Sunday, March 31, 2013


A good reason for strengthening our southern border security controls

If you want to learn more about the comings and goings of the Mexican drug cartels you should put Borderland Beat on your favorites list. Along with Borderland Beat’s comprehensive reports you will see many graphic pictures of the cartel victims and you can view videos of executions taking place. I have watched beheadings by knives, machetes and chainsaws that accompanied several of Borderland’s reports.

I just got through watching the video of a Gulf Cartel (CDG) death squad executing five Zetas, including two women. All five were blindfolded and kneeling with their hands bound. The women had been stripped naked. After several minutes of interrogation by the CDG death squad leader, one male Zeta had his throat slit while the other four were felled by axe blows to their heads. The squad members then used machetes to decapitate the fallen Zetas. And then they methodically went about dismembering the five bodies with their axes. The body parts were thrown into a large barrel of boiling acid.

Such extreme brutality seems to be a daily occurrence between rival drug cartels in Mexico. Rather than worry so much about illegal immigration, we should be more concerned about the possibility of that brutality spilling across our porous southern border. That is why it is so important that our Mexican border security controls be strengthened.


Israeli cabinet members are working on budget cuts, including reductions in defense spending, and an increase in taxes to bring a ballooning deficit under control. Is there a lesson here for the U.S. Congress?

Finance Minister Yair Lapid wants to cut 5 billion shekels ($1.4 billion) from Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's budget in light of immense deficit • Defense Ministry: Cuts will recognize "over-arching security needs and the threats posed by the changes in the region"

By Ze'ev Klein and Lilach Shoval

Israel Hayom
March 29, 2013

Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon met Thursday in Tel Aviv to try to overcome the disagreements over cuts to defense spending would be cut as part of the ongoing budget negotiations.

The meeting followed a meeting between Lapid and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just before Passover, at which they agreed in principle that the defense budget would have to be cut. Netanyahu, Lapid, Ya'alon, and Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz are expected to make a final decision after the Passover recess.

At the end of the Lapid-Ya'alon meeting, the Defense Ministry issued an unusual statement, stating that the two ministers had agreed to form a joint task force that would iron out the outstanding issues on the defense cuts. The decisions would "be tailored to meet long-term needs and would reflect the complex state of the economy and the budgetary deficit, but on the other hand, they would recognize the over-arching security needs and the threats posed by the changes in the region."

The Finance Ministry is hoping to rein in the ballooning deficit by cutting overall government spending by as much as 30 billion shekels ($8.2 billion) over the next 18 months, including 4.5-5 billion shekels ($1.3-$1.4 billion) from the supplemental defense budget. Officials in the Finance Ministry's Budget Department also want to cut the length of mandatory military service Israeli men have to perform by six months to around 30 months (at least in some units), abolish certain benefits IDF career officers enjoy and merge Defense Ministry and IDF offices abroad.

The Finance Ministry's budget proposal will likely call for a higher value-added tax rate (it may rise from 17% to 18% as early as July), a move which would generate an estimated 2.1 billion shekels ($577 million) in tax revenue in 2013 and a further 4.2 billion shekels ($1.15 billion) in 2014. Despite being a regressive tax, VAT involves an easy tax collection mechanism.

The Finance Ministry would also like to apply VAT to vegetables and fruit, as this could add some 2.3 billion shekels ($637 million) in new revenue each year, and abolish the VAT-free zone in Eilat, which would likely yield 500 million shekels ($137 million) in new revenue annually. Lapid is expected to present Netanyahu with the new austerity measures next week. Netanyahu and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer reportedly see eye-to-eye on budgetary matters.


What was a nice (?) Jewish girl doing cavorting around with the legendary Wyatt Earp?

Wyatt Earp’s fourth wife was a doe-eyed, adventurous Jewish girl from San Francisco

By Mark Yost

The Wall Street Journal
March 29, 2013

They say that the winners get to write the history books. That hasn't really been the case with Wyatt Earp, the one man to walk away from the O.K. Corral unscathed. Over the years, volumes have been written about the events of Oct. 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Ariz.—when the Earps and the Clantons shot it out. The Clantons were associated with the cowboys who came into town to carouse and occasionally rob silver shipments, the Earps with the townsfolk who were trying to build a frontier settlement into a city. A series of events between the two groups ended in a classic episode from American legend—a showdown that settled matters in minutes and created heroes and villains for years to come.

Though supposedly cast in the hero role, Earp has come in for his share of criticism. He held various law-enforcement posts, but rather than being a figure of admirable character and a noble upholder of the law, he often bent the law to his advantage—in Tombstone and other boomtowns—running casinos and brothels, throwing his lot in with dodgy land speculators, and, in his spare time, chasing women. Wyatt Earp was, in short, a flawed man. Except in the eyes of Josephine Marcus Earp, a buxom, doe-eyed, adventurous Jewish girl from San Francisco who ran away from home with a traveling stage show and ended up falling in love with one of Tombstone's most prominent residents.

When Earp was asked about the shootout in later years, he often replied: "Surely we have better things to talk about." According to Ann Kirschner's splendid "Lady at the O.K. Corral," Marcus, Earp's fourth wife, had no such hesitation. Making people see her husband as one of history's good guys was something of an obsession with her.

"Wife" may be going a bit far. As Ms. Kirschner explains, Earp was formally married only once. After his first wife's death in childbirth, he had three common-law wives. Marcus was the last—and most long-lasting. What most people today know about her, if anything, they probably gleaned from the 1993 film "Tombstone," which got the outline of the story right. Yes, Marcus had been an actress. Yes, she had come to Tombstone to perform and had been much sought after by Earp's chief rival for Cochise County sheriff, Johnny Behan, a prosperous man connected to the cowboy faction. And, yes, Earp was co-habitating at the time with his second common-law wife, Mattie, a laudanum addict. But the full story is richer than that. Ms. Kirschner has dug through archives and family papers to tell it.

The biographies of most women who lived before 1900, no matter how famous or accomplished in their own right, are inextricably linked to their (typically) more famous husbands. That was certainly true of Marcus, whose story might be rather unremarkable except for the fact that she was Earp's constant companion for nearly 50 years—and his champion.

Born to Prussian immigrants who landed in New York but migrated to San Francisco, Marcus saw the stage as her best chance to be more than a hausfrau. A traveling production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore" brought her to Tombstone, where she met Behan and began an affair with the still-married man-about-town

When the road troupe fell apart, Marcus returned to San Francisco, but Behan showed up on her doorstep and lured her back to Tombstone with promises of marriage and a life of privilege. Life with Behan, however, proved anything but a domestic idyll. "She had been slow to acknowledge the reality behind Johnny's reputation as a womanizer," Ms. Kirschner writes, noting that "there may have been several lovers and prostitutes competing with Josephine."

By most accounts, it was roughly at this point that Marcus, who was just 18, took up with Wyatt Earp, 32, Tombstone's other notorious womanizer. The Behan-Earp contest for her affections is sometimes viewed as a cause of the shootout. Ms. Kirschner doesn't think so. Even though Earp and Marcus "had been circling each other for the better part of a year," they were "quite discreet. There was no general awareness that they were together, or even that Josephine had broken up with Behan."

There is no record of Marcus being near the shootout when it happened. The event haunted her even so. She lived in fear that, with the shootout-legend exciting more and more interest, it would become common knowledge that she broke up Earp's third marriage and was at least somewhat responsible for his third wife's spiraling further into addiction and turning to prostitution to support her habit before committing suicide. By telling tall tales, Ms. Kirschner believes, Marcus hoped to mask the true genesis of her relationship with Earp. She talked of their (fictitious) grand wedding on the yacht of Lucky Baldwin, the Los Angeles oil-and-gas tycoon. She claimed that she was never involved with Behan but was merely governess to his son. She said that she lovingly ran to Earp's side at the sound of gunfire.

After Tombstone, the Earps moved from boomtown to boomtown—San Diego, Nome, even Hollywood in the early days of the motion-picture business—always chasing the next fortune. When Wyatt Earp wasn't keeping the peace, he was catering to fortune seekers with various ventures. He made quite a bit of money in land speculation and horse racing in San Diego (money that would help sustain Marcus after Earp's death in 1929). Marcus loved the energy of the boomtowns but most loved calling herself "Mrs. Earp" and speaking of her husband as a paragon of virtue.

When more careful accounts of the shootout began appearing after 1900, Marcus worried all the more that some researcher would stumble on deeds or other official records that would unearth Mattie's existence and unravel the fairy tales that Marcus had been telling. To keep her secret, she even tried to sabotage favorable accounts, such as 1931's "Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal" by Stuart Lake, which portrayed Wyatt and his brothers as nothing short of saviors of all that was good in Tombstone. She successfully discouraged Allie, the widow of Earp's brother Virgil, from cooperating with a writer. "The world would not find out about Mattie's suicide or Wyatt's perfidy from Allie," Ms. Kirschner writes.

