Saturday, March 31, 2012


Much has been made by the media and supporters of the Trayvon Martin family about the video taken of a handcuffed George Zimmerman as he arrived at the Sanford police station 35 minutes after he shot young Martin. The grainy video does not show any sign of wounds to his face or back of the head and no bloody clothing.

Benjamin Crump, the Martin family attorney, declared that the video proves that Zimmerman is a liar and that Trayvon Martin did not attack the neighborhood watch captain.

However, Ron Martinelli, founder of a California forensic consulting firm, said Zimmerman was probably cleaned up when he was treated by paramedics at the scene and in many cases there is no significant visual evidence of an injury.

“It really depends on how did the head strike the concrete? Did he get hit straight on in the face? Did he get hit with a fist or a backhand?” Martinelli said. “The video proves absolutely nothing.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ron Martinelli is a retired San Jose police investigator and Criminal Justice Training Center director. The holder of a Ph.D. in Criminology, Dr. Martinelli is a nationally recognized forensic criminologist specializing in police and corrections practices.

As for his comments on the Zimmerman custody video, it is important to note that Martinelli does not have an axe to grind in the Trayvon Martin controversy.


I still remember when, in 1990, Roseanne Bar deliberately made a joke of our national anthem at a San Diego Padres baseball game and in a misguided attempt to mimic baseball players, Barr reacted to a cascade of boos from the Padres fans by grabbing her crotch and spitting.

Now the butcher of the Star Spangled Banner has joined the George Zimmerman lynch mob by tweeting the home address of his parents.


The smoking gun
March 29, 2012

The comedian Roseanne Barr last night tweeted the home address of George Zimmerman’s parents to her 110,000-plus Twitter followers, only to delete the posting after “not fully understanding that it was private not public.”

Barr’s posting of the correct Florida addressof Robert and Gladys Zimmerman came at the same time Spike Lee was issuing an apology for erroneously disseminating a tweet that purportedly contained the home address of George Zimmerman, who last month killed teenager Trayvon Martin.

The residence cited by Lee is actually the home of an elderly couple with no connection to Zimmerman.

Barr, who deleted her tweet in the face of criticism from some Twitter followers, noted that she first thought it “was good to let ppl know that no one can hide anymore.” That stance quickly changed, with Barr reporting, “But vigilante-ism is what killed Trayvon. I don’t support that.”

But while Barr deleted her original posting, the Zimmermans’s address remains in messages in her Twitter stream. Barr’s original tweet was a retweet of a post by a new Twitter user who appears devoted to disseminating the Zimmermans’s address and phone number, as well as contact information for Joseph Oliver, who has made numerous TV appearances in support of Zimmerman, a friend and former coworker.

Still, the entertainer left open the possibility that she would again circulate the Seminole County address of Zimmerman’s parents. “If Zimmerman isn’t arrested I’ll rt his address again.” She added, “maybe go 2 his house myself.”

There is no indication that Zimmerman, who is reportedly in hiding, is holed up in his parents’s residence.

By tweeting the Zimmermans’s address, Barr appears to have violated Twitter rules that state, “You may not publish or post other people's private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission.” [Ditto for Spike Lee.]


The Kansas City Police Department called this a particularly “heinous crime.” They were also considering if this was a hate crime.

Considering if it was a hate crime? Are they kidding!? What’s to consider, or is it a hate crime only when whites attack blacks and other minorities?

By Meena Hart Duerson

New York Daily News
March 4, 2012

A 13-year-old boy who police say was doused with gasoline and lit on fire last week while walking home from school is recovering from first-degree burns to his face and head.

The boy was just two blocks from his home in Kansas City Tuesday when two teenagers began to follow him and then attacked him, his mother, Melissa Coon, said.

Police have described the suspects as black 16-year-olds, while the victim is white.

"We were told it's a hate crime," Coon told KTLA.

"They rushed him on the porch as he tried to get the door open," Coon told KMBC. "(One of them) poured the gasoline, then flicked the Bic, and said, 'This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy.'"

By lighting the gasoline, the second attacker "produced a large fireball burning the face and hair" of the boy, according to a Kansas City Police Department report obtained by KCTV.

"It was pretty bad stuff," Detective Stacey Taylor told the TV station, adding that police are concerned the boy may have suffered damage to his eyes and lungs.

Coon said her son put out the fire with his shirt and called 911 himself. He was rushed to the hospital and was treated for his injuries.

She believes the students also attend East High School with her son, and said he will not be returning to the school. She also told KMBC her traumatized family now plans to move.

"My 5-year-old came in and asked me, 'Mom, am I going to get set on fire today?'" Coon said. "I was in tears."


The anti-hoodie initiative was put forth by business owners long before the shooting of hoodie-clad Trayvon Martin because so many businesses were being robbed by thugs wearing hoodies. I’m sure that LAPD will be accused of racism for backing the ‘Hats Off’ initiative.


CBS Los Angeles
March 29, 2012

LOS ANGELES — A Southland campaign aimed at protecting business owners from potential robbery suspects may come under increased scrutiny in the face of a national wave of hooded rallies in the wake of the shooting death of a Florida teen.

KNX 1070′s Margaret Carrero reports at least one San Fernando Valley businessman is giving “Hats Off” to the LAPD-backed initiative.

Pizza shop owner Alex Sepanossian said the signs asking patrons to remove any hoodies, hats, or other headgear are merely in response to a robbery at his store last year.

“They came in the through the back door and did a hold-up, but after that, we put [the signs up] a few months later, it’s been OK ever since,” said Sepanossian.

He said most patrons voluntarily comply with the policy and that no one has filed a complaint against him or the store.

The symbol of the hooded sweatshirt has gained national recognition after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager whose shooting by a neighborhood watch captain has sparked “pro-hoodie” rallies across Southern California and much of the nation.

Members of the California legislature were the latest politicians to join the movement, wearing hooded sweatshirts on the floor of each chamber Thursday and adjourned the day’s session in memory of the 17-year-old.

On Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois was reprimanded for wearing a hoodie on the House floor. Earlier this week, New York state senators also wore hoodies in their chamber.

But despite the raw emotion surrounding Martin’s death, LAPD Lt. Alan Hamilton insisted the “Hats Off” campaign is not meant to suggest that all people who wear hooded shirts are automatically criminals.

“As a matter of fact, when I run I wear a hoodie,” said Hamilton. “The whole goal behind that campaign is to allow yourself to be identified.”


I’ve been reading more and more accounts of GPS monitors failing to detect the movement of criminals ordered to wear GPS ankle bracelets. This case, and others, should be a warning that those GPS devices cannot be a substitute for intensive supervision of sex offenders and other dangerous criminals by probation and parole officers.

By Mike Cruz

The San Bernardino Sun
March 28, 2012

A convicted sex offender from Hesperia denied charges yesterday in Victorville Superior Court that accuse him of kidnapping and forcibly raping a teenaged girl.

Willie James Lewis, 51, entered a not guilty plea to nine felony counts during arraignment proceedings before Judge Lorenzo Balderrama in connection with last week's alleged kidnapping.

Lewis, of Hesperia, returns to court April 5. He is being held on $3.5 million bail at West Valley Detention Center, in Rancho Cucamonga, according to sheriff's jail logs.

Sheriff's officials say deputies were investigating the report of a missing 16-year-old girl at 9:30 a.m. on March 22 in the 16000 block of Odell Avenue, in Victorville, when they learned that the girl may be with Lewis.

A records check by deputies revealed that Lewis was a registered sex offender, who was currently on parole and wearing a GPS tracking device, according to sheriff's officials.

Deputies found the girl with Lewis at a residence in the 9700 block of Cataba Road, in Hesperia. She was transported to a local hospital and later reunited with her family.

Lewis was arrested without incident and transported to Victor Valley Jail. He is listed as a registered sex offender on the California Megan's Law web site.

Authorities allege the girl was drugged with a controlled substance to prevent her from resisting Lewis' actions, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday against Lewis in Superior Court.

Prosecutors charged Lewis with nine felony counts, which include: one count of kidnapping to commit rape, four counts of forcible rape of a child over 14 years old, and four counts of rape by the use of drugs.

Lewis also has prior convictions in San Bernardino County, according to the criminal complaint.

In August 2005, the defendant pleaded guilty to one felony count of committing a lewd or lascivious act with a child, as part of a plea bargain, court records show. He was sentenced to state prison for six years, and five remaining counts were dismissed.

In June 1999, Lewis pleaded guilty to one felony count of robbery, as part of a plea bargain. He was sentenced to state prison for four years, and four remaining counts were dismissed.


I can see Danny Trejo, star of the 2010 movie ‘Machete’, in the role of the kidnap victim in this action thriller. And of course, Robert Rodriguez would be the director.

By Chivis Martinez

Borderland Beat
March 29, 2012

Events unfolded yesterday in Tijuana that rivaled a movie made in Hollywood, adding to the strange scenario is the secrecy that has encased details from the public. What is known is and the end of the drama five people were dead; a kidnapped person, two kidnappers, two men who were guarding a vehicle, one of the guards was a retired Army officer the other a former Mexican policeman. The guards were the bodyguards of an entrepreneur.

Reported by AFN, the incident began at 10:00 when the “victim” was taken to a safe house. This is where things become incredible, the victim somehow managed to become free, was then able to grab a weapon, the weapon was an AK47. He then killed the two kidnappers at the safe house and escaped..

After leaving the safe house, the seminude, handcuffed and now armed man, spotted a SUV a short distance away and eventually stole the vehicle after killing the two body guards who were guarding the SUV. The two guards are not believed to be involved in the incident.

