Saturday, January 30, 2010

Faculty Member at the National Advocacy Center

Dear Readers;

I am leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow for the National Advocacy Center to help teach the Trial Advocacy I program for the NDAA. (National District Attorney's Association)

Its an honor to be asked to help teach there and I look forward to getting to meet with young prosecutors from all over the country. In the past some of the students have been JAG officers as well.

So I will try to post but it may be a little irregular this upcoming week due to the change in my schedule. See you on the other side.

Man o' Law


Congratulations Steve deLemos on a good job getting the guilty verdict.

The punishment phase to begin Monday mroning.

Guilty verdict delivered in assault case


In a second trial, jurors found Danny Delgado Martinez, 36, guilty of one count of aggravated sexual assault of his daughter, who was 7 years old at the time of the alleged incident.

The jury entered deliberations at 11 a.m. and emerged at about 2:30 p.m., with a guilty verdict.

Family members cried quietly in the gallery as Martinez sat calmly before eventually looking down and hanging his head as his wife and mother-in-law took the stand to testify.

Martinez faces between five and 99 years in prison, or a life sentence and up to $10,000 in fines.

The alleged assault took place Oct. 16, 2003 at the home of Martinez’s in-laws. The victim, Martinez’s daughter, testified earlier in the week of how her father took her and her two brothers into a bedroom before telling his sons to go to another room in the house. He then proceeded to sexually assault her in the darkened room for a matter of minutes, she said. She also testified to another incident when Martinez attempted to sexually abuse her at his mobile home about six months later in New Braunfels before stopping when she began to cry.

State assistant district attorney Steven de Lemos pointed to the defense’s use of an “eleventh-hour witness” who was brought in Friday, a friend of the victim, who claimed the victim told her at school that grandfather Hilario Castilleja had sexually assaulted her, not her father.

Castilleja died in 2007 from throat cancer.

“This witness is not credible,” de Lemos told jurors in his closing argument, noting the victim had told her family, law enforcement and nurses her father had assaulted her, not her grandfather.

Martinez, a former Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer, claimed in his defense that his daughter was assaulted, but that his father-in-law, now deceased, had committed the act.

However, Martinez did not explain where he was, during the assault. The victim refuted his testimony, saying she was not confused about who abused her.

“I want my husband’s name to be cleared,” said Virginia Castilleja, the mother of Martinez’s wife, Julie Martinez. “My husband was the most loving husband…[Danny Delgado Martinez] has the gall to accuse him. How dare he, after all we have done for him.”

Over the course of the last four days, jurors heard testimony from the victim, her mother, Julie Martinez, a nurse who examined the victim in 2005 when she finally told family of the assault, and a school friend of the victim.

Defense attorney Patton Zarate, in his closing argument, said “maybe” the victim’s grandfather committed the assault, but that it was also possible the victim’s mother coached her to blame her father so she could gain custody of their youngest child in their turbulent relationship.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said as jurors saw family photos where Martinez and his daughter appeared happy even after the incident.

The victim cried quietly in the courtroom, surrounded by her family as her mother choked through words during the punishment hearing.

Julie Martinez noted the victim has attempted to “act like everything is OK” after the assault and supported the prosecution’s evidence of the victim’s academic excellence but hidden habit of cutting herself to cope with pressure and pain.

“Even though the charge is ‘guilty,’ we serve a God that is in control and with Danny and the truth will be revealed,” said Ymelda Benavidez, one of Martinez’s aunts.

The jury will return Monday at 9 a.m., for sentencing in the 207th district court with Judge Gary Steel presiding.

Murder in the Hill Country

The investigation goes on.

Canyon Lake body ruled homicide victim


A man’s body found by Comal County Sheriff’s deputies Wednesday night that was first listed as “suspicious” has now been ruled a murder victim.

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy and determined the cause of death as a homicide Thursday.

Deputies found the man, Charles Dwayne Woodard, 28, of Canyon Lake, at about 9 p.m. in the 9400 block of Farm-to-Market 2673 near some mobile homes. Investigators said Woodard had multiple stab wounds, but they would not disclose the amount of wounds or where Woodard was stabbed, said Lt. Mark Reynolds, a CCSO spokesman.

The case is still under investigation, but there are “some possible leads,” Reynolds said. Investigators have not identified a motive or names of suspects yet.

Grant funding received

Great News.

Its a beautiful building and deserves the restoration.

County gets $3.4 million to renovate building


It’s watched over Main Plaza for more than a century, and long-awaited state funding came pouring in Friday to restore the Comal County Courthouse to its original 1898 condition.

The Texas Historical Commission awarded $3,438,000 to Comal County to refurbish the downtown courthouse, the second-largest amount given out this week to 20 Texas counties under the state’s historic courthouse restoration program.

“It’s the best news we’ve had in a long time, and I can’t tell you how happy I am,” said County Commissioner Jan Kennady. “It’s the crown jewel of our county, and now we can get it back to where it needs to be.”

The county missed out on courthouse restoration funding in 2008, narrowly falling short of the threshold on THC’s grading scale to receive grant money after lobbying for five years.

This time around, Kennady and Cherise Bell, the City of New Braunfels’ Historic Preservation Officer, worked with a courthouse preservation committee to convince the state that dilapidated facility was in need of repair.

“We had been working on this for so long, it’s really a blessing,” Kennady said. “The courthouse is filthy, moldy, has all kinds of structural problems and it’s time to do something about it,”

The state funding, along with $5.2 million issued by commissioners through certificates of obligation in 2008, will pay to give the courthouse a complete restoration — including fixing faulty plumbing and wiring, cleaning the entire facility and addressing structural needs that have been neglected for years, according to Kennady.

“We’re very pleased to finally get this money to help our downtown courthouse,” said Comal County Judge Danny Scheel.

Kennady expected bids to go out soon, and Scheel said the construction would likely take around two years to complete.

But since a petition drive has forced the construction of the proposed county justice center to go to a vote, Scheel said the county would have to find space for the employees working out of the courthouse while it’s being restored. That includes the offices of County Court at Law number two, the human resources department and offices that deal with probate cases.

Commissioners had initially planned for the justice center to be complete and able to house those offices while the courthouse was being refurbished.

“Because of the petition, we now have to find some space for them to work out of,” Scheel said.

A total of 44 counties applied to receive a portion of the $20 million in restoration funds given out Friday, and only La Salle County received more than Comal, being awarded $3.5 million.

“Our historic county courthouses are often the heart of communities throughout our state and the Texas Courthouse Preservation Program strives to preserve these temples of justice and remains dedicated to these important landmarks,” said Stan Graves in THC’s architecture division through a written statement.

And after years of effort, county leaders were pleased to be able to save one of the area’s most historic landmarks.

