practice of viewing words as crimes", specifically called for the abolition of subversion in China's criminal code - the very crime for which Liu was sentenced on Friday.
No breath or blood test refusals until January 4th in Comal County.
Consider yourselves warned.
Drive safe, drive sober and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !
From staff reports - The Herald-Zeitung
The New Braunfels Police Department is not letting those arrested for driving while intoxicated refuse a breath or blood test until Jan. 4.
Several judges are on call until Jan. 4 to give police immediate warrants to test for alcohol levels if drivers attempt to refuse. Residents who will not take a breathalyzer will instead have blood drawn.
The “No Refusal” program started Tuesday and was something police observed in other cities in Texas before adopting, said Police Chief Ron Everett.
“It’s all well supported by state law,” he said. Everett said residents who drink should find other ways to get around, including getting a ride from a designated driver.
Police will enforce the operation alongside the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, Garden Ridge Police Department, Bulverde Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety, according to a statement released Tuesday.
“We ask for everyone’s cooperation,” Everett said. “Our goal is to make the streets safer.”
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Happy Christmas as they say in Merrie Olde England!
Crimestoppers' most bizarre calls of 2009
Staff manning the phones have received complaints about snowball fights, sledging and poorly gritted roads (clearly, the grit had hit the fan…).
But it doesn’t stop there. The anonymous telephone service, set up to catch criminals, have also fielded calls about a shopping centre Father Christmas who stank of booze and an obscene snowman that featured a cheeky extra carrot.
Another homeowner called to complain that his flashing, outdoor Father Christmas display had gone missing.
The man claimed he was the victim of jealous neighbours trying to sabotage a Christmas lights competition in his street.
Michael Laurie, chief executive of Crimestoppers, said the charity receives about 250 pieces of information a day through calls, texts and emails.He said: "Unfortunately crime is a year-round issue that doesn't take a break over Christmas.
"In fact, there are some crimes, such as burglary and domestic violence, which tend to rise during this time.
"While we do receive some amusing calls, it's essential people realise the importance of their information on crime."
Other strange calls that Crimestoppers received during 2009 included a prisoner who rang to moan about his toilet roll being stolen and a drug user who said he’d been sold tree bark instead of stunk cannabis.
What a wonderful thing.
Diogenes has found his honest man.
Several years ago I lost my law school ring downtown and someone found it and returned it to me. It was a happy ending as was this.
S.A. woman loses ring in Montana; stranger returns it
Chandria Murphy got quite an early Christmas present this week, covered in 27 diamonds.
It was the precious ring she had given up for lost earlier this month.
For the better part of a week, Murphy, 29, wondered what had happened to her beloved wedding ring after she lost the $6,000 band while working at her mother's massage booth in a Great Falls, Mont., mall the night of Dec. 10.
“My heart was broken,” Murphy said. “I was so sad.”
A gift of a book to my Democratic friends in bexar County.
Democrats' treasurer has left ire in his wake
Dwayne E. Adams always made a great first impression.
Adams, the former Bexar County Democratic Party treasurer accused of siphoning more than $200,000 out of the party’s coffers, has left a trail of disgruntled associates over the past decade. Several accuse Adams of winning their confidence, cheating them out of thousands of dollars and then disappearing.
No matter how sour these relationships turned, however, they began beautifully.
Adams, 54, is described as tall, dapper and articulate, with an easy charm and a knack for making believers out of the most hardened cynics.
Merry Christmas from the US Senate.
I just hope it all works out.
Senate OKs health care measure, reaching milestone
By ERICA WERNER - Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats passed a landmark health care bill in a climactic Christmas Eve vote that could define President Barack Obama's legacy and usher in near-universal medical coverage for the first time in the country's history.
"We are now finally poised to deliver on the promise of real, meaningful health insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the American people," Obama said shortly after the Senate acted.
"This will be the most important piece of social legislation since Social Security passed in the 1930s," said Obama, standing with Vice President Joe Biden in the State Room of the White House.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
What a waste of a young life.
Teen shot dead during break-in
Kirby police are investigating a shooting during a burglary Tuesday afternoon that left a teenager dead, officials said.
Authorities arrived around noon at a home in the 2800 block of Von Braun Drive in Kirby to find a teenager and a man shot inside. An unidentified homeowner, who was at the residence during the incident, fired several shots at the pair after they broke into his home, police said.
