Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Virginia recently became the first state to pass legislation officially apologizing for slavery. Several other southern states are now considering similar legislation. Several black members of congress are seeking to have the United States apologize for slavery. No one can deny that slavery represented a very shameful and inhumane period it our nation's history.

This begs the question - should Americans apologize for slavery? I say no. Why not? Well, for one thing, slavery in this country was abolished in 1865, following the end of our Civil War. That was almost a century and a half ago. For another, we need to recognize how blacks became slaves in the first place.

Dominant African tribes raided the villages of other tribes, capturing their men, women and children, then selling them to Arab slave traders. Those Arabs then sold the captives to European slave traders who shipped them off to America where southern plantation owners bought them at open slave auctions. Thus, it would seem plausible that Africans, Arabs and Europeans should apologize for their part in slavery before we consider apologizing for America's participation in that sordid enterprise.

Many black activists are not only demanding an apology, but they also want the states and the federal government to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves. They point out that Jews who survived the holocaust, and the heirs of those who didn't, were paid reparations by post-Nazi Germany. That's pure unadulterated hogwash. Most of those reparations were made for property, businesses, bank deposits and personal belongings stolen from Jews by the Nazis and for life insurance policy claims. No reparationns were made for the thousands of Jews in concentration camps who were forced to work as slave labor in Nazi war plants.

If apologies are due for past wrongs, then what about apologies to the American Indians? Driven off their lands by white settlers, forced to live on reservations and robbed of their native culture by the government, American Indians were left to live in squalor and afflicted with a high rate of alcoholism.

While we're at it, do we owe Jews an apology? On November 9, 1938, "Kristallnacht" was the beginning of a Nazi progrom against Jews in Germany and parts of Austria which led to the relocation of Jews to concentration camps and the confiscation of their businesses and property. Many thousands sought asylum in the United States, but our government refused to allow in Jewish refugees, even though the Roosevelt administration knew that the Nazis intended to exterminate them. Just a relatively few Jews were able to immigrate, and then only if they had American sponsors who would guarantee to provide for all their needs. Thus, our government condemned thousands of Jews to extermination in the gas chambers of Nazi concentration camps.

This brings us to the Japanese-Americans during World War II. Right after the attack on Pearl Harbor, West Coast residents of Japanese ancestry were uprooted from their homes, farms and businesses, and interned in relocation centers. The government claimed the relocation, which appeared to be racially motivated, was justified on the grounds that they might aid Japan to invade our country. With few exceptions, those interned in the crowded camps were loyal to the United States. When they were released, these hapless citizens found that many of their homes, farms and businesses had been appropriated (stolen) by white Americans. Eventually, the government paid reparations to most former internees for their losses. If we owe blacks an apology, don't we owe an apology to loyal Japanese-Americans for uprooting them into internment camps?

While I do not believe we owe anything to anyone for something that ended a century and a half ago, I do believe that we should apologize to blacks for the Jim Crowism which treated blacks in the South as sub-human, and for the nationwide discrimination against blacks in education, employment, housing and civil rights, which followed the abolition of slavery and continued well into the last century. That chapter in our recent history is just as shameful as slavery itself.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Roy Lee Pippin, who is scheduled to be executed next week, complains that life on Texas' death row is "a living hell." He has been lingering on death row for 12 years under what he considers horrendous conditions. His complaints have been taken up by Amnesty Internatioal, the London based human rights group.

In a letter to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Amnesty International accuses Texas of violating international human rights agreements by the way the State operates its death row unit. The group listed the following violations: The condemned are isolated in small cells 23 hours a day; they are not allowed to watch television; they have no work program; and they are not allowed to participate in group recreation and religious services. Amnesty International claimed that such "inherently inhumane" treatment can cause severe physical and mental harm.

Pardon me, while I get out my hanky and wipe away my tears. Heaven forbid that we should be so cruel to cold blooded killers. Have these bleeding hearts considered that the victims of death row inmates are isolated six feet underground in cramped coffins 24 hours a day and kept from working, watching television, or recreating? Is Amnesty International suggesting we turn death row into Club Med? That group disregards the fact that those on death row are not there for singing off-key in a church choir. Pippin, for instance, is there for killing two men who were believed to have stolen $1.6 million from his Columbian drug cartel bosses.