It took two intrepid women, Mabel Earp Cason and Vinnolia Earp Ackerman, daughters of Wyatt's cousin William Harrison Earp, to coax at least part of the truth out of Marcus. "They knew that Josephine's portrait of Wyatt was idealized and incomplete," Ms. Kirschner notes. But it wasn't until 1955, 11 years after Marcus's death, that the truth came out. One of Mattie's descendants donated a trunk to a museum in Dodge City, Kan., and the world learned that his "Aunt Ceely" was Celia "Mattie" Earp. "That is what Josie was covering from us," Mable Cason realized, but added that Marcus "seemed to be truly conscience-stricken" about Mattie's demise. Sadly, Ms. Kirschner concludes, "it would have been little comfort to Josephine to know that Mattie herself blamed Wyatt most of all."

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Be sure to always carry a full-strength 325 mg aspirin tablet, not a baby (81 mg) aspirin; do not use coated aspirin

From Harvard Health Letters

Jewish World Review
March 29, 2013

Chewing an aspirin tablet during the first symptoms of what could be a heart attack can save your life. But in order for it to work properly, you must understand which kind of aspirin to take, and how to take it.

A heart attack is usually the result of a blood clot in a coronary artery that blocks blood flow. Aspirin inhibits the formation of a clot and helps restore blood flow.

Chewing one regular-strength adult 325-milligram (mg) aspirin, and swallowing it, should be sufficient. Avoid coated aspirins, as they are absorbed slowly. If you normally take an 81-mg aspirin (baby aspirin) as part of your daily aspirin therapy to prevent cardiac events, you'll still want the full-size 325-mg version to take during a heart attack.

If you're over 50, and surely if you have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease, always carry an aspirin tablet in a small pillbox in your pocket or purse. Chewing an uncoated aspirin and swallowing it quickly will speed the medicine through your bloodstream. If you're wrong, and you're not having a heart attack, the one aspirin won't hurt you. If you're already taking low-dose daily aspirin, you still should chew a regular-strength aspirin at the first signs of a possible heart attack.

Chew the aspirin as soon as you realize you may be having a heart attack. Also call 911. Don't ever try to drive yourself to the hospital if you think you're having a heart attack. If possible, have a list available for emergency personnel detailing all the medications you take and other health information.


Rand Paul is looking more and more like a viable candidate for the presidency.


March 29, 2013

President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and many Hollywood stars are being hypocritical in calling for stricter gun control while they are protected with armed bodyguards, says Sen. Rand Paul.

“I don’t begrudge any famous person like Mayor Bloomberg or the president or the president’s family for having protection,” Paul told Fox News on Thursday.

“I think they all should,” the Republican senator from Kentucky said. “There are enough crazy people out there who would attack on the right or the left. But I think when you are being protected by people who have weapons, by responsible people, I can’t see why you would be opposed to that for other people.”

As for Hollywood, “Many rich Hollywood celebrities have armed guards with them at all times,” Paul points outs.

“And many regular people who live in a poor neighborhood, who have a business in a poor neighborhood and a neighborhood that may have higher crime, those people have to suffer the vicissitudes of violent crime without protection sometimes, because of gun control laws.”

Paul’s conclusion: “Yes, I think there is a certain amount of hypocrisy.”


My Spanish may not be too good but this young man was definitely very intoxicated.

By Richard Connelly

Houston Press Hair Balls
March 29, 2013

Fights with a girlfriend can be highly annoying, we can all agree.

But maybe another thing we can agree on is that the best way to react to them is not by packing three kids into an SUV and then drunkenly peeling through the neighborhood doing donuts on front lawns at a time when the cops would determine you were "highly intoxicated."

Everyone agree? No? Oh, you must be Roberto Rodriguez of Harlingen, if what the cops says is true.

They say that he and his girlfriend got in a big fight about 7 p.m. Sunday night, and someone called the cops. When the cops arrived, she told them quite a tale.

Rodriguez, she said:

__had been drinking alcohol and was intoxicated. Rodriguez reportedly was driving his mothers Dodge Durango with three children inside (ages 5, 7, and 9), and was placing three children in imminent danger by peeling out and driving around on and off the roadway and onto empty yards at a high rate of speed within their neighborhood.

Let's give credit where credit is due: at least the yards were "empty." It's not like Rodriguez was acting nuts or anything.

The police report doesn't state whether the three pre-teens had their seatbelts on, but we're going to go ahead and guess "no" on that one.

The report says, understatedly, that "Contact was made with Rodriguez who was highly intoxicated."

He was charged with three counts of the state jail felony of child endangerment. Bond was set at $69,000.


Another educated idiot bites the dust. With Gov. Moonbeam’s realignment, he won’t be locked up for two years and may even be dumped out of prison into a county jail from the get-go.

By Henry K. Lee

San Francisco Chronicle
March 28, 2013

A former water-polo coach at a San Mateo high school fainted as he was sentenced to two years in state prison for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl who played on his team.

Joshua David Tatro, 26, of El Granada was held up by his attorney Chuck Smith as he was being sentenced Wednesday in a Redwood City courtroom.

"He was standing there and he just started to shake, and I could tell something was wrong," Smith said Thursday. "So I put my arm under his arm and, sure enough, he started to go down and I caught him and gently sat him down. But he got right back up and sat through the remainder of it."

Tatro engaged in sexual activity with a girl on the Aragon High School water polo team from October 2011 to May of last year, investigators said.

The two also exchanged photos of "private body parts" on their cell phones, said Steve Wagstaffe, the San Mateo County district attorney.

School officials learned about the relationship and notified police. At the time of his arrest in June, Tatro had been working for a year at Aragon as a water polo and swim coach.

Tatro pleaded no contest in January to sexual penetration of a girl under 18 and sending pornographic material to a minor with the intent of seduction, both felonies.

A second 17-year-old girl on the water polo team came forward after Tatro was arrested and told police he had asked her to come to his home for sleepovers and movies, Wagstaffe said.

Prosecutors charged Tatro in that case with making sexually inappropriate communications. Although that charge was dropped, Superior Court Judge Mark Forcum was allowed to consider the incidents involving both girls before sentencing Tatro on Wednesday.

Tatro must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life as a result of the charge relating to the sexual photos. Smith said he believed this was unfair, especially because the more serious charge of penetration gives a judge the option of not ordering a defendant to register.

"Because Josh sent a picture of his genitals to her, he has to register," Smith said. "That seems like a punishment way out of proportion to the crime."


Last month the city council of Memphis, Tennessee voted to rename three city parks that commemorated the Confederate side of the Civil War. Signs for the ‘Confederate Park’ and the ‘Jefferson Davis Park’ were ordered removed along with the ‘Nathan Bedford Forrest Park’ sign. Jefferson Davis, as everyone should know, was president of the Confederacy. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general and the first grand wizard of the KKK.

According to The New York Times, the council decided to rename the three parks because the names evoked a racist past and were no longer welcome in a city where most of the population is black. What the council did by its action was to erase a part of American history.

Tennessee was a part of the Confederacy and renaming the parks does not change the fact that it was one of the states that relied on black slaves as a source of cheap labor. And while the KKK is best known for its virulent hatred of blacks and other minorities, General Forrest was a hero on the Southern side during the war between the states.

Instead of trying to erase history and past racism, the city council members of Memphis, and those of any other cities for that matter, should be trying to erase present-day racism – whites against blacks and Latinos, blacks against whites, Latinos and Jews, Latinos against whites and blacks, etc. – which I am sure is not hard to find within the city limits.


Bob Walsh says that ‘Evil Ebel’ “may have been a vicious asshole, but he wasn’t a liar.”

And Jeff ‘Paco’ Doyle notes that “Evan ‘Evil’ Ebel liked to play with his own feces, throwing them at staff and inmates, much like a chimp at the zoo.”

It was a really good day when Texas cops dispatched this subhuman scumbag to his eternal resting place in hell.

By Kirk Mitchell

The Denver Post
March 28, 2013

A man who has become the prime suspect in the murder of Colorado's prison chief had 28 disciplinary write-ups in prison, including repeatedly threatening to kill or beat prison staff.

Evan Ebel spent nearly his entire eight years in prison in administrative segregation before he was released on mandatory parole on Jan. 28, according to Colorado Department of Corrections records released Thursday.

Ebel — nicknamed "Evil Ebel" behind bars — violated rules almost immediately after he entered the prison, and he continued violating rules up until at least one month before his release.

On Sept. 17, 2005, Ebel threatened to kill a female correctional officer, the records show.

He told her "that he would kill her if he ever saw her on the streets and that he would make her beg for her life." His punishment was 59 days of lost privileges.

In 2005 and 2006, he threatened to kill staff members in two different prisons, according to the records. On another occasion, he threatened to beat staff if they didn't handcuff him.

Ebel, a member of the white supremacist 211 Crew, was disciplined in prison 10 times for verbal abuse, twice for disobeying a lawful order, four times for assault and three times for fighting, the records show. He had tattoos of a swastika on his stomach and Nazi lightning bolts on his left wrist and hand, according to prison records.

"Security Threat Group: Member — 211 crew," a document said.

A pre-release assessment on Dec. 14 by DOC case manager Donna Sims indicated he was a "very high risk (recidivism odds: two in three.)"

He repeatedly attacked other inmates and staff with his own feces.

Investigators have identified him as the prime suspect in the killing of state prisons chief Tom Clements on his doorstep on March 19.

El Paso County Sheriff's and DOC investigators are looking at whether he acted alone or on order from the 211 Crew.

