Friday, February 28, 2014


In a 6-3 ruling, the three liberal justices - Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan - voted against upholding a consent search by LAPD, while the conservative and moderate justices ruled in favor of the LA cops

Election of a Democratic president in 2016, whether Hillary Clinton or another candidate, will lead to a liberal majority on the Supreme Court.

By Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors

February 27, 2014

The Los Angeles Times editorial board isn’t happy, but we could not be more satisfied that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week in favor of Los Angeles police officers in a key ruling on home searches.

The court ruled 6 to 3 that when occupants of a dwelling disagree on whether they will admit police without a warrant, the objecting occupant must be physically present. The ruling built on a 2006 decision in which the court said the consent of one person was not enough to allow police into a dwelling when another occupant is present and objects.

The rules don’t change if police have removed the objector, the court said – precisely what happened after Walter Fernandez was arrested and removed from his home.

Fernandez told the LAPD officers that they could not search his home without a warrant. The officers arrested him and took him to the police station, having followed him from the scene of a robbery. They then returned and got permission from a woman living with Fernandez, Roxanne Rojas, to let them look around. The officers found plenty of evidence – enough to earn Fernandez a 14-year prison sentence.

“An occupant who is absent due to a lawful detention or arrest stands in the same shoes as an occupant who is absent for any other reason,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority. Alito said there was no need for officers to obtain a warrant. When they arrived the first time, having followed Fernandez from the scene of a robbery, Rojas answered the door crying, with a bump on her nose and blood on her hands and shirt.

“Denying someone in Rojas’ position the right to allow the police to enter her home would also show disrespect for her independence,” Alito continued. “Having beaten Rojas, petitioner would bar her from controlling access to her own home until such time as he chose to relent.”

The Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is an important tenant of Americans’ freedom. That is why police generally need a warrant for their actions. But there are and need to be common sense exceptions, such as when an occupant of a dwelling consents. In Tuesday’s decision, the High Court further clarified the circumstances under which an exception may occur.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Stephen G. Breyer joined Justice Alito in the majority ruling. We thank them for their wisdom and understanding of what it takes to protect the safety and rights of law abiding citizens.


In his quest for the Nobel Peace Prize, Kerry is teetering on the verge of madness

Let’s face it, there is no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What satisfies one side is unacceptable to the other. And the refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, is a nonstarter.


Israel Today
February 27, 2014

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas became angry and threatened to walk away from the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris last week, the Palestinian daily newspaper Al Quds reported.

Citing Palestinian officials present at the meeting, Al Quds explained that Kerry presented Abbas with a new proposed peace framework that the fuming Palestinian leader proceeded to reject as “madness.”

According to the report, Kerry’s proposal required Abbas to publicly recognize Israel as the Jewish state, left security control of the Jordan Valley in Israel’s hands and obligated the absorption of 10 Jewish settlements into a future Palestinian state.

As icing on that bitter cake, the proposal granted the new Palestinian state a capital in the village of Beit Hanina on Jerusalem’s outskirts, rather than control over the entirety of eastern Jerusalem, as demanded by Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

The Palestinians accused Kerry and the Obama Administration of having completely adopted the Israeli peace conditions.

The details of Kerry’s proposal are likely to be tweaked in light of the Palestinian reaction. And when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Washington next week, he will come under pressure from President Barack Obama to officially accept that proposal, The New York Times reported.

Obama could appeal to Netanyahu that he has nothing to lose by accepting the Kerry proposal, as in its currently reported form it meets most Israeli peace conditions, and if the Palestinians continue to resist, they will be revealed as the true obstacle to peace.

Unfortunately, Israel has been lured into that trap before. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak went to Camp David in 2000 under similar assumptions. Even though it was clear to all that Arafat had scuttled the talks despite unprecedented land concessions by Barak, Israel was ultimately blamed for the ensuing wave of violence that engulfed the country.


Wednesday’s Borderland Beat contained extensive details of Operation Gargoyle, the month-long hunt for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, the head of the Sinaloa Cartel and the most wanted man in the world. I have chosen to post only the final 17 minutes of his capture.

From Borderland Beat:

At 5:45 a.m., Mazatlan time, on February 22, a hand-picked team of 30 Navy marines, who had arrived one by one from Culiacan so as not to attract attention, parked on the coast highway, entered the Miramar Tower condo building, secured the surrounding areas, placed a guard on an adjacent swimming pool in case the capo decided to escape by jumping from his window, questioned the watchman, broke first into Apartment 602, detained two apparently intoxicated persons, decided they weren't their targets and went down two floors to the fourth floor where they approached the front door of Apartment 401.

They were going to try to open the door with a key, a lock pick, but through the door they heard, so they tell us, the sound of an AR-15 being cocked. So they decided to bust the door quickly and the first thing they see in the entry room is a man called "Condor", "Chapo" Guzman's chief of security.

"Condor", according to the narrative, hides behind this door holding a weapon. The marines come in with a bulletproof shield and tell him, "Give up, Condor", and, according to this part of the narrative, he drops the weapon and is immediately apprehended.

A group of six marines go through this hallway in the apartment of a little over 100 meters square, where there is a wheelchair that, according to the building administrators, was ordered by "El Condor", who gave a false name when he registered, because he said he was going to bring up his grandfather. They don't eliminate the possibility that, as a disguise, they may have used the wheelchair to bring "El Chapo" up here in the elevator.

When they get here, according to what they tell us, the marine team breaks up into three parts. Two men go to this first room where there are two women and the two youngest daughters of the total of 16 children that "El Chapo" has fathered. The nanny was there, along with the cook that always traveled with "Chapo" wherever he went because they say he likes good food, and here were the two daughters. These two persons are secured.

Two men go through this door, not knowing it was a bathroom; they don't find anything.

And two men go on to the main bedroom, which is this one. According to the narrative from the Navy marines, they got to this point and saw a woman that was, shall we say, in a sleeping position, awake at 5:45 local time here in Mazatlan, 6:45 Central. She stands up and says there's nobody else, please don't touch her.