Amnesty International should concentrate on ensuring that prisoners of war are treated humanely. If they are concerned about the treatment of incarcerated criminals, they should spend their efforts at improving the conditions under which inmates serve time in many Latin American, Asian and African prisons. The living conditions in those prisons are far worse than those on Texas' death row. Of course, all this has really more to do with Amnesty International's vehement opposition to the death penalty than with its complaints about death row. So, Amnesty International, butt out of Texas!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


GOOD POLICING: Santa Ana (California) police officer Rufus Tanksley has been giving money, gifts and advice to a homeless couple. Tanksley has encountered many homeless people during his 18 years as a police officer, most of them being drug addicts, alcoholics or mentally ill. John F. Martin, 54, and Marlena Gammelgard, 52, were different. Martin lost his electronics repair business and Gammelgard, a college graduate was laid off as a court cashier. They were down on their luck and left homeless.

In 2003, Tanksley "sold" the couple a 1990 Chevrolet Geo for $500, but he never asked them for the money. Occasionally, when he spots them sleeping in the car, he sticks an evelope containing $20 on the windshield. From time to time he takes them to a movie. At Christmas, he takes them to his home and fixes them a hearty breakfast. He got them a motel room when it was too cold to sleep in the car. Tanksley is helping the couple he believes to be "good people" down on their luck because years ago he himself had been down on his luck. Officer Tanksley desrves to be recognized nationally as an "Outstanding Officer of the Year."

This is not the first time than officers of the Santa Ana Police Department have played a significant charitable role. Many years ago, I came across a case where officers from that agency had arrested an office machine repairman for forgery. He was sentenced to prison, leaving his wife and children in difficult financial straits. Every week during this man's imprisonment, Santa Ana police officers took up a collection with which they purchased a week's worth of groceries for his family. Now, that's good policing.

Also years ago, I came across a case where Corona (California) police officers arrested a woman for the burglary of a bakery in which she stole a dozen or so loaves of bread. When the officers found that this single mother was only trying to provide some food for her hungry children, they persuaded the owner of the bakery to drop the charges which had been filed against her. At the suggestion of the officers, the baker also began to provide day-old bread and other bakery items to the woman and her kids. That's another example of good policing.

QUESTIONABLE POLICING: Recently, the Baltimore police arrested a 7-year old boy for riding a dirt bike on the sidewalk. His mother alleges that at the time of the arrest her son was merely sitting on the bike when an officer jerked him off by grabbing his neck. The bike was confiscated and the boy was arrested. He was taken to the staion house where, according to the boy, he was fingerprinted and had his mug shot taken, then handcuffed to a bench and interrogated, before being released to his parents.

Ouch - what a public relations nightmare. While he may have gone "by the book," the arresting officer should have used his discretionary powers and, with the backing of his supervisor, done his duty by impounding the bike, writing the boy a citation, and delivering him and the citation to his parents without taking him to a police station. Questionable policing? No, this is worse - it's piss poor policing.

And then, there is the "cops are armed and dangerous" case in which three New York officers have been indicted in the shooting death of an unarmed groom on his wedding day. Five undercover cops fired nearly 50 rounds which also wounded the groom's two companions. I will not defend bad policing. However, I always try to look at questionable cases from the officer's perspective. As such, I defended the actions of the Los Angeles officers in the Rodney King case, a position for which I was roundly criticized. ("Presumption of Officer Guilt: The Administration of Justice is Race Driven," TEXAS POLICE JOURNAL, July, 1996)

I have also defended the actions of several officers in cases where they shot someone to death with multiple rounds, even when some of those rounds struck that person in the back. Officers in fear of their lives instinctively fire multiple rounds because subconsciously they lack confidence in the accuracy of their shooting ability. No amount of training can immunize an officer from going into a panic mode the moment he thinks he is facing death. An instinctive shooting frenzy will usually be set off once one officer opens fire when several officers are present during a perilous situation.

The five New York undercover cops were conducting an investigation in a strip club when, according to the officers, they overheard the groom and his two buddies talking about going to his car to get a gun. Outside the club, the groom's car ran into one of the undercover police cars. When the five cops approached his car, one of the officers warned the others that someone was reaching for a gun. They all opened fire, killing the groom and wounding his buddies. No gun was found. Of the three indicted officers, one fired four shots, another fired 11, and the third fired 31.

