Thursday, December 31, 2009

THE MICHIGAN ASSASSIN

On Tuesday, I wrote about some of the great pre-‘60s fighters. Stanley Ketchel, dubbed The Michigan Assassin, is rated by many boxing historians as the best middleweight ever to put on the gloves. He threw devastating knockout punches from any angle with either hand. Ketchel was fearless, even taking on heavyweights, including the great champion Jack Johnson. He had a record of 52 wins, four losses, four draws and four no decisions, with 49 wins by knockout. Ketchel would have easily knocked out any of today's best middleweights.

Here are some excerpts from STANLEY KETCHEL, THE MICHIGAN ASSASSIN…”HE POSSESSED FISTS OF IRON” by Monte Cox:

Stanley Ketchel (World Middleweight Champion 1908-1910), born Stanislaus Kiecel on a farm near Grand Rapids, Michigan was one of the strongest and hardest hitting middleweights of all time.

Stylistically Ketchel fought somewhat like a swarmer, but he hit like a slugger. His fury of attack kept his opponents so busy they had little time to think of anything but defense. Although Ketchel had no formal training he certainly had experience as a fighter. His style was crude, but the qualities that he possessed natural strength, boundless stamina, a strong chin, and a quick and pulverizing punch that earned him the moniker of “The Michigan Assassin” made him a great fighter.

Nat Fleischer wrote that Ketchel was, “One of the greatest fighters of my time. All stone and ice concentration when he entered the ring. The moment he entered his eyes were the eyes of a killer. Ketchel scorned the word retreat. A demon of the roped square he made his opponents think that all the furies in Hades had been turned loose on them. He got his punches away from all angles. If he missed with one hand, he would nail him with the other. He was game as a bulldog and tough as a bronco.”

Heavyweight boxer Jack Root said of Ketchel, “He possessed fists of iron, had a fighting heart and his self-confidence was unmatched.”

Veteran fight manager Dan Morgan stated that, “Ketchel was an exception to the human race. He was a savage. He would pound and rip his opponent’s eyes, nose and mouth in a clinch. He couldn’t get enough blood. His nickname “Assassin”, fit him like a glove.”

In Ketchel’s famous bout with heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, both waltzed through much of the first 10 rounds. It is no coincidence that the Oct 16th, 1910 San Francisco Chronicle featured a large cartoon of a motion picture company cameraman saying, “I don’t know who’s going to win, and I don’t give a darn either. All I want is for the fight to go OVER 10 ROUNDS” (emphasis theirs). The fighters were to receive 40 percent of the motion picture proceeds from the bout. In those days the public wouldn’t pay to see a fight that ended as soon as it began so the two agreed to carry one another for the first dozen rounds to enlarge their own pockets.

Harry B. Smith wrote in the Oct 17th Chronicle, “That the Negro could have finished the fight much earlier was apparent to those at ringside.” Nevertheless both men kept to their pact until the 12th round. Ketchel unleashed a hard right that knocked down Johnson for a short count. Smith stated, “To the writer and 90 percent of those who were in a position to follow closely it appeared that the punch seemed to glance around the back of Johnson’s head…and there was genuine surprise when Johnson went down.” However Referee Jack Welsh “affirms that the blow struck Johnson, and the colored man himself declares that he was hit behind the ear as he was coming in.” Johnson embarrassed, got up and knocked out the middleweight champion out with his next punch. Two of Ketchel’s teeth were embedded in Johnson’s glove after the knockout.

Stanley Ketchel was shot in the back and killed by Walter Dipley, the common law husband of Goldie Smith, who had been cooking Stan's breakfast. The wounded champion was transported from Conway, Mo where a special train had been chartered. Three physicians were on the special. They attempted to locate the slug, which had entered the boxer's body below the right shoulder and entered his lung. He died in a Springfield, Mo. Hospital on Oct 15, 1910. His last words were, “I'm so tired, take me home to mother.”

Because he was only 24 when he died as champion it can be argued that the world never saw the best of Stanley Ketchel.

TWO TON TONY

On Tluesday, I wrote about some of the great pre-‘60s fighters. I did not mention one of the toughest and most colorful heavyweights in boxing history. While never one of the greatest, Two Ton Tony Galento was arguably the toughest fighter ever and an extremely colorful one at that. Two Ton Tony had a record of 82 wins, 26 losses and 6 draws, with 59 knockouts. He scored 13 first round knockout victories in his colorful career. On his worst day, Galento would have given Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and today’s other leading heavyweights a real run for their money.

Here are some excerpts from a mini-biography by Jon C. Hopwood:

"Two Ton" Tony Galento, a stogie-smoking pugilist and bar-owner who claimed he trained on beer, hamburgers, and spaghetti, was one of the most colorful characters to ever contend for the heavyweight title.

Born Dominic Anthony Galento on March 12, 1910 in Orange, New Jersey, he earned his nickname after driving his ice truck to an arena, arriving just before the start of one of his fights. Spotting him in the parking lot, his manager asked him where he'd been.

"I had two tons of ice to deliver on my way here," Galento said. The greatest clown in boxing history had arrived.

Galento, a dirty fighter who would deliberately head-butt, gouge, low-blow, and elbow his opponents, was one of the toughest men ever to box professionally. Defeating Lou Nova, Al Ettore, and Nathan Mann on his way to a shot at the heavyweight title, he was the most famous member of "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis' "Bum of the Month Club." The underdog Galento earned fistic immortality when he sent Louis to the canvas in the second round of their title bout. Louis admitted that he might have been the toughest man he ever met in the ring.

Blessed with a lethal left hook, a roundhouse punch that could stagger the world's best boxers, Galento began his climb up the heavyweight division in 1928, a time when pro fighters fought almost every month. He was notorious for his street-fighting style that flaunted the rules and often led to fouls. But it was as a clown that Galento would achieve immortality, and it was a style he perfected early on.

On one night in Detroit in 1931, Tony took on three opponents and K.O.ed them all, drinking beer between rounds. Ten minutes before a 1932 fight with Arthur DeKuh, he took on a $10 bet that he could consume 50 hot dogs. He won the bet, and then the fight in four rounds.

The 5-foot-9 brawler, who sported a fighting weight of 235 to 240 lbs., resembled an ambulatory beer barrel, according to one sports reporter. A bar-owner, Tony made much of his lack of training, which might consist of him posing for photographers quaffing down a brew at his bar, or wrestling with a rubber car tire suspended from a tree that had been a child`s swing before Tony picked it as a sparring partner. Tony was a fat clown, and proud of it.

Tony was interviewed by a reporter before his title fight with Louis. Reporter: Tony, what do you think your chances are against Joe Louis? Galento: Joe who? Reporter: Joe Louis. Galento: I never hoid of da bum.

Galento got his shot at Louis' title before 30,000 fans in Yankee Stadium on June 28, 1939. Before the fight, the six-to-one underdog baited the Brown Bomber, telephoning the Louis household and insulting Joe and his family, using racial epithets. Galento even made a sexual innuendo about Louis' wife during the pre-fight introductions.

Galento, who out-weighed Louis by 33 pounds, started the fight by bullying the World`s Heavyweight Champion in the first round, almost sending him to the canvas with a left hook. At the end of the round, Louis was wobbly when he returned to his corner. In the second, Joe was staggered again, but he rallied late in the round and knocked Galento down, the first time Two-Ton had hit the canvass in his pro career.

After Galento got up, The Champ started connecting with jabs, but seemingly out of nowhere, Tony launched his lethal left hook and it was Louis' turn to hit the canvass. Though Joe got up at the count of two, his legs were wobbly. But Galento could not finish Louis off. Two-Ton Tony's time of fistic immortality was over.

By the fourth, the six foot, two-inch Louis began using Galento's head as a speed bag. The fight was stopped by the referee at 2:29 of the round with Two-Ton Tony on the ropes.

Joe Louis learned to like the crude clown. He had charisma, Louis said. His problem was that he had been born out of his time. Tony should have been a bare-knuckle fighter, as "The man was absolutely fearless."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SILLY SEASON FOR INEFFECTIVE ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURES

Now that the underwear bomb has been exposed, Homeland Security is putting in some draconian anti-terrorism measures to protect the flying public.

Starting an hour before their scheduled landing in the U.S., passengers on incoming international flights will no longer be allowed to leave their seats, piss-call notwithstanding. They will not be allowed to have a blanket, pillow, book or any other object in their laps. All carry-on items must be stored in the overhead compartments. Nothing can be placed underneath the seats. The in-flight maps showing the real-time location of an airliner will no longer be screened.

The silly season is upon us. Does Homeland Security really believe that a bomber is going to blow up a plane only during the last hour of its flight? God save us, not from the terrorists, but from the government idiots responsible for our safety.

On the ground, those waiting to board an airliner are being exposed to long delays while airport security screeners increase the scope of passenger searches and searches of their belongings. That means all those in line, including 80-year-old grandmas and young children, are being treated as if they might be airline hijackers and suicide bombers.

Anti-terrorism experts agree that all those measures are silly and ineffective. Those experts tell us that all of the airline hijackers and bombers have been MALE, MUSLIM and JIHADIST. This means that 99 percent of the flying public is being subjected to unnecessary anti-terrorism measures.

Anti-terrorism experts also agree that the most effective protection against airline hijackers and bombers is PASSENGER PROFILING.

Every Jihadist in the world dreams of blowing up an Israeli El Al airliner, yet not one El Al plane has ever been brought down by a terrorist. How come? The Israelis rely on passenger profiling and they run extensive background checks on every passenger from the time they buy their tickets until the time they board their plane. Passenger profiling would have led the Israelis to prevent anyone who purchased a one-way ticket, paid for it in cash, and had little or no baggage from ever boarding a plane.