The State Attorney’s version is the victim then drove a short distance before confronting municipal police, at which time he began firing at them causing a shootout which ended in the victim’s death.

Four of the now deceased were identified formally by the Deputy Attorney General in Tijuana, Ricardo Salas Bravo, as David Edgar Vargas and Javier Lopez Ortega Paredes suspected kidnappers, Luis Enrique González Sifuentes, 41 years old retired Army lieutenant sub and Roberto Fernandez Uribe, 45, a former police.

At the press conference called by the State Attorney, a statement was read and no questions were allowed. Speculations have arisen from the strange case intensified by the lack of facts and answers from authorities.

What information was disclosed is the vehicle had been struck by several bullets and the man - said to be around 36 - was found handcuffed by police handcuffs and holding the “Kalashnikov", AK-47 assault rifle.

The bodies of two people were discovered in the safe house, and in one of the rooms police discovered a 9MM handgun and another AK-47, 43 packets of marijuana, tactical gear, a marijuana press and a scale.

In the house where the bodies were found (alleged kidnappers), located were three shell casings, 7.62 x 39, known as "Kalashnikov", one at the foot of one of the deceased, two additional casings in the garage of the home and one on the street at the same address.

An inspection of the safe house revealed clothes saturated with blood in the laundry room. That and other indicators not disclosed, left the detectives to conclude the room was used to torture people.

Not explained is why the victim fired on Municipal Police Elements, one version could be that the victim was a criminal who was kidnapped to be exchanged as part of a criminal negotiation with rival groups.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Spike Lee has apologized to David and Elaine McClain, the couple in their 70s whose address he tweeted to his 250,000 Twitter followers in the belief that he was outing the home address of George Zimmerman, the shooter of Tayvon Martin.

I doubt that the apology was sincere. Lee was probably trying to head off a serious lawsuit by Mr. and Mrs. McClain. I still hope they sue the supreme shit out of Spike Lee.

Whether the apology was sincere or not is beside the point. What is important here is Spike Lee’s evil intent in tweeting what he thought was Zimmerman’s home address. What possible reason could this asshole have had except to hope that someone would use that information to harm the vilified neighborhood watch volunteer.

The nationwide hysteria over the shooting of Martin and the failure to arrest Zimmerman has reignited the flames of racial passions and the protests have taken on the appearance of a lynch mob. There are enough crazies out there that George Zimmerman’s life is in real jeopardy and Spike Lee damn well knows it.

Spike Lee is no dummy. When he tweeted what he thought to be the home address of Trayvon’s shooter, Lee had to know that he was practically inviting some half-crazed hate-driven follower of Al Sharpton or some other rabble-rouser to murder Zimmerman, and no apology will ever change that.


Even the Lone Star State hasn’t had three executions in one day - that is, in the modern era. Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!

Japan employs hanging for executions. A series of hoops and a pulley are used to suspend the subject over a trap door. At least 3 prison are so equipped

By David Trifunov

Global Post
March 29, 2012

Japan – one of the few industrialized nations that still uses capital punishment – executed three prisoners today, the first since 2010, The Associated Press reported.

The three were all death-row inmates convicted of multiple murders dating back to 1999, but all were executed in different prisons, the AP said.

Japan uses hanging to carry out the punishment, and generally reserves death sentences for multiple murderers, Agence France-Press reported.

“Today, three executions were carried out,” Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa told reporters, AFP said. “I have carried out my duty as a justice minister as stipulated by law.”

Of those executed today, one rammed his car into a train station and knifed five people in 1999.

The practice is hotly debated in Japan, The Guardian said.

Critics such as Amnesty International accuse Japan of cruel and unusual punishment, and of coercing confessions from the accused.

Because no executions happened in 2011 – the first time that has happened in 19 years – it appeared Japan was bowing to internal and foreign pressure to ban capital punishment.

“We still need to have a national debate,” Amnesty International Japan executive director Hideki Wakabayashi said. “But while we are doing that, there has to be a moratorium on executions. … The executions also run against the international movement against the death penalty. I don’t know where Japan thinks it is going with this.”

There are 132 death-row inmates in Japan, which doesn’t tell inmates until hours before their sentences are carried out.

Lawyers and family members are informed after the prisoner is dead.

Japan’s justice minister said earlier this year that a review of the death penalty had reached a stalemate, The Japan Times reported.

“I don't really want to do it, but it is part of the justice minister’s job description,” Ogawa said shortly after assuming the post in January. “With 130 inmates on death row and public opinion 85 percent in favor of the death sentence, it would be inexcusable of me not to sign off on executions.”


The Schalotte
March 29, 2012

President Obama goes on a State visit to Israel. While he is on a tour of Jerusalem, he has a fatal heart attack.

The undertakers tells the U.S. diplomats, "You can have him shipped home for $1 million or you can bury him here in the Holy Land for $1,000."

The U.S. diplomats go into a huddle and come back to the undertaker and tell him they still want Obama flown home.

The undertaker is puzzled and asks: "Why would you spend $1 million to get him home when it would be wonderful to be buried here in this religious country and you would only spend $1,000?"

One diplomat replied: "More than 2,000 years ago a man died here, was buried here, and just 3 days later he rose from the dead. We simply can't take that risk."

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Some sorry piece of shit tweeted an address for George Zimmerman, the shooter of Trayvon Martin. There is no doubt in my mind that this tweeter was inviting people to murder Zimmerman. But the tweeter got the address wrong, giving out the address of David and Elaine McClain, a couple in their 70s whose home is about four miles from where Martin was shot. Mr. and Mrs. McClain have fled their home in fear of their lives. Their fear is most certainly justified what with all the hysteria over Zimmerman not being arrested for the ‘murder’ of Martin.

Spike Lee, who has nearly 250,000 followers on Twitter, retweeted the couple’s address. Spike Lee had to know that by tweeting what he thought was Zimmerman’s address, he was putting Zimmerman’s live in grave danger and because of the mistaken address he has instead put an elderly couple’s life in danger. What possible reason could Spike Lee have had for tweeting the address other than to invite the crazies out there to murder Zimmerman.

The hysteria over this case has become the theater of the absurd. Members of the Black Congressional Caucus lined up on the floor of congress demanding that Zimmerman be arrested and prosecuted for murder while bringing up all the past evils of this country’s racial conflicts. One of them started to address the chamber wearing a hoodie, but he was escorted out of the chamber because he violated House rules which prohibit members from covering their heads.

The nationwide protests have taken on the appearance of a lynch mob. No wonder George Zimmerman is in hiding. Right now I don’t think his life is worth a plug nickel. He’d probably be safer in jail, provided he is placed in solitary confinement and kept out of the reach of any other prisoners.

I hope that Mr. and Mrs. McClain sue the supreme shit out of Spike Lee. He should not be allowed to get away with all but inviting the murder of a man who may have acted in self-defense when he shot a hoodie wearing Trayvon Martin to death.

Oh by the way, the protesters are honoring Martin by wearing the garb favored by gang bangers and robbers. Well, I was watching the evening news on TV when the station played the security tapes of a vicious armed robbery of a Houston area Family Dollar store. And what do you know – both robbers were black and both wore hoodies.


The two race-mongering reverends, Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, give religion a bad name.

By Marilyn Penn
March 28, 2012

Twenty-five years ago, the Reverend Al Sharpton jumped headfirst into the public spotlight to defend a black teenager who accused six white men of repeatedly raping her and smearing her body with dog feces and racial slurs. Even after a grand jury found that Tawana Brawley had concocted an elaborate hoax to deflect punishment by her murderous step-father, Sharpton refused to concede that the truth made any difference. What was important to him then was race-mongering and getting the maximum media play from his histrionic agit-prop. Now, a generation later, he has found another opportunity to foment racial unrest in the case of Trayvon Martin, the black teenager who was killed in Florida by a mixed race Hispanic man serving as a neighborhood watchman.

For almost a week, Sharpton has instigated marches, protests, sympathetic hoodie-wearing - all leading to the temporary resignation of the local police chief, a startling statement by President Obama and many editorials and opinion pieces by members of the press who may soon discover, as they did with the Duke LaCrosse players, that there is no race element to this case at all. In the current rush to judgment, it has taken several days for the Miami Herald to uncover that Trayvon Martin, far from being the stellar student on the college track, had been suspended from school three times for behavior that included truancy, defacing of school property and possession of drugs, burglary tools and 12 pieces of women’s jewelry in his backpack. The police found George Zimmerman, the Hispanic watchman, bleeding from his face and the back of his head, claiming that he had been jumped, punched and had his head bashed on the ground and had shot Martin only in self-defense.

None of us in a position to know the circumstances of this tragic incident, least of all a grandstanding professional firebrand like Sharpton who makes his living out of playing the race card as often as he opens his mouth. The president should have learned his lesson from his own inappropriate condemnation of the police in the Henry Gates affair and refrained from offering any comment at this time. It isn’t necessary to idealize Trayvon Martin or demonize George Zimmerman in order to expect an investigation into what prompted the shooting death of an unarmed person. It’s particularly ludicrous to conclude that this was a hate crime perpetrated by one minority against another but this seems to be the new mantra for all identity politics as we have just witnessed in the Tyler Clementi case - a travesty that hopefully will be reversed on appeal. [Dharun Ravi was convicted of a hate crime in the suicide of Clementi, his Rutgers University gay roommate.]