Then the marines go into (the room) to search. The closets and the bathroom door were closed, and when they cannot open it completely, that's when they call out to Joaquin Guzman to surrender, who, according to this part of the report, was hiding behind the bathroom door.

It's not until the third time they order him that he agrees to surrender, they bring him down, and that's where they handcuff him and he is secured. According to the report, the operation in the apartment took two minutes, and 17 minutes from the time they entered the building. According to the official report, they twice yelled at him to surrender, but he didn't respond. The third time was louder. Also, they told him the entire building was surrounded. And they called him by his nickname, "Chapo", using "tu" (you), the familiar form of address.

He stuck his head out and pulled it back. He showed his two empty hands and pulled them back again.

The marine trooper told him there might be gunshots. "Give up, Chapo," he yelled at him. The soldier recalls that the capo answered with an "Ok", repeated four times. He showed his body and they subdued him.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Mexican marines are to be commended for conducting a flawless operation during which no shots were fired and no one was injured. Our best police SWAT teams and our navy SEALs could not have performed any better.

Borderland Beat also reported on the interviews held with EL Chapo after his capture. He confessed to having killed between 2,000 and 3,000 persons, among them Tijuana cartel head Ramon Arellano Felix, but not Juan Jesus Cardinal Posadas Ocampo, one of Mexico’s two Roman Catholic Cardinals, who was shot to death in 1993 at the Guadalajara airport.


The Unconventional Gazette
February 27, 2014

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Thursday, February 27, 2014


Attorneys for Michael Taylor, who kidnapped, raped and murdered a 15-year-old Kansas City girl in 1989, lied – as attorneys always do – when they argued that the use of pentobarbital supplied by a compounding pharmacy would cause Taylor ‘severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain’

Taylor’s execution went off without a hitch Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. Missouri time. The Missouri Department of Public safety reported that Taylor took two deep breaths before closing his eyes for the last time. He was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m.

The Supreme Court denied the last minute appeal by Taylor’s attorneys claiming that the use of pentobarbital supplied by an unknown compounding pharmacy had him facing inhumane pain and suffering in violation of constitutional guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment.

Taylor’s 15-year-old victim was the one subjected to prolonged inhumane pain and suffering when she was brutally raped and then left to die for half an hour after she was viciously stabbed 10 times.

Taylor became the fourth Missouri inmate put to death since last November and the 72nd Missouri inmate executed since 1976. Jeffrey Ferguson, who kidnapped, raped and murdered a 17-year-old girl 25 years ago, is scheduled to be executed March 26. I’ll be damned if Missouri isn’t outpacing Texas in carrying out the death penalty.

After the injection of pentobarbital, Taylor went to sleep like a baby. His attorneys knew they were lying with their outlandish arguments about cruel and unusual punishment. Look for Jeffrey Ferguson’s attorneys to file a last minute appeal using the same phony arguments.

In Taylor’s case, it would have been cruel and unusual punishment if the authorities had gotten another inmate to rape the scumbag and then stab him 10 times, making sure it would take him half an hour to croak. Come to think of it, that would have been quite appropriate and would have served the cause of justice rather well.


German scientists found two people who died for no other reason than that they smoked marijuana

It has always been known that marijuana used together with other drugs can be fatal, but a February 20 article in New Scientist indicates that marijuana use by itself can be deadly.

From the article, Cannabis Can Kill Without the Influence of Other Drugs:

Benno Hartung of University Hospital Düsseldorf in Germany and his colleagues conducted post-mortems on 15 people whose deaths were linked to cannabis use. To rule out other factors that might have contributed to death, such as alcohol use or liver disease, they performed numerous tests, including an autopsy, a toxicology exam, genetic tests and histological analysis of all organs. "It's a diagnosis of exclusion so you have to rule out all other possibilities," says Hartung.

Two of the deaths could not be attributed to anything but cannabis intoxication. Both were men who died of cardiac arrhythmia – when the heart beats too quickly or slowly. The team surmises that this was triggered by smoking cannabis. Both men had enough THC – an active chemical in cannabis – in their blood to suggest they had taken cannabis within hours of death. Neither had a history of cardiovascular problems or channelopathies – diseases that increase the risk of heart problems by affecting ion channels. "We did every test we could," says Hartung.

The New Scientist article also reports that earlier this month a British coroner found that a 31-year-old woman died from a marijuana overdose.

Although such deaths are rare, they do debunk the persistent claim put forth by the proponents of pot that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol. Other studies have shown a link between marijuana use and an increased risk of schizophrenia, depression and a lowering of IQ among young users. Studies have also shown that marijuana smoke is loaded with carcinogens. And it has been well established that operating a motor vehicle under the influence of pot is highly dangerous.

President Obama put his mouth in motion before he put his brain in gear when he told The New Yorker magazine that marijuana was less harmful than alcohol. Or could Obama have been lying as he did repeatedly in trying to sell his Affordable Care Act?


That’s what King City gets for not paying its cops what Los Angeles and San Francisco pay theirs.

By Lee Romney

Los Angeles Times
February 25, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO -- A top Monterey County prosecutor confirmed Tuesday that a group of former and current King City police officials -- including the longtime former chief and acting chief -- have been arrested in connection with a district attorney's investigation.

Chief Assistant Dist. Atty. Terry Spitz declined to release details of the arrests and charges before a 2 p.m. news conference in Salinas, the county seat. King City, an agricultural town with a population of about 13,000, sits 50 miles to the south on Highway 101 in the Salinas Valley.

The officers arrested were identified in media reports as longtime Chief Nick Baldiviez, who retired in September; acting Chief Bruce Miller, Sgt. Bobby Carrillo and officers Mario Mottu Sr. and Jaime Andrade.

The Monterey County Herald reported that an official at the Monterey County Jail had confirmed Tuesday morning that at least four of the officers were in custody on charges ranging from embezzlement by a public officer to bribery.

