Tuesday, May 31, 2011


While campaigning for the presidency Obama promised to make all sorts of changes. Most of those promises have been broken. His most notable change was to become the first president to openly side with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, contrary to what he promised in his speeches to Jewish voters.

On April 29, 2011, Obama toured the tornado-ravaged parts of the South. "We are going to do everything we can to help these communities rebuild," Obama told reporters in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

On Sunday, Obama toured the tornado-ravaged parts of Joplin, Missouri. He told an audience of survivors, "We're not going to stop 'til Joplin's back on its feet. I promise you your country will be there with you every single step of the way."

The victims of the Joplin tornado better not hold their collective breaths. On Sunday, NBC News reported that, except for the removal of debris, the tornado-ravaged part of Tuscaloosa looked exactly the same as it did one month ago when Obama made his promise to help rebuild the storm-devastated communities of the South. Several residents interviewed, including an angry black lady, said Obama has not done a damn thing for Tuscaloosa.


Who would have thought there would be racism in Montrose, Houston’s gay neighborhood, when the residents of that community are still discriminated against by many Houstonians. And it’s been ages since I heard the term ‘coon’ being used.

By Mandy Oaklander

Houston Press Hair Balls
May 30, 2011

Every year, Montrose leather bar The Ripcord crowns the king of all things leather: Mr. Prime Choice. Men over 40 vie for the title by picking an LGBT charity, fundraising for it, and strutting their best leather get-ups onstage. This was the competition's 30-year anniversary, and Ripcord regular Tim Angelle, 50, decided to enter.

That's when the true colors of the leather community started to surface, Angelle said. The gay Montrose set is perhaps the last place you'd expect to find racism, but there it was -- plain as the slur that Angelle would find scrawled across his poster.

At first, Angelle said his candidacy seemed welcomed by the producer of the event, Don Gill, who told Angelle that he was the first African-American to ever run for Prime Choice. For a couple weeks, Angelle was the only entrant.

Then one night, he found out he had competition. Fred Walters, founder of the Houston Buyer's Club, was officially running. It seemed odd to Angelle, who said that Walters isn't part of the leather scene. Not to mention, the Houston Buyer's Club was on the list of recommended charities in the entrant packet. To him, it seemed like a conflict of interest.

Don Gill said he approached Walters when he heard that he might be interested and encouraged him to run. "If we see someone out in the community that can possibly make a statement, we say, 'Hey, when you turn 40--or if you are 40--why don't you consider running for Prime Choice?'" Gill said.

Later that night, Angelle went out to a bar in the neighborhood. He found his Mr. Prime Choice poster taped up in the bathroom, with "GO HOME COON" scrawled across his photos.

"I was really upset about it," Angelle said. But he wasn't shocked. He and other blacks have experienced racism firsthand in Montrose, from the days when they had to show two forms of identification to get into bars, unlike the white men who would cruise right in. "The white gays think that Montrose is for them," Angelle said. "They really think that they're the only representation of Montrose."

The racial slur just added fuel to his fire to win. Angelle held four fundraisers at local gay bars to benefit his chosen charity, Thomas Street Clinic Food Program. He raised money through entertaining, sometimes by go-go dancing in G-strings. "Whatever it took to raise the money for my charity, I did," Angelle said. Though it wasn't part of the packet of rules he received, Angelle was instructed by the program organizer that he had to have an official from the contest at each of his fundraisers, turn in all receipts, and have two other people sign off on his totals.

Walters raised his money by asking his Facebook friends for donations. Gill said that he beat Angelle's total, according to a check cut from the Houston Buyer's Club -- Walters' chosen charity, and one of which he happens to be executive director.

Angelle's partner, Darryl Bryant, thinks the rules weren't uniform. "Why does he have to have fundraisers with two people there at every fundraisers, when this guy can just raise it on the Internet and nobody knows if he raised it or not?" Bryant said. "If that was the case, we could've just wrote a check and not done anything."

The night of the competition on April 30, Angelle says he got strange vibes from the judges of Prime Choice. One of the judge's questions, he said, was especially uncomfortable: "If you were a color, which color would you be?" Angelle thought he misheard the judge and asked him to repeat it. "I didn't know how to answer the question," Angelle said. So he decided to interpret it non-racially, answering instead according to the leather community's take on color. (Ask Professor Peaches if you want to learn more about color meanings and hanky code.)

"Every color in the Crayola box means something in the leather community," Angelle answered. And although he doesn't participate in the colors, he respects them, he added.

Rodney Matthews, who was in the audience that night, thought the question was inappropriate. Still, he felt sure Angelle would win, since Matthews says he was the obvious audience favorite. "When Tim came out, the crowd whooped and yelled and screamed," Matthews said. And when Walters came out -- "Everybody was like, why is he up there? He's not in that realm." But Walters, he said, seemed to be the favorite of the emcee, who stayed onstage with Walters whenever he answered a question and walked off when Angelle came on to speak.

Walters was named Mr. Prime Choice.

Not that Matthews was surprised. He thinks Angelle's loss was the result of abiding racism in the gay community. "It doesn't come down to whether you can perform, how well you present yourself, how much money you raise, nothing like that. it always comes down to who are your friends, and who is running the organization," he said. "The decision was made when Fred was asked to run."

Later that night, Angelle and his partner went out for a consolation drink. Gill happened to walk in the bar. "We get to talking," said Angelle. "He's patting me on my back, saying 'You did a good job,' blah blah blah." Then, Gill said something that stunned Angelle. "He tells me, 'Well, I had to talk Fred Walters into running against you.'"

Just last year, the title had been given to a man who had no competitors. (Gill said that he did look for people to run last year, but couldn't find anyone. The competitor, he said, was very popular.)

Angelle asked Gill why he'd recruit competition for Angelle. "He said, 'Well, when Jesse Jackson ran for president, he didn't win on his first try,'" said Angelle.

Disgusted, Angelle sent a letter to the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, who said there's nothing they could do. Noel Freeman, the group's president, sent a letter which included this statement:

Your allegation of racial bias is essentially your word versus that of Mr. Gill, and I suspect that by his lack of response to my inquiry, he is not particularly interested in addressing such allegations. As such, there is no reason or authority for us to become involved in this matter.

Gill said that he thinks Angelle is "absolutely delightful" as a person, and that his allegations of racism are untrue. "Being a minority myself, being a homosexual, growing up being different, why would I want to be racist?" he said. "I think I would allow Montrose, Texas to speak for that."


Israel’s left-wing reminds me of Norway’s ‘Fifth Column’ which facilitated that nation’s conquest by Nazi Germany. The Israelis who signed the letter supporting a UN General Assembly declaration recognizing an independent Palestinian state are nothing more than a group of Jewish traitors.

Leftist group Solidarity sends letter to ElU leaders signed by former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg, Nobel Laureate Professor Daniel Kahneman and more, saying ‘peace process has reached its end’

May 27,2011

More than a dozen Israeli intellectuals and public figures have signed a letter urging European leaders to officially recognize a Palestinian State, as "the peace process has reached its end."

The letter, which will be sent to the leaders on Friday, was initiated by the leftist Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, the group which also organizes the weekly demonstrations in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

"Peace has fallen hostage to the peace process," the letter said. "As Israeli citizens, we announce that if and when the Palestinian people declare independence of a sovereign state that will exist next to Israel in peace and security, we will support such the announcement of the Palestinian State with borders based on the 1967 lines, with needed land swaps on a 1:1 basis."

"We urge the countries of the world to declare their willingness to recognize a sovereign Palestinian State according to these principles," the letter added.

In a statement on the Solidarity website, the group wrote that "the Palestinian appeal to the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian State does not harm the Israeli interest and is not at odds with the peace process."

"Netanyahu's speech in Washington and the sweeping support he received from the U.S. Congress shows that the peace process has reached its end," the statement added, stressing that Israel now has a choice between recognizing a Palestinian State or a renewed wave of violence.

The letter was signed by former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg, former Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Liel, and former Ambassador to South Africa Ilan Baruch. Among the intellectual signatories are Nobel laureate Professor Daniel Kahneman, and Israel Prize Winner Professor Avishai Margalit.


"It looks bad, but ….. that was not taken into consideration.” If you believe that I’ll sell you some prime beach front property in Phoenix. It not only looks bad, but it is bad! This is typical of Pepe LePew Baca who has a reputation of granting special favors to his contributor friends and to Hollywood celebrities.

Of the 19 recruits that graduated from Academy Class 383 in April, 18 were from local police agencies

By Robert Faturechi

Los Angeles Times
May 29, 2011

The only recruit the L.A. County Sheriff's Department hired in the last 19 months was personally recommended to Sheriff Lee Baca by his son.

John W. Pace, 26, was selected from among thousands of applicants as the department was tightening its belt due to budget cuts.

David Baca, a sergeant with the Murrieta Police Department, said Pace called him, "looking for help" in becoming a cop. David Baca agreed to put in a good word with his father. David Baca said his father offered no assurances, but sometime thereafter Pace became the department's only trainee hired since October 2009.

Capt. Kevin Herbert, who supervises the department's hiring of recruits, said Pace's connection with Baca's son played no role in his employment. "It looks bad, but in my opinion that was not taken into consideration. ... He's an outstanding candidate."

Monday, May 30, 2011


‘The interest of the children should be central to the decision-making process where children are affected by a decision.’ If we were to release inmates in the U.S. on the basis of that nonsense, we would solve our prison overcrowding problems.