“This would have been our last chance to receive funding,” Kennady said. “This building really is the heart of our community, and now we can restore it back to its original glory.”

Grant funding given out:

County Amount La Salle $3,500,000 Comal $3,438,000 Hamilton $3,186,070 Franklin $2,125,000 Hardeman $1,955,000 Colorado $1,782,251 Lee $804,233 Karnes $617,886 Stephens $450,000 Navarro $394,741 Medina $371,928 Marion $318,260 Mason $307,791 Upshur $285,333 Hopkins $277,681 Fort Bend $271,047 Houston $238,300 Throckmorton $183,829 Edwards $99,333 Old Glasscock $72,646 total: $20,679,329

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fatty fat fat!.....Change.

Uh oh! I thought at first.

But then I realized it was a charge against childhood obesity so apparently I am safe.

For now.

U.S. First Lady leads charge against obesity

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (Reuters) - U.S. health officials have leveraged the star power of first lady Michelle Obama to roll out a new campaign against obesity, a preventable condition that drains billions of dollars from the economy.


Obama, who plans to take on childhood obesity as a cause, headlined the launch on Thursday of Surgeon General Regina Benjamin's blueprint for what can be done at home, school and work to reverse the epidemic.

In her first initiative since becoming "America's doctor," Benjamin issued a report on the consequences of obesity to start a national dialogue on the subject.

"The number of Americans, like me, who are struggling with their weight and health conditions related to their weight remains much too high," she said.

Benjamin's report lists recommendations for preventing obesity. They range from simply eating more fruit and vegetables to adding "high-quality physical education" in schools and bringing more supermarkets to low-income communities.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at the launch that the Obama administration was investing $650 million in economic stimulus money in wellness and prevention programs aimed at obesity and stopping smoking.

She introduced the first lady as "everyone's favorite vegetable gardener."

Obama, who created a White House garden with local school children, said the solution to the obesity epidemic cannot come from government alone. Everyone has to be willing to do their part to end the public health crisis.

"This will not be easy and it won't happen overnight. And it won't happen simply because the first lady has made it her priority," Obama told an audience of children's advocates at a recreation center in Alexandria, outside Washington.

"It's going to take all of us. Thank God it's not going to be solely up to me."

Two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese -- a condition that increases their risk for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

The United States spends nearly $150 billion a year on obesity and related complications -- twice what it cost in 1998 and more than every cancer cost put together, Sebelius said.

"The unhealthier we are as a nation, the more our health care costs will continue to rise and the less competitive we will be globally," she said.

....Gotta break some bones...!!??

Now see. You have a video diary of the defendant saying the following:

“just raping kids is not enough ... Gotta break some bones ... Break a 4-year-old's nose,”

Is this a guy who deserves a downward departure from the Sentencing Guidelines?

IMHO, Nah, not so much.....

10-year term given for child porn
By Guillermo Contreras - Express-News

A former planning analyst at the University of Texas Health Science Center was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for receiving child pornography, while a Pleasanton man pleaded guilty to possessing it.

U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez could have given Patrick Daniel McLean 14 to 171/2 years recommended by sentencing guidelines but chose a sentence closer to what other child-porn defendants have been getting in federal court in San Antonio.

McLean, 49, of San Antonio, was a facilities planning analyst at UTHSC until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested him in February. Forensic examinations by ICE found McLean had 1,982 images and 473 videos of child porn on his home computer and digital media.

The rest of the story:

Closing Arguments today.

Closing arguments to be heard today.

Get there early if you want a seat.

Defendant accuses father-in-law of assault


A man charged with sexually assaulting his daughter accused his deceased father-in-law for the assault during the case’s second day of testimony.

Danny Delgado Martinez, 36, is accused of sexually assaulting his daughter in 2003, when she was 7-years-old. He told jurors he believes his daughter was “confused” and that his father-in-law, Hilario Castilleja, abused his daughter.

“I believe her grandfather did it,” Martinez told jurors, eliciting gasps and murmurings from family members. “I did not commit this crime and I would not commit the sin of incest … I believe it was confusion of who was there at the house at that time.”

Jurors will hear closing arguments and could deliver a verdict today.

Martinez did not explain where he was during the alleged incident, which took place at the home of his in-laws in New Braunfels.

State assistant district attorney Steven de Lemos, who is prosecuting, called the victim to testify again Thursday. She claimed her grandfather, who died June 10, 2007, did not sexually assault her. She also said she is not confused about the assault or the identity of who assaulted her.

In previous testimony, she said her grandparents were asleep in another room in the house on Oct. 13, 2003, the night of the alleged incident.

Martinez’s daughter told her mother, Julie Martinez, and grandparents about the alleged assault July 27, 2005.

Until the trial began, Martinez said he has not seen her.

“I love my daughter,” he said. “I honestly do believe the abuse did occur and as a caring parent, I want to know who did it.”

Martinez is charged with sexual assault of a child under 14, a first-degree felony. If convicted, he could face between five and 99 years in prison, or a life sentence, and a $10,000 fine.

Closing arguments begin today at 9 a.m. in the 207th district court with Judge Gary Steel presiding.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Change is a'coming

This is a big deal. How many millions of dollars have been wasted because of the falsification of the data?

Prior to becoming Man o' Law I was a geologist. (Man o' Rock?)

My Masters Thesis examined the Triassic Era Lockatong Formation in the Newark basin in an area comprising the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Border along the Delaware River, north of Trenton.

The formation is comprised of thousands of alternating cycles of rocks. Each rock cycle, I established, began during a wetter climate starting with a wet lake environment and ending in a desert environment. Then a new cycle began with a wetter lake environment again which ended in a desert environment.

Each weather cycle, and there are thousands of them, clearly demonstrate that the weather patterns shift and change over time. Think the last Ice Age ending approximately 10,000 years ago.

In these larger cycles are smaller, shorter climatic cycles, like the Little Ice Age, which lasted from sometime in the 15th Century until the 19th Century. So does Mankind have much effect on these cycles? Probably not too much.

Do these cycles have much effect on Mankind? Absolutely and therein lies the danger of what these fellows did.

By falsely shouting "Wolf" will we be more skeptical in the future when change is coming?

I think we need to prosecute these fellows and hopefully restore some ethics to Science.

Scientists in stolen e-mail scandal hid climate data
Ben Webster, Environmental Editor, Jonathan Leake

Professor Phil Jones, the unit’s director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO’s decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post.

Details of the breach emerged the day after John Beddington, the Chief Scientific Adviser, warned that there was an urgent need for more honesty about the uncertainty of some predictions. His intervention followed admissions from scientists that the rate of glacial melt in the Himalayas had been grossly exaggerated.