Baldiviez, 49, of Bradley was in the process of being booked on embezzlement charges, the paper reported. His bail was set at $10,000. Miller, 49, of King City was booked on suspicion of bribery and his bail set at $20,000.

Carrillo, 44, of Soledad, was in custody and suspected of conspiracy to commit a crime and bribery by a public officer, with bail set at $60,000. Mottu, 53, of Greenfield, was arrested on a warrant alleging embezzlement by public official. His bail was $10,000.

According to the newspaper, the jail official said his records did not show Andrade was in custody, though Spitz confirmed he was arrested and said more arrests may follow. The four officers in custody were expected to post bail Tuesday, the Herald said.

NBC affiliate KSBW said that Spitz had confirmed a sixth unnamed officer was also arrested.

In mid-January, the station reported that search warrants had been services at the homes of Carrillo and Ken Tippery, an IT manager who regularly does consulting work with the city.

A sign reading "closed" was posted on the front door of the King City Police Station, which has a sworn force of 17. But Mayor Robert Cullen said in a phone interview that only the office was closed because the counter technician was out.

The Sheriff's Department has a small office in King City and is providing assistance and patrol officers, said Cullen, who was awaiting details on the charges.

"If someone picks up the phone and dials 911 they will have an officer who is going to respond in a timely manner," Cullen said. "That's important for people to know."

UPDATE: The latest reports say that Acting Chief Bruce Edward Miller, former Chief Dominic David Baldiviez, Sgt. Bobby Javier Carrillo and Officer Mario Alonso Mottu Sr. were involved in a scheme to sell the impounded cars of poor Latinos who could not come up with the fees to reclaim them. In some instances, the officers just kept the cars for themselves. Whether the cars were sold or kept by the officers, those cops were in fact stealing the cars.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


A ‘one state’ solution is also what the Palestinians have in mind, but their state is judenfrei.

By Elliot Jager

February 25, 2014

In her forthcoming book "The Israeli Solution – A One State Plan for Peace in the Middle East," columnist Caroline Glick is calling on Jerusalem to jettison the two-state approach, annex the West Bank, and apply sovereignty over the area.

Such a move would benefit Washington, Glick said in an interview with Newsmax prior to leaving Israel for the United States. America's attachment to the two-state solution involving a Palestinian state alongside Israel has been "devastating" to its interests, resulting in uninformed and incoherent U.S. policy in the region, Glick said.

President Barack Obama is certain to oppose applying Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank, "but he's not going to be the president forever," Glick said.

She described Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as trying to buy time so that Israel can make it through the Obama administration with the "minimum damage" possible.

One purpose of Glick's stay in the United States — which begins Tuesday — is to make the case that the Republicans also do not have a coherent Middle East policy. "They have isolationism on the one hand of the [Kentucky Sen.] Rand Paul variety, and they have neo-conservatism on the other, with [Arizona Sen.] John McCain — both clearly discredited by events. The American people don't support either of them."

Her one-state solution would give the United States a new policy based on strengthening allies, to minimize U.S. overseas military deployments while still securing American interests.

This could be an important foundation for a future Republican foreign policy, Glick told Newsmax.

"Right now we have to build a support base for this in" the United States looking toward the post-Obama era.

U.S. policy toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is rooted in a series of fallacies that Glick's book criticizes.

Washington erroneously believes, Glick told Newsmax, that the source of the Arab conflict with Israel, and the pathologies roiling the Arab world, are explained by the absence of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

Washington further inaccurately believes that the Palestinian Arabs are interested in a West Bank state; that the absence of such a state will demographically endanger the Jewish majority of Israel; and that Palestinian legal rights to the West Bank trump Jewish legal rights to the area, Glick said.

Glick lays out scenarios for how different groups would react to an Israeli declaration of sovereignty.

The Palestinians in the West Bank would be the primary beneficiaries since they would receive full civil rights equal to those of all Israelis, including automatic permanent residency. They would enjoy the right to vote in local elections – and to apply for Israeli citizenship. Only active or past membership in a terrorist organization, or a history of incitement to anti-Semitism, would disqualify anyone from citizenship.

Glick dismisses the argument that a growing Arab population once incorporated into Israel proper would be a demographic time bomb.

She says that the Palestinians have purposefully inflated their numbers, and that the United States and Israeli doves have played along as the only way to persuade ordinary Israelis— and the pro-Israel community in the United States — to abandon the strategic territory.

Glick said that between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea there are 6.1 million Jews and 3.2 million Arabs, meaning there is a 2-1 Jewish majority and that, moreover, birthrate trends are in the Jewish favor. Glick said there is no need to factor in about 1 million Arabs in Gaza, which Israel quit in 2005 and is now under Hamas control.

She does not expect the Palestinians to embrace Israeli sovereignty but expects they would not be able to torpedo the move. Nor does she believe surrounding Arab countries would respond to the Israeli application of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Hezbollah, the dominant force in Lebanon, might react if they were free to do so, Glick said.

Glick anticipates that the strongest negative reaction would come from Europe because pushing for a Palestinian state is the only foreign policy plank that unites the region. "If we take it away from them, we're taking away their only cause."

Any sanctions beyond existing "economic warfare" by Europe against Israel would depend on Washington's reaction, Glick said. European actions would also be mitigated by Israel's growing trade with Asia and its promising energy independence.

Within Israel, Glick told Newsmax, multiple ministers in the government and the majority of Likud Party backbenchers support applying sovereignty. Building popular consensus for sovereignty will not be difficult since public opinion surveys show a majority of Israelis favor the idea.

The problem, Glick says, is that for 40 years there has been no serious discussion about applying sovereignty, only about conceding territory.

Glick tells Newsmax, "This is a very optimistic plan. Not optimistic in a Pollyanna-ish sort of way, since the book points out all of the dangers of this initiative. But it is rooted in the understanding that Israeli society is extremely strong. We get stronger with each passing day. Our economy is very strong and growing. Our people are very vibrant, involved, and patriotic. The time is ripe to seize the moment."


