Sunday, September 30, 2012


Joan Neuhaus Schaan is the fellow in homeland security and terrorism at the Baker Institute, the coordinator of the Texas Security Forum, and serves on the advisory board of the Transborder International Police Association. She has served as the executive director of the Houston-Harris County Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council and on the board of Crime Stoppers of Houston, Inc. Schaan gave the following presentation at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University on September 24, 2012.

By Joan Neuhaus Schaan

What is the purpose for the push to legalize marijuana? Is it because there are those waiting in the wings who wish to legitimize their illicit endeavors and ill-gotten gains? Is it because there are designs on the funding used to combat illicit drug demand by those who want to find funds for their own programs? Is it because habitual users want to come out of the closet? Is it because it is viewed as a “silver bullet” against cartel violence? Perhaps all these factors and more come into play.

The first premise often proposed is that the war of drugs has been a failure. I disagree. First, we have no idea how much worse the drug consumption problem might be had the country had a laissez faire policy to drug use in the past decades. Second, drug demand reduction has been successful in the last decade, particularly amongst teenagers. According to Drug Enforcement Administration statistics released for the period 2000 to 2011, meth use is down 42 percent, cocaine by 48 percent, crack by 50 percent and LSD by 50 percent. Clearly emphasis by communities on education has paid off with teens. The drugs that have not seen the same levels of decline, misused legal prescription drugs and marijuana, have a different dynamic: one is already legal, and the other has seen significant time and energy devoted to changing the perception of its image and diminishing the danger of usage.

The second premise usually proposed is that legalizing marijuana will reduce the level of violence perpetrated by drug-related organizations. This argument also is a fallacy. Think of the cartels as part mafia and part sophisticated multi-national corporation. While absolute marijuana sales are substantial, marijuana is only a small portion of total profits. Approximately 60 percent of illicit cartel profits come from activities other than drugs. Of the 40 percent that does come from drug related activity, there are a variety of product lines including cocaine, meth, heroin, synthetic drugs (incense and bath salts), and illegal sale of legal drugs. In addition, marijuana is the one crop that is regularly grown by the consumer. This also does not take into account the substantial legitimate income cartels derive from the investment of ill-gotten gains into legitimate enterprises. The experience of recent years has engendered an escalating culture of violence in Mexico as rival parties strive for dominance and/or territory. When proceeds from just the United States are likely greater than the gross domestic product of any Central American or Caribbean nation, much is at stake.

So what parties might be interested in promoting legalization of marijuana? Perhaps foreign countries that are considering legalization themselves and ultimately feel it might be a valuable cash crop. They might do well to look at the experience of those that have legalized marijuana, and are now rethinking the wisdom of the move, because of the increase in crime. Then there are the domestic users, who no longer want to hide in the shadows. Often the debate on marijuana includes a large number of habitual users.

Lost in the narrative of those who promote marijuana usage are the consequences to society as a whole. Marijuana is known to impair judgment and compromise decision-making. What happens to citizens driving after smoking? What happens when employees show up to work still high? States that have legalized medical marijuana, such as Arizona and Oregon, are still trying to sort out this issue. What are the options for others unwillingly subjected to the stupefying second hand smoke that also is more damaging to cells and DNA than cigarette some? How much will the chances increase that teenagers will enter the drug culture? Studies have found marijuana hinders the development of teenage brains. Where medical marijuana has been approved, it has become clear many without a medical need have received the card.

Drug legalization promoters often prefer to dismiss these arguments, rather than acknowledging their validity. Legalizing marijuana sends our society down a slippery path based upon unfounded premises.


Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., is director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, College of Medicine. He served as a drug policy senior adviser in the Obama administration from 2009-2011. Sabet gave the following presentation at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University on September 25, 2012.

By Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D.

The most popular of all illicit drugs is the subject of countless urban legends. And it’s important to keep in mind that urban legends about marijuana find their origins on both sides of the ideological spectrum. During most of the 20th century, much of the mythmaking involved hysterical attempts to demonize pot and its users. The notorious 1936 movie Reefer Madness – which was a Hollywood production, not a government propaganda film – is one such example. When marijuana became a staple of the 1960s counter-culture, mainstream conservative elements of society reacted to the “devil weed” with an attitude of “put all the users in jail and throw away the key.” There is also no doubt that some of our nation’s first anti-drug laws were motivated by fear and racism, as David Musto has highlighted.

Fast-forward to today and much of the mythmaking and exaggeration comes from a powerful lobby whose aim is to legalize marijuana. Capitalizing on the unfounded myths and hysteria of the past, pro-marijuana campaigners conveniently ignore the fact that today’s marijuana hardly resembles that of the 1960s. (Producers of the drug have learned to increase the psychoactivity of the marijuana with a much higher concentration of THC.) Supporters of legalization laud marijuana for its harmlessness, its revenue-generating potential and its medical wonders. These claims deserve closer scrutiny.

Is marijuana harmless?

Science has learned more about marijuana in the past20 years than in the preceding 200. Ironically, however, there has been a major incongruence between the scientific knowledge gained and the public’s understanding of the drug. People often refer to their own experiences with marijuana rather than what scientific data has taught us. Here are some fast facts about marijuana’s health hazards:

__Most people who use marijuana will stop after trying it once or twice. And most of the rest will not become addicted and not use other drugs. This, however, is the case with most drugs — not just marijuana.

__1 in 10 people who try marijuana will become addicted to it, developing a dependence that produces withdrawal, cravings, etc. If marijuana use starts in adolescence, the chances of addiction are 1 in 6.

__Marijuana is linked to poor learning outcomes, including a significant reduction in IQ, cardiovascular issues and respiratory problems (not to the extent of tobacco smoke, though marijuana contains more tar and carcinogens than tobacco). Driving while high on marijuana doubles the risk of a car crash. Marijuana use also significantly increases the risk of acquiring a mental illness.

Marijuana and Economics

Research uniformly reveals that under legalization, the price of drugs would fall substantially, and use would increase. Any tax revenue gained from legal marijuana would be quickly offset by the social costs resulting from this increased use: witness how today, society receives about $1 in alcohol and tobacco tax revenue for every $10 lost on the social costs of those two legal drugs. Increased drug use means increased costs.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee that marijuana legalization would significantly diminish the underground market for marijuana. In a legal market, where marijuana is taxed, the well-established illegal drug trade has every incentive to remain. Today’s thriving underground market for tobacco is a good example of this. The drug trade is so profitable that even undercutting the legal (taxed) market price would leave cartels with a handsome profit. Marijuana legalization would also do nothing to loosen the cartels’ grip on other illegal trades such human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, piracy and other illicit drugs.

What about criminal justice costs? Shouldn’t they go down if marijuana is made legal? The case of alcohol again provides an illuminating example. Surprisingly, (legal) alcohol leads to more arrests every year than do all illegal drugs combined. Driving while drunk, liquor law violation, and public drunkenness result in over 2.5 million alcohol-related arrests every year. That isn’t to say that current drug policies aren’t also costly to the criminal justice system. They are. But that is precisely why we need smarter enforcement policies — not legalization, which would very likely compound the current costs.

"Medical" Marijuana?

What about marijuana’s medical value? We know that there are components in marijuana that have medicinal value. Some of these components have been turned into a pill; others are being developed into a mouth spray. But, as the Institute of Medicine has concluded, we do not need to inhale the raw marijuana plant to benefit from the plant’s beneficial components. Just like we do not smoke or ingest opium to receive the medical benefit of morphine (which is derived from just one component in opium), we should not have to smoke or eat whole marijuana to get its beneficial medical effects.

Unfortunately, there is a fundamental disconnect between what research tells us about marijuana, on the one hand, and relaxed public attitudes toward the drug, on the other. Add to this the relentless campaign to legislate raw marijuana as medicine, or to legalize the drug outright, and we get parents and lawmakers who are confused and conflicted. All of this confusion has muddied the policy waters so thoroughly that urban legends rule the day when it comes to marijuana. It’s time to get honest, heed the science and realize that the answer to the question “What is the most effective marijuana policy?” may not be as easy as one might think.


1 British pound sterling = 1.6137 U.S. dollars.

Banana-like fruits contained 16.5lbs of cocaine hidden in shipment of fruit and vegetables on flight from Ghana

By Tony Whitfield and Alex Ward

Mail Online
September 28, 2012

Drug smugglers packed hollowed out fruit with 16.5lbs of cocaine worth £750,000 in an attempt to smuggle it into the country by plane.

Hidden among a delivery of fruit and vegetables, customs officers discovered the illegal haul when the flight from Ghana landed at Heathrow airport on Tuesday.

The cocaine was discovered inside plantains, a banana-like fruit, which had been filled with packages of the drug and resealed before being packed with other products.

Border staff believe the same gang was responsible for sending 1.5-tonne of cannabis hidden in a shipment of fruit and vegetables from Ghana also intercepted at the airport the previous day.

The contraband was worth £4.3 million when sold by dealers on the street.