In one e-mail, Professor Jones asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He also told a colleague that he had persuaded the university authorities to ignore information requests under the act from people linked to a website run by climate sceptics.

A spokesman for the ICO said: “The legislation prevents us from taking any action but from looking at the emails it’s clear to us a breach has occurred.” Breaches of the act are punishable by an unlimited fine.

The complaint to the ICO was made by David Holland, a retired engineer from Northampton. He had been seeking information to support his theory that the unit broke the IPCC’s rules to discredit sceptic scientists.

In a statement, Graham Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the ICO, said: “The e-mails which are now public reveal that Mr Holland’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act were not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation. Section 77 of the Act makes it an offence for public authorities to act so as to prevent intentionally the disclosure of requested information.”

He added: “The ICO is gathering evidence from this and other time-barred cases to support the case for a change in the law. We will be advising the university about the importance of effective records management and their legal obligations in respect of future requests for information.”

Mr Holland said: “There is an apparent Catch-22 here. The prosecution has to be initiated within six months but you have to exhaust the university’s complaints procedure before the commission will look at your complaint. That process can take longer than six months.”

The university said: “The way freedom of information requests have been handled is one of the main areas being explored by Sir Muir Russell’s independent review. The findings will be made public and we will act as appropriate on its recommendations."

C'mon down y'all!

Cowboy Breakfast Yum!

Cowboy Breakfast weather expected tomorrow as well; cool and possibly wet.

Crowds, cow chips, and plenty of gravy expected at breakfast

A meat lover's dream and the chance to see self-described champion BS slinger District Attorney Susan Reed in action are among the treats in store for the 50,000 or so expected to brave Friday's predawn chill for the Cowboy Breakfast, sometimes considered the unofficial kickoff to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

In addition to breakfast, music and other festivities that start at 4:30 a.m. at Cowboys Dance Hall, 3030 NE Loop 410, the free-food fest is a boon for political candidates distributing their campaign materials ahead of early voting for the March primary races.

Among politicos at the Western-themed event will be Reed, who boasted of her cow chip-tossing prowess at Tuesday's Bexar County Commissioners Court meeting.

The rest of the story:

"For what will it profit a Woman if she gains the whole world and forfeits her soul?"

With apologies for the gender change to Matthew 16:26 and/or Mark 8:36.

She received an appropriate sentence in my opinion.

Woman handed life term in contract slaying

A San Antonio woman was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for having her estranged husband, an Air Force sergeant, killed to collect nearly $600,000 in insurance and survivor's benefits.

Theresa Ann Tolliver, convicted in a federal trial in October, remained silent as U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez also ordered her to pay a total of $594,273 in restitution to two insurance companies, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration.

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.

The rest of the story:

A tale of the two Steves

I do not think this will go over well for the defendant.

Jury hears testimony in sexual assault trial


Jurors heard opening arguments Wednesday from the attorneys of a man accused of sexually assaulting his daughter.

Danny Delgado Martinez, 36, is charged with sexual assault of a child younger than 14, a first-degree felony. The alleged incident took place Oct. 16, 2003, when the victim was 7 years old, at the home of Martinez’s in-laws.

Martinez’s daughter told jurors Wednesday that her father was at home with her two younger brothers and her sleeping grandparents, when he asked the boys to go to another room.

He then proceeded to have intercourse with his biological daughter, the victim alleged, for “a few minutes” in the darkened room. The abuse, she said, almost occurred once more, about six months later at Martinez’s trailer home near Interstate 35. The victim said she was alone with her father again when he got on top of her in bed.

She said she began to cry, and allegedly Martinez stopped and said, “I’m a bad dad,” before telling her to go to the living room.

Martinez’s attorney, Patton Zarate, maintains his client is innocent of all charges relating to the assault. The defense does acknowledge that the victim was sexually assaulted but that Martinez did not commit the crime and that the victim is confused as to who assaulted her. Zarate also noted that the victim waited until July 27, 2005 to tell anyone of the alleged assault.

On that day in 2005, the birthday of Julie Martinez’s mother, the victim wrote two letters to her mother while the family cooked. In the letters, she requested to have a meeting after supper, and then told her mother that her father sexually assaulted her and that she “didn’t want to be around him.”

Julie Martinez told jurors she found the allegations unbelievable at first but took her daughter to a bedroom and when the victim began to cry, Martinez said she began to cry as well and was joined by her mother and father, who urged her to take the victim to a hospital.

Because of the elapsed time, Zarate said, there is no forensic or DNA evidence in the trial.

The jury heard testimony for almost five hours Wednesday from the victim and the defendant’s wife, Julie Martinez, 33, of New Braunfels.

The current trial is the second time the case has been in court. The case first went to trial in July 2008 but resulted in a deadlocked jury that could not decide on a verdict.

Assistant district attorney Steven de Lemos, who is prosecuting the case, would not give further details.

The defense and state attorneys were unsure Wednesday if Martinez would testify in his own defense after prosecuting Comal County assistant district attorneys, de Lemos and Steven Harkins, contended that since he had already testified before in the previous trial that he might have waived his Fifth Amendment rights.

The trial continues today at 9 a.m. in the 207th district court with Judge Gary Steel presiding.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The precipice of the Apocalypse

I wanted to share this post from the blog Le'gal In'sur'rec'tion with you.

If Maureen Dowd is writing this kind of stuff can the End of Times really be all that far away?

From the Blog: Le'gal In'sur'rec'tion

NY Times New Business Strategy: NObama
By: William A. Jacobson
Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY

I'm actually enjoying reading NY Times columnists these days. The wonders never cease, this time from MoDo:

The New One is the shimmering vessel that we are pouring all our hopes and dreams into after the grave disappointment of the Last One, Barack Obama.

The only question left is: Why isn’t Scott Brown delivering the State of the Union? He’s the Epic One we want to hear from. All that inexperience can really be put to good use here.

Obama’s Oneness has been one-upped....Why settle for a 48-year-old, 6-foot-1, organic arugula when we can have a 50-year-old, 6-foot-2, double waffle with bacon?

Good stuff. Not quite as good as when Gail Collins was lying under the bed on her side in the fetal position on the night of the Epic One's victory, but satisfying nonetheless.

Add to it Bob Herbert questioning "who is Barack Obama?" and Paul Krugman admitting Obama was not The One we were waiting for, and the NY Times might be onto a winning strategy.

After all, everything else has failed, and it worked for Fox News.

Where are this girl's parents?

Seriously this girl needs some help.

No, really, before she starts barking at the moon.

If she hasn't already started.

Self-described wolf woman severed lost dog's head
By Brian Chasnoff - Express-News

Wolfie Blackheart is not an ordinary 18-year-old.