In releasing the burglar, this jerk of a British judge totally ignored the human rights of his victims and the human rights of his potential victims.


Mail Online
May 27, 2011

A burglar was let out of jail yesterday because locking him up breached his family’s human rights.

In a staggering judgment, the Appeal Court ruled that the rights of Wayne Bishop’s five children were more important than those of his victims or the interests of justice.

MPs said it opened the way to thousands more convicts claiming a ‘get out of jail card’ under the controversial Human Rights Act.

Article 8, the right to a family life, has repeatedly been used by foreign criminals to avoid deportation from the UK. But this is believed to be the first time it has been used to let a prisoner walk free from jail.

Bishop, 33, of Clifton, Nottingham, was sentenced to eight months after admitting burglary and dangerous driving. He has now been let out after only one month.

The decision was condemned by his neighbours, who described him as ‘nothing but trouble’.

Bishop himself boasted of how he had managed to make a mockery of justice. He told the Mail: ‘I’m a lucky boy and I’m on top of the world.’

At the Appeal Court, Mr Justice Maddison and Mr Justice Sweeney agreed that imprisoning Bishop was not in the ‘best interests’ of his children, and ordered the sentence to be suspended instead.

The court was told that Bishop was the sole carer of his children, aged between six and 13, for five nights a week.

Since he was jailed, the children have been cared for by his sister during the week and their mother, Bishop’s ex-partner Tracey York, 30, at weekends.

The court heard the sister, a single parent, was already responsible for seven children and lived seven miles from the schools attended by her nieces and nephews.

Mr Justice Sweeney suggested it was hardly in the children’s best interests for their father to be out committing burglary and asked who had been looking after them at that time.

But he and Mr Justice Maddison together concluded that the judge who jailed Bishop at Nottingham Crown Court had not paid enough attention to the effect that imprisonment would have on his children.

Mr Justice Maddison said: ‘It is important that criminals should not think that children can provide some sort of licence to commit offences with impunity.

‘All of that said, however, we have to be aware of the highly unsatisfactory and difficult situation faced by the children and those now doing their best to look after them.’

Tory MP Dominic Raab, who led the Westminster revolt against prisoner voting, said: ‘If criminals can argue that a chaotic family life entitles them to a get-out-of-jail card, it will severely undermine public trust in the justice system.

‘Article 8 of the European Convention was never designed for this. We need to amend the Human Rights Act to stop this kind of perverse precedent.’

The court was not told that Bishop has been married for the last three years.

Bishop told the Mail that his wife Sandra, 36, was never considered as a possible carer for the children because she has four children of her own, one of whom has behavioral problems.

He said the couple live at separate addresses with their own children in Clifton, Nottingham. ‘Sandra has her hands full as it is,’ he said. ‘She was unable to look after my children. People need to understand my situation. They should leave me alone to live with my children in peace.’

He added that he accepted he had ‘made mistakes’ but promised to turn over a new leaf.

He and three other men raided Mansfield Rugby Club, taking only some chocolate, before he and one of his accomplices drove off in a van.

Bishop clipped a police vehicle and drove through red lights before he drove up a dead-end street and was arrested.

Bishop told the Mail he turned to crime because he struggled to survive on benefits. He said: ‘People need to know how hard it is for single parents. I regret getting involved in crime but I am on a low income. The benefit agency won’t help me get a job and I turned to crime.

‘I am not an armed robber or a drug dealer, or anything. It was a one-off and I got caught.

‘It is not like I denied it. I didn’t enter the premises. I was just the getaway driver.’

More than 200 foreign prisoners, including killers, cheated deportation last year by claiming they have a human right to a ‘family life’ in Britain.


It took police eight weeks to arrest a suspect in the Dodger stadium beating. The parole authorities are being scapegoated for not including the suspect’s facial and neck tattoos on a computer data base. However, the suspect’s parole agent is the one who recognized him from the police sketches and notified LAPD, and that is what led to his arrest.

By: Brent Begin

San Francisco Examiner
May 29, 2011

Key descriptive details such as a teardrop tattoo were never entered into a computer database that might have helped identify a high-risk parolee who is now the main suspect in the beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow.

Even with suspect sketches broadcast in the news media and plastered on 300 billboards throughout Los Angeles, it took police eight weeks after the March 31 beating of Stow to arrest 31-year-old Giovanni Ramirez, and tattoos on his neck and face played a major role in his identification.

Ramirez’s parole records, obtained by The San Francisco Examiner, paint a picture of an unemployed man with narcotics problems who is affiliated with Varrio Nuevo Estrada, a violent Southern California street gang.

But some of the most telling details, a teardrop tattoo under his left eye and tattoos on his neck that included a Los Angeles Dodgers logo and a dollar sign, were never entered into the Law Enforcement Automated Data System. While there is a picture of Ramirez in that system in which his tattoos are visible, a searchable list of those tattoos is left blank on his so-called parole “face sheet.”

The LEADS computer system was introduced in 1997 as “an innovative, state-of-the-art computer system designed to provide local law enforcement agencies with current information about parolees,” according to a press release at the time.

Ramirez was also reportedly not living at the address listed on his parole sheet.

A spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Luis Patino, said he would not comment on the case until the Los Angeles Police Department cleared him to do so. A union representative for parole agents also would not comment and Ramirez’s attorney did not return calls for comment.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has been under fire in recent years for high-profile cases in which parole agents failed to do their jobs. The state paid a $20 million settlement for Jaycee Dugard in 2010 after parole agents failed to identify her while checking on her captor, Phillip Garrido. In San Francisco, questions remain about whether murder suspect Gary Scott Holland had been under proper parole supervision when police say he killed Russian Hill socialite Kate Horan.

However, it was eventually one of Ramirez’s parole agents who cracked the Stow case, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ramirez had been discussed as a possible suspect, and when the agent called upon him for a parole check, he noticed that Ramirez had covered up some of his neck tattoos with newer tattoos.

It’s unclear which parole agent made that discovery. Three days before the Stow beating, supervision of Ramirez had been switched from one parole agent to another.

Charges have yet to be filed against Ramirez. He remains in custody on a technical parole violation. A lawyer for Ramirez has said his client was at home with his daughter at the time of the attack. Police still are looking for the second attacker and a woman seen driving away from the beating.

Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic from Santa Cruz, remains in critical but stable condition at San Francisco General Hospital.


Murray Newman, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, is critical of the Houston court system for keeping ‘indigent potheads and petty thieves’ locked up because they can’t make bail. While he is right that keeping misdemeanants locked up pending trial contributes to a costly overcrowding of the Harris County jail, release on their own recognizance may not always be in the best interests of public safety.

By Murray Newman

May 8, 2011

On most Thursday nights at 8 p.m., the Harris County Criminal Lawyers’ Association sponsors a cable access show on Houston’s Media Source called Reasonable Doubt. Todd Dupont and I are the hosts and we have a different guest each week. It runs for an hour and we take call in questions. If you’re ever interested (or bored on a Thursday night), you can check it out by clicking here.

The reason I mention it is that last week’s guest was local defense attorney David Jones, who came on the show to talk about the oppressiveness of the Harris County Bond Schedule. It ended up with some great calls and questions, and we soon found that an hour wasn’t nearly enough time to discuss it completely.

So, I thought I would talk about it here.

When a person is arrested for a crime in Harris County, the arresting officer enters some preliminary information into a computer and sends it to the District Attorney’s Office for “screening.” Once the charges arrive at the D.A.’s Office, an Assistant District Attorney working what we call “Intake” will then screen the case. The prosecutor will see what kind of charge the person was arrested for and then go over the accused’s criminal history. Those two factors are the main factors in determining what the accused’s bond will be set.

Each crime has a “base” bond that is the starting point for where the bond amount begins. Last I looked, the schedule was something like this:

• Class B Misdemeanor – $500
• Class A Misdemeanor – $1000
• State Jail Felony – $2000
• Third Degree Felony – $5000
• Second Degree Felony – $10,000
• First Degree Felony – $20,000
• Aggravated Cases – $30,000
• Murders – $50,000

The criminal history of the accused will then cause that amount to go up. On the misdemeanor cases, $500 is added for every previous misdemeanor conviction and $1,000 is added for every felony conviction. Typically, there is a cap of $5,000 for a misdemeanor bond. For felony upgrades, only the previous felony convictions count, but they typically will bump the bond amount up a degree for every felony conviction. There are various and sundry additional rules that are too numerous to list and not relevant for this particular post.

The Misdemeanor Bond schedule is what interests me here, because in my opinion, it is silly and oppressive to hold people in jail on low-level crimes while complaining of jail overcrowding in the next breath. I don’t have particular statistics available to me at the moment (not that I’ve ever been a big statistic guy in the first place), but I do know that overcrowding in the Harris County Jail leads us to pay Louisiana and Newton County to house the overflow of inmates.

This practice becomes particularly ridiculous when you examine the fact that we are keeping non-dangerous and non-flight risk inmates locked up when they can’t make a bond. Typical misdemeanor cases are first or second time DWI cases, thefts, possessions of marijuana, and non-aggravated cases of assault. These are crimes that aren’t necessarily the trademarks of your aspiring serial killers.

Yet, the indigent potheads and petty thieves are occupying bunk space at the Harris County Jail to such a large degree that the County is having to pay money to other locations to handle the overflow. In the middle of the budget crunch we all have to deal with, it seems rather counter-productive to be sending money out of county to deal with this problem. A little creative problem solving might be in order.

