Sunday, December 31, 2006


Last July, LASO Deputy James Mee arrested Lethal Weapon star Mel Glibson in Malibu for drunk driving. During this incident, as reported in the initial arrest report, Gibson ranted against Jews. Mee's supervisors ordered him to rewrite the report and to delete Gibson's anti-Semitic outburst. However, LASO could not cover up Gibson's conduct because, a well known celebrity news Web site, had received and published a copy of the initial report, thereby letting the genie out of the bottle.

Gibson is a personal friend of LA Sheriff Lee Baca and has helped Baca raise money for LASO charities. Gibson has also made a number of public service commercials for LASO and has been a strong supporter of law enforcement. So, LASO had several good reasons to protect Gibson's reputation and to keep him from receiving any bad publicity.

On Auguts 5, I made the following remarks in my blog on Gibson's arrest. "Whoever provided TMZ with copies of the initial arrest report will be up to his ears in deep shit if LASO manages to find out who did it. You can bet that the investigation of that leak will be far more intense than the investigation of the whole Gibson affair." And, that is exactly what has happened.

According to his attorney, Mee has been harassed by LASO officials ever since Gibson's arrest. He was abruptly transferred from Malibu, home to the rich and famous, and exiled to the Agoura Hills station. His attorney alleges that Mee continues to be unfairly singled out for scrutiny by LASO supervisors. Last October, Mee was interrogated at length because LASO believes he provided TMZ with Gibson's initial arrest report. Mee insists that he is not the source of the leak to TMZ.

Mee's treatment sends a strong message to LASO deputies - DON'T FUCK WITH SHERIFF BACA'S FRIENDS. Baca was notified immediately of Gibson's arrest, but no one has said that he personally wanted the intitial report changed. It may be that Mee's supervisors, knowing of Gibson's friendship with Baca, took it upon themselves to cover up the details of Mad Max's arrest. What about the continuing harassment of Mee? I do not believe Baca is personally responsible for that. Suckass supervisors are probably behind that, trying to score points with the boss.

Would there have been any reaction by LASO, had a report on the arrest of Joe Sixpack been leaked to TMZ? I seriously doubt it. Poor Deputy Mee - he is really fucked. Once you get on a law enforcement agency's shit list, your career is all but over and your supervisors will make life miserable for you from then on out. Their aim is to drive you off the force. The whole Gibson affair and Mee's harassment both stink. It does not reflect well on LASO, and it does not reflect well on all of law enforcement.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Car 54, where are you? Officers Muldoon and Toody, your new assignment is to bust the armed and infamous. Starting January 10, CBS Television will be airing ARMED AND FAMOUS, a new reality series featuring celebrities serving as police officers in Muncie, Indiana. The cast includes Erik Estrada from the '70s cop show ChiPs, La Toya Jackson, the 2005 Super Bowl bare-breast stripper, and Jason "Wee Man" Acuna from the MTV show Jackass.

Shame on the City of Muncie and the State of Indiana for participating in a television show which will result in the degradation of the police profession. This show will lead its viewers to believe that any jerk can be a cop. Sorry, but it takes a special type of person to be a good police officer and that excludes Michael Jackson's sister and "Wee Man," who is afflicted with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Say what - a dwarf as a police officer? Why not Snow White? CBS advertises Armed and Famous as a reality show in which "Real Celebrities Become Real Cops" - bullshit, that's false advertisement.

Muncie must be really hard up for money. Joe Winkle, the police chief, believes the advertisement Muncie will receive every week will be invaluable. The law breakers who were handled by the celebrity cops have been paid a sum of money for their permission to be seen on television. There are already charges that the police coerced some of those law breakers into agreeing to be shown with these phony cops.

The celebrity cops were not permitted to participate in felony cases and they were always accompanied and supervised by veteran officers. The State of Indiana requires that before anyone can be vested with any police powers, they must have successfully completed a minimum of 40 hours of instruction in a pre-basic training course. Besides some firearms training, the only other training the celebrities participated in, as far as I was able to ascertain, was a phjysical fitness and agility program.

Where was the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board when all this nonsense was going on? That state agency is charged with the responsibility of enforcing Indiana's peace officers standards and training laws. Where were the Indiana police chiefs' association and other law enforcement groups in that state? And where was the International Asociation of Chiefs of Police? Tlhese groups should have pressured the City of Muncie not to participate in this embarrassing venture.

CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? was a farcical cop comedy which ran on television from 1961 to 1963. It featured two stumblebum cops, Muldoon and Toody, who screwed up every assignmetnt they were given. Most cops were furious with that comedy, seeing it as a humiliation of the police. Several California law enforcement groups publicly protested their displeasure to the show's producers and to NBC television.

I thought Car 54 was funny as hell and enjoyed every moment of it. I told my fellow officers to lighten up and keep from taking themselves so seriously. I've always believed that cops would feel better about themselves and their jobs if they could laugh at themselves once in a while. I felt that Muldoon and Toody were so farcical that no one in their right mind could possibly believe cops were that dumb.

When it comes to Armed and Famous, I cannot bring myself to say anything good about that "reality" show. It will be an awful embarrassment to law enforcement. This is not a comedy. It will end up humiliating cops everywhere in this country, not just in Indiana. A more appropriate title would be ARMED AND INFAMOUS. MTV is not the only network with jackasses. Car 54, where are you?

Friday, December 29, 2006


Mike Tyson, former world heavyweight boxing champion, was arrested yesterday during a traffic stop in Scotsdale, Arizona. Tyson was in possession of several bags containing a white powder which he said was cocaine. He told the arresting officer that he used cocaine whenever he could get it. Tyson was charged with felony possession of drugs and released on his own recognizance.

How far the mighty have fallen. In the eighties, Tyson was a devastating puncher who destroyed all of his opponents in short order. Now he is just a pityful shell of his former self. Tyson reminds me of Sonny Liston, another devastating heavyweight champion. Liston lost his title to a young Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) while under the influence of heroin.

During my years in the fight game, I was personally acquainted with several champions - Rocky Graziano, Rocky Marciano, and Carmen Basilio among others - and a number of title contenders - Billy Graham, Tony Pellone, and Buddy Garcia among others. Graziano and Garcia, and their families, were close personal friends of mine. None of these great fighters ever fell from grace.

Why did Liston and Tyson crash while Graziano and Basilio did not? In my opinion, it all came down to family support. Liston, Tyson, and Graziano grew up in poverty on the mean streets. Boxing gave them the opportunity to rise above it all. Graziano and Basilio were blessed with good marriages. Liston and Tyson had a history of troubled marriages. Absent of family support, Liston and Tyson turned to drugs.

While I never cared much for Mike Tyson, I am truly saddened by his downfall. He had it all - fame and fortune. Now his fortune is all but gone and his fame has turned into infamy. Tyson, an ex-convict, won the most prestigious championship in professional sports before going into a tailspin toward drug addiction. How far the mighty have fallen - what a sad state of affairs.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Marijuana has always been recognized as a "gateway drug" because the users of methamphetamines, cocaine, and heroin almost always began their initial use of drugs by smoking pot. That is why marijuana is not the benign drug its advocates would have you believe. Those who use "recreational drugs" do so for their pleasure producing qualities. Sooner or later, the use of a drug, such as marijuana, becomes prosaic, thus leading its users to seek out stronger pleasure producing substances. Hence, the graduation from pot to meth, coke, heroin, or multiple drug use.

Until the 1970s, in most states, mere possession of marijuana constituted a felony. Marijuana became a major "drug of choice" during the anti-Vietnam War movement and, for political purposes, the penalties for the use, possession, or small sales of this drug evolved from felonies to misdemeanors. Politicians don't want NICE KIDS FROM GOOD FAMILIES to be sent to prison and/or to have a criminal record for smoking pot..

Advocacy groups, such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), have long pushed for the legalization of marijuana. NORML was originally bankrolled by Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame. Hefner, that paragon of virtue with his multiple sex partners, believed in the cultural revolution slogan of IF IT FEELS GOOD, DO IT! His counter culture mindset compelled him to advocate the legalization of recreational drugs, especially marijuana.

NORML takes credit for the decriminalization of marijuana by several states. and for the legalization of medicinal marijuana use in eleven states. NORML and other groups, like the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), debunk the "gateway" concept by using the ridiculous analogy of milk, the first ingestion by the newborn, being the true gateway substance which leads to the use of food, alcohol, tobacco, etc..The leniency shown to pot users could be coming to an end. Alaska and several other states which have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana are considering reversing their position.

Since 1975, Alaska has had the most liberal marijuana laws of all the states. Because the state's highest court ruled that the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana was a privacy right, possession of up to four ounces has been legal. However, the governor thinks that was then and this is now. Now there are much more potent types of pot and he believes that makes marijuana a truly dangerous drug. The governor has sent a bill to the Alaska legislature, which if enacted will recriminalize the possession of pot.

As for medical marijuana, is it science or science fiction? Medical authorities disagree about whether or not this drug really relieves the suffering of patients afflicted with glaucoma, cancer and AIDS. There is no scientific proof that marijuana has any medicinal value. NORML, MPP, and other pot proponents have done a good job of conning some members of the medical profession and some legislators into believing that marijuana is some kind of miracle drug. However, last April, the Food and Drug Administration declared marijuana has no medical value, thereby contradicting a 1999 review by the Institute of Medicine.