She believes she is a wolf — technically, a werewolf — and so she wears a tail. She also wears a harness in case someone special wants to drag her around.

And last week, she used a pocketknife in her kitchen to decapitate a dog — already dead, according to Wolfie — that had been missing since Jan. 5.

The rest of the story:

Capital murder charges for killing bus driver

What a tragic waste of life.

Capital murder charges brought against the suspects.

Somewhere, Ralph Kramden is happy.

Third arrest in VIA bus driver slaying
By Eva Ruth Moravec - Express-News

San Antonio police arrested a third person in connection with the slaying of a VIA bus driver who was found shot to death in an East Side cemetery earlier this month.

LaKisha Lashawnta Brown, 27, was arrested early Tuesday morning on a capital murder charge in connection with Samuel Allen Johnson Jr.'s death. She was booked into the Bexar County Jail. Her bail is set at $500,000.

Vanessa Cameron, 29, and Bernard Antoine Brown, 23, also are being held in Bexar County Jail on capital murder charges. Their bail is each set at $1 million.

The rest of the story:

"Handing" them prison time

Okay I am trying to post again.

The blog system apparently was down for almost an hour.

Texas Mexican Mafia members sentenced

A dozen members of the Texas Mexican Mafia were sentenced Tuesday to prison terms of six to 10 years for enforcing the gang's drug extortion tactics on San Antonio's streets.

Most of the 12 said nothing as U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez imposed sentence and ordered them not to associate with other gang members.

The gangsters — including Edward “Trece” Rodriguez, who was discharged honorably from the Marine Corps in the 1970s before joining the gang — pleaded guilty last fall to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by using threats or violence.

The rest of the story:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trash the road!

I will be sure to not drive on this part of the highway.

Hmmm? Or if I did I will be sure to throw as much trash out as possible onto their section of the road.

What a great idea!

Trash their part of the highway!! Pass it on.

Colorado Nazi group's adopt-a-highway raises eyebrows

KDVR Denver

BRIGHTON, Colo. - It's a small sign igniting a big debate. An official state of Colorado Adopt-a-Highway placard announcing that a one-mile long stretch of US Highway 85 is sponsored not by the Boy Scouts or the Lions Club, but by the Nazi Party of Colorado.

Members call themselves the National Socialist Movement. They are inspired by teachings of Hitler, believe interracial relationships and homosexuality should be crimes, and they want to start a separate all-white country.

The Adopt-a-Highway program, they say, is a good PR move for them and a recruiting tool.

"We want to let them know that we're here and we do good things," Unit leader Neal Land told FOX 31 News. "We're upstanding citizens, try to be good people, and try to portray ourselves that way."

When the Nazi's first applied for the stretch of highway just south of Bromley lane in Brighton, the Colorado Department of Transportation called to say thanks, but no thanks.

But the law, it turns out, was on the Nazi's side.

"Courts around the country have allowed white supremacists to sponsor highway signs," says Anti-Defamation League Director Bruce DeBoskey. So although the Anti-Defamation League couldn't be more opposed to the Nazi movement, it advised the state to put the application through.

"To have our freedom we have to have all kinds of speech, and this is a case where hate speech is protected," DeBoskey said. "This organization stands for hate. It's a white supremacist group. It is a neo-Nazi group."

CDOT says the Nazi's have yet to actually pick up any trash on the road. And officials will be watching to make sure the group fulfills its obligation. CDOT will also pull the group's sponsorship if it creates a distraction or hazard on the road.

Congress went to Denmark and all I got was this lousy T-shirt, oh and yes, the bill

Did all of these folks really have to go to a conference based on falsified scientific evidence?

This is some real BS here.

Keep the change.

Congress went to Denmark, you got the bill

(CBS) Thanks to a recently filed Congressional expense reports there's new light shed on the Copenhagen Climate Summit in Denmark and how much it cost taxpayers.

CBS News Investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports official filings and our own investigation show at least 106 people from the House and Senate attended - spouses, a doctor, a protocol expert and even a photographer.

Read the Congressional Expense Report

For 15 Democratic and 6 Republican Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,406 tax dollars each. That's $2,200 a day - more than most Americans spend on their monthly mortgage payment.

CBS News asked members of Congress and staff about whether they're mindful that it's public tax dollars they're spending. Many said they had never even seen the bills or the expense reports.

Copenhagen Congressional Junket

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is a key climate change player. He went to Copenhagen last year. Last week, we asked him about the $2,200-a-day bill for room and food.

"I can't believe that," Rep. Waxman said. "I can't believe it, but I don't know."

But his name is in black and white in the expense reports. The group expense report was filed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. She wouldn't talk about it when our producer tried to ask.

Pelosi's office did offer an explanation for the high room charges. Those who stayed just two nights were charged a six-night minimum at the five-star Marriott. One staffer said, they strongly objected to no avail. You may ask how they'll negotiate a climate treaty, if they can't get a better deal on hotel rooms.

Total hotel, meeting rooms and "a couple" of $1,000-a-night hospitality suites topped $400,000.

Flights weren't cheap, either. Fifty-nine House and Senate staff flew commercial during the Copenhagen rush. They paid government rates -- $5-10,000 each -- totaling $408,064. Add three military jets -- $168,351 just for flight time -- and the bill tops $1.1 million dollars -- not including all the Obama administration officials who attended: well over 60.

In fairness, many attendees told us they did a lot of hard work, and the laid groundwork for a future global treaty.

"I was there because I thought it was important for me to be there," Rep. Waxman said. "I didn't look at it as a pleasure trip."

But considering the size of the deficit, and the fact that that no global deal would be reached -- critics question the super-sized U.S. delegation -- more than 165 -- leaving the impression there's dollars to burn. In this case, more than a million.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Pelosi's husband
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
Rep. George Miller
Rep. Henry Waxman
Rep. Ed Markey
Markey’s wife
Rep. Charles Rangel
Rep. Bart Gordon
Rep. James Sensenbrenner
Sensenbrenner's wife
Rep. Sander Levin
Rep. Joe Barton
Barton daughter
Rep. Fred Upton
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Rep. Diana DeGette
Rep. Jay Inslee
Inslee's wife
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito
Rep. Moore Capito husband
Rep. John Sullivan
Rep. Tim Ryan
Rep. GK Butterfield
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Gifford's husband
Rep. Marsha Blackburn
President Obama
Sen. James Inhofe
Sen. John Kerry
Stacee Bako
Don Kellaher
Wilson Livingood
Brian Monahan
John Lawrence
Karen Wayland
Drew Hammill
Kate Knudson
Bridget Fallon
Bina Surgeon
Mary Frences Repko
Nona Darrell
Tony Jackson
Josh Mathis
Phil Barnett
David Cavicke
Lisa Miller
Peter Spencer
Andrea Spring
Lorie Schmitt
Greg Dotson
Alex Barron
Christopher King
Shimere Williams
Tara Rothschild
Margaret Caravelli
Gerry Waldron
Ana Unruh-Cohen
Jeff Duncan
Eben Burnham-Snyder
Joel Beauvais
Michael Goo
Tom Schreibel
Harlan Watson
Bart Forsyth
Ed Rice
Steve Rusnak
Carey Lane
Matt Dempsey
Dempsey wife
George Sugyama
Tom Hassenbohler
31 additional unnamed Senate staff