Denver police are investigating whether Ebel also killed Domino's pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon on March 17. Ebel was killed in a shootout with Texas authorities on March 21 after a high-speed chase.

Ebel was released from Sterling Correctional Facility on Jan. 28.

Ebel first entered prison on Feb. 11, 2005 on a three-year sentence for robbery and menacing out of Jefferson County.

On Oct. 26, 2003, Ebel, then 19, pointed a gun at the head of an acquaintance and demanded cash, the records show. He then went to the acquaintance's Lakewood home where several people were watching a Broncos game. After helping another man bring in groceries, Ebel watched the game for a bit before pulling out a handgun and demanding money.

In June 2005 he was sentenced to eight years in prison for assault and three years for menacing, to be served concurrently.

Westminster police found Ebel hiding in the back seat of someone's car. They found Ebel with a handgun whose serial number had been scratched off. He gave police a phony name, a felony in Colorado.

On April 26, 2004, Commerce City police say, Ebel carjacked a stranger, hitting him with the butt of his gun and stealing his 1998 Ford Mustang before crashing it 10 blocks away and fleeing, the records show. On May 2, 2004, Commerce City police say, Ebel knocked on the front door of a Commerce City home and pointed a gun at the woman who answered, demanding football jerseys that he said belonged to his friend.

Ebel violated rules almost immediately after he entered the prison.

On May 31, 2005, at Fremont Correctional Facility in CaƱon City, Ebel repeatedly kicked the door of his cell and yelled. He was placed in strip cell status. He lost 30 days of earned time.

On June 11, 2005, he flooded the cellblock in E-Block and lost another 30 days of earned time. The same day, "as a result of disruptive and threatening behavior," staff had to cut his T-shirt away. He lost an additional 30 days of earned time and was placed in segregation for 20 days.

On Nov. 7, 2006, a handcuffed Ebel was being moved by two correctional officers. He complained that the handcuffs were too tight. After one of the officers loosened a cuff, Ebel stepped out of his cell, slipped off his cuffs and hit the officer in the face with his fist, cutting his nose and finger.

A disciplinary report says he "threatened to kill staff member & family."

Ebel was charged again, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault of a prison guard and was sentenced to an additional four years in prison. He was required to pay $142.05 in restitution to the correctional officers to pay for uniforms.


The Onion
March 29, 2013

ATLANTA—Addressing attendees gathered for this week’s TEDxEvolution Conference, al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri delivered an informative and engrossing TEDTalk on the state of worldwide terrorism, entitled “Terror At A Crossroads: Instilling Fear In The 21st-Century Infidel.”

“We find ourselves in an ever-evolving, globally connected community that is confronted with numerous societal and economic obstacles every day. The question is, and it’s a difficult one, how can we, as terrorist cells, overcome these roadblocks while staying true to our vision? How do we adapt?” the 56-year-old al-Qaeda leader and Islamist militant said while audience members reportedly nodded their heads, took notes, and laughed when al-Zawahiri delivered some lighthearted jabs at former boss Osama bin Laden. “For example, what happens when your terrorist organization’s overseas assets are frozen? Do you you lash out, behead a journalist, and destroy an Amsterdam bus station? Or do you regroup, assess the situation, see if you can make a connection—a very real, very honest, very genuine connection—with another terrorist group, and together figure out a way to acquire a nuclear weapon? Connections, folks. Both personal and professional. That’s really what we’re talking about today.”

Sources confirmed that at the end of his 18-minute speech, audience members gave al-Zawahiri a standing ovation.

Friday, March 29, 2013


His excuse for the city weaseling out of its promised contribution to the Christopher Dorner reward fund just doesn’t fly

According to the Press-Enterprise, Riverside Mayor William Bailey on Wednesday said the city could not pay the reward because Christopher Dorner was dead rather than captured and convicted as called for in the resolution passed by the city council.

Mayor Bailey said: The reward “called for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator, and that didn’t occur. We were bound by government code to obey the language of our resolution and not give a gift of public funds.”

What a supreme crock of shit! Bound by the government code my ass! That is nothing more than an excuse – and a phony one at that – to weasel out of contributing the $100,000 the city promised to donate to the reward fund.

Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain was one of the victims killed by Dorner. By rescinding the $100,000 pledge, the Mayor, the city council, and even the City of Riverside itself, have dishonored a fallen hero. That’s some kind of memorial to Officer Crain. Shame, shame, shame!


When I worked plain clothes, I was instructed to keep my piece concealed. While the officers should not have been shown the door, one has to ask why didn’t those cops keep their guns concealed?

Last New Year’s Day, a Denny’s manager acting on the complaint of a customer, told a Belleville, Illinois police detective that she would have to take her gun and put it in her car or hit the road.

The Newtown, Connecticut school shooting seems to have brought about a lot of gun hysteria.

The general manager of the establishment, who wasn’t there during the officers’ visit, issued an apology to the department

By Jamie M. Rogers

Manassas Patch
March 25, 2013

MANASSAS, VA -- Eight police officers were refused service at Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesday, apparently because they had their weapons displayed.

The Prince William County Police officers were on duty, but were in plain clothes, said Daryl LaClair, a Prince William County resident who wrote a letter to the restaurant chain’s headquarters and started a public awareness campaign regarding the incident.

The group walked into the Buffalo Wild Wings located near Wellington Road and Market Street, but were refused service by an employee who said they had to secure the guns before they would be served.

The officers had their badges displayed but still weren’t served.

Scott Lupton, the general manager of the Manassas Buffalo Wild Wings location, sent an email to LaClair, apologizing for any confusion caused by the incident, which he calls a “huge misunderstanding.”

Patch obtained a copy of the letter and confirmed its validity with Lupton on Monday

Lupton said he wasn’t there on Wednesday, but should have been notified immediately. He learned of the incident on Thursday after returning to work.

“… There is no reason why those officers should have been asked to leave … police officers are always welcome in my establishment and even though we do have a no gun policy, as a company that excludes off duty police officer,” Lupton wrote. “As a company we are community oriented. We appreciate everything that police officers do for us.”

Last week he tried to reach out to the officers to apologize, but had not been successful. Lupton said he would reach out to the police department and personally apologize.

“For this to have happened at all is just absurd,” LaClair wrote Friday in an email to Patch.

Lupton said he went down to the Prince William County Police Department with an apology letter, but wasn't able to personally contact the police officers who visited his store.


The victim was actually pushed through a wall by the force of the impact and was reported to be in critical condition.

The stud says, “I feel the same about all my kids' mamas. I don't have favoritism. That's why I live by myself." No doubt he is a fine father and a role model for other African-American males.

By Pooja Lodhia

March 28, 2013

HOUSTON -- A pregnant woman is accused of intentionally running down another pregnant woman with a car during an argument in southwest Houston.

The collision was so forceful it crushed the doorway of a house Ravenworth at Wembley and pinned 21-year-old Alise Stephon Kelley against the wall, nearly killing her. Kelley is four months pregnant.

"Two baby mamas going into it. One hits the other one and drove into the wall," says Chris Chaney.

Chaney is dating Kelley and she's carrying his child. But Chaney also has a former girlfriend, Shareyll Starre Hunter, who is the mother of two of his children and is also carrying another one of his children.

He says on Thursday morning, his former and current girlfriends started arguing.

"They just don't like each other. I don't know if it's because of me or what. I mean, I am handsome," Chaney told Eyewitness News.

He says the women were upset over their pregnancies.

"I seen my kids' mother punching on the window, saying she wanted to fight the other one. My other kid's mother get out the car with a flashlight, trying to get the other one," he says.

Chaney says he watched as Hunter took his car, rammed Kelley against the wall with it, then drove off. Police say Kelley was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital and suffered several compound fractures in at least one leg.

"It's broken, damaged severely. The second leg, they're still examining that to see what the damage is to that," says Sgt. Kelvin Johnson with the Houston Police Department.

Chaney went on to say, "I mean, I can't say. I feel the same about all my kids' mamas. I don't have favoritism. That's why I live by myself."

Police are still searching for the 26-year-old Hunter and her vehicle -- a beige Lincoln LS. She already has an outstanding warrant.


The once forbidden art is now a very popular form of self-expression.

By Jim Mullen

Jewish World Review
March 25, 2013

I was at a doctor's office in a small town recently and overheard one patient in the waiting room talking to another.

"There are four tattoo parlors on Main Street and not one dress shop. Is it me, or has the world run off the track?"

"No, there's still a dress shop on Main Street," his friend said. "It's in the back of one of the tattoo parlors."

There was a time when people would buy clothes to cover up their tattoos. Now they buy clothes to show them off. The thong peeking above the low-rise jeans worn by a woman on a barstool doesn't begin to cover her butterfly tattoo. The guy in the sleeveless T-shirt sitting next to her has a green snake coiled around his arm.

There was a time when you could live your whole life, except for an outing to the circus, and never meet a woman with a tattoo. Now all it takes is a trip to the grocery store. Like so many things, tattoos have moved overnight from the realm of renegades, delinquents and outlaws to the world of PTAs, debutantes and church picnics. I know husbands and wives who have given each other tats as birthday presents: "Honey, I love you so much I'm paying to have a guy stick needles into you all afternoon. I hope it doesn't get infected."