A recent study by Jon Gettman, a researcher from Virginia, claims that marijuana has become this nation's biggest cash crop, exceeding the value of corn and wheat combined. It is by far the biggest cash crop in California, and according to Gettman, it is among the top three cash crops in 30 states. Those who are calling for the legalization of marijana have jumped on this study by claiming that the federal government is losing billions of dollars anually in tax revenues by its prohibition against the cultivation and possession of pot.

When I was a California narcotics parole agent, I dealt with hundreds of heroin addicts. Despite all of the hassles and incarcerations, they continued to use heroin because they really liked the great feeling it gave them. I have yet to meet a heroin, cocaine, or meth user who did not smoke pot before graduating to the use of more dangerous drugs. That is why I am convinced that marijuana is far from benign, and that this gateway drug is actually the MOST DANGEROUS OF THE ILLICIT DRUGS.

Marijuana should not be legalized. The medicinal use of marijuana should be outlawed. The states which have decriminalized marijuana should recriminalize the use and possession of pot. Those convicted for possessing small amounts of pot should be made to serve a minimum of 30 days in a juvenile or adult detention facility. Will that fill up our jails and cost us a lot of money? Yes, but in the long run it will lead to a significant reduction in the use of pot and other drugs. A little jail therapy will go a long way to negate the pleasure producing qualities of pot.


Sunday, December 24, 2006


Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution lists the Qualifications for the Office of President. Our President must be a "natural born citizen" of this country, at least 35 years old, and a resodemt in this country for 14 years. The "natural born" provision prevents me, Henry Kissinger, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and any other naturalized citizen from running for the highest office in the land. It is high time to eliminate the provision that requires our President to be born in the United States.

As for myself, I probably couldn't get elected dog catcher. Henry Kissinger, a great statesman and national security expert, is so controversial that, had he chosen to run for President at a younger age, he probably wouldn't have been elected. Gov. Schwarzenegger would have a hard time getting elected President with the womanizer baggage he carries. However, there are many notable naturalized citizens who have lived in this country for many years and who would, if qualified to run, be outstanding canditates for the Office of President.

At the time our Constitution was adopted, there may have been good reasons to require that our President be born in this country, but this is the 21st century. We are a nation of immigrants. Immigrants have made many outstanding contributions in the fields of science, medicine, industry, economy, education, military service, and public service, It does not speak well of us as a nation that these good citizens cannot seek the Office of President.

Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution should be amended to eliminate the "natural born citizen" provision. A well qulified natrualized citizen who has lived in this country for at least 14 years should not be barred from seeking this nation's highest office. Let the people decide whether or not they want to elect an immigrant President should one chose to run for that office.

The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of our nation's armed services. Many of our military leaders have been elected President. George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower are just a few of those who come to mind. John F. Kennedy and George H. W. Bush almost lost their lives in combat. On the other hand Bill Clinton was a draft dodger, while our current President has a dubious record of service in the National Guard.

The President ought to have some first-hand experience with our military because he is the Commander in Chief. Article II, Section 1 should also be amended to require that the President must have served honorably for four years in one of the branches of our armed services. I am not suggesting that a Presidential candidate have combat experience, only that he will have served honorably with our armed forces, either in a time of peace or a time of war.

I doubt whether I will live to see the day our Constitution is ammended so that a naturalized citizen can become President and so that the Commander in Chief will have served in the military before assuming that office. These amendments will ensure that every qualified citizen will have the opportunity to be elected President, regardless of where he or she was born, and that the Commander in Chief will have had some first-hand military experience.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


With kids facing the prospect of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and teenage preganancy, it's tough to do a good job of parenting nowadays. How does one instill the right values in one's children? How does one discipline one's children? To use or not to use corporal punishment? To be strict or permissive? What kind of example do parents set for their children? How can parents who drink keep their kids from drinking? How can parents with a history of drug use keep their kids from using drugs? How can parents keep their kids from succumbing to pervasive peer pressure? If you agree that parenting is hard, wait until you see how tough it is to be a cop's kid.

My late father was a really great guy and he loved me and my sister very much. Having served in the Kaiser's army during WWI, he was very authoritarian. Add to that his teutonic temper and I was the recipient of many an "ohrfeige." (die ohrfeige - literally a box on the ear, figuretively a slap inthe face.) At the slightest provocation, and subconsciously I may have wanted to provoke him, whap - a painful ohrfeige.

I remember one incident because it was really funny. I think I was eight or nine years old at the time, when my parents and I arrived on the platform of a German train station just as the train we were supposed to take somewhere was pulling out. I don't know what possessed my father to run after the train and then, out of utter frustration, throw his suitcase at the dissapearing train. When he got back to my mother and me, I couldn't help but laugh and whap - another ohrfeige.

I suppose by today's standards, my father would have been called a "child abuser," but that was the German way of discipline at the time. While I didn't enjoy those painful slaps, I never thought that I was being abused. I was being disciplined. For languishing in the Boy Scouts at the tenderfoot rank, I received an ohrfeige with the result that, at the time, I became my hometown's youngest ever Eagle Scout. I graduated from high school, started college, enlisted in the army on my 17th birthday, finished college, became a law enforcement officer, and ended my career as a criminal justice professor, all thanks to my father's motivating ohrfeige.

I believe in corporal punishment. Unlike my father, I never used an ohrfeige or spanked my children while I was still angry. It was, "Go to your room and wait until I come to give you some licks." Now, your childless child psychologists, and all those who are opposed to corporal punishment, claim that by spanking children you teach them that violence is the way to resolve conflicts. What a crock of shit! I suppose that had I become a murderer, the anti-corporal punishment crowd would have said it was because I suffered from an abusive childhood.

When I was in high school, I enjoyed boxing and I was on a boxing team in the army. The childless child psychologist will say, "Aha, see you chose a violent sport because you were subjected to corporal punishment." No, I boxed because I was too small for football or basketball, and I couldn't hit the side of a barn with a baseball bat. I enlisted in the army, not to shoot or bayonet people, but because I thought it was my patriotic duty to fight for my adopted country. And I didn't become a law enforcement officer to kick the shit out of people - I wanted a challenging job with some excitement to it.

Kids have it tough too, what with trying to fit in with their peers while confronting the temptations and pervasive peer pressure among teenagers in today's society. And, it's especially tough to be a cop's kid. Teenagers do not have a high opinion of cops because the police regulate human behavior, and that includes their misbehavior. So when a kid tells another kid, "My father (or mother) is a police officer," that statement is often met with a sneer and a response of, "Oh, your old man (or old lady) is a cop?" So, what do many cops' kids do? They turn to misbehavior - drinking, smoking pot, sexual promiscuity, vandalism - as a way of gaining the acceptance of their peers.

At home, it's really tough to be a cop's kid. The nature of the police officer's job is authoritative and that carries over into the home. If you are a cop's kid, you don't dare to question your parent's wishes or commands. Police officers deal with the dregs of society and their victims on a daily basis. As a result, they get a warped view of people in general, and the fear for the safety of their children borders on the verge of paranoia. They become overprotective and resort to the strictest discipline. They do not give their children any space. A retired police officer friend told me recently that his son once said, "Dad, I'm your son, not your prisoner."

Parenting is a difficult art. Many criminals ccme from homes with uncaring or neglectful parents. But, a lot of criminals come from homes with loving parents who try to bring up good children. If a kid turns bad when raised by loving parents who are neither overly protective nor overly permissive, it should not reflect badly on the parents. Even when parents do their best to provide for their children and to teach them right from wrong, there is no guarantee that their kids will turn out to be good. Parents can only hope for the best. As for the kids of cops - you poor bastards - instead of being resentful, try to be understanding of and grateful to your caring parents.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


When you spend 41 days sailing to and from South America on a container ship, you pick up some interesting tidbits now and then which provide some good fodder for blogging. If you've read my blogs, you know that upon my return I published a blog on what the two pilots taking us up the New Orleans ship channel thought about drug use by professional atheletes and one on modern pirates of the sea. During this trip, I learned something new about the Department of Homeland Security which makes me question the sanity of that super agency's policy makers.

Every year since 1991, I have travelled to countries in South and Central America, Asia, and Europe. Whenever I returned, I was always treated with the utmost courtesy and respect by our immigration officers. Alas, others have not been as fortunate. The captain of my ship, for one, had a bad experience last year. I will not give you his name or the name of the ship because I do not want his name to pop up on an immigration shit list.

The captain and a sea cadet, both from Germany, flew into Miami where they were to board their ship. This was the cadet's first time in America. He was passed right through the airport's immigration station. The captain, who had been to this country many times over the years, was directed to another section of the station. When an officer started to examine his seaman's visa, which identified him as a ship's captain, the captain greeted the officer in his heavy German accent, "Hello officer, how are you today?" That friendly greeting was met with an icy glare and the captain was made to wait four hours before being passed through the station.

The captain's treatment was reminiscent of the indignities suffered by 86 year old Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Joe Foss last January, when some stupid security screeners at Phoenix International Airport mistook this nation's highest military award for a shunken, the Japanese Ninja throwing star. Both incidents are classic examples of the only way some people can feel big is by trying to make others feel little. And now, the captain knows THE GOLDEN RULE OF DEALING WITH AUTHORITY - SPEAK ONLY WHEN SPOKEN TO.

The captain told me that our immigration policies since 9/11 "don't make any sense." He informed me that a seaman who leaves his ship in Texas or Louisiana to return to his home country can only stay overnight and is required to leave the U.S. by the next day. However, if he leaves his ship in Florida, he is allowed to remain in this country for 90 days on his seaman's visa. The captain believed that Texas and Louisiana have their own immigration laws, but I explained to him that our states are prohibited from enacting such rules because only the federal government has the authority to regulate immigration.