Because the three strip clubbers were black, there was an immediate outcry in the black community about racist cops being quick to kill young blacks. This shooting reminded blacks of the 1999 shooting of an unarmed African immigrant who was shot 41 times. The current outrage was fueled by none other than the Reverend Al Sharpton, that charleton who was one of the three sleazy race-baiting provocateurs in the Tawana Brawley hoax. Never mind that two of the five officers were black. And now, Sharpton is complaining about the other two officers not being indicted.

I do find it impossible to defend the officer who fired 31 rounds. Unless he was firing two guns simultaneously, he would have had to eject one clip and insert another during the fusilage. By the time he reloaded, all the shooting would have been over because none of the other four officers fired more than 11 shots. It will take a psychiatrist to figure out what possessed him to fire all those rounds.

Just as with the Los Angeles officers in the Rodney King case, the indictments of the three New York cops appear designed to placate the black community. Would there have been any indictments had the groom and his two companions been white? I doubt it - absent malicious intent, the shootings probably would have been put to rest as an unfortunate tragedy, which is exactly what this shooting was.

By the way, where is the community outrage whenever cops are shot? Recently, within a short time span, two unarmed New York auxiliary cops were shot to death and two regular officers were wounded. Where was charleton Sharpton when these officers were shot?

Friday, March 16, 2007


Now, I've heard it all. On the evening of March 14, I was watching the COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMAN television program on MSNBC. Near the end of that program, Olberman designated the Law Lords of Birmingham, England as "the worst persons in the world." He described the Law Lords as being "a kind of super-appeals court." Why did he believe they were the worst persons in the world?

Olberman reported that "brothers Michael and Vincent Hickey spent 18 years in jail for a murder they did not commit. When their convictions were overturned, each was awarded huge settlements, more than a million dollars each. But now the Law Lords have sent the Hickey brothers a bill. Vincent owes $244,000. Michael owes $478,000. Why? Room and board during their 18 years of false imprisonment."

I have to agree with Olberman's worst persons designation. I can't believe that the Law Lords had the chutzpah to charge those poor bastards room and board for the 18 years they spent in prison for a crime they did not commit. To those of you who think that a million bucks each is too much to pay for all those years in prison, I would ask - as a productive member of society, how much is 18 years of your own life worth?

I have always been, and continue to be a strong law and order advocate. But, I also have a strong sense of justice. Whenever society, whether English or American, falsely imprisons a person over a prolonged period of time, it should be expected to pay for this miscarriage of justice by adequately compensating that individual for the loss of his freedom and the loss of wages he might have earned had he not been incarcerated. And, he should certainly not be charged room and board for his time in prison!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


PREVIOUSLY ON AEROSPACERS GONE WILD: Lisa Nowak's rendezvous with Colleen Shipman in the parking lot of the Orlando airport did not go well for Lisa. She was arrested and charged at first with attempted kidnapping, and then with attempted murder. Released on bail, she was suspended by NASA for 30 days upon her return to Houston. William "Billy-O" Oefelein flew to Florida to comfort a shook-up Shipman between them sheets on her bed.

CURRENT EPISODE: Lisa stays in seclusion. Billy-O returns to NASA following his tryst with Colleen. The Florida prosecutor refuses to accept the police charge of attempted murder, chosing instead to have Lisa indicted for attempted kidnapping, among other charges. She faces the possibility of a 25 year term in prison. NASA requests that Lisa be reassigned by the Navy, thus effectively firing her as an astronaut. At the end of the 30 day suspension, the Navy transfers Lisa to the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station and assigns her to a position in the flight training program.

A Florida court released documents from the investigation into this case. Billy-O, when questioned by the police, first balked at admitting that Lisa had been his girlfriend. "Well I --- yeah, I don't, it's hard to consider her a girlfriend, she was an ex, um, I --- I wouldn't --- she was an ex-interest, I guess." After trying to hem and haw his way around the question, Billy-O finally admitted that he started shacking up with Lisa in 2004, a year before his divorce.

At the time of her arrest, Lisa was carrying some e-mails which she had retrieved from Billy O's computer. One related to a charm Colleen had given Billy-O. During his 13 day mission as the pilot of the space shuttle Discovery, he e-mailed her a picture of the charm floating in the shuttle. Unable to see it, Colleen responded, "I don't see the charm though! pant, pant, it's like those erotic hidden picture games that they have at the bar . . . only you're fully clothed in the picture."