State Dept:
Special Envoy Todd Stern
Secretary Hillary Clinton
Pershing Deputy U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change
Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs
Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, Deputy Permanent Rep. United States Mission to the U.N.
Daniel Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment
Lilburn Trigg Talley, Director of the office of Global Change
Sue Biniaz, Deputy Legal Adviser
William Breed, Director of Climate Change Programs USAID.
Energy Dept:
Steven Chu, Energy Secretary
Jean Chu, Spouse of the Energy Secretary
Rod O'Connor, Chief of Staff
Amy Bodette, Special Assistant to the Secretary
David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs
Rick Duke, Dep. Assistant Sec. for Policy and International Affairs
Holmes Hummel, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Policy and
International Affairs
Elmer Holt, Economist in the Office of Policy and International Affairs
Matt Kallman, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Policy
and International Affairs
Dan Leistikow, Director of Public Affairs
Devin Hampton, Lead Advance Representative
Interior Dept:
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
Deputy Secretary David Hayes
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland
Science Advisor Kit Batten
Senior Advisor of Global Change at USGS Tom Armstrong
USGS Director Marcia McNutt
Deputy Communications Director Matt Lee-Ashley
Jack Lynch (Security)
Dave Graham (Security)
Mike Downs (Security)
Director of Advance Tim Hartz

Security Officer # 1 Security, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Marcus McClendon Director of Advance, Office of the Administrator
Security Officer # 2 Security, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Jennifer Jenkins Physical Scientist, Climate Change Division, Office of Air and Radiation COP 15 Negotiator
Shalini Vajjhala Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of International Affairs COP-15 Negotiator
Maurice LeFranc Senior Advisor, International Climate Change, Office of Air and Radiation COP-15 Negotiator
Kimberly Todd Klunich Technical Expert, Climate Change Division, Office of Air and Radiation COP-15 Negotiator
Leif Hockstad Environmental Engineer, Climate Change Division, Office of Air and Radiation COP-15 Negotiator
Seth Oster Associate Administrator, Office of Public Affairs
David McIntosh Associate Administrator, Office of Rep.ressional and Intergovernmental Relations
Michelle DePass Assistant Administrator, Office of International Affairs
Security Officer # 3 Security, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Lisa Jackson Administrator, EPA
Gina McCarthy Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation

White House Executive Office staff:
From the Office of Energy and Climate Change:
Heather Zichal
Tony Russell
Jake Levine
Joe Aldy

From the Office of Science and Technology Policy:
John Holdren
Steve Fetter
Shere Abbott

From the Council on Environmental Quality:
Nancy Sutley
Amy Salzman
Jess Maher

National Security Council:
Mike Froman
Ed Fendley

Ben LaBolt

Are we asking to get blown up or something?

Oh, this is just great news. (sarcasm)

This guy is now out on bond.

I expect we'll be hearing more about him soon.

Like after he shoots up a mall or blows up a supermarket.

BTW I'm not profiling, really.

Would-be Hasan vistor is freed

An Iraqi doctor encouraged security officers at Brooke Army Medical Center to shoot him earlier this month after telling others that he planned to free accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a federal agent testified Monday.

FBI counterterrorism and military intelligence operatives took a hard look at Senan Kahtan Abrahem after he went to Fort Sam Houston on Jan. 6 and approached an information booth at BAMC about seeing Hasan, according to testimony at a bail hearing Monday for Abrahem.

Abrahem, an immigrant living in San Antonio, was indicted last week on a federal charge of making a false statement — he allegedly claimed he was Hasan's lawyer so he could get access to Hasan.

The rest of the story:

Epic Fail

Now this is going to be a real clusterfark.

I believe this morning's TV News report indicates that folks from 24 houses are still not permitted to go home and are still living in hotels.

What's worse (besides the obvious, your house is going to fall down) is that unless you brought an "Earthquake" insurance rider, your regular homeowner's insurance will not cover loss for "creeping soil".

I bet the mortgage companies who helped finance these house will be really happy to know that as will the homeowners themselves.

Expect to see massive lawsuits, counter-suits and cross-suits coming out of this.

No permit for failed wall

Centex, the Texas-based developer that Pulte Homes acquired last year, did not have a permit for “an improperly constructed retaining wall” that collapsed Sunday, causing damage to at least three homes and forcing the evacuation of dozens of families, according to city officials.

The city announced the disclosure a little more than an hour after Pulte officials met with the Northwest Side homeowners in a closed meeting Monday night. It also said fill dirt on which the homes in The Hills of Rivermist were built was not properly compacted.

“We're still trying to figure out all that went wrong with it,” said Roderick Sanchez, director of the city's Planning and Development Services Department.

The rest of the story:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sports stars misbehaving around the world


Its not just American sports stars and heroes who misbehave.

Don't you feel better now?

Young Socceroo accused of sex with girl, 13

Suspended Young Socceroos skipper Sebastian Ryall has been committed to stand trial, accused of engaging in a sex act with a 13-year-old girl.

Ryall, 20, of St Kilda, is accused of having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in the early hours of January 25, 2008, near the Pittwater RSL Club.

The alleged offence involved the girl performing oral sex on the Sydney FC defender.

Co-accused Alistair Lupton, 20, of Collaroy on Sydney's northern beaches, is charged with the same offence, although with a different 13-year-old girl.

Both men have claimed the girls told them they were aged 16.

At the pair's committal hearing at Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court today, Constable Carly Pritchett said the young men exclaimed disbelief when told how young the girls were.

"I can't believe this. They told us they were 16," she recalled Lupton as saying.

Ryall's barrister, Ian Lloyd, QC, said police had never sourced any CCTV footage, making it impossible to present to a jury how the girls and the young men were dressed, how old the girls looked or how inebriated the young men appeared.

However, magistrate John Andrews committed the pair to stand trial, saying there was sufficient evidence to take the case to a jury trial.

Ryall and Lupton will stand trial in the Downing Centre District Court on February 5.

Their bail has been continued.

Magic Happy Donuts

Did she offer any donuts to the police officers?

Wonder what made them suspicious?

