Monday, January 31, 2011

Stand back from the machine

Vending machines.

Maybe not such a good investment after all.

I don't think this is what they mean by electronic self-defense.

Vending machines try electronic self-defense
By ILAN BRAT- The Wall Street Journal

Tough economic times have spurred a rash of vending-machine thefts, prompting operators to fight back with sales-tracking devices and automated text-message alerts.

Theft rings have sprung up in Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi and New York, among other states. More schools, hospitals and other big vending customers are complaining of such break-ins, especially with outdoor vending machines, according to loss consultants and machine operators.

While no one closely tracks the exact number of such thefts, these experts report a proliferation of websites and YouTube videos with instructions on how to break into the machines.

"My sense is that theft is on the rise as there are so many people in desperate times," said Mark Manney, chief executive of Loss Prevention Results Inc., a Wake Forest, N.C., vending-theft consultant.

The rest of the story:

Obamacare exemptions

Pretty good opinion article.

It makes some very cogent and thoughtful points in my opinion.  Why can't we all get an exemption from Obabcare?

WOLF: Tawdry details of Obamacare
White House quietly exempts pampered politicos
By Dr. Milton R. Wolf - The Washington Times 

If you would like to know what the White House really thinks of Obamacare, there’s an easy way. Look past its press releases. Ignore its promises. Forget its talking points. Instead, simply witness for yourself the outrageous way the White House protects its best friends from Obamacare.

Last year, we learned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had granted 111 waivers to protect a lucky few from the onerous regulations of the new national health care overhaul. That number quickly and quietly climbed to 222, and last week we learned that the number of Obamacare privileged escapes has skyrocketed to 733.

Among the fortunate is a who’s who list of unions, businesses and even several cities and four states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee) but none of the friends of Barack feature as prominently as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

How can you get your own free pass from Obamacare? Maybe you can just donate $27 million to President Obama‘s campaign efforts. That’s what Andy Stern did as president of SEIU in 2008. He has been the most frequent guest at Mr. Obama‘s White House.

Backroom deals have become par for the course for proponents of Obamacare. Senators were greased with special favors, like Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson and his Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and her Louisiana Purchase. Even the American Medical Association was brought in line under threat of losing its exclusive and lucrative medical coding contracts with the government.

Not only are the payoffs an affront to our democracy and an outright assault on our taxpayers, the timing itself of the latest release makes a mockery of this administration’s transparency promises. More than 500 of the 733 waivers, we now know, were granted in December but kept conveniently under wraps until the day after the president’s State of the Union address.  

HHS is no stranger to covering up bad news; in fact, this is becoming a disturbing pattern. Last year, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hid from Congress until after the Obamacare vote a damning report from the Medicare and Medicaid Office of the Actuary showing Obamacare would cost $311 billion more than promised and would displace 14 million Americans from their current insurance.

For this administration, transparency promises last only until the teleprompter is unplugged.

The rest of the story:

Cruel death

That poor child, God rest her soul.

Not that it makes any difference but I am curious were these folks here because of the Haitian earthquake?

Girl died of 'extreme alcohol poisoning'
By Ty Tagami - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A 4-year-old who died after rescue workers removed her from an Alpharetta apartment died of "extreme alcohol poisoning," police said Saturday.

Two Haitian nationals, the girl's father and aunt, were arrested in the incident and charged with murder and felony child cruelty, said Alpharetta police spokesman George Gordon. Their names have not been released.

Police and firefighters who responded to a call for help at Planter's Ridge condos on Homestead Trail just after midnight found the child Friday morning. The girl was airlifted to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where she was pronounced dead, said Gordon.

Formal charges are pending.

Don't be hosting the p0rn sites

You think the criminal laws here are tough?

What will happen if we allow Sharia Law to apply here?

Iran condemns two to death over porn sites -

Iranian courts on Sunday sentenced two people to death for running porn sites, prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said, quoted on the Islamic republic's official IRNA news agency. 

"Two administrators of porn sites have been sentenced to death in two different (court) branches and (the verdicts) have been sent to the supreme court for confirmation," Dolatabadi said, without naming the two convicts.

Last December, Canada expressed concern over the reported death sentence handed down to an Iranian-born Canadian resident for allegedly designing an adult website.

Saeed Malekpour, 35, was convicted of "designing and moderating adult content websites," "agitation against the regime" in Tehran, and "insulting the sanctity of Islam," according to an online campaign calling for his release.

The rest of the story:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Questionable questioning?

So religious impropriety happens overseas as well?

Why 50 questions?  Why not 49 or 51?

Karmapa asked 50 questions, denies allegations
The Times of India -

DHARAMSALA: Tibetan religious leader, the Karmapa, was asked a set of 50 questions by police on Sunday about nearly Rs.70 million worth of unaccounted foreign and Indian currency being found in his monastery. Denying all allegations, he said the money was given by devotees all over the world.

A police team, led by Una'a Additional Superintendent of Police K.G. Kapoor, reached the monastery near here to question the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who was quizzed Friday as well.