Now, before I get to my proposal, I already know that it will meet with resistance. Prosecutors prefer doing plea negotiations with an accused person in custody, particularly if their punishment recommendation is going to be one involving incarceration. An inmate in custody is much more likely to sign up for ten or thirty days in jail than one who is currently experiencing freedom.

Incarcerated inmates with very “fightable” cases will be much more likely to take a plea bargain that will expedite their release rather than fight their cases. For instance, I can file a Motion to Suppress Evidence for my client the day I meet him, but he won’t get a hearing on the issue for about a month. The prosecutor is offering him time served, today. The problem with that is that a “time served” plea bargain is a final conviction that can have ramifications from the accused’s driver’s license to future enhancement of crimes.

Although many, many defendants are chomping at the bit for a “time served” offer, these offers are, at the end of the day, coercive. If the accused person had the option of going over his legal options from a position of freedom, odds are he or she would make much more thoughtful decisions when it comes to accepting or rejecting a prosecutor’s offer.

So, here’s my proposal (that will never be adopted): Start making misdemeanor offenses presumptively eligible for Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond.

I say “presumptively,” because there will obviously be situations where it won’t be appropriate. A guy who beats his wife and says he is going to beat her some more the second he gets out of custody is obviously not somebody we need to release on his own word to return. Same goes for the guy who has three priors for Bond Jumping.

But if we are going to keep a pothead in jail on a $5,000 bond because we are worried he might light up again? Give me a break. Giving a PR bond to somebody who is most likely to return for his assigned court date without any blood on his hands makes sense, and it alleviates jail overcrowding.

I know that there will be resistance to this idea and people will point out that the pothead probably will light up again when he gets out. My response to that is that Pre-Trial Services can always have him submit a random urinalysis at his next court date to test that theory. Additionally, that line of thinking isn’t really affording the accused his or her presumption of innocence, is it?

The only people who would potentially lose out on this plan would be the Bail Bonding Companies.

And, of course, Louisiana.


Two Indians and I were walking through the woods. All of a sudden one of the Indians ran up a hill to the mouth of a small cave.

"Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!" he called into the cave and listened closely until he heard an answering, "Wooooo! Wooooo! Woooooo! He then tore off his clothes and ran into the cave.

I was puzzled and asked the remaining Indian what it was all about. "Was that Indian crazy or what?"

The Indian replied "No, It is our custom during mating season when Indian men see cave, they holler 'Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!' into the opening. If they get an answer back, it means there's a beautiful woman in there waiting for us."

Just then they came upon another cave. The second Indian ran up to the cave, stopped, and hollered, "Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo! Immediately, there was the answer. "Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!" from deep inside. He also tore off his clothes and ran into the opening.

I wandered around in the woods alone for a while, and then spied a third large cave. As I looked in amazement at the size of the huge opening, I was thinking, "Hoo, man! Look at the size of this cave! It's bigger than those the Indians found. There must be some really big, fine women in this cave!" I stood in front of the opening and hollered with all my might, "Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!"

Like the others, I then heard an answering call, "WOOOOOOOOO, WOOOOOOOOO WOOOOOOOOO!" With a gleam in my eye and a smile on my face, I raced into the cave, tearing off my clothes as I ran, while almost tripping over a bunch of logs on the ground.

The following day, the headline of the local newspaper read ....


Sunday, May 29, 2011


Netanyahu made Congress proud of America. Obama’s siding with the Palestinians was not enough to satisfy the Arab world. In the eyes of most Israelis and many others, the president’s position on the borders of Israel brought shame to America.

By Yitzhak Klein

May 28, 2011

This week, the prime minister of a foreign country, Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed Congress and received 31 standing ovations. How did he earn them?

Netanyahu held a mirror up to the United States, inviting Americans to see themselves as Israelis see them. For Israelis, America’s image is familiar and overwhelmingly positive. The values that inspire both societies are the same. Nearly 4,000 years ago, the hand of Moses inscribed the word of God, “proclaim liberty throughout the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Two hundred fifty years ago, men in Philadelphia inscribed those words upon a bell they hung in Independence Hall. Both Israel and the United States believe that the foundations of national strength and prosperity are “liberty and justice for all.”

In much of the world, even in other democracies, calls for Israel’s destruction are met with silent acquiescence. Cynics and hypocrites even condemn Israel for “human rights violations” when it fights terrorists who target innocent Israeli civilians.

“But not you,” said Netanyahu. “Not America.” America is different. Americans understand the meaning of two lines in the last stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (when free men shall stand/Between their loved home and the war's desolation) -- free men who are in the right deserve America’s support.

Netanyahu, representative of a distant outpost of liberty, portrayed an America that is the global bulwark of liberty in a world increasingly threatened by a rising authoritarian tide. He reminded Americans that their own welfare depends on the welfare of freedom throughout the world. In rising to applaud him. Senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle rose to reaffirm their commitment to freedom around the world. Together, the prime minister of Israel and the Congress of the United States affirmed the essential goodness of the values on which America and Israel are founded.

One wishes America’s president could do as well.

Netanyahu came to Washington to put his people’s case directly before America. President Barack Obama left him no choice. Obama has adopted the Palestinian narrative, in which Israel, America’s democratic ally, is in the wrong. Netanyahu defied Obama’s demand to retreat to the 1967 lines, which an Israeli foreign minister once defined as “Auschwitz lines,” and received applause from both sides of the aisle in Congress. The political weight of Obama’s demand is now close to zero.

Obama’s much-touted Middle East speech turned into a debacle, because his advocacy of liberty carries no conviction. He did promise Egypt and Tunisia $2 billion, which one hopes will be used to strengthen, not undermine democracy. But he waffled on Syria and Iran and tried, and failed, to undermine Israel. Arabs, Israelis and Europeans will now consider his positions irrelevant. That’s bad for the United States. Obama would have done better not to speak at all.

The key to leadership in a democracy is to reaffirm the people’s values, and challenge them to live up to those values. Obama is a gifted speaker, but he’s never affirmed the essential goodness of mainstream America with the conviction that Netanyahu displayed in Congress. Perhaps he does not share that conviction. That’s a serious flaw in his leadership in these challenging times.

Yitzhak Klein heads the Israel Policy Center, www.merkazmedini.org, a conservative think-tank in Jerusalem.


In addition to Wachovia, the federal government cited other mega-financial institutions like American Express Bank International and Bank of America for their complicity in laundering drug money.

By Linn Washington Jr.

Borderland Beat
May 27, 2011

The U.S. government won convictions against 23,506 drug traffickers nationwide during 2010, sending 96 percent of the offenders to prison, according to U.S. Sentencing Commission statistics.

Yet one of the biggest entities busted by the feds for involvement in drug trafficking last year received just a wrist-slap deal from federal prosecutors with nobody getting prison time.

During 2010, the U.S. government also won convictions against 806 persons involved in smaller-time drug-related money laundering, sending nearly 77 percent of those offenders to prison.

Yet when it came to a case involving billions of dollars in illegal drug profits, the federal government gave the same unusual wrist-slap to the same entity caught giving greed-blinded assistance to Mexican drug cartels by laundering billions of dollars in illegal profits for them.

So, what is this entity that federal prosecutors found worthy of big breaks for its laundering of billions of dollars, and for its blatant facilitating or tons of smuggled cocaine?

Meet Wachovia – once the nation’s sixth largest bank by assets and now a part of Wells Fargo Bank… a too-big-to-fail bank that for the feds is apparently too-big-to jail.

Wachovia recently completed what amounted to a year-long probation arising from a March 2010 settlement deal with federal prosecutors who were pursuing criminal proceedings against Wachovia for its facilitating of illegal money transfers from Mexico totaling $378-billion…a staggering sum greater than half of the Pentagon's annual budget, which included billions of dollars traced directly to violent Mexican drug cartels.

The record $160-million fine slapped on Wachovia under terms of that settlement deal included a $50-million assessment for failing to monitor cash used to ship into the US 22 tons of cocaine. (That fine amounted to less than two percent of Wachovia's profits during the prior year.)

Wells Fargo now owns Wachovia. Wells Fargo, federal prosecutors stress, was not involvement in the misdeeds that landed Wachovia in court, where it received a deferred prosecution deal.

Wells Fargo purchased Wachovia in early 2009 for $12.7-billion, shortly after Wells Fargo had received $25-billion in federal bail-out funds from the TARP program. That purchase helped make Wells Fargo America’s second-largest bank.

Many condemn the federal government settlement with Wachovia as a farce.

Criticism has come from persons in law enforcement frustrated by big-bank involvement in laundering drug money and from those who claim federal drug enforcement practices provide bigger breaks to drug kingpins than to low-level operators.

“All the law enforcement people wanted to see this come to trial. But no one goes to jail,” said Martin Woods, an English expert on anti-money laundering, whose work while with Wachovia’s London office helped unravel the drug connections. Woods says Wachovia officials bashed him for his investigative diligence and whistle-blowing as an employee.

“It’s simple: it you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point,” Woods said in an April 3, 2011 article published in The Observer, a British newspaper published on Sundays.

Wachovia’s involvement in big-time money laundering paralleled the period of a murderous escalation in violence in Mexico’s Drug War that has claimed the lives of over 40,000 Mexicans since 2006 alone, with the dead including politicians, prosecutors, police, soldiers, drug gang members and innocent bystanders.

During the same month last year when federal prosecutors gave Wachovia a break, finding no need to imprison any bank personnel for their involvement in massive drug-tainted money laundering, other federal prosecutors were pounding domestic drug dealers with long prison sentences.