The unidentified assailants were taken to Brooke Army Medical Center. The teen died at the hospital, and the other man suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Neither had a weapon, police said.
The end of the story in this horrendous crime.
Both adults are in prison and the two children lie in a cemetery.
God rest those two precious souls.
Man agrees to life sentence in children's deaths
A San Antonio man implicated in the deaths of two young children found under a Southwest Side home in 2007 received a life sentence Tuesday as part of a last-minute plea deal.
Jerry Salazar, 30, was set to go to trial next month in a high-profile capital murder case in which prosecutors were seeking the death penalty.
During Tuesday's brief hearing, he instead pleaded guilty to injury to a child by omission causing serious bodily injury, which is a first-degree felony under which he could eventually be eligible for parole.
Don't become a crime statistic.
Be alert, be aware, and be safe.
God bless you and yours, Merry Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year!
Cheery season calls for extra precautions
As people enjoy a holiday season filled with family, friends and celebrations, local law enforcement agencies are bracing for what they consider to be the busiest time of the year.
Crimes of opportunity typically increase in December, according to the San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County Sheriff's Office. Likewise, the San Antonio Fire Department gets more calls for structure fires in December than most of the rest of the year, and the Texas Department of Public Safety increases its presence in anticipation of more dangerous motorists on the roadways.
“Generally speaking, burglaries of vehicles, habitation and general thefts tend to go up during the holidays,” said Eric Hernandez, a police officer in the San Antonio Fear-Free Environment unit. “The criminals know that during the holiday season, more people are shopping. If you give criminals the opportunity, they're going to take advantage.”
What a wonderful act of just plain nice.
With all the antic s of sport celebs it is wonderfully refreshing to read about this.
God bless you, Charde!
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Once-homeless WNBA star helps girl after mother killed
Charde Houston knows all about the kindness of strangers. When the star forward of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx was 12, financial troubles forced her family out of their home in San Diego, Calif., and into a car where they would live.
Houston would go on to star on the basketball team of the University of Connecticut, but not without help. While her mother remained homeless, a revolving cast of coaches and friends stepped in over the years to provide rides to basketball practice, encouragement and even a bed to sleep in at night.
When Houston read about the plight of Aiyanna Bardwell, 11, a basketball player with dreams of playing in the WNBA, she decided to reach out.
The rest of the story:
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Uh oh now the Cubans are mad at Obama too!
Hey, he lies here too. Welcome to the club.
Top Cuban official says Obama lied in Copenhagen
My way news
HAVANA (AP) - Cuba's foreign minister called President Barack Obama an "imperial and arrogant" liar Monday for his conduct at the U.N. climate conference, a reflection of the communist island's increasingly fiery verbal attacks on the U.S. government.
Bruno Rodriguez spent an hour and a half lambasting Obama's behavior in Copenhagen, telling a news conference, "at this summit, there was only imperial, arrogant Obama, who does not listen, who imposes his positions and even threatens developing countries."
He called the summit "a fallacy, a farce" and said Washington used back-room deals and strong-arm tactics to foist on the world a deal that he labeled "undemocratic" and "suicidal" because it urges - but does not require - major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts.
This is pretty reprehensible.
What about the folks that lost their winnings? Aren't the clerks acting as agents for the Lottery??
Thefts revealed in lottery records
AUSTIN — If you play the lottery, you might not think it's a gamble to ask a store clerk to check your ticket.
You might want to think again.
The case of Willis Willis of Grand Prairie, who prosecutors say lost a million-dollar jackpot to a now-indicted and fugitive store clerk, might be the biggest prize hijack in Texas. But it's not the only one.
Since Jan. 1, 2008, the Lottery Commission has referred at least five other cases to prosecutors after players complained they weren't paid their rightful winnings: two in Pflugerville near Austin, two in Harris County and one in Brookshire in Waller County.
I have a hard time working up any sympathy for this a-hole.
What about the rights of the 13 soldiers he murdered in cold blood?
What about the unborn child he murdered?
Until they get someone there who understands Arabic to make sure he isn't making plans or giving reports let him pray by himself.
Defense cites rights violation
The lead lawyer for Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan said Monday that he believes the Army is violating Hasan's religious rights because it prohibited him from praying from the Quran in Arabic with a relative.