"Fifty questions were asked to the Karmapa and he denied all allegations. He said the money recovered was money given by devotees," Kapoor said. "But we are not happy with his replies and he is likely to be questioned again," he added. 

The rest of the story:

Self-inflicted death by accident

Barney Fife is everywhere.

Sorry this happened.

ATM guard shoots self by accident
The Times of India

NEW DELHI: A security guard posted outside a bank ATM died after accidentally shooting himself Saturday evening in east Delhi, police said.

Lan Je Jeen, 25, who hailed from the northeast, shot himself in the chest at Central Bank's ATM on Vikas Marg in Laxmi Nagar area.

'Around 5 p.m., a cash van arrived and he along with the other employees entered the ATM enclosure. There he accidentally shot himself,' said a police officer.

He died on way to hospital.

Harassment charges

Excitement in Hays County!

Giving "Tickle Me Elmo" a whole new meaning.

UPDATE:  Upon further reflection I believe it is the Cookie Monster and not Elmo who is depicted on the young lady's undergarment.  My apologies to Elmo.

Adult film star arrested in Hays County
By Guillermo X. Garcia - Express-News

Adult film star Janine Lindemulder, 42, was arrested Saturday outside Austin by deputy sheriffs on harassment charges, according to the Hays County Sheriff's Office.

Lindemulder, also known as Janine Marie James, is a former Penthouse magazine Pet and adult film actor who shares a child with former husband Jesse James, founder of West Coast Choppers.

She was taken into custody in the morning on three outstanding harassment warrants, each a Class B misdemeanor, a news release stated.

The rest of the story:

Hey! Fuggedaboutit already!

It sounds like an exquisitely colossal waste of time and manpower over someone playing hide the sausage.

Murder, extortion? No, Waterfront Commission probing theft of $2 dollar bottle of iced tea, sausage

On the mobbed-up docks of Bayonne, the six-month probe was known as Operation Missing Link.

Its target: A suspect who swiped a $2 bottle of iced tea and used it to wash down a stolen 50-cent piece of sausage - the lost link that left a bad taste in everybody's mouth, sources told the Daily News.

An investigation of the penny-ante heist was ordered by the Waterfront Commission, the agency charged with policing the docks for mob corruption, drug smuggling and other major crimes, the sources said.

The investigation included scores of interviews over countless hours dating to last August, sources said - even though the victim was reluctant to press charges.

"It's like Capt. Queeg and the strawberries," said New Jersey state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a harsh critic of the bistate commission.

"It's a $2.50 ongoing investigation."

One of the sources was more blunt: "The whole investigation is bull----. It's a waste of manpower, money and resources."

The rest of the story:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Simply terrible

Don't do this no matter how tempted you may become.

All kidding aside it is a tragedy; and her husband is overseas on military assignment.

Julie Schenecker Murder: Mother Shoots 2 Kids For Being 'Mouthy'
from Nowpublic and -

Tampa Police Arrested Julie Schenecker For Shooting Her Two Teenage Children. Schenecker Claims She Shot Her Two Kids Because They Were Talking Back

Julie Schenecker of Florida was arrested for shooting her two children because they talked back.
Tampa police arrested Julie Schenecker Friday on two counts of first-degree murder.

A Tampa police spokesperson told media that Julie Schenecker claims she killed her 13-year-old son Powers "Beau" Schenecke and 16-year-old daughter Calyx Powers Schenecker because "they were mouthy."

Tampa Police claim they received a call from the concerned mother of Julie Schenecker. Officers arrived on the scene to find Schenecker covered in blood.

The rest of the story:

Pinching pennies

On the flip side how many of the folks who would've gotten the coupons in their mail are glad they never got them?

Police: NY mail carrier pinched discount coupons
Express-News -

WESTBURY, N.Y. (AP) — A mail carrier on New York's Long Island is accused of pinching thousands of discount coupons intended for residents' mailboxes.

Police say 38-year-old Thomas Tang of Baldwin stole more than 7,000 J.C. Penney Co. discount coupons he was supposed to deliver to the department store's customers. Police say Tang then sold the coupons on eBay.

Tang was charged with grand larceny. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday and was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail.

Hair today gone tomorrow

Apparently the jury saw it in a different light.

Jurors return guilty verdict in hair salon embezzlement case

Her sentence could be from probation to life in prison
By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

Jurors returned two guilty verdicts Friday evening in the trial of a former hair salon manager accused of embezzling more than $1 million from her employers.

Kathleen Kavooras Pierce, 49, now faces anywhere from probation to life in prison for the theft and misapplication of fiduciary property convictions. State District Judge Ron Rangel is scheduled to decide her sentence in March.

The verdict came after more than five hours of deliberation and closing arguments in which defense attorney Tony Reyes described the locally owned Newby's Hair Styling Salon chain as a dying business that had been “dumped” on his client.

Going Old School

Drug smuggling Old School style.

I blame it all on the popularity of shows like Punkin' Chunkin'.

Maybe this will be the start of a new show called Pot Shot?