But passenger profiling is akin to racial profiling and therefore POLITICALLY INCORRECT in our country. So, in order not to hurt the feelings of people who look like they may be of Middle Eastern origin or who are Muslims, political correctness is subjecting 99 percent of the flying public to silly and ineffective anti-terrorism measures. That's why New York Times columnist David Brooks characterized airport security screening as “a jobs program,” not a security program.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FOND MEMORIES FROM THE FIGHT GAME

Although Thomas Sowell writes about old boxing matches to show how our society has changed for the worse, his article brought back fond memories of when I was in the fight game during the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. Here are some of my firsthand observations and some of my opinions.

Joe Louis was indeed one of the most outstanding fighters in modern boxing history and he was a gentleman to boot. But the greatest modern heavyweight was Jersey Joe Walcott (Arnold Cream). Jersey Joe was so good that he could not get fights with any of the leading contenders. When the 37-year-old Walcott finally won the heavyweight championship, he was already well past his prime.

Here is a little known fact: When Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) fought Sonny Liston for the championship he was getting beat up so bad in the early rounds that he wanted to quit. His corner forced him to continue. Liston, who was out of shape and under the influence of heroin, petered out and the rest is history.

I used to sit with Rocky Marciano while we watched fighters sparring in Stillman’s Gymnasium after hours. What amazed me was how small Marciano was compared to other heavyweights. He was a real nice guy too.

Ali and Tyson, of course, were outstanding heavyweights, but had they fought Joe Louis or Jersey Joe Walcott in their prime, Muhammed and Mike would have been flat on their backs stargazing within a few rounds.

There were many great fighters during the pre-‘60s who would have put today’s fighters to shame. My pal Rocky Graziano was the hardest puncher pound for pound in modern boxing history. His three brutal fights with Tony Zale are boxing classics. Today’s fighters could only marvel at Sugar Ray Robinson who would have whipped their butts in a hot New York minute.

One of the greatest welterweights of all time was Carmen Basilio. When I met him at a promoter’s office, he had a so-so boxing record, losing almost as many fights as he had won. He told me he was determined to become champion and, through sheer fortitude and guts, he did achieve his goal. Basilio's fights with Gene Fullmer were also boxing classics.

Sowell writes about today’s dirty fighters. Hey, I’ve got news for him. So were yesterday’s fighters. Willie Pep (Guglielmo Papaleo), a great featherweight champion was one of the dirtiest fighters ever. But Sandy Sadler was the greatest featherweight of all times. The four fights he had with Pep were some of the most exciting fights ever held.

Sadler fought just as dirty as Pep. In their fights they would head-butt and elbow each other, throw illegal rabbit and kidney punches, and hit on the breaks. Their second fight, in which Willie won back his title in a bloody 15 round decision, took a lot out of Pep and he was never the same again. Dirty as they were inside the squared circle, Pep and Sadler were true gentlemen outside of the ring.

Despite a close friendship, in the first of their three fights, Tony Janiro repeatedly used his jab to thumb Graziano in the eyes. When the referee kept ignoring Rocky’s complaints, an exasperated Graziano leaped at his friend, draped him over the ropes and choked the shit out of the thumbing Janiro. Now that got the referee's attention.

As for the showboating Sowell writes about, I blame TV for that. These fools are playing to a TV audience by copying some of the juvenile antics of pro football players celebrating tackles and touchdowns.

As far as I am concerned, television ruined the fight game. Before the advent of TV fights, a boxer would have to have a winning record of 30 or more fights before he could get a semi-final bout or main event in Madison Square Garden. Today’s fighters get main events after only 10 fights, sometimes even less. Some boxers have been able to get championship bouts with less than 20 fights behind them. What does that tell you about today’s fighters?

Here is Sowell’s Townhall.com article:

OLD BOXING MATCHES
by Thomas Sowell

Townhall.com
December 29, 2009

Watching old boxing matches on DVDs tells us something about some of the ways in which American society has changed.

The first thing I noticed about the boxers back in the era of Joe Louis, from the 1930s into the 1950s, is that they all wore regulation boxing trunks and they didn't have tattoos. There was no trying to outdo each other with garish boxing trunks or wild tattoos. They didn't try to stare each other down when the referee was giving them instructions before the fight.

Seldom did any of these boxers go in for showboating during the fight. There was no denigrating the other fighter, either before or after the fight.

After Joe Louis knocked out an opponent, any comment he made was usually along the lines of "He's a good fighter and very game." Sometimes Louis would add, "He had me worried for a while," though there was seldom any real reason to worry.

One of the few fighters who did give Joe Louis a real battle, and who was ahead on points when Louis knocked him out, was Billy Conn. But, when Conn lost his balance in their much anticipated rematch, Louis simply let him regain his balance before continuing the fight. How many boxers today would do that, especially against someone who was a real threat?

Although Joe Louis was widely respected as a model of sportsmanship, he was by no means the only one who behaved like a gentleman in the ring. That became a norm that heavyweight champions after him tried to live up to, until the 1960s.

Early in his career, Louis was upset by Max Schmeling, who knocked him out. Although Schmeling was from Germany and some tried to depict him as a Nazi, Schmeling went over to help Louis to his feet after the knockout.

In their rematch, the first thing Max Schmeling did upon entering the ring was go over to Louis' corner to shake hands with him, even before going to his own corner. It was a gesture that distanced him from the Aryan supremacy interpretation of his victory over Louis that the Nazi regime in Germany had made after their first fight.

The loutish, loudmouth and childish displays that have become all too common today in boxing, as well as in other sports, began in the 1960s, like so many other signs of social degeneration.

What about the quality of the fighters themselves? There have been great fighters in both earlier and later times. Mike Tyson's one-round knockouts electrified many boxing fans but Joe Louis still holds the record for one-round knockouts in heavyweight championship fights.

The only way you can be sure who hit harder would be to be on the receiving end of their punches-- and none of the boxing pundits ever agreed to do that.

Louis' punches tended to be short and quick, but guys went down like they had been struck by lightning. When Louis knocked out Jimmy Braddock-- the "Cinderella Man"-- to win the championship, Braddock lay face down on the canvas without moving while he was counted out, and afterwards his handlers had to come out from his corner to get him back on his feet.

It was much the same story when Rocky Marciano won the championship from Jersey Joe Walcott. After a right to the jaw from Marciano, Walcott fell limp. As he fell, his arm got tangled in the ropes, so that Walcott fell forward, with the top of his head resting on the canvas. He was counted out in that position without moving a muscle-- and his handlers too had to come get him and revive him, before they could take him back to his corner.

How would the fighters of the past do against the bigger and heavier fighters of a later era? We will never know. What we do know is that Rocky Marciano, who was strictly a knockout fighter, never fought as heavy as 190 pounds and Joe Louis was at his best at no more than 200 pounds.

It is much easier to compare the referees. The old-timers didn't keep issuing warning after warning, for round after round. They penalized violations. More lax officiating may be why so many fights in recent times have had so many clinches and so much wrestling and dirty fighting.

That too is unfortunately a reflection of the general trends of our time.

GUN CONTROL

Barack Obama, at a recent rural elementary school assembly in Mississippi, asked the audience for total quiet. Then, in the ensuing silence, he started to slowly clap his hands once every few seconds, holding the children and teachers spellbound.

Then he said into the microphone, "Children, every time I clap my hands together, a child in America dies from gun violence."

Little Richard Earl, with a distinctive Southern drawl, stood up and pierced the quiet, telling the president: "Well, dumbass, stop clapping!"

ONE AND A HALF MEN

TWO AND A HALF MEN, the popular CBS comedy series may have to be renamed ONE AND A HALF MEN now that its star, Charlie Sheen, has been arrested on two felony charges following a domestic dustup with his wife in Aspen, Colorado.

Charlie, who has been in and out of jail before, may not be as lucky this time. In the past, the influence Hollywood holds with the Los Angeles County judicial system got him off on probation and/or stints in drug rehab programs. While a number of Hollywood luminaries own homes in the Aspen area, I do not think Hollywood is as influential with the Colorado courts as it is with those in the Los Angeles area.

At this point, it’s a he said, she said situation and we can’t be sure that Sheen will be prosecuted. But if Charlie ends up doing hard time, one of the Two and a Half Men, will be missing from that comedy series.

THE MOST RELIABLE FIREARM EVER CREATED

LewRockwell.com:
December 21, 2009

AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE: THE AK-47
by C.J. Maloney

“My work is my life, and my life is my work. I invented this assault rifle to defend my country. Today, I am proud that it has become for many synonymous with liberty.”
~ Mikhail Kalashnikov

Recently Mikhail Kalashnikov, the man who designed the AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947) assault rifle, celebrated his 90th birthday. Though already feted in his Russian homeland as an officially approved hero at three previous events, President Dmitry Medvedev christened him yet again to honor the occasion, this time as a "Hero of the Russian Federation." That was on November 10, 2009 and America for the most part completely ignored the festivities, as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released the same day.

Incidentally, the AK-47 is a prominent weapon in that game, just as it is around the world. President Medvedev lauded Mr. Kalashnikov’s AK-47 as "the brand every Russian is proud of" and they should be. Designated the Red Army’s primary infantry weapon in 1949, it has gone on to be mass produced everywhere and anywhere by everybody, the Russian communists not believing in such things as copyrights or patents. So, unlike America’s Winchester family who became fabulously wealthy (and insane) by inventing the repeating rifle, Mr. Kalashnikov gets a small government pension, the occasional medal, and nothing else for all that his efforts produced.

While the US industrial-military complex may get to play with an annual budget which exceeds the rest of the globe combined, they have yet to create a weapon even near the genius of the AK-47. It is so reliable that you can literally drop it in the mud, step on it, pick it up, and fire at will. (Try that with an M-16.) Drop it into a river, fish it off the bottom, and she’ll fire just fine. US and British special forces fighting in the inhospitable badlands of Central Asia are big fans. Combine this amazing reliability with its incredibly cheap production costs and you have the Honda of assault rifles; more of the AK-47 variants have been produced than every other assault rifle combined.