Marc Owen, Heathrow director for Border Force, said: 'It seems likely that the same criminal gangs were involved in both of these two smuggling attempts.

'This means that in just two days we have put a £5 million dent in their profits.

'These two seizures demonstrate the success we’re having in disrupting criminal smugglers and keeping illegal drugs off the streets of the UK.'

The cannabis seizure was the biggest at Heathrow Airport in more than three years.

The discoveries come just months after a mother-of-three was accused of smuggling 220lbs of cocaine, with a street value of £44million, into Heathrow.

Shopkeeper Paula Sanchez, 32, was arrested at her home in north London following a sting operation after the drugs were found in a food package that arrived from Ecuador at the London airport.

The package was thought to belong to a major South American drugs cartel.


The Onion
September 28, 2012

NEW YORK—Following his speech to the United Nations General Assembly this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday that he is “pretty satisfied” with his trip to the U.S. to instigate World War III.

“All in all, I think I accomplished my goal of pushing humanity toward the brink of complete and utter annihilation,” said Netanyahu, adding that his implicit calls for international military action against Iran, which would ultimately escalate the conflict to an Armageddon-level of death and destruction, went “fairly well.” “I think I did a good job laying the groundwork for a nuclear holocaust that will kill billions of people and eventually end the world as we know it. Sounded like everyone really liked it, too.”

When reached for comment, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters that he was “equally happy” with his own efforts to nudge the world slightly closer to a full-blown apocalypse.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


The Onion
September 24, 2012

CHARLESTON, WV—According to the results of a Gallup poll released Monday, the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama.

“I like him better,” said West Virginia resident Dale Swiderski, who, along with 77 percent of rural Caucasian voters, confirmed he would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad, a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed, than spend time with Obama. “He takes national defense seriously, and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.”

According to the same Gallup poll, 60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s Muslim.

For more on this story:

By Alex Kantrowitz

September 28, 2012

In what almost feels like an Onion story itself, Iran’s Fars News Agency picked up a story from The Onion today, apparently not knowing the story was satirical. The Onion article ‘reports’ that rural whites prefer Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to President Barack Obama, and would rather vote for Ahmadinejad if given the chance. Fars has since removed the post.

The Onion story is littered with outrageous laugh lines, some of which clearly poke fun at Ahmadinejad. One such line quotes a fake West Virginia resident and tells readers “he would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad, a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed, than spend time with Obama.”

Gallup, a well-respected polling service, also receives a mention. The post mentions one their polls, also fake, which finds “60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s Muslim.” When asked for comment, a Gallup spokesperson told Voted Up [a Forbes blog] she would rather not speak about the article. “Gallup has no comment about the satirical material published on The Onion,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

The Onion, on the other hand, could hardly contain its glee. Appending its original post, The Onion linked to a screenshot of Fars’ story and wrote “For more on this story: Please visit our Iranian subsidiary organization, Fars.”

Asked for further comment, an Onion spokesperson sent Voted Up a statement from Onion editor Will Tracy:

__“The Iranian news agency, Fars, is a subsidiary of The Onion. They have acted as our Middle Eastern bureau since the mid 1980s, when the Onion’s publisher, T. Herman Zweibel, founded Fars with the government approval of the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commends the journalists at Iran’s Finest News Source on their superb reportage.”

Something tells us Fars will not be adding that statement to its ‘About Us’ page.


“The States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore ... never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge William Johnson, 1823.


The idea that taxpayers should foot the bill of a sex change operation for a convicted murderer is absolutely absurd.


Associated Press
September 27, 2012

BOSTON — Massachusetts will appeal a federal judge's decision to grant a convicted murderer's request for sex reassignment surgery, prison officials announced Wednesday.

The state Department of Correction said that it believes the medical care Michelle Kosilek is receiving is adequate and that the court didn't address what it says are legitimate safety concerns of protecting her in prison.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled this month that the surgery is the only adequate treatment for Kosilek's gender-identity disorder, a condition Wolf said is a "serious medical need." He said denying surgery violated Kosilek's Eighth Amendment rights. It was the first time a judge has ordered prison officials to provide sex-reassignment surgery to an inmate.

Kosilek, now 63, was named Robert when married to Cheryl Kosilek and was convicted of her 1990 murder. Kosilek has received hormone treatments and lives as a woman in an all-male prison.

"The Department's argument will not center on whether this surgery is a necessary and appropriate treatment for an individual with this particular disorder," DOC spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said in a statement.

"Our responsibilities lie with providing certain levels of medical treatment and keeping the inmates in our care and the public at large safe. We believe appealing this decision will allow us to meet those critical responsibilities," Wiffin said.

Prison officials have repeatedly cited security risks in the case, saying allowing the surgery would make Kosilek a target for sexual assaults by other inmates. Wolf has called that a "pretext" and noted that the department's own medical experts testified that they believe surgery was the only adequate treatment for Kosilek, who has twice tried to commit suicide.

Wolf's ruling led to an outcry among some legislators. They said Kosilek isn't entitled to the taxpayer-funded surgery, which can cost up to $20,000 and is considered elective by many insurance companies.

Advocates said they are disappointed but expect the judge's decision will be upheld.

"Constitutional rights belong to everyone, even the least loved, least popular people among us," said Jennifer Levi, transgender rights project director for Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. "Prisoners have a right to necessary medical care, and this is indisputably medical care, as the very strong district court decision established."

Kosilek's attorney, Frances Cohen, said she had no immediate comment because she hadn't seen an appeal.

Republican state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, who had urged the appeal, said, "Requiring the state to fund a medical procedure for a first-degree murderer that many private citizens cannot afford and that those receiving medical coverage from the state do not have the option to receive undermines the public's confidence in government and our institutions of corrections and justice."

Courts around the country have found that prisons must evaluate transgender inmates to determine their health care needs. Most have ordered hormone treatments and psychotherapy.

In a telephone interview from prison last week, Kosilek told the AP that she cried in relief when she learned of Wolf's ruling. She said people who don't understand gender-identity disorder may see it as "bizarre" but "this is who I am. This is who I have always been."


‘Butt-chugging’ cheap wine for a quicker bigger high

Here is a good reason why the U.S. is falling behind China and other nations in reading, writing, math and science.

By John Nova Lomax

Houston Press Hair Balls
September 28, 2012\

Showcasing the strange and wonderful thing that is the frat boy's creativity and imagination, several members of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at the University of Tennessee decided that sucking down booze the old-fashioned way was boring and decided to administer alcohol enemas to one another. Bottoms up!

This "butt-chugging" escapade was nearly fatal for one Pike brother. Early Saturday morning, 20-year-old Alexander Broughton was taken to a Knoxville hospital with a blood alcohol level of 0.40. He was unresponsive and in critical condition for a time, but was revived and has since been released.

Police later found that several Pikes were "using rubber tubing inserted into their rectums as a conduit for alcohol as the abundance of capillaries and blood vessels present greatly heightens the level and speed of the alcohol entering the bloodstream as it bypasses the filtering by the liver."

"Shock would not be an (overstatement)," said Tim Rogers, Tennessee's vice chancellor of student life. "I myself had never heard of what has been alleged."

But we have, and allow us to, um, backdoor in this eight-year-old tale from Lake Jackson, Texas.

That was the scene of a similar incident, albeit of a classier and more romantic variety.

On May 21, 2004, a 58-year-old machine shop operator named Michael Warner passed away at the home he shared with his 42-year-old wife Tammy Jean Warner. Police later found that his BAC was even (almost) one factor of legally drunk higher than Broughton's: .047 is a hair under six times the legal driving limit while Broughton's was a mere five.

It later emerged that Michael Warner had been administered an enema consisting of two 1.5 liter bottles of sherry -- which is definitely more upscale than the box wine police found at the Pike house. (Unless "sherry" is a euphemism for gnarly old fortified "bum wine." If that was the case, point to you, Tennesseeans.)

Michael Warner was reportedly a long-term alcoholic who police said had a throat condition that made ingesting alcohol in the usual manner extremely painful.

His widow denied that theory. "My husband could drink very well with any problem he had," she told the Houston Chronicle approvingly. Is anyone surprised Mr. and Mrs. Warner met at a bar?

Tammy Jean Warner was initially charged with criminally negligent homicide for giving Michael the lethal enema, but two years later the charge was dropped for lack of evidence.

Tammy Jean stated at the time that while she was with Michael when he bought the sherry, she most definitely did not squirt it up his backside. She also stated that Michael was addicted not just to alcohol, but also to coffee and soap enemas, and that he gave them to himself all the time. "He had enema recipes," she said at the time.

Apparently, the combination of his two great loves proved fatally irresistible.

"That's the way he went out and I'm sure that's the way he wanted to go out because he loved his enemas," she told the Houston Chronicle in 2005.

Friday, September 28, 2012


“They have clearly demonstrated that data manipulation has occurred at different times and multiple places in the Compstat system”

Following is an extensive review from the CRIMINAL LAW AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE BOOKS website. I urge all of you who are interested in criminal justice to buy professors Eterno and Silverman’s book or to check it out at your local library.