Why in the world would a seaman be required to leave the U.S. within a day if he leaves his ship in Houston or in New Orleans, while he is allowed to remain for 90 days is he leaves his ship in Miami? My guess is it's because Texas and Louisiana's petro-chemical industries are prime terrorist targets, while the only industries in Florida are tourism and anti-Castroism. And, the captain is right - it doesn't make any sense. A seaman can leave his ship in Miami from where he can fly right on to Houston or New Orleans, and remain there until his 90 day visa expires.

Last July, I published a blog about the Department of Homeland Security entitled DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND PARANOIA - INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS ARE TARGETING ICE CREAM PARLORS IN INDIANA. That super agency established a data base of 77,000 potential terrorist targets, with 8,591 in Indiana, 5687 in New York, and 3,212 in California. Because federal anti-terrorist funding is based on the number of targets, New York and the District of Columbia lost 40 percent of their funding to Indiana and some midwestern cities.

Next year, U.S. citizens will be required to have a passport when they return to this country from a visit to Canada or Mexico. The passport requirement is supposed to make us safer by making it harder for terrorists to enter this country. But, that doesn't make any sense either, when every week thousands of illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America flow unimpeded across the border separating California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas from Mexico. Homeland paranoia? Obviously, I misnamed the agency - I should have called it the DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND INSANITY.

The Department of Homeland Insanity is a huge bureaucracy which is sprinkled with political hacks in its upper echelons and with frustrated dead-enders at its lowest levels. The agency's upper echelon decision makers, trying to justify their jobs, have thought up the harebrained policies and data bases mentioned in this blog. The captain and Joe Foss had the misfortune of running into some frustrated lower level assholes who are unhappily mired in their dead-end jobs. On the upside, formation of this super agency has led to better intelligence sharing. But, are we actually any safer now? Does anyone really know?

Friday, December 15, 2006


On December 8, 2006, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who lost a bid to retain her congressional seat in last November's election, filed a bill with Articles of Impeachment against President Bush. The first article charged the President with manipulating intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in order to get us into the war with Iraq. The second article charged the President with obstructing and hindering congressional investigations. The final article charged him with approving and supporting illegal domestic spying. Because McKinney's bill was filed just before the final adjournment of the present Congress, it was certain never to see the light of day.

When she announced the filing of the bill before a press conference, McKinney accused the President of violating his Oath of Office and with being guilty of committing high crimes and misdemeanors. She stated that she was calling for the President's impeachment because '"NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW." Hold it - stop and back up the train! On March 20, 2006, this same Congresswoman assaulted a Capitol police officer by slugging him in the chest with her cell phone.

On that occasion, McKinney bypassed the metal detector at a security checkpoint in the entrance to a congressional office building, a privilege bestowed upon the 100 Senators and the 435 members of the House of Representatives.. The white Capitol police officer did not recognize McKinney, an African-American, and tried to stop her in order to check her ID. McKinney took offense that this cop had the audacity to stop her and responded by slugging the officer with her cell phone. When she claimed to be the victim of bias and racial profiling, a predominantly black grand jury refused to indict McKinney for assaulting the officer.

McKinney's press conference statement that she filed her impeachment bill against the President because "no one is above the law" is a good example of the pot calling the kettle black. When she slugged that officer, she didn't hesitate to place herself above the law. Fortunately, by defeating her bid for another term in Congress, the voters of McKinney's congressional district saw fit to send this hypocrite packing.

Monday, December 04, 2006


When people hear about pirates, they usualluy conjur up visions of a bygone era with Blackbeard and the other pirates of the Caribbean. Most perople are not aware that today piracy on the seas is alive and well. Today's pirates are not the swashbucklers of Blackbeard's time who attacked merchant ships with cannons and boarded them with swords and pistols in hand.

Modern pirates are stealthy knife or gun wielding thieves and robbers who operate from fishing boats or from deep-sea going power boats, sneaking up on their prey in the middle of the night. Container ships and open cargo ships are their favorite targets, but they will attack tankers and other bulk carriers as well. They are most prevalent off the African coast, in the waters of Southeast Asia, and off the South American coast. And, they still operate in the Caribbean.

I have just returned from 41 days aboard a container ship which sailed from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. I was on the bridge every day looking at the ship's charts, most of which were marked with designated "Pirate Area" locations. Many ships have to wait at anchorage outside a port until a dockside berth becomes available. Pirates prefer to attack a ship at night while it is in anchorage. However, as I learned first-hand, they will also board a ship while it is docked in port.

Around 3:00 AM on November 4th, while we were docked in Santos, Brazil, one of our crew members discovered pirates aboard the ship. They had broken into a 40 foot container and were unloading cartons of Mary Kaye perfume which they threw overboard into a waiting boat. By the time they were discovered, they had removed half of the perfume loaded in the container. That was a lot of perfume. Five or six of the pirates had boarded the ship by going up the gangway pretending to be dockworkers. When they were discovered, they left the same way. The crew had orders not to stop them because they were probably armed with knives or possibly guns. The Captain told me, "We are sailors, not soldiers."

The pirates in Santos knew exactly what they were after and where to find it. This would indicate that they were in collusion with one or more dock supervisors who had access to the ship's manifest as well as specific knowledge of the perfume's exact location. The dock supervisors could have facilitated the boarding of the ship via the gangway. It is also quite possible that the pirates were in cahoots with the police or security personnel.

To prevent the theft of the ship's electronics and the crew's valuables, all deck and cabin doors are locked while the ship is in anchorage or docked. The locked deck doors will prevent pirates from getting access to the inside of the ship. While in anchorage, there is at least one crew member on each wing of the bridge, keeping a sharp lookout for any suspicious boats. During a recent voyage, the captain of my ship went to the bridge one night while it was in anchorage. He found the watch officer sound asleep and one of the lookouts dozing off in a deck chair on one of the wings. Both were fired when the ship arrived at the next port.

Right after the reunification of Germany, the captain, an East German, was on a ship in the Singapore Straits. Because he had to be recertified by the new government, he relinquished his command to another captain, serving as the first mate instead. The new captain was lax in enforcing anti-piracy measures, failing to post lookouts on the bridge wings while in anchorage. One night, instead of locking all doors, he sent the cook and messman to the deck on some errand. They were immediately captured by a group of pirates who had boarded the ship undected. The Chief Engineer barely escaped capture by locking himself in the engine compartment. The pirates made their way up to the bridge where they surpised the captain and the helmsman, poking each in the kidneys with long knives. They stripped the ship of its electronics and robbed everyone they found of their valuables before returning to their boat.

Today's piracy is not without its moments of humor. After the pirates departed, my friend, who slept through the Singapore Straits attack, was awakened by loud banging on his cabin door and informed of what happened by an almost speechless crewman. He made his way up to the bridge where he found the captain white as a ghost and completely speechless. On the other hand, the helmsman was laughing, pulling his wristwatch out from inside of his jockey briefs and exclaiming, "They didn't get my watch." Several years ago, my captain was on another ship which was attacked in Peruvian waters by pirates who made off with a whole container full of expensive shoes. However, the pirates were outsmarted by the manufacturer who had loaded only left shoes in one container, while loading the right shoes in an entirely different container.

Piracy at sea continues to be a serious and dangerous problem for ships and their crews. I was made aware of this when I took my first container ship voyage in 2003. Because sailors are not soldiers, they will attempt to repel boarders only by using fire hoses, and failing that, will retreat to the inside, locking the doors behind them. Today's pirates may not be the romanticized rogues of Blackbeard's time, but they are out there doing their dirty deeds throughout much of the seafarer's world.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Recently, I was on the bridge of a container ship heading up the ship channel from the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans. The ship was being guided by two pilots. In between the heading instructions they gave to the helmsman they talked among themselves. I could not help but overhear their conversations. They were big fans of the National Football League. Among other subjects, they discussed the problem of drug use among professional athletes in football, basketball and baseball.

One of the pilots said, "In our job, you use drugs, that's it, you're out." They felt it should be the same way in pro-sports. "They should tell the players, WE PAY YOU BIG BUCKS, SO DON'T DO DRUGS. PERIOD." The pilots agreed that the player contracts should contain a standard clause prohibiting any use of performance enhancing substances and any drugs other than those prescribed by a qualified liscensed physician. All player contracts should specify that any illegal use of drugs, including the smoking of marijuana, would result in their immediate and permanent suspension with no possibilty of reinstatement as a player or in any other capacity within the league.

The pilots also agreed that the team owners and the player unions would each vehemently oppose any such clause. The owners make an awful lot of money off their star players, while the main business of the unions is the protection of their members, the players. The pilots then discussed whether a lesser penalty might be acceptable to the owners and unions. Their alternative was a full-season suspension for the first-time use of drugs and a permanent ban from playing for any subsequent use of drugs. They also felt that the owners and unions would be just as opposed to this proposal.

Athetes have been pampered from high school through college. In basketball, the majority of players never graduate from college - some of them couldn't spell "cat" if you spotted them the "c" and the "t." Many pro-football players have also failed to obtain a college degree. The pampering continues in the professional leagues. The current penalties for drug use are a joke in all leagues.

In many occupations, the illegal use of drugs mandates a license revocation and a permanent ban from working in that occupation. And so it should be with professional athletes. The pilots got it right when they said that any illegal use of drugs by a professional ball player should result in an immediate and permanent suspension from any further participation in any league activity. A standard contract clause calling for such a penalty would be a powerful deterrent to illegal drug use. It's a shame the team owners, the player unions, and the players themselves don't see it that way.