Noting studies that found most rifle combat takes place within close proximity, the rifle has a maximum range of about 300 meters, or 3 1/3 football fields, yet when it comes to being able to hit anything 100 yards is more like it. Since the overwhelming majority of humans are poor shots, semiautomatic or automatic variants are available for your consideration. Six hundred rounds a minute can be placed onto target, but you’d need to be a ridiculously fast loader to reach that number as the curved magazine holds only 30 rounds. 100 to 400 rounds a minute is more realistic, and still plenty. Some versions come with a wooden stock, some with a metal stock which may be folded down for storage; the latter variant is used by mechanized and airborne troops.

Firing a 7.62mm round that can either shred you (if it tumbles when it strikes your body) or leave a nice clean hole (if it passes right through) that can be patched up in a jiffy, the selective fire, gas-operated rifle is so cheap to mass produce and maintain that over 50 armies the world over use it as their chief infantry weapon. Since this leaves a lot of these things laying about, with plenty of ammunition to boot, it’s the preferred weapon of choice for terrorists, Mafia, drug dealers, assorted dictators, and other unsavory types. This fact gives it a rather negative reputation in American eyes; any Hollywood production with a villain almost invariably arms him with an AK-47, never with the M-16, our military’s preferred rifle.

Nonetheless, it is a supremely lethal weapon, giving any slob armed with one the combat ability to take on a professional, and after you throw in its ability to function reliably in any type of climate the Earth can offer it’s easy to understand Samuel L. Jackson’s character from Jackie Brown when he intones, "The AK-47. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every mother****** in the room, accept no substitutes." Not too many people do.

And that includes not just Iraqi and Afghani rebels but American civilians, too, the last served by AK-47–spewing factories from sea to shining sea. And here is where you should give the communists their just due, as it was communism that put the working masses on an equal footing to the political class in the event things devolve into a bar brawl.

Who says that God has no sense of humor, if a rather dark one, when He gives for us the ironic fact that of all the forms of political organization that humans herd themselves into there has been none more reactionary, bloodthirsty, or political than Stalinism, and that’s the one which gave us the cheap to produce, lethal, and amazingly low maintenance AK-47. Besides corpses and vodka, the AK-47 was the only thing communist Russia was ever able to mass-produce.

A guerilla army in today’s world needs little more than an ample supply of AK-47s, something to believe in, and the support of those around them to be unconquerable. That’s all. And Mikhail Kalashnikov, God bless him, has put that ability in the hands of people from one end of the earth to the other.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist No. 29 that should the federal government ever turn despotic it "can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms." If every American family had an AK-47 hanging on the wall over the 46" wide-screen plasma, that’d force enough to give any army pause.

So next May Day, assuming you remember it at all, take a moment to honor the memory of the millions slaughtered over the lethally stupid idea of communism, but give a nod to God’s great mercy, to His mysterious way that willed that very same idea to birth the AK-47. It gave to the working masses the ability to defend themselves from the more virulent strain of politicians; it is the sword of the common man. Of all the firearms yet dreamed up by mankind, it is the automatic for the people.

[C.J. Maloney lives and works in New York City. He blogs for Liberty & Power on the History News Network website. His first book (on Arthurdale, West Virginia during the New Deal) is to be released by John Wiley and Sons in February 2011.]

Monday, December 28, 2009

SPENDING OUR WAY OUT OF THE RECESSION

President Obama has said we need to spend our way out of this recession.

This is what commodity guru Jim Rogers had to say about the government printing more money so that we can spend more: That’s like saying to Tiger Woods, you go get another girlfriend and that will solve your problems.

NOT SO GOOFY AFTER ALL

Recently, in “A Goofy Idea ………………….” (12-5-09) I described Annise Parker’s mayoral campaign proposal for outside agencies to answer Houston police calls if their officers were closest to the scene as a goofy idea. Trey Rusk, a veteran law enforcement officer, presents a very convincing argument to the contrary.

I cannot argue with the fact that Houston citizens, including myself, wouldn’t care what police agency responded to a burglary, robbery or assault in progress emergency call so long as an officer with a badge and gun showed up forthwith.

My only reservation is: Will those outside agencies only respond to true emergencies or will they show up at the scene of a routine call where a burglary, robbery or assault is reported well after the perpetrators are long gone? Rusk says that while officers from outside agencies will bust their balls to answer Houston’s blood, guts, guns and glory calls, they will not respond to routine calls because none of them will want to get stuck with writing the required police reports.

Here is Trey Rusk’s rebuke of BarkGrowlBite:

RESPONSE TO “A GOOFY IDEA WHOSE TIME SHOULD NEVER COME”
By Trey Rusk

Here is a basic fact. If I were a citizen of Houston and my home was being burglarized or invaded (robbery) or my crazy cousin showed up for the holidays and began assaulting my family, I don't care which law enforcement agency was the first responder. I would want the badge and gun in my home pronto!

BarkGrowlBite did have a valid point in the 1970's. Now all agencies are trained better including the ISD, Constables and Metro police departments. In the 70's police had radio communications and were able to communicate with each other.

President Nixon gave all law enforcement agencies in the U.S. LEAP [Law Enforcement Assistance Program] Grant money to upgrade and standardize communications, jails, and educate police officers. It was a great effort that really made a positive influence on law enforcement. Since then the departments strayed away from each other with 800 trunking radios that did not allow effective communications between agencies.

Now we use computers to broadcast and receive calls and no one knows what is happening one block from their location. In fact, I have been sitting at an intersection and had a wanted felon drive by my unit while being pursued by another agency and I had no idea that a pursuit was in progress., Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties should have a shared channel available to their dispatchers that would allow Be On the Lookout (BOLO) broadcasts and severe emergency calls to be broadcast for all to hear. If a unit is close they should respond.

Several years ago the Houston Police Department began allowing Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education licensed officers with several years of experience to join the department and attend a reduced academy. This included ISD [Independent School District], Constable and Metro officers. Granted, the original Houston Police Department Academy Graduates received more training than some departments but a lot of the training focuses on City of Houston ordinances and policies.

ISD, Constable and Metro officers are now trained for active shooter situations. I would establish guidelines to responders such as distance and number of units, but to stop a nearby licensed peace officer from responding to a violent assault is ridiculous. I suggest that BarkGrowlBite look at the question from a victim's point of view.

[Rusk is a veteran law enforcement officer. He retired from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as an enforcement agent with the rank of lieutenant. He is currently an investigator with the Galveston County Auto Crimes Task Force.]

AN ISLAMIST TERRORIST, NOT A CRAZED GUNMAN (5)

Maureen Dowd, the liberal New York Times columnist, loaned her column to her conservative brother. Here is what Kevin Dowd had to say about Obama’s reaction to the Fort Hood massacre:

My dad was a D.C. policeman, and I would like to apologize (not “recalibrate”) to the Cambridge police for the president’s assumption that they “acted stupidly.” You would think that Mr. Obama would have afforded the police the same consideration he gave to the mass-murdering Muslim Army major when he said: “I would caution against jumping to conclusions.”

The Fort Hood massacre was a direct result of Army policy too concerned with political correctness and “celebrating diversity.” It was a terrorist attack by any definition and the government still cannot say it.

AIRPORT SECURITY: TAKE OFF YOUR UNDERWEAR

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian Islamist, only managed to burn himself while trying to blow up a Delta-Northwest airliner as it was nearing Detroit on Christmas Day. Umar left Lagos on a plane for Amsterdam where he then boarded the Northwest airliner. He had slipped past security with a packet containing PETN, a powerful explosive substance, sewn into his underwear. The passengers and crew were lucky that a faulty detonator apparently kept the PETN from exploding.

Umar managed to board his plane in Lagos and the one in Amsterdam without having his human bomb detected by airport security screeners. Which just goes to show that Airport security measures are likely to fail when someone is determined to blow up an airliner with explosives hidden on his person. David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, characterizes airport security as “a jobs program,” not a security program.

On Sunday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos that when Umar tried to blow up the airliner, “the [security] system worked.” Ha, that’s a good one! Napolitano must take us all for a bunch of imbeciles. Some of the passengers restrained Umar while flight attendants used fire extinguishers to snuff out the flames. The system worked? What happened proved that the system failed! (Napolitano now claims she meant that all airports, airlines and law enforcement agencies were notified of this incident immediately after it occurred.)

Back in 2001, Richard C. Reid boarded a trans-Atlantic flight with PETN concealed in one of his shoes. Fortunately, when he tried to blow up the airliner, the shoe bomber only managed to give himself a hotfoot because the PETN in his shoe also failed to explode. Ever since that incident, passengers wanting to board an airliner have had to remove their shoes for a hands-on inspection by security screeners. Even 80-year-old grandmas, hardly the terrorist types, are having their shoes searched.

My question is: Now that we have had Umar trying to blow up an airliner with explosives sewn into his skivvies, will airport security screeners now require all boarding passengers, including those 80-year-old grandmas, to take off their underwear?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

DAMNED IF THEY DO, DAMNED IF THEY DON'T

Gilad Shalit, 23, is an Israeli soldier who, on June 25, 2006, was kidnapped by Hamas militants during a cross-border raid and has been held hostage in Gaza ever since. In fact, the whole state of Israel has been held hostage as a result of the Shalit abduction.

Hamas is willing to exchange Shalit for hundreds of Palestinian terrorists being held in Israeli prisons. Israel has on a number of past occasions exchanged Israelis held captive by Palestinians for hundreds of imprisoned terrorists. The Israelis have even exchanged large numbers of terrorists in order to retrieve the bodies of their dead soldiers from Lebanon.

Because Israel is a country with a very small population, each captured or dead soldier has a much larger impact on the whole country than the impact on countries with much larger populations when their soldiers are killed or captured.