Authors: John A. Eterno and Eli B. Silverman
Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2012. 282p.
Reviewer: Richard Allinson | September 2012

Near the start of this book’s critique of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Compstat program, Drs. Eterno and Silverman invoke Campbell’s Law. In 1976, methodologist Campbell warned that, “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor." The authors set out to prove that the NYPD engages in various forms of statistical legerdemain to hold down the rates of serious crime, including routinely downgrading offenses from index to non-index status and attempting to discourage the public from reporting certain crimes. While the authors agree that serious crime has declined very substantially in New York City during the past twenty years, because of these alleged statistical manipulations they feel impelled to “strongly question the extent of this decrease.”

Both authors have longstanding ties to the NYPD. Eterno retired as a captain and now teaches at Molloy College. Silverman is an emeritus professor at John Jay College and the author of a 2001 book that conveyed a generally favorable view of the department’s management changes of the 1990s. Their book is in direct conflict with Franklin Zimring’s recent study of the NYPD, which I reviewed in the March issue of this journal. Zimring portrayed Compstat as a key component in the NYPD’s highly successful strategy, which he credits with sharply reducing crime since the 1990s. (I will discuss these authors’ mutual critiques below.)

Since its launch in 1994, Compstat (originally short for “compare stats”) has evolved into a centralized planning and research unit that sets performance standards – in the form of numerical crime reduction targets – for the NYPD and its subunits. At bi-weekly strategy meetings, the unit’s managers review the latest crime data and assign credit or blame for the results. Compstat has been widely replicated: at least one-third of the nation’s 515 largest police departments have adopted similar programs, as have many major agencies abroad.

Eterno and Silverman offer several different types of evidence to support their critique of Compstat. These include: a survey of retired NYPD field commanders; statements issued by union officials representing patrol officers and sergeants; a leaked internal NYPD report describing manipulation of statistics in one precinct; comparisons of trends in index versus non-index crimes, and of index crimes versus hospital records; undercover recordings of supervisors’ instructions to patrol officers; and reports of abuses in other agencies that have adopted the Compstat approach.

The retirees’ survey was conducted in 2008 among 491 retired members of the Captain’s Endowment Association, and it was supplemented by in-depth interviews with more than 30 of the respondents. The 309 respondents who had served during the Compstat era reported much less management emphasis on maintaining integrity in crime statistics than their counterparts who had worked in prior years. Among the 160 commanders who had served during the Compstat era and who were aware of post-incident changes in crime reports, 78% said they regarded at least some of those changes as unethical. Compared to respondents from the previous era, those who served during the Compstat era also reported greater pressures from management to downgrade crimes from index to non-index categories. Eterno and Silverman conclude: “Overall, the obvious pattern throughout these data is that there are pressures generated by the leadership of the NYPD emanating from Compstat, which lead to unethical manipulation of crime reports.”

(This summer, in their blog and in a recent New York Times interview, Eterno and Silverman released preliminary findings from a survey they conducted this year among 1,962 retired NYPD officers of all ranks. About half of the 871 respondents who had served during the Compstat era said they had “personal knowledge of crime report manipulation,” and more than 80% of these retirees said they knew of three or more instances “in which officers or their superiors rewrote a crime report to downgrade the offense or intentionally failed to take a complaint alleging a crime.”)

The pressures reported in the retirees’ surveys closely mirror complaints in statements issued by union officials. In a 2004 article, the recording secretary of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) alleged that managers respond to Compstat pressure to “fake a crime decrease” by failing to file some crime reports, misclassifying crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, undervaluing property losses so that an incident is not listed as a felony, and reporting a series of crimes as a single event. The PBA official added: “A particularly insidious way to fudge the numbers is to make it difficult or impossible for people to report crimes – in other words, make the victims feel like criminals so they walk away just to spare themselves further pain and suffering.” In a 2004 press release issued jointly with the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the PBA charged that downgrading of offenses “is a truth that is widely known by members of the department… .”And in a 2009 statement, the PBA’s treasurer deplored “a culture of knee-jerk felony-to-misdemeanor downgrades in an effort to improve their showing at those famously stressful Compstat meetings at One Police Plaza. Those numbers represent the dark side of Compstat.”

A retired detective told the Village Voice in 2010 about an extreme example of crime downgrading. As summarized by the authors, the detective said that during an interrogation of a rape suspect he discovered six previous apartment rapes involving the same offender that had been categorized as lesser crimes, mostly criminal trespasses. The detective explained how paperwork was doctored by patrol supervisors: “They look to eliminate certain elements in the narrative. One word or two words can make the change to a misdemeanor.”

Data on non-index crimes committed during the years 2000-2009 are another key source of evidence for Eterno and Silverman. (Until a lawsuit was filed by the New York Times in 2010, these NYPD misdemeanor data were not available to the public.) The authors call attention to the large differences between similar types of index and non-index crimes, including: a 70.7% increase in misdemeanor criminal trespasses versus a 41% decrease in felony burglaries; a 5% drop in misdemeanor sex crimes versus a 38% decrease in felony rapes; and a 9% decline in misdemeanor assaults versus a 42% drop in felony assaults. The authors believe these differences indicate manipulation because trends in similar types of index and non-index crimes would be expected to be roughly parallel.

For additional evidence of impropriety, Eterno and Silverman compare Compstat data to hospital data on assaults and drug-related crimes. The NYPD reported nearly a 50% drop in assaults in the years 1999-2006, but hospital records for these years showed a 90% increase in emergency room visits for assaults, a 129% surge in ER visits for firearms assaults, and a 15% rise in hospitalizations for assault-related injuries. “Absolutely none of the hospital data showed the marked decrease in assaults that the NYPD claims. These data are in stark contrast to the NYPD’s and clearly are evidence of manipulation,” the authors claim. They also cite the disparities between a 22.5% decrease in drug use felonies reported by the NYPD between 2000 and 2009 (and a 32% decrease in drug-related misdemeanors between 2002 and 2006) in contrast to the 14% increase in the proportion of hospitalizations that were drug-related, according to data from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Department for the years 1999 to 2006.

What the authors call their strongest evidence of NYPD manipulation comes from three audio tapes secretly recorded in two precincts, in which supervisors are heard issuing instructions on how minimize the number of victim reports of serious crimes. In one tape, a supervisor instructs officers not to take robbery reports unless the victim is willing to come to the station house to speak with detectives. In another tape, officers are instructed not to take robbery reports from victims if they anticipate that the district attorney will decline to prosecute. The authors comment: “Why do supervisors instruct police officers to question the veracity of robbery victims? It is not because they are interested in fighting crime but because robbery is a number that will be reflected at Compstat meetings. It will make the commander look bad.” An internal report ordered by NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly in response to publicity about one of the undercover tapes contained further revelations. The Village Voice obtained a leaked copy of the report in which the department’s own investigators confirmed that “crimes are being improperly reported in order to avoid index-crime classifications, [which is] indicative of a concerted effort to deliberately underreport crime in the 81st precinct.” Eterno and Silverman note that at least four commanders and seven other NYPD officers have been convicted of manipulation of crime statistics, and at least four more cases were pending. They also note that manipulation of crime reports to produce better numbers has been extensively documented in other departments that have adopted Compstat-like performance management systems, including agencies in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas and New Orleans as well as policing agencies in the U.K., Australia and France.

Zimring has responded to Eterno and Silverman’s findings, first in a brief appendix to his book and more recently in an interview with the New York Times. Zimring finds their evidence of manipulation to be unconvincing in comparison to the strong correlations he obtained in comparing Compstat data on four serious crimes (homicide, robbery, auto theft and burglary) to outside data from insurance claims, health statistics and victim surveys. Zimring told the newspaper that there is “some underreporting, and there is some downgrading in every police force that I know of,” but those distortions are too small to substantially discredit NYPD statistics for index crimes. In turn, Eterno and Silverman criticize Zimring’s “flawed and incomplete arguments,” such as his reliance on evidence from the medical examiner’s office about murder and non-negligent homicide cases. That office, they assert, is not independent of influence from the NYPD. Further, in answer to Zimring’s use of insurance industry data showing a decline in auto theft claims, the authors report that since 1999 victims of auto theft in New York City have been questioned extensively and required to go back to the scene for a full investigation. This policy, they say, has succeeded in discouraging many victims from filing claims. And they fault Zimring for failing to note the disparity (noted above) between NYPD data showing large decreases in drug complaints versus hospital data showing no such decreases.

Eterno and Silverman’s critique gains credibility from their reliance on multiple and diverse types of evidence. They have clearly demonstrated that data manipulation has occurred at different times and multiple places in the Compstat system. But the debate will continue as to whether they’ve conclusively disproven the NYPD’s and Zimring’s contention that the manipulation is the work of a few “bad apples” looking to advance their careers.