The irony is that the election of a half-black president was meant to usher in the golden age of race relations in this country, a signal of fluid possibilities for minorities who had the will and wherewithal to succeed at the highest levels of achievement. Instead, we are allowing ourselves to be dragged down by old-fashioned hate mongers like Al Sharpton, a man who shamefully still enchants the media, gets the support of the democratic party and the attention of the man who holds the highest office in our country.


I’d be inclined to vote for him considering the fact that the current crop of presidential candidates, including the incumbent, are just not worth voting for.

By Craig Malisow

Houston Press Hair Balls
March 28, 2012

Just when we threw up our hands in despair over the dearth of worthwhile presidential candidates, a federal prisoner in Texas has made it onto the ballot in West Virginia.

Keith Russell Judd, who's serving 210 months in a decidedly un-oval office in Texarkana for making threats while on the University of New Mexico's campus, has actually run before; he got on Idaho's ballot in 2008, and apparently got on other states' ballots in 1996 and 2000, but apparently voters weren't ready for that kind of hope and change. (We can't find much on his 1999 conviction, other than he made threats over the telephone).

Fortunately, the [Beckley, West Virginia] Register-Herald pulled some highlights from Judd's Project Vote Smart biography, including Judd's assertion that his mother was silent-movie star Lillian Russell, who died in 1922, and that he counts Star Trek, MASH, and Gunsmoke among his favorite TV shows. (By the way, the reporter behind that article is named Mannix Porterfield, who deserves to be president on the basis of that name alone).

Judd, who either has the most rad, lustrous ponytail known to man, or was photographed while a chinchilla was sleeping on his shoulder, lists his religion as Rastafarian-Christian, and was formerly a member of both the machinists' union and the Federation of Super Heroes. He lists his father as Homer T Judd, who "designed the first Atomic Bomb."

Judd's bio says he's married, but we unfortunately don't know anything right now about this potential First Lady. Hopefully we can track her down for a heartwarming interview.

And just what does candidate Judd plan to do if elected (besides keeping an eye out for shivs in the showers)? He's calling for "accountability" at the Federal Reserve and the Justice and Treasury departments, as well as a complete overhaul of public schools. Overall, he's running for a noble cause: "To make the world a better place."

And since Judd lists "ESP" and "telling the future" as his hobbies and talents, it seems that he, better than anyone, knows that he'd be able to deliver. Hail to the future chief!


Instead of putting our resources behind Mexico's fight against the drug cartels, we would be better served by facilitating the growth of a Mexican middle class and the elimination of abject poverty in that nation. That would erode the power of the criminal organizations and save Mexico’s existence as a democracy.

By Robert D. Kaplan

STRATFOR Global Intelligence
March 28, 2012

While the foreign policy elite in Washington focuses on the 8,000 deaths in a conflict in Syria -- half a world away from the United States -- more than 47,000 people have died in drug-related violence since 2006 in Mexico. A deeply troubled state as well as a demographic and economic giant on the United States' southern border, Mexico will affect America's destiny in coming decades more than any state or combination of states in the Middle East. Indeed, Mexico may constitute the world's seventh-largest economy in the near future.

Certainly, while the Mexican violence is largely criminal, Syria is a more clear-cut moral issue, enhanced by its own strategic consequences. A calcified authoritarian regime in Damascus is stamping out dissent with guns and artillery barrages. Moreover, regime change in Syria, which the rebels demand, could deliver a pivotal blow to Iranian influence in the Middle East, an event that would be the best news to U.S. interests in the region in years or even decades.

Nevertheless, the Syrian rebels are divided and hold no territory, and the toppling of pro-Iranian dictator Bashar al Assad might conceivably bring to power an austere Sunni regime equally averse to U.S. interests -- if not lead to sectarian chaos. In other words, all military intervention scenarios in Syria are fraught with extreme risk. Precisely for that reason, that the U.S. foreign policy elite has continued for months to feverishly debate Syria, and in many cases advocate armed intervention, while utterly ignoring the vaster panorama of violence next door in Mexico, speaks volumes about Washington's own obsessions and interests, which are not always aligned with the country's geopolitical interests.

Syria matters and matters momentously to U.S. interests, but Mexico ultimately matters more, so one would think that there would be at least some degree of parity in the amount written on these subjects. I am not demanding a switch in news coverage from one country to the other, just a bit more balance. Of course, it is easy for pundits to have a fervently interventionist view on Syria precisely because it is so far away, whereas miscalculation in Mexico on America's part would carry far greater consequences. For example, what if the Mexican drug cartels took revenge on San Diego? Thus, one might even argue that the very noise in the media about Syria, coupled with the relative silence about Mexico, is proof that it is the latter issue that actually is too sensitive for loose talk.

It may also be that cartel-wracked Mexico -- at some rude subconscious level -- connotes for East Coast elites a south of the border, 7-Eleven store culture, reminiscent of the crime movie "Traffic," that holds no allure to people focused on ancient civilizations across the ocean. The concerns of Europe and the Middle East certainly seem closer to New York and Washington than does the southwestern United States. Indeed, Latin American bureaus and studies departments simply lack the cachet of Middle East and Asian ones in government and universities. Yet, the fate of Mexico is the hinge on which the United States' cultural and demographic future rests.

U.S. foreign policy emanates from the domestic condition of its society, and nothing will affect its society more than the dramatic movement of Latin history northward. By 2050, as much as a third of the American population could be Hispanic. Mexico and Central America constitute a growing demographic and economic powerhouse with which the United States has an inextricable relationship. In recent years Mexico's economic growth has outpaced that of its northern neighbor. Mexico's population of 111 million plus Central America's of more than 40 million equates to half the population of the United States.

Because of the North American Free Trade Agreement, 85 percent of Mexico's exports go to the United States, even as half of Central America's trade is with the United States. While the median age of Americans is nearly 37, demonstrating the aging tendency of the U.S. population, the median age in Mexico is 25, and in Central America it is much lower (20 in Guatemala and Honduras, for example). In part because of young workers moving northward, the destiny of the United States could be north-south, rather than the east-west, sea-to-shining-sea of continental and patriotic myth. (This will be amplified by the scheduled 2014 widening of the Panama Canal, which will open the Greater Caribbean Basin to megaships from East Asia, leading to the further development of Gulf of Mexico port cities in the United States, from Texas to Florida.)

Since 1940, Mexico's population has increased more than five-fold. Between 1970 and 1995 it nearly doubled. Between 1985 and 2000 it rose by more than a third. Mexico's population is now more than a third that of the United States and growing at a faster rate. And it is northern Mexico that is crucial. That most of the drug-related homicides in this current wave of violence that so much dwarfs Syria's have occurred in only six of Mexico's 32 states, mostly in the north, is a key indicator of how northern Mexico is being distinguished from the rest of the country (though the violence in the city of Veracruz and the regions of Michoacan and Guerrero is also notable). If the military-led offensive to crush the drug cartels launched by conservative President Felipe Calderon falters, as it seems to be doing, and Mexico City goes back to cutting deals with the cartels, then the capital may in a functional sense lose even further control of the north, with concrete implications for the southwestern United States.

One might argue that with massive border controls, a functional and vibrantly nationalist United States can coexist with a dysfunctional and somewhat chaotic northern Mexico. But that is mainly true in the short run. Looking deeper into the 21st century, as Arnold Toynbee notes in A Study of History (1946), a border between a highly developed society and a less highly developed one will not attain an equilibrium but will advance in the more backward society's favor. Thus, helping to stabilize Mexico -- as limited as the United States' options may be, given the complexity and sensitivity of the relationship -- is a more urgent national interest than stabilizing societies in the Greater Middle East. If Mexico ever does reach coherent First World status, then it will become less of a threat, and the healthy melding of the two societies will quicken to the benefit of both.

Today, helping to thwart drug cartels in rugged and remote terrain in the vicinity of the Mexican frontier and reaching southward from Ciudad Juarez (across the border from El Paso, Texas) means a limited role for the U.S. military and other agencies -- working, of course, in full cooperation with the Mexican authorities. (Predator and Global Hawk drones fly deep over Mexico searching for drug production facilities.) But the legal framework for cooperation with Mexico remains problematic in some cases because of strict interpretation of 19th century posse comitatus laws on the U.S. side. While the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to affect historical outcomes in Eurasia, its leaders and foreign policy mandarins are somewhat passive about what is happening to a country with which the United States shares a long land border, that verges on partial chaos in some of its northern sections, and whose population is close to double that of Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Mexico, in addition to the obvious challenge of China as a rising great power, will help write the American story in the 21st century. Mexico will partly determine what kind of society America will become, and what exactly will be its demographic and geographic character, especially in the Southwest. The U.S. relationship with China will matter more than any other individual bilateral relationship in terms of determining the United States' place in the world, especially in the economically crucial Pacific. If policymakers in Washington calculate U.S. interests properly regarding those two critical countries, then the United States will have power to spare so that its elites can continue to focus on serious moral questions in places that matter less.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Al Sharpton, never one to bypass an opportunity to capture the spotlight, injected himself into the Trayvon Martin case, just as he did in the Duke University phony rape fiasco. Jesse Jackson, not to be outdone by his fellow poverty pimp also joined in the fray.

On Monday Sharpton bellowed that Martin’s parents endured “insults and lies” over reports that Trayvon attacked his shooter and over reports that he had been suspended from school when caught with a pot pipe and a baggie of marijuana residue on one occasion and for possessing a burglar tool (a screw driver along with a bag of women’s jewelry) on another occasion.

Jackson, whose star has been fading, made the absurd charge that blacks are being targeted by whites and that incarcerating and killing them is big business.