Police: Woman says she's eating powdered donut, turns out to be cocaine
By Mark Boxley

When officers pulled a 21-year-old Knoxville woman over on Airport Highway in Alcoa early Thursday, she allegedly told officers it was a powdered donut she was eating when they came to the window.

But a field test on the substance indicated the white powder she put in her mouth was not from a sugary pastry, but, rather, was cocaine, according to an Alcoa police report.

Whitney Alison Holte was arrested and charged with possession of a Schedule II substance with intent to sell or deliver and three attachments for contempt; she was also cited with driving on a suspended driver's license, driving without proof of insurance, failure to maintain her lane of traffic and possession of drug paraphernalia.

She was being held at the Blount County Jail in lieu of bonds totaling $12,250 pending 1:30 p.m. Jan. 25 and 9 a.m. Jan. 28 hearings in Blount County General Sessions Court.

Tenderizing moment

No. That's not how you marinate steaks.

Jeeze Louise!

Ohio Man Arrested on Charges of Urinating on $600-Worth of Steaks


An Ohio man is in jail after police arrested him on charges of urinating on a meat counter at a Wal-Mart store, Cleveland's reported.

Robert T. Jenkins, 21, of Canton, Ohio, was arrested at 1:30 a.m. local time on Friday morning, Lt. Linda Brown of the Canton Police Department told Jenkins was charged with felony vandalism and disorderly conduct.

Jenkins was arrested after police responded to a call from an employee at the Wal-Mart store telling authorities that a man walked up to the meat counter and began urinating on the steaks, police told The disorderly conduct destroyed more than $600 dollars in meat.

Police have not commented on whether alcohol or drugs played a role in Jenkin's actions, the site reported.

Jenkins is currently being held in the Stark County jail in lieu of $25,000 bond, reported.

Cold enough to freeze the ....... Brass Monkey

Since this was reported by a website up in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area I would be concerned she didn't suffer severe frostbite too.

Naked woman taken from bank in Farmington

A naked woman made an eye-popping entrance at the Anchor Bank in Farmington this week, drawing emergency services.

Farmington Police Chief Brian Lindquist said the woman drove herself to the bank about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police received multiple 911 calls from concerned patrons and store employees.

She was taken away in an ambulance for psychological evaluation.

Lindquist said that when police come across naked individuals in public, it's often the result of narcotic use or a psychological condition such as dementia.

The drug users, however, are "usually ... very hostile, very aggressive," Lindquist said. He said the woman at the bank did not resist assistance.

Her name was not released.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

They beat up a honor student violinist??

Looks like there'll be a whole buncha liability coming in a lawsuit.

Those violinist's are bad folks don't ya know.

Student: ‘Beating So Bad Thought I Was Going To Die’

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper said three plainclothes officers have been reassigned during an internal investigation into the beating of an 18-year-old student violinist from the city's Creative and Performing Arts High School.

VIDEO: CAPA Student Says Cops Used Branch To Beat Him

Police charged Jordan Miles, 18, with assault and resisting arrest Jan. 11 because, they said, he fought with the officers who thought a "heavy object" in his coat was a gun. It turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew.

Miles said he resisted because he thought the men were trying to abduct him and didn't identify themselves as police.Miles' family and attorney said he was hit with a stun gun and hospitalized after the violent Homewood struggle during which a chunk of his hair was yanked out and a tree branch went through his gums.

"I was accused for something I never had anything to do with," said Miles, an honor student at CAPA. "I was completely innocent. They couldn't find anything."

Police took Miles to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment. The student said he had to go back after he was released from custody."I want my son's life restored, that's all," said Miles' mother, Terez Miles. "I just want his life to go back to the way that it was before."

City officials are conducting a full investigation, spokeswoman Diane Richard told Channel 11 News.Reportedly the officers identified themselves as police.

According to officials, the officers have been moved from plain clothes detail to uniformed duty.

Big Brother is watching.....

Okay I'm stumped what's a fly-tipper?

Is it a bad thing to be?

Never mind here it is courtesy of

Noun: fly tipper
Usage: Brit
  1. Someone who dumps waste illegally, esp. on public land

CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones

Arms manufacturer BAE Systems developing national strategy with consortium of government agencies

Drones could be used for civilian surveillance in the UK as early as 2012. Source: BAE

Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­"routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.

The arms manufacturer BAE Systems, which produces a range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for war zones, is adapting the military-style planes for a consortium of government agencies led by Kent police.

Documents from the South Coast Partnership, a Home Office-backed project in which Kent police and others are developing a national drone plan with BAE, have been obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act.

They reveal the partnership intends to begin using the drones in time for the 2012 Olympics. They also indicate that police claims that the technology will be used for maritime surveillance fall well short of their intended use – which could span a range of police activity – and that officers have talked about selling the surveillance data to private companies. A prototype drone equipped with high-powered cameras and sensors is set to take to the skies for test flights later this year.

The Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates UK airspace, has been told by BAE and Kent police that civilian UAVs would "greatly extend" the government's surveillance capacity and "revolutionise policing". The CAA is currently reluctant to license UAVs in normal airspace because of the risk of collisions with other aircraft, but adequate "sense and avoid" systems for drones are only a few years away.

Five other police forces have signed up to the scheme, which is considered a pilot preceding the countrywide adoption of the technology for "surveillance, monitoring and evidence gathering". The partnership's stated mission is to introduce drones "into the routine work of the police, border authorities and other government agencies" across the UK.

Concerned about the slow pace of progress of licensing issues, Kent police's assistant chief constable, Allyn Thomas, wrote to the CAA last March arguing that military drones would be useful "in the policing of major events, whether they be protests or the ­Olympics". He said interest in their use in the UK had "developed after the terrorist attack in Mumbai".

Stressing that he was not seeking to interfere with the regulatory process, Thomas pointed out that there was "rather more urgency in the work since Mumbai and we have a clear deadline of the 2012 Olympics".

BAE drones are programmed to take off and land on their own, stay airborne for up to 15 hours and reach heights of 20,000ft, making them invisible from the ground.

Far more sophisticated than the remote-controlled rotor-blade robots that hover 50-metres above the ground – which police already use – BAE UAVs are programmed to undertake specific operations. They can, for example, deviate from a routine flightpath after encountering suspicious ­activity on the ground, or undertake numerous reconnaissance tasks simultaneously.

The surveillance data is fed back to control rooms via monitoring equipment such as high-definition cameras, radar devices and infrared sensors.

Previously, Kent police has said the drone scheme was intended for use over the English Channel to monitor shipping and detect immigrants crossing from France. However, the documents suggest the maritime focus was, at least in part, a public relations strategy designed to minimise civil liberty concerns.

"There is potential for these [maritime] uses to be projected as a 'good news' story to the public rather than more 'big brother'," a minute from the one of the earliest meetings, in July 2007, states.