The settlement agreement Wachovia officials signed with federal prosecutors in Miami last year clearly stated that the bank knew that many of the transactions with Mexican financial institutions from 2004 to 2007 carried the stench of drugs.

That settlement agreement stated in part that as early as “2005 Wachovia was aware that other large US banks were exiting the [Mexican] business based on [anti-money laundering] concerns…Despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in business” according to news media reports.

One reason Wachovia stayed in the business as others pulled out is that the bank reaped hefty fees from that money-laundering "business," in which billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveler’s checks and bulk cash shipments went into Wachovia accounts from Mexican exchange facilities called casa de cambios (CDCs).

Last year Bloomberg News, in an article on the Wachovia money laundering scandal, reported how the federal government cited other mega-financial institutions in the U.S. like American Express Bank International and Bank of America for their complicity in laundering drug money.

Making a farce out of the nation's supposed War on Drugs, none of the mega-financial institutions identified by federal authorities as having been involved with laundering drug money and none of the well-paid individuals at those institutions which were facilitating that laundering has faced go-to-jail federal criminal prosecutions like those targeting small fry in the drug trade.

The June 2010 Bloomberg News article provided an ominous observation about the wrist-slap protection large banks receive from criminal indictments due to a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory:

“Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets," says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years and a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering. The theory is like a get-out-of-jail free card for big banks, Blum says.

Another anti-money laundering expert disappointed with the federal government’s settlement with Wachovia is Robert Mazur, identified in the Observer article as one of the world’s “foremost figures” in providing anti-money laundering training and the point-man for US law enforcement during prosecutions against Columbian drug cartels two decades ago.

Mazur told The Observer, “The only thing that will make the banks properly vigilant to what is happening is when they hear the rattle of handcuffs in the boardroom.”


The Women’s Studies Program of Mississippi Women’s University is proud to present:


Twelve classes taught only by men who are recognized experts in their fields.
Registration Deadline: Friday, June 10, 2011


Classes will meet in Room 208 of the Adult Learning Center. All classes, except driving classes, meet Mondays through Fridays, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM. Driving classes will meet at the County Fairgrounds Saturdays, 8:00 AM - Noon and 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Total class time: 98 hours.

Class 1
Up in Winter, Down in Summer - How to Adjust a Thermostat
Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.
8 hours

Class 2
Which Takes More Energy - Putting the Toilet Seat Down, or Bitching About It for 3 Hours?
Round Table Discussion.
4 hours

Class 3
Is It Possible To Drive Past a Wal-Mart Without Stopping?--Group Debate.
8 hours

Class 4
Fundamental Differences Between a Purse and a Suitcase--
Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
6 hours

Class 5
Curling Irons--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Bathroom Cabinet?
Examples on Video.
8 hours

Class 6
How to Ask Questions During Commercials and Be Quiet During the Program
Help Line Support and Support Groups.
8 hours

Class 7
Can a Bath Be Taken Without 14 Different Kinds of Soaps and Shampoos?
Open Forum .
4 hours

Class 8
Health Watch--They Make Medicine for PMS - USE IT!
Prescription Medicine Displayed.
6 hours

Class 9
I Was Wrong and He Was Right!—
Real Life Testimonials.
6 hours

Class 10
How to Parallel Park In Less Than 20 Minutes Without an Insurance Claim.
Hands-On Driving Exercises.
16 hours

Class 11
Learning to Live--How to Apply Brakes Without Throwing Passengers Through the Windshield and Without Wrecking.
Hands-On Driving Exercises.
16 hours

Class 12
How to Make Your Sex Partner Believe That Your Fake Orgasm Is For Real.
Lecture and Videos. (Video Viewing Is Optional.)
8 hours

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Is Obama’s policy ‘born of genuine antipathy toward Israel or of the arrogance of a blundering amateur?’

By Charles Krauthammer

Jewish World Review
May 27, 2011

Every Arab-Israeli negotiation contains a fundamental asymmetry: Israel gives up land, which is tangible; the Arabs make promises, which are ephemeral. The long-standing American solution has been to nonetheless urge Israel to take risks for peace while America balances things by giving assurances of U.S. support for Israel's security and diplomatic needs.

It's on the basis of such solemn assurances that Israel undertook, for example, the Gaza withdrawal. In order to mitigate this risk, President George W.Bush gave a written commitment that America supported Israel absorbing major settlement blocs in any peace agreement, opposed any return to the 1967 lines and stood firm against the so-called Palestinian right of return to Israel.

For 2 1/2 years, the Obama administration has refused to recognize and reaffirm these assurances. Then last week in his State Department speech, President Obama definitively trashed them. He declared that the Arab-Israeli conflict should indeed be resolved along "the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."

Nothing new here, said Obama three days later. "By definition, it means that the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different" from 1967.

It means nothing of the sort. "Mutually" means both parties have to agree. And if one side doesn't? Then, by definition, you're back to the 1967 lines.

Nor is this merely a theoretical proposition. Three times the Palestinians have been offered exactly that formula, 1967 plus swaps — at Camp David 2000, Taba 2001, and the 2008 Olmert-Abbas negotiations. Every time, the Palestinians said no and walked away.

And that remains their position today: The 1967 lines. Period. Indeed, in September the Palestinians are going to the United Nations to get the world to ratify precisely that — a Palestinian state on the '67 lines. No swaps.

Note how Obama has undermined Israel's negotiating position. He is demanding that Israel go into peace talks having already forfeited its claim to the territory won in the '67 war — its only bargaining chip. Remember: That '67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter are Palestinian — alien territory for which Israel must now bargain.

The very idea that Judaism's holiest shrine is alien or that Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter is rightfully or historically or demographically Arab is an absurdity. And the idea that, in order to retain them, Israel has to give up parts of itself is a travesty.

Obama didn't just move the goal posts on borders. He also did so on the so-called right of return. Flooding Israel with millions of Arabs would destroy the world's only Jewish state while creating a 23rd Arab state and a second Palestinian state — not exactly what we mean when we speak of a "two-state solution." That's why it has been the policy of the United States to adamantly oppose this "right."

Yet in his State Department speech, Obama refused to simply restate this position — and refused again in a supposedly corrective speech three days later. Instead, he told Israel it must negotiate the right of return with the Palestinians after having given every inch of territory. Bargaining with what, pray tell?

No matter. "The status quo is unsustainable," declared Obama, "and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace."

Israel too? Exactly what bold steps for peace have the Palestinians taken? Israel made three radically conciliatory offers to establish a Palestinian state, withdrew from Gaza and has been trying to renew negotiations for more than two years. Meanwhile, the Gaza Palestinians have been firing rockets at Israeli towns and villages. And on the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas turns down then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's offer, walks out of negotiations with Binyamin Netanyahu and now defies the United States by seeking not peace talks but instant statehood — without peace, without recognizing Israel — at the United Nations. And to make unmistakable this spurning of any peace process, Abbas agrees to join the openly genocidal Hamas in a unity government, which even Obama acknowledges makes negotiations impossible.

Obama's response to this relentless Palestinian intransigence? To reward it — by abandoning the Bush assurances, legitimizing the '67 borders and refusing to reaffirm America's rejection of the right of return.

The only remaining question is whether this perverse and ultimately self-defeating policy is born of genuine antipathy toward Israel or of the arrogance of a blundering amateur who refuses to see that he is undermining not just peace but the very possibility of negotiations.


When you allow yourself to be pictured as larger than life, you can expect to be mocked and brought back down to size.

By Monica Crowley

May 27, 2011

President Obama has been on a weeklong trip to Europe, ahead of the G8 meeting. In 2008, Obama The Messiah spoke to throngs in Berlin. In 2011, Obama The Mortal showed up in Dublin and London.

Some of my favorite highlights from the Bama’s trip so far:

His presidential limo, nicknamed “The Beast,” got stuck on a ramp in Dublin. It’s supposed to withstand a terrorist or nuclear attack, but an exit ramp? Not so much. If Bush’s limo had bottomed out while abroad, David Letterman would have a yearlong field day.

Michelle Obama got caught in the wind, which blew her hair up into something resembling Ed Grimley (”I must say!”) or Cameron Diaz’s character in “There’s Something About Mary.”

The Bama went to a pub, swilled some Guinness, and made what reporters called “an Irish face.” I’m Irish. I have no idea what that is.

He then moved on to London, where he played ping-pong with British Prime Minister David Cameron. No word if beer was involved.

He screwed up his toast to Queen Elizabeth. (Hey Liz: that’s still better than that God-awful iPod loaded with his own speeches that he gave you last time, isn’t it?)

And he signed the guestbook at Westminster Abbey, “Barack Obama, 24 May 2008.” 2008? That’s like saying the U.S. has 57 states. Oh wait, he already did that… It seems it’s time for the Bama’s “handlers” to replace his batteries.

An interesting aside: the Left was aghast that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke forthrightly to Obama in the Oval Office last week. How dare he defend his nation to Obama’s face?! The horror!

Meanwhile, they all laughed when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoe at President Bush.

All of this goes to show that Obama is neither a myth nor a legend. He’s just a man, who has cut an incredibly destructive path through the American economy. He is not the Obama of Berlin 2008. (Even HE wasn’t the Obama of 2008.) He is the Obama of the blown toast to the Queen and the wrong date by three years.

Obama is often a doofus, but according to the Left-wing media, President Bush, Governor Palin and other conservatives are the only doofi out there. We know better. And we actually know what year it is.