Here is what the Rev. C. L. Bryant thinks of those two rabblerousing “race hustlers”:

By Alex Pappas

The Daily Caller
March 26, 2012

Former NAACP leader C.L. Bryant is accusing Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton of “exploiting” the Trayvon Martin tragedy to “racially divide this country.”

“His family should be outraged at the fact that they’re using this child as the bait to inflame racial passions,” Rev. C.L. Bryant said in a Monday interview with The Daily Caller.

The conservative black pastor who was once the chapter president of the Garland, Texas NAACP called Jackson and Sharpton “race hustlers” and said they are “acting as though they are buzzards circling the carcass of this young boy.”

Jackson, for example, recently said Martin’s death shows how “blacks are under attack” and that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.”

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, killed Martin, a 17-year-old black man who was unarmed at the time of his death, last month. Zimmerman has claimed to have shot Martin in self-defense and has not been charged with a crime.

But Bryant, who explores the topic of black-on-black crime in his new film “Runaway Slave,” said people like Jackson and Sharpton are being misleading to suggest there is an epidemic of “white men killing black young men.”

“The epidemic is truly black on black crime,” Bryant said. “The greatest danger to the lives of young black men are young black men.”

Bryant said he wishes civil rights leaders were protesting those problems.

“Why not be angry about the wholesale murder that goes on in the streets of Newark and Chicago?” he asked. “Why isn’t somebody angry about that six-year-old girl who was killed on her steps last weekend in a cross fire when two gang members in Chicago start shooting at each other? Why is there no outrage about that?”

Bryant said he worries that “people like Sharpton and those on the left” will make Martin’s death a campaign issue in the presidential race.

He speculated that they will “turn this evolving tragedy of this young man into fodder to say… if you don’t re-elect Obama then you will have unbridled events or circumstances like this happening in the streets to young men wearing hoodies.”

He also criticized President Obama for his “nebulous statement” responding to Martin’s death that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

“What does that mean?” Bryant asked. “What was the purpose in that?”


All this time we have been led to believe that Trayvon Martin was just a sweet teenager who was murdered by an overzealous racist neighborhood watch volunteer. After reading reports from the Daily Mail and the Miami Herald, my conclusion is that poor Trayvon turns out to be a pot smoking thief and vandal, and not the squeaky-clean youngster he’s been made out to be.

Of course, the parents and their supporters are screaming that these reports are being spread by a bunch of racists who want to demonize the dear son that has been taken away from them by a racist murderer who was not arrested because he was white.

President Obama injected himself into the nationwide uproar by publically stating that "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." Now I wonder if Obama’s son would also be a pot smoking, hoodie wearing thief and vandal?

Hmmm, three suspensions and he was on suspension at the time of the shooting. Tsk, tsk, tsk. And here is that Daily Mail report:

He was suspended from school three times and was on suspension at the time he was shot because school officials had caught him with a marijuana pipe and a baggie with drug residue

Mail Online
March 27, 2012

Trayvon Martin was suspended from school three times in the months before he was shot dead by a neighborhood watchman, it emerged today.

The new claims, revealed in a leaked report, paint a different picture of a teenager who frequently found himself in trouble with authorities.

It was also revealed that he might have attacked a bus driver, according to a Twitter account that it is claimed belonged to the teen.

The Miami Herald claims that in October, he was caught with a 'burglary tool' - a flathead screwdriver - and 12 pieces of women's jewelry. Martin insisted that they did not belong to him.

Earlier, he had been suspended for skipping school and showing up late to class. And most recently, in February, he was suspended again when officials found a 'marijuana pipe' and an empty baggie with traces of the drug.

The fresh claims are likely to be seized upon by supporters of George Zimmerman who say the teenager launched an unprovoked attack on the neighborhood watch volunteer moments before Trayvon was shot dead.

The revelation about the suspension in October, in a school report obtained by the Herald, was condemned today by Trayvon's family as part of a campaign to smear their dead son.

The boy's mother said: 'They killed my son and now they're trying to kill his reputation.'

The conservative news site the Daily Caller and the blog the Wagist claim they have unearthed a Twitter account, which has since been taken down, that belonged to the teen.

Among many Tweets, the Wagist claims, is a message from his cousin implying that Trayvon attacked a bus driver.

'Yu ain't tell me yu swung on a bus driver,' a user Tweeted to Travyon's alleged account five days before he was killed.

The Daily Caller, says it has published 152 pages of tweets downloaded from Trayvon's account. The site says Trayvon went by the Twitter handle NO_LIMIT_NIGGA.

A few of the messages make reference to using drugs including one that says: 'Finna (I'm fixing to) smoke 1 wit my dawg wayne.'

But most are simply a take on daily life -- the same as most social media accounts.


Another says: '2 glock 40's... bitch you got 80 problems.'

The boy’s parents say that they have never heard the claim about the screw driver and jewelry.

The October suspension was officially for graffiti, after he and some friends wrote ‘W.T.F.’ on a school locker. [All kids know that stands for ‘What the fuck]

According to an October report of the incident by the Miami Dade Schools Police, obtained by the Miami Herald, Trayvon never received any punishment for the jewelry because he said it was not his and it belonged to a friend.

In total, he had 12 pieces of mostly women’s rings and earrings in his bag.

Instead, he was suspended on October 21for the graffiti charge.

Ben Crump, a lawyer for Trayvon’s parents, said that they ‘never heard anything like this about a bag of jewelry….And anyway, it’s completely irrelevant to what happened February 26.

‘They never heard this, and don’t believe it’s true. If it were true, why wouldn’t they call the parents? Why wasn’t he arrested?

‘We think everybody is trying to demonize him.’

The Martin family has admitted that the October suspension was his second, and that he had previously been suspended for tardiness and truancy.

The third, and arguably most serious suspension, came in February in the days leading up to his death.

According to the Miami Herald, Miami-Dade Schools Police reported finding a bag with marijuana residue and a ‘marijuana pipe’ in the 17-year-old’s possession.

The boy was never criminally charged, but the Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug related incidents so he was suspended for an undisclosed amount of time.


President Obama is currently attending a nuclear security summit in South Korea. On Sunday, he visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone where he made the obligatory presidential remarks warning North Korea against continued provocations.

We have always been led to believe that the leaders of North Korea - Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and now Kim-Jong-un - were crazy. Well, it turns out that all three of them were crazy like a fox. They’ve managed to hoodwink us and our allies all these years into believing they were simultaneously weak, fearsome and crazy.

Here are some excerpts from ‘The United States in Korea: A Strategy of Inertia,’ a March 27 analysis by George Friedman of STRATFOR Global Intelligence:

With the loss of its Cold War patrons and the changing dynamic of the post-Cold War world, the North Koreans developed a survival strategy that Stratfor identified in the 1990s. The Koreans' intention was to appear -- simultaneously -- weak, fearsome and crazy. This was not an easy strategy to carry out, but they have carried it out well. First, they made certain that they were perceived to be always on the verge of internal collapse and thus not a direct threat to anyone but themselves. They went out of their way to emphasize their economic problems, particularly the famines in the 1990s. They wanted no one to think they were intent on being an aggressor unless provoked severely.

Second, they wanted to appear to be fearsome. This would at first blush seem to contradict the impression of weakness, but they managed it brilliantly by perpetually reminding the world that they were close to developing nuclear weapons and longer-range missiles. Recognizing that the Americans and Japanese had a reflexive obsession with nuclear weapons, Pyongyang constantly made it appear that they were capable of developing nuclear weapons but were not yet there. Not being there yet meant that no one had to do something about the weapons. Being close to developing them meant that it was dangerous to provoke them. Even North Korea's two nuclear tests have, intentionally or incidentally, appeared sub-par, leaving its neighbors able to doubt the technological prowess of the "Hermit Kingdom."

The final piece was to appear crazy, or crazy enough that when pressed, they would choose the suicide option of striking with a nuclear weapon, if they had one. This was critical because a rational actor possessing one or a few weapons would not think of striking its neighbors, since the U.S. counterstrike would annihilate the North Korean regime. The threat wouldn't work if North Korea was considered rational, but, if it was irrational, the North Korean deterrence strategy could work. It would force everyone to be ultra-cautious in dealing with North Korea, lest North Korea do something quite mad. South Korean and U.S. propaganda did more for North Korea's image of unpredictability than the North could have hoped.

North Korea, then, has spent more than two decades cultivating the image to the outside world of a nation on the verge of internal economic collapse (even while internally emphasizing its strength in the face of external threats). At the same time, the country has appeared to be on the verge of being a nuclear power -- one ruled by potential lunatics. The net result was that the major powers, particularly South Korea, the United States and Japan, went out of their way to avoid provoking the North. In addition, these three powers were prepared to bribe North Korea to stop undertaking nuclear and missile development. Several times, they bribed the North with money or food to stop building weapons, and each time the North took the money and then resumed their program, quite ostentatiously, so as to cause maximum notice and restore the vision of the weak, fearsome lunatic.

The North was so good at playing this game that it maneuvered itself into a position in which it sat as an equal with the United States, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea -- and it would frequently refuse to attend the six-party talks. The ability to maneuver itself into a position equal to these powers was North Korea's greatest achievement, and it had a tremendous effect on stabilizing the regime by reinforcing its legitimacy internally and its power externally. Underneath this was the fact that no one was all that eager to see North Korea collapse, particularly since it was crazy and might have nuclear weapons. North Korea created a superb strategy for regime preservation in a very hostile region -- or one that appeared hostile to the North Koreans.