Behind closed doors, the scope for UAVs has expanded significantly. Working with various policing organisations as well as the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the Maritime and Fisheries Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency, BAE and Kent police have drawn up wider lists of potential uses.

One document lists "[detecting] theft from cash machines, preventing theft of tractors and monitoring antisocial driving" as future tasks for police drones, while another states the aircraft could be used for road and railway monitoring, search and rescue, event security and covert urban surveillance.

Under a section entitled "Other routine tasks (Local Councils) – surveillance", another document states the drones could be used to combat "fly-posting, fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles, abnormal loads, waste management".

Senior officers have conceded there will be "large capital costs" involved in buying the drones, but argue this will be shared by various government agencies. They also say unmanned aircraft are no more intrusive than CCTV cameras and far cheaper to run than helicopters.

Partnership officials have said the UAVs could raise revenue from private companies. At one strategy meeting it was proposed the aircraft could undertake commercial work during spare time to offset some of the running costs.

There are two models of BAE drone under consideration, neither of which has been licensed to fly in non-segregated airspace by the CAA. The Herti (High Endurance Rapid Technology Insertion) is a five-metre long aircraft that the Ministry of Defence deployed in Afghanistan for tests in 2007 and 2009.

CAA officials are sceptical that any Herti-type drone manufacturer can develop the technology to make them airworthy for the UK before 2015 at the earliest. However the South Coast Partnership has set its sights on another BAE prototype drone, the GA22 airship, developed by Lindstrand Technologies which would be subject to different regulations. BAE and Kent police believe the 22-metre long airship could be certified for civilian use by 2012.

Military drones have been used extensively by the US to assist reconnaissance and airstrikes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But their use in war zones has been blamed for high civilian death tolls.

How to succeed in business without really trying

Wow, he is a successful drug dealer.

At least till he's the next one killed in the drug wars.

South Texan may be the next drug king
By Jason Buch - Express-News

LAREDO — In Mexico, they call him “El Tigrillo,” a kind of wildcat, and sing his praises, ranking him among those of the country's top drug lords.

In Texas, he played high school football, and a coach nicknamed him “Barbie” because of his light hair and eyes.

Over the past 20 years, Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a 36-year-old U.S. citizen born in South Texas, has gone from high school jock to potential Mexican drug cartel boss — perhaps the only U.S. citizen to do so.

The rest of the story:

Comal County Commissoners' primary races

Please vote for Scott Haag he will make an excellent County Commissioner and serve the citizens of Precinct 2 well.

Also please vote for Commissioner Jan Kennady she has been, and will continue to be, an excellent representative for the citizens of Precinct 4.

Thank you!

Election 2010: County Commissioner Precinct 2


For the first time in 12 years, there will be someone other than Jay Millikin representing Precinct 2 on Comal County Commissioners Court in January 2010.

The longtime commissioner announced in November that he would not be seeking re-election, and four men have declared their candidacy to be his replacement.

All four will be seeking their first political office, and three of them — Scott Haag, Michael Maurer Sr. and Henry White — will be squaring off in the March primary to earn the Republican nomination.

The fourth candidate, Democrat Wade Jacoby, will face the winner in the November general election.

Haag served for 28 years as a trooper in the Texas Department of Public Safety. Now retired, he said wants to continue to work for the people of Comal County.

“Being in public service previously, you learn a lot about what it means to truly serve the people,” he said. “I think that makes me best suited for the job. I think the common, everyday citizen can make a difference, and I’m one of those citizens.”

Maurer Sr. is a private employer, who did not wish to disclose his profession.

He has fought for his share of causes in the past, including twice leading efforts to defeat the formation of a county groundwater conservation district and three times working to defeat home rule in Bulverde.

He said he’s joining the race to fight for county taxpayers.

“I’m a concerned taxpayer, and I have a track record of jumping into taxpayer issues,” Maurer said, also pointing to his involvement in a failed tax rollback effort in 2006. “Someone needs to look out for them, and I will be the one to do that.”

White is a retired urban and regional planner, skills he said would help him bring a more conservative approach to commissioners court.

“I’ve got experience working in government and the private sector,” he said. “You need both to be successful, particularly with the limited authority the county has. ... We need to get government and the Republican Party back to where they’re supposed to be.”

Early voting in the Republican primary will begin on Feb. 16. Election Day is March 2. The deadline to register to vote in the primary is Feb. 1.

Election 2010: County Commissioner Precinct 4


Longtime local politician Jan Kennady will be defending her seat as Precinct 4 Comal County Commissioner this primary election against newcomer Stacy Graupner, who’s eager to make an impact in her first attempt at political office.

At a recent candidate forum at the Brauntex Theatre, the two offered voters an interesting juxtaposition — with one candidate spending more than a decade representing Comal County residents, and the other describing herself as a “fresh face” on the ballot.

Kennady has served on the New Braunfels City Council and as the city’s mayor before being elected county commissioner in 2002. She said she’s running for a third term on the dais to complete some unfinished business.

“There’s just so many projects I’ve still got to get done,” said Kennady, pointing to projects like the Comal County Courthouse restoration and the county’s ongoing habitat conservation plan. “There’s just a lot left to do and, truthfully, the absolute joy I get from working with individuals in this county is why I want to continue to serve.”

Graupner is an educational consultant for the New Braunfels-based Education Alliance, and also owns the Curves workout center downtown. She said this primary race offers her, and voters, a chance to get more involved in their county government.

“I’m a constituent, and I was feeling left in the dark,” she said. “I want to open up the lines of communication to everybody.

“Once you have knowledge and are informed, you’ll be compelled to get involved. I want to bring more people in to be a part of the process and the solutions.”

Graupner has said in recent political forums that she’s running “alongside” Kennady, and not against her.

That doesn’t mean she’s not looking to win.

“I just want to change that negative perception,” she said. “I think we’re both good candidates. We’re just running for different reasons; we feel differently about certain issues, and we’re different people.”

Kennady said another term would mean another four years of doing the job she loves.

“I just care so much about serving the people in this county, and we have a ton left to do,” she said.

Early voting in the Republican primary will begin on Feb. 16, followed by the election on March 2.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snakes on a Plane!

I have had it with these snakes on this mother'effing plane!

Open them windows!!

Feds move to keep big snakes off planes, out of the U.S.
Associated Press -

NEW YORK — Federal officials want to keep Burmese pythons and eight other kinds of large snakes out of the country, saying they threaten the environment.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the snakes escape or are released into the wild, where they threaten sensitive ecosystems like Florida's Everglades.

Salazar announced the proposed ban on importing the snakes at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. He said New York is the biggest point of entry in the U.S. for imported wildlife.

