Monday, February 26, 2007


ANNA NICOLE SMITH. Anna Nicole, who died Feb. 8, will not be buried before tomorrow, if then. Her mother is appealing Judge Larry's decision awarding the body to the court appointed guardian of Smith's five month old daughter. Meanwhile, Anna Nicole's corpse continues to decompose.

Why is Anna Nicole's corpse decomposing while the body of soul singer James Brown, who died two months ago, is not decomposing? Brown's body, like Anna Nicole's, has been fought over in legal proceedings, thus preventing his burial. Post mortem experts believe that Brown's body is still in good shape because it was embalmed within a few hours of his death, while Anna Nicole's corpse remained refrigerated for more than a week before it was embalmed.

PRES. FELIPE CALDERON. The new president of Mexico got it right when he recently ordered 20,000 soldiers from the Mexican army to take over the fight against the narco trade in that country. Mexico's local, state and federal police have been corrupt through and through, and some drug corruption has reached into the highest levels of the federal government. Calderon raised the pay of the soldiers engaged in this fight from $319 a month to $474, retroactive to Jan. 1.

How effective will this move be and how long will the army continue to be used in the war against drugs? That remains to be seen. So far, no high level traffickers have been arrested. In Columbia, the combined use of the military and the federal police has resulted in breaking up that country's leading drug cartels. Unfortunately however, others were quick to move into the lucrative narco trade and Columbia continues to be the leading source of the cocaine found in the United States.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER. Yesterday, the Republican governor of California was interviewed by Bob Schieffer on CBS' Face the Nation. That interview is more proof of why Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution should be ammended so that foreign born citizens will be able to serve as president of our country. Schieffer's interview convinced me that Schwarzenegger is the most outstanding elected official in America.

The governor advocated that candidates elected to public office adopt a centrism position. He stated that public office holders were elected to represent all the people, not just those of their own political party or any wing of a party. He believes that it is the duty of the president, the governors, congressional leaders and other office holders to bring the opposing political parties together so that both can work for the good of all the people, rather than only for their own interests.

Schwarzenegger admitted that he was wrong when, early in his term, he battled the majority Democrats in the California legislature. Failing to get his proposed measures passed, he tried to bypass the legislature by placing the measures before the public in an initiative referendum. With the strong opposition of the nurses and teachers unions, the measures were soundly defeated and his approval rating dropped to 30 percent.

The governor told Schieffer that he learned from his mistakes and started to work together with both the Democrats and the Republicans. Because he strived to bring both parties together, the legislature passed some notable measures for health care, environmental protection, and other laws of benefit to all Californians. Last November, he soundly defeated his Democratic opponent while Republicans in other states were run out of office.

THE DIXIE CHICKS. During the recent Grammy Awards, the Dixie Chicks won five Grammies. Celebrity award groups tend to be of the liberal persuasion and the politically correct crowd gleefully claimed that the awards vindicated the trio for their public criticism of President Bush and the war in Iraq. The Chicks' defenders and supporters just don't get it.

Some people would have been pissed off had the Dixie Chicks made their Bush-bashing and anti-war statements on any street corner in the United States. That is their right. But the shit storm over their remarks arose from the fact that they were made in England and not in this country. The politically correct crowd be damned, but Americans have absolutely no business criticizing our country or its officials while they are overseas!

JOSEPH NICHOLS. Who in the hell is Joseph Nichols? He is a Texas death row inmate who was convicted for the 1980 murder of a clerk during a convenience store robbery. He has lingered on death row due to the many appeals filed on his behalf. He is scheduled to be executed next month if a last minute appeal does not succeed. An angry 45 year old Nichols complained about his fate during a recent interview with a newspaper reporter.

Nichols told the reporter that he was angry at being "punished twice" for the same crime. "I've already served a life sentence. Now they want to kill me. They want to punish me two times. If they were going to kill me, they should have done it a long time ago."