Drug smugglers use catapult to fling pot to Arizona -

TUCSON - Drug smugglers are using an ancient invention as a new way to move marijuana across the border from Mexico to Arizona.

The discovery of two catapults used to hurl marijuana from Mexico into Arizona marks the latest twist in the cat-and-mouse game drug cartels play with authorities.

U.S. National Guard troops operating a remote surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station say they observed several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the fence late last week.

A Mexican army officer says the 3-yard (3-meter) tall catapult was found about 20 yards (20 meters) from the U.S. border on a flatbed towed by a sports utility vehicle.

Just plain gross

She didn't look dead to him.


More charges filed in woman's death
WASHINGTON — An initial hearing was held Thursday in the corpse abuse case against Richard Sanden in Daviess County Superior Court.

Sanden, 55, Geneva, Ohio, was charged with eight counts in connection to the death of Rebecca Whitehead, 48, formerly of 900 S. Meridian St., Bldg. 3, Apt. 25, on Saturday.

Seven of those counts were felonies, including three counts of rape, a Class B felony. There were three more counts of criminal deviate conduct, also Class B felonies, and a Class D felony count of abuse of a corpse. Sanden was also charged with a Class A misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.

The rest of the story:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive

What a mess he caused, shutting down areas and inconviencing thousands of folks.

Not to mention the dishonor he brought to his fellow officers.

What in the world was he thinking?

LAUSD police officer admitting fabricating shooting story, source says
L.A. Now -

Authorities arrested Los Angeles school police Officer Jeff Stenroos on suspicion of filing a false police report after he allegedly admitted to fabricating a story that he had been shot last week in Woodland Hills, according to a senior LAPD official close to the investigation.

The official said investigators are still piecing together how Stenroos pulled off the alleged hoax, which sparked a dragnet that inconvenienced thousands of people after police shut down a large swath of Woodland Hills in search of the supposed gunman.

The source added that Stenroos' protective vest showed obvious signs of having been struck by a bullet, and the officer also suffered bruising on his chest. Detectives later raised questions about whether the officer shot himself accidentally and then fabricated a story or concocted the whole scenario.

The rest of the story:

Conduct unbecoming an officer

Yes, I know he was retired from military service when this ocurred.

But still......

Retired Colonel guilty in fraud
Medical commander must repay $541,773.
By Guillermo Contreras - Express-News

A retired colonel who led a major Air Force medical division pleaded guilty Thursday in a case alleging a multimillion-dollar fraud against the military.

Sidney Brandler, 71, once commanded the Air Force Medical Support Agency at Brooks City-Base, which oversees the Air Force Surgeon General's policies and medical support capabilities.

He retired in 1999 and had been under investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for months over allegations that he and contractors he did business with circumvented procurement laws to land engineering consulting and computer cabling contracts between 2002 and 2006.

The rest of the story:

Laying off teachers should be the last resort in my opinion

Hey Superintendent Middleton.

How about cutting back on non-teaching administrative positions and the like first?

How about cutting back on non-teaching essentials?  How about about you and many other administrators in NEISD take a pay cut to save teacher positions?

Instead of cutting these new teachers, many who've just started out in their careers and have student loans and young families; why not explore offering early-retirement options to some older staff?

NEISD explores cutting 500 new teachers
New and newly hired teachers would be notified in April.
By Jennifer R. Lloyd - Express-News

North East Independent School District administrators and board members discussed a last-resort option to cut expenses Thursday night — terminating about 500 “probationary” teachers after this school year.

Probationary teachers in general are those who are new to the profession or newly hired.

If North East decides to notify them in April that they will not have a job next year, it would be done in the hopes of hiring them back after the education budget is finalized by the Texas Legislature, North East Superintendent Richard Middleton said.

The rest of the story:

Boy found

Thank God he was found and he was alright.

Next item on the agenda.  Why was a three year old playing outside by himself at 8:44 at night?

Police find missing 3-year-old boy after frantic late night search
By Autumn Phillips - The Herald-Zeitung

NEW BRAUNFELS - Police on foot and a helicopter in the air were searching desperately for a 3-year-old boy named Isaac reported missing at 8:44 p.m. The boy had been playing outside near the Vista Del Sol Apartments off I-35 behind Valmark Chevrolet, said New Braunfels Police Department spokesperson Mike Penshorn.

The rest of the story:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gee what could go wrong?

Can you just imagine the nightmare of trying to run this mega-city?

Provide services and protection?  Just to start.

Just one policeman per 1,000 citizens would mean a 420,000 person police force.

China to create largest mega city in the world with 42 million people

City planners in south China have laid out an ambitious plan to merge together the nine cities that lie around the Pearl River Delta.

The "Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One" scheme will create a 16,000 sq mile urban area that is 26 times larger geographically than Greater London, or twice the size of Wales.

The new mega-city will cover a large part of China's manufacturing heartland, stretching from Guangzhou to Shenzhen and including Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Together, they account for nearly a tenth of the Chinese economy.

Over the next six years, around 150 major infrastructure projects will mesh the transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks of the nine cities together, at a cost of some 2 trillion yuan (£190 billion). An express rail line will also connect the hub with nearby Hong Kong.