Even if circumcision were not a fundamental rite of Judaism, a ban on this procedure, absent of any harm resulting therefrom, has no business on any local ballot. And the kooks behind this ordinance are the same ones screaming that the government has no right to ban abortions.

By Jeff Jacoby

Jewish World Review
May 26, 2011

On the ballot in San Francisco this fall will be a proposal making it a crime to circumcise male children. If the measure passes, anyone convicted of circumcising a baby boy could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to a year in prison. Even for San Francisco, this is madness.

The circumcising of newborn boys is perhaps the most familiar type of surgery in the United States. According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, US hospitals perform the procedure more than 1.2 million times each year. While there are wide variations by ethnicity and region, and while circumcision rates have declined in recent years, the great majority of American men are circumcised. And in nearly every case, the decision was made for them in their infancy by their parents -- just like the decision to breastfeed or bottle-feed, or to use cloth or disposable diapers. Even in the most childless major city in America, it's hard to see voters approving what would be an egregious infringement on parental rights.

The health benefits of circumcision are clear, if modest. The Mayo Clinic website reflects the medical consensus, noting that circumcised men and boys generally have a lower risk of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases; and that circumcision makes genital hygiene easier. At the same time, Mayo endorses the view of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which doesn't consider the advantages of circumcision compelling enough to recommend that infant boys be circumcised as a matter of routine. The academy's bottom line is commonsensical: "Because circumcision is not essential to a child's health, parents should choose what is best for their child by looking at the benefits and risks."

In short, circumcision is something about which reasonable people can and do disagree. But there is nothing reasonable about the fanatics trying to make it a crime.

The ballot campaign in San Francisco is being spearheaded by a group of self-described "intactivists," political crusaders obsessed with the preservation of foreskins. Their mania might be laughable if not for two things: (1) they hijack terminology used to describe a dreadful type of violence against girls and women, and (2) they are attempting to criminalize a fundamental rite of Judaism.

Promoters of the San Fancisco initiative call it the "MGM bill." The initials stand for "male genital mutilation," a dishonest phrase meant to link the safe and medically unobjectionable procedure of male circumcision with the frightful cruelty of female genital mutilation.

The two are not remotely comparable. "Female genital mutilation has no known health benefits," the World Health Organization and nine other international organizations stressed in a 2008 report on the scourge, which persists in much of Africa and the Middle East. "On the contrary, it is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways." It is painful and traumatic; it makes childbearing "significantly" more risky; and it leads to higher rates of post-partum hemorrhaging and infant death. Long-term consequences of female genital mutilation "include chronic pain, infections, decreased sexual enjoyment, and psychological consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder."

By contrast, the WHO report emphasizes, "male circumcision has significant health benefits that outweigh the very low risk of complications." Of particular importance in regions ravaged by AIDS, "circumcision has been shown to lower men's risk for HIV acquisition by about 60 percent." Precisely because circumcision is so benign, WHO and the other agencies are at pains to distinguish it from female mutilation, which is always dangerous.

Dangerous in quite a different way is the San Francisco initiative's assault on Jewish religious liberty. Circumcision is the oldest practice of the world's oldest religion. Irrespective of any medical value, it is the sign in the flesh that for nearly 4,000 years has marked Jewish males as heirs to the ancient pact between Abraham and God. Many Muslims also circumcise their sons for religious reasons.

But the law proposed by the "intactivists" radiates hostility to traditional religious belief: "No account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that or any other person that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual."

The campaign to enact a law banning the most enduring obligation in Jewish experience amounts to what the American Jewish Committee calls a "direct assault on Jewish religious practice in the United States. . . . unprecedented in American Jewish life."

Fortunately, even in California most ballot issues are rejected. When San Franciscans vote this fall, the disgraceful anti-circumcision initiative deserves a decisive defeat.


Rappers glorifying ‘gangstas,’ shooting cops and raping women are popular among black youths. Now singers glorifying the ‘narco’ culture in Mexico are becoming increasing popular among Latino youths north of the border.

‘Narco corrido’ fans pack in a show at Bandolero's in El Paso this month

By Mónica Ortiz Uribe

Borderland Beat
May 27, 2011

Living it up like a drug trafficker, or “narco”, is no longer the fantasy of some poor barrio kids in Mexico. It’s increasingly becoming a compelling lifestyle to a growing number of youth in the United States.

In May, lawmakers from two Mexican states – Chihuahua and Sinaloa – announced a ban on “narco corridos”, or Mexican country songs dedicated to drug traffickers. At the same time, some of the artists who sing those songs are getting booked for concerts at clubs in major U.S. cities.

Not far from the Mexican border, outside Bandolero's, a rowdy club in east El Paso, tipsy fans of one of those artists flooded out the side door at 2 a.m. to watch him take off in a white passenger van.

The artist was El ‘Tigrillo’ Palma and some fans drive more expensive cars than the one he just left in. The parking lot was dotted with a couple of large Hummer SUVs, a pearl white Jaguar and more than a few hefty Chevy trucks. The men are wearing ostentatious cowboy attire and the women in high heels and mini dresses.

During the concert, El Tigrillo, which means little tiger, delighted a packed house with songs about beautiful women and macho drug lords. He’s actually tame compared to most narco corrido artists.

The lyrics in these songs traditionally recount shootouts with AK-47s and boast about how the narcos ¬– not the police – are in charge. These concerts don’t just happen in venues on the U.S.-Mexico border. They are staged as far north as Seattle and as far east as North Carolina.

Elijah Wald is a Boston-based musician who wrote a book on narco corridos after hitchhiking his way through Mexico. He also keeps up with the full spectrum of narco culture in the United States, which goes beyond music and spreads into religion, fashion and television.

“There’s a whole generation of kids…who stopped thinking of the corrido as their parents and grandparents music and started thinking of it as the Mexican equivalent of gangster rap,” Wald said.

You can find narco music and movies at Target and Walmart. Some of their YouTube videos have more than 1 million hits. Wald argued the culture has a higher following in the United States than in Mexico.

Most narco corrido videos are shot in places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The artists switch between the Mexican cowboy look and a modern American gangster with dark shades and a buzz cut. Wald said this kind of narco culture is wildly popular with certain Mexican-American youth.

“These are people…who feel intensely Mexican and intensely like urban Americans,” Wald said.

Narco culture isn’t limited to music or young people.

For the older generation, there are narco soap operas. Devoted fans like Sylvia Monsisvais and her husband love to watch “La Reina del Sur” (The Queen of the South), a Mexican soap opera about a female drug trafficker.

“They show beautiful houses, they show good cars, restaurants,” Monsisvais said. “Fancy, fancy lives.”

But the big question is whether or not this swanky showcase of narco lifestyle is enough to persuade young people to become drug traffickers.

One former gang member said the lifestyle certainly appealed to him. He asked not to be identified because he is trying to get out of the gang.

“To us poor kids…We ain’t got no father figures, (so) we look at somebody with money (and) we see the cars,” he said. “I mean that’s what I got attracted to. I got a Cadillac quick.”

The 24-year-old used to sell drugs for a Mexican cartel in Nebraska. The money, he said, came easy. He had cars, girls and fancy clothes. But in the end, he said it wasn’t worth it.

Now he’s trying to get a high school equivalency diploma while working for a far smaller paycheck as a dishwasher at a local chain restaurant. Even so, the culture he’s trying to leave behind has its appeal – he still likes to wear baggy clothes and listen to gangster rap. He’ll even go to a corrido club every now and then.

Those things make him feel at home. He now knows that he doesn’t have to live the lifestyle to enjoy the culture.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Release of high risk offenders is only one part of the problem. The other part concerns the lack of reliability in predicting future behavior.

By Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors

May 26, 2011

We have long warned that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) troubling non-revocable parole program for “low risk offenders” would be a disaster. Law enforcement’s input was arrogantly ignored by CDCR, and tragically, we were proven right.

An Inspector General’s report confirmed the existence of fundamental flaws in the program. One startling flaw was in the CDCR’s vaunted computer system. A factor for release eligibility was the inmate’s record behind bars to determine their risk of reoffending once released, but the computer system did not access the prison disciplinary records of the inmates. Another flaw was that although inmates convicted of sex or violent crimes were to be excluded, the database used by CDCR was missing conviction information for nearly half of the state's 16.4 million arrest records.

Flaws in this system resulted in a potentially deadly experience for two LAPD officers. In July 2010, non-revocable parolee Javier Joseph Rueda tried to murder these officers by shooting at them, but they returned fire and killed him.

Now, as we stand on the precipice of a massive flood of inmates released in Los Angeles County and throughout California, CDCR is sure to say they will screen to release only the least violent inmates. They will undoubtedly proclaim that development of a release policy should be left to their “expertise.” But we heard the same false assurances about their “expertise” before and during the fiasco that was the “non-revocable parole” program.

The U.S. Supreme Court order leaves little choice but to release numerous inmates. The question now is: how can we ensure that only the “lowest risk” inmates get released? We believe the answer is to set up a commission of local law enforcement leaders, such as police chiefs, sheriffs and district attorneys from across the state, who would be tasked with crafting new release policies.

The last two years have proven that deciding who to release, and the criteria and systems to be employed, is not something CDCR can handle alone.


The computer programs that predict future criminal behavior, or the lack of it, are nothing more than a dangerous gamble devised by some educated idiots in the psychology departments of academia.

By Don Thompson

Associated Press
May 25, 2011

SACRAMENTO -- California improperly paroled more than 450 dangerous criminals without supervision last year as part of a program designed to reduce prison crowding and cost, the California prison system's independent inspector general said Wednesday in a report.