The rest of the story:


[sarcasm on]

Wonderful kids, wonderful.

[sarcasm off]

ACS investigates photo of headless dog

By Brian Chasnoff - Express-News

Anonymous Internet users of the inflammatory sort, otherwise known as “trolls,” are descending upon and disseminating a photograph that appears to depict someone displaying the bloody, severed head of a dog.

Prodded by a rumor that the dog decapitators are San Antonio youths, the Police Department and Animal Care Services are investigating the photograph, ACS spokeswoman Lisa Norwood said.

“We still don't know that any laws were broken,” Norwood said. “Photoshop can do wonders.”

The rest of the story:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Health care blues

Sorry folks but I thought this was too good to pass up.

But keep up the good fight because its not quite dead yet.

Also thank you to the blog The Chronicles of a Rouge Jew for the pictures and the You Tube

Ha, I'm not laughing

This is just effing unbelievable.

This was a joke??

Does TSA = Too Stupid Antics?

Or does this picture say it all?

Daniel Rubin: It was no joke at security gate

By Daniel Rubin
Inquirer Columnist

In the tense new world of air travel, we're stripped of shoes, told not to take too much shampoo on board, frowned on if we crack a smile.

The last thing we expect is a joke from a Transportation Security Administration screener - particularly one this stupid.

Rebecca Solomon is 22 and a student at the University of Michigan, and on Jan. 5 she was flying back to school after holiday break. She made sure she arrived at Philadelphia International Airport 90 minutes before takeoff, given the new regulations.

She would be flying into Detroit on Northwest Airlines, the same city and carrier involved in the attempted bombing on Christmas, just 10 days before. She was tense.

What happened to her lasted only 20 seconds, but she says they were the longest 20 seconds of her life.

After pulling her laptop out of her carry-on bag, sliding the items through the scanning machines, and walking through a detector, she went to collect her things.

A TSA worker was staring at her. He motioned her toward him.

Then he pulled a small, clear plastic bag from her carry-on - the sort of baggie that a pair of earrings might come in. Inside the bag was fine, white powder.

She remembers his words: "Where did you get it?"

Two thoughts came to her in a jumble: A terrorist was using her to sneak bomb-detonating materials on the plane. Or a drug dealer had made her an unwitting mule, planting coke or some other trouble in her bag while she wasn't looking.

She'd left her carry-on by her feet as she handed her license and boarding pass to a security agent at the beginning of the line.

Answer truthfully, the TSA worker informed her, and everything will be OK.

Solomon, 5-foot-3 and traveling alone, looked up at the man in the black shirt and fought back tears.

Put yourself in her place and count out 20 seconds. Her heart pounded. She started to sweat. She panicked at having to explain something she couldn't.

Now picture her expression as the TSA employee started to smile.

Just kidding, he said. He waved the baggie. It was his.

And so she collected her things, stunned, and the tears began to fall.

Another passenger, a woman traveling to Colorado, consoled her as others who had witnessed the confrontation went about their business. Solomon and the woman walked to their gates, where each called for security and reported what had happened.

A joke? You're not serious. Was he hitting on her? Was he flexing his muscle? Who at a time of heightened security and rattled nerves would play so cavalierly with a passenger's emotions?

When someone is trying to blow planes out of the sky, what is a TSA employee doing with his eyes off the ball?

When she complained to airport security, Solomon said, she was told the TSA worker had been training the staff to detect contraband. She was shocked that no one took him off the floor, she said.

"It was such a violation," the Wynnewood native told me by phone. "I'd come early. I'd done everything right. And they were kidding about it."

I ran her story past Ann Davis, regional TSA spokeswoman, who said she knew nothing to contradict the young traveler's account.

Davis said privacy law prevents her from identifying the TSA employee. The law prevents her from disclosing what sort of discipline he might have received.

"The TSA views this employee's behavior to be highly inappropriate and unprofessional," she wrote. "We can assure travelers this employee has been disciplined by TSA management at Philadelphia International Airport, and he has expressed remorse for his actions."

Maybe he's been punished enough. That Solomon's father, Jeffrey, is a Center City litigator might mean this story isn't over.

In the meantime, I think the TSA worker should spend time following passengers through the scanners, handing them their shoes. Maybe he could tie them, too.

Update: Ann Davis, the TSA spokeswoman, said this afternoon that the worker is no longer employed by the agency as of today. She said privacy laws prevented her from saying if he was fired or left on his own.

Some more of the Evil Clown's Bullshit

OMG this guy is an evil little clown for sure.

Damn, we sure have some powerful weapons too.

The problem is many folks will believe this nonsense.

Chavez: US Weapon Test Caused Haiti Earthquake

Russia Today: Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez has once again accused the United States of playing God.

But this time it's Haiti's disastrous earthquake that he thinks the U.S. was behind.

Spanish newspaper ABC quotes Chavez as saying that the U.S. navy launched a weapon capable of inducing a powerful earthquake off the shore of Haiti.

He adds that this time it was only a drill and the final target is ... destroying and taking over Iran.

Click here to watch the video:

A Dill(y) of a beating

I'll open this up to y'all.

Did this cross the line? We don't know the extent of the injuries inflicted yet I have a problem with the boy being essentially hog-tied.

Certainly the punishment did not fit the crime of not taking out the trash and turning down the air conditioner without permission.

Sounds to me like it went a bit too far.

Man convicted of injuring 11-year old child in Kerrville
By Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

KERRVILLE — A local man faces up to 10 years in prison for whipping his son with a wire, as well as kicking and pinching the 11-year-old, whose face, hands and feet were bound by duct tape.

Jurors deliberated eight hours before convicting David Dill, 49, Thursday of injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury, a third-degree felony.

“I'm a believer in corporal punishment, but there has to be a limit, and this was extreme and illegal,” said prosecutor Lucy Wilke, calling the verdict appropriate.

The rest of the story:

Voir Dire to begin Monday

The wheels of justice fire up on Monday.

Jury selection Monday in Weber murder trial


A local man accused of killing his father in December 2008 is set to go on trial next week in Comal County Court.

Jordan William Weber, 27, of Canyon Lake is charged with the murder of his father, Ronald William Weber, 55. Originally, Jordan Weber reported the shooting as a suicide just days before Christmas in 2008.

The Travis County medical examiner’s office ruled the cause of death a homicide.

Comal County Sheriff’s Office detectives thought the details at the scene seemed inconsistent with a suicide and subsequently arrested Jordan Weber in San Antonio. Deputies found Ronald Weber with a gunshot wound to his head at his home in the 1400 block of Hillcrest Forest.

Officials have not released a motive for the alleged murder.

Jury selection will be Monday morning at the Comal County Courthouse.

District Judge Gary Steel is presiding.