The rest of the story:

Hi there, I died can you give me my insurance money please?

Okay Rule # 1 in insurance fraud; especially in life insurance fraud, is you don't try to claim the proceeds.

Nope.  Never a good idea.


'Dead man' tried to claim life insurance
By Kim Arlington- Sydney Morning-Herald

IT was April Fool's Day in 2007 when Paul Terroni supposedly drowned in the Coaque River in Pedernales, Ecuador.

Just over a year later, very much alive, he returned to Australia with a new name.

He had hoped to make a fresh start as Gabriel Alejandro Sanchez Cedeno but his old life came back to haunt him when he tried to claim $283,000 on life insurance.

The rest of the story:

Our 300,000 th reader!

Dear Readers,

Another milestone passed; over 300,000 served!

Okay, at least it my mind it is.

Thanks for reading and sharing!


Man o' Law

Taking a byte out of cyber crime

I'm proud to have played a very, very small part in the approval of the grant that purchased the hardware and got this going.

I think it'll prove to be quite beneficial.

Digital detectives use cyber tools to catch tech-savvy crooks

NEW BRAUNFELS — If Al Capone were alive today, his weapon of choice might be the Blackberry, not the Tommy gun.

Malice and crime have new digital faces, but with sophisticated new tools, computer forensics are taking a digital bite out of crime in Comal County.

The rest of the story:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Find that POS

Words just seem to fail me at times like this.

Because I don't want to cuss too much on the Internet.

Animalistic filthy thug.  Here's hoping you get caught and go to prison for a long time.  (where you can be abused by your "friends"; sorry I had to get it out)

NYC couple attacked during $18 robbery

NEW YORK (AP) – New York City police said an 81-year-old man and his wife were severely beaten during a robbery in the lobby of their apartment building.

Joseph and Linda Naimo of Staten Island had just closed up their store and had walked over to their apartment building next door when they were attacked Sunday night.

Police said Naimo’s 75-year-old wife suffered a broken nose, broken jaw and fractured skull. She was in stable but critical condition.

Naimo suffered cuts and bruises. He had celebrated his birthday earlier in the day.

The robbers got away with Naimo’s wallet, which contained $18.

Reaping the whirlwind

Hasan is ruled to have been sane at the time of the shootings.

I expect the court-martial will begin soon, with capital punishment being sought.

Hasan ruled sane; faces capital trial
By Sig Christenson - Express-News

KILLEEN — An Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people and wounding dozens more in a Fort Hood shooting spree has been ruled sane by a panel charged with deciding his fitness to face trial.

The action by the Army's “sanity board,” as the panel is called, is a key step in prosecutors' efforts to try Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan on capital murder charges here. It clears the way for military authorities to call a trial.

A source familiar with the case said the board ruled he was sane when examined. Retired Army Col. John Galligan, a veteran military lawyer representing Hasan, didn't confirm the board's decision but hinted it went against his client.

The rest of the story:

Getting booked and fllying high. Smile for the camera.

A disturbing number, but hardly surprising when you think about it.

Why do you think most of these folks are getting arrested?

For acting like a fool.  Be it DWI/DUI, thefts, burglaries, assaults and the like.

It'd be interesting to see a statistical breakout of the crime vs drugs on-board at the time of booking wouldn't it?

Why it may even help justify the war on drugs.

Study: 70% of inmates are on drugs at booking

Federal study at Hennepin County jail found drugs, most often marijuana, in 70% of arrestees.
By DAVID CHANEN, Star Tribune

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) Seven in 10 inmates booked into the bustling Hennepin County jail on any given day last year had illegal drugs in their system, though most of them had had some kind of treatment.

This unique snapshot of drug use by inmates before their arrest comes from an annual federal study that includes the county and nine other jail sites across the country. It involves randomly selected inmates who take part voluntarily, giving information about their drug habits, criminal activity and housing and job status, and providing a urine sample within 48 hours of being booked.

Substance abuse by arrestees at the Hennepin County jail in Minneapolis was over 70 percent in 2010, a 10 percentage-point increase from 2009. The drug most commonly found was marijuana, in about half of those tested, followed by cocaine, in nearly one-fifth.

The rest of the story:

A new website

Dear Readers,

There's a new website which I think is pretty notable and is extremely well-executed IMHO.

Its called the Daily Prosecutor and as you can guess is dedicated to crime news and news about prosecutors and their offices around the country.  There are links to blogs and forums as well.

I have linked to it in my "Other Blogs I Peruse" section on the lower right of this site.  It will give you the headline of the day and take you to their site.

You can also get there from here. Daily Prosecutor

Make sure you bookmark the site.


Man o' Law

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Paying the Piper now

Or reaping what he sowed.

12 years is a pretty good lick for this type of criome I think.

S.A. executive handed 12 years for customer swindle
By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

The president of a failed San Antonio home remodeling business was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday after prosecutors pointed out he still owes more than $500,000 to customers who say they were ripped off.

Robert Alan Kunz, 44, was president and partial owner of King Custom Remodelers, Inc., when it went out of business in 2003.