Last October, the surviving members of the original Black Panthers held a reunion with some 200 participants in Oakland, California. A Reuters News Service dispatch described the Panthers as an "urban radical movement" that had a "painful birth" in the City of Oakland 40 years ago. It referred to its founders , Huey Newton and Bobby Seale as "local activists." Whoa! Reuters was playing really loose with the facts. Oakland was not the birthplace of the Panthers and the group was not formed as an urban movement by local activists.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defesne was born in 1966 at San Quentin, one of California's maximum security prisons. Its founders and charter members were convicts doing hard time for armed robberies, murders, burglaries, assaults, and other felonies. They had no intention of going straight upon their release from prison. These were "ciminal activists," not local activists, who formed the Panthers in order to protect themselves from the police following their release. They were inspired by Mao Tse-tung and relied on many of his quotations in their printed handouts.

The Panthers gained world-wide attention when they entered the State Capitol dressed in black berets and leather jackets, carrying shotguns and bandoleers. They demanded a number of rights and scared the supreme shit out of California's state legislators. That confrontation led to the myth that the Panthers were a group of urban activists seeking justice and equal rights for the black community. In truth, the Panthers continued to commit robberies, burglaries, murders, and assaults. Its members were involved in a number of deadly shootouts with the police, not only in California, but in other parts of the United States as well.

Much has been made of the free breakfast program provided by the Panthers to the poor black children of Oakland. Less well known is the fact that during these breakfasts, the Panthers distributed their Black Panther Coloring Book. In it, the panthers used the term "pigs" to describe all whites and referred to the police as the "pig police." Their coloring book, a copy of which I still have, was full of hatred against all whites and it encouraged brave black children to attack and kill cowardly police officers.

People tend to make folk heroes out of scoundrels. Robin Hood, for one, comes to mind. Then there was Jesse James, the notorious bank robber. There was Billy the Kid, a youthful cold-blooded killer. John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, and their contemporary bank robbers have all been added to a list of American folk heroes,

Radical leftists and many blacks want to portray the Black Panthers as a group of civil rights activists who used a radical approach in the black community's fight for justice and equal rights. They believe the Panthers, their folk heroes, became the victims of a racist police force determined to destroy them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most Panthers killed by the police were shot while committing armed robberies or other felonies.

Panthers also committed a number of deadly attacks against unsuspecting police officers. In 1967, Huey Newton himself shot a police patrolman to death at an Oakland bus stop. At his trial, the State's chief eyewitness, a black bus driver, testified that the shooting was unprovoked. Newton testified that he acted in self-defense when he was attaced by the officer, a claim no one else corroborated. Shades of the O. J. Simpson trial - a black jury refused to convict Newton of first degree murder for that cold blooded killing, despite the evidence against him.

One case did give weight to those allegations that the police intended to destroy the Panthers, After a 1969 shootout in Chicago, the police discredited themselves by attempting to cover their asses with some creative "home remodeling." When they raided an apartment, there was a brief exchange of gunfire during which a stray bullet went through a wall into an adjoining room, killing Pamther leader Fred Hampton while he was in bed. As the police sought entry, someone inside the apartment fired a few shots through the front door. Officers responded with a fusilade that left the door riddled full of holes. Fearing they would be accused of murdering Hampton in bed, the police attempted to conceal the number of shots they fired by removing the door and having the crime lab reverse the hinges so that in rehanging the door it would appear most of the shots came from inside the apartment. After that cover-your-ass chicanery was uncovered, left-wingers always referred to this case as "the murder of Fred Hampton."

Huey Newton did not live to attend the recent Black Panther reunion. Alas, poor Huey was killed in 1989, not by the police, but by a black dope dealer during a dispute over Newton's failure to pay for an earlier purchase of cocaine.

The Panthers were started in prison by a bunch of convicted thugs and thieves, The thuggery and thievery continued after their release. Did they accomplish anything in the fight for justice and civil rights? Absolutely not! When their aura faded, the Panthers simply left behind a legacy of unresolved urban conflict, crime, death, and black hatred of whites. What a legacy. Folk heroes, my ass! My 80 year old useless balls deserve more recognition than that pack of retired thugs and thieves.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Mel Gibson is now giving interviews to explain the reasons for his anti-Semitic tirade on July 28, 2006, when he was arrested for drunk driving. Unlike his previous statements, which were press releases by his publicists, the latest ones represent his personal comments during one-on-one interviews.

Gibson now blames the tirade on the ramblings of a drunk. Then he states that the anti-Semitic portion of his outburst resulted from his resentment over the attacks by Jews against his film, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. He goes on to explain that he blamed Jews for all the wars in the world because of Israel's war with Hezbollah, which was taking place at the time of his arrest.

What a bunch of hogwash! Gibson would be better off if he continued to let his publicists do the talking for him. The interviews are further proof that he is in denial of his deep-rooted anti-Semitism. The ramblings of a drunk are usually the expressions of true feelings, feelings that are left unsaid during periods of sobriety.

Did he resent the attacks against his film? Perhaps, to some degree. But, I can imagine that in his heart he got down on his knees to thank those Jewish community leaders for their outright stupidity in attacking the film well before it was released in theaters. Interest in THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST was increased a hundred fold by the pre-release attacks which claimed the film was anti-Semitic. No amount of money could have bought the kind of publicity generated by these attacks.

There is absolutely no logical way one can justify the belief that Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world because of Israel's war with Hezbollah. That was only one war, and a small one at that. An educated guess leads me to conclude that Gibson must believe the anti-Semitic myth that Jews control the world. If that was true, it would be logical to believe that all wars are started by Jews.

Gibson's problem is that he was raised in an anti-Semitic family. His father claims the holocaust was a hoax and he has made a number of anti-Semitic remarks in public. One can only imagine what kind of hatred for Jews was discussed in the Gibson home during Mel's formative years. Any way you cut it, in his heart Mel Gibson is still an anti-Semite, and no amount of rationalizing can cover up his hatred of Jews.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, a movie directed by multi-talented Clint Eastwood, will open soon at a theater near you. Eastwood, a very patriotic American, made this movie to pay tribute to the U.S. Marines and Navy corpsmen who fought, died and were wounded in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. No chapter in our history ever made us any prouder. Our victory came at a great cost in lives and wounded. I personally lost two friends on Iwo Jima, both volunteers, one having been the quarterback of my high school football team.

Since the fight for Iwo Jima occurred in 1945, Flags of Our Grandfathers might have been a more appropriate title. Because we are now at war in Iraq, I want to compare one battle (Iwo Jima) with one war (Iraq). The battle for Iwo Jima, a small Pacific island defended by some 22,000 Japanese soldiers, lasted 35 days, starting on February 19,1945 and ending on March 25, 1945. Our war against Iraq started on March 19, 2003 and continues unabated, having lasted 43 months thus far.

During those 35 days in the battle for Iwo Jima, 6, 821 Americans were killed and 19,217 were wounded. (Only 1,083 Japanese soldiers survived the fierce fighting. Eastwood is also releasing a companion feature, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, which pays tribute to that island's Japanese defenders.) As of October 9, 2006, during the 43 months in Iraq, we have suffered 2,239 combat deaths and 20,468 have been wounded. So, in one month, more than three times as many Americans were killed in combat on Iwo Jima than have been killed during 43 months in Iraq.

The majority of Americans are opposed to the war in Iraq for one reason and one reason only - the death toll among our troops. The loss of any soldier's life is a tragedy to his family, friends, and to our nation. And unfortunately, many of the wounded will be physically handicapped for the rest of their lives.

There are some notable differences between the battle for Iwo Jima and the war in Iraq. Japan attacked us in World War II, while we attacked Iraq. There were many volunteers, myself included, but most of our troops in WWII were draftees. Today, our troops are all volunteers.

It does not make any difference why our troops have volunteered to serve in the military. The wailing and whining over the loss of lives in Iraq totally disregards the fact that soldiers are trained to fight wars and may be called on to kill and be killed. If they only signed up to obtain educational benefits and suddenly found themselves engaged in an unpopular war, that's just tough shit! They sure as hell did not join the Peace Corps when they enlisted.

It is my opinion that our inability to cope with combat casualties is the result of changing life styles between WWII and the war in Iraq. At the start of WWII, we had just come out of a depression. Life was hard. Since WWII, many of us have prospered. Modern conveniences and comfort have made life much easier for all of us. Air conditioning, home appliances, computers and other electronics, medications, riding mowers and electric golf carts, and other advances in technology, science and medicine have led us to lose our toughness. We have become a nation of softies and whiners with an expectation of instant gratification.

I hope that FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS will cause us to reflect on the great loss of American lives in one battle, Iwo Jima, as compared to the relatively small loss of lives in Iraq. While we may have been misled into invading Iraq, and despite the tragic loss in lives, we must keep fighting until our objectives are achieved. Withdrawal short of victory will be seen as a defeat, and that will embolden our enemies throughout the world.

When our young men and women volunteered for military service, they volunteered to go to war, even though we were at peace at the time. When more than three times as many of our troops were killed on Iwo Jima in just one month than have been killed in the 43 months of Iraq, it sickens me that most Americans are unable to stomach the casualties of war and want us to get out of Iraq now.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Having jusst covered a dark side of the legal profession, the recusal of a good judge, it seems only fair to look at a humerous side in the trials and tribulations of lawyering.

HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING. A preliminary hearing was held in a California court on a Possession of Marijuana for Sales case. Evidence obtained during the execution of a search warrant led to the charges against the defendant. His attorney presented several motions for various reasons to get the search warrant quashed. Each time the judge ruled against the motions. Finally, out of frustration, the attorney slammed his case file on the table and exclaimed, "Well, if you want to know the truth, your honor, the judge who approved the affidavit for this search warrant, just plain didn't know what he was doing." Immediately, the judge's bald head turned purple, he banged his gavel for a short recess, and he ordered the defense counsel into his chamber. Spectators in the courtroom heard a lot of shouting drifting through the door to the judge's chamber. A visibly shaken attorney came out of the chamber and was overheard telling his client, "Shit, I didn't know he was the one who approved that affidavit."

DON'T PUT YOUR CLIENT ON THE STAND. Some undercover officers were following a couple of known burglars. During the noon hour, they observed them enter a supermarket in Corona, California and emerge, carrying a case of cigarettes. After placing the case in their car, they reentered the store only to emerge with another case of cigarettes. After they placed the second case in the car, they were arrested. Because they had reentered the building to steal another case of cigarettes, they were charged with burglary, rather than with theft. During the trial, one of the defendants took the witness stand. Under direct examination by his attorney, the defendant insisted that they did not steal anything from the supermarket in Corona. His attorney then asked, "Well, how do you explain the two cigarette cases in your car?" The defendant replied, "We stole them from a store in Ontario." The attorney rocked back in his chair and slapped himself on the head with both hands. It took the jury less than 10 minutes to find both defendants guilty.

THAT'S A LIE. A drug dealer was on trial for selling heroin. The police had made their case by using an informant, a heroin addict, to make the buy. They gave him money to buy 10 papers of heroin, promising that he could keep three papers for himself. They observed him entering the defendant's house to make the buy. During the trial, the lead narcotic officer in the case testified that immediately after the buy, he retrieved seven papers of heroin from the informant outside the defendant's house. At that point, the defendant got pissed off, nudged his attorney, and was overheard to exclaim, "That's a lie. It was 10." Another quick guilty verdict.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Despite the war on drugs, a substantial number of Americans continue to consume marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs prohibited by law. Before the Vietnam War, the mere possession of these illicit substances constituted a felony in most jurisdictions. At the time, most drug users were poor blacks and latinos, minorities which received little if any sympathy from the rest of society. Harsh punishment was the popular order of the day.

When the sons and daughters of middle and upper class society, the core of the anti-war movement, became heavily involved in the use of illicit drugs, attitudes about the punishment of drug offenders rapidly changed. Society did not want its college kids to suffer a felony record which would prevent them from beoming doctors, lawyers, and other licensed professionals. Accordingly, drug offense penalties in most jurisdictions were reduced, a change which also benefitted blacks and latinos, the groups that mainstream America did not give a shit about.

One can argue until the cow jumps over the moon about whether or not punishment of drug offenders acts as a deterrent. One thing is for certain - the use and sales of illicit drugs exploded once drug offense penalties were reduced. And, what about those bright college kids who society wanted to protect from career ending sentencing? Among other achievements, they developed new exotic "recreational" drugs, as well as a home grown variety of pot, which became one of the the most potent types of marijuana in the world.

Back in the early '60s, Japan was overwhelmed by an out-of-control amphetamine addiction epedemic. Japan enacted certain and swift punishment legislation to bring this problem under control. Of those tried for drug offenses, 95 percent were convicted. Those convicted were sentenced either to prison or to confinement in a drug rehabilitation facility. The Japanese drug rehabilitation facilities in no way resemble the plush facilities found in the United States. The only difference between Japanese prisons and drug rehabilitation facilities is that the latter provided every inmate with a drug treatment program, while the prisons offered no special programs for drug offenders. In just a few years, Japan was able to bring a runaway problem under control.

I have always advocated that all drug users, without exception, should serve some time in jail. The amount of time to be served would depend on the type of drug used and on the drug offense history of the user. For instance, a first-time marijuana user would have to serve 30 days in jail. A second conviction would require a 60-90 day stay in jail, while a third conviction would require a sentence of at least one year in jail. Whether its 30 days, 60-90 days, or one year, there would be no time off for good behavior. If that means someone will be prevented from becoming a doctor or lawyer, that's just tough shit. Those who choose to break the law must be made to learn that there are consequences for wrongdoing.

There is a judge in Houston who agrees with me that all drug offenders should spend some time in jail. And, how did I find out about him? It was through a story in the Houston Chronicle. A 17-year old high school student's case for possession of marijuana and cocaine was assigned to the court of District Judge Brian Rains. The offender was represented by Dick DeGuerin, one of the best and most expensive attorneys in the Southwest.

DeGuerin moved that Judge Rains be recused from the case because by his refusal to grant probation or deferred adjudication, he has an "inflexible and arbitrary rule" requiring that offenders convicted of possession spend some time in jail. When the District Attorney's office agreed, an administrative judge removed Judge Rains from the case. DeGuerin's client, if convicted for possession of both marijuana and cocaine, deserved at least one year of jail time. Predictions are that this recusal will open the floodgates for similar motions in future cases before Judge Rains.

Judge Rains reminds me of a former Superior Court judge in Riverside, California. S. Thomas Bucciarelli was a strict law and order judge. On many occasions, when defense attorneys, probation officers, and prosecutors all agreed that a defendant be granted probation for a felonious offense, Judge Bucciarelli would respond in a firm voice, "Well I'm certainly not going along with this. I hereby sentence you to the term (in prison) prescribed by law!" Eventually, his peers ganged up on him. The position of Presiding Judge is rotated annually among each of the Superior Court judges. The only time Judge Bucciarelli was allowed to sit on a criminal case was when he was Presiding Judge and assigned himself to the criminal docket.

Probation without jail time and deferred adjudication will not help to bring our runaway drug problems under control. When those young folks, whose careers everyone is so concerned about, discover that jail time does not produce the "high" they were seeking, they will be far less likely to use marijuana again, while others will refrain from using it all together. Mandatory jail time will not eliminate drug abuse, but it will discourage illicit drug use by those who fear a certainty of incarceration and the attendant arrest record.

Because marijuana is the gateway drug to cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine abuse, any reduction in the use of marijuana will lead to a significant reduction in the use of these other drugs. Judge Rains got it right, but other members of the legal profession judged him to be wrong. Shame on them! They are not part of the solution to this nation's widespread use of illicit drugs. They are part of the problem!

Sunday, October 01, 2006


In the past few weeks a New York State Trooper, a City of Houston police officer, and a Florida deputy sheriff, were shot to death in the line of duty. These officers, and most officers killed in the line of duty, were not rookies. In fact, very few rookie officers ever get shot. It is the veteran officer who faces the greatest danger.

The New York State Trooper was ambushed by a jail escapee while he and his partner were staking out the residence of the escapee's former girlfriend. His partner was critically wounded. I have been on a lot of stake outs and they can sure get boring. After an hour or so, you can get really sleepy. To keep from falling asleep, you resort to bullshitting with your partner. Your attention span and alertness level decreases as the lenght of the stake out increases. Did these factors allow the killer to sneak up undetected on the officers?

The Houston police officer, on patrol by himself, was shot after a routine traffic stop. The killer was on his way home, accompanied by his young daughters. When he could not produce any identification, the officer arrested him instead of issuing a citation. A record check requested by the officer failed to show that, following an arrest on a charge of indecency with a child, the killer had been previously deported as an illegal immigrant.

The officer handcuffed the prisoner with his hands behind him, the standard handcuffing procedure. He patted the prisoner down for a weapon before placing him in the back of the patrol car. He had the little girls taken home before getting in the patrol car from which he called for a wrecker to tow the prisoner's car away. This was a "by the book" arrest procedure.

Unfortunately, the pat down did not reveal that the prisoner had a pistol tucked inside his waistband. Somehow, the prisoner was able to get hold of his gun, with which he shot the officer several times in the head. When other officers arrived, the prisoner was still handcuffed with his hands behind him. What started out as a routine traffic stop ended up as the tragic killing of a good veteran officer. Was the officer complacent because this was just one of many uneventful prior traffic stops? Was the faulty pat down the result of carelessness brought on by a "clean" record check. Did the officer feel that the prisoner posed no danger because he was accompanied by the little girls?

The Florida sheriff's deputy and a police dog were killed, and another deputy was wounded in a burst of gunfire following a traffic stop. Were the officers complacent because this was just another traffic stop? Did they get careless because there was more than one officer and they had a police dog with them?

None of the questions in these three cases are meant to criticize the slain officers. It is just a fact that in a matter of time police work becomes routine, leading its practitioners to become complacent and careless. It happens to the best of officers. A good example occurred a number of years ago when two experienced Houston narcotics officers prepared to arrest a drug dealer. One of the officers had already arrested the dealer a number of times without incident. They were friendly with each other and on a first name basis. The officers parked their car across the street from a bar where they believed the dealer to be. They entered the bar and informed him he was under arrest. They asked him to accompany them out of the bar. They did not handcuff or search him. He went along willingly, but when they were in the street, he pulled out a gun and killed the officer with whom he had been on a first name basis.