In January 2011, responding to media exposés and complaints from numerous critics, Commissioner Kelly appointed a panel of three former federal prosecutors to investigate the allegations of data manipulation under Compstat. The NYPD’s chief spokesman said that the commissioner appointed this Crime Reporting Review Committee because “there’s been a lot of false, or unfair, accusations against the Police Department….” The panel was given three to six months to complete its report, but so far no report or statement has been issued, according to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee. In December 2011, one of the committee’s three members died and no replacement was named. Last winter, when asked by a local television reporter why no report had been issued after 13 months, Kelly replied, "I can't control the pace of the work of an independent committee."


Madonna’s ringing endorsement of Obama is aimed at the all-important ‘Women over 50 who dress like 13-year-old sluts’ vote

Let’s see now. The Republican base has alienated women voters, Mitt Romney is losing independent voters and Paul Ryan has lost the voters on Medicare. And if Bernard Goldberg is correct, Madonna’s ringing endorsement of Obama has cost the Romney-Ryan ticket another crucial demographic. It sure does look more and more like Obama is headed toward a second term in the White House.

By Bernard Goldberg

Jewish World Review
September 27, 2012

Mitt Romney is in real trouble.

Not because of that New York Times/CBS News poll that showed him trailing President Obama in Ohio and Florida — by a lot. Romney supporters have already written off the poll saying it's over-weighted with Democrats.

No, Romney is in trouble because an important American icon has endorsed the president. And not just any important American icon, but a classy, sophisticated, sweetie pie American icon of the female persuasion who is admired and respected my millions of American women — a demographic, as we all know, that is crucially important to any candidate who wants to win.

So who is this woman who alone can swing this election? Madonna. Who else?

This is huge, which I will explain right after you read Madonna's endorsement, which she made at her concert in Washington, D.C. Rarely has a star been so eloquent. Here are Madonna's exact words.

"And now it is so amazing and incredible to think that we have an African-American in the White House. Y'all better vote for fucking Obama, OK? For better or for worse, all right?"

The crowd cheered. Who wouldn't? And when the adoration died down, Madonna continued.

"We have a black Muslim in the White House!" she said. "Now that is some shit. That is amazing shit. It means there is hope in this country."

Frankly, I did not know that Barack Obama was a black Muslim. I thought only delusional morons on the Right thought he was. But I guess I was wrong.

After the endorsement, Madonna took off her shirt and pulled down her pants to reveal the name "OBAMA" written in all capital letters across her lower back.

"When Obama is in the White House for a second term I'll take it all off," she said, before treating her fans to a sexy version of "Like a Virgin."

Why is all this so important, you naively ask? Because no candidate in the past 200 years has won the White House without the all-important "Women-Over-50-Who-Dress-Like-13-year old-Sluts" vote.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


The farce that is California’s medical marijuana law is finally being dealt with by the Feds and LAPD. That law, to begin with, was passed in the face of federal laws against the manufacture, distribution and possession of marijuana.

By Andrew Blankstein

Los Angeles Times
September 25, 2012

Federal authorities on Tuesday took legal action against 71 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County, part of an ongoing campaign to crack down on the establishments.

“Over the past several years, we have seen an explosion of commercial marijuana stores -– an explosion that is being driven by the massive profits associated with marijuana distribution,” said U.S. Atty. André Birotte Jr. in a statement. “As today’s operations make clear, the sale and distribution of marijuana violates federal law, and we intend to enforce the law. Even those stores not targeted today should understand that they cannot continue to profit in violation of the law.”

According to the U.S. attorney's office, officials sent warning letters to 68 pot dispensaries, filed forfeiture lawsuits against three properties that house such businesses and served search warrants at three additional facilities.

Officials said most of the pot stores were in Eagle Rock, downtown Los Angeles and Huntington Park.

Federal officials carried out the action in concert with local authorities, including the Los Angeles Police Department.

The federal actions involve all known marijuana stores in the Eagle Rock and downtown areas of Los Angeles, as well as the single store known to be operating in Huntington Park.

Last year, California's four U.S. attorneys announced that they were taking aim at large-scale growers and dispensary owners who are raking in millions of dollars while falsely claiming that their medical marijuana operations comply with state law, which does not allow for-profit sales.

In the early days of President Obama's tenure, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that prosecutors would not target medical marijuana users and caregivers as long as they followed state laws. But as the risk of prosecution diminished, storefront dispensaries and enormous growing operations proliferated in California, often in brazen defiance of zoning laws and local bans.

Pot dispensaries in other parts of California have already been targeted.


Bob Walsh said that “Failure to perform a legally required duty can bite you and the taxpayers hard.”

Apparently the administrators of this California school district failed to learn anything from the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals.

By Malaika Fraley and Matthias Gafni

Contra Costa Times
September 26, 2012

MORAGA -- A Walnut Creek woman sexually abused by two Moraga middle school teachers in the 1990s is suing the school district and three former administrators, saying they repeatedly ignored allegations of abuse over a two-year period, allowing her and many other students to be victimized.

Kristen Cunnane, 30, filed a civil complaint Tuesday in Contra Costa Superior Court against the Moraga School District, retired Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School principal Bill Walters, retired assistant principal Paul Simonin and retired superintendent John Cooley. By turning "a blind eye" to evidence of sexual abuse, it alleges, those officials fostered an environment in which teachers preyed on children without consequence.

The lawsuit alleges negligence, fraudulent concealment, conspiracy to commit fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The complaint cites an investigation by this newspaper as revealing for the first time the district's knowledge of the alleged abuse. The day after a school district lawyer made available documents detailing the district's failure to report the allegations to law enforcement, Walters, who was principal of another Moraga elementary school at the time, submitted his letter of resignation. He left the district July 1.

Cunnane, the assistant head coach of the UC Berkeley women's swim team, reported to police in 2010 that she had been raped and sexually battered more than 100 times, stalked and threatened by Joaquin Moraga P.E. teacher Julie Correa over a four-year period beginning in 1996. Cunnane was then a 14-year-old eighth-grader at the school.

Correa, now 44, was living with her husband and two sons in the Salt Lake City area when she was arrested in August 2010; she was eventually charged with 23 felony sex crimes. After pleading no contest to four of the counts last year, Correa is serving an eight-year prison sentence at Valley State Prison.

Cunnane filed a claim last month against the Moraga School District; the district denied it Aug. 13.

"We are obviously disappointed that the school district was not willing to take responsibility for its actions," said Paul Llewellyn, Cunnane's attorney.

In Tuesday's lawsuit, Cunnane alleges she had been groomed starting at age 11 by Correa to be a victim. But Cunnane says Correa began the abuse only after Cunnane confided that she had been molested by science teacher Dan Witters in his classroom.

This newspaper's investigation, published earlier this year, revealed that a teenage girl, whose name was redacted in documents, contacted Walters in 1994 to report she had been sexually abused by Witters while attending Joaquin Moraga in 1990. The girl wrote in a letter to Walters that she was coming forward to prevent Witters from harming other girls.

Instead of passing the allegations on to law enforcement, as required by law, Walters sat on the complaint for two months before showing the girl's letter to Witters -- revealing the girl's identity to her alleged abuser. Witters denied the allegations. A district memo says Walters shared the girl's letter with vice principal Simonin, and the two administrators decided "not to pursue the issue," according to district records.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Moraga schools Superintendent Bruce Burns and Simonin both said they did not know about the lawsuit and therefore had no comment. Walters and Cooley could not be reached for comment.

Public outcry led to the district this summer creating a student safety committee, which recommended modifications to mandated reporting and child abuse prevention protocols.

For Cunnane, reading the girl's 1994 letter was one of her "hardest days," the swim coach said in an interview.

"It was like I could see myself in that girl who wrote that letter, and she was so brave to write that letter," Cunnane said. "And then to see the paper trail and how it was handled ... it made me feel like I couldn't breathe. The abuse was one betrayal, and the way it was handled was another betrayal."

Others complained about Witters in the two years after the unidentified girl's letter. A March 16, 1995, memo from Correa to Walters reported she had witnessed and been told about Witters kissing, licking and touching students inappropriately.

"Julie should have been fired for not reporting the abuse" to law enforcement, which could've prevented her own abuse, Cunnane said.

Instead, three months after Correa's memo, then-Superintendent Cooley sent Witters a letter regarding aspects of his "performance." Cooley also told Witters that "correction of these problems" was important to Witters' "teaching and to the District,'" the complaint alleges.

"Whether stemming from a calculated intent to protect Witters and themselves from liability at the expense of abused children, or simply as a result of incredibly poor decision-making, District employees and administrators ... enabled sexual abuse through their callous inaction," the suit claims.

"The recent sexual abuse scandals engulfing the Catholic Church and the Penn State athletics program have highlighted the prevalence of organizational cultures that choose to protect their own rather than protect the innocent," the suit alleges. "As the newly discovered documents reveal, the District is no different than Penn State or the Catholic Church."

When Correa saw the district take little or no action against complaints of sexual abuse and harassment by a teacher, she used Witters as an excuse to get closer to the girl, "and ultimately to begin her own abuse of Ms. Cunnane," the suit alleges.