Say what? That's some chutzpah for Nichols to cry foul. So, why has he been serving the equivalent of a life sentence on death row? The only reason Nichols has been sitting on death row over 25 years is because he agreed to let his attorneys file numerous appeals on his behalf. Claiming that he should not be executed because he has already served a life sentence is akin to a youth throwing himself on the mercy of the court because, by murdering his parents, the poor lad had been orphaned by the tragic sudden deaths of his mother and father.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Last week, television viewers were treated to a courtroom spectacle that has been derided as a three ring circus presided over by, as MSNBC's Tucker Carlson described him, "the most infamous judge in America." The judge, Larry Seidlin, held a hearing with the sole purpose of determining who would get custody of the decomposing corpse of Anna Nicole Smith who died on Feb. 8. The proceedings, which should have been concluded within half a day, dragged on for six days until its surprise ending on Feb. 22.

Seidlin is a probate judge in Broward County, Florida. He is a former Bronx cab driver who obtained his law degree by attending night school. He has been on the bench for almost 30 yeqrs and is nearing retirement, Those critical of the Anna Nicole hearing accuse him of using the televised proceedings to audition for the next Judge Judy show. Carlson called him a "self promoter" and described his conduct of the hearing as an "outrageous performance." A member of the Florida bar has initiated proceedings to bring Judge Larry up before the State's Judicial Qualifications Committee.

Some have suggested Seidlin may be mentally unstable. Indeed, Judge Larry displayed some bipolar tendencies in that he alternated joking and laughing with spells of sadness and crying. As the proceedings dragged on, his pontifications became more frequent. He asked more questions of the witnesses than did all the attorneys representing the three parties involved in the fight for the remains of Anna Nicole. On occasion, when a witness hesitated answering a question, Judge Larry would even answer it for him.

Judge Larry, playing up to the television cameras, clearly lost control of the hearing, and at times lacked self control. Shades of Judge Lance Ito. You may recall that, in 1995, Ito presided over the Los Angeles Superior Court murder trial of O. J. Simpson. The trial lasted over eight months, but it only took the mostly black jury less than four hours to acquit the former football star. Over the months, it became clear that, like Judge Seidlin, Ito was playing up to the television cameras. Ito helped turn the Simpson trial into a media circus.

In my opinion, Judge Ito, more than anyone else, was responsible for Simpson's acquittal. Inadvertently aided by Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, the inept prosecutors, Ito allowed the defense to play the race card. A since disbarred F. Lee Bailey was allowed to ask Mark Fuhrman, a very experienced L.A. homicide detective, if he had ever used the word "nigger" in the past ten years. That question, and Darden's mistake in getting Simpson to try on the infamous glove, nullified the overwhelming evidence against Simpson in the minds of the black jurors.

Seidlin out-buffooned Ito. The hearing came to an abrupt end when instead of deciding in favor of one of the two claimants, Anna Nicole's mother or her bottom feeding lawyer-lover, a tearful Judge Larry released the decomposing corpse to the court appointed guardian of Anna Nicole's five month old daughter. His decision that the infant daughter was the next of kin with the right to take possession of her mother's body could have been rendered within a couple of hours after the start of the hearing. He took the hearing into Anna Nicole's drug use and into who the birth father of her new daughter might be, neither issue having any relevance whatsoever to the issue of who should get the body. As a result, the proceedings dragged on and on for six days at great expense to Florida taxpayers.

By his bipolar-like grandstanding, Seidlin allowed the hearing to become a theater of the absurd. Very few Americans have ever attended a court trial. Their impressions of court proceedings are formed by television dramas or by televised court proceedings involving celebrities like Simpson and Anna Nicole. The Anna Nicole hearing has garnered world-wide attention. Seidlin's buffoonery has done serious harm to the image and reputation of the American judicial system.

Friday, February 16, 2007


By now, I am sure many of you have seen the video clip where an angry father rushed in and threw his son's eleven year old wrestling opponent out of the ring. To me, what is remarkable about this incident is the police response to it.