Rookie officers are less likely to be complacent or careless. They are still in a police academy training retention mode. They may not admit it, but they are a lot more fearful than their veteran colleagues. Fear is what makes them more careful and alert to life threatening situations as they go about their duties. That is why few rookie officers get killed. It is the veteran cops who are in the greatest danger and, more often not, they get killed by complacency and carelessness.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Virginia Republican George Allen was considered a shoo-in to retain his U.S. Senate seat in the race against Democrat James Webb. With only two months to go before election day, Allen began to self-destruct. First, at a campaign stop, he pointed out one of Webb's volunteer workers, a 20 year-old Virginia-born college student of Indian descent, and called him MACACA. Then he responded to questions about the possible Jewish ancestry of his 83 year-old mother in less than stellar fashion. Finally, he was accused of having used the word "nigger" repeatedly some 30 years ago.

Macaca is the name of an Asian monkey and the word is also a racial slur used against native North Africans by persons of European ancestry. Allen's mother came from Tunisia where the word is a derogatory term. When asked what he meant by macaca, Allen replied that he did not know its meaning because he had just made the word up. Yeah, right - if you believe that Senator Allen made up the word macaca, I'll get the tooth fairy to leave a deed under your pillow for some ocean front property in Arizona.

Allen's mother was born into a (Jewish) Sephardic family in Tunisia. Apparently his mother never told Allen of her Jewishness before he was asked about her ancestry. He responded to the question by accusing his detractors of "making aspersions" in trying to cast him as a Jew. Aspersions? Used in that context, the term implies that Jewishness is unbecoming of a U.S. Senator. To compound matters, he made some inappropriate jokes about his eating ham sandwiches and his mother making good pork chops, to prove that they were not Jewish.

When accused of having used the "N" word repeatedly some 30 years ago, Allen denied these charges by claiming that he had NEVER used that derogatory racial slur. A few people, who appear to be credible, have come forward to say they often heard Allen use the "N" word, while others say they never heard him use any racial slurs. So, who are you going to believe? The O. J. Simpson murder trial comes to mind.

The Simpson defense strategy was to claim that physical evidence against O. J. was fabricated by racist LAPD homicide investigators. They focused on detective Mark Fuhrman who found the infamous glove next to one of the structures on the Simpson property. During Fuhrman's cross examination, F. Lee Bailey asked the detective if he had ever used the "N" word. When Fuhrman replied that he had never used the word, he not only self-destructed, but he also resurrected Bailey's career which had been in remission. The defense rebutted Fuhrman's denial with a witness who once worked with him on a book she was writing and who claimed he used the "N" word several times while he was helping her with the book.

From 1948 to 1993, I worked with hundreds of police officers, including a number of black officers, and I do not know of a single one who has never used the "N" word, and that includes me. Were any of these officers racist? Some were, but most were not. Was Fuhrman a racist? I do not believe he was. His closest friend was an African-American officer. Why would Fuhrman lie on the witness stand? I believe it was because he thought that if he admitted using racist slurs, he would be seen as a despicable racist in the eyes of a predominantly black jury, as well as by a nationwide television audience.

Bailey should never have been allowed to ask the question about the "N" word because it was not relevant to the finding of the glove. Marcia Clark and Chris Darden, the inept prosecutors, should have objected loudly. When they did not, Judge Lance Ito should have taken it on himself to stop Fuhrman from answering the question. Because Ito was star struck with the TV cameras on him, he allowed the trial to get out of hand time after time, the Fuhrman questioning being just one example. When Fuhrman perjured himself, he accomodated the predominently black jury that was predisposed to acquit Simpson, which they did after less than an hour of serious deliberation.

What has happened to Fuhrman since the Simpson trial? He retired from the Los Angeles Police Department and subsequently pled guilty to perjury, thus ending a notable career in disgrace. Since then he has successfully authored a number of books, the most prominent of which, MURDER IN GREENWICH, dealt with the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley in Greenwich, Connecticut. The case remained dormant until 1998, when the book called attention to evidence Fuhrman had uncovered that Michael Skakel, nephew of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, beat Moxley to death with a golf club. Fuhrman's book was instrumental in reopening the case and led to Skakel's murder trial and conviction.

What has happened to F. Lee Bailey? In 2001,he was disbarred in Florida on seven counts of misconduct involving the withholding of some assets belonging to a convicted drug dealer which had been ordered forfeited to the U.S. government. Massachusetts followed with a reciprocal disbarment in 2002.

What should Fuhrman and Allen have done when confronted with the "N" word allegations? They should have said, "Yes, on occasion I've used it. I know I should not have done that. It's something I don't normally do because I am not a racist." Had Fuhrman said something like that, he would have relegated Bailey to the slag heap of history and he would not have self-destructed. Allen could have put the "N" word controversy to rest, had he done so.

At the same time, one should never say, "Some of my best friends are black," or point out that black comedians like Dick Gregory and Richard Pryor frequently used the word "nigger" in their comedy routines, as do most of the current crop of black stand-up comics on HBO and Showtime. Nor should one call attention to the liberal use of "nigga" in the lyrics composed by many popular back rappers. Those are all common talking points for racists who want to mask their bigotry.

Senator Allen, son of a famous Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins coach, has an outstanding record in public service and was considered a front runner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. His aspirations for the presidency evaporated with his self-destructive gaffes. He has shown himself to be a stupid jerk in the way he responded to the macaca, Jewish heritage, and "N" word controversies. Is Allen a racist? In his many years of public service there has never been any indication that he is a racist. A month from now, the voters of Virginia will decide whether or not they want to return a stupid jerk to the U.S. Senate.

Monday, September 18, 2006


During my professional career, I have known some really outstanding law enforcement officers who spent part or most of their careers as narcotic officers. Matt O'Connor was a California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement agent who also served as president of the California Narcotic Officers Association and as president of the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association. Al Stewart, a very dear friend of mine with the San Bernardino County (California) Sheriff's Department who also served as president of CNOA, and who was shot to death when, while off duty, he went to the aid of some officers who were under attack by gunfire.

There was John Nelson of the Los Angeles Police Department who, based on his former USMC elite Force Recon unit, founded this nation's first SWAT team, the model copied by the FBI and all the other agencies that formed SWAT teams. Charlie Jackson who was the director of a tri-state (New York-New Jersey-Connecticut) interagency narcotics task force and became Assistant Director of Security for the National Football League. Rick Sander of the Houston Police Department, one of the sharpest persons I've ever known, who created and taught the first officer survival training courses in Texas.

There was John Blackburn, my former partner when we were with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, who went on to become the director of a large multi-agency task force in Colorado, and later a professor at Arizona State University and full-time consultant to the Maricopa County District Attorney's office. John was also appointed by the Governor to head the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, a very prestigious position. Sheriff Ben Clark, our boss and close friend, who was a nationally recognized law enforcement innovator and inspired me to emphasize the human relations factor in my courses whenever appropriate.

And then there is Frank Miller, who served for over 34 years as a narcotics officer with the Houston Police Department. I first met Frank at a Texas Narocitc Officers Association meeting. Subsequently, he enrolled in some of my criminal justice courses. He was one of my most outstanding students ever. He gives me some undeserved credit as a teacher and I am honored that he considers me to be one of his mentors. The truth is that I learned much more from Frank than he learned from me. Frank spent the latter part of his career as an instructor with the HPD narcotics division, imparting his vast knowledge of drug enforcement investigations and tactics to officers within his agency, as well as to many officers from other police departments. Jeannine, Frank's lovely cancer-surviving wife, was also a Houston police officer, serving as a juvenile investigator for 25 years.

Why am I writing about Frank and Jeannine? Because a deep tragedy has struck their lives. Last week they were notified that Ryan, their 19 year old son, was killed in action on September 14th while on patrol in Barwanah, Iraq. Ryan, a third-generation Marine who planned to follow his parents' footsteps as a Houston police officer, lost his life just before his Marine Corps unit was scheduled to leave Iraq and return to the United States. Shit - what a bad roll of the dice. In their grief, Frank and Jeannine are very proud of Ryan, knowing that he made the supreme sacrifice while serving his country.

I am so sick and tired of hearing athletes, rock stars, and others referred to as heroes. Heroes are people who risk life and limb while trying to protect or save the lives of others. Public safety officers are heroes when they enter a burning building or confront a dangerous criminal. Even soldiers do not become heroes until they engage the enemy in combat. Heroes are made on the battlefield, not on the football field. Ryan Miller serves as a shining example of a true hero.

Despite their grief, and unlike Cindy Sheehan, Frank and Jeannine have not turned against their country. Cindy Sheehan has dishonored her son, another true hero, because her radical left-wing crusade has given aid and comfort to those who killed him and who also killed Ryan Miller. I did not personally know Ryan because I only saw him several times when he was a little boy. But like his parents, I too am very proud of Ryan. To hell with Cindy Sheehan and her ilk! God protect our troops and public safety officers!! God bless the Miller family - Frank, Jeannine, Meghan and Brandon!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Several hours before his subsequent capture on September 9th, fugitive murderer Rallph "Bucky" Phillips was spotted by a New York State canine trooper. When Phillips pointed a gun at him, the trooper fired a volley of shots, missing the fugitive who then fled into the woods. The morning after Bucky's capture, New York State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett stated on the NBC Today Show that it was UNFORTUNATE the trooper's shots did not hit the fugitive. Oops - slip of the tongue - honest, but politically incorrect.

The bleeding hearts and civil libitarians are going to have a field day with this one. To those paragons of virtue, Supt. Bennett's statement came across loud and clear with only one meaning - he wanted Bucky dead, not alive! Let's be honest about it - so did every other police officer in this country. Why would police officers want Bucky brought back dead instead of alive?