Administrators finally called police and suspended Witters in November 1996 after seven more female students reported they were sexually abused or harassed by the science teacher. Within days, Witters killed himself by driving off a cliff near Big Sur.

By this time, Correa was raping Cunnane, then a freshman in high school. Cunnane says Correa used Witters' death to further intimidate Cunnane into remaining silent about the abuse.

Cunnane has since suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety, depression, dissociative identity disorder, amnesia, obsessive compulsive disorder, suicidal inclinations and severe emotional distress, her suit alleges.

"I'm proud of how I'm doing, considering all of this," Cunnane said. "But I can't go 20 minutes without remembering what happened to me."

She said she sued to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"When it can get stopped," Cunnane said, "it needs to get stopped."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


CIA drone strikes apparently kill a lot of innocent Pakistanis

Our government goes to great lengths to tell the world that the United States does not carry out assassinations. But what do you call the targeted killings of Islamist militants in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia other than assassinations? And these CIA operations apparently come with a lot of collateral damage.

Researchers blame common tactic now being used – the ‘double-tap’ strike

By Leon Watson

Mail Online
September 25, 2012

Just one in 50 victims of America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists – while the rest are innocent civilians, a new report claimed today.

The authoritative joint study, by Stanford and New York Universities, concludes that men, women and children are being terrorised by the operations ’24 hours-a-day’.

And the authors lay much of the blame on the use of the ‘double-tap’ strike where a drone fires one missile – and then a second as rescuers try to drag victims from the rubble. One aid agency said they had a six-hour delay before going to the scene.

The tactic has cast such a shadow of fear over strike zones that people often wait for hours before daring to visit the scene of an attack. Investigators also discovered that communities living in fear of the drones were suffering severe stress and related illnesses. Many parents had taken their children out of school because they were so afraid of a missile-strike.

Today campaigners savaged the use of drones, claiming that they were destroying a way of life.

Clive Stafford Smith, director of the charity Reprieve which helped interview people for the report, said: ‘This shows that drone strikes go much further than simply killing innocent civilians. An entire region is being terrorised by the constant threat of death from the skies. ‘

There have been at least 345 strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan in the past eight years.

'These strikes are becoming much more common,' Mirza Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer who represents victims of drone strikes, told The Independent.

'In the past it used to be a one-off, every now and then. Now almost every other attack is a double tap. There is no justification for it.'

The study is the product of nine months' research and more than 130 interviews, it is one of the most exhaustive attempts by academics to understand – and evaluate – Washington's drone wars.

Despite assurances the attacks are 'surgical', researchers found barely two per cent of their victims are known militants and that the idea that the strikes make the world a safer place for the U.S. is 'ambiguous at best'.

Researchers added that traumatic effects of the strikes go far beyond fatalities, psychologically battering a population which lives under the daily threat of annihilation from the air, and ruining the local economy.

They conclude by calling on Washington completely to reassess its drone-strike programme or risk alienating the very people they hope to win over.

They also observe that the strikes set worrying precedents for extra-judicial killings at a time when many nations are building up their unmanned weapon arsenals.

The Obama administration is unlikely to heed their demands given the zeal with which America has expanded its drone programme over the past two years.

Washington says the drone program is vital to combating militants that threaten the U.S. and who use Pakistan's tribal regions as a safe haven.

The number of attacks have fallen since a Nato strike in 2011 killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and strained U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Pakistan wants the drone strikes stopped - or it wants to control the drones directly - something the U.S. refuses.

Reapers and Predators are now active over the skies of Somalia and Yemen as well as Pakistan and - less covertly - Afghanistan.

But campaigners like Mr Akbar hope the Stanford/New York University research may start to make an impact on the American public.

'It's an important piece of work,' he told The Independent. 'No one in the U.S. wants to listen to a Pakistani lawyer saying these strikes are wrong. But they might listen to American academics.'

Today, Pakistani intelligence officials revealed a pair of missiles fired from an unmanned American spy aircraft slammed into a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan last night.

The two officials said missiles from the drone aircraft hit the village of Dawar Musaki in the North Waziristan region, which borders Afghanistan to the west.

Some of the dead were believed to be foreign fighters but the officials did not know how many or where they were from.

The Monday strike was the second in three days. On Saturday a U.S. drone fired two missiles at a vehicle in northwest Pakistan, killing four suspected militants.

That attack took place in the village of Mohammed Khel, also in North Waziristan.

North Waziristan is the last tribal region in which the Pakistan military has not launched an operation against militants, although the U.S. has been continually pushing for such a move.

The Pakistanis contend that their military is already overstretched fighting operations in other areas but many in the U.S. believe they are reluctant to carry out an operation because of their longstanding ties to some of the militants operating there such as the Haqqani network.


Young Ibarhim’s neighbors just weren’t very neighborly. Times have sure changed from when neighbors used to help neighbors.

By Richard Connelly

Houston Press Hair Balls
September 25, 2012

Omar Ibrahim just needed a little help, you know what I mean? Can't a guy get a hand with a honey-do, for crying out loud?

For some reason, no one seemed eager to pitch in with his request to move some bedding wrapped in some rugs.

Maybe it was the freaking corpse that cops say was stuck in the middle of the thing.

Ibrahim, 21, had gone around an apartment complex in the 2700 block of Briargrove looking for help with his chore the afternoon of September 17, cops say, and when he couldn't get any, "he fled the scene."

Probably a good idea: Inside the wrapping, cops say, was the dead body of Adrian Castro-Villasenor, 46.

Ibrahim now faces murder charges. He fled to Idaho, where family members live, but was arrested there by U.S. Marshals Friday.

HPD homicide investigators traveled there to interview him and he "admitted to his role in Mr. Castro-Villasenor's death," police say.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


It’s real easy to sit back and condemn police ‘violence’ from the comfort and safety of one’s living room

On Saturday, a Houston cop shot and killed a double amputee in a wheelchair inside a group home. The officer feared that his partner, who had been cornered by the wheelchair-bound man, was about to be stabbed with a metal object. The object turned out to be a silver pen.

I predicted that the armchair experts and perpetual police critics would not buy the story that the cop thought his partner was about to be stabbed by a man with one arm and one leg in a wheelchair. It didn’t take but a nanosecond for the shit to hit the fan.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Arlene Kelly, co-founder of Civilians Down, a support group for victims of police violence that tracks misconduct, blasted the police by saying: "How difficult is it, if nothing else, to get away from someone in a wheelchair who has no weapon, has only one arm and one good leg? It's totally and completely needless. Those officers should have had that matter well in hand. The gun should have never been out of the holster."

Randall Kallinen, a civil rights attorney and member of Greater Houston Coalition for Justice, practically accused the officers of murder when he told a KHOU reporter: "It is just as quick to whip out a Taser as it is to whip out a gun. The officer who allegedly felt threatened, he didn’t pull out his Taser, his gun. So why did the other officer? Officers should be better trained to recognize things. There have been many shootings with people with cell phones or pens. Who doesn’t have a cell phone or pen on him?”

“It was a guy without an arm, without a leg, in a wheelchair with a pen in his hand, gets shot in the head and killed,” said Kallinen. “That’s insane!"

Other activists also piped in by accusing the officers of “shooting a double-amputee in a wheelchair down in cold blood" and demanding HPD reforms in the hiring of officers, in the training of cops on how to deal with a ‘mental health’ crisis, and in disciplining officers.

Houston’s police chief couldn’t stand the heat when the armchair experts and perpetual police critics got their bowels all in an uproar. He asked the FBI to investigate this shooting and asked the public to withhold its judgment until that investigation has been completed.

Now it’s real easy for Arlene Kelly, Randall Kallinen and their ilk to sit back and condemn police ‘violence’ from the comfort and safety of their living room. It is the height of absurdity for Arlene Kelly to say, “The gun should have never been out of the holster." The activists who are so quick to find fault in almost every police arrest that involved the use of force, deadly or otherwise, have never taken a single step in the shoes of a police officer.

With an ever increasing nationwide number of assaults and deadly ambushes against the police, it’s no wonder that the cops are on edge as they go about their duties of protecting the public. The critics will never understand that during a volatile incident, an officer could easily mistake a writing pen or a cell phone for a deadly weapon. And yes, even a double amputee in a wheelchair could be an imminent threat to the lives of police officers and members of the public!


EMP bombs would disrupt all the technological devices working on the ground, while keeping casualties to a minimum

Such bombs, if they exist, would also wipe out Iran’s capability of firing ballistic missiles at Israel.

By Ryan Jones

Israel Today
September 24, 2012

Israel has more than just the obvious options when it comes to dealing with Iran's defiant nuclear program, including the use of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology that would disable the Islamic Republic as a viable threat, while keeping casualties to a minimum.

London's Sunday Times reported earlier this month that the possibility of Israel using electromagnetic bombs was raised during a recent meeting between Western officials.

An American official cited by the newspaper said such a bomb would be detonated above the ground sending out a strong pulse that would "disrupt all the technological devices working on the ground," effectively sending Iran "back to the stone ages."