Here in Texas we have better sense than to let boys in public schools use the girls' restrooms and vise versa. But this is Texas, not Kookfornia.

California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen invalidated around 98,000 signatures on a ballot measure to repeal the law. kl2008a, a PACOVILLA follower, said: Like in voting, it’s not the votes that counts, it’s who counting the votes that does.

By Christopher Cadelago

The Sacramento Bee
February 24, 2014

Efforts to overturn a law shielding transgender students stalled Monday, with advocates of the repeal failing to gather enough signatures to qualify for the statewide ballot.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced that the referendum on Assembly Bill 1266 finished about 17,000 signatures short of the 504,760 valid names needed to go before voters.

Proponents of the repeal submitted nearly 620,000 signatures and still have the opportunity to review the rejected names and challenge any they believe were improperly excluded.

The bill has become a flashpoint in the debate over supervising school facilities and the latest turn in the state’s culture wars. It permits transgender public school students to join athletic teams and access facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identities instead of their sex.

Transgender individuals identify with a gender different from their sex at birth. The measure’s author, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, said one good thing to come from the “misguided” referendum attempt was that supporters were given another forum to educate people.

“It’s important that we begin to understand what transgender students are going through,” said Ammiano, D-San Francisco. “I wish it was just a matter of ignorance. The forces putting this referendum together included the people that make money off promoting hate and professional fearmongers, who took advantage of what other people didn’t understand.”

“Although it’s clear that California is moving in the direction of equality and respect, this does not mean the struggle is over … The people who belittle the rights of transgender students should know their efforts encourage the bullies. It is their intolerance that allows the violence to continue, and that violence affects every child, not just transgender students. They should be ashamed.”

Some school districts have already moved to accommodate their pupils. In December, Sacramento Unified School District approved a policy to extend new rights and protections to transgender students.

Meanwhile, repeal supporters said the fight isn’t over.

“Only after the secretary of state announces her count do we get a chance to look at the signatures that were thrown out and begin to challenge those results,” proponent Gina Gleason said.

They contend that their collection of 619,381 signatures demonstrated the degree of opposition to a measure that opens sensitive areas to the “opposite sex.”

The coalition called Privacy for All Students maintained the law makes other students uncomfortable and infringes on the will of public school parents. Karen England, a leader of the coalition, said in the months since the governor signed the bill they have watched the issue grow from another odd California proposal to a national push to sexually integrate bathrooms and locker rooms.

“AB 1266 has highlighted the contrasting approaches of those who believe that public policy should be shaped by an individual’s self-described sexual identity and those that believe that public policy should reflect sexual reality,” England said. “While we have compassion for those who are uncomfortable in traditional, sex-separate bathrooms, we also have compassion for those who see their privacy and safety jeopardized when boys and girls are forced to share bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.”

The campaign, led by Frank Schubert, who earlier helped run Yes on Proposition 8, has been marked by bursts of drama.

Last month, the measure moved to the full signature count after county election officials determined it did not have enough valid signatures to succeed by random sample.

That came after Bowen declined to count more than 5,000 signatures from Tulare and Mono counties that came in two days after the Nov. 10 deadline. A judge in Sacramento ruled the late submission was appropriate because Nov. 10 fell on a Sunday and Nov. 11 was Veterans Day.


Bible in shirt pocket stops two bullets fired by thugs who said “it’s time to kill a polar bear if you want to be all the way in the club."

To be all the way in the club is believed to have meant to become full-fledged members of a street gang. Polar bear, of course, refers to whites. The bus driver described his three attackers as young black males, likely in their late teens.


Associated Press
February 25, 2014

Police in southwest Ohio were seeking three men Tuesday in the shooting of a transit bus driver they say survived with the apparent help of a biblical booklet in his shirt pocket.

The Regional Transit Authority bus driver told police Monday he was standing outside the vehicle when the men shot at him three times, with one bullet hitting his leg.

Rickey Wagoner, 49, told police he fought back and the men ran away after he stabbed one with a pen.

In a 911 call, Wagoner said he felt two shots to his chest, but he didn't think the bullets got through the booklet in his shirt pocket. Dayton police said two small-caliber bullets hit the booklet called "The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language."

"It just feels like I've been hit with a sledgehammer," Wagoner said. "I've got a book in my pocket and I don't think they made it through this book."

The Dayton Daily News reported that police said Wagoner was recovering in a hospital from injuries, which also included a stab wound to his arm. They said the assault appeared to be random.

Police said Wagoner, of Trotwood, had stopped his bus to check a possible mechanical problem. After the assault, he drove to a nearby regional transit hub and called 911.

"Amazingly, his injuries are not life-threatening," Dayton Police Sgt. Michael Pauley said.


The Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) blasts Obama for his stance on gay marriage and calls for the impeachment of Eric Holder who ‘will go down in history as the worst attorney general’

I do not know whether Holder should be impeached for his stance on gay marriage, but I do +believe he should be impeached for failing to enforce the federal laws against marijuana.

Conservative black preachers conclude that going after the nation’s first black president would be a losing battle

By Tim Devaney and Ben Goad

The Hill
February 25, 2014

A group of conservative black pastors called Tuesday for Attorney General Eric Holder’s impeachment, saying the Obama administration has “sold out” with its support for gay marriage.

The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) is targeting Holder after concluding that going after the nation's first black president would be a losing battle.

"If Obama was a white man, he would be impeached," said Rev. William Owens, the group’s founder and president. "Obama has been given a free pass to do what he pleases, but I don't give him a pass. I'm very black, been black all my life. He doesn't get a pass. I don't give him a pass."

The group is launching an effort to gather a million signatures in support of Holder’s impeachment.

"He will go down in history as the worst attorney general," Owens said.

As of late Tuesday morning, however, only 81 people had signed an online petition backing the effort.