Phillips, a habitual thief, escaped from a jail near Buffalo last April, shortly before he was due to be relaeased. In June, he shot and wounded a New York state trooper during a traffic stop. On August 31, he ambushed two state troopers who were staking out his former girlfriend's house, shooting them in the back. One of those troopers died, while the other is still in critical condition. Once, he promised to "splatter pig (police) meat all over Chautauqua County," and he let it be known that he would not allow himself to be taken alive.

When the police finally caught up to Bucky, he meekly surrendered. It is to the credit of the officers that they did not shoot him dowm, which they could have easily done with no witnesses around. I remember that many years ago, a couple of thugs murdered two New Jersey police officers. The killers were traced to a New York City tenement. A team of New York officers, not New Jersey officers, rushed their hideout with guns blazing, thereby executing the cop killers without giving them any chance to surrender. At the time, civil libitarians screamed like stuck pigs with accusations that those officers were a bunch of cold blooded murderers.

The police see themselves as a close knit family and whenever an officer is killed, no matter where, it is the same to them as the death of a brother or sister. So, it is natural for them to want retribution when someone takes the life of a fellow officer. Bucky not only killed one officer, but he tried to kill two others.

If Phillips is sentenced to death, he will probably sit on death row for about 10 years before the sentence is carried out, if it ever is. Even though he was politically incorrect, it was refreshing to hear Supt. Bennett's honest opinion that it was unfortunate the canine officer did not hit Phillips when he fired at him.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Andrew Young, civil rights leader, former Mayor of Atlanta, and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has shown himself to be a racist, the same as his civil rights colleague, Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson. In his role as head of Working Families for Wal-Mart, Young was featured in the August 17 issue of the Los Angeles Sentinel, a weekly newspaper claiming to be the main voice of the local African-American community.

In the Sentinel article, Young made derogatory comments about ethnic inner-city grocers while responding to accusations that his employer, Wal-Mart, drove mom and pop stores out of business. He replied to those accusations by saying: "But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us - selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs. Very few black people own those stores."

Well, at least Young did not blame just the Jews for selling spoiled groceries at inflated prices to black folks. If you recall, some years ago, Jesse Jackson referred to Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown," implying that New York was overpopulated with and controlled by Jews. It is well known that the derogatory term "hymie" is just as offensive to Jews as the term "nigger" is to blacks. Both Young and Jackson, a couple of genuine hypocrites, claim to be friends of the Jews.

Over the years, numerous public opinion surveys have revealed that blacks generally have a very low opinion of Jews. Obviously influenced by anti-Semitic sterotyping, blacks are convinced that they have been exploited by greedy Jews. They believe that Jews are inner-city absentee landlords, and that Jewish "slum lords" charge blacks higher rents while neglecting the maintenance of rental properties.

Other beliefs held by blacks are: All Jews are rich, own all the banks and pawnshops, and exploit blacks to further enrich themselves. Jewish bankers refuse to lend blacks any money without charging them exorbitant interest rates, thus leaving them to the exploitation of Jewish pawnbrokers in black neighborhoods. Jewish store owners in black neighborhoods overcharge for poor quality merchandize. And of course the belief, as espoused by Andrew Young, that Jewish grocers sell blacks spoiled food at high prices.

It is ironic that blacks represent the largest anti-Semitic group in our country. Ordinary Jews, in large numbers, stood and marched side by side with blacks during the 1960s civil rights movement. Leaders of the Jewish community were among the most vocal and active supporters of black civil rights. Have blacks forgotten that of the three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi in 1964, two were Jews? Andrew Goodwin and Michael Schwerner, two Jewish college students, along with James Chaney, were volunteers helping to register black voters when they were killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Throughout history, Jews have been the victims of bigotry and discrimination. There were the inquisitions in Spain and other Catholic countries. There were the pogroms in Poland which led to the formation of ghettos. There was the holocaust during which six million European Jews were exterminated. (All of my grandparents disappeared into Nazi concentration camps.) Jews have always been oppressed in Muslim countries. In every country, there have been many hate evoking anti-Semitic myths. Blood libels and The Protocols of Zion are two of the worst.

Blood libels, poisonous accusations that Jews sacrifice little children of gentiles to use their blood for religious rituals, have been around since the 12th century. Muslim clerics in Egypt and the Middle East still resort to blood libels to foment hatred of Jews. THE PROTOCOLS OF THE LEARNED ELDERS OF ZION is a vicious anti-Semitic forgery which details a Jewish plot to rule the whole world. Originally disseminated in 1905 by the Russian Czar's secret police, this hoax was also disseminated by Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler to justify their anti-Semitism. It is still used in this country by Christian Identity groups like the Aryan Nations and the KKK, and by Islamists throughout the Muslim world.

Contrary to a common myth, not all Jews in America are rich, with most belonging to the middle class, and some living in poverty. For years, Jews in this country were denied employment by banks, insurance companies, and other large corporations. The Fords and Rockefellers, among other prominent Americans, were openly anti-Semitic. The hatred of Jews by the KKK equals their hatred of blacks. Klan members have a favorite saying: "A Jew is nothing but a nigger turned inside out."

Because Jews themselves have suffered so much from bigotry, they feel compelled to fight against any discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. That is why they were so prominaent in the civil rights movement. And that is why they are so prominent in the American Civil Liberties Union. Jews believe that if they expect to be free of discrimination, it is their duty to fight discrimination in all its forms. That is why, despite the prevalence of black anti-Semitism, they continue to fight against racism directed at African-Americans.

While most blacks appear to harbor strong anti-Semitic views, Jews do have some good friends among African-Americans who are thankful for the active support of the Jewish community in their fight against racism. Unfortunately, such friends are few and far between. And, with black friends like Young and Jackson, Jews don't need any enemies.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Within the past week, Connecticut lawyer Jonathon Edington,29, broke into a neighbor's house and stabbed Barry James,58, to death right after Edington's wife informed him their two-year old daughter said that James had molested her. James had once been arrested for DWI but had no other arrest record. No child molestation allegations were ever made against him. After the stabbing, the Edingtons claimed that James had exposed himself several times in front of his window. After Edington's release on $1,000,000 bail, his wife went to the police and filed a child mollestation complaint against the murder victim.

This is the latest example of vigilante justice - people taking the law into their own hands. In one case, a whole community seems to have been complicit in the murder of a town bully. In 1980, Ken Rex McElroy was shot to death by one or more persons while he was stitting unarmed in his truck. McElroy, a giant of a man, had intimidated and terrorized the people of Skidmore, Missouri, and the surrounding area for more than a decade. On one occasion, a Skidmore police officer was frightened off while attempting to arrest the bully. Despite many years of harassing people, McElroy was never brought to justice. His victims refused to cooperate with police and FBI investigators and the case remains unsolved to this day.

In 1984, Gary Plauche ambushed and shot Jeff Doucett in the head at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, airport while sheriff's deputies were returning Doucett from California for kidnapping and sexually abusing his ten-year old son. Plauche, who had been laying in wait, killed Doucett in front of television news cameras. Doucett, who was Jodie Plauche's karate instructor, had taken the child to California two years earlier. Gary Plauche received five years of probation for killing his son's kidnapper and molester.

Also in 1984, Bernhard Goetz, a victim of two previous muggings, shot four black youths who attempted to rob him on a New York subway. Then he walked up to one wounded mugger and told him "You don't look too bad, here's another," before shooting him again, thereby paralyzing the young man. Goetz claimed he acted in self-defense and was acquitted of attempted murder. The "Subway Vigilante" was convicted of a firearms possession charge and served eight-and-a-half months in jail. The paralyzed youth won a multi-million dollar judgement against Goetz in a subsequent civil trial.

Taking the law into one's own hands can never be justified, no matter what led to the vigilante act and no matter how lenient the courts are perceived to be with criminal defendants. In the Edington case, there is a big question - is a two-year old capable of telling her mother that she has been sexually molested? What if James did not molest the Edington child? In the "Subway Vigilante" case, a justifiable act of self-defense turmed into an unjustifiable act of vigilante justice when Goetz walked up and shot the wounded youth again.

In the Edington and Plauche cases, one can certainly understand the desire for revenge by a very angry father who believes his child has been molested. In the McElroy case, people finally took the law into their own hands after being terrorized for over ten years with no relief from the criminal justice system. After years of neglect, it is certainly understandable why nobody in Skidmore would cooperate with the criminal investigators. While all of us can empathize with Edington and Plauche, and while some of us can cheer for Goetz and the people of Skidmore, the truth is that all of these folks meeted out vigilante justice, thereby depriving James, McElroy, Doucett, and Goetz's victims of their day in court.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


The controversy swirling around the Dixie Chicks centers on statements made by lead singer Natalie Maines while the trio was on concert tours in London. Since the other two members of the trio have not repudiated the statements made by Maines, it must be obvious that she is their designated spokesperson. With Maines, the Dixie Chicks have erased any doubts about the Theory of Evolution.

In March of 2003, while commenting on her opposition to the Iraq war, Maines said she was "ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." Her comments were praised in Europe. In this country, she was accused of being unpatriotic and many radio stations in the South boycotted the Dixie Chicks by refusing to play any of their records. Fans and civil libertarians immediately rushed to defend the trio by proclaiming that it is not un-American or unpatriotic to speak out against the war, and that the boycott amounted to an attempt at stifling free speech.

I beg to differ with those who have defended the Dixie Chicks. I do agree that it is not unpatriotic to speak out against the war in Iraq, but only as long as it is done here in Ameirca. Family members squabble with each other all the time, but they will not "wash their dirty linen" in front of outsiders because, when push comes to shove, FAMILY ALWAYS COMES FIRST! By making her remarks outside of the United States, Maines provided fodder to the majority in Europe who dislike America for one reason or another, and who express their dislike for this country by opposing our war with Iraq.