The Schalotte
March 27, 2012

A lady goes to her priest one day and tells him, 'Father, I have a problem. I have two female parrots, but they only know to say one thing.'

'What do they say?' the priest asked.

They say, 'Hi, we're hookers! Do you want to have some fun?'

'That's obscene!' the priest exclaimed. Then he thought for a moment.....

'You know,' he said, 'I may have a solution to your problem. I have two male talking parrots, which I have taught to pray and read the Bible... Bring your two parrots over to my house, and we'll put them in the cage with Francis and Peter. My parrots can teach your parrots to pray and worship, and your parrots are sure to stop saying... That phrase... In no time.'

'Thank you,' the woman responded, 'this may very well be the solution.'

The next day, she brought her female parrots to the priest's house....

As he ushered her in, she saw that his two male parrots were inside their cage holding rosary beads and praying...

Impressed, she walked over and placed her parrots in with them...

After a few minutes, the female parrots cried out in unison: ‘Hi, we're hookers! Do you want to have some fun?'

There was stunned silence...

Shocked, one male parrot looked over at the other male parrot and says, 'Put the beads away, Frank. Our prayers have been answered!’

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Gainful employment is the most critical factor in preventing the recidivism of ex-cons. There are basically two types of ex-cons. There are those who are career criminals and have no intention of going straight upon their release from prison. And there are those who truly want to turn their lives around.

The ex-cons who want to go straight are running into a roadblock of criminal background checks that employers use to screen out job applicants. According to a recent survey, more than 90 percent of employers run such checks. And that means less than 10 percent of employers will even consider hiring ex-cons.

Things used to be different. Back in the 1960s when I was a California state parole agent, employers were willing to hire ex-cons. Granted, the economy was booming then. I even had a parolee serving time for an armed robbery who was driving a truck to make daily transfers of cash between the different branches of Pacific Savings in Orange County and parts of Los Angeles.

Whenever I had a parolee that was out of a job, I told him he had three days to get one or I would throw his ass in jail for violating the parole condition that required him to maintain gainful employment. And guess what, every one of them managed to obtain a righteous job within those three days.

If a parolee had trouble getting a job, it wasn’t because employers did not want to hire ex-cons - it was because he had no skills to speak of. The California prisons had job training programs, but most of them were in skills for which there was little demand.

Every prison for men had upholstery training and furniture making programs. The problem was that in the fee world, upholstery businesses were mom-and-pop operations in which the workers were all family members. And most furniture manufacturers were back in Georgia, North Carolina and other nearby states, not in California.

Landscaping was another big training program. Surprisingly, I had several Latino parolees who started out with one lawnmower cutting grass who became quite successful in taking care of people’s lawns, so successful in fact that they were able to hire several parolees to work for them.

Many employers back then wanted to give ex-cons a chance to make it in the free world. It was a feel-good thing for them. With today’s high unemployment rate and more than 90 percent of employers running criminal background checks, it looks like those days are gone forever. That’s really too bad because ex-cons who want to go straight but cannot find a job, are likely to end up increasing the recidivism rates.

Here are some excerpts from IN TIGHT JOB MARKET, BACKGROUND CHECKS’ INFLUENCE RAISE QUESTIONS, a column by Tony Pough of the McClatchy Newspapers that was published in the March 22 issue of the Houston Chronicle:

“With more than four unemployed workers per opening, the job search has become a contact sport following the Great Recession. The buyer's market for labor has employers relying on criminal and credit background reports to help thin the applicant pool and avoid potential lawsuits for negligent hiring.

A recent survey found that more than 90 percent of employers run criminal checks on job applicants, while 60 percent sometimes screen for credit, depending on the position. Black marks on either report can prove fatal for the estimated 65 million U.S. adults with criminal records and the 25 percent of whites, 33 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of African-Americans thought to have bad credit.

Identifying potential hires who could pose a threat to a company's assets or the safety of its workers and customers is a serious responsibility with legal ramifications, so consumer background reports are invaluable in helping employers gauge the trustworthiness, judgment, reliability and competence of new employees.

But at a time when jobs are scarce and 5.4 million have been unemployed for more than six months, a robust discussion is brewing among lawmakers, employers and regulators who are re-examining the way that negative background information is used.

Millions who lost jobs through no fault of their own in the Great Recession were left unable to pay their bills, which has hurt their credit standing and made it even harder for them to find work.

And adults with minor or even "stale" criminal convictions that date back 20 or more years can still have trouble finding work even if they've kept their records clean since their conviction. Researchers in 2009 found that a criminal record cut chances for a job callback or job offer by nearly 50 percent.

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employers from using job-screening standards that have a disparate racial impact. So denying jobs solely on the basis of criminal convictions is illegal because it would disproportionately affect African-Americans and Hispanics, who have higher rates of criminal convictions. The same is true for rejecting applicants solely for poor credit histories, which would disproportionately affect African-Americans, Hispanics and women.”

For these job denials to pass EEOC muster, the rationale must be "job-related and consistent with business necessity," according to EEOC guidelines. This means the employer must show that it considered three factors: the nature and gravity of the offense, the amount of time since the conviction and the relevance of the offense to the type of job being sought.”

The problem for ex-cons is that a crime which resulted in a prison term can be legitimately construed as meeting the EEOC's ‘gravity of the offense’ criteria.


The social network has become a tool for furthering one’s criminal endeavors.

Jose Gustavo Diaz-Velasquez told investigators he had arranged for transport of thousands of illegal immigrants during the past year using 30 drivers he hired through Craiglist

By Lynn Brezosky

The Houston Chronicle
March 26, 2012

BROWNSVILLE — An illegal immigrant and Texas prison gang member has been charged with using Craigslist to recruit drivers to transport illegal immigrants within the Rio Grande Valley, by his accounts for the Gulf Cartel.

Border Patrol agents on March 14 arrested Jose Gustavo Diaz-Velasquez, 29, of Mexico, in Rio Grande City after an investigation into 10 Craigslist ads that were traced to Diaz's email accounts.

According to a March 15 criminal complaint, Diaz told investigators he had arranged for transport of thousands of illegal immigrants during the past year using 30 drivers he hired through Craigslist. Drivers were paid $75 to $85 per person transported, he said.

Diaz also told investigators he recruited through Facebook and admitted to posting a dash-cam video of a high-speed pursuit of himself to YouTube.

He said he was working directly for the Gulf Cartel and had become affiliated with the Valluco gang while serving a five-year state prison term.

Homeland Security Investigations agents had been investigating the postings since August 2011 and used Internet addresses to track the data to a McAllen apartment rented by Diaz's wife.

Agents interviewed 10 people who were hired to transport the immigrants, four of whom identified Diaz through a photo lineup. Other cooperating sources provided agents information on email accounts and phone numbers.

One driver, Christopher Joseph McClaskey, was apprehended by Border Patrol agents on March 13 with four illegal immigrants. McClaskey provided information that helped lead to Diaz's arrest the next day.


In 2009, Mexico enacted a law to decriminalize possession of small amounts of all major narcotics, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and crystal meth. Anyone caught in Mexico with two or three joints or about four lines of cocaine can no longer be arrested, fined or imprisoned. The law clearly states any person dealing narcotics will be sent to prison. Any place that sells drugs will be liable for punishment, a provision that is likely to prevent the opening of any Amsterdam-style "coffee shops" in the country.

The decriminalization law was designed to let the authorities go after the drug traffickers rather than drug users. Now the presidents of several Central American countries are considering similar decriminalization laws, ignoring the fact that Mexico’s drug cartels continue to rake in huge profits.

As for decriminalization, the term is just a euphemism for legalization.

From Borderland Beat:

By Mike McDonald

March 25, 2012

Guatemalan President Otto Perez on Saturday set out a raft of proposals to tackle rampant drug-fuelled violence in Central America, including decriminalization of narcotics or establishing a regional court to try traffickers.

"The proposal is decriminalization," Perez said at a regional summit to address security throughout the region. "We are talking about creating a legal framework to regulate the production, transit and consumption of drugs."

The discussion reflects growing concern in Central America about the cost of the war on drugs, which is prompting leaders to take an increasingly independent line from the United States, where officials have repeatedly rejected legalizing narcotics.

A retired general, Perez won election in November 2011 promising to crack down on organized crime. But he shifted from his hard-line message shortly after taking office in January, calling for a more open debate on drug policy.

"It's important this is on the discussion table as an alternative to what we've been doing for 40 years without getting the desired results," he said, noting that decriminalization would erode drug cartels' profits. (Borderland Beat: "erode drug cartels’ profits"? He ought to ask his pal Calderon how decriminalization,enacted in Mexico in 2009, is working for Mexico!)

The president added that Central American leaders are considering requiring the United States, the biggest consumer of South American cocaine, to pay the region for drug raids.

"We're talking about economic compensation for every seizure undertaken and also the destruction of marijuana and cocaine plantations," said Perez, a 61-year-old conservative.

Guatemala's murder rate has nearly doubled since 2000 due in part to brutal Mexican drug cartels extending their reach south.

In May 2011, the feared Zetas gang beheaded 27 farm workers in northern Guatemala in a dispute with the farm's owner over cocaine moving from South America to the United States.

Another alternative Central American leaders are mulling is setting up a court with jurisdiction for the region that would hear crimes related to the drug trade like kidnapping, contract killing, and trafficking of people and arms, Perez added.

"This would give breathing space to the justice system because it would relieve pressure on our courts," he said, adding that the court would have its own penal system.