Attorney John P. Galligan said he learned that police guarding Hasan at Brooke Army Medical Center cut short a phone conversation Hasan was having with one of his brothers on Friday because Hasan was not speaking in English.
“Police at the hospital refused to let him pray, in Arabic, from the Quran with his brother,” Galligan said. “I think it's illegal and a violation of his religious rights.”
This apparently occurred in the same county where the four police officers were shot and killed a few weeks ago.
Please be careful out there folks.
2 sheriff's officers badly hurt in Wash. shooting
EATONVILLE, Wash. (AP) -- Two sheriff's officers responding to a dispute between two brothers were ambushed by one of the brothers lying in wait with a gun after being welcomed into the home by the other, authorities said. The gunman was killed and the officers were seriously wounded.
The shooting is the third in three months in which authorities say a gunman has taken aim at law enforcement officials in Washington state.
Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said a sergeant and a deputy were shot at around 8:45 p.m. Monday while responding to a dispute between David E. Crable and his brother near Eatonville, a rural community in the Cascade foothills.
Monday, December 21, 2009
What a moron.
Incompetent burglar badly bungles job
In Christchurch a bungling burglar has drawn attention to himself for all the wrong reasons.
Police allege 28-year-old Brett Kerr burgled a Prebbleton house, set it on fire and knocked himself out. The homeowner's son, Greg Kitson says Kerr may be the dumbest burglar on record.
Mr Kitson was amazed at how incompetent the burglar was, saying, “when it comes to burglary he's simply not a natural”.
Mr Kitson sped over to his parents' house after his wife noticed a fire in the kitchen. When he got there, he did not know who to call first. “We had a fire, we had a burglary and we had someone injured so it was like an all-play.”
He believes it all went wrong for Kerr when he tripped taking a drum set down a narrow spiral staircase, and apparently knocked himself out.
“This might be where he done himself in, then he thinks, 'Ah! It's a good time to get the plasma TV when I’m knocked out and totally out of it.'”
Bleeding profusely, it seems Kerr then set fire to the kitchen before deciding it was time for a lie-down.
When the police arrived, Kerr had a pocketful of Malaysian banknotes.
Kitson says they were only worth a couple of dollars. “So I just said, ‘Oh look mate you can have that, you can count it in jail for the next 10 years.’”
The camera-shy Kerr is due back in court next month.
Don't do this.
Priest outrages police by telling congregation: 'My advice to poor is to shoplift
By: Graham Smith - dailymail.co.uk
A clergyman has been criticised as 'highly irresponsible' after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon.
Father Tim Jones, 41, broke off from his traditional annual sermon yesterday to tell his flock that stealing from large chains is sometimes the best option for vulnerable people.
It is far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than turn to 'prostitution, mugging or burglary', he said.
The married father-of-two insisted his unusual advice did not break the Bible commandment 'Thou shalt not steal' - because God's love for the poor outweighs his love for the rich.
But the minister's controversial sermon at St Lawrence Church in York has been slammed by police and a local MP, who say that no matter what the circumstances, shoplifting is an offence.
Delivering his festive lesson, Father Jones told the congregation: 'My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift. I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.
'I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.
'I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.
'I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay has created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.'
He added that he felt society had failed the needy, and said it was far better they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary.
He continued: 'My advice does not contradict the Bible's eighth commandment because God's love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.
'Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are.
'Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. Providing inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.'
But a spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: 'First and foremost, shoplifting is a criminal offence and to justify this course of action under any circumstances is highly irresponsible.
'Turning or returning to crime will only make matters worse, that is a guarantee. We recognise some people find themselves in difficult circumstances but support is readily available and must be sought.'
Local Tory MP Anne McIntosh, who has campaigned in Parliament for stronger sentences for shoplifters, admitted that there had been an 'over-commercialisation' of the festive period which encourages people to spend.
But she said: 'I cannot condone inciting anyone to commit a criminal offence, shoplifting is a crime against the whole local community and society.'
This isn't the first time Father Jones has courted controversy.
He hit the headlines in May 2008 when he protested against a shop stocking Playboy stationery aimed at youngsters. He tossed the items onto the floor complaining they were 'cynical and wicked'. The shop bowed to his one-man protest and agreed to stop stocking Playboy-branded merchandise.