If Israel refuses to exchange hundreds of its imprisoned terrorists for Gilad Shalit, they will be sending a message to every Israeli mother and father with a son or daughter in the army that their children will be abandoned if they are captured or killed behind enemy lines. And since Israel is a nation with universal military service, almost all parents have children either on active military duty or in the reserves subject to be called up at any time.

Conversely, if Israel goes ahead and makes the prisoner exchange for Shalit, it will only encourage Hamas, Hezbollah and other Palestinian militant groups to capture more Israelis in the future. After all, the reason Hamas kidnapped Shalit in the first place was because they thought, based on previous swaps, they would be able to get many of their imprisoned comrades released in exchange for this one Israeli hostage.

They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. That’s why Shalit's abduction has been holding the whole state of Israeel hostage.

HERE, TAKE THIS PHONE TO CALL YOUR MOTHER

There are stupid crooks and Bob Walsh has written about one of them, but it would be a mistake to think that all criminals are stupid. My experience as a narc has shown that many of them are very smart and clever and it would be a mistake for cops to underestimate them.

BE THANKFUL FOR STUPID CRIMINALS
By Bob Walsh

PacoVilla’s Corrections blog
December 26, 2009

This time of year there are many things to be thankful for. Among them are stupid criminals. REALLY stupid criminals.

Daniel Elizade, 20, formerly of the City and County of San Francisco, is one stupid sonofabitch and is now doing 15 to life to prove it.

Three years ago at Lisbon and Persia in San Francisco Daniel shot and killed Karl Bartolome, who was at the time walking down the street minding his own business in the company of his girlfriend and 5-year old niece. He had a history with Danny boy. In fact Bartolome had (allegedly) thumped Elizade pretty good at some time previous. At the time of the shooting Elizade was drunk, which didn't help matters. It wasn't hard to find him after the shooting, he had gone to high school with Bartolome's girlfriend and she IDd him for the cops.

So the cops gaffle up Elizade. After his arrest Elizade, who was 17 at the time, asks to speak to his mommie. The Inspector loans Danny the moron his cell phone and leaves the room. At that time Danny the moron calls a road dog to put a hit on the girlfriend. Of course this whole thing is on tape.

Danny the moron plead out to second degree murder, but challenged the admission of the tape. The First District Court of Appeals in S. F. ruled that Danny had no reasonable expectation in an interview room of the police station and pointed out that the cops had not wiretapped him, they had only recorded his end of the conversation with a room microphone. His appeal was based on a claimed violation of state and federal wiretap laws. The ruling was 3-0 against the moron.

Sometimes sanity wins, even in the People's Republic of San Francisco.

Friday, December 25, 2009

SEASON'S GREETINGS

To all my Christian readers, here's wishing you and your loved ones A VERY, VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

To all of you, regardless of your religious faith (or the lack thereof), here's wishing that you and your loved ones will enjoy A HAPPY, HEALTHY, PROSPEROUS AND SAFE YEAR in 2010.

PRISONERS DISAPPEAR WHILE BEING TRANSPORTED TO JAIL

It seems as though a couple of Pasco County, Florida sheriff’s deputies had their prisoners disappear from their patrol cars while they were being transported on the way to jail.

One hungry deputy stopped at the drive-through window of a McDonald’s to order a burger. When his prisoner jumped out of the patrol car, the deputy chased him on foot. But when he couldn’t catch him, the deputy returned to pick up his order. After all, it doesn’t make any sense to report an escape on an empty stomach.

The other deputy lost a female prisoner and didn’t even realize it until he arrived at the jail where he found only a set of handcuffs on the back seat of his patrol car. What was he doing while she disappeared? Taking a leak?

Here are excerpts from the December 23 issue of TheLedger.com:

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. -- Deputy Matthew Kadel was taking a man to jail the morning of July 19 when he decided to grab some food.

As he pulled into the McDonald's drive-through and placed his order, the man in the back seat - Richard Zukoski, arrested on auto burglary and theft charges - used his own handcuff key to free himself and run from the car.

A surveillance video from the McDonald's, released this week as the Pasco County Sheriff's Office wrapped up its investigation, shows Kadel running after Zukoski.

It also shows Kadel coming back a few seconds later, without his prisoner, to retrieve his food.

The incident was the first of two escapes from Pasco deputy patrol cars within a week.

On July 26, Amanda Driggers, 19, slipped the handcuffs off her tiny wrists and pulled back the paneling inside a different patrol car to make her escape, she told the Times.

The car was idling at State Road 52 and U.S. 41 when she slipped out. Cpl. Barry Arnew didn't realize she was gone until he reached the Land O' Lakes jail and found an empty set of handcuffs in the backseat.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT SHOULD RESTORE THE DEATH PENALTY FOR CHILD RAPISTS

Dr. Earl B. Bradley, 56, is a Delaware pediatrician who is facing 29 sexual assault charges involving at least 16 of his patients, some no more than six months old. Authorities believe there could be additional victims.

According to the police, Bradley used video cameras to record some of the brutal attacks in his examining rooms. Investigators who viewed the videotapes described the 6-foot, 225-pound doctor as having a “violently enraged expression on his face” in one video showing him sexually assaulting a 2-year-old.

I know the U.S. Supreme court has decided that the death penalty for rape constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. But the justices were ruling on the rape of an adult when they handed down that decision. I strongly believe that the death penalty for the rape of a young child does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

I hope that the authorities in Delaware will defy the supreme court’s ruling by seeking the death penalty for Dr. Bradley. If he’s convicted and sentenced to death, the supreme court would eventually have to revisit the case of capital punishment for rape. At that time, I believe there will be a good chance that the justices will restore the death penalty for child rapists.

NEAR RIOT OVER $175 SNEAKERS

Of the shoppers standing in line so eager to get their hands on those $175 Air Jordans, how many do you suppose are from families on welfare?

RUCKUS ERUPTS OVEER NEW AIR JORDANS
Police Called To Arden Fair In Sacramento

KCRA.com
December 23, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Police were called Wednesday to Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento to disperse a rowdy crowd that turned out to buy new Nike Air Jordan sneakers.

More than 1,000 shoppers showed up in hopes of buying a pair of the $175 kicks during a midnight release. Each person in line had a numbered tag to allow for an orderly procession.

But at about 11:45 p.m., a group of people from the back of the pack walked past those in line and headed straight for the doors. It didn't go well with those who'd been waiting up to 10 hours.

Things quickly got out of hand, leading mall security to call city police for help in dispersing the unruly crowd that surged toward the doors.

Well, it wasn't overly unruly, but there was a potential for it to go south. So it was the decision to shut it down and wait for another day," said Steve Reed, chief of Arden Fair security.

"There was a SWAT team, fighting, helicopters," shopper Ashley Merriman said. "It was insane."

There were no arrests made during the melee at the mall. No injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, a handful of lucky buyers got their hands on some Jordans at Sunrise Mall when the shoes went on sale at about 6:30 a.m.

Other shoppers seeking the shoes were waiting in line early Wednesday outside of the Foot Locker store at Downtown Plaza in Sacramento.

THE GREATEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED

During this holiday season when we exchange gifts, I can’t help but marvel at what a wonderful country we are privileged to live in. I’ve received a lot of great gifts during my lifetime, but in 1936 I received the greatest gift of all: A chance to become an American.

America the Wonderful is truly the land of opportunity. The Nazis allowed my parents to leave Germany with only 10 silver dollars and some personal belongings. When we arrived in New York we were practically penniless. The distant relatives who sponsored us did give us a little money so that we could get started with our new lives.

My father had worked for Karstadt, Europe’s largest department store chain at the time. He was the store manager of Karstadt in Braunschweig and he was the shoe buyer for the whole chain. I think it was in 1935 when the Nazis forced Karstadt to fire my father because he was a Jew.

My father never obtained a cushy job in this country. Because he could not speak any English, the only job he could get was running an elevator in a New York building. But he was thankful to get that job. And once he was able to speak English he got jobs selling shoes in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Marshall, Texas (where I graduated from high school). Eventually he managed a shoe store in Galveston.

My father never made a lot of money. He was able to buy a small house in Galveston and a cheap car. My parents were thankful for the opportunity America gave them. We were sure a lot better of then our fellow Jews in those Nazi concentration camps. My parents didn’t complain and whine about their lot in life. And thankfully, they didn’t have a Jessee Jackson or an Al Sharpton playing the race card and victimhood spiel for them.

As for me and my sister (she was born in the U.S.), we were blessed with caring parents. Unlike the situation Walter Williams described in his article “Black Education” [my blog, “Schools of Education Should Be Shut Down” (12-23-09)], our parents encouraged us to do well in school and to get a college education. As a matter of fact, my father beat the crap out of me if I didn’t make good grades. And that worked too.

Although I never experienced any anti-Semitism in Ardmore or in Marshall, I was well aware of the hatred some Americans had for Jews. I remember a sign in front of a New York apartment complex that read, “No Jews or Dogs Allowed.” Why then have Jews done so much better than blacks? Partly because we can blend in with whites, but mostly because Jewish parents have always stressed that if you have a good education you will be able to succeed in the face of discrimination.

After I got out of the army at the end of WWII, I was able to go to college thanks to the GI Bill. My parents helped my sister with her college education and she became a schoolteacher after she graduated. Our schooling provided us with opportunities that are not available to the uneducated.

I never made much money as a cop and I didn’t make a lot more as a college professor either. So what! I’m just thankful to live in this wonderful country of ours and will never forget the greatest gift I ever received: A chance to become an American.

A H

A police motorcycle cop stops a driver for running a red light. The guy is a real jerk and comes running back to the officer demanding to know why he is being harassed by the Gestapo! So the officer calmly tells him of the red light violation.

The motorist instantly goes on a tirade, questioning the officer's ancestry, sexual orientation, etc., in rather explicit terms.

The tirade goes on without the officer saying anything.