Washington has defended the war on drugs and in recent visits to the region U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano rejected Perez's legalization pitch.

Perez, the founder of Guatemala's right-wing Patriot Party, said Central America was paying too
Heavy a price for the war.

"Our countries are not producers or consumers of drugs," he said. "We are in the middle of the sandwich."

In the past two months alone, Guatemala has confiscated more than 1,000 kilos (2,200 pounds) of cocaine valued at roughly $10,000 per kilo, and destroyed nearly $1 billion worth of poppy plants.

Monday, March 26, 2012


On Saturday, 71-year-old former vice-president Dick Cheney received a heart transplant. Cheney has had heart problems since his thirties.

The anti-Cheney crowd is already questioning why a man in his seventies is getting a heart transplant, thereby depriving a younger person of getting a new heart. And, of course, the Cheney-haters are claiming that he received preferential treatment by moving ahead of others on the transplant waiting list. Wrong on both counts!

There was a time when heart patients were not considered for transplants once they reached the age of 65. However, many transplant centers have extended the age limit in recent years because studies have shown that when recipients over 65 receive a new heart, 70 percent of them live five years longer compared to those who did not get a transplant under the same circumstances.

And this will come as a shock to the Cheney-haters. The UCLA Medical Center reports that the average waiting time for transplant recipients is 3 – 6 months. Cheney waited 20 months for his new heart.

I’ve got one thing to say to all the Cheney-haters: Get a life!


As I’ve said before, civil libertarians are putting political correctness ahead of anti-terrorism.

A reason the NYPD follows young Muslim students

The Wall Street Journal
March 23, 2012

Mohamed Merah died Thursday morning in a hail of bullets as he leapt from the window of his Toulouse flat, firing on the way down. During the preceding 33-hour standoff, the 23-year-old Frenchman said he wanted to die "gun in hand." Nobody should feel sorry that the authorities obliged him.

Merah began his murder spree 12 days ago when he gunned down French paratrooper Sgt. Imad Ibn Ziaten in Toulouse. Four days later he killed two more uniformed paratroopers, Cpl. Abel Chennouf and Pte. Mohamed Legouad, in nearby Montauban. On Monday Merah attacked Toulouse's Ozar Hatorah Jewish school, killing Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two young sons Gabriel and Arieh, and seven-year-old Myriam Monsonego. What made the killings all the more grotesque was that Merah filmed them, a reminder that terrorism is, in some sense, also a form of pornography.

The reaction of the French has been commendable. Revulsion at the murder of Jewish children gives the lie to the notion that France is fundamentally anti-Semitic. Muslim leaders have lined up to condemn the killings. Security authorities have been criticized for not acting more effectively—Merah was already on a terrorist watch-list—but every free society will always be at an initial disadvantage against individual killers. "We have shown our sang-froid, our cool and our ability to overcome this kind of terrorist threat," President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday. "We must be implacable in defending our values."

Well said. Less useful was initial speculation that the killer must have been a white supremacist since he seemed to target Jews and North Africans equally—a line of thinking that seems to have been inspired by the notion that Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik represented a larger underground movement.

Nor did it help to hear former Justice Minister Rashida Dati warn a radio audience that using the word "jihadist" to describe Merah risked "stigmatizing our [Muslim] French compatriots." Merah trained for jihad on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Someone should tell Ms. Dati that combating prejudice can't be achieved through semantic acrobatics, much less closing one's eyes to reality.

It's premature to suggest that Merah's rampage presages a new terror threat in Europe, but it's also dangerous to treat him as a one-off. France is fortunate to have a muscular internal security apparatus, the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST), whose methods of surveillance and preventive action are increasingly being emulated by the FBI and the New York Police Department.

The recent criticism of the NYPD's student and Muslim surveillance program looks especially short-sighted in light of the French murders. Merah's rampage is a reminder to civilized societies to redouble their vigilance.


When the smugglers are caught and the dope they were carrying is confiscated, that’s just the cost of doing business.

The number of minors transporting drugs across the Mexico-U.S. border continues to rise, as does the number of "blind mules" who transport dope without their knowledge

Borderland Beat
March 24, 2012

The number of minors transporting drugs across the Mexico-U.S. border continues to rise, as does the number of “blind mules” who transport dope without their knowledge, activists said.

In 2011 some 190 minors were arrested for trying to bring drugs across the border, an increase of 13 percent over 2010, according to official figures. Some 33 young people have been arrested so far this year.

These youths are “cheap, plentiful and disposable labor for drug traffickers,” said Victor Clark Alfaro, a professor at San Diego State University, who also heads the Tijuana-based Binational Human Rights Center.

Clark Alfaro said that since the new terminal was built at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the main crossing between Tijuana and San Diego, his organization has observed an increase in attempts to smuggle drugs across the border using different mechanisms.

While mules are mainly pedestrians, traffickers have noted that for vehicular crossings U.S. Customs and Border Protection now have a lower, slower capacity for making secondary searches, making it more difficult to get through, so they’re trying more daring methods.

“We have numerous cases of ‘blind mules’ in cars. These are people who cross the border frequently and traffickers put drugs in their cars without them knowing it. If they get past the border guards successfully, the traffickers follow them to where they’re going to park,” he said.

Clark Alfaro said he testified in court recently in the case of one of his SDSU students who said she had gone through that experience after visited her boyfriend in Tijuana and was arrested when they found 35 kilos (77 pounds) of marijuana in her car.

As for the witting mules who cross on foot, what drug traffickers say to convince them are always the same promises – that nothing will happen to them and at most they’ll be deported after days or weeks in a juvenile detention center.

“The teens traditionally come from disfunctional families, are paid little money, as in the case of another teenage girl who was stopped on her third trip carrying 4 kilos (8 1/2 pounds) of cocaine taped to her body. For her first two attempts she received $1,000, a tiny amount compared to the drug’s street price,” Clark Alfaro said.

Drug traffickers tend to pick out youths who cross the border to study, many with dual citizenship, or who travel to see their families or to go shopping, the expert said.

“For those who are arrested there’s no second chance, they’re just spent cartridges, they lose the documents they need to cross the border,” he said.

According to Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee, drug traffickers’ favorite places to recruit young smugglers are the high schools of southern San Diego County.


Bob Walsh says that if you are going to do a crime, it pays not to fall asleep on the job. “It seems that these two bozos were maybe going to stick up a Mickey D’s [McDonald’s] in the crime-ridden cesspool of Stockton yesterday. Maybe they had something else in mind. It doesn’t really matter because they both fell asleep in their car in the drive-through lane,” Bob said. “No matter what your job (except maybe mattress tester) it pays to stay awake at work. Or at least keep your windows locked in a high crime area.”


The Stockton Record
March 25, 2012

STOCKTON — Two men were arrested when they fell asleep while sitting on handguns in a McDonald’s drive-through early Friday morning.

Paramedics and firefighters responded to the 600 block of West Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard after receiving reports of two men asleep in a car shortly before 2 a.m. When they arrived, crews tapped on the car’s windows before opening the door and removing the passenger, according to the Stockton Police Department.

As emergency workers pulled the man out, they realized a handgun was underneath him, police said. The driver was also pulled out of the car, and, like his passenger, was found to be on top of a handgun, officials said.

No narcotics were found in the car and the driver was not charged with drunken driving, police said.

Arrested were Esteban Monroy, 22, and Santiago Requepo, 25, both on suspicion of weapons possession and gang enhancements, police said.


The Onion
March 25, 2012

PROVIDENCE, RI—Due to budgetary constraints, the State of Rhode Island was forced to shutter a number of its aviary facilities Sunday, resulting in hundreds of mentally ill sparrows, pigeons, chickadees, pelicans, kestrels, and penguins being put out on the street.

"These birds are incapable of making the decisions necessary to navigate through everyday life," Providence Aviary administrator Margaret Lyons said as a disturbed grackle pecked at a spot on the ground where there was clearly no food. "With nowhere to go and no one to look after them, they roam the streets, sleep on telephone wires, and fly uncontrollably and repeatedly into large-frame plate-glass windows. Frankly, it's irresponsible and inhumane to release a kiwi that hears voices into a world where it could be a danger to itself or to others."

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has promised swift action, stating that he would close the state's cat shelters in order to rectify the situation.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I do not have much sympathy for George Zimmerman. The stupid jerk disregarded police instructions not to confront 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The boy’s parents, supported by Al Sharpton and his ilk, demand that Zimmerman be arrested and prosecuted for murder and for committing a hate crime. The nationwide outrage – before all the facts are known – will almost certainly assure that Zimmerman will be prosecuted on some serious charges, regardless of whether or not those charges are truly warranted.

Two factors in the Martin shooting should be considered. First of all, the parents and Sharpton are outraged that the police did not arrest Zimmerman. They played the race card by saying Zimmerman would have been arrested had he been black and the victim white. That’s a big load of crap!

I do not know whether the police crime scene investigation was adequate or not. However, the officers did have evidence that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense because he was found bleeding from the nose and the back of the head while the back of his shirt was wet and had grass stains, indicating a struggle took place before the shooting.

In Houston, where the cops are pretty hardnosed, the police would not arrest a shooter under those circumstances. Instead they would present their findings to a grand jury to determine if the shooter should be prosecuted. And that’s the way it is done pretty much throughout the country, regardless of the shooter’s race.

But none of that matters to rabblerousing Al Sharpton and the nationwide lynch mob. They’ve even got a bunch of thugs, The New Black Panther Party, calling for the mobilization of 5,000 black men to find Zimmerman and offering a $10,000 bounty for his capture.