A faulty computerized risk-assessment program predicted the offenders could be released under the state's non-revocable parole law that took effect in January 2010.

The inspector general found that about 1,500 offenders were improperly left unsupervised, including 450 who "carry a high risk for violence." The offenders otherwise would have been released under traditional parole, which requires them to report in regularly and follow specific rules.

The new law was designed for less serious offenders. Under non-revocable parole, offenders don't report to parole agents and can't be sent back to prison unless they commit new crimes.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said it relies heavily on a computerized program because it must review the criminal histories of more than 160,000 inmates and more than 100,000 offenders on parole.

Auditors found the risk assessment was wrong for 23.5 percent of more than 10,000 offenders who were considered for non-revocable parole between January and July 2010. Some were scored too high and others too low, with the lower-scoring inmates eligible for unsupervised release.

Even after the computer program was altered, analysts determined it was wrong in 8 percent of cases.

"CDCR should not compromise public safety ... by understating offenders' risk of reoffending and releasing high-risk offenders to unsupervised parole," the report said.

The department disputed the inspector general's analysis and conclusion.

"Alleged 'errors' ... have in large part been corrected," Lee Seale, the department's deputy chief of staff, wrote in a rebuttal letter. "We reject the notion that the California Static Risk Assessment is flawed and dispute the evidence the OIG cites in support of this claim."

The version of the assessment reviewed by the inspector general has now been obsolete for over a year, Seale wrote, and the department will keep working to improve the program developed by the University of California, Irvine, Center of Evidence-based Corrections.

Seale said the program has saved money and cut prison overcrowding by keeping many parole violators from returning to prison -- important developments given current events.

The report came as the state struggles to safely release less dangerous convicts and parolees to help combat a $10 billion budget deficit. Compounding the pressure, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state must reduce its prison population by about 33,000 inmates over the next two years to reduce crowding and improve care for mentally and physically ill inmates.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law this year shifting responsibility for tens of thousands of lower-level criminals to the jurisdiction of counties, though the shift can't take place until legislators or voters approve funding for local governments.

Non-revocable parole would end under the new law, but the inspector general's report left state Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who requested the report, wondering if California can accurately predict which criminals are less dangerous.

"The report, to me, confirms my worst fears," he said. "They have dangerous parolees running around who should not be."

Lieu has repeatedly called for the department to end unsupervised releases, most recently two weeks ago when an ex-convict on non-revocable parole was charged with murdering two people in Southern California. He reiterated his plea based on the inspector general's report.

The report is the latest in a series of reviews questioning California's parole practices. The inspector general previously found the state failed to properly supervise paroled rapist Phillip Garrido, who pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping a young Jaycee Dugard and holding her captive in a backyard compound for 18 years.

Another report said the department should have sent a paroled San Diego County child molester back to prison before he raped and killed two teenage girls.

The inspector general's report cited problems with the non-revocable parole program that were originally reported by The Associated Press last year.

The AP found that because of the way the law was written, the department was releasing some unsupervised parolees who had been convicted of violent or threatening crimes.

The AP also reported there were early problems with the risk-assessment program. The department was forced to return 656 parolees to active supervision after learning that nearly 10 percent of parolees released without supervision had committed more crimes than officials previously believed.

Officials said then that the problem was fixed, though the inspector general's report says the improved assessment program wasn't immediately used at all locations statewide.

Wednesday's report found the high error rate under the computerized program resulted from multiple problems:

-- It did not include prior parole violations or some crimes offenders committed as juveniles.

-- Some offenders whose risk should have been assessed by human beings were instead left to the computerized assessment. Only about 4 percent of the more than 270,000 risk assessments of inmates and parolees were done by hand.

-- The system relies in part on criminal histories compiled by the California Department of Justice. But about half the histories don't reveal what happened to criminal charges, for instance whether suspects were convicted or acquitted, because the information isn't submitted by the court system.

The system relies on 22 factors that are supposed to predict whether offenders are likely to commit new crimes. They include things like age, gender, gang affiliations, previous convictions, disciplinary problems in prison, and previous parole violations. It then uses a mathematical algorithm to assign a risk score.

Only those with low and moderate risk can be placed on non-revocable parole.

However, even a low risk predicts that 48 percent of those parolees are likely to be arrested for a felony, and 18 percent convicted of a felony, within three years. A moderate risk projects that 69 percent of parolees will be arrested and 31 percent convicted of a felony within three years of their release.

The program has been tested and proved scientifically valid, the department said in response. However, researchers found the program is weak in predicting future convictions and weak to moderate in predicting future arrests.

Lieu said state lawmakers were unlikely to have passed the law in 2009 had they known those odds.


A Chinese man goes to a Jewish merchant to buy black bras size 38.

The Jewish merchant, known for his skills as a businessman, says that black bras are rare and that he is finding it very difficult to buy them from his suppliers. Therefore he has to charge $50.00 for them.

The Chinese man buys 25 pairs.

He returns a few days later and this time orders fifty.

The Jew tells him that they have become even harder to get and charges him $60.00 each.

The man returns a month later and buys the Jew’s remaining stock of 50, and this time for $75.00 each.

The Jewish merchant is somewhat puzzled by the large demand for black bras and asks the man, please tell me: What do you do with all these black bras?

The Chinese man answers: I cut them in half and sell the halves as skull caps to observant Jews for $200.00 each.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


In his damage control attempt at the AIPAC conference, Obama deliberately misrepresented the positions of previous presidents when he claimed they had privately advanced the same policy on the pre-1967 borders as he pronounced in public.

By Peter Wehner

May 23, 2011

In his address to AIPAC on Sunday, President Obama—attempting to do furious damage control—asserted that his speech the previous Thursday, arguing that negotiations for a Palestinian state should be based on Israel’s pre-1967 borders, was old hat. “There was nothing particularly original in my proposal,” Mr. Obama said reassuringly; “this basic framework for negotiations has long been the basis for discussions among the parties, including previous U.S. Administrations. . . . It was my reference to the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps that received the lion’s share of the attention,” he said later in the same speech. “And since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what ‘1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps’ means.”

In fact, as the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler points out:

__In the context of this history [Israel’s borders], Obama’s statement Thursday represented a major shift. He did not articulate the 1967 boundaries as a “Palestinian goal” but as U.S. policy. He also dropped any reference to “realities on the ground”— code for Israeli settlements—that both Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton had used. He further suggested that Israel’s military would need to agree to leave the West Bank. Obama did not go all the way and try to define what his statement meant for the disputed city of Jerusalem, or attempt to address the issue of Palestinians who want to return to lands now in the state of Israel. He said those issues would need to be addressed after borders and security are settled. But, for a U.S. president, the explicit reference to the 1967 lines represented crossing the Rubicon.

Kessler does us the favor of quoting presidents from Lyndon Johnson in 1968 (“It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of 4 June 1967 will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders”) to Ronald Reagan in 1982 (“In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely ten miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again”). Their views were decidedly not Obama’s views.

As in so many other areas of our national life, President Obama is staking out a position that is fairly extreme by ordinary American standards. But his positions on Israel are not extraordinary by the standards of America’s elite colleges and universities. In those precincts, what the president argued—which is essentially that the burden rests on Israel to make the “hard choices” for peace—is common fare. Among those on the left, Israel is the problem, the cause of unrest, the alien state, the aggressive power. And the only reasonable approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is to put pressure squarely on Israel to make unilateral concessions in order to jumpstart the “peace process.”

This view is, in every one of its particulars, not only wrong but the opposite of reality. Yet this worldview appears to dominate the thinking of the president. And my own theory—a theory originally advanced by Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal—is that the explanation for this, at least in part, is that Obama has been marinated in the ideology of the modern academy, where hostility to Israel is not only widespread but very nearly uniform.

There are, thankfully, political realities that act on a check on the president’s more irresponsible impulses. But his premises and predilections seem to have their roots in places like Columbia and Harvard. And that may well explain why the president is so puzzled. He articulated a position that was, for academics, a given. He is abruptly finding out that what is assumed to be true at Columbia and Harvard isn’t true for the parts of the nation.

The president may think there was nothing particularly original in his proposal, but the fierce response he generated on the matter of Israel’s borders is evidence that there was. Once again Obama shows that, as much as any president in modern times, he is blind to his own ideological prejudices. The rest of us are not.


Let me repeat: A lot has changed over the years since our juvenile laws were originally enacted. Children were deemed delinquents in need of supervision who were mischievous by shooting out windows or street lights with bb-guns, who were petty thieves and shoplifters, who hung around on the streets all hours of the night and who were truants or run-aways.

Many of today’s juveniles are vicious malicious gun-toting thugs who murder, rape, burglarize and commit armed robberies without regard to their victims. These juveniles are out-and-out dangerous criminals, not the immature delinquent youths our juvenile laws were designed for.

And here is how Rick responded to those comments:

Yep! Far too many in the justice community - indeed, even the juvenile justice community - turn a blind eye to the evolution of delinquency that you mention, choosing instead to rationalize this increasingly violent behavior as "acting out," among other excuses.

Even Ray Lewis, a star player for the NFL Baltimore Ravens, said Monday in an interview that there will be an increase in crime in the streets if the upcoming NFL season is cancelled because of the labor strike. When asked why he thought that, Lewis said, ".. because there's nothing else for them to do."

Not a lot of hope for the delinquents at point to take responsibility for their actions when one of their role models spoon feeds them the 'victim' excuse - echoes from Sharpton and Jackson.