I'm not against tattoos. I'm just wondering why they have suddenly taken over the world. Has "You can't trust anyone without tats" become the new "You can't trust anyone over 30"? Maybe, but I've seen plenty of older people show up with brand-new body art. Now it's something you do to feel younger.

When your child comes home during his first break as a college freshman, you can almost bet the farm that he or she will be sporting new body art. If you're lucky, the new tattoo won't be the first thing you see when your kid walks through the door.

A tattoo used to mean you were in a motorcycle gang. Now it means you can afford to go to college. Heck, kids might be majoring in it. Surely today's tattoo artists make more money than the history, philosophy, fine arts and English majors.

The good news is that high-paying jobs in the tattoo industry can't be outsourced to China. Tattooing has to be done right here at home by highly trained and board-certified artists. No, wait, I'm sorry; I was misinformed. Tattoos can be done by almost anyone. Not that there's any danger in it. What's the worst that can happen? You might have to walk around with a tattoo of "Mom" misspelled on your bicep for a few months until you can get it expensively lasered off.

It's hard to watch a basketball or football game without asking yourself, when did all this happen? Instead of watching the ball, I am looking at the arms of the players, inked from wrist to shoulder, and trying to figure out what the pictures are. Some tattoos seem to have inspirational words mixed in among the symbols and figures, but things move so fast you can't read them. Obviously, this is high art with deep meaning, something the tattooed have thought long and hard about, unlike say, whether or not to have children with their current crush. Some things are permanent; some are not.

Here's the thing that really bothers me about tattoos. Now that the elders have them, what will teens have to do to freak out their parents? Coming home with your name tattooed in Gothic typeface around your neck isn't likely to raise the hackles of someone who has done the same thing. Maybe they'll rebel by getting crew cuts and wearing Perry Como sweaters and taking dates to the hop. Their parents will wring their hands, wondering what they did wrong.


Dealing meth is not quite as bad as molesting altar boys and he did bring in a goodly sum of money for the church.

Kevin Wallin, a suspended Roman Catholic priest in Connecticut, is expected to plead guilty to conspiracy with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Authorities say Wallin, 61, made more than $300,00 in drug sales during a six-month period last year

Associated Press
March 27, 2013

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A suspended Roman Catholic priest accused of taking in more than $300,000 from sales of methamphetamines plans to plead guilty to one of the charges against him, according to a court filing Tuesday.

Kevin Wallin is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Hartford next week for a hearing in which he would plead guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to the filing obtained by The Associated Press.

A message left with his attorney wasn’t immediately returned.

Authorities say the 61-year-old Wallin had meth mailed to him from co-conspirators in California and made more than $300,000 in drugs sales out of his Waterbury apartment in the second half of last year.

He also bought a small adult video and sex toy shop in the nearby town of North Haven named Land of Oz & Dorothy’s Place, authorities said.

Wallin, dubbed in some media as “Monsignor Meth,” was the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal problems. He previously served six years as pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Danbury until 2002.

He was granted a sabbatical in July 2011. The Diocese of Bridgeport suspended him from public ministry last May.

Federal agents arrested Wallin on Jan. 3, and a grand jury indicted him and four other people on drug charges on Jan. 15. All are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing meth and 50 grams of actual meth, a crime that carries 10 years to life in prison upon conviction. That’s the charge that Wallin plans to plead guilty to.

Wallin was also charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth.

An undercover officer with the state task force bought meth from Wallin six times from Sept. 20 to Jan. 2, paying more than $3,400 in total for 23 grams of the drug, authorities said.

Federal agents say they learned through wiretaps and informants about other sales Wallin was making.

Connecticut U.S. Attorney David Fein said federal and state authorities worked together in “the dismantling of what we allege was a significant methamphetamine distribution organization that spanned from California to Connecticut.”


Bob Walsh says, “An ankle monitor is kind of like a cheap lock. They keep honest people honest.”

By Richard K. De Atley

The Press-Enterprise
March 22, 2013

Electronic ankle bracelets are becoming a pivotal tool for Riverside County in the state prison realignment program, which has forced the early release of thousands of county jail inmates.

In 2012, more than 2,000 people were released from custody in the county’s overcrowded jails after they were arraigned in nonviolent criminal cases. Jailers kept behind bars accused inmates who faced more serious charges.

But 29 percent of those post-arraignment releases were no-shows for their next court date, said Chief Deputy Sheriff Raymond Gregory in a March 19 note to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors approved a new “virtual jail” program to reduce the no-shows. It will last through June and allow sheriff’s deputies to clamp monitor bracelets on up to 100 people who have been released and are awaiting future court dates.

By Thursday three people had already been selected for the new program, Gregory said in a phone interview.

“They looked like good candidates,” he said. Most of those released from jail custody while awaiting their next court dates are charged with property or drug crimes, Gregory said.

In addition to the electronic monitoring via global positioning satellite signals, those in the post-arraignment program will also have a case manager to monitor their moves , and weekly compliance checks at their home. Those who fail go back to jail.

They also must adhere to 36 terms and conditions for the monitoring program, including avoiding drugs and alcohol.

Participants pay for their ankle-wear. There’s a $90 application cost, plus two daily charges -- $10 for use, and a $4.16 vendor fee. If all 100 participants can come up with the money, as much as $26,520 could be collected over an estimated 30 days’ use.

Gregory said the actual amount may vary, depending on ability to pay.

There are no comparison figures for 2012’s rate of 29 percent no-shows among the 2,000 post-arraignment releases, because realignment started on Oct. 1 2011.

Overall, Riverside county’s five jails made early releases of nearly 7,000 inmates during 2012 that officials attributed to realignment.

The state program was created to reduce California’s prison population by redefining which crimes are subject to state prison and state parole supervision, and which will be handled by county jails and county probation officers.

The U.S. Supreme Court in May 2011 upheld lower federal court orders to reduce California’s prison population by 33,000 this year due to cruel and unusual conditions in the overcrowded state institutions.

County jails began filling quickly after realignment began.

Those convicted of non-violent, non-serious and non-sex offender crimes who receive sentences of more than one year now go to county jail instead of state prison. And those who violate their terms of release under those categories of crime now go to jail, rather than back to state prison.

With supervisors approving the post-arraignment program, ankle bracelets are now used by the sheriff’s department in three situations – for people being monitored who otherwise would have gone to jail, and for those serving misdemeanor sentences through monitoring rather than being ordered into custody, Gregory said.

The numbers change almost daily, but recently there were 77 people being monitored who would otherwise be in jail, and another category of 373 people who were sentenced to the ankle bracelets for their misdemeanor convictions.

Movement is confined to home, work, and essentials such as grocery stores and physician visits. “If they have a job, the benefit of having them go to work is they can support themselves and pay for the program,” Gregory said.

The virtual inmates who would have gone to jail also have case managers in addition to electronic monitoring.

In 2012, the supervised electronic confinement program resulted in vacating 18,215 daily jail bed spaces, according to a report filed with supervisors earlier this month by the Probation Department on various aspects of realignment and how it has affected the county criminal justice system.

The same report said the sheriff’s office was investigating the possibility of adding an alcohol monitoring program, to include breath sample analysis and GPS electronic monitoring, combined with an alcohol education abuse-prevention program for low-level offenders, “with the offender paying for the services when practical, as opposed to incarceration without addressing the inmates underlying programming needs.”

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Just because Christopher Dorner was not actually 'captured and convicted,' donors should not be able to weasel out of paying their pledged part of the reward

LAPD obtained pledges totaling $1.2 million from a number of businesses, law enforcement organizations, cities, etc. to be used as a reward for information leading to ‘the capture and conviction’ of sicko psycho ex-cop cop-killer Christopher Dorner. So far two parties have come forward to claim the reward, but several of the donors say they will not fulfill their pledges because Dorner committed suicide and thus was neither captured nor convicted.

The City of Riverside, which lost one of its police officers to Dorner’s murderous crime spree, has announced it will not provide the $100,000 it pledged because the terms for the reward – capture and conviction – were not met. Other donors, including a large police union, the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), are considering rescinding their pledges. Even the Los Angles Police Protective League (LAPPL) is considering whether or not to rescind its pledge.

In my opinion, the terms for the reward were met when information provided by several people led the pursuers to where Dorner was holed up. Never mind that shit about him not being captured and convicted. The donors are morally obligated to fulfill their pledges and should not rely on a technicality to weasel out of their obligation to provide the money.


In Florida v. Jardines (11-564), the Supreme Court banned drug detector dogs from sniffing around a home and the property it sits on without a search warrant. In rendering the court’s 5-4 decision, it is interesting to note that liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were joined by conservative justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

By Jesse J. Holland

Associated Press
March 27, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police cannot bring drug-sniffing police dogs onto a suspect's property to look for evidence without first getting a warrant for a search, a decision which may limit how investigators use dogs' sensitive noses to search out drugs, explosives and other items hidden from human sight, sound and smell.

The high court split 5-4 on the decision to uphold the Florida Supreme Court's ruling throwing out evidence seized in the search of Joelis Jardines' Miami-area house. That search was based on an alert by Franky the drug dog from outside the closed front door.

Justice Antonin Scalia said a person has the Fourth Amendment right to be free from the government's gaze inside their home and in the area surrounding it, which is called the curtilage.