The pulse from an electromagnetic bomb is non-lethal to humans.

In related news, Iranian officials this week suggested that if they become convinced Israel is about to strike, they might launch their own pre-emptive attack on the Jewish state. Israeli commentators noted that the threat was little more than hot air, considering that an Iranian pre-emptive attack would almost certainly prompt a response from the massive American forces parked in the Persian Gulf.


Jean-Marie Le Pen’s daughter Marine, leader of the far-right National Front, wants France to ban the wearing of yarmulkes in public and kosher food in schools

Marine Le Pen is just following in the footsteps of her outspoken anti-Semitic father, the founder and former leader of the National Front, who was convicted of racism.

While their religious practices require Orthodox and Hassidic Jews to cover their heads at all times, and the religious practices of fundamentalist Muslims require that women must wear full-face coverings in public, there is a world of difference between small Jewish skull caps and Islamic veils that could be worn to conceal male terrorists disguised as women.

After ban on full-face coverings – including the Islamic veil – came into force in France last year Marine Le Pen is now calling for a ban on all religious headgear, as well as kosher and halal food in schools

By Peter Allen

Mail Online
September 23, 2012

Far right politician Marine Le Pen has caused outrage across France by calling for the banning of the Jewish skullcap in public.

The leader of National Front won a fifth of the popular vote during the first round of May’s presidential election on a largely anti-Muslim immigration agenda.

Now in an interview she has called not just for a ban on the wearing of Islamic veils in public, but also the kippah – leading to France’s most senior Rabbi to describe her view as ‘deeply deplorable’.

Her inflammatory words come at a time of heightened tensions caused by a Paris satirical magazine’s decision to publish a series of cartoons mocking both Islam and Judaism.

One of the images in Charlie Hebdo shows a Prophet Mohammed character being pushed around in a wheelchair by a Rabbi.

Ms Le Pen told Le Monde that all religious headwear should be banned ‘in shops, on public transport and on the streets’.

‘It’s obvious that if the veil is banned, the kippah should be banned in public as well,’ she said. The French parliament passed a ban on full-face coverings, including the Islamic veil in 2010 and the law came into force last year.

Miss Le Pen, whose infamous father Jean-Marie Le Pen is a convicted racist and anti-Semite, also called for a ban on public prayers.

And she said kosher and halal foods should be outlawed in schools, along with foreign governments being allowed to pay for mosques.

‘Jewish skullcaps are obviously not a problem in our country,' she said, insisting nevertheless that France has to ‘ban them in the name of equality’.

‘The situation in our country has changed. We used to have a fragile balance between religions, but massive immigration has changed that,' Ms Le Pen said.

‘Veils and jilbabs are putting us under pressure. France is a victim of sectarian political groups due to the ruling parties’ incapacity to deal with the problem.

‘What would people say if I had only asked to ban Muslim clothing? They would burn me as a Muslim hater.’

President Francois Hollande attacked Ms Le Pen’s comments.

‘Everything that tears people apart, opposes them and divides them is inappropriate,' he said. 'We must apply the rules, the only rules that we know - the rules of the Republic and secularism.’

On Friday Mr Hollande opened a new Holocaust memorial in Paris, commemorating the thousands of Jews who were sent to their deaths after being held at the Drancy internment camp.

The camp was run by French policemen working alongside the SS, and rolling stock from France’s national railway, SNCF, was used to take victims to Germany.

Jean-Francois Cope, leader of the opposition UMP party, was similarly outraged, saying Ms Le Pen barely knew what secularism was.

Mr Cope said: ‘Marine Le Pen wants to ban any signs of religion on the streets, starting with the veil and the kippah.

‘By doing this, she shows she does not understand anything about secularism. Secularism is not about the eradication of all religious expressions in society.’

Gilles Bernheim, France’s Chief Rabbi, said: ‘Mixing up the tradition of the skullcap and the veil only generates more confusion in people’s minds. I deeply deplore her statement.’

And Richard Prasquier, leader of the CRIF Jewish council in France, said the Ms Le Pen’s claims showed there were ‘secular fanatics just as there are religious fanatics'.

'Obviously, I am hostile to both,’ he said.

The CFCM, France’s main Muslim council, meanwhile said that Le Pen wanted to ‘set up a totalitarian regime in France.’

There are around half-a-million Jews in France, many of them living in major cities like Paris, where skull caps have been a familiar sight for centuries.


Philadelphia cop accidentally discharges gun at airport as he was unloading it

How embarrassing! Now PPD is going to send him back to training and teach him how to safely handle weapons. Where was he during that part of the Basic Training course?

A flight attendant forgot to take gun out of her purse before leaving for work

Associated Press
September 24, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — Investigators say a flight attendant forgot to take a gun out of her purse before leaving for work and the gun fired at Philadelphia International Airport as a police officer was trying to remove the bullets.

Philadelphia police Lt. Ray Evers says Transportation Security Administration officers noticed the gun Sunday and alerted police. Evers says a police officer tried to make the weapon safe by removing the bullets, but instead accidentally fired it. No one was hurt.

Investigators say the flight attendant has a valid gun permit. She has been cited for passing the gun through a security checkpoint.

Evers says the discharge is being investigated by Internal Affairs and the officer who accidentally discharged the gun will go back to training on handling weapons.


The Onion
September 21, 2012

LOS ANGELES—The nation’s hunchbacked, out-of-breath iPhone users lined up outside Apple stores throughout the country today to purchase the new iPhone 5, which boasts a widely anticipated slimmed down, lighter design that promises to no longer irreversibly misshape the curvature of users’ spines.

“I’m really excited for the iPhone 5’s 4G connectivity and the fact that it won’t dislocate my shoulder whenever I pick it up to answer it,” said severely disfigured graphic artist Gabe Brittell, 32, huffing and puffing under the weight of the hefty previous version of the device that he had strapped to his back via strong, braided nylon cords. “Finally a thinner model that won’t shatter my hip and take 20 years off my life by permanently deforming my torso and vertebrae!”

Executives said they anticipated sales of the iPhone 5 to be down compared to previous years, citing the roughly 2 million Apple fans who have been crushed to death under the iPhone 4S.

Monday, September 24, 2012


The claim that California would save a ton of money by abolishing the death penalty is a big lie; among the 729 inmates on death row, 14 are suspected of committing around 300 murders in addition to those for which they were condemned

Chris Bernstien responded to ‘A WARNING TO CALIFORNIA VOTERS: Do not abolish the death penalty!’ (9-22-12) with the following comments:

The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false.

The money savings myth

Proposition 34 is being funded primarily by a wealthy company out of Chicago and the ACLU.

It includes provisions that would make our prisons less safe for both other prisoners and prison officials. It significantly increases the costs to taxpayers due to life-time medical costs, the increased security required to coerce former death-row inmates to work, the money to pay those inmates to work, etc.

The amount “saved” in order to help fund law enforcement is negligible and only for three years. (The money is taken from the general fund regardless of whether Prop 34 actually saves any money.)

Prop. 34 also takes away funds inmates could use to actually fight for their innocence, increasing the risk that innocent people will spend the rest of their lives in jail.

The dollars Prop. 34 takes away ensure both that innocent people are not executed or spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Get the facts and supporting evidence at,, and

Death row inmates and their victims

The 729 convicted murderers on death row were convicted of brutally killing at least 1,279 people. At least 230 of them were children. 75 more were young adults between the ages of 18-20. Another 82 victims were older than 65.

Of these victims, at least 211 of them were raped and 319 of them robbed. Sixty-six victims were killed in execution style, usually bound and shot in the back of the head. Forty-seven victims were tortured.

Forty-three of these victims were law enforcement agents and another seven were security guards. Not included in these numbers are cases where the killer attempted to kill a police officer, but was unsuccessful, as in the case of Oswaldo Amezcua who shot three police officers.

An important consideration in changing a killer’s sentence to life is whether he has murdered other inmates while incarcerated. Eleven death sentences were handed down after an already-incarcerated inmate murdered another inmate.

Troy Ashmus had previously killed an inmate and viciously attacked a deputy while incarcerated for another crime.

Joseph Barrett killed an inmate while incarcerated for having killed a teacher.

Kenneth Bivert killed an inmate while already incarcerated on three counts of murder.

John Capistrano had a previous conviction for killing an inmate and attacked another inmate in a holding cell.

Joseph Danks was already incarcerated for six murders when he killed the inmate which led to his death sentence.

Martin Drews was also serving time for murder when he killed an inmate. Similarly, Lee Capers brought a knife to court to stab one of the witnesses testifying against him.

While the murders for which these killers were sentenced to death are horrendous, the murder victims are only a part of the trail of violence left by these killers. Many had killed others before finally being sentenced to death for their most recent killing.

Others are suspected to have killed dozens more. For example, Randy Kraft is believed to have killed at least 65 other people.

Another serial killer, Glen Rogers, was convicted of killing three other people in three other states and confessed to his sister he was responsible for more than 70 killings.