If the Supreme Court were to order inmates released from Texas’ overcrowded prisons, the Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan areas would find themselves in the same boat as Los Angeles County.

By Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors

May 23, 2011

Coming on the heels of the City Council’s decision to further cut police resources in Los Angeles, Monday’s Supreme Court decision sets up a perfect storm for a wave of crime to overtake recent gains in public safety.

The court, in a 5-4 decision, ordered California to reduce prison overcrowding – a decision that is expected to force the release of tens of thousands of inmates.

We share the fears of Justice Samuel Alito, who was among the minority of the justices opposed to the decision. “I fear,” he wrote, “that today's decision, like prior prisoner release orders, will lead to a grim roster of victims. I hope that I am wrong. In a few years, we will see." We hope you are wrong too, Justice Alito. But when it comes to public safety, hope shouldn’t be a strategy.

In light of the court’s ruling and because L.A. County is the largest in the state, accounting for about a third of the entire state prison population, we can assume more inmates will return here than to any other county in the state. Because of this likely influx, we call for a reconsideration of the police cuts in the budget approved by the City Council. Mayor Villaraigosa can make that happen by vetoing portions of the city budget and sending them back to the City Council. That would give council members one last chance to put public safety first.


When I originally wrote, ‘This inmate no longer poses any risk whatsoever to public safety,’ I was not aware that Martinez has said others could carry out his repeated threats against prison nurses and guards.

By Don Thompson

Associated Press
May 24, 2011

California parole officials rejected a plea on Tuesday from a quadriplegic convict who had hoped to become the first state prison inmate released under a new law aimed at cutting the number of inmates and the cost of care in the nation's largest state prison system.

Corcoran State Prison inmate Steven Martinez, a 42-year-old convicted kidnapper and rapist, qualified under the law that took effect this year because he was left paralyzed when his spine was severed in a knife fight with other inmates 10 years ago. He's served 12 years of a 157 years-to-life sentence.

However, parole board Commissioner John Peck said after a four-hour hearing that the 42-year-old inmate "would pose an unreasonable threat to public safety" because he has said others could carry out his repeated threats against prison nurses and guards.

Martinez's medical care has cost taxpayers about $625,000 a year, according to court documents. His attorney, Ken Karan of Carlsbad, said the state also paid his client $750,000 in damages after Martinez suffered a severe pressure sore requiring six months of treatment at an outside hospital.

Once paroled, about half of most inmates' medical costs could be paid by the federal government through Medicare or Medicaid. Moreover, the state would no longer have to pay to guard incapacitated inmates who require care at medical facilities outside of prisons.

The first medical parole hearing came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered California to lower its prison population by about 33,000 inmates over two years to reduce prison crowding and improve treatment of physically and mentally ill inmates.

However, only about 50 inmates are likely to be initially eligible for medical parole, many fewer than lawmakers had anticipated when they approved the law last year. The savings also are projected to be much less than legislators had hoped as the state struggles with a lingering $10 billion budget deficit.

"What we've been doing is spending money and not getting anything for it. We have a man in prison who can't hurt a fly and we're spending hundreds and thousands of dollars - I think it's around over $600,000 a year - to guard this man when he can't do anything but annoy somebody," Karan argued. "'Vengeance for vengeance' sake is a luxury we can no longer afford."

He declined comment after the two parole commissioners ruled against releasing his client from Corcoran, which is in the southern San Joaquin Valley between Fresno and Bakersfield. The prison also is home to 1960s cult killer Charles Manson.

Richard Sachs, a supervising deputy district attorney in San Diego County, told commissioners that even a paralyzed Martinez remains a danger because he can order others to carry out his threats.

Martinez, a repeat violent offender, used his vehicle to run down his victim as she and another woman left a San Diego dance club. He then beat, kidnapped and raped the woman.

The state's new medical parole law can save the state millions without compromising public safety, said Sachs - but not in Martinez's case.

Though Sachs acknowledged that Martinez is a prisoner in his own body, "he's willing to threaten other people with physical harm, and if he can't do it himself, which is obviously the case...he's made it very clear he can find, in his view, other people to commit crimes for him."

The state Board of Parole Hearings twice rejected Martinez' petitions for compassionate release after he verbally abused and threatened his prison nurses.

Compassionate release is a separate state law that ends prison sentences for inmates who are permanently incapacitated or who are projected to have less than six months to live.

Under medical parole, freed inmates still have to follow conditions set for their release. They can be returned to prison if they violate parole rules or if their medical conditions improve. The law excludes those facing the death penalty or life without parole.

Thirty-two other states and the District of Columbia have similar medical parole programs.

Under California's law, inmates must have been permanently incapacitated while in prison, meaning they require 24-hour care and cannot perform activities of basic daily living. They must be released if the Board of Parole Hearings determines they would not reasonably pose a threat to public safety.

Karen said nine state legislators submitted a letter on Martinez's behalf, and his victim didn't object to his release. But more than 40 nurses at Corcoran sent a letter complaining that Martinez is continually abusive despite getting extraordinary care and individual attention devoted to no other inmate. Parole commissioners denied Martinez a chance to attend the hearing or speak on his own behalf.

Prison doctors have so far identified 40 inmates they say meet the criteria, though they are still looking for others. Freeing all 40 would save the state less than $5 million annually in outside medical costs, plus about another $5 million to guard the inmates around the clock, said Nancy Kincaid, a spokeswoman for the federal court-appointed receiver who controls medical care in California prisons.

Hearings have been scheduled for five more inmates in June.

Two child molesters are set for hearings June 24 at San Quentin State Prison. They are John Michael Diaz, 61, who is serving a 13-year sentence from Merced County, and Edward Ortiz, 58, who is serving a 21-year sentence from Sonoma County.

Three more inmates are set for hearings at other prisons. They are Juan Garcia Sandoval, 78, serving a 27-year sentence for a Merced County murder; Craig Alvin Lemke, 48, serving 68 years for a Lake County robbery; and John Joseph Swesey, 72, serving 24 years from San Luis Obispo County for burglary, making terrorist threats and possessing a firearm as a felon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Rick, the former administrative sergeant of HPD’s narcotics division, sent me this and wrote: Are they idle and misguided children, or menacing thugs? Read the story and choose - you already know my feelings!!

As a card carrying liberal I am compelled to say those poor black youths are obviously idle and misguided victims of a racist society. Shame on you right-wing whites for the damage you have done to our black brothers and sisters.

Seriously though, when they catch these thugs they should keep them locked up because sooner or later they are going to kill someone.

A lot has changed over the years since our juvenile laws were originally enacted. Children were deemed delinquents in need of supervision who were mischievous by shooting out windows or street lights with bb-guns, who were petty thieves and shoplifters, who hung around on the streets all hours of the night and who were truants or run-aways.

Many of today’s juveniles are vicious malicious gun-toting thugs who murder, rape, burglarize and commit armed robberies without regard to their victims. These juveniles are out-and-out dangerous criminals, not the immature delinquent youths our juvenile laws were designed for.


May 24, 2011

It's like a flash mob gone bad. Security footage from a Manhattan Dunkin' Donuts shows a group of youths climbing on counters, throwing chairs and throwing tables in a violent attack on workers.

It happened at the Dunkin' Donuts on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. A $2,000 hot chocolate machine was reportedly destroyed in the attack.

Similar attacks have targeted other stores in the neighborhood in the previous weeks.

The video shows one of the teens throwing a chair and then running up to grab a donut.

A few of the attackers also grabbed drinks out of a refrigerator near the door, and they all quickly ran from the store.

Some businesses and even residents recently have complained about violence in the area. Most of the business owners didn't want to give their names for fear of retribution.

One store owner told Fox 5's Lisa Evers that some kids did something similar at his business about a week earlier than the incident at Dunkin' Donuts.

He said, "It's not safe around her."

The NYPD said it was examining the Dunkin' Donuts security footage but has not made any arrests.

In a statement to MyFoxNY.com, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn's spokesperson, Jamie McShane says, "We will continue to work with the NYPD to make sure Christopher Street is a safe place especially as the weather gets nicer and more people flock to the area."


Considering everything he has said and done in his efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, I see Obama as an open enemy of Israel.

Former New York mayor Ed Koch, an outspoken Obama supporter, now says he cannot support Obama anymore and will not vote for him next year.

Koch says Obama’s assurances "that the United States commitment to Israel's long term security was ironclad," rings hollow, knowing iron breaks and was broken back in March 2010 when the president displayed his hostility towards the Jewish state by demanding that Israel cease all housing construction in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank in long-existing Jewish settlements before talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority could proceed.

Listen to Obama’s language even before analyzing his actions

By Mona Charen

Jewish World Review
May 24, 2011

President Obama has claimed many times to be a steadfast friend of the state of Israel. He certainly found bold words to convey that impression when he addressed the AIPAC conference in 2008.

"(W)e know that we cannot relent, we cannot yield, and, as president, I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security ... not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust, not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel's destruction, not when there are maps across the Middle East that don't even acknowledge Israel's existence, and government-funded textbooks filled with hatred towards Jews, not when there are rockets raining down on Sderot, and Israeli children have to take a deep breath and summon uncommon courage every time they board a bus or walk to school."

The aspiring president went further. In the same speech, he proclaimed that "there is no room at the negotiating table for terrorist organizations." The president didn't touch on the matter of borders, but he did pledge that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

But since taking office, the president's actions have been anything but friendly. By publicly demanding in 2009 that Israel halt all settlement activity, he stepped into the role of negotiator for Mahmoud Abbas, who had not, before then, made participating in talks contingent on such a moratorium. (Afterward, he could do nothing else.)