Before he returned from the flight, another of Colleen's e-mails provided Billy-O with some LUST IN SPACE. "Will have to control myself when I see you. First urge will be to rip your clothes off, throw you on the ground and love (screw) the hell out of you."

COMING EPISODES: Will her attorney try to keep Lisa out of prison by claiming that she was merely trying to stop Colleen from throwing Billy-O on the ground, thereby preventing a possible injury to the poor fellow? Will Billy-O remain with NASA? Will the Navy courtmartial Lisa and Billy-O for adultery?

What if Colleen becomes pregnant? Will fellow Floridian O. J. Simpson, the legally innocent but morally guilty murderer of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, come forth and claim that he may be the father of Colleen's unborn child? Far fetched? Not really. After all, O.J. now claims he may be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's infant daughter. Soap lovers, stay tuned to AEROSPACERS GONE WILD.

Monday, March 12, 2007


As many of you know by now, a New York mugger punched out a 101 year old lady in the foyer of her appartment building, breaking her cheek bone in the process. He followed that up by punching out an 85 year old lady outside her apartment building. Each robbery netted him less than 40 dollars. MSNBC's Tucker Carlson labeled this thug "the leading candidate for a public flogging."

During the latter half of my 25 years as a criminal justice professor, I concentrated on teaching HUMAN RELATIONS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. I always advocated the principles of good police work which requires officers, among other things, to refrain from using excessive force druing an arrest, regardless of any provocation on the part of the arrestee.

Years ago, I attended a law enforcement conference in San Francisco. The keynote speaker was a federal official with the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration in Washington, D.C. who was formerly a California peace officer. The speaker happened to be black. He started his presentation with the obligatory joke. "In the good old days, 10, 15 years ago, the police were not prejudiced. We just kicked the shit out of everyone."

When I was a cop, did I participate in some ass-kicking arrests? I'm not going to lie about it - sure I did. Did the arrestees deserve to get the shit kicked out of them? You bet they did. Which brings me to the asshole who mugged the two (probably many more) elderly ladies. When he gets caught, his lawyer will plead that this punk was the product of a teenage school dropout's unwanted pregnancy, deprived of a loving family relationship, beaten by several of his alcoholic mother's live-in boyfriends, addicted to drugs, and on top of everything else, a victim of racism.

Well, I'm sorry, but the principles of good police work be damned. In this case the mugger should be mugged. I hope some good old New Yorkers catch this asshole before the police do. Civilians will kick the supreme shit out of him and that is what he most certainly deserves. But, if cops catch this punk first, I hope he is stupid enough to resist arrest.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


ANNA NICOLE SMITH. The decomposing corpse of Anna Nicole was finally laid to rest next to her son's grave in the Bahamas. The funeral was held up at the last minute when her mother petitioned a Bahamian court to stop the proceedings so she could take possession of the body and have it moved to Texas for burial. The court turned down her request and the funeral went on after an hour's delay.

When Anna Nicole's mother arrived at the chapel, she was roundly booed by spectators lining the street. Howard Stern, her lover, blasted the mother during his eulogy. At the burial site, Anna Nicole's mother could be seen feverishly dumping shovel load after shovel load of dirt on the grave. Finally, instead of walking around it, she stomped across the grave on her way out of the cemetary.

Anna Nicole's mother vowed to continue her fight to have both the body of her daughter and that of her grandson moved to Texas. She is represented by John O'Quinn, a prominent Houston tort lawyer. Meanwhile. none other than O. J. Simpson joined the list of those claiming to be the likely father of Anna Nicole's infant daughter. Yes, that's O.J., the legally innocent but morally guilty murderer of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.

PRES. FELIPE CALDERON. After mobilizing 20,000 army troops in the war against that country's drug lords, the president of Mexico took additional steps to strengthen that effort. He is seeking approval by Mexico's congress to merge the four federal police agencies - the Federal Preventive Police, the Federal Investigative Agency, the Immigration Police, and the Customs Police - into a unified federal law enforcement orgaqnization.

Calderon wants to provide that agency with the latest technology in the fight against crime. And, he is trying to root out endemic government drug corruption by calling on all Mexcian citizens to report any knowledge they may have of such corruption among the police, prosecutors, the courts, and other government agencies.

JOSEPH NICHOLS. Nichols' prolonged fight to avoid excution has finally come to an end. Nichols, who complained that Texas was trying to kill him when he had already served a life sentence (over 25 years of numerous appeals) for the same crime, was put to death this past Wednesday.