Lawrence Bittaker is suspected to have raped and murdered another 30-40 victims in addition to the five for which he was sentenced to death.

Charles Ng, while convicted for murdering eleven people, is suspected to have killed up to 25 people.

Wesley Shermantine is believed to have killed 25 people even though only convicted for four. This year he has begun leading law enforcement to more bodies.

More than twenty additional murders have been attributed to Cleamon Johnson.

Police suspect William Suff murdered twenty woman in addition to the twelve for which he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Michael Allen is believed to have killed 12-20 more people in addition to the two he was sentenced to die for.

Franklin Lynch was linked to more than thirteen additional murders. David Carpenter was believed to have killed another 7-11 victims.

Anh Duong was suspected of having committed 7 murders and 15 armed robberies.

Kevin Haley was suspected in seven other homicides.

Dennis Webb admitted to five additional murders.

Steven Homick has also been sentenced to death in Nevada for 3 murders.

Malcolm Robbins admitted to or was convicted of killing four additional minors.

Thus, these [14] individuals alone are responsible for approximately another 300 murders.


Cop kills wheelchair-bound double amputee who appeared about to stab his cornered partner

The armchair experts and perpetual police critics are not going to buy the story that the cops thought one of them was about to be stabbed with a ‘metal object’ which turned out to be a pen. I can understand why they were in fear of their lives, but then I am an ex-cop.

Suspect was making threats while trying to stab an officer with a pen

Associated Press
September 23, 2012

HOUSTON, Texas — A Houston police officer shot and killed a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair Saturday inside a group home after police say the double amputee threatened the officer and aggressively waved a metal object that turned out to be a pen.

Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said the man cornered the officer in his wheelchair and was making threats while trying to stab the officer with the pen. At the time, the officer did not know what the metal object was that the man was waving, Silva said.

She said the man came "within inches to a foot" of the officer and did not follow instructions to calm down and remain still.

"Fearing for his partner's safety and his own safety, he discharged his weapon," Silva told The Associated Press.

Police did not immediately release the name of the man who was killed. They had been called to the home after a caretaker there called and reported that the man in wheelchair was causing a disturbance.

The owner of the group home, John Garcia, told the Houston Chronicle that the man had a history of mental illness and had been living at the house about 18 months. Garcia said the man had told him that he lost a leg above the knee and all of one arm when he was hit by a train.

"He sometimes would go off a bit, but you just ignore it," Garcia told the newspaper.

Silva identified the officer as Matthew Jacob Marin, a five-year veteran of the department. He was immediately placed on three-day administrative leave, which is standard in all shootings involving officers.

Houston police records indicate that Marin also fatally shot a suspect in 2009. Investigators at the time said Marin came upon a man stabbing his neighbor to death at an apartment complex and opened fired when the suspect refused to drop the knife.

On Saturday, Marin and his partner arrived at the group home around 2:30 a.m. Silva said there were several people at the house at the time. The caretaker who called police waited on the porch while the officers went inside, she said.

"It was close quarters in the area of the house," Silva said. "The officer was forced into an area where he had no way to get out."


The Iranians believe Israel, that ‘cancerous tumor,’ will attack its nuclear facilities. The only question is, when?

By Ryan Jones

Israel Today
September 23, 2012

One of Iran's top military leaders on Saturday said he is confident war with Israel is coming, and that the conflict will end with the obliteration of the Jewish state.

"War will happen but it is not clear where and when," Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari told reporters.

Jafari insisted that Israel sees no way besides war to confront what it claims is Iran's quest to attain nuclear weapons.

The "stigma and cancerous tumor" that is Israel seeks to wage a war, but should be restrained by the West lest it face destruction, stated Jafari.

While Iranian officials like Jafari maintain that the Islamic Republic's nuclear program is peaceful in nature, the general hinted that it does in fact have a nuclear arms program.

"The Islamic Revolution is moving hastily towards achieving its objectives," Iranian media quoted the general as saying. There is also no way Iran could physically obliterate Israel besides using nuclear weapons, considering the distance between the two nations.

Meanwhile, the US Senate on Saturday passed a resolution reaffirming America's commitment to preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons, and insisting that a policy of containing a nuclear-capable Iran is not acceptable.

Passed by a vote of 90-1, the resolution also stressed that it was not an approval for military action against Iran, something many Israeli leaders say is the only viable option remaining.


Bob Walsh said, "I thought the cops in Texas had more sense than this."

La Porte is a small Houston suburb just down the road from where I live. On the surface it would look like the arresting cop was a dickhead. But I wonder if there isn’t more to this story than meets the eye?

By Erica Quiroz

Houston Chronicle
September 23, 2012

A La Porte mother arrested last summer after letting her children play in the front yard filed a lawsuit Friday against the city, a police officer and a neighbor involved in the incident.

Tammy Cooper was arrested July 2011 and charged with child endangerment and child abandonment after her neighbor told police Cooper's children, ages 6 and 9, had been abandoned. The children were playing on the front lawn.

After police arrived, Cooper told authorities that she had been sitting outside in a lawn chair watching her children the entire time

The neighbor then reported that she had struck one of Cooper's children with her car, a detail she did not disclose on the initial call. Court documents state that a medical response team was not called, and neither child appeared to be injured at the time of Cooper's arrest.

Cooper is seeking damages for her legal expenses, emotional and physical pain and suffering and damages to her reputation.

Cooper told KPRC she spent 18 hours in jail and wants the officer reprimanded.

The La Porte Police Department released a statement to the TV station: "We are confident in the known actions of the responding officers. In addition, officers did contact the Harris County District Attorney's Office while on the scene that evening, upon which their Office accepted charges of Abandoning a Child on Ms. Cooper."

Neither Cooper nor her neighbor could be reached for comment Sunday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Please do not give me any of that crap about these vermin being too young and their minds being too immature for them to understand what they were doing. Justice demands they be tried in adult court and, if convicted, locked away for life without possibility of parole.

Her great-grandson and his friend are accused of bludgeoning her with a hammer and hatchet before robbing her, then going out for pizza

By Victoria Cavaliere

New York Daily News
September 22, 2012

Two 13-year-old Wisconsin boys have been charged with first degree murder for the brutal slaying of one boy's great-grandmother, whom they allegedly bludgeoned with a hammer and hatchet before robbing her spare change and going out for pizza.

Both boys, Antonio D. Barbeau and Nathan J. Paape, were charged Friday as adults in the death of Barbeau’s great-grandmother, 78-year-old Barbara J. Olson, prosecutors said.

In a crime that was both gruesome and callous, the boys are accused of going to Olson’s Sheboygan, Wis., home on Sept. 17 “to get some money,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Barbeau allegedly told his friend they should kill the elderly woman and they armed themselves with a hammer and hatchet.

The boys got a ride to Olson’s home from Paape’s mother and they “hid their weapons in their clothing,” police said.

They entered the house through an unlocked door and when Olson said she was going to call Barbeau’s mother, the teen allegedly struck her in the head with the blunt end of the hatchet.

She fell to the ground but police say Barbeau continued to strike her with the back of the hatchet “as she tried to cover her head, groaning and telling them to stop.”

Paape then struck her twice with the hammer, police said.

Her great-grandson turned the hatchet around and hit her in the head with the blade, police said.

The teens then ransacked the house, taking a purse, loose quarters and jewelry, according to prosecutors.

They also allegedly tried to dispose the victim’s body, dragging her to the garage, but then abandoning the plan.

Instead, prosecutors say the teens stole Olson’s car and eventually left it at a Sheboygan bowling alley. From there, they walked to the pizza restaurant.

Olson's body was found on Wednesday.

"I don't understand how anyone much less 13-year-olds can be so unfeeling about someone to after they kill her, go to have a pizza," Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco said.

Both Barbeau and Pappe have admitted to police they killed Olson, the Sentinel said.

They are being held on $1 million cash bond.

Barbeau's defense attorney told a local TV station he will try to have the case moved to juvenile court.


This is good news for Israel. In the event of a nuclear attack by Iran, Israeli survivors can safely drink the beer from intact containers found near ground zero.

Bottles and cans left largely unaffected by the radiation from Operation Teapot nuclear bomb test

Mail Online
September 20, 2012

Forget the nuclear apocalypse - is the beer still good?

That was the question on the minds of scientists in the late 1950s - looking to see if items like beer and soft drinks were still drinkable if an atomic bomb went off nearby.

The experiment was conducted as a part of Operation Teapot, a sequence of nuclear weapons assessments by the U.S. Military in 1955.

Documentation of the 1957 experiment has now been made available by science historian Alex Wellerstein, who runs the blog Restricted Data.

The cans and bottles were set up in three positions ranging from 0.2 miles to one mile away from ‘ground zero’ of the atomic blast.

The study found that the drinks were mostly unaffected by the radiation - except for the few bottles that were shattered by the force of the bomb blast.

There was however, a question of a taste in the beer.

The document read: 'Some flavor change was found in the beverages, more in beer than in soft drinks.'

Drinks placed more than 1,270 feet away from ground zero showed no change to their consistency or taste.