"The police cannot, without a warrant based on probable cause, hang around on the lawn or in the side garden, trawling for evidence and perhaps peering into the windows of the home," Justice Antonin Scalia said for the majority. "And the officers here had all four of their feet and all four of their companion's, planted firmly on that curtilage — the front porch is the classic example of an area intimately associated with the life of the home."

He was joined in his opinion by Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The four justices who dissented were Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Samuel Alito.

It's not trespassing when a mail carrier comes on a porch for a brief period, Alito said. And that includes "police officers who wish to gather evidence against an occupant," Alito said. "According to the court, however, the police officer in this case, Detective Bartelt, committed a trespass because he was accompanied during his otherwise lawful visit to the front door of the respondent's house by his dog, Franky. Where is the authority evidencing such a rule?"

Alito also said that the court's ruling stretches expectations of privacy too far. "A reasonable person understands that odors emanating from a house may be detected from locations that are open to the public, and a reasonable person will not count on the strength of those odors remaining within the range that, while detectable by a dog, cannot be smelled by a human."

It was not the dog that was the problem, Scalia said, "but the behavior that here involved use of the dog."

"We think a typical person would find it 'a cause for great alarm' to find a stranger snooping about his front porch with or without a dog," Scalia said. "The dissent would let the police do whatever they want by way of gathering evidence so long as they stay on the base path, to use a baseball analogy — so long as they 'stick to the path that is typically used to approach a front door, such as a paved walkway.' From that vantage point they can presumably peer into the house with binoculars with impunity. That is not the law, as even the state concedes."

Thousands of dogs are used by governmental organizations around the United States to track criminals, sniff out illegal items like explosives at airports and search wreckage sites like bombed buildings and hurricane or earthquake-destroyed homes for injured people.

On the morning of Dec. 5, 2006, Miami-Dade police detectives and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents set up surveillance outside a house south of the city after getting an anonymous tip that it might contain a marijuana growing operation. Detective Douglas Bartelt arrived with Franky and the two went up to the house, where Franky quickly detected the odor of pot at the base of the front door and sat down as he was trained to do.

That sniff was used to get a search warrant from a judge. The house was searched and its lone occupant, Jardines, was arrested trying to escape out the back door. Officers pulled 179 live marijuana plants from the house, with an estimated street value of more than $700,000.

Jardines was charged with marijuana trafficking and grand theft for stealing electricity needed to run the highly sophisticated operation. He pleaded not guilty and his attorney challenged the search, claiming Franky's sniff outside the front door was an unconstitutional law enforcement intrusion into the home.

The trial judge agreed and threw out the evidence seized in the search, but that was reversed by an intermediate appeals court. In April a divided Florida Supreme Court sided with the original judge.

That ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court's decision, the latest in a long line of disputes about whether the use of dogs to find drugs, explosives and other illegal or dangerous substances violates the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure. The court has OK'd drug dog sniffs in several other major cases. Two of those involved dogs that detected drugs during routine traffic stops. In another, a dog hit on drugs in airport luggage. A fourth involved a drug-laden package in transit.

The difference in this case, the court said, is that Franky was used at a home.

"A drug detection dog is a specialized device for discovering objects not in plain view (or plain smell)," Kagan wrote in a concurring opinion. "That device here was aimed at a home — the most private and inviolate (or so we expect) of all the places and things the Fourth Amendment protects. Was this activity a trespass? Yes, as the court holds today. Was it also an invasion of privacy? Yes, that as well."

This is the second decision this year on the use of drug-sniffing dogs by police. The court unanimously ruled earlier in another Florida case that police don't have to extensively document the work of drug-sniffing dogs in the field to be able to use the results of their work in court.


If you’re going to play at being a cop, it’s not wise to have your wife and baby with you in your ‘cop’ car.

By Richard Connelly

Houston Press Hair Balls
March 27, 2013

There's no bigger thrill, if you're one of these people who like to imitate cops, than to blast on the party lights and blow by some dweebs who have to pull over. (Well, we suppose a bigger thrill for these idiots would be pulling over a drunk, credulous woman with big cleavage, but we digress.)

One should make sure, of course, that the dweebs you are forcing to pull over in the face of your mighty pseudocop superpowers are not themselves police officers.

And if you are unlucky enough to force over a police car, you should definitely make sure that your vehicle does not clearly contain a car seat in the back, since such accoutrements are not normally found in in police cruisers.

AND....if you somehow manage to ignore such caveats, for the love of Christ at least be a citizen of the country in which you're so flagrantly breaking the law.

Such are the difficult lessons learned by one Jose Luis Rodriguez-Treto, 28, a Mexican citizen who ran into some trouble in January.

On Jan. 22, 2013, two Homeland Security Investigations agents were in their unmarked government car and pulling off a highway near Brownsville when things began getting odd.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston:

__Rodriguez-Treto was driving his black Ford Escape and activated flashing white lights similar to those used in law enforcement vehicles from behind the agents. Based on the flashing lights and the type of vehicle, the agents believed they were being pulled over by an unmarked police vehicle.

__However, rather than pulling them over, Rodriguez-Treto passed them with the vehicle still displaying flashing white lights in front and flashing red lights in the rear. As he passed, the agents noticed a car seat in the back seat and believed him not to be a law enforcement officer. In fact, they thought they were observing a pseudocop vehicle on its way to, or coming from, a crime.

They followed and pulled Rodriguez-Treto over. He was driving with his wife and infant child and among his haul was...

__...a loaded pistol magazine in his pocket, a pistol hidden in the glove box, a pistol hidden in the diaper bag, a rifle under the back seat, police scanners, a badge stating "special police," and other law enforcement paraphernalia.

He's not only the police, he's the special police.

Rodriguez-Treto will remain in custody until his sentencing, where he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.


56-year-old Robert Foley is awaiting execution for the murder of six people between 1989 and 1991

Kentucky’s correctional authorities have been seeking hip replacement surgery for that scumbag at the taxpayers’ expense ….. and they weren’t kidding

After more than a year of efforts to find a facility to perform the surgery on 56-year-old Robert Foley, the University of Louisville Hospital and the University of Kentucky Medical Center turned down the state’s request

By Brett Barrouquere

Associated Press
March 26, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two Kentucky hospitals have rejected requests to perform a $56,000 hip replacement surgery on a death row inmate whose execution date could come this year.

After more than a year of efforts to find a facility to perform the surgery on 56-year-old Robert Foley, the University of Louisville Hospital and the University of Kentucky Medical Center turned down the state's request.

The decisions are noted in a court filing Tuesday. They leave Foley's immediate future in limbo, but he is one of two Kentucky death row inmates whose executions are waiting to be scheduled.

Foley was convicted of killing six people in eastern Kentucky in 1989 and 1991, making him the most prolific killer on the state's death row.

Kentucky is trying to restart executions after a nearly four-year delay.


I too feel better about Obama’s newfound views on Israel, but I have a real problem with his statement that the Israelis have a ‘true partner’ in peace with Palestinian President Abbas, a man who has continually and consistently declared that there will be only one state, a Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

By Jeffrey Goldberg

March 27, 2013

Operation Desert Schmooze, President Barack Obama’s two-day charm offensive in Jerusalem, achieved its central goal of convincing Israelis that the U.S. president, to invert an ancient stereotype, doesn’t have horns.

Obama’s achievements were partly symbolic. Merely by smiling and saying comforting words about Israel’s inherent legitimacy, he went a long way toward neutralizing a Republican propaganda campaign that was meant to convince Israelis (and American Jews) that he was the bastard offspring of Jimmy Carter and Haman.

Jonathan Tobin, formerly an acidic critic of Obama’s approach to Israel, wrote on Commentary magazine’s website that many of the president’s “Jewish and Democratic defenders have been to some extent vindicated and his critics chastened, if not silenced.”

The achievements were also substantive. Obama somehow convinced the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a man who does not spend his days looking for people to apologize to, that he should call the obstreperous Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to say how sorry he was for the loss of Turkish lives during the notorious flotilla conflict off the Mediterranean coast in 2010.

The apology is helping clear a path for cooperation between the two countries on other matters, including the fallout from the coming disintegration of Syria.

Netanyahu and Obama also discussed Iran, in an effort to coordinate their timelines for action against its nuclear program. The Israelis appear to have convinced Obama, if he needed further convincing, that an Iranian nuclear weapon posed an existential threat to Israel.

Obama succeeded in convincing the Israeli defense establishment that he means business when he promises to use military force against the Iranian nuclear project if sanctions and diplomacy fail.

In his speech last week before some 2,000 Israeli college students, Obama said, “I’ve made the position of the United States of America clear. Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. This is not a danger that can be contained, and as president, I’ve said all options are on the table for achieving our objectives. America will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

This speech was a rhetorical success, a tactical triumph and the highlight, most everyone agreed, of the trip. His expression of American support for Israel was so uncompromising, and so deeply felt, that when he pivoted, mid-speech, to ask Israelis to consider the suffering of Palestinians, he received a standing ovation.

The president learned, belatedly, the joy of speaking directly to Israelis, rather than addressing them through the filter of the American Jewish establishment.