On the evening of February 13, a Greco-Roman wrestling match was taking place in an Aurora (Illinois) gym. There were several matches going on at the same time. In one of those, Nick Nasenberry, 11, pinned his opponent to the floor. Suddenly the father of the other boy rushed in and threw Nick some six feet through the air. Then he rushed at Dan Nasenberry, Nick's father, who was video taping the incident. The assailant was restrained by security personnel before he could reach Nick's father.

Ray Hoffman, the eleven year old's assailant, later told a television reporter that he regrets his behavior and feels embarrassed. Hoffman happens to be a part-time wrestling coach. At the same time he rushed into the ring, the referee was already blowing his whistle, indicating that the match was over. Wrestling coaches noted that Nick pinned Hoffman's son with a legal move. Hoffman's punishment? He will no longer be allowed to coach wrestling.

When the Nasenberry family appeared on this morning's NBC Today show, Mrs. Nasenberry was asked whether or not any criminal charges were pending against Hoffman. She said that the police had informed them that Hoffman had no malicious intent when he assaulted Nick. The police added that without such intent, no charges couold be filed against Hoffman, as no crime had been committed.

Whoa! If Aurora, a Chicago suburb, is in the United States of America, that city has some idiot cops and/or some loony law UNforcement. The law does not require specific proof of intent in every case. Intent is proven by the action of the perpetrator. For example, you don't have to prove that a burglar intended to steal when he broke into a home. The breaking and entering proves intent.

Furthermore, intent is not always an issue. If I accidentally kill someone when my gun discharges as I am cleaning it, I can be charged with manslaughter or negligent homicide. even though I had no intention of killing anyone. Why? Because it is incumbent of me to exercise the care necessary to avoid doing harm to others.

Hoffman should be charged with assault, as well as with child endangerment. Nick received an injury to his shoulder, but he could have been hurt much more seriously. The fact that Hoffman may not have intended to hurt the boy is immaterial. It is a gross miscarriage of justice if Hoffman's only punishment is his being banned from coaching wrestling. Aurora should be emabarrassed by its idiot cops and/or its seemingly loony law UNforcement.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Last Monday evening, five shoppers were killed and four were seriously wounded by gunfire at the Trolley Square shopping mall in Salt Lake City. The shooter was a young man armed with a shotgun and handgun, wearing a backpack and bandoleer full of ammunition. The toll of dead and wounded would have been much higher were it not for the smartness and heroic action of an off-duty police officer.

Ken Hammond and his pregnant wife, Sarita, were sitting on a mall bench outside the restaurant where they had just finished dining. Hammond is an officer with the City of Ogden, which is north of Salt Lake City. Being off-duty, he was in civilian clothes, without body armor, and carrying a pistol with no extra ammo clips in his possession. When he heard gunfire and spotted the shooter, he sprang into action.

He instructed his wife to go back into the restaurant and tell the manager to lock the doors. He also told his wife to call "911" and give the operator a detailed description of what he looked like and what he was wearing while in pursuit of the shooter, so that he would not be mistaken for the perpetrator by any responding Salt Lake City officers.

He followed the shooter, identified himself, and ordered the man to drop his weapon. They exchanged several shots at a distance of 20 - 30 yards, He cornered the shooter and continued to keep him in sight so he could point him out to any responding officers. By his action, he placed himself in an extremely dangerous situation. He had only a few rounds of ammunition and he was not wearing any body armor. He could have been shot by the perpetrator, or worse, he could have been shot by Salt Lake City officers seeing a man with a gun in civilian clothes and believing him to be the killer.

Fortunately for Hammond, the first officer to arrive at the scene did not shoot him. To his credit, that officer kept his wits about him when he spotted Hammond with a gun and heard him shout that he was an off-duty officer. In the heat of the moment, a hyped-up officer could easily have shot Hammond. Shortly thereafter, the shooter was killed by officers, thus ending the carnage.

The Salt Lake City police chief announced that there was no doubt Hammond's action resulted in preventing any additional deaths and injuries. Hammond was very smart in telling his wife to give the "911" operator his detailed description. That probably helped to prevent him from being mistaken for the shooter. Many officers would not have thought to get their own description called in.