“Our house is still a patchwork of dangling wires and unfinished stuff,” homeowner Andrew Hart testified during the punishment hearing, pointing out that he hasn't been refunded any of the $160,000 Kunz has owed him since failing to complete the project eight years ago.

The rest of the story:

Don't mess with the "S", the IRS!

There's probably some pretty nervous folks out there this morning waiting for the knock on their door.

Local employment firms accused in $66 Million tax fraud
By Guillermo Contreras - Express-News

An employee leasing services executive was arrested Monday in one of San Antonio's largest-ever tax fraud cases, accused of keeping $66 million in payroll taxes that should have gone to the IRS.

Patrick G. Mire, 48, was charged in an ongoing investigation that has already produced a 29-count federal indictment unsealed Monday.

He is charged with two counts of mail fraud conspiracy, 23 counts of mail fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and three counts of money laundering. He faces up to 20 years in prison on several of the charges.

The rest of the story:

Bad things tend to run in threes

The news that tends to fly under the radar because none of these folks were members of Congress, Judges or just plain VIP's.

Nevertheless, just as important and needed to be protected too.

Three people shot, one seriously injured
By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

Three people were shot Monday night, including a minor, but few details were available on the incident early in the investigation.

The shooting occurred around 9:15 p.m. in the 600 block of Morningview on the city's East Side.

Two men and a child were outside a house when a gunman approached and started firing. The victims told police they didn't know why the person was shooting.

The rest of the story:

Conduct unbecoming

Did she ever stop to think how improper it was?

What, if anything, on Earth was she thinking?

Teacher arrested for improperly touching student
By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

A Northside Independent School District middle school math teacher was arrested Monday after a 13-year-old student accused the woman of improper conduct.

Nora Martinez, 30, was charged with indecency with a child and improper relationship between educator and student, according to county records. Her bail was set at $60,000, and late Monday she was waiting to be booked into Bexar County Jail.

NISD spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said district police arrested the 8th-grade Stevenson Middle School teacher around 11 a.m. after she was questioned by district employees and police about the allegations made by the student just hours earlier.

The rest of the story:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Love for sale

Not a good thing.

Hard to get rid of apparently.

Trafficking of Chinese women on the rise

By Zhang Yan and He Dan - China Daily

BEIJING - The number of Chinese women trafficked overseas and forced into prostitution has risen amid an increasing presence of international crime groups, a senior police officer said.

The women, mostly from poor rural areas, were trafficked mainly for forced marriage or forced prostitution, Chen Shiqu, director of the anti-human trafficking office under the Ministry of Public Security, said.

Forced marriages in poor areas of Southwest China's Yunnan and Guizhou provinces were behind most of the trafficking, he said.

More Madness

I'm glad no police officers were killed.

I hope they recover fully.

Four police shot in Detroit precinct, gunman killed


It was just before 4:30 p.m. Sunday when the gunman came into the police station and started shooting.

A female sergeant in a hallway was hit first. Commander Brian Davis raced out of his office, exchanged fire with the gunman and got shot in the back.

Then the gunman rushed the horseshoe-shaped front desk with his pistol grip shotgun. Sgt. Ray Saati and Officer David Anderson also were shot before the gunman was killed.

The rest of the story:

Get your tickets, get your red-hot tickets right here!

Ahh, the joys of becoming a more industrialized, capitalistic economy and society.

China cracks down on online ticket scalpers
Xinhua -

BEIJING - China's railway police have detained 618 people for scalping train tickets over the Internet, amid a crackdown on online ticket scalping, the Ministry of Railways said Monday.

The 618 were involved in 565 scalping cases, with 160 being detained by Beijing railway police.
Computer experts were deployed to collect, classify and analyze online ticket scalping information.

Various websites were urged to post slogans - such as "Ticket Scalping is Forbidden" and "Avoiding Being Cheated" - in conspicuous positions on webpages.

Ex-jailer under investigation

If this was unwarranted then she should face charges.

Wearing a badge does not give you a free license to assault folks, even prisoners.

Ex-Bexar County Jailer faces FBI Investigation
By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

A female Bexar County Jail guard fired for excessive use of force is now the subject of a federal inquiry following allegations that she beat two inmates, resulting in surgery for one of the men, authorities confirmed.

Nicole Bratcher, 38, was dismissed on Oct. 14. A Sheriff's Office internal affairs investigation launched months earlier concluded she used excessive force against inmate Johnny Davis when escorting him to a medical unit, Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz said in a recent interview.

The 11-year-veteran was fired as a result of the Davis investigation, but the Sheriff's Office is also investigating allegations made by inmate Shawn Gortman, 22, who was jailed around the same time as Davis, Ortiz said.

The rest of the story:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dr. Pot

How much do you want to bet that his defense will be he grew it for some of his patients for the treatment of glaucoma?

Optometrist and his son face pot charges
By Guillermo X. Garcia - Express-News

An optometrist and his son were arrested and charged with possession of hydroponically-grown marijuana, authorities said.