But the moment of real clarity — the moment when it became clear to me that it is exceedingly difficult to quell Israeli anxieties about the president, about the U.S. and about the physical safety of their country — came a day later, at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial on the outskirts of Jerusalem, during a quiet ceremony before an audience that consisted mainly, it seemed, of White House pool reporters (me among them).

Obama spoke first, expressing a formulation that Israelis were waiting to hear. In 2009, in his Cairo speech to the Muslim world, Obama suggested that the Holocaust explained Israel’s existence and justified it. This notion is anathema to mainstream Israeli thinking.

Israel exists because it is the historic home of the Jewish people, not because Europe decided to solve its Jewish problem on the backs of Arabs. At Yad Vashem, Obama repudiated this portion of his Cairo speech. He said: “Here, on your ancient land, let it be said for all the world to hear: The state of Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust.

But with the survival of a strong Jewish state of Israel, such a Holocaust will never happen again.” The prime minister, standing by his side, seemed pleased.

Then came the former chief rabbi of Israel, Yisrael Meir Lau, who did not seem at ease.

Lau, who is the chairman of Yad Vashem, was one of the youngest survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp. The Germans killed his mother and father, and most of the rest of his family. Lau, looking directly at Obama, said: “I want to use this occasion as an opportunity for me to thank you. On April 11, 1945, in the concentration camp of Buchenwald, which you visited, the American troops broke into the camp” and liberated the Jewish prisoners, he said. He told of a Jewish army chaplain who walked through the barracks, crying out in Yiddish, “Jews, you are free!”

Lau went on to describe an encounter he recently had in Seattle with one of his liberators, an American named Leo Hymas. “He welcomed me with tears in his eyes; he knew that I was a Holocaust survivor, a child from Buchenwald. He shook my hand and said, ‘Rabbi, I was one of the liberators of Buchenwald. I asked permission to meet with you before I give my soul to the lord of the universe. I am asking you for forgiveness for being late. We came too late.’”

Lau looked at Obama. “Yesterday, Mr. President, you promised us that we are not alone. Don’t be too late.”

I heard subsequently that a number of senior Israeli military officers were upset with Lau for equating the helpless Jews of Buchenwald to the heavily armed Jews of Israel. Lau’s plea to Obama veered from the Zionist script. Israel was created so that Jews would never again have to rely on strangers for their lives. But Lau was recognizing something true about this moment in Israel’s history: There are some challenges that are too big for Israel to handle on its own. The threat of a nuclear Iran may be one of those challenges.

More than ever before, the defense of Israel appears to be in the hands of an outsider, a man who never imagined he would be charged with such a responsibility.


The Onion
March 27, 2013

WASHINGTON—Citing that a majority of Americans are irresponsible, easily distracted people who have little regard for other human beings, a new Department of Transportation report revealed Wednesday that it’s “actually kind of crazy” that U.S. citizens are allowed to drive automobiles.

“Americans make millions of mind-boggling, idiotic mistakes every day, and when taking into consideration the sheer amount of lives that could be lost due to just the slightest human error while driving, it’s actually pretty goddamn shocking that we let citizens operate 4,000-pound machines capable of going 200 mph,” the report read in part, later adding that if one truly thinks about who their neighbors, friends, and children are as people, the absolute last thing one would be comfortable with would be them merging onto a busy highway with cars traveling 85 mph. “Consider the average American on Facebook who says things like ‘first’ or makes a bizarre Monica Lewinsky reference out of nowhere. Now think of somebody dumber than that. That person’s allowed to drive, too. Pretty nuts, right?”

The report ultimately concluded that only 62 total Americans are intelligent and thoughtful enough to operate a motor vehicle.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


According to The New York Times, a study shows that halfway houses, both state-run and those run by private companies, are a flop at rehabilitation.

A study by the Pennsylvania Corrections Department of 38 privately run and 14 state-run halfway houses found that 67 percent of inmates sent to halfway houses were rearrested or sent back to prison within three years, compared with 60 percent of inmates who were released to the streets.

According to The Times, Pennsylvania’s corrections secretary, John Wetzel, who oversaw the study, called the system “an abject failure.” He said researchers had not pinpointed the reasons, but he said he suspected that some halfway houses were not providing adequate services. “I did unannounced tours at every one,” Wetzel said. “Sometimes I felt there wasn’t enough structured activity, more idleness than I was comfortable with. We’re not paying to let inmates watch Jerry Springer.”

There is no reason to believe that if a study were done of federal halfway houses and the halfway houses of other states, the results would be any different from those in Pennsylvania.

Billions of dollars have been spent – and now it looks like wasted – by the states and the feds on halfway houses. I was a parole agent when the concept started in California. The original concept, as I remember it, was primarily to give parolees who had no adequate living arrangements a place to live while they worked or looked for work, and they were to leave as soon as they had enough funds to obtain living arrangements on their own. While in the halfway houses, the parolees had to attend daily group counseling sessions. If they had no job, they had to look for work and had to help maintain the premises and do KP work.

The concept changed over time to where prison inmates were released to halfway houses because it was cheaper to house them there than in prisons. And, naturally, that started a new cottage industry of privately-run halfway houses.

If they went back to the original concept of giving parolees a temporary place of shelter with counseling and supervision instead of filling them up with inmates to save money on prisons, we might see a recidivism rate of less than two-thirds.


The listed cost totals for ex-presidents don’t include what the Secret Service spends protecting them, their spouses, and children

In fairness to the ex-presidents, the amounts spent are barely a drop in the total federal budget. But, should the taxpayers shell out any money for a bunch of rich guys?


Associated Press
March 26, 2013

Former President Bill Clinton’s 8,300-square-foot Harlem office near the Apollo Theater costs taxpayers nearly $450,000. George W. Bush spends $85,000 on telephone fees, and another $60,000 on travel. Jimmy Carter sends $15,000 worth of postage — all on the government’s dime.

The most exclusive club in the world has a similarly exclusive price tag — nearly $3.7 million, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. That’s how much the federal government spent last year on the four living ex-presidents and one presidential widow.

Topping the list in 2012 was George W. Bush, who got just over $1.3 million last year.

Under the Former Presidents Act, previous inhabitants of the Oval Office are given an annual pension equivalent to a Cabinet secretary’s salary — about $200,000 last year, plus $96,000 a year for a small office staff. Taxpayers also pick up the tab for other items like staff benefits, travel, office space and postage.

The $3.7 million taxpayers shelled out in 2012 is about $200,000 less than in 2011, and the sum in 2010 was even higher. It’s a drop in the bucket compared with the trillions the federal government spends each year.

Still, with ex-presidents able to command eye-popping sums for books, speaking engagements and the like in their post-White House years, the report raises questions about whether the United States should provide such generous subsidies at a time when spending cuts and the deficit are forcing lawmakers and federal agencies to seek ways to cut back.

Departing presidents also get extra help in the first years after they leave office, one reason that Bush’s costs were higher than other living ex-presidents. The most recent ex-president to leave the White House, Bush was granted almost $400,000 for 8,000 square feet of office space in Dallas, plus $85,000 in telephone costs. Another $60,000 went to travel costs.

Clinton came in second at just under $1 million last year, followed by President George H.W. Bush at nearly $850,000. Clinton spent the most government money on office space: $442,000 for his Harlem digs.

Costs for Carter, the only other living former president, came in at about $500,000.

Widows of former presidents are entitled to a pension of $20,000, but Nancy Reagan, the wife of former President Ronald Reagan, waived her pension last year. The former first lady did accept $14,000 in postage.

The cost totals for ex-presidents don’t include what the Secret Service spends protecting them, their spouses, and children. Those costs are part of a separate budget that isn’t made public.

Funding for ex-presidents dates back to 1958, when Congress created the Former Presidents Act largely in response to President Harry Truman’s post-White House financial woes, the Congressional Research Service said. The goal was to maintain the dignity of the presidency and help with ongoing costs associated with being a former president, such as responding to correspondence and scheduling requests.

These days, a former president’s income from speaking and writing can be substantial, and ex-presidents also have robust presidential centers and foundations that accept donations and facilitate many of their post-presidential activities.

Noting that none of the living ex-presidents are poor, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced a bill last year that would limit costs to a $200,000 pension, plus another $200,000 that ex-presidents could use at their discretion. And for every dollar that an ex-president earns in excess of $400,000, his annual allowance would be reduced by the same amount. The bill died in committee.


Or how to thin out the shallow end of the gene pool

By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
March 26, 2013

Last Thursday about 4:30 p.m., the cops in Huntington Beach, California responded to a call of a man and woman arguing behind an Italian restaurant. The man apparently said he had a gun and was threatening the woman.

When the cops showed up the man, Ian Christopher Berrier, 20, pulled a gun and the cops shot and killed him. The gun turned out to be a very realistic looking toy. The woman was not injured.

I realize it is harsh, but I tend to look at this as thinning out the shallow end of the gene pool.


The Onion
March 26, 2013

PYONGYANG—As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the constitutionality of banning same-sex marriage, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un told reporters that, considering he’s not a completely awful human being, he unequivocally believes that gay people should be able to marry.

“Of course I believe gay and lesbian couples should be treated equally under the law, for God’s sake; I’m not a monster,” the despotic leader said, adding that the idea of trying to stop a loving couple from legally marrying one another is not only wrong from a moral and ethical standpoint but also violates the Fourteenth Amendment. “I have no idea what’s going on with the justices over there, to be honest. The whole thing is a fucking embarrassment.”