The effort comes as Holder, addressing the nation’s attorneys general, defended the Obama administration’s decision in 2011 to stop supporting the federal ban on gay marriage, which later was struck down in a major Supreme Court ruling.

“This marked a critical step forward, and a resounding victory for equal treatment and equal protection under the law,” Holder said Tuesday at the National Association of Attorneys General winter meeting in Washington.

In his remarks, Holder noted some states, including Pennsylvania, Nevada, Virginia and Oregon, had reached similar determinations. He suggested attorneys general need not defend state bans on same-sex marriage, if they find them to be discriminatory.

“Any decisions — at any level — not to defend individual laws must be exceedingly rare. They must be reserved only for exceptional circumstances,” Holder said. “And they must never stem merely from policy or political disagreements — hinging instead on firm constitutional grounds.

The black pastors said it is a shame that President Obama has used the civil rights movement as a platform to champion gay rights.

"It's a disgrace that this man has stood on the shoulders of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.," Owens said. "I detest them calling this a civil rights movement. It's not a civil rights movement; it's a civil wrongs movement."

"He's used his blackness to get away with some of the things he's gotten away with," Owens added.

CAAP bills itself as a “grass-roots movement of Christians” that is “not affiliated with any political party or religion.” According to published reports, the group has “deep conservative ties.”


The former vice president is highly critical of the Obama administration’s plan to cut the military.

Says proposed Pentagon cuts would leave American military might dangerously compromised

February 25, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney is adding his voice to the chorus of Republicans speaking out against Pentagon plans to cut troop levels to the lowest in almost 75 years.

Speaking on Fox News, Cheney warned the cuts are dangerous. “The fact of the matter is having a huge impact on the ability of future presidents to deal with future crises that are bound to arise.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the plans to shrink the armed forces, close bases and focus on a more nimble military to face a “more volatile, more unpredictable” world.

Cheney expressed the fear that the cuts would sacrifice American military superiority.“They’re basically making the decision in the Obama administration that they no longer want to be dominant in the seas and skies and space,” Cheney said, “And their budget reflects that.”

Cheney concluded the President “would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would a strong military or support for our troops.”

At the core of Hagel’s plan is the notion that after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that proved longer and more costly than foreseen, the U.S. military will no longer be sized to conduct large and protracted ground wars. It will put more emphasis on versatile, agile forces that can project power over great distances, including in Asia.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Attorneys for Michael Taylor, scheduled to be put to death Wednesday, have files a last minute appeal challenging the use of pentobarbital that was obtained from a compounding pharmacy for his execution

In March 1989, while she was waiting for a school bus in Kansas City, Mo., Ann Harrison, 15, was forced into a stolen car by Michael Taylor and Roderick Nunley. After Taylor raped her, the two African-American gentlemen tied the white teen up in the trunk of the stolen car. Harrison begged for her life, but the two scumbags each grabbed a knife and stabbed her 10 times. The medical examiner testified that it took about half an hour for the teen to die after she had been stabbed.

Taylor and Nunley were sentenced to death in 1991. After their sentences were overturned, they were resentenced to death in 1994.

Taylor is due to be executed Wednesday. The state of Missouri was going to obtain the lethal dose of pentobarbital from the Apothecary Shoppe, a compounding pharmacy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But when it became known that the pharmacy was going to supply the lethal drug, it refused to do so. The state has found another supplier and is trying to keep its identity secret.

Naturally, his attorneys have filed a last minute appeal, arguing that the use of pentobarbital supplied by a compounding pharmacy would cause Taylor ‘severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain’ in violation of constitutional guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment.

The controversy over the use of pentobarbital has thoroughly pissed off Ann Harrison’s family and friends, especially since the 25th anniversary of her murder is approaching. They are furious that all the attention is being given to Taylor’s possible suffering, while hardly anyone seems to care about the teen girl's murder.

I agree with Harrison’s family and friends. Although there is no evidence that Taylor will suffer any discomfort during his execution, I hope he does experience some pain and suffering – actually a lot of it! After all, his 15-year-old victim experienced considerable pain and suffering while she was being raped and then stabbed 10 times.


After immediately reporting that she had found two of her 5-year-old students naked in the class bathroom, school authorities immediately suspended the 15-year veteran kindergarten teacher and intend to fire her

Here we have a crystal-clear case of shooting the messenger. Firing a kindergarten teacher because she reported catching two 5-year-olds, a boy and a girl, naked in the bathroom and telling her they were having sex, is outrageous. If any discipline is called for, at most it should be a written reprimand for allowing the two students to go to the bathroom together, if that’s what the teacher did.

I keep wondering how these little kids got the idea of having sex and what they actually did before the teacher caught them. It looks to me like the only ones that need disciplining in this case are some parents.

By Michelle Brunetti Post

Press of Atlantic City
February 23, 2014

MULLICA TOWNSHIP — Residents and teachers in this rural community are rallying around a veteran teacher who may lose her job after she found two of her kindergarten students naked in her classroom bathroom and promptly reported it to a principal.

Superintendent Brenda Harring-Marro has filed tenure charges against the teacher, Kelly Mascio, of Mullica Township, said Mullica Township Education Association President Barbara Rheault.

“Our main concern is that the administration has completely forgone all traditional disciplinary avenues available in handling the incident,” said Rheault, who is also a township committeewoman. “The administration has selected a disciplinary route that has resulted in enormous emotional and professional turmoil, and has strained the confidence and trust of school staff, parents and community members.”

Mascio, who has been teaching for more than 15 years and has children in Mullica Township schools, has been suspended with pay since a Sept. 30 incident in her classroom. According to a police report, two 5-year-olds — a boy and girl — went into the in-classroom bathroom together. Mascio found them naked in the restroom, and they told her they were “having sex,” according to the report.

Mascio immediately reported the incident to Principal Matthew Mazzoni, who in turn advised the Police Department and the state Department of Youth and Family Services, according to the police report. Mascio was immediately suspended.