Jeffrey Elkins, 40, and his son Austin Elkins, 17, were detained Friday at their North Side home in the 24000 block of Terlingua Bend by Bexar County deputies.

The elder Elkins, who operates a downtown corneal and eye laser surgery clinic, posted $2,000 bail on charges of possessing 4 ounces of the potent pot — grown without soil in an inert medium and with an oxygenated nutrient solution delivered to the plant's roots to increase its potency.

The rest of the story:

In our thoughts and prayers

Jesus Christ!  This is getting old.  Its sickening to have to read, nearly every weekend, reports from the drunken carnage on the highways in and around San Antonio.

This fine young man, three years on the force, who survived combat in Iraq, continued in his service to his country and community, only to lose his leg to a drunken driver.

I hope this officer recovers fully, and can return to duty in some capacity if he so chooses.

As for the drunken driver, I'd prefer to have him go away for as long as possible.

Officer's leg severed
By Guillermo X. Garcia - Express-News

A San Antonio policeman's leg was severed when he stopped to help two stranded motorists early Saturday and was hit by a drunken-driving suspect.

The impact flipped him over a guardrail along Interstate 35 near the southwest edge of downtown. As he dangled from the elevated freeway, the motorists grabbed him by the belt, saving him from plummeting 35 feet.

Officer Michael Thornton, an Iraq combat veteran three years into his police career, was standing behind the trunk of his patrol car pulling out emergency flares when he was rear-ended by a Dodge Ram truck.

The rest of the story:

Play money

I guess the folks who did this might figure since its "only" a fake $10 bill no one will 1. Catch it or 2. really care.

No. 3:  They are wrong.

Business out $10 after fraudulent bill found
NEW BRAUNFELS — Someone is trying to slip under the counterfeit radar, and a New Braunfels business suffered for it this week.

A customer spent a fake $10 bill at Sac N Pac in the 200 block of Loop 337 sometime Wednesday or Thursday, according to New Braunfels Police Department reports.

The rest of the story:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

No fart jokes please

Gas doesn't kill people.

People kill people.

Police: Fatal stabbing blamed on fart jokes

A Connecticut man is being held on murder and assault charges after allegedly stabbing four people, one fatally, because partygoers were making fun of his flatulence. 

Police say Marc Higgins, 21, left a party Saturday and returned with three knives, stabbing people indiscriminately, according to court documents released on Tuesday.

The Hartford Courant, quoting those documents, reported that Higgins told police he was angry at being derided and wanted to teach people that they shouldn’t trifle with him.

Higgins appeared in court on Tuesday. He is charged with murder, assault and carrying a dangerous weapon and was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bond.

Twenty-one-year-old Matthew Walton died of his injuries. The wounds suffered by the other three victims were not life threatening.

"I didn't know what happened," David Klett, one of those injured, told the Bristol Press. "Then I saw the blood. I jumped off the porch and ran to the hospital. It was scary… I was just in the wrong place in the wrong time."

Airline passenger behaving badly

Yes, I know its hard to believe someone might behave badly on an airplane.

I hope TSA doesn't make us all fly barefoot from now on because this guy kicked the drink-cart over.

JFK flier goes nuts
By Phillip Messing and Vinita Singla - NY Post

A passenger went berserk aboard a JFK-bound flight yesterday after he found his path to the bathroom blocked by a beverage cart -- kicking it over and punching a flight attendant in the stomach, sources told The Post.

Michael Isabelle, of Framingham, Mass., allegedly started the ruckus at around 6 a.m. aboard American Airlines Flight 256 from Rio de Janeiro.

Isabelle, 63, kicked the cart until it toppled over and flight attendant Carlos Carrico grabbed his arm, the sources said. Isabelle -- who identifies himself as a Vietnam vet on his Facebook profile -- then allegedly slugged Carrico, 48, twice.

Carrico, another flight attendant and a passenger wrestled him to the ground and placed plastic cuffs on him.

After the plane landed, Isabelle was taken into custody by Port Authority cops and brought to Jamaica Hospital for a psych evaluation.

Carrico declined to file a criminal report.

Preist behaving badly

I am sure the Archdiocese is relieved this part is done.

Let the healing begin for the boy and his famy.

The Priest however, is just about to begin his journey through the criminal justice system; i.e. render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

Archdiocese settles suit for $946,000
By Abe Levy - Express-News

Local Catholic officials announced Friday that they have settled a lawsuit for $946,000 against a now-fired priest accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy, at times by gunpoint, in hotel rooms and during catechism classes.

Father John M. Fiala, 52, was sued by the youth last spring and since has been arrested twice on criminal charges.

Last year, he was indicted on six counts of sexually assaulting the teen in Edwards and Howard counties. And last November, Dallas-area police arrested him on a charge of attempting to hire a hit man to kill the youth, now 19.Fiala remains jailed in Dallas County.

The rest of the story:

Bad things come in threes

You know the old saying, "bad things come in threes"?

Well here, first, the DA, then the Judge, now a probation officer did bad things.

Let's not lose sight that it's a black eye for those involved not for the other employees of the district.