Kim added that, should the Supreme Court not declare same-sex marriage constitutional in all 50 states, he would strongly consider launching a nuclear weapon at the United States.


By Punxsutawney Phil

The Unconventional Gazette
March 26, 2013

I am a rodent, not a meteorologist … I’ve been fooling your dumb asses all these years.

If you’re stupid enough to think a rodent can predict the weather, it’s no wonder you elected the political office holders you did!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


For a couple of years back in the mid-‘50s, I worked as a Drug Detail Man (Pharmaceutical Representative) for a leading drug company. Like all the Detail Men from other companies, I was in the business of promoting my company’s drugs to doctors and bribing them with all sorts of goodies to get them to use our products.

The drug companies tell us how much they spend on research and development and they do spend a lot of money doing that. But what they don’t tell us is how much money they spend on promoting their products. Those multi-color full-page ads in medical journals and other publications cost a ton of money. Those TV ads aren’t cheap either. Add to that the cost of sending out thousands of pharmaceutical representatives to doctors and pharmacies detailing their drugs and bribing doctors with interest free loans, all kinds of expensive little knickknacks and, in some cases, lavish entertainment for doctors, their nurses and their clerical staff.

I had one doctor in charge of a large clinic in Las Vegas come right out and tell me that he knew my product was superior to the drug from a competing company that he was using. When I asked him why his clinic was not using my drug while knowing that it was better, he came right out and said: “Once a month (the representative) from (the drug company) takes our whole office to a dinner show at one of the casinos. You do the same for us and we’ll start using (the product I was promoting).”

I suspect the pharmaceutical industry spends just as much, if not more, on promoting its drugs as it spends on research and development. Then, in order to make a profit, the prices of drugs are driven sky high.

By David Hendricks

Houston Chronicle
March 24, 2013

One of the worst problems in the health care industry - the artificially high cost of prescription drugs because of a rigged system reducing competition - is getting worse. And Congress won't do anything about it even though it would reduce deficit spending.

The Federal Trade Commission files lawsuits where it thinks it can make a difference, but the pharmaceutical companies are staying ahead of enforcement efforts.

The problem exists in the relationship between brand-name companies that make prescription drugs under patent and other drug manufacturers that make generic versions when the patents expire. The brand-name companies are making an increasing number of agreements to delay or prevent generics from reaching market with lower prices.

The FTC last month reported that in fiscal year 2012 that ended Sept. 30, drug companies made 40 "pay for delay" deals, which is significantly higher than the 28 deals made the previous fiscal year.

The agreements involved 31 pharmaceutical products with combined U.S. annual sales of more than $8.3 billion. The deals hurt everyone, both people taking pills and taxpayers.

"By delaying the entry of cheaper generics, pay-for-delay deals cost Americans $3.5 billion annually and will add to the federal deficit" because Medicare and Medicaid programs pay the higher costs for brand-name drugs the same as consumers do, the FTC said in a recent press release.

"The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that legislation restricting these agreements would reduce the debt by almost $5 billion over the next decade," the FTC added.

The deals between brand-name and generic companies usually come in the form of out-of-court settlements when brand-name companies seek to halt generics companies from making slightly different versions of a certain medication.

In the out-of-court settlements, the brand-name company sometimes paid the generic company to keep their products off the market for a certain period of time, hence the term "pay to delay."

But the deals are becoming more complicated to better skirt enforcement of weak anti-trust laws. Brand-name companies now are offering to keep their own "authorized generic," which is exactly the same medication that once was under patent protection, off the market if the generic companies also will delay putting out their versions. The generics go along with the deal because it reduces competition in the long term.

Consumer savings would be highly beneficial. In 2011, the FTC said generics usually cost 20 to 30 percent less, sometimes 90 percent less, than brand-name drugs. A month's supply of a brand-name drug costing $300 could be sold as a generic for as little as $30.

The FTC has one lawsuit pending before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case where a company making a testosterone-replacement drug called AndroGel allegedly paid generics competitors a share of its profits from sales of its patented product to keep the generics off the market.

Legislation to restrict the deals was proposed in 2011. The FTC is not aware of any pending legislation in the new congressional session.

How can Congress, as it considers the federal budget, not take steps that would save taxpayers and consumers money with one law that would stop obvious anti-competitive activity in a critical industry, health care?


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is now being recognized as a problem with police officers and other first responders.

By Cory Franklin
March 25, 2013

What connection could there be between a routine police traffic stop on a quiet Los Angeles street a half century ago and the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 50 years removed and 3000 miles away in Newtown, Connecticut?

The connection is real and tragic - police post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD, once associated primarily with soldiers, is now a well-recognized syndrome in police officers as well.

The aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting irrevocably altered the lives of the victims’ families. Now the first responders are also suffering profound repercussions. One Newtown police officer has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); other cases are anticipated. As a union lawyer for the police told the New York Times:

“Our concern from the beginning has been the effects of PTSD. We estimate it is probably going to be 12 to 15 Newtown officers who are going to be dealing with that, for the remainder of their careers, we imagine, from what we’ve been told by professionals who deal with PTSD.”

PTSD, once associated primarily with soldiers, is now a well-recognized syndrome in police officers as well. Years ago, before much was known about PTSD (not a recognized diagnosis until 1980), noted crime author Joseph Wambaugh vividly described a police officer suffering PTSD symptoms in The Onion Field, his superb 1973 book later made into a movie starring James Woods and Ted Danson.

During an uneventful patrol on a moonlit southern California night in 1963, two Los Angeles policemen, Ian Campbell and Karl Hettinger, noticed a suspicious vehicle with two men in it. After pulling the car over, Campbell, the senior officer, approached and asked the driver to exit the car. Events then took a horrific turn. Campbell was unaware the driver, Gregory Powell, a career criminal, had a concealed gun under the driver’s seat. As Powell exited the car, he maneuvered the gun with his foot, emerged holding the weapon, and quickly subdued the unsuspecting Campbell.

Powell, his gun in Campbell’s back, then ordered Hettinger to surrender his service revolver. At first, Hettinger refused, but with his partner’s life at stake, he reluctantly gave up his gun. Powell and his accomplice then kidnapped the two disarmed officers and drove them to a secluded rural road in an onion field about 100 miles away. They shot and killed Campbell but just as they were about to kill Hettinger, a cloud obscured the moonlight and Hettinger escaped in the darkness and confusion.

The two criminals were soon captured, convicted, and received long prison sentences. Campbell, married and a father of two young daughters, had a police burial with full honors including a team of bagpipers playing Amazing Grace, an LAPD tradition since his death. Wambaugh, a fellow LA police officer, decided to write The Onion Field because of what happened to the surviving officer, Karl Hettinger.

After the incident, the Los Angeles Police Department was only vaguely aware of the overwhelming guilt Hettinger was experiencing. Police brass sent him to police roll calls across Los Angeles and ordered him to describe the events of that evening, how he surrendered his weapon, and the devastating consequences. Being forced to recount the details over and over simply reinforced his anguish and the feeling that he was somehow responsible for Campbell’s death.

Depressed and finding it difficult to function, Hettinger was transferred to a less stressful job, as a driver for the police chief, but he soon began shoplifting openly in front of people. He stole trivial items he did not need and his behavior became so brazen he was forced to resign from the police force. He became a gardener in Los Angeles, and before dying in 1994, he relocated to Bakersfield, close to the Onion Field murder site, an intriguing postscript.

Hettinger’s tragic circumstance inspired policeman-turned author Wambaugh, who was quoted as saying:

“There wasn’t anything said in those days about post-traumatic stress syndrome, let alone as it affects police officers. Nobody talked about that, but I was thinking about it, there has got to be a story here. This honest cop is running around stealing everything he can get his hands on. Sounds to me like guilt crying out for punishment. I thought if I ever become a writer, I’d sure like to look into this … Sending that guy to roll calls and making him describe how he ’screwed up’ that night by surrendering his weapon. That kind of thing was probably more destructive to his psyche than the killing in the onion field. And what nearly destroyed him was the way that he was treated by the police department, but with no ill will and no malice. They didn’t know what they were doing to the guy, it was just ignorance.”

The 50th anniversary of the Onion Field murders was earlier this month. A sign was dedicated near the intersection of the traffic stop in memory of Ian Campbell. The LAPD has revised their procedures, advising officers never to surrender their weapons. Some closure was reached last year after Gregory Powell died in prison (his accomplice died years ago).

Shakespeare cautioned us to remember that what’s past is prologue. Today, we understand PTSD far better but the pall it casts never completely disappears. Now that lingering pall is thousands of miles away in distant Newtown.


Cold-case investigators and prosecutors throughout the country would be well advised to adopt the techniques now being employed by California prosecutors.

Old crime-scene evidence and court exhibits are being scrutinized in an effort to find material that can be compared with genetic profiles from unsolved cases

By Jack Leonard

Los Angeles Times
March 22, 2013

Opening a new frontier for solving cold cases, California prosecutors are hunting for DNA from killers, rapists and other prison inmates who died before authorities obtained their genetic profiles.