Hammond is a very brave officer. Instead of hiding in the restaurant with his pregnant wife, he went after the heavily armed perpetrator, thereby riskimg his life to save the lives of others. He could have readily been killed by the shooter or by "friendly fire." Officer Hammond had to know that, by going after the killer, he might not live to see his family again. That is what being a true hero is all about.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Television viewers are now being treated to a new soap opera of the JOHN'S OTHER WIFE genre. The new soap, AEROSPACERS GONE WILD, has gotten off to a very strong start. For all you soap opera lovers, here is a review of the new show.

THE CHARACTERS: Lisa Nowak, 43, a NASA astronaut who flew on the Discovey last July. Lisa is a U.S. Navy captain, a rank equivalent to a "full chicken" colonel in the U.S. Army. Lisa, a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is the recipient of bachelor and master's degrees in aerospace engineering. She joined NASA in 1996. Lisa, who is separated from her husband, is the mother of three children.

William Oefelein. 41, a NASA astronaut who flew on the Discovery last December. A stud, known to his friends as Billy-O, he is a commander in the U.S. Navy. He has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in aviation systems. He joined NASA in 1998. Billy-O is the divorced father of two children.

Colleen Shipman, 30, a U.S. Air Force captain who is an engineer with a launch support unit for the air force's national security launches at Kennedy Space Center, the same site where NASA's space shuttles are launched. Colleen was in the ROTC at Penn State and holds degrees in chemical engineering and in German. In 2002, she was commissioned a lieutenant in the air force. Colleen does not work with the space agency's programs. Colleen is single.

Donald Lykkebak, a Florida lawyer, who specializes in keeping a poker face while telling bald-faced lies. Orlando police detective William Becton. Additional characters include other astronauts and NASA administrators, friends and family of Lisa, Billy-O and Colleen, and other Florida law enforcement officials.

THE PLOT: AEROSPACERS GONE WILD is the story of a passionate love triangle between two middle aged astronauts and a younger woman. Astronaut Billy-O is divorced by his wife of 17 years. He devlops a close relationship with fellow astronaut Lisa as they train together for flight in space. Lisa falls deeply in love with Billy-O and theirs becomes an intimate relationship. Lisa separates from her husband of 19 years.

While at the Kennedy Space Center, Billy-O meets the younger Colleen. Billy-O and Colleen become lovers. Lisa is devastated when she learns of their relationship. Lisa finds out that Colleen is staying with Billy-O in Houston over the weekend. A dumped Lisa is determined to end the affair of her former lover with Colleen. Lisa plots an elaborate scheme designed to doom the romance between her rival and Billy-O.

LAST WEEK'S EPISODE: Using her contacts at NASA, Lisa finds out the airline flight schedule for Colleen's return to Florida. Lisa withdraws a large amount of cash with which she purchases a black wig, a hooded trenchcoat, a pellet handgun, a four inch folding knife, pepper spray, a steel mallet, four feet of plastic tubing, six black latex gloves, and some garbage bags, making sure not to pay for anything with her credit card.

Her cheating heart broken, Lisa hops in her car and drives 969 miles from Houston to Orlando. To get to the airport ahead of Colleen, she wears an adult diaper so she would not have to stop to pee. She stops only for gas and pays for the fuel in cash. She checks into a hotel near the Orlando airport, wearing the wig, registering under a false name with a false address, and paying for the room in cash. Lisa, still wearing the diaper and wig, puts on the trench coat and drives to and parks at the airport to await the arrival of Colleen.

Colleen arrives in Orlando, but discovers that her baggage was not on her flight. She waited in the airport for two hours until her baggage arrived. As she heads to her car, an alarmed Colleen notices a dark haired woman following her. She hurries to her car, gets in, and immediately locks all the doors. The dark haired woman starts pounding on the driver's side window screaming that she needed help. Colleen cracks the window slightly and Lisa spritzes her with the pepper spray.