That being said however, I am sure steps are being taken to make sure this scenario doesn't reoccur.

Hill Country judicial district on a run of bad conduct
By Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

KERRVILLE — Employees in the 198th Judicial District hope there's truth in the old adage that bad things come in threes.

For the third time in just more than a year, a former official with the Hill Country district is facing corruption charges.

Tanna Mozel Tyler Hurt was indicted Monday on one charge of theft by a public servant, five charges of tampering with a government record and 29 forgery charges, adding to a streak that has shocked and embarrassed its current workers.

The rest of the story:

Apparently having not learned her lesson may cause future problems

Five years in prison is not a long time when you consider that there was a death, no finding of a deadly weapon and that she admitted to drinking and driving 5 times after the death of her husband while on bond and waiting to go to trial for intoxication manslaughter.

The impact of the no finding of a deadly weapon means she will not have to serve 1/2 of the assessed punishment day for day before she's eligible for parole.  She could be paroled, with credit for any time served, say in about 18 months give or take.

She obviously hasn't learned anything.  The death of her husband because she was driving drunk didn't stop her from driving while drunk while out on bond awaiting trial.  She won't learn any coping skills in prison to handle her boozing.

I'm afraid when she gets out she'll be doing it again.  Don't bet she won't.

Widow gets prison for deadly DWI wreck
By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

A San Antonio woman who killed her husband in a drunken-driving wreck within months of their wedding was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.

Nadia Rahina Maharaj, 31, pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter earlier this week but asked a jury to determine her sentence instead of state District Judge Sid Harle. She had faced up to 20 years in prison but her attorneys asked for probation, pointing out that losing husband Louis Sifuentes Jr. has already destroyed her.

Although jurors rejected the probation request, they did give Maharaj a slight victory — deciding that her car should not be considered a deadly weapon. Without such a finding, she might not have to wait until half of her sentence is served before becoming eligible for parole.

The rest of the story:

Friday, January 21, 2011

WTF!!! Reading, writing and sex acts??

You've got to be kidding me!

Oakland 2nd graders reportedly engaging in sex acts, teacher suspended
CBS News -

OAKLAND (CBS 5) — A teacher at Oakland’s Markham Elementary School has been suspended indefinitely after school officials said a pair of second-graders performed sex acts on each other in class – with the teacher present.

“I think everyone is taken aback over this shocking incident,” Troy Flint, the spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, told CBS 5 on Thursday. “Of course, it is hard to understand how that could have occurred.”

Flint said the sex acts incident was one of two separate cases under investigation involving the teacher; both incidents occurred last week in the same classroom but he said they didn’t come to the attention of school officials until Wednesday.

In one case, several students apparently took off their clothes and were naked in the classroom. In the second incident, a boy and girl reportedly engaged in oral sex in front of their classmates.

Flint indicated that the suspended teacher, whose name was not released by the school district, was present for both of the incidents.

Flint and Markham principal Pam Booker said they were limited in terms of the details they could release at this time because of the ongoing investigation into the matter.

Booker noted that the students said to be involved in the incidents were interviewed by school leaders.

In a letter sent to parents of Markham students on Thursday, Booker offered an apology by telling them that the incidents “represent an unacceptable lack of supervision. I understand there is great anger over this news.”

Good bye see you at least 22 1/2 years from now

Forty-Five years for hacking someone to death?

Perhaps there were some compelling reason, that I am unaware of, to give that as punishment rather than a life-sentence for so heinous a crime.

At least he has to do a mandatory 22 1/2 years before he's eligible to be paroled.

Machete murderer handed 45 years
Drifter avoids a life sentence
By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

Jurors sentenced Thomas Ahrens, a drifter who hacked a San Antonio man to death with a machete he bought at Walmart, to 45 years in prison Thursday.

Ahrens, 36, looked away, appearing annoyed, as family members of his victim, Christopher Duncan, addressed him during victim impact statements that followed the verdict.

“You have hurt more than just my family — you have taken the love of my life away,” Duncan's partner, Jason Woodward, told Ahrens. “My heart is shattered.”

The rest of the story:

I'd vote for more secure voting

I'm sorry but I just have never understood why folks are against voter ID.

I mean you have to show more ID when you go to get a driver's license or cash a check at a bank than you do to vote.

Also why is this considered a partisan issue?  Shouldn't all parties and independants want make sure that voters are who they say they are?

I mean really?  Wouldn't you rather try to make sure there is less voter fraud than more?

Senate is set to ponder voter IDs
Partisan issue to be brought up Monday
By Gary Scharrer - Express-News

Senators will meet Monday to begin considering a voter identification bill — a move sure to start this legislative session with a fierce partisan debate.

The voter ID bill was one of two items declared an emergency Thursday by GOP Gov. Rick Perry, prompting some Democratic leaders in the Texas House to say only the budget should get priority status and they will urge their members not to support a plan next week allowing early debate on bills he has identified as emergencies.

Late Thursday, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst notified senators that he would bring up voter ID on Monday, with Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, presiding over the Senate meeting as a committee of the whole. By doing so, it will allow the Senate to accelerate the process.