The other factor is that Martin was wearing a hoodie. In Houston we have had several smash and grab high-end jewelry store robberies committed by a group of men using hammers to smash the jewelry display cases. The security cameras show that in each of them all the perpetrators wore hoodies. And on an almost daily basis, our TV news reports show one or more convenience store robberies and in almost all of them the robbers wore hoodies. Thus the hoodies are associated with criminals.

Geraldo Rivera entered the fray with this comment: "I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly not to let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangster– you’re going to be a gangster want-to-be. Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace, that’s what happens.” Geraldo has been excoriated for these remarks and thousands of young demonstrators all over the nation protested by wearing hoodies. But like him or not, Geraldo made a good point.

I predict that Zimmerman is going to be prosecuted because the authorities cannot withstand the political heat generated by this case. And that politically fueled judicial lynching will come despite the fact that a credible eyewitness told the police that Martin attacked Zimmerman and that it was Zimmerman who yelled ‘help me’ as heard on the 911 call, and not Martin as his parents claim.


my FOX Tampa Bay
March 23, 2012

ORLANDO - A witness we haven't heard from before paints a much different picture than we've seen so far of what happened the night 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed.

The night of that shooting, police say there was a witness who saw it all.

Our sister station, FOX 35 in Orlando, has spoken to that witness.

What Sanford Police investigators have in the folder, they put together on the killing of Trayvon Martin few know about.

The file now sits in the hands of the state attorney. Now that file is just weeks away from being opened to a grand jury.

It shows more now about why police believed that night that George Zimmerman shouldn't have gone to jail.

Zimmerman called 911 and told dispatchers he was following a teen. The dispatcher told Zimmerman not to.

And from that moment to the shooting, details are few.

But one man's testimony could be key for the police.

"The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: 'help, help…and I told him to stop and I was calling 911," he said.

Trayvon Martin was in a hoodie; Zimmerman was in red.

The witness only wanted to be identified as "John," and didn't not want to be shown on camera.

His statements to police were instrumental, because police backed up Zimmerman's claims, saying those screams on the 911 call are those of Zimmerman.

"When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point," John said.

Zimmerman says the shooting was self defense. According to information released on the Sanford city website, Zimmerman said he was going back to his SUV when he was attacked by the teen.

Sanford police say Zimmerman was bloody in his face and head, and the back of his shirt was wet and had grass stains, indicating a struggle took place before the shooting.


The paths to hell are often paved with the stones of good intentions. I am reminded of the slew of cop-hatting comments on Grits for Breakfast in which followers of Grits said they would kill a cop if they thought he had no right to mess with them.

Governor says law protects police by narrowing circumstances where force can be used against them

Associated Press
March 22, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said Wednesday that he shares police groups' concerns that some people might misinterpret a new law that lays out when residents could be legally justified in using force against police officers.

Daniels said he thought carefully before signing the bill Tuesday night. The legislation was passed by strong majorities in the House and Senate in response to public uproar after the state Supreme Court ruled last year that residents couldn''t resist officers even during an illegal entry.

"Contrary to some impressions, the bill strengthens the protection of Indiana law enforcement officers by narrowing the situations in which someone would be justified in using force against them," Daniels said in a written statement. But, he added: "What is troubling to law enforcement officers, and to me, is the chance that citizens hearing reports of change will misunderstand what the law says."

The law took immediate effect.

The measure specifies that people are protected by the state''s self-defense law if they reasonably believe force is necessary to protect themselves, someone else or their own property from unlawful actions by a public servant.

Supporters have said the proposal strengthens the legal rights of people against government agents improperly entering their homes. But police groups worried about the measure giving people justification for attacking officers.

"For those who don''t take the time to read the law, it is going to be devastating for someone to think they have a right to resist if they only think an officer is acting illegally," said William Owensby, president of the Indianapolis chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

"Our fear all along was that it''s going to put citizens and officers into grave danger," he said. "I don''t want to have to bury another police officer."

A blizzard of emails to officials, a Statehouse protest and threats against judges ensued when the Indiana Supreme Court ruled last May that homeowners couldn''t use force to resist police officers'' entry into their homes, whether those entries were legal or not. The justices later clarified that the ruling didn''t abridge homeowner''s Fourth Amendment rights.

The ruling came in a Vanderburgh County case in which a man scuffled with an officer who tried to enter his house without a warrant while investigating a report of a domestic disturbance. The man, Richard Barnes, was convicted of resisting law enforcement and other charges.

The court declined comment on the law through a spokesman.

At least one supporter said the law didn''t accomplish what it was supposed to do because it didn''t affect situations like that covered by the Supreme Court decision.

"I think it was a feel-good measure on their part but it really didn''t achieve anything," said Greg Fettig of the tea party group America Refocused. "Police could still go in without any probable cause whatsoever."

Fettig added: "As far as I''m concerned as a private citizen, I will not let them in without a search warrant."

The bill''s primary author, Republican Sen. Michael Young of Indianapolis, said he believes the new law does a good job of balancing police power with individual rights.

"I think the governor took his time and deliberated on the issue just like we did in the General Assembly. It''s a tough issue," Young said.


If Alexei had not gotten himself caught so quickly, his daring prison escape and subsequent crime spree would have made for a great action movie. Apparently, prison escapes by helicopter are not uncommon in Europe.

Pilot forced at gunpoint to hover over maximum security prison while convicted killer climbs aboard

By Tom Gardner

Mail Online
March 23, 2012

It started like a plot from a Hollywood thriller.

A convicted murderer is sprung from prison in an audacious daylight pick-up by a hijacked helicopter.

But Russian Alexei Shestakov's bid for freedom ended like an Ealing Comedy when he switched to a taxi.

The 35-year-old – halfway through a 24-year term for murder and theft - was hoisted out of the maximum security penal colony by a rope ladder from under the guards' noses.

His accomplices, a man and a woman, commandeered at gunpoint the Mi-2 helicopter and forced the pilot to fly to the jail, in the village of Sheksna, in Vologda region, 300 miles north of Moscow, and hover while their friend clambered aboard.

Guards fired a number of rounds at the helicopter as it flew away, but without managing to get a crippling shot on target, according to witnesses.

The aircraft, which had been booked for a ‘business delegation’, was later found abandoned by a road on the edge of Vologda. The pilot was discovered bound and gagged, several miles away.

But then Shestakov's luck ran out. The hapless convict switched to a taxi which police say they ambushed not long after the daring jail-break, and only a short distance from the town on Thursday.

His two accomplices are still on the run.

There have been several successful chopper escapes in Europe in recent years including an incident in Greece in 2009.

Greek police were left scouring the country for two convicts who orchestrated a brazen helicopter prison break for the second time in three years.

Vassilis Paleokostas, a bank robber who is among Greece's most notorious convicts, and Alket Rizaj, 34, were picked up by a helicopter that flew over the courtyard of Athens' Korydallos prison in February 2009.

The two had escaped the exact same way from the same prison in June 2006, and had been due to appear in court Monday in connection with that escape.

Three men were also freed from a Belgium jail, in 2009, in similar style.

The convicted armed robbers including one of the most violent men in Europe, escaped when a hijacked helicopter flew into a jail near Bruges. It hoisted repeated offenders Ashraf Sekkaki, Mohammed Johry and Abdel Had Kahjary Mulloul.

Despite their notorious reputations they were not being held in the prison’s high security compound, which is surrounded by netting to confound airborne escape attempts.

Instead the chopper swooped over watch towers and high fencing before coming down in the prison yard.

Armed guards were so astonished that not a shot was fired, or anything done to stop the men jumping aboard.


I often wonder where in the world law enforcement recruiters find some of these jerks.

By Richard Connelly

Houston Press Hair Balls
March 23, 2012

A woman who says she was groped and fondled by a Harris County deputy constable has filed a civil suit in which she provides more details from the alleged August 2011 incident.

The woman says deputy Christopher Kerr, a deputy in Constable Precinct 3, pulled her over, then handcuffed her and began groping and fondling, including sticking his hands up under her skirt.

But that wasn't all, according to the suit:

"Deputy Kerr then told Plaintiff that his penis was erect and that she needed to 'adjust it' or she would go to jail," the suit says.

The plaintiff, 28, is suing Kerr and the county, saying the constable's office "had previously fired Kerr for misconduct" but re-hired him.

"Defendant Harris County Texas was aware of the propensities of Kerr to disregard the department's policies and procedures, but rehired and retained him in spite of such knowledge," the suit says.

Kerr resigned his position shortly after the incident.

The suit says no video is available of what Kerr allegedly did. "The traffic stop lasted about 30 minutes, but there is not any video record of it, because video of the incident was erased from the camera in Kerr's patrol car," it says.


“Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword, obviously never encountered automatic weapons.” – General Douglas MacArthur

“You don’t win a war by dying for your country. You win a war by making the other son-of-a-bitch die for his.” – General George S. Patton

“Nothing is so good for the morale of the troops as to occasionally see a dead general.” – British Field Marshal William Slim

Saturday, March 24, 2012


In addition to claiming that his client got drunk only after the deadly crash, Roy Black also claimed that the $250,000 Bentley malfunctioned by ‘all of a sudden’ surging forward – two big lies that, thankfully, the jury did not buy. The jury convicted his client of DUI-manslaughter and vehicular homicide, both with failure to render aid.

Black also allowed his client to testify that, at the time of crash, he was speeding to get to Wendy's for a Frosty before it closed. Speeding yes, but to get to Wendy's - now that was a real whopper and the famed attorney had to know that's what it was!