Colleen manages to drive as far as the parking lot toll booth where she reports the assault. The police arrive in time to see Lisa trying to discard a garbage bag containing the purchased goodies, which they retrieve from a trash container. Colleen identifies Lisa who is then arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping, among other charges. After spending the night in jail she appeared in court and was granted release on $15,000 bail. While she was in a bail bond office, Lisa was rearrested on a newly filed charge of attempted first degree murder.

Detective Becton prepared the affidavit for the murder charge. "The facts that Mrs. Nowak drove approximately 900 miles, urinated in diapers so that she did not need to stop, stayed at a hotel where she paid in cash and used a false name and address to register, stealthily followed the victim, while in disguise, and possessed multiple deadly weapons at the time she confronted the victim, as well as spraying the victim with a substance meant to disable a person, create a well-founded fear and give this investigator probable cause to believe that Mrs. Nowak intended to murder Ms. Shipman."

At the following court hearing Donald Lykkebak, Lisa's lawyer, told the judge that this case was not what it appeared to be. Maintaining a poker face, he told the court, "What we have here is a desperate woman wanting to talk to the other woman." This time Lisa was released on $25,000 bail, fitted with a GPS ankle bracelet, and escorted back to Houston on a commercial flight by another astronaut, one of two who had flown to Orlando to be at her side. Uon her return, NASA placed Lisa on 30 days leave. Meanwhile, Billy-O flies to Florida to be at Colleen's side.

COMING EPISODES: Will a spaced out Lisa be thrown out of the space program? Will Colleen testify against Lisa or will she decide not to cooperate with the prosecution? Will that murder charge hold up? Will Lykkebak's argument of Lisa only wanting to talk to Colleen fly? Will she get probation, go to prison, or will a jury find that this astronaut merely flew over the cuckoo's nest? Will the Navy courtmartial Lisa for the unbecoming conduct of adultery? Will Billy-O marry Colleen, or will he dump her for a still younger babe? Soap lovers, stay tuned to AEROSPACERS GONE WILD with new adult diaper commercials claiming that "You can depend on Depend to keep you dry for at least 900 miles."

Sunday, February 04, 2007


We have all heard different takes on what is the best thing about being a cop. There's the noble calling in which you risk life and limb to protect and serve society. There's the occasional excitement. There's the joy of not being tied down to a desk all day long. When you report for your shift, you never know what is in store for you. There's the thrill of driving your patrol car at 100 mph with the emergency lights and siren on. There's the satisfaction of catching a crook. And then, there are the short skirted cleavage showing groupies who are crazy about a man in uniform. Whoopee!!!

But, what is the worst thing about being a cop? The answer to that question depends on who you talk to. Criminal justice researchers say that police work consists of 95 percent utter boredom and five percent sheer terror. That is correct. And, that creates problems for some officers. To overcome the boredom, they will create their own excitement. How do they do that? Sometimes, by riling up a violator during an otherwise uneventful confrontation. The excitement comes from the inevitable knock down and drag out. Others create some escitement by driving like there's no tomorrow. Boredom also leads to carelessness, thereby placing an officers's life in greater jeopardy.

I recently heard a police officer say, "The worst thing about this job is having to listen to people lie all day long." He had a good point. Whether you are talking to a traffic violator or to someone suspected of committing a crime, you usually get nothing but a load of crap. Officers finding a stolen stereo set during the execution of a search warrant, will ask the crook, "What about that stereo?" He'll usually reply, "What stereo?" When they jerk him over to the stereo and say, "This stereo," he'll usually respond, "Oh, that stereo." The same with dope. "Where did you get this shit (heroin)?" "What shit?" "This shit, asshole!" "Oh, that shit." Even crime victims, and not just crooks, often lie to investigating officers.

Dr. Mike Roberts, a highly respected police psychologist, once asked all of the recruits, on their frirst day in the San Francisco police academy, what they thought of people in general. Their response for the most part was, "There are good people and there are assholes." He returned a year after they graduated from the academy and asked the same question. This time the answer was, "There are cops and there are assholes." When he returned three years later with that quesstion, those still on the force replied that even "some of the cops are assholes."