Prosecutors from Sacramento, Los Angeles and Orange counties are sifting through old court exhibits and examining long-since forgotten crime-scene evidence in search of blood, saliva and other material that can be tested for DNA. Once obtained, the DNA is compared with the genetic profiles from unsolved cases that have DNA from unidentified perpetrators.

Prosecutors say they believe the program is the first in the nation to target potentially thousands of offenders who have died in prison or while on parole before a biological sample could be tested for DNA as required by state law.

Last year, the program made its first cold-case hit after prosecutors discovered that coroner's officials in Sacramento still had blood from an autopsy conducted on serial killer Juan Chavez, who hanged himself in Folsom Prison in 1999. Chavez pleaded guilty to robbing and strangling five middle-aged men in Los Angeles County during the mid- to late 1980s.

Once Chavez's genetic profile was placed in the state's DNA criminal databank, authorities found that it matched DNA on a cigarette butt left at the Westlake-area apartment of a man strangled in 1990.

Although such successes will not usually help with a criminal prosecution, officials involved in the program say that knowing the full extent of dead offenders' crimes could help cold-case detectives avoid wasting time investigating other suspects and bring relief to crime victims and their families, who finally learn the truth about who was responsible.

"We owe it to these families — whether the person is dead or not — to provide the answers that they're entitled to. That's the primary goal," said Anne Marie Schubert, a supervising deputy district attorney in Sacramento who is spearheading the effort.

Similar attempts to use DNA from the dead generally have been limited to isolated cases. Three months ago in Illinois, for example, the Cook County Sheriff's Department announced that DNA from notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy had been added to the nation's databank of criminal offenders to help determine whether he was responsible for other murders around the country.

But Schubert said she believed the California program is the first to seek genetic profiles for large numbers of convicted offenders who are dead.

The law on who must provide genetic samples for testing has evolved over the last three decades as DNA technology has improved. Today, the law applies to anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony. Prison officials take saliva swabs from all inmates when they arrive in custody.

Although DNA extraction from the living has long proven controversial among privacy rights advocates, Michael T. Risher, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California who has litigated DNA privacy cases, said targeting dead inmates raises fewer privacy concerns.

Nevertheless, Risher said he would be concerned if prosecutors began trying to exhume bodies or seek blood or other samples provided during medical treatment. Going after medical samples, he said, could deter living inmates from seeking healthcare out of fear that what they provide to doctors could end up in the hands of law enforcement.

Veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor Carol Burke said she had considered whether hospitals might have samples that could help the program, but said privacy laws might make such attempts difficult. She said she and others would carefully consider the legal implications before trying such creative approaches.

"Emotionally, you want to react by saying, 'Let's get samples wherever we can, however we can.' But we're in a position here where we have to follow the law, and that's what we'll do," she said.

The program has made obtaining genetic profiles of inmates who died while on death row a priority.

Burke, who heads the Los Angeles County district attorney's sex-crimes division, said she personally tracked down biological samples from five death row inmates after they died.

Among them was Roland Norman Comtois, who was convicted of abducting two Chatsworth teenagers in 1987, killing one and leaving her friend for dead in an abandoned station wagon. Comtois died in 1994 from an infection following surgeries for chronic heart and bowel problems.

Burke said she was able to obtain his blood from clothes that Los Angeles police had kept after officers shot Comtois during his 1987 arrest for the slaying.

So far, however, DNA from Comtois and the four other Los Angeles County inmates who died on death row have not matched any profiles from unsolved cases.

"Even if we just get these few in, I think it's worth the effort," Burke said. "We solved one case, so to me that's rewarding and worth my time."


His lawyer claims the emails describing his client’s weirdo sexual desires were irrelevant because the lobbyist who made them available to a newspaper had been convicted of a crime. Yeah, right!

Democrat Joe Cryan sent lewd emails to lobbyist Karen Golding who pleaded guilty to stalking his girlfriend in 2006

By Kerry McDermott

Mail Online
March 25, 2013

A New Jersey politician referred to bondage and spanking in a series of lewd emails he sent to a female lobbyist who was later arrested for stalking him.

Karen Golding, who was detained in 2006 for stalking New Jersey Democrat Joe Cryan, said at the time she had been intimately involved with the politician - claims he has previously denied.

Now more than 150 graphic emails Mr Cryan, 51, sent to Golding - in which he instructed her to wear 'leather and boots' and invited her to surprise him at his office - have been published in a newspaper.

Mr Cryan was vice chairman of the state Democratic Party when he sent messages to Golding from the AOL email account listed on his official Assembly candidacy biography in 2004.

He also emailed her from his state government account and his account associated with his role as Union County undersheriff, according to the New York Post.

In one missive the Democrat - who is being touted as the party's next state chairman - asked Golding what she wanted to be 'spanked with', before adding: 'What will you wear to beg for it?'.

In other emails he referred to oral sex, 'Playboy-like' lingerie, and told Golding he was fantasising about her visiting him at his legislative office in Elizabeth, Union County, writing: 'Surprise visits are always nice'.

It is thought that Mr Cryan was sending the emails while at work, either in his role as an Assembly member or his $110,000 per year post as Union County undersheriff.

In one sent on July 21 2004, the politician asked the then lobbyist: 'You delete these emails, right?', as he urged Golding to dress up and surprise him at the Democratic National Convention in Boston the following week.

Mr Cryan served as Democratic Party state chairman between 2009 and 2010, and has recently been touted for a return to the role.

In 2006 Mr Cryan contacted police after Golding began harassing the politician and two women he dated, the report said.

She was convicted of stalking after she let herself into Mr Cryan's unlocked car and left a note.

Golding subsequently pleaded guilty to stalking one of the women.

Last month Golding filed the emails in Morristown Superior Court as part of a motion to reduce her sentence of two years' probation, 90 days on a sheriff's labour programme and $155 in penalties, the New York Post said.

A lawyer for the politician told the newspaper the emails were irrelevant, pointing out that Golding pleaded guilty to a crime.

Golding has declined to comment.


The Unconventional Gazette
March 25, 2013

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other option.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government c onceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c".. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f".. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vordskontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi TU understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

Monday, March 25, 2013


While Israel did not owe Turkey an apology for the raid on the blockade running shit, the Mavi Marmara, it looks as though President Obama persuaded Prime Minister Netanyahu to disavow his previous declarations that he would never apologize to Turkey for the raid that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals.


Israel Today
March 24, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday phoned his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to apologize over the deaths of nine Turkish nationals resulting from Israel's interception of a Turkish-led flotilla attempting to break the maritime blockade of Gaza three years ago. Many Israelis, including the soldiers involved in the raid, were not pleased.

The battle that erupted aboard the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, when Israeli commandos boarded it in May 2010 had led to a severe chilling of relations between Israel and Turkey.

For the past few years, Erdogan has led and international campaign against Israel, labeling the Jewish state as pirates and terrorists, and demanding an apology and compensation.

Israel initially rejected calls to apologize, noting that the blockade was legally enforceable under international law, and that the deaths aboard the Mavi Marmara only occurred because its passengers resorted to armed violence, including the brief abduction of at least one Israeli soldier.

But US President Barack Obama's visit last week seems to have softened Jerusalem's position. It is being reported that Obama was behind Netanyahu's call to Erdogan on Friday, during which the Israeli leader apologized to the Turkish people "for any operational errors that could have led to loss of life."

Netanyahu notably did not apologize for intercepting the flotilla, but did agree to compensation for some of the families of the deceased.

Erdogan reportedly accepted the apology, and Turkish officials immediately began speaking of a full renewal of the warm ties that for decades had made Turkey Israel's best friend in the region.

"Deep rooted, strong and historic friendship between the two peoples brought the apology and opened the door for Turkey and Israel to move forward," Turkish Ambassador to the US Namik Tan wrote on his Twitter account. "As we always said, only true friends apologize to each other."

Many of Netanyahu's more left-leaning coalition partners were also pleased by the move, noting the tremendous strategic importance of Israeli-Turkish relations. But others, like former (and future) Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said all Netanyahu had done was make Israel look weak in a region where looking weak is an invitation for violence.

"Israel's a serious mistake," said Lieberman in a statement released over the weekend. "Such an apology harms the motivation of soldiers and their willingness to go out on missions in the future and bolsters the radical elements in the region."

In interviews with Israel's Hebrew media, a number of the naval commandos who took part in the raid voiced similar concerns.

"I don’t feel we did anything wrong. We did the right thing, I’m not ashamed of it, and we have nothing to apologize for," a commando identified only as "N" for security purposes told Ma'ariv.

Another told Yediot Ahronot, "We fought aboard the [Mavi] Marmara in terrible conditions, and with this reconciliation agreement it seems that we’ve been given a cold shoulder."

It should be noted that Erdogan had already gone on the offensive against Israel prior to the flotilla incident, and many Israelis saw his harping on the Mavi Marmara deaths as nothing more than an excuse to heighten tensions.

In November 2009, Erdogan visited Sudan, where he insisted the mass killings in Darfur were a myth because "a Muslim can never commit genocide." By contrast, he clearly labeled Israel's Jews as genocidal for their purported "war crimes" in Gaza.

Earlier that year, Erdogan compared Netanyahu and his government to the Hamas terrorist organization.