The police closed the case, finding no reason to pursue criminal charges, according to the report.

The Board of Education met Wednesday night in executive session to determine whether to certify the charges, which would bring the issue before a state arbitrator to decide if Mascio can be fired.

About 200 people came out in Mascio’s support, but the board refused to tell the public whether it had certified the complaint, Rheault said.

She added that Sept. 30 was a highly unusual day, and children were moving in and out of Mascio’s classroom for MAPS benchmark testing.

Mascio declined comment, as did Board of Education Solicitor Will Donio.

Carol Kienzle, of Egg Harbor City, said her nephew’s children had Mascio as a second-grade teacher, and this was Mascio’s first year teaching kindergarten. Kienzle said Mascio is a much beloved teacher and has the support of many parents in the community.


Unhappy with daughter’s grades, Ruth Nathalie Perkins entered a temporary classroom, cursed the teacher in Spanish, threatened to kill her and scratched her face before two students pulled her off the victim

I’ll bet that in those worthless college teacher education courses, the professors never warned this teacher and her fellow teacher wannabees they might get the shit kicked out of them by an angry parent and how to handle such a situation should it ever occur.

Ruth Nathalie Perkins, 42, is accused of attacking chemistry teacher Elvira Tomlin on Thursday while she was teaching 20 students after hours in a portable classroom at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida

Mail Online
February 24, 2014

A 42-year-old mother has been accused of beating up and threatening to kill her daughter's chemistry teacher over bad grades.

Ruth Nathalie Perkins has been charged after allegedly attacking Elvira Tomlin as she taught about 20 students after hours at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida on Thursday.

Perkins stormed into the portable classroom and began cursing at Tomlin in Spanish, even threatening to murder her, according to the arrest affidavit.

When Tomlin tried to call for help, Perkins allegedly knocked her phone off the desk and slapped her cell phone out of her hand.

Click Orlando reported Tomlin told Perkins to leave the room, but she refused.

Perkins then knocked Tomlin's glasses off her face and pushed her against a wall, scratching her face as Tomlin tried to push her away.

Two students were forced to pull Perkins off of the teacher and she left the classroom, according to the affidavit.

Perkins was allegedly furious at the grades Tomlin had given her daughter.

Perkins was later arrested in the school's parking lot.

An Orange County Public Schools spokeswoman said parents are not required to sign in at the front office before going to their child's classroom after school hours.

Click Orlando reported Tomlin wasn't seriously injured but her face was scratched near her left eye and her face was red, according to officials.

'I am shocked and saddened by the parent's actions,' Tomlin told Click Orlando.

'I feel bad for the students that witnessed the incident and were upset by it. I want to thank all of those that gave me their support during this difficult time.'

Perkins was held on $10,000 bail, but has since bonded out of the Orange County Jail, Sun Sentinel reported.

She has been charged with aggravated battery on a public or private education employee.


Naples is obtaining DNA samples from the city’s dogs to identify dog owners who face fines of up to $685 for letting their pooches poop on sidewalks

Nice try, but I do not think it will work because, like in most cities, there are more stray dogs than dogs registered to dog owners and many dog owners do not register their pooches.

By Jim Yardley

The New York Times
February 22, 2014

NAPLES, Italy — Problems? Yes, conceded Tommaso Sodano, the vice mayor here, Naples has problems. Unpaid debts have reportedly topped $2 billion. Many streets are pocked with potholes. The police department is underfunded, organized crime operates like a shadow state, and illegal dumps are scattered around what is still a grittily beautiful port city.

And then there is what dogs leave behind on the sidewalks.

Naples has no shortage of that, either. Yet to the surprise of some people, including more than a few Neapolitans, the municipal administration is trying to stake out a reputation as a civic innovator by positioning Naples at the cutting edge of dog-waste eradication. By taking DNA samples. Of dogs.

“I know some people find it funny,” Mr. Sodano said, smiling, “that with all the problems the city has, we would focus on dog poop. I know that.”

Well, yes, maybe it is a bit funny. But another thing also appears to be true: For many Neapolitans who must navigate the city’s sidewalks, the initiative is far from unwelcome. In the affluent neighborhood of Vomero, which is serving as a testing ground for the cleanup campaign, many residents are quite pleased, if surprised, that it is happening in Naples.

“This seems more German or Finnish than Italian,” said Virpi Sihvonen, a Finn who moved to Naples in the late 1980s after marrying a local man. In the mornings, Ms. Sihvonen said, she often watches a man release his three dogs into the streets to run off to do their business. He whistles, the dogs return, and their waste is left behind.

“He’s not the only one,” she added.

The problem is as universal as cockroaches, and seemingly as unsolvable. Urban dog ownership demands a balance of love and duty, and not everyone is dutiful about cleaning up after the morning walk. Cities have tried everything from the postal service (a Spanish mayor mailed the stuff back to dog owners) to shaming (some cities have publicized the names of offending owners) to bribery (some parks in Mexico City offered free Wi-Fi in exchange for bags of waste).

Naples has opted for science and technology. The idea is that every dog in the city will be given a blood test for DNA profiling in order to create a database of dogs and owners. When an offending pile is discovered, it will be scraped up and subjected to DNA testing. If a match is made in the database, the owner will face a fine of up to 500 euros, or about $685.

The DNA initiative might seem a tad ambitious for Naples, a city that struggles to collect the garbage. Apartment complexes and condo associations across the United States are increasingly using similar programs, but Naples represents a much bigger canine population, with estimates of more than 80,000 dogs in the city.

Mr. Sodano and other city employees are confident the program will work, noting that a similar campaign has been successful on the nearby resort island of Capri. In Naples, the campaign so far is limited to Vomero and the adjacent neighborhood of Arenella, and costs more than $27,000. Teams of police officers and health workers started joint patrols in January to spread awareness of the program and hand out a few fines. At the city’s veterinary hospital, technicians have taken blood samples from about 200 dogs, many of them accompanied by owners who were appalled by the problem.