When he gets done with writing the ticket he puts an "AH" in the lower right corner of the narrative portion of the ticket. He then hands it to the 'violator' for his signature. The guy signs the ticket angrily, and when presented with his copy points to the "AH" and demands to know what it stands for.

The officer says, "That's so when we go to court, I'll remember that you're an asshole!"

Two months later they're in court. The 'violator' has such a bad driving record he is about to lose his license and has hired a lawyer to represent him. On the stand the officer testifies to seeing the man run the red light. Under cross examination the defense attorney asks; "Officer is this a reasonable facsimile of the ticket you issued my client?"

Officer responds, "Yes, sir, that is the defendant's copy, his signature and mine, same number at the top.

Lawyer: "Officer, is there any particular marking or notation on this ticket you don't normally make?"

"Yes, sir, in the lower right corner of the narrative there is an ‘AH’ underlined."

"What does the ‘AH’ stand for, officer?"

"Aggressive and hostile, Sir."

"Aggressive and hostile?"

"Yes, Sir?

"Officer, are you sure it doesn't stand for Asshole?"

"Well, sir, you know your client better than I do!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

AN ALIBI THAT DOESN'T FLY

Susan Powell, 28, the mother of two boys, ages 2 an 4, was last seen on December 7 at her suburban home in West Valley City, Utah. When she failed to show up for her stockbroker job and her children were not dropped off at day care, she was reported missing.

Her husband Josh claims he left their home around 12:30 a.m. to take the boys camping. Leaving home in the middle of the night during a snowstorm with freezing temperatures of 16 degrees to take two little boys camping? If you believe that alibi then you must also believe that pigs can fly.

The police still refer to Josh Powell as a person of interest. Let’s get real. You can bet the police consider Powell as the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance. His alibi just doesn’t fly. "Person of Interest" is nothing more than a politically correct substitute for the term "suspect." It sure looks like we have a murder case here and right now the husband looks pretty guilty.

"SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN"

Wow! The following article consists of some powerful words from an African-American columnist. Jessee Jackson and Al Sharpton will turn white with rage. Why? Because those words expose their rants about racial discrimination and victimhood as contributing to the failure of black education. Walter Williams points out that due to the collusion between black politicians, civil rights organizations and teacher unions, there will be no change in the dismal state of black education.

And after having attended both the University of North Texas’ highly regarded school of education and Columbia University’s prestigious Teachers College, I have to agree with every word Williams wrote about our nation’s schools of education, the professors that teach therein and the students that are enrolled in them.

BLACK EDUCATION
by Walter E. Williams

Townhall.com
December 23, 2009

Detroit's (predominantly black) public schools are the worst in the nation and it takes some doing to be worse than Washington, D.C. Only 3 percent of Detroit's fourth-graders scored proficient on the most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test, sometimes called "The Nation's Report Card." Twenty-eight percent scored basic and 69 percent below basic. "Below basic" is the NAEP category when students are unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at their grade level. It's the same story for Detroit's eighth-graders. Four percent scored proficient, 18 percent basic and 77 percent below basic.

Michael Casserly, executive director of the D.C.-based Council on Great City Schools, in an article appearing in Crain's Detroit Business, (12/8/09) titled, "Detroit's Public Schools Post Worst Scores on Record in National Assessment," said, "There is no jurisdiction of any kind, at any level, at any time in the 30-year history of NAEP that has ever registered such low numbers." The academic performance of black students in other large cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles is not much better than Detroit and Washington.

What's to be done about this tragic state of black education? The education establishment and politicians tell us that we need to spend more for higher teacher pay and smaller class size. The fact of business is higher teacher salaries and smaller class sizes mean little or nothing in terms of academic achievement. Washington, D.C., for example spends over $15,000 per student, has class sizes smaller than the nation's average, and with an average annual salary of $61,195, its teachers are the most highly paid in the nation.

What about role models? Standard psychobabble asserts a positive relationship between the race of teachers and administrators and student performance. That's nonsense. Black academic performance is the worst in the very cities where large percentages of teachers and administrators are black, and often the school superintendent is black, the mayor is black, most of the city council is black and very often the chief of police is black.

Black people have accepted hare-brained ideas that have made large percentages of black youngsters virtually useless in an increasingly technological economy. This destruction will continue until the day comes when black people are willing to turn their backs on liberals and the education establishment's agenda and confront issues that are both embarrassing and uncomfortable. To a lesser extent, this also applies to whites because the educational performance of many white kids is nothing to write home about; it's just not the disaster that black education is.

Many black students are alien and hostile to the education process. They have parents with little interest in their education. These students not only sabotage the education process, but make schools unsafe as well. These students should not be permitted to destroy the education chances of others. They should be removed or those students who want to learn should be provided with a mechanism to go to another school.

Another issue deemed too delicate to discuss is the overall quality of people teaching our children. Students who have chosen education as their major have the lowest SAT scores of any other major. Students who have an education degree earn lower scores than any other major on graduate school admission tests such as the GRE, MCAT or LSAT. Schools of education, either graduate or undergraduate, represent the academic slums of most any university. They are home to the least able students and professors. Schools of education should be shut down.

Yet another issue is the academic fraud committed by teachers and administrators. After all, what is it when a student is granted a diploma certifying a 12th grade level of achievement when in fact he can't perform at the sixth- or seventh-grade level?

Prospects for improvement in black education are not likely given the cozy relationship between black politicians, civil rights organizations and teacher unions.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

EARLY RELEASE FLOODGATES OPENING ACROSS THE LAND

As I’ve written before, early prison releases are not unique to California. Federal court orders to reduce prison overcrowding and state budged cuts are endangering public safety. If it hasn't already, will your state be the next one to open the flood gates to early releases?

MANY STATES CONSIDERING EARLY RELEASE
By Bob Walsh

PacoVilla’s Corrections blog
December 22, 2009

A significant number of jurisdictions within the good old U. S. of A are being forced to seriously consider early release of convicted criminals from prison.

Oregon had previously allowed 20% good time credit. They recently upped it to 30%.

Colorado is now allowing 12 days credit per month served, conditional on good conduct. The previous limit was 10.

Mississippi previously had limit of 180 days of good time credit any convict could accumulate. They have now abandoned that limit.

Kentucky is about to implement an early release program in order to save $21 million.

Various jurisdictions are looking at ways of saving money and still pretending to protect public safety. It will be interesting to see how well it works for them. I suspect we will be seeing how well it works for us soon enough.

Monday, December 21, 2009

THE OFFICER SLEDGEHAMMER AWARD (2)

Another candidate for The Officer Sledgehammer Award. What was this dumbass thinking when he drew his gun because his Hummer got pelted with snowballs?

SNOWBALL FIGHT ‘FUN AND GAMES’ UNTIL GUN APPEARS
By Matt Zapotosky

Washington Post
December 21, 2009

The call went out on a Web site and over Twitter, and hundreds of 20- and 30-somethings, tired of being cooped up, gathered at 14th and U streets NW on Saturday for a little restless indulgence.

People squealed as they hurled balls of snow across the largely deserted road. Then, a snowball or two slammed into a Hummer. The driver, a plainclothes detective whom D.C. police refused to identify, got out, drew his gun and exchanged angry words with revelers, according to video footage and witnesses.

Police said initially that the detective had not flashed his weapon. On Sunday, the officer was placed on desk duty after Twitter, blogs and YouTube appeared to show otherwise.

If the final investigation shows the officer pulled his weapon after being pelted with snowballs, D.C. Assistant Chief Pete Newsham, head of the investigative services bureau, said that "would not be a situation in which a member [of the force] would be justified."

"We have to see what the entire circumstance was," Newsham said Sunday. "But just a snowball fight, not in my mind. That doesn't seem a situation where we would pull out a service weapon."

Jason Grishkoff, 24, said he arrived at the intersection promptly at 2 p.m. to find just 20 people milling about. By 2:15 p.m., he said, there were 100; by 2:30 p.m., 100 on each side.

Some cars passing by rolled down their windows to taunt the warriors -- and were consequently pelted with snow. Gas-guzzling Hummers became a particular target, Grishkoff said, because of the crowd's political leanings. (A few people, witnesses said, brought an antiwar sign, although the snowball fight was not a political protest.)

Police, at least initially, were tolerant, witnesses said. By some accounts, a D.C. officer asked the revelers to disperse, but when they didn't, he didn't raise a fuss. At one point, witnesses said, the snowball fighters helped push a police car out of the snow.

Then a maroon Hummer pulled up and was hit by snowballs. A man in plainclothes got out with a gun in his left hand.

According to witnesses, the man did not identify himself, and at least one reveler threw a snowball at him. Most witnesses said the man kept the gun at his side. But some witnesses said the detective holstered the gun and then charged into the crowd, pushing at least one snowball fighter with his finger and threatening to haul others to jail.

Soon other officers arrived, including one who also approached with a gun drawn at his side, police and witnesses said. Police said that officer knew only that witnesses had reported a man with a gun, and when he learned that the man was a detective, he quickly holstered his weapon.

But the confrontation continued. The snowball fighters, some chanting, "You don't bring a gun to a snowfall fight," demanded the detective's name, and he admitted to them that he had pulled his gun after being struck by snowballs, according to video footage and witnesses. Then, as the detective was walking back to his Hummer, witnesses said, he was struck again by a snowball and ran back into the crowd to grab the man he thought was the culprit.

The man was eventually released, witnesses said, and the revelers were sent on their way.

ANOTHER PAROLE CATASTROPHE

In Pennsylvania, many of the 11 cops killed in the line of duty during the past four years were slain by parolees.

SLAIN PA. OFFICEDR’S FAMILY URGES CHANGES TO PAROLE SYSTEM

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
December 20, 2009

PITTSBURGH — As the family of slain Penn Hills police Officer Michael Crawshaw continues to mourn, they are asking state legislators to re-examine parole and sentencing guidelines.