Among the many comments made on the statements by Maines, one said it best. "I am a Canadian citizen but born in England and I think it is disgusting that the 'Chicks' have chosen to voice their negative opinion of their president while outside their own country. Come on girls, get some balls and speak out politically in your own country not just to appease and please a crowd some where else in the world."

Maines apparently has come to realize that she was unpatriotic when she made her statement in London in 2003. This past June, while the Dixie Chicks were on another concert tour in London, Maines attacked patriotism itself in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. "The entire country (US) may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country ... I don't see why people care about patriotism." Say what? Hmmmm - Stupid is as stupid does!

Maines' statement in the Telegraph validates Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Natural Selection, Darwin's process of evolution, has left Natalie Maines behind with the brains of a brilliant ape or, possibly, with the brains of a stupid Neanderthal. And the same goes for Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, the other members of the trio, since they have never repudiated their spokesperson's asinine statements. I could spend an hour commenting on the statement in the Telegraph, but I will limit myself to saying that NO COUNTRY CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT THE PATRIOTISM OF ITS CITIZENS. The Dixie Chicks are nothing more than a bunch of unpatriotic sorry-ass ingrates.

Monday, August 21, 2006


As I predicted in my blog on Mel Gibson's apologies, Gibson copped a plea in the case of his July 28th drunk driving arrest. He had been charged with (1) driving wihile having a 0.08 percent or higher blood-alcohol level, (2) driving under the influence of alcohol, and (3) driving with an open container of aclohol. Under California law, the first two charges are midemeanors and the open container charge is considered an infraction, rather than a crime. A defendant facing such charges is not required to appear in court for dispostion of his case.

On August 17, one of his attorneys appeared in Malibu Superior Court and plead Nolo Contendere (no contest) in Gibson's behalf. While technically not a guilty plea, its effect is the same, since by not contesting the charges, the defendant implies that he committed the offense(s) with which he has been charged.

There was no way that Gibson was going to go through a trial where the sordid facts attendant to his arrest would be rehashed in public and in the presence of a scandal-hungry media. Indeed, Gibson's attorney appeared in court unbeknownst to the media and entered the plea a month before his next scheduled court hearing. Thus, his case has been laid to rest with minimal public attention. And by appearing a month early with a prearranged plea bargain agreement, his attorney succeeded in avoiding the usual Superior Court oder for an investigation and sentencing recommendation by the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

The plea bargain called for the dismissal of the driving under the influence and the open container charges. On the remaining charge, Gibson was placed on three years of probation, fined $1,608, and had his driver license restricted for 90 days. As part of his probation, he was ordered to attend "self-help meetings" five times a week for four and a half months and three meetings per week for another seven and a half months. He was also required to complete a prescribed three month alcohol education and counseling program.

Was Gibson's sentence a mere slap on the wrist? Not at all. The sentence was fairly severe for a first-time drunk driving offender. The only thing missing is the usual community service part of a drunk driving sentence. In addition to the three month alcohol counseling program, Gibson is also required to attend a one year long self-help program. That does not leave much time for any community service. Of course, there is a very good chance that, at a later date, his attorney will succeed in having the self-help and alcohol counseling progams reduced to a much shorter period of time. It is also possible for the period of probation to be modified if Gibson remains on good behavior.

What about Gibson's tirade during his arrest? He threatened to make the arresting officer's life miserable, but since Gibson made no physical threats, his mouthing off is not against the law. He made some vitriolic remarks about Jews, but anti-Semitism is not against the law either. The courts have recognized angry expressions, such as those against the officer and Jews, as constitutional protected speech. The one year long self-help program part of the sentence appears to be the court's way of addressing Gibson's hatred of Jews.

If Gibson had been a rock star or a hip-hop star with a legion of rabid young fans, his hateful remarks would have led to a significant increase in anti-Semitism. Fortunately, instead of an idolized rock star, he is an aging Hollywood celebrity with a declining number of fans. Gibson has a deep hatred of Jews, but his fans are either already anti-Semites or, if not so, they are not likely to adopt his bigoted views.

Gibson's movie, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which blamed Jews for Chirst's crucifixion, probably did lead to a rise in anti-Semitism. Ironically, the publicity for that movie was hyped in no small measure with the unintended help of Jewish community leaders in their public outrage against the film long before it opened in theaters. Those were some of the same Jewish leaders Gibson reached out to in the phony apology released by his publicist.

The fallout from Gibson's arrest and tirade is over. Now that the case is closed, you can bet that he is not going to seek the Jewish community's help in searching for the cause of his anti-Semitic outburst. After his murder trial, O. J. Simpson declared that he would spend the rest of his life searching for his wife's killer. Simpson's search is easy - all he has to do is look in the mirror. Mel Gibson's search for answers to his anti-Semitic tirade is much harder because he is in denial of his hatred for Jews.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Now that there is a fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, it is a good time to reflect on the outcome of their 34 day war. Israel destroyed much of Lebanon's infrastructure and it will take well over a billion dollars to rebuild it. Israel claims to have killed over 500 Hezbollah fighters and admits that 118 of its soldiers were killed. Over a thousand Lebanese civilians were killed, including many women and children. Hezbollah fired more than 2,000 rockets into Northern Israel, causing considerable property damage and a number of civilian casualties. Who are the real winners and losers in this conflict?

Hezbollah, a guerilla militia, faught Israel's once mighty army to a standstill and that amounts to a victory. No other Arab force, or combination of such forces, have ever come close to beating the always outnumbered Israeli army. Hezbollah's prestige is now sky high and it has gained the adoration of the whole Muslim world. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, is now the most popular and revered person in the Muslim world. Even many non-Muslim Europeans now admire Hezbollah and its leader, Nasrallah. The Lebanese government has declared that its army will not disarm Hezbollah. There is every indication that the proposed international peace keeping force, once it is in place between Israel and the Litani River, will not forcibly disarm Hezbollah.

Considereing the differences in the size of their armies, the loss of 118 Israeli soldiers is equivalent to the loss of 11,800 American soldiers. With around 2,600 U.S. soldiers killed in nearly four years of fighting, the majority of Americans are clamoring for us to get out of Iraq now. How quickly would our troops have been pulled out of Iraq if 11,800 of our soldiers had been killed there within a 34 day period?

A significant number of Israeli tanks were destroyed or disabled by a guerilla militia using sophisticated hand held rocket propelled anti-tank grenades. Returning from combat, Israeli soldiers complained about reservists being ill prepared, inadequate equipment and supplies, acute shortages of drinking water, and serious delays in the evacuation of wounded comrades. Israel's devastating bombardment of Lebanon has gained it world-wide condemnation. It is now more isolated than ever, the United States being its one and only remaining friend.

The war started over the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. Israel has not gained the release of these soldiers and there is now talk among Israeli government leaders of a prisoner swap, which is exactly what Hezbollah wanted in the first place. The popularity of Ehud Olmert, the inept leader of Israel, is now at an alltime low, and the reputation of Israel's armed forces has been severely damaged. Hezbollah has shown that the land of Israel is very vulnerable to rocket strikes.

So, who are the real winners and losers in the war between Israel and Hezbollah? Israel wanted to get back its kidnapped soldiers and destroy Hezbollah, but it failed to achieve either objective. Even though it had every right to defend itself against attacks by its enemies, international condemnation for its devastation of Lebanon and homefront discontent over mounting casualties and incoming missle strikes forced Israel to abort its effort to destroy Hezbollah. For now, in this conflict, Israel is seen as a big loser, while Hezbollah is perceived as a big winner. However, stay tuned for the inevitable upcoming Round 2.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Joe Foss , an 86 year old retired Marine Corps general and former Governor of South Dackota, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism during the battle for Guadalcanal. As a fighter pilot in World War II, Foss shot down 26 Japanese planes in one-on-one air-to-air combat. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in combat that can be bestowed upon American military personnel.

On January 11th of this year, long before the current heightened security alert, Joe Foss was leaving his Arizona home for a trip to address the Corps of Cadets at West Point. He took his medal with him so he could show it to the cadets. When the security screeners at Phoenix International Airport found the medal in his jacket pocket, THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND PARANOIA bells and whistles went off.

The screeners considered the Medal of Honor a suspicious five-pointed metal object similar to a HIRA SHUNKEN, the Japanese Ninja throwing star. These idiot security screeners, who are under the Transportation Security Administration branch of the Department of Homeland Paranoia (oops - I meant to say Department of Homeland Security), must have watched way too many Kung Fu movies. You would have to be pretty ignorant not to recognize that metal object for what it was.

After 45 minutes of being hassled and passed off from "nasty" screener to "nasty" screener, Foss was finally passed through security with his medal in hand. During that time, this 86 year old man was ordered three different times to remove his cowboy boots, his bolo tie, his cowboy belt, and his cowboy hat for inspection. When he was told to discard the medal so that it could be destroyed, he told the screeners that he would not give it up.

All of us should support the thorough screening of airline passengers and their baggage for any dangerous weapons and explosives. But subjecting an 86 year old man to three inspections of his boots, tie, belt and hat, over a 45 minute period is a bit too much, to put it mildly. And there is a world of difference between a medal for valor and a hira shunken. Dishonoring a genuine great American hero by threatening to confiscate and destroy his Congressional Medal of Honor is unbelievable and unforgivable.