“It’s really disgusting,” said Dr. Maria Teresa Ceccarelli, who came to the hospital with her rambunctious yellow Labrador, Tommy. “I don’t see people walking their dogs. I just see the results in the street.”

On a recent drizzly morning, Capt. Enrico Del Gaudio of the Municipal Police led a patrol down Via Luca Giordano, a major commercial street in Vomero, where several residents were walking their dogs before work. Dressed undercover in jeans and hiking boots for the patrol, Captain Del Gaudio is diplomatic — he describes dog waste as “presences” — and finds nothing silly about the campaign. At his children’s school, he is known as the dog-waste cop.

“I’m a hero,” he said, laughing.

He was especially proud of the condition of Via Luca Giordano, which was unscathed for blocks. Even though the city is still building its DNA database and has yet to start testing what it finds, he said, the program is already influencing public behavior.

“Now, when I walk the streets, the presences have greatly diminished,” Captain Del Gaudio said. “Before, it was like an obstacle course. Every day, a child would walk into school with a little gift under her shoe.”

Admittedly, there are still gifts to be discovered. An unguided tour along Via Aniello Falcone, a residential street here, revealed a proliferation of presences, including a few mashed with the footprints of unlucky pedestrians, evidence that Captain Del Gaudio’s work has only begun.

Daniele Minichini, an official with an independent police union, is not amused by this use of policing resources, especially in a city that is the headquarters of the Camorra mafia. For two decades, Officer Minichini has argued that money should be spent on better equipment or even uniforms for officers. He said Naples must improve the sewage system, the roads and other infrastructure — not focus on what dogs leave behind. He also predicted that costs would rise sharply once the program was expanded to other parts of the city.

“When you have a house to restore, do you first build a parquet floor?” he asked. “Or do you repair the walls and the windows?”

Mr. Sodano, the vice mayor, said the concerns about finances and administrative focus were understandable but misplaced. He said city officials were already trying to claw out of debt and address the city’s major problems. But he said the cleanup enforcement program was a chance to demonstrate municipal problem solving and to remind citizens that they have responsibilities, too.

“The main goal is respect for the rules,” he said. Nor, he added, should the city’s huge problems preclude Naples from doing the small things that keep it beautiful.

“Governing Naples,” he said, “certainly requires a sparkle of madness.”


The Unconventional Gazette
February 24, 2014

A man received the following text message from his neighbor:

I am so sorry Bob. I've been riddled with guilt and I have to confess something to you to get it off my chest. I have been tapping your wife, day and night whenever you're not around. In fact, probably more than you. I'm not getting it at home, but that's not an excuse. I can no longer live with the guilt so I had to tell you, and I hope you will accept my sincerest apology with my promise that it won't ever happen again.

Bob, anguished and feeling utterly betrayed, went into his bedroom, grabbed his gun, and without a word, walked over to his wife and shot her dead.

A few moments later, a second text appeared on Bob’s cellphone:

Damn autocorrect. I meant "wifi", Bob, not "wife". Sorry about the fuckup.

Monday, February 24, 2014


I was just sent a copy of a ‘Letter to the Editor’ that was published in a Morehead City, N.C. newspaper a year ago. While the letter is for real, I’m not sure whether it is a parody written by a Republican or whether the writer is really so stupid as to believe the Constitution’s requirement that the President be a ‘natural born citizen’ would disqualify anyone born by C-section from holding that office. Because the letter is too well written to be authored by a stupid person, I believe that 'PROUD TO BE A DEMOCRAT' is actually a Republican.

Here is that letter:

Carteret County News-Times | January 23, 2013

Beaufort, N.C.
Jan. 17, 2013


Republicans and “so-called” conservatives are at it again. They are claiming that the Constitution gives people the right to have guns without the permission of the government. If that were true, then how could New York and Chicago have laws against it?

We Democrats are sick and tired of Republicans constantly using the Constitution to cover up their true plans, which are to make us all afraid of everyone else. Our great president came from a civilized part of the country where there is strict gun control, and he is only trying to bring the benefits of that more modern way of living to the rest of us. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I’m quite certain that Chicago is a lot safer than Morehead City, when it comes to gun violence.

But do Republicans and conservatives listen to the voice of reason? No, of course not. All they want to do is whine and complain about how gun control and wealth redistribution violate the Constitution, as if the Constitution were all that great, anyway. There are a lot of things that need to be changed about the Constitution, I’d say, and President Obama needs to change it.

The Republicans are just trying to stand in the way, because the president is black. They even dared to question whether he was born in this country. I think all this demonstrates that the Constitution needs to be amended when it comes to the qualifications for being president. Right now, it says that a person has to be 35 years old and be a natural born citizen. Well, that is obviously unfair because there are a great many otherwise qualified people who cannot run for president because their mothers had to have a C-section. But because the Constitution was written a hundred years ago, nobody even thought of the discrimination that would result from a doctor having to deliver a baby in this unnatural way. Now that we Democrats are in control of the government, that’s just one more thing we should change in our drive to make life fair.

Please withhold my name because I don’t want to get crank calls.



Florida bank manager with a concealed carry permit was fired for bringing her gun to work in violation of employee rules

Although I am a strong proponent of our Second Amendment rights, I believe a private business has the right to prohibit employees from bring guns onto the premises even if they have a concealed carry permit.

By Jose Patino Girona

The Tampa Tribune
February 22, 2014

TAMPA — Ivette Ros grew up in a house where her father kept guns. For her, it was a natural step to get a concealed weapons permit and then to carry a 9 mm handgun.

The 37-year-old Tampa resident is a single mother of three children and said she carries the gun for safety.

“It’s just something about having it versus not having it,” she said. “I feel naked when I don’t have my gun.”

Her employer didn’t feel the same way. Carrying the gun got her fired, she said.