"The system failed Michael and changes must be made," reads a letter Crawshaw's friends and family sent to about 100 officials, including Gov. Ed Rendell, state senators, judges and Pittsburgh City Council members.

"You, as our representatives, have been elected to create a system that will not only protect the citizens but also the brave men and women who make a career of protecting us. We need your help to bring about this change and not let the death of these dedicated officers be in vain," said the letter, given to the Tribune-Review.

Crawshaw, 32, of Penn Hills was fatally shot in his patrol car Dec. 6 as he awaited backup to investigate a report of an armed intruder. Police said Ronald Robinson, 32, of Homewood fatally shot Danyal Morton, 40, over a $500 drug debt inside a Johnston Road home before firing at least nine bullets into Crawshaw's car with an assault rifle.

Robinson, who was wearing an electronic monitoring device when police took him into custody, was paroled in 2007. He was released from prison after serving the minimum 2 1/2 years of a five-year term for illegally possessing a gun.

Had he served the maximum term, Robinson would not have been eligible for release until Feb. 24, 2010 -- and Officer Crawshaw would be alive today, his family believes.

In the letter, Crawshaw's family seeks several changes:

--Impose and enforce maximum prison sentences;

--Stop withdrawing gun charges in exchange for plea agreements;

--Expand Pennsylvania's assessment process for determining the danger levels of sex offenders and predators to all felony probation and parole cases;

--Broaden the state's "three strikes" legislation for recidivism to include all felony offenses, including drug related crimes.

The letter notes that 11 law enforcement officials were killed in four years in Pennsylvania, including five in Allegheny County during the past 13 months. In many cases, Crawshaw's family writes, the suspects were parolees who could have been in jail.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

WHERE IS THE GOP ALTERNATIVE?

While most Americans seem to be satisfied with their private health insurance, the cost of health care, if it continues to spiral out of control, will make that insurance unaffordable in the near future. That is why there is no question in my mind that this country desperately needs health care reform. Having said that though, I have some serious reservations about the Senate’s version of the health reform bill that all of that chamber’s Democrats finally agreed to last night.

For one thing, the bill is 2,700 pages long, thus making it incomprehensible for laypersons and probably for most Senators as well. Even Sen. Olympia Snow, the lone Republican to vote the health reform package out of committee, said she could not vote for the bill as it is now written.

Then there is the baloney put out by President Obama and the Democratic leadership that the cost of this bill will be paid for by cutting $500 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years. Yes, that's half-a-trillion dollars. They expect to do this by cutting out the waste and fraud in Medicare and by reducing the payment for services to hospitals and physicians.

They'll have a tough time eliminating the fraud. And cutting waste can mean only one thing – Medicare benefits for seniors will be cut! As for those reduced payments to hospitals and physicians, you can be sure that those providers will then charge patients for the amount of any government reductions. So us seniors will end up paying more for less!

Setting aside my reservations, where is the Republican’s alternative to the Democrat’s plan? The GOP claims that it has proposed many amendments. The Democrats claim to have incorporated many of the GOP amendments into the bill. The Republicans claim that most of their amendments were rejected.

I have yet to see one of those proposed GOP amendments. Maybe that’s because the media, which appears to be favoring the Democratic health reform bill, has deliberately avoided publishing reports of those amendments. But forget about those ghostly amendments. Where is the GOP health reform package? The Republicans have failed to offer any comprehensive alternative to the Democratic version of health reform.

The Republican’s solid opposition to the Democrat’s bill without an apparent alternative makes the GOP look like nothing more than a bunch of obstructionists. Because all the major polls show a majority of the country is opposed the Democratic bill, the Republicans apparently think they’re sitting in the catbird seat. But if they are viewed as obstructionists, the GOP tactics may come back to bite them in the ass when voters go to the polls.

BARE-BREASTED BABES BIKE IN YOUR FACE (2)

TOO COLD FOR NUDE PROTEST, NYC BIKERS SWITCH GEARS
After bike lane closed in Orthodox New York neighborhood, Williamsburg, because of Satmar distaste for cyclists' attire, bikers plan to go topless through neighborhood in protest. Snowstorm keeps their clothes on as bikers opt to pin plastic breasts to their coats instead

Associated Press
December 20, 2009

Brooklyn, N.Y. -- Bicyclists who planned to go topless to protest the removal of a Brooklyn bike lane switched gears Saturday, pinning plastic breasts to their jackets as they rolled into a snowstorm.

Dozens of bikers joined a protest called the "Freedom Ride" to oppose the removal of a bike path in Williamsburg, an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.

But the fierce snowstorm in New York kept them from pedaling topless as planned.

The cyclists blame Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the loss of the lane because Williamsburg's Hasidic Jewish residents "can't handle scantily clad women" on wheels, said bike messenger Heather Loop, who organized the action.

The bikers' tactics did not amuse some faithful Hasids leaving synagogue services with their families on the Sabbath. They rushed home.

Still, the riders made their point, obeying traffic signals as police watched.

They had gathered earlier Saturday at a Williamsburg bar called the Wrecked Door.

HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHOT ALONG THE WAY

MAN LEADS L.A. OFFICERS ON ‘LONGEST CHASE’ TO BORDER

Los Angeles Times
December 19, 2009

LOS ANGELES — A man who carjacked a vehicle and led police on a high-speed chase across three counties before being apprehended near the Mexican border is in custody today, authorities said.

The pursuit started at 8.39 p.m. Thursday in South Gate and was reported as a carjacking, said Officer Jesse Udovich, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol in San Diego.

LA County sheriff’s deputies gave chase as the suspect headed south on Los Angeles and Orange County freeways, Udovich said. CHP officers from both counties joined the pursuit.

Near San Juan Capistrano, officers deployed a spike strip in an attempt to halt the suspect’s vehicle, but “he swerved around it,” Udovich said.

Speeds ranged from 40 to 90 mph and sometimes the suspect drove with his lights off, “which made it very difficult,” Udovich said.

San Diego-based CHP officers picked up the chase when the suspect entered San Diego County. The suspect continued south to Otay Mesa and wound up near Donovan state Correctional Facility.

“He traveled the wrong way…in an attempt to cross over to Mexico,” Udovich said.

Otay Mesa is an official border crossing. Officials closed in and forced the suspect’s vehicle to abruptly spin out. He was taken into custody, Udovich said.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ISLAMIC TIDE SWEEPING ACROSS THE WESTERN WORLD

This video shows how low fertility rates in the western world are changing demographics to the extent that within a few decades Europe will become an Islamic state and America may not be far behind.

video

Uh oh! If the global warming tides don’t get Europe, the Islamic tide surely will. Same for America, unless we open our borders to all the Mexicans and Central Americans that want to come here. Their higher fertility rates might save us. Better a Latino majority than an Islamic majority. So, we had better get off this anti-immigration kick pronto - that is except for Muslim immigrants!

After viewing the video, a very liberal friend of mine wrote: “Wow, are the folks who prepared this the same ones who kept telling us that the Soviets were growing their economy at 10% a year during all those cold war years? Had that been true they would have one of the world's largest economies. And really, the Muslims in the US have grown to 3 million. That might be alarming except that 3/300 (3 million over 300 million) is really a pretty small fraction. We really need to learn to ignore chicken little occasionally.”

I responded: “Obviously, you are totally ignorant of what has been happening in Europe. There's nothing chicken little about that. It can happen here too. I know your left-wing ass finds that hard to accept.”

My liberal friend called this video “right wing bullshit.” Oh by the way, he was only off by 6 million on the current Muslim population in America. Remarkably though, he missed the point entirely. The video showed that between 1970 and 2008, the Muslim population grew from 100,000 to over 9 million. That’s an enormous growth spurt in a very short period of time. At that rate it is quite possible that we, like Europe, will be swept aside by the Islamic tide.

BARE-BREASTED BABES BIKE IN YOUR FACE

NAKED CYCLISTS VS. HASIDIC JEWS: BATTLE OF THE BIKE LANE
Activists say ultra-Orthodox caused removal of bike lane to drive away riders in scanty clothes

Associated Press
December 19, 2009

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Bicyclists planning a Saturday protest are calling it their "Freedom Ride" - free of clothing, that is. And they may be pedaling naked in a fierce snowstorm, if the forecast holds.

The removal of clothing is meant as a protest over the removal of a bike lane in Williamsburg, an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

The activists want to go topless in front of Hasidic residents who "can't handle scantily clad women" on wheels, bike messenger Heather Loop told a local newspaper earlier this week.

The newspaper, The Brooklyn Paper, suggested the scantily clad protesters might roll into the neighborhood at sundown Saturday - just as families leave synagogue services on the Sabbath.

Bicycling advocates claim New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg erased the bike lane because conservative residents don't like seeing women in skimpy clothing riding by every day.

Members of the Satmar branch of Judaism "don't want to see women in shorts," says Baruch Herzfeld, who runs a bike-sharing program in a community where Jewish women wear hefty skirts and blouses with long sleeves and men heavy coats and hats, even in summer.

"The rabbis want to keep their people in the 18th century, and they don't want the world to intrude into their enclave," says Herzfeld.

The bike lane battle is pitting Hasids against hipsters and, in some cases, Jew against Jew. "The mayor made a deal with religious fanatics trying to enforce old traditions that don't belong in the 21st century," he [Herzfeld] said.

The biggest challenge for the topless riders, however, might not be the law - it's legal to go topless in New York in public - but the weather: Forecasters are predicting as much as 10 inches of snow and brisk winds.

Friday, December 18, 2009

CALIFORNIA IS BEING TURNED INTO A THIRD-WORLD CESSPOOL

What is happening to California is being experienced, or will likely be experience soon, by other states as well. That’s why I have chosen to reproduce some excerpts from Bob Walsh’s thoughts on the California experience.