By announcing American demands on Israel at the United Nations, seat of virulent, Israel-despising despots, the president betrayed his promise to stand by the lonely democracy in the Middle East and, in fact, contributed to the atmosphere of menace toward Israel. The president's concept of friendship toward Israel was capacious enough to permit him to insult the nation's prime minister during a Washington visit because Netanyahu had not agreed to stop building apartments for Jews in Jerusalem, and to instruct his secretary of state to engage in a 40-minute dressing down of the PM for the same offense.

Now Obama claims to have found a new expression of friendship -- the demand that negotiations over a future Palestinian state begin with the assumption that Israel will relinquish all of the disputed territories acquired in a defensive war 44 years ago. Is the president again serving as chief negotiator for the Palestinians?

The president claims a warrant for his unprecedented demands on Israel -- pressure to withdraw to what Abba Eban called "Auschwitz borders" -- from the Arab spring and what he perceives to be the dangers of "procrastination." It's an interesting word choice, suggesting that Israel has been reluctant to make peace.

An actual friend of the Jewish state might look at things differently. Did Obama notice that Mubarak's exit, however well deserved, has thrown into the doubt the most important peace treaty Israel was ever able to sign with an Arab neighbor? Egypt, which had been, at best, an intermittent ally in thwarting Iranian arms shipments to Hamas, has now become much more cordial with Tehran, with unknown consequences for the sensitive border between Egypt and Gaza.

The president has been slow to comment upon it, but surely he has noticed that Syria is in flames, and that Bashar al-Assad has already attempted to divert anger away from himself and toward Israel by sending hundreds of Palestinians to breach the border on Israeli Independence Day. Turkey, formerly Israel's best Muslim ally, has slid into hostility under the leadership of an Islamist party.

At the U.N., the General Assembly will vote in September on declaring the statehood of "Palestine." What then? Will Israel's efforts to disarm the Palestinians in Gaza be considered an act of war against a sovereign state?

And what of the Palestinians, with whom Israel would presumably be negotiating these "land swaps"? The president acknowledged that "Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with" those "who do not recognize its right to exist." How to account then for Obama's timing?

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas have just inked a unity accord. After the ceremony in Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas made clear that Hamas had surrendered none of its extremism to get the deal: "It is not required of Hamas to recognize Israel. We will form a government of technocrats and we will not ask Hamas to recognize Israel."

Yet at this, of all moments, Obama chose to issue a public demand that Israel pre-emptively surrender its essential security buffer of land. It's nothing less than a reward for Hamas and for the Palestinians' unswerving dedication to Israel's destruction.

A false friend can do more damage than an open enemy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


While Obama’s velvet voice apparently seduced his audience at the AIPAC conference, most Israelis did not succumb to his siren song.

By Ryan Jones

Israel Today
May 23, 2011

President Barack Obama felt his remarks regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process over the past few days were misrepresented, and so he sought to set the record straight at the annual America Israel Public Action Committee (AIPAC) conference on Sunday.

Addressing the 10,000 AIPAC attendees, Obama insisted he is a "real friend" to Israel, despite accusations that his call last week for Israel to surrender the 1967 borders had put him firmly in the Arab camp.

Israeli officials remained skeptical.

In Sunday's AIPAC speech, Obama pointed out that his administration has advanced military cooperation with Israel, has imposed heavy sanctions on Iran, took Israel's side in the Goldstone Report affair, and has strongly opposed Palestinian efforts to unilaterally declare statehood at the UN later this year.

Regarding his speech last week at the State Department in which Obama insisted Israel must make peace with the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders, the president was adamant that he had been "misrepresented several times."

Obama agreed that Israel could not go back to the 1967 borders as they were, and that "mutually agreed" land swaps would be necessary. However, he continued to suggest that Israel's actions were creating delays that were unacceptable to the international community.

"We cannot afford to wait another decade, or another two decades, or another three decades, to achieve peace," said Obama.

An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is still in Washington, told Israel's Ynet news portal that Netanyahu was "pleased" with Obama's clarification regarding the 1967 borders.

Following Obama's State Department speech last week, Netanyahu had publicly rejected the idea that Israel would surrender every inch of Judea and Samaria in a peace deal, noting that the pre-1967 borders had invited several full-scale wars and unending terorism against the Jewish state.

Other members of Netanyahu's ruling Likud Party were less forgiving.

Obama "is zigzagging in accordance with whatever will bring him more votes and justify his Nobel Peace Prize," rising Likud star Danny Danon told Israel National News.

Danon insisted that "Israel will not pay [Obama's] private tuition as he tries to understand the essence of the conflict."

Other Likud lawmakers credited Netanyahu's firm stance with slightly changing Obama's mind, and forcing the American to understand that Israel can hold just as firmly to its demands as the Palestinians.

But many Israeli commentators warned that Obama's stated policies, even after his conciliatory AIPAC speech, remain dangerous, and should not be accepted by Israel.

Most importantly, Obama is still working off the premise that Israel must surrender an equal amount of territory to that liberated in 1967. But, UN Resolution 242, which the Palestinians use as the basis for their claims, does not explicitly define the amount of territory Israel must exchange for peace. And the document's authors have repeatedly stated that the ommission was deliberate.

Gamal Helal, a former adviser to US presidents on Middle East affairs, told the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that what Obama has done is adopt the Arab line concerning negotiations.

Helal noted that for the Arabs - from the Egyptians to the Jordanians to the Palestinians - the 1967 borders have always been the starting point for any peace process, since they don't believe they should lose any territory as a result of their past efforts to destroy Israel.

"The US stance in all the past years has been to agree to the solutions agreed by the sides through the negotiations without the United States stipulating anything so that this stipulation would not be an obstacle at the negotiations," said Helal.

He continued: "This new thesis, which President Obama presented in his Thursday's speech, supports the Arab viewpoint, and is a basic hindrance for the Israeli side, which links the size of Israel before 1967 to the ability to defend it, as the Israelis say that if Israel is of small area, it will be difficult to defend it."

Helal further explained that up until now, the Palestinians had been forced to reluctantly accept that the 1967 borders would be achieved at the conclusion of successful negotiations. Now, Obama has helped them to once again make the 1967 borders the starting point of Arab demands.


It sure would be nice if every prison were a Club Med. In this case the Supreme Court sided with prison inmates and against public safety. But you ain’t seen nothing yet! Wait till Obama gets to appoint another justice. Then our (cops and correctional officers) asses will pucker.

By Michael Doyle

The Sacramento Bee
May 23, 2011

WASHINGTON - A closely divided Supreme Court on Monday cited "serious constitutional violations" in California's overcrowded prisons and ordered the state to abide by aggressive plans to fix the problem.

In a decision closely watched by other states, the court by a 5-4 margin concluded the prison overcrowding violated constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. Pointedly, the court rejected California's bid for more time and leeway.

"The violations have persisted for years," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. "They remain uncorrected."

The court agreed that a prisoner-release plan devised by a three-judge panel is necessary in order to alleviate the overcrowding. The court also upheld the two-year deadline imposed by the three-judge panel.

"For years, the medical and mental health care provided by California's prisons has fallen short of minimum constitutional requirements and has failed to meet prisoners' basic health needs," Kennedy wrote.

Driving the point home, the court's majority made the highly unusual if not unprecedented move of including stark black-and-white photographs of a jam-packed room at Mule Creek State Prison and cages at Salinas Valley State Prison. Conservative dissenters, in turn, warned dire consequences will result.

"Today the court affirms what is perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation's history, an order requiring California to release the staggering number of 46,000 convicted felons," Justice Antonin Scalia declared.

Eighteen states -- including Texas, Alaska and South Carolina -- explicitly supported California's bid for more leeway in reducing prison overcrowding. These states worry that they, too, might face court orders to release inmates.

California's 33 state prisons held about 147,000 inmates, at the time of the Supreme Court's oral arguments last November. This is down from a high of some 160,000 previously cited in legal filings. The higher figure amounted to "190 percent of design capacity," officials said.

Last year, a three-judge panel ordered California to reduce its inmate population to 137.5 percent of design capacity within two years. That's the equivalent of about 110,000 inmates.

"California's prisons are bursting at the seams and are impossible to manage," the three-judge panel wrote.

Even before the court ruled Monday, California officials began taking steps to cut the overcrowding.

Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed A.B. 109, which shifts to counties the responsibility for incarcerating many low-risk inmates. Up to 30,000 state prison inmates could be transferred to county jails over three years, under the bill; first, however, state officials must agree on a way to pay for it.

"The prison system has been a failure," Brown stated when he signed the bill "Cycling (lower-level) offenders through state prisons wastes money, aggravates crowded conditions, thwarts rehabilitation and impedes local law enforcement supervision."

The overcrowding leads to inhumane and constitutionally impermissible conditions, judges and monitors warn.

One hundred and twelve California prison inmates died unnecessarily due to inadequate medical care in 2008 and 2009, analysts found. Acutely ill patients have been held in "cages, supply closets and laundry rooms" because of overcrowding, investigators found. California prison inmate suicides have been double the national average.

California officials retorted that they deserve more time to act.

Reducing overcrowding doesn't necessarily mean that thousands of inmates will let loose. Alternatives include transferring some to other jurisdictions, diverting nonviolent inmates to jails and reforming parole so that fewer violators are returned to prison.