Ros has filed a lawsuit in circuit court against Wells Fargo Bank, which she said fired her last year from her job as manager at the bank’s Oldsmar branch. Her lawsuit says the firing violated her constitutional right to carry arms and asks for monetary damages and attorney fees.

“I’m a manager of a bank,” Ros said. “We have a lot of robberies that happen in our banks. I feel safer having that weapon if I ever needed to protect my employees.”

Ros said she sometimes left the handgun in her locked vehicle. Other times, though, she carried it into work concealed under her clothes or in her purse. She never openly displayed the gun, she said.

Last year, someone noticed she had a gun in the bank and reported her to bank officials. Corporate security investigated, and she was fired for violating the bank’s ban on employees carrying weapons into the building.

“I am within my constitutional right,” Ros said. “The bank is one of the places that I am able to carry a weapon to. My weapon was concealed. I have a certified license.”

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said the bank wouldn’t comment on a court case involving an employee. When it comes to employees carrying guns into the office, though, the company’s rules are clear, said Kathy Harrison, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman.

“Team members are strictly prohibited from possession of firearms and weapons on company premises,” Harrison said.

The company does offer exceptions when a state statute exists allowing for someone with a concealed weapons permit to keep a gun in their locked vehicle in the company parking lot, she said.

Ros’ attorney, Noel Flasterstein, said the company’s policy is illegal.

In Florida, he said, “Employers can’t discriminate against their employees nor can they discriminate against their customers if they are ... law-abiding, licensed concealed weapons permit owners.”

“Just because it’s in their handbook doesn’t mean it is correct or it will withstand a legal scrutiny or a legal investigation, which is what we’re doing in this case,” he said.

Jason Bent, an assistant professor of law at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, said the constitution limits the government’s ability to restrict gun possession. A private employer such as Wells Fargo is another matter, he said.

“There is nothing in the state statute that says the employer has to let her bring it into the building,” Bent said.

Flastertein disagrees. He says the concealed weapons permit gave Ros the right to carry her gun into work.

“She’s a good person who elected to defend herself as she is constitutionally permitted,” Flasterstein said. “The second amendment is not a privilege. It’s a freakin’ right.”


The capture of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman resulted from a remarkable cooperative effort between the Mexican authorities, the DEA and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

By Michael Weissenstein

Associated Press
February 23, 2014

CULIACAN, Mexico — For 13 years Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman watched from western Mexico’s rugged mountains as authorities captured or killed the leaders of every group challenging his Sinaloa cartel’s spot at the top of global drug trafficking.

Unscathed and his legend growing, the stocky son of a peasant farmer grabbed a slot on the Forbes’ billionaires’ list and a folkloric status as the capo who grew too powerful to catch. Then, late last year, authorities started closing on the inner circle of the world’s most-wanted drug lord.

The son of one of his two top henchmen, Ismael “Mayo” Zambada, was arrested at a border crossing in Nogales, Arizona in November as part of a sprawling, complex investigation involving as many as 100 wiretaps, according to his lawyer.

A month later, one of the Sinaloa cartel’s main lieutenants was gunned down by Mexican helicopter gunships in a resort town a few hours’ drive to the east. Less than two weeks later, police at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam arrested one of the cartel’s top assassins, a man who handled transport and logistics for Guzman.

This month the noose started tightening. Federal forces began sweeping through Culiacan, capital of the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa — closing streets, raiding houses, seizing automatic weapons, drugs and money, and arresting a series of men Mexican officials carefully described to reporters as top officials for Zambada.

But the target was bigger. By Saturday, they had nabbed Guzman, 56, in the resort city of Mazatlan, where he fled after reportedly escaping the law enforcement ring set up in Culiacan.

“My sense in talking with Homeland Security officials and others last night is that we were able to penetrate his circle, get people within the organization to cooperate,” U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “It’s not just the most significant capture and the arrest of one man, but it bodes well for our efforts to dismantle and unravel the Sinaloa Cartel.”

McCaul called on Sunday for Guzman to be extradited to U.S. to ensure he remains behind bars, noting that the drug lord escaped from prison in 2001 and corruption continues to plague Mexico.

But the Mexican operation that netted Guzman was praised across the board in the U.S. as a sign of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s commitment to battling organized crime.

On Feb. 13, a man known as “19,” whom officials called the new chief of assassins for Zambada, was arrested with two other men on the highway to the coastal resort city of Mazatlan. Four days later, a man described as a member of the Sinaloa cartel’s upper ranks was seized along with 4,000 hollowed-out cucumbers and bananas stuffed with cocaine. In the middle of this week, a 43-year-old known by the nickname “20” and described as Zambada’s chief of security, was arrested transporting more cocaine-stuffed produce.

By the middle of the week at least 10 Sinaloa henchmen had been seized.

A U.S. law enforcement official said Saturday that at least some were actually security for Guzman, and authorities used them to obtain information that helped lead to the head of the cartel. The official was not authorized to talk to journalists and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Agents learned that Guzman, 56, had started coming down from his isolated mountain hideouts to enjoy the comforts of Culiacan and Mazatlan, said Michael S. Vigil, a former senior DEA official who was briefed on the operation.

“That was a fatal error,” Vigil said.

Working on the information gleaned from Guzman’s bodyguards, Mexican marines swarmed the house of Guzman’s ex-wife but struggled to batter down the steel-reinforced door, according to Mexican authorities and former U.S. law-enforcement officials briefed on the operation.

As the marines forced their way in, Guzman fled through a secret door beneath a bathtub down a corrugated steel ladder into a network of tunnels and sewer canals that connect to six other houses in Culiacan, the officials said.

Guzman fled south to Mazatlan. On his heels, a team of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents set up a base of operations with Mexican marines in the city, according to the current U.S. law-enforcement official.

Early Saturday morning, Guzman’s reign came to an end without a shot fired. Marines closed the beachside road in front of the Miramar condominiums, a 10-story, pearl-colored building with white balconies overlooking the Pacific and a small pool