The cynicism - cops and assholes - which pervades the police service is one of the worst things about being a cop. It creates problems in the officer's relationship with familly members. It creates problems in his relationship with the community. This cynicism is nurtured by hostility between the police and members of the community. That hostility is a consequence of the police's duty to regulate human behavior when no one likes to have their behavior regulated.

How does a good cop deal with the assholes in the police service? Unfortunately, not very well. Will an officer turn in his partner if he used excessive force during an arrest? Not likely. Will an honest cop turn in a crooked cop? Maybe, maybe not. The problem is the unwritten law in the police service that you do not rat out a fellow officer. That is partly due to the cynicism of "everyone out there is against us, so we have to stick together." Of course, in our society a rat is a rat, whether one is a police officer or not.

Cynicism is also a great destructor of idealism. I've known a number of white police officers who joined the force to do their part in fighting racism against blacks. After a while, they get sick and tired of the hostility they meet when dealing with members of the black community, a hostility based on years of mistreatment by the police. It isn't long before many of them join their fellow officers in using the "n" word and in making disparaging remarks about minorities. The same with the idealists who want to help make ours a better society. They soon give up on that - it becomes us against the assholes.

There is little doubt that cynicism has a debilitating effect. Many officers undergo regressive personality changes during their progression through the police service. Some acquire an authoritarian Napoleonic complex.
Many develop a "people are no fucking good" attitude. Some develop a borderline paranoid ideation. Cynicism probably plays a significant role in the high rate of alcoholism and divorce among cops. Notwithstanding the cynicism, most of those who become cops will find police work to be an important, challenging, and satisfying occupation.

Friday, February 02, 2007


The use of Tasers by the police as non-lethal weapons was initially aclaimed the greatest development since sliced bread. The second guessers, usually civil libertarians, come out of the woodwork every time a cop pops someone with his gun, Tasers were thought to be a harmless way of subduing those who charge at cops with knives, clubs, hammers, axes, machetes, chainsaws, a sack full of shit or whatever, without having to resort to deadly force. God forbid that the police should ever shoot some hatchet swinging juvie punk. Heaven help the cop who shoots an unarmed hyped-up 250 pound hulk bent on beating him into a lifeless bloody pulp.

All good things must come to an end. Some scientists and many civil libertarians no longer look at tasers as the weapon of choice for a kinder, gentler, and friendlier neighborhood cop. There have been a number of people throughout the country who have died after having been tasered by the police. Many cops have been criticized for using tasers instead of sweet-talking some aggressive drug-crazed asshole into a police car. Others have been accused of resorting to tasers out of anger or to satisfy some sadistic trait.

Police taser guns fire two barbs which imbed themselves in the clothing or skin while delivering a five second long 50,000 volt electric charge, resulting in the loss of muscular control, thereby incapacitating the targeted individual. Some police agencies require that before an officer is issued a taser, he himself must be tasered. The thinking here is that an officer needs to experience the hurt he may put on others to keep him from using the taser unless it is absolutely necessary. Other police agencies do not require their officers to be tasered.

I have always felt very strongly that it is ridiculous to require that an officer be harpooned and zapped with 50,000 volts before he is allowed to carry a taser. If that is necessary to prevent the unnecssary use of that weapon, why not shoot an officer before he is allowed to carry a gun? Or, why not really whack him a few times with a baton before he is allowed to carry that weapon? You say that shooting and clubbing an officer are absurd analogies. Sure they are, but they are no more absurd than harpooning and zapping an officer.

The judicious use of tasers can best be achieved through an emphatic training program without resorting to the tasering of the trainee. As with guns and batons, their judicious use can be enforced by written taser use policies, the violation of which would result in serious disciplinary consequences. Whether or not police agencies will continue to use tasers is besides the point. There will always be an occasion when a cop will have to shoot someone in order to save himself or the life of another citizen.