The rest of the story:

Prohibited by law from running

A tough pill to swallow for Mr. Hartfield I am sure.

Criminal past likely will bar candidate
District 2 hopeful was convicted of third-degree felony
By Josh Baugh - Express-News

Curtis Wayne “Tank” Hartfield has been mounting a campaign to take on District 2 City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, but it appears his criminal past will keep him from challenging the incumbent in the May election.

In 1995, Hartfield was convicted of passing a forged check, a third-degree felony. For his crime, he served time in the Texas prison system — a point he doesn't dispute.

Under state law, a felony conviction disqualifies a person from running for elected office.

The rest of the story:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Busting the Mob

This'll ruin any mobster's day won't it?


Exclusive: FBI Rounding Up 100 Mobsters in Biggest Mafia Bust in NY History

Charges range from gambling to racketeering to murder

The FBI calls it the biggest mafia round-up in New York history. More than 100 suspected mobsters are being arrested this morning in connection with numerous federal investigations into New York area mob groups.

FBI agents along with NYPD and State Police officers, and US Marshals were conducting raids that began in the early morning hours.  Federal charges are expected to range from gambling to racketeering to murder. 

Law-enforcement officials said members and associates of all five New York mafia families - as well as New Jersey's DeCavalcante family - are among those being arrested.

The arrest operations stretch across the tri-state area with many of the suspects being processed in BrooklynUS Attorney Loretta Lynch is expected to announce details of the federal charges later Thursday.

One question....why?

Holy Smokes!!  That is a bundle of moolah she embezzled isn't it?

Will she be hit by the IRS for failing to disclose the "income" as well?

Embezzlement suspect stood to inherit salon
By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

After more than two decades of working her way up at a Newby's Hair Styling Salon, former receptionist Kathleen Kavooras Pierce had been set to inherit control of the popular local franchise when its owners considered retirement 10 years ago.

Instead, prosecutors said Wednesday as her felony trial began, she opted to embezzle roughly $1 million from the business over four years.

If found guilty of the misapplication by a fiduciary charge, Pierce, 49, could face up to life in prison.

The rest of the story:

Under seige

More troubles for Judge Sharon Keller?

I don't think so as this has all been looked at in the recent past.

Rights group wants judge's law license yanked
By Guillermo Contreras  - Express-News

A civil rights group is asking the state to revoke the law license of a judge who has been a lightning rod in debates over the death penalty.

The Austin-based Texas Civil Rights Project filed a grievance Wednesday with the State Bar of Texas against Justice Sharon Keller, the presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, saying she is unfit to retain her license to practice law. Records show Keller has been licensed since graduating from SMU's law school in 1978.

The rest of the story:

New Chief in Garden Ridge

Congratulations Chief O'Conner!!

O'Conner sworn in as Garden Ridge PD Chief
NEW BRAUNFELS - It's a new year and a new chief at the Garden Ridge Police Department. And with her comes a new leaf. Sworn in on Jan. 1, Donna O'Conner is the first female police chief in the city of Garden Ridge, and the only one at this time in Comal County.

O'Conner was one of three daughters born to a Presbyterian minister and his wife, and it was instilled early on that there was no such thing as "can't."

The rest of the story:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

This reminds me of a story that actually occurred to me back when I was a geologist.  The company I worked for, Marathon Oil Company, had several different training courses for geologists to show us real world depositional environments and their ancient analogues.

This was to help us be better petroleum geologists.  In 1981 I was sent on the Carbonate course which in its first part, we traveled to and flew around the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.  (Yes, I know, it was very tough work, but someone had to do it)

Anyway, I collected 5 or so pounds of a very fine, pure white carbonate sand, called oolitic sand in a clear plastic bag.  The next day my roommates and I left our room, which was full of cameras and stuff, and the clear bag of sand which I left in my back pack.  We returned later that evening to find the door unlocked, no equipment or money missing; but the bag of oolitic sand was stolen out of my back pack!

I always swore that someone, somewhere, had stalactites growing out of their nose.

Burglars snort man's ashes, thought it was cocaine

MIAMI -(Reuters) - Burglars snorted the cremated remains of a man and two dogs in the mistaken belief that they had stolen illegal drugs, Florida sheriff's deputies said on Wednesday.

The ashes were taken from a woman's home in the central Florida town of Silver Springs Shores on December 15. The thieves took an urn containing the ashes of her father and another container with the ashes of her two Great Danes, along with electronic equipment and jewelry, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators learned what happened to the ashes after they arrested five teens in connection with another burglary attempt at a nearby home last week.

"The suspects mistook the ashes for either cocaine or heroin. It was soon discovered that the suspects snorted some of the ashes believing they were snorting cocaine," the sheriff's report said.

Once they realized their error, the suspects discussed returning the remaining ashes but threw them in a lake instead because they thought their fingerprints were on the containers, sheriff's spokesman Judge Cochran said.

Police divers were trying to recover the ashes. The suspects were jailed on numerous burglary and other charges.