They also retained their airtight carbonation.

The study ruled that the containers housing soft drinks and beer would be OK for consumption in the event of a nuclear explosion.


Mexican generals sought $140 million from Sinaloa Cartel; one of them asked for two gold watches and $10 million

The insatiable hunger for drugs by American recreational drug users generates unimaginable amounts of money for the Mexican drug cartels. And I suspect that many of the millionaires among the cartel leaders have had very little formal education.

From Borderland Beat:

September 21, 2012

MEXICO, D.F. -- Brigadier General Juan Manuel Barragan Espinosa asked the Sinaloa Cartel leaders for two gold watches and ten million dollars in exchange for arranging a private meeting with the highest levels of the Public Security cabinet.

The newspaper Reforma on this Friday revealed that Barragan, son in law of Division General Felix Galvan Lopez, Secretary of National Defense during the Jose Lopez Portillo administration, offered to serve as intermediary between the cartel and the current Secretary of National Defense, General Guillermo Galvan, Attorney General Marisela Morales and General Genaro Robles, deputy director of Operations of the Estado Mayor de la Defensa (equivalent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the U.S. military).

According to investigations by the military and the PGR (Office of Attorney General) to which the newspaper had access, the Army received an anonymous tip on November 3, 2011, which warned that Barragan was meeting with criminals in his offices in Lomas de Sotelo, and was living a life of luxury.

"According to the military and the PGR investigations, in December, "Chapo" Guzman sent his representatives Humberto and Oscar Murguia Guerrero directly to Barragan's office to request his help in arranging a meeting with Secretary Guillermo Galvan.

"The capo's people asked that the meeting with the Secretary take place away from his office because there were surely microphones in place there.

"The message that the Murguia brothers delivered from Guzman was very specific: they wanted to negotiate an agreement with the Army that involved ending military operations against the Sinaloa Cartel in the northwest part of the country, and in particular, to cease the pursuit of the organization's leader, according to investigation (file) No.PGR/SIEDO/UEITA/004/2012," states the newspaper.

The offer to Galvan was protection for the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for $140 million dollars.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I hope that all of you will take the time to contact the New York authorities and let them know that you are opposed to the parole of three vicious and unremorseful cop killers. It’s easy to do. Just follow the instructions in the LAPPL Blog update.


LAPPL Blog Update
September 21, 2012

We know you are busy, but what we are asking will only take a few minutes and can make a huge difference in keeping three cop killers in prison.

Here’s the background: In 1988, New York City Police Officer Edward Byrne, newly assigned to the 103rd Precinct, was sitting in a patrol car guarding the house of a family who had defied a major drug dealer and agreed to testify against him. At approximately 3:30 a.m., four armed men (Philip Copeland, Scott Cobb, Todd Scott and David McClary) crept up on both sides of the rookie officer’s vehicle. One of the suspects knocked on the passenger window to distract Byrne as the second suspect ran up to the driver’s side window. Without uttering a word, he opened fire into the car and executed Officer Byrne by shooting him five times in the head. Officer Byrne was rushed to Mary Immaculate Hospital where he died of his wounds, just a few days after his 22nd birthday.

Three of the four convicted cop killers are up for parole in November 2012. We’re asking you to send letters to the Parole Board(s) in opposition of their parole.

The World Wide Web makes it easy to make a difference. Here’s how you can help:

1. Visit the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association website (

2. Click on the “Keep Cop Killers in Jail” icon.

3. Follow the on-screen directions to send letters opposing the parole of these cop killers.

Be sure to send a separate e-letter for all three convicted cop killers - Phillip "Marshall" Copeland, Scott Cobb and David McClary.

In January when this cop killer sought and was rejected in his bid for a furlough to attend his grandmother's funeral Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said, “This cold-blooded cop killer denied a young police officer, Edward Byrne, every good and enjoyable thing that life held in store for him when he was assassinated Edward for no other reason than being a police officer. It is an outrage that this miscreant’s request for a furlough should get any consideration at all. He deserves no better treatment than he gave Officer Byrne.” Those same sentiments hold true as these convicted cop killers are up for parole in November.

Emails from you and your friends and family around the country, not just New York, will help ensure parole is denied for these three cop-killers. The family and friends of Officer Byrne, and our fellow officers in New York will appreciate your support in this important matter.

We thank you for taking time from your busy day to help make a difference.


Do not abolish the death penalty!

I pray that the voters will not be conned into believing the phony baloney put forth by the advocates of Prop. 34, that by abolishing the death penalty, the State of California will save tons of money. Here is just one of many good reasons to maintain capital punishment:

By Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors

September 20, 2012

Timothy Joseph McGhee boasted in rap lyrics about his hatred of police and his love for killing.

He was convicted of attempted murder for a July 4, 2000, ambush of two LAPD officers who were chasing Toonerville gang members. He laughed in the courtroom when he was sentenced to die in January 2009. He has been awaiting execution on death row at San Quentin State Prison.

On August 30, prison officials said he used a handmade weapon to attack two guards as they returned him to his cell from a shower. The guards received cuts and wounds on their heads, necks and arms.

Voters would do well to remember McGhee in November when they consider Proposition 34. This proposition would eliminate the death penalty in California and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Californians approved the death penalty in 1978. California is one of 33 states authorizing it. A Field Poll conducted in 2011 showed that 68 percent of Californians approved of execution as a punishment. Now, the attempt to overturn the death penalty – orchestrated by the ACLU and its allies – as a budget-saving measure is an outrageous insult to crime victims and their families.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos makes perhaps the best case for retaining the death penalty: “Whether or not to seek the death penalty is probably one of the most serious decisions I have to make as a district attorney. I have nothing but respect for the entire process, and just as much respect for our victims and their families who didn’t have a choice. They didn’t get to say goodbye to family members.”

Vote NO on 34.


Just to break even, the government would have to sell its GM stock at $53 a share and with the shares priced at only $24.14 last Friday, that ain’t likely to happen in a long, long time.

The U.S. Treasury Department is unwilling to sell the government’s stake in General Motors because a sale now would mean huge investment losses, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the matter

By Jerry Reynolds

Car Pro Weekly
September 20, 2012

Earlier this year GM floated a plan with Treasury officials to repurchase 200 million of the roughly 500 million shares the United States holds in the carmaker, the newspaper said, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.

Under that plan, Treasury would sell the remaining shares through a public stock offering, the Journal said.

The Treasury, which holds a 26.5 percent stake in the automaker, is not interested in GM’s offer at the current price, and is not rushing to sell shares, the Journal said.

At GM’s Friday share price of $24.14, the United States would lose about $15 billion on the GM bailout if it sold its entire stake, the paper said.

While GM stock would need to reach $53 a share for the U.S. government to break even, Treasury officials would consider selling at a price in the $30s, the Journal said.

“The Treasury will make its own decisions about their stake in the company like any other owner,” a GM spokesman told the newspaper. “Our job is to produce great cars and solid profits.”

The Treasury has invested more than $50 billion in GM via the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Neither General Motors nor the Treasury department could be reached for comments immediately.


No need to use an airliner’s overhead bins for some belongings

Sometimes the old vag stash doesn’t work out too well.

By Richard Connelly

Houston Press Hair Balls
September 21, 2012

Packing for international travel can be such a hassle -- who wants to use the overhead bins, for instance?

Luckily, God has provided humans, especially females, with carry-on facilities of their very own. The trouble is what you put in them.

Two women decided their stomachs and vaginas were just the spot to put 500 grams of coke in pellets as they passed through Bush on their way from Trinidad and Tobago to Detroit earlier this month, federal prosecutors say.

Azzie LaDawn Caldwell, 32, and Indira Doorga, 42, got off the plane and went through customs.

"Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents became suspicious when they received inconsistent statements from them regarding their purpose for travel, whether they knew one another or had traveled together," prosecutors say. "The investigative effort ultimately lead to x-rays, which allegedly revealed anomalies resembling pellets believed to contain a controlled substance. The women were each admitted to an area hospital."

And that's where the fun began.

Eventually Caldwell gave up 38 pellets and Drooga 51 pellets. They had swallowed some and inserted others before getting on the flight into Houston.

They got out of the hospital yesterday and will appear before a judge today, the feds say.

Upon conviction, each of the offenses charged carries a mandatory minimum of five years and up to a 40-year maximum term of imprisonment and millions in fines.


By Chuck Shepherd

Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird
September 21, 2012

Italy's highest court ruled in July that one man's telling another, in front of others, that he has "no balls" can be criminal conduct that warrants payment of damages. Said Judge Maurizio Fumo, such a comment places at issue male virility as well as competence and character.

In August, after an eight-day trial, a court in Hamburg, Germany, awarded money damages to a man who called another an "asshole" ("arschloch") in a parking-space dispute and fixed the payment at the equivalent of about $75,000. (Courts in Germany can base the amount of damages on the transgressor's income.) [ANSA (Rome) via Daily Telegraph (London), 8-1-2012] [The Local (Berlin), 8-23-2012]