Nichols did not go quietly. When asked if he had any last words, Nichols said he did and then spewed forth a tirade of expletives against his executioners and against the State of Texas for putting him to death. There is an upside for Nichols though - he is no longer serving that life senteence.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Ego gone wild. I could hardly believe my ears this mornoing as I was listening to that Texas blivot, Roach Limburger - oops, I mean Rush Limbaugh - on my car radio. Good old Roach was offended by one of his good old dittoheads who called in to complain that Limburger had not done enough for conservatives. Roach responded by tooting his own horn for damn near 10 minutes.

Roach claimed over and over again that he had been personally responsible for the election of a Republican Congress and the election of Presidents Bush I and Bush II.. He said, "I spawned the Republican revolution, I spawned the Republican House of Representatives, I spawned the Republican Senate, I spawned the election of two Repbublican Presidents," and he repeated his "I spawned" statements multiple times during his response to a seemingly dissapointed dittohead.

It takes a hell of a lot of nerve and an inflated super ego on Roach's part to make such far fetched outlandish claims. Now, I'm sure you've been asking yourself, what in the world is a Texas blivot? A TEXAS BLIVOT IS 10 POUNDS OF SHIT IN A TWO POUND BAG.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Every once in a while you will learn that some journalists are the crown jewels of their profession. Three such jewels are Dana Priest and Anne Hull of the Washington Post and Bob Woodruff of ABC News. These journalists uncovered the deplorable conditions under which our wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center's outpatient facilities and the deplorable treatment given Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans by the Veterans Administration.

Dana Priest and Anne Hull conducted an intensive investigation of the outpatient facilities at Walter Reed after getting a complaint from a soldier wounded in Iraq. What they found is appalling. The building used to house outpatients was found to be infested with rats and roaches. The walls were covered with black mold. There were holes in the ceiling and walls. The place was found to be in a terrible state of disrepair. For inpatients, once the outstanding initial treaatment phase has been completed, the quality of care given the wounded at Walter Reed and other military hospitals starts going down the tubes. There is a reluctance to recommend discharge from the service and there is a lot of foot dragging in determining disability rates.

To their credit, the two Washington Post staff writers did not immediately go to the Defense Department with their findings. Had they done so, the army likely would have covered up the deplorable conditions or, at best, would only have disciplined some low level hospital staff persons. Instead, Priest and Hull published their findings in the Post before contacting any officials, much to the chagrin of the Bush administration and of the Defense Department.

After their story was published, repairs to the outpatient facilities were started and the Secretary of the Army fired Walter Reed's commanding general. Then Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, forced the Secretary of the Army to resign. Now, President Bush is calling for a commission to look into the treatment of our wounded veterans and Congress will hold hearings on the same matter.

Bob Woodruff, who was critically wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, has uncovered a mountain of ineptness with the Veterans Adminsistration medical programs which is robbing military veterans of the proper medical care they should be receiving. Woodruff, who is quick to point out that he owes his life and remarkable recovery from a traumatic brain injury and other wounds to the excellent care he received at our military hospitals in Iraq, Germany, and in this country, found such care lacking for wounded veterans once they had been discharged from the service.

Woodruff found that the Veterans Administration was totally unprepared for, and overwhelmed by the number of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wounded veterans were subjected to bureaucratic red tape, making it hard for them to receive proper medical treatment. Those seeking treatment are required to fill out a pile of paperwork and to provide proof they were wounded - one brought his Purple Heart. There were instances of totally blind patients being placed in front of eye charts during their medical examinations. Veterans were sent to military base clinics for specific medical problems only to find that these clinics did not have the capability to treat those problems.

Is the Bush tax cut, which really benefits only the top one percent among taxpayers, responsible for the shoddy practices of the Veterans Administration? If so, should that tax cut be rescinded and some of the added tax revenue used to beef up the Veterans Administration? Hopefully, the investigations resulting from Woodruff's work will ensure that the wounded troops, who have been discharged from the service, will receive the medical treatment they deserve.

Priest, Hull and Woodruff are truly the crown jewels of their profession. Our veterans have been well served by these three journalists. The Washington Post can be very proud of Priest and Hull. Likewise, ABC can be very proud of Woodruff's work, following a long recovery from the wounds he suffered. Our nation should also be very proud to have these three journalists in our midst. We are all the beneficiaries of their diligent work.