SOME THOUGHTS ON STUFF IN GENERAL
By Bob Walsh

PacoVilla’s Corrections blog
December 18, 2009

The feds will not forget about the [prison] population cap legal action. ………. A massive release of prisoners is a realistic possibility in 1-2 years. The legislature will scream like mashed cats, but they will fiddle while Rome burns, blame the feds, and go back to their safe seats and still generous pay and very generous benefits and perks.

The legislature has spent money (our money) like a drunk sailor when they had it, and still spent it when they didn't have it. The electorate didn't care. A huge chunk of the electorate does not PAY income taxes, they're on the mooch. They don't give a rat's ass what the income tax rate is. We continue to elect the same people from the same parties over and over and over again.

Expect the two-tier retirement initiative to get on the ballot, and maybe to pass. If not this time then next time, after the excrement has well and truly hit the air circulation device.

Hope for the part-time legislature initiative to get on the ballot and hope for it to pass. They couldn't possibly do any worse than the "professional" legislature we have now. [The Texas legislature, for example, meets for only 140 calendar days and only during odd-numbered years. Special sessions, limited to 30 days, can be called by the governor.]

Hope that the state does not totally implode before some honest fiscal responsibility can get hold of things and pull us back to fiscal sanity.

California is still a beautiful, wonderful place. Unfortunately the roads and bridges are crumbling. Our school systems suck. The universities are to a large extent in the hands of liberal idiots. Much of our existence is regulated by appointed bureaucrats (federal and state) who want to impose their values and ideology on us (for our own good, because we are too stupid to know what's best for us).

Our fair state is being turned into a third-world cesspool. It will take a while to get there, but that is the direction we are moving in. The inertia of an economy and a way of life as large and grand as ours is massive. It is, however, not unstoppable. Enough people in positions of power and influence doing enough stupid things can destroy us. We are heading that way now. Rapidly. If we don't pull our collective head out of our collective ass, look around and do something about it, the formerly great state of California will become the new Appalachia. I hear banjos playing in the background, and they are getting louder.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WHO SAID THAT?

It is near the Christmas break of the school year. The students have turned in all their work and there is really nothing more to do. All the children are restless and the teacher decides to have an early dismissal.

Teacher: "Whoever answers the questions I ask, first and correctly, can leave early today."

Little Johnny says to himself "Good, I want to get outta here. I'm smart and will answer the question first."

Teacher: "Who said 'Four Score and Seven Years Ago'?" Before Johnny can open his mouth, Susie says, "Abraham Lincoln." Teacher: "That's right Susie, you can go home." Johnny is mad that Susie answered the question first.

Teacher: "Who said 'I Have a Dream'?" Before Johnny can open his mouth, Mary says, "Martin Luther King." Teacher: "That's right Mary, you can go." Johnny is even madder than before.

Teacher: "Who said 'Ask not, what your country can do for you'?" Before Johnny can open his mouth, Nancy says, "John F. Kennedy." Teacher: "That's right Nancy. You may also leave."

Johnny is boiling mad that he has not been able to answer any of the questions first. When the teacher turns her back Johnny says, "I wish these bitches would keep their mouths shut!"

The teacher turns around: "NOW WHO SAID THAT?"

Johnny: "TIGER WOODS. CAN I GO NOW?"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

OBAMA CONTINUES TO BACK PALESTINIAN DEMANDS DESIGNED TO DESTROY ISRAEL

Israel Today

PALESTINIANS HARDEN CONDITIONS FOR TALKS WITH ISRAEL
December 15, 2009

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday hardened the conditions he wants met to even begin peace talks with Israel.

Abbas said ahead of a meeting with PLO leaders in Ramallah that before negotiations can resume, Israel must stop building homes for Jews in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and officially recognize the pre-1967 borders as the borders of a new Palestinian state, essentially leaving nothing to negotiate about.

The Palestinian leader again rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's partial 10-month settlement freeze as inadequate.

OBAMA ADOPTS NEW PALESTINIAN HARD-LINE POSITIONS
December 16, 2009

Israel made what US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called "unprecedented" gestures to get the peace process back on track. But the Palestinians refused, and instead introduced new hard-line positions. So, naturally, Washington and other international peace brokers are going to appease the Palestinians amid their most recent tantrum and adopt their new positions.

That according to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who told the pan-Arab daily newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat this week that the Palestinian refusal to conduct unconditional talks had forced the Obama Administration to stop relying on Israeli gestures, and instead force Israel to fully accept Arab demands.

"Once they realized their earlier approach had failed, the Americans see themselves forced to change direction," said Gheit.

The new peace initiative, which, according to Gheit, will be spearheaded by the US, Egypt and France, will be based on Israel implementing a full building freeze in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem at the outset of talks and a commitment by Israel to recognize a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders, effectively prejudging the outcome of the negotiations.

Those conditions are fully in line with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' new positions, which he introduced days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implemented a partial 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in order to facilitate a return to the negotiating table. The US at first praised Netanyahu's decision, and indirectly accused Abbas of holding up the peace process.

But as in the past, the US and international power brokers realize they cannot strong-arm the Palestinians without risking other regional assets, so they will apparently once again strong-arm Israel, which will upset no-one.

AUSTRALIAN SCHOOL ANSWERING MACHINE

According to Snopes, the following phone message is a hoax. It was first attributed to California’s Pacific Palisades High School in 2002, with the Maroochydore High School in Queensland version popping up last March. It would be great, however, if some of our schools had the guts to leave this kind of message on their answering machines.

Ring!

Hello!

You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all the options before making a selection.

 To lie about why your child is absent, press 1

 To make excuses for why your child did not do his homework, press 2

 To complain about what we do, press 3

 To swear at staff members, press 4

 To ask why you didn’t get information (that has already been enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers that have been mailed to you), press 5

 If you want us to raise your child, press 6

 If you want to reach out and touch, slap, or hit someone, press 7

 To request another teacher (for the third time this year), press 8

 To complain about bus transportation, press 9

 To complain about school lunches, press 0

If you realize this is the real world, and your child must be accountable and responsible for his or her own behavior, classwork, and homework, and that it’s NOT the teacher’s fault for your child’s lack of effort, hang up and have a nice day!

If you want this in another language, move to a country that speaks it. Thank you for your interest in public education.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

EXPLANING IT TO A NEW YORK LAWYER IN A DEMONSTRATIVE WAY

TEXAS DEPUTY SHERIFF vs. NEW YORK LAWYER

A lawyer from New York runs a stop sign in Texas and gets pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy. He thinks that he is smarter than the deputy because he is a New York lawyer and is certain that he has a better education then any cop from Texas. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the deputy's expense.

The deputy says 'Sir, I need to see your driver’s license and proof of insurance.'

'What for?,' asks the lawyer...

The deputy says 'Sir, you didn't come to a complete stop at the stop sign.'

Then the lawyer says 'I slowed down, and no one was coming.'

'You still didn't come to a complete stop,’ says the deputy. ‘License and insurance, please.'

The lawyer asks 'What's the difference?'

'The difference is you have to come to complete stop, that's the law. License and insurance, please!,' the Deputy repeats..

The lawyer says 'If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my license and you give me the ticket... If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket.'

'That sounds fair. Please exit your vehicle, sir,' the deputy says.

After the lawyer got out of his car, the deputy takes out his nightstick, starts beating the shit out of him, and asks 'Do you want me to stop or just slow down?'

Monday, December 14, 2009

AARP NOW MAKES ME BARF

I have been a member of AARP for more than 25 years. Other than some motel discounts, I can’t really tell what benefits I’ve received from that organization for us old geezers. They’re supposed to represent us before Congress but lately they’ve supported the Democratic health reform proposals that will hurt all of us burn-outs.

I am fully aware that our health system is woefully inadequate for a lot of folks and that health care costs have spiraled out of control. That needs correcting! What the Democrats are proposing and AARP is supporting may help some folks, but it will likely hurt those of us who are Medicare recipients.

From the beginning of the health care debate, the Democrats proposed to pay for the reforms with the savings gained from cutting out the waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. By “waste” they mean, for the most part, “unnecessary” procedures. Well, one man’s unnecessary procedure is another man’s necessary procedure. So what they’re really doing is cutting down Medicare benefits.

Now, in place of the controversial public option, the Democrats have proposed to let people join Medicare starting at age 55 rather than 65. That will only drive up the cost of Medicare, a program that is already approaching bankruptcy. That means they will have to raise the Medicare premiums. And that will hurt all of us, most especially those of us on fixed incomes.

Because of their support for the Democratic health reform proposals, AARP now makes me barf. I will not renew my membership in an organization that misrepresents us and I urge all my fellow AARP members to do likewise. There are a number of groups out there that truly represent the interests of seniors. Besides, stop to think about it: AARP is really in the business of selling insurance, not representing our best interests.

GLOCK 21 OWNERS BEWARE!

WEST VIRGINIA DEPUTY’S GUN EXPLODES IN HIS HAND

WTOV9.com
December 13, 2009

MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. — Officials in Marshall County said they've learned it could have been the weapon -- not the ammunition -- that caused a gun to explode in a deputy's hand last week. Chief Deputy Kevin Cecil said organizations from across the country have called him recently, saying they've had similar situations with their guns.

"It's a combination of them wanting to know what happened … along with possible problems with their firearms," Cecil said. A deputy was using the .45 caliber Glock 21 for the first time at a firing range last week when the lower half exploded, breaking off the trigger, sending parts flying and injuring his hand. Cecil said he initially thought it was the ammunition that caused the problem, but not he's not so sure. He said, as time goes on, he's learned quite a bit about similar situations throughout the country.

"We're actually adjusting our thinking a little bit. It might not just be the ammunition. There may be a certain issue with the firearm itself, so we're going to send it off to have it independently evaluated," Cecil said.