By John Nova Lomax

Houston Press Hair Balls
March 23, 2012

A South Florida jury took just six hours to convict Houston-bred bazillionaire air-conditioning heir / polo honcho John Goodman on a charge of intoxication manslaughter.

The state claimed that Goodman had consumed 16 to 18 drinks before he slumped behind the wheel of his Bentley and rammed it into a Hyundai, sending the smaller car careening into a canal with driver Scott Wilson still inside. Prosecutors also contended that Goodman then fled the scene on foot and waited an hour before calling 911. Wilson drowned, trapped inside his car. By the time Goodman's blood-alcohol level was measured, it was still nearly double the legal limit.

Roy Black, Goodman's attorney and South Florida's Dick DeGuerin / Rusty Hardin analogue, contended that his client had only tippled before the crash, but then started drinking heavily afterward to dull his pain. He blamed the accident on a malfunction under the Bentley's hood that caused it to accelerate into the intersection.

The six-person jury bought none of that, and Goodman could face 30 years in prison at his April 30 sentencing. We wonder if Goodman's girlfriend / adoptive daughter will wait that long.

Prosecutor Peter Antonacci praised the jury in a post-verdict statement:

__The jury in the Goodman case exercised sound judgment in its analysis of the factual and expert evidence in this trial. Scott Wilson was a young man with a bright future and his life was tragically cut short. I hope that Scott's family now experiences some closure so that the healing process can go forward in this particularly tragic event.

Roy Black's office disagreed. They issued the following statement:

__It is our belief that multiple errors were committed during and before the trial that, in effect, denied our client's ability to get a fair trial. We intend to file an appeal so that our client can receive the just and fair proceeding to which he is entitled by law.

We'll give Scott Wilson's mother Lily Wilson the last word in this tawdry and tragic affair. "I'll always miss my son," she told the court after praising the jury for their verdict.


This case calls out loud and clear for imposition of the death penalty. Had this multiple murderer been sentenced to death, his former cellmate would in all likelihood be alive today.

The human rights activists who keep screaming for abolition of the death penalty don’t seem to realize that the vermin they are trying to save do not deserve to walk among the living.

By Denny Walsh

The Sacramento Bee
March 23, 2012

An inmate at a federal prison in Merced County was charged Thursday with first-degree murder in the 2003 death of his cellmate.

Shortly after a grand jury indictment against Samuel Richard Stone was filed in Fresno federal court, the government filed a notice that it will seek the death penalty.

The indictment alleges that Stone murdered Michael Anita on July 30, 2003, while they were housed in a segregation unit at the U.S. penitentiary in Atwater.

At the time, Stone was serving a life sentence for two separate homicides in 1999, according to a joint news release from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento.

Stone, 32, "from at least age 15 and continuing into his adult life, engaged in a continuing pattern of violent criminal conduct," the notice of intent states.

The Anita murder "involved serious physical abuse to the victim," and was committed "after substantial planning and premeditation," the notice says.

Further, it says, Stone "has displayed no remorse for the murder," and he "poses a continuing danger" to inmates, prison guards and other officials "at correctional institutions where he is or will be incarcerated."

Stone is an inmate at the U.S. penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pa.

The Atwater prison is a high security facility for adult males. It also has a minimum security satellite camp. It is on property that was once part of the now-decommissioned Castle Air Force Base. As of Thursday, the prison had 1,406 inmates and the camp 138.

Atwater is a community of 28,000 on Highway 99 eight miles north of Merced.


The law does not allow for the kind of punishment I would meet out to the vermin who perpetrated this God awful act.

By Andrew Blankstein

Los Angeles Times
March 22, 2012

"This is despicable and very disturbing and we want to find out who did this," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith. "If they could do this to defenseless animals, who knows what they are capable of."

A resident found the remains of a chocolate Labrador retriever and tan German shepherd mix about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Slauson and South Vermont avenues and called police.

It was not clear if the dogs were from the area or their remains were discarded there, authorities say.

The heads of the canines appeared to have been severed with what investigators believed was "a very sharp object," said Smith

The case is being investigated by the LAPD's Animal Cruelty Task Force with help from the city's Department of Animal Services.


Unfortunately, there are some people in prison who did not commit the crime for which they were convicted. Whenever we find an inmate with some credible evidence that he may not have committed the crime for which he is imprisoned, we should spare no expense in determining whether or not in fact he is innocent.

The reauthorization of the ‘Justice For All Act’ would allow states easier access to money that would help exonerate those who have been wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit

By Lauren Fox

Jewish World Review
March 23, 2012

Thomas Haynesworth walked freely into his mother's home on his 46th birthday, the first time in 27 years he had hugged her outside of the confines of Greensville Correctional Center in Jaratt, Virginia. At 18, Haynesworth was arrested while on his way to a grocery store, and later convicted of a series of rapes he did not commit, ultimately resulting in a 74-year prison sentence. During the time he served in prison, Haynesworth always affirmed his innocence. Last year, DNA tests helped to set him free.

"I believed one day the truth would come out. I had my faith in G0d, and I had faith that one day my DNA would prove I was innocent," Haynesworth said.

Wednesday, on the one-year anniversary of his release, Haynesworth testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on reauthorizing the "Justice for All Act," a piece of legislation first passed in 2004 that provides funding to help state and local governments use DNA evidence to convict the guilty and free the innocent.

A Judiciary Committee Spokesperson said that a mark up of the bill will occur within the next few weeks before it is sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

Since 1989, when DNA evidence first became available, 289 prisoners in the United States, including Haynesworth, have been exonerated of their crimes. In 139 of those cases, the real suspects were identified.

"I know that the vast majority of the time our criminal justice system works fairly and effectively," says Sen. Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "In those rare instances when the criminal justice system does not work the way it should, the consequences are grave and our faith in the system is shaken."

Leahy, who sponsored the reauthorization bill says that, the "Justice for All Act" would make it easier for states to obtain grants through the Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing Grant Program, a program that helps states with the costs of post-conviction DNA testing.

"[Mr. Haynesworth] spent 27 years in prison because of a wrongful conviction. Sadly, we cannot give him those years, but we can try to ensure that this does not happen to someone else," Leahy says.

In addition to helping states pay for DNA tests, the "Justice for All Act" would steer more federal funds to improving the quality of defense attorneys in state death row cases.

Critics of the bill, however, argue that exonerations are so rare that with a limited budget, the federal government would be better off directing precious money elsewhere.

"It is important to know that there is a real discrepancy in the number of individuals in prison and how many people are actually innocent," Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said. "We do not have the resources at the federal level to provide funding to states to review every single criminal case after each case has exhausted all available remedies, nor should we interfere with the day-to-day intricacies of state criminal justice."

Josh Marquis, a district attorney in Clatsop County, Oregon, argues the sensationalized media coverage make instances of wrongful convictions seem more frequent than they actually are.

"The cases are rare enough that they make headlines," Marquis says. "I would quit my job and go do something else if I thought wrongful convictions were so rampant."

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken urged those on his committee to focus on how DNA tests could reduce the number of people serving in prison, saving tax payers money in the long run. He also emphasized how even one wrongful conviction is one too many.

"We often hear about wrongful convictions in terms of data compiled. Those statistics are of course important, but we can't lose sight of the human toll caused by wrongful convictions," Franken says.

Haynesworth says securing his own freedom was not easy and admits that making up for lost time has proven challenging. But, since Virginia's Attorney General offered him a job in the mailroom, Haynesworth has learned to use a cell phone, a computer and reconnected with family -some of whom , like his nieces and nephews, he met for the first time last year. "Innocence programs save lives of those who are wrongfully convicted," Haynesworth testified. "Without these programs, I would still be in prison."


Thousands of cash-strapped Americans are going to border cities with sky-high murder, kidnapping and robbery rates - Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Matamoros, etc. - just to save a buck-and-a-half per gallon of gasoline.

By Jerry Reynolds

Car Pro News
March 21, 2012

As gas prices skyrocket, American drivers are looking south of the border for an alternative to ease the pain at the pump.

There’s growing concern that bargain-seekers could be putting their lives at risk, with the US State Department issuing travel alerts because of the dangers of encountering drug cartel violence in Mexico.

The national average for a gallon of gas is hovering around $3.80 across the US — and is $4.35 in California, according to AAA. Some analysts think it will keep climbing as the US heads into summer.

The price for a gallon of gas in Mexico is around $1.50 less.

“It just goes to show how much Americans believe in low gas prices and how far they’re willing to go,” said Patrick Dehaan, senior petroleum analyst for

The Mexican government regulates prices, leading to cheaper fuel.

“The economy relies on cheaper gasoline, because residents can’t afford the higher cost,” Dehaan said.

While the price may be right for some — the same can’t always be said about how good the product is.

“There may be an unknown quality of the gasoline that they’re purchasing in Mexico, and they likely would void the warranty of their vehicles’ engines,” Dehaan said.

That’s not going to stop some drivers who say if prices keep rising, Mexico is one way to help get by.

“For $5 down here, and cheaper down there — like around $2 a gallon — I would go down there,” said truck driver David Flores.

Elizabeth Perdoza, a motorist from El Paso, Texas, said she wouldn’t risk it.

“I do work with a lot of people who do go across the border for gas and other stuff, but they’re risking their lives. There’s no way I would do it,” she said.

There’s no way to really track how many American drivers are going to Mexico for fuel — but analysts at estimate it’s in the thousands.