WORLD'S GREATEST GOLFER ALSO WORLD'S GREATEST LOVER

16 and counting. 16 is the number of women so far, mostly blondes, who have come forward to declare they had sex with Tiger Woods. Some of these affairs occurred shortly after Tiger married his wife, a blonde Swedish underwear model. Many of the affairs took place simultaneously and some of them are alleged to have lasted over two years. That makes Tiger Woods not only the world’s greatest golfer, but also the world’s greatest lover.

Woods makes about $100 million dollars a year endorsing products for Gillette, Nike, AT&T and Gatorade among others. His philandering ways may cost him some of those endorsements. But fear not Tiger, there are other products out there that you can pitch now that you have also become the world’s greatest lover.

For starters, you can endorse ExtenZe, Enzyte, Maxoderm and Trojan condoms. Eventually there’s Viagra, Cialis or Levitra. In place of those luxurious TAG Heuers you should be able to broker an endorsement deal with Mickey Mouse watches. Of course, there will be an opportunity for you to endorse a leading divorce lawyer. And finally, when you arrive at that point in your life, you may be able to endorse a urologist who specializes in penile implants.

So don’t despair Tiger! Things may not be nearly as bleak as they now seem to be. I see lots of lucrative endorsements ahead if you can continue to get a bevy of blondes to add onto your 72-hole scorecard. Just make sure not to let any of those babes get their hands on one of your golf clubs if you don’t want to get whacked again.

ATTA BOY SHERIFF JOW, GO GET EM!

I don’t agree with everything Sheriff Joe does but it’s really refreshing to see someone shaking up the entrenched political establishment.

As for local police agencies enforcing federal immigration laws, I believe that public officials and police officers are required to take an oath to “uphold the laws of the United States, the State of ____________ and the City (or County) of ____________.”

ARIZONA SHERIFF UPS THE ANTE AGAINST HIS FOES
Joe Arpaio has escalated his tactics, not only defying the federal government on immigration but launching repeated investigations of those who criticize him.

By Nicholas Riccardi

The Los Angeles Times
December 12, 2009

Reporting from Phoenix - The day after the federal government told Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio that he could no longer use his deputies to round up suspected illegal immigrants on the street, the combative Arizona sheriff did just that.

He launched one of his notorious "sweeps," in which his officers descend on heavily Latino neighborhoods, arrest hundreds of people for violations as minor as a busted headlight and ask them whether they are in the country legally.

"I wanted to show everybody it didn't make a difference," Arpaio said of the Obama administration's order.

Arpaio calls himself "America's toughest sheriff" and remains widely popular across the state. For two decades, he has basked in publicity over his colorful tactics, such as dressing jail inmates in pink underwear and housing them in outdoor tents during the brutal Phoenix summers.

But he has escalated his tactics in recent months, not only defying the federal government but launching repeated investigations of those who criticize him. He recently filed a racketeering lawsuit against the entire Maricopa County power structure. On Thursday night, the Arizona Court of Appeals issued an emergency order forbidding the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office from searching the home or chambers of a Superior Court judge who was named in the racketeering case.

Last year, when Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon called for a federal investigation of Arpaio's immigration enforcement, the Sheriff's Office demanded to see Gordon's e-mails, phone logs and appointment calendars.

When the police chief in one suburb complained about the sweeps, Arpaio's deputies raided that town's City Hall.

A local television station, KPHO, in a 10-minute-long segment last month, documented two dozen instances of the sheriff launching investigations of critics, none of which led to convictions.

The most notorious case involves county Supervisor Don Stapley, a Republican who has sometimes disagreed with Arpaio's immigration tactics. Last December, deputies arrested Stapley on charges of failing to disclose business interests properly on his statement of economic interest.

Stapley's alarmed supervisor colleagues had their offices swept for listening devices. Arpaio contended the search was illegal and sent investigators to the homes of dozens of county staffers to grill them about the sweep.

A judge in September dismissed several of the allegations against Stapley, and prosecutors dropped the case. Three days later, Arpaio's deputies arrested Stapley again after he parked his car in a downtown parking structure near his office.

No charges were filed until County Atty. Andrew Thomas -- Arpaio's ally in his fights with the supervisor -- charged Stapley this week with misusing money he raised to run for president of the National Assn. of Counties.

"It's just extraordinary, the kind of thing that takes place in Third World dictatorships," said Paul Charlton, a former U.S. attorney who is representing Stapley. He predicted the latest charges would also be dismissed. "So many people are of one mind on a single issue -- illegal immigration -- that they are willing to ignore these misdeeds."

Arpaio brushes off suggestions that he's used his office to go after critics. Many of the complaints, as in the Stapley case, come from targets of anti-corruption probes that started with tips rather than the sheriff's personal intercession.

"We don't abuse our power," Arpaio said in an interview. "We do what we have to do."

Arpaio, a Republican, is highly popular in Arizona. He won reelection last year with 55% of the vote in the state's most populous county. Though he has said he's not interested in running for governor, a recent poll showed him crushing the presumptive Democratic nominee, state Atty. Gen. Terry Goddard, 51% to 39%.

The sheriff was not always at war with much of the region's political establishment. A former official with the Drug Enforcement Administration who was first elected sheriff in 1992, Arpaio had support from the majority-Republican county Board of Supervisors and from local Latino leaders.

"He had a very good relationship with the Hispanic community," said Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, the lone Democrat and lone Latina on the board.

But by 2005, central Arizona was seething over illegal immigration. Crime was rising in Phoenix, a key smuggling hub that was becoming the kidnapping capital of the country.

Arpaio received a federal waiver, known as a 287(g), that allowed his deputies to enforce federal immigration laws. He said he had identified more than 30,000 illegal immigrants through his sweeps and interrogations in the county jail.

In October, the federal Department of Homeland Security revoked the 287(g) for Arpaio's street operations, though he could continue to question jail inmates about their immigration status.

Arpaio, however, said state law permitted him to continue his street operations and is awaiting a legal opinion from Thomas, the county attorney.

Latino community leaders say Arpaio has become more aggressive since he was stripped of some authority in the 287(g) program.

"It's actually gotten worse rather than better," said Salvador Reza, an activist who added that some immigrants don't dare turn the lights on in their homes at night for fear that Arpaio's deputies would knock at their doors.

A Homeland Security spokesman declined to comment, referring a reporter to statements Secretary Janet Napolitano gave to a liberal advocacy group in Washington.

Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, said Arpaio "was unwilling to accept that there were standards that needed to be met. He wanted to go off on his own. And so that's where we had a parting of ways." She acknowledged, however, that state law would allow him to continue making his arrests.

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into Arpaio's tactics. The sheriff has refused to cooperate and has called for an investigation of the investigators.

As Arpaio has fenced with the Obama administration, he has become embroiled in a sometimes-surreal battle with the five county supervisors who oversee his budget. Amid the recession, they have cut the sheriff's budget by 12.2%.

Arpaio and Thomas filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against the county supervisors, administrators and several judges who have ruled against the two in prior cases.

Arpaio and Thomas contended there was a conspiracy to assign the Stapley prosecution to an anti-Thomas judge, part of an effort to cover up what they call a wasteful county effort to build a new courthouse.

County officials noted that Arpaio and Thomas have sued them six times in efforts to regain power over their budgets -- and they lost every time.

Tensions escalated this week when the county attorney filed criminal charges against the presiding judge of the county's criminal courts, alleging bribery and obstruction of justice for ruling against Arpaio and prosecutors in some of those previous legal battles.

Wilcox, whom Thomas charged this week with violating state laws by voting on government contracts for a charitable organization that gave one of her businesses a loan, said she had been stunned by the sheriff's conduct.

"They have made life hell on everybody," she said of Arpaio and Thomas."Every time you speak out, they investigate you."

"Racketeering? That's just crazy," she added. "We're becoming the laughingstock of America."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

CRIMINAL JUSTICE, SAN FRANCISCO STYLE

POOR SYSTEM OR STUPID JUDGES?????
By Bob Walsh

PacoVilla’s Corrections blog
December 12, 2009

Arthur Lee Clark Jr, 20, is what many of us would call state raised, or at least semi-state raised. He is (finally) being held in the San Francisco County jail on $1 million bail. A reasonable question would be, "Why did he have to kill someone to get there?".

Young Arthur became a ward of the social welfare system at the ripe old age of 6. In July of 2005, at the age of 16, he was busted selling coke and carrying a piece. That got him home detention with his grandparents in the projects along with the apparently meaningless sanction of probation.

He was busted for violating probation in 2006, which landed him in a group home and youth came in Chino. He finished serving his juvenile probation in 2007. Five months later he was again busted for possession for sale. This time around he was over 18. Not that it made much difference.

He copped to being a crack head. He ended up in the hospital with a gunshot wound under circumstances that were never clarified. He then ended up in a Prop 36 program instead of jail. Yip Yip Yahoo for him. He turned in over a dozen dirty tests, but was kept in the program. No jail.

In October of last year he was spotted by cops driving like an idiot on the freeway. He managed to evade the cops, but they gaffled him up later. He said he took off like that because his license was suspended. He also said every time it happened in the future he would do the same thing. He finally made it to court. The probation department asked for 90 days, pointing out his gross disrespect for authority and repeated bad tests. The judge kicked him for time served.

On February of this year he was again spotted by cops who recognized him and tried to pull him over. He again took off like a mad man. He again got away. He was again gaffled up later and again ended up in court. The probation department and prosecutors again asked for 90 days in custody. He was given a order to return later to court for sentencing. He never showed. A bench warrant was issued.

In April he was busted at his girlfriends with a gun, ammo, and dope for sale. He was in jail for six months awaiting trial. Prosecutors wanted prison time. The judge gave him time served, said "Good luck" and let him walk.

On November 11 of this year he was still on probation, still without a license, still driving a girlfriends car like a maniac. He plowed into Issac Hudson, 84, and killed him. He ran from the wrecked car, leaving his DNA on the air bag and his jail ID tag in the girlfriends wrecked car.

I wonder what sort of break he will get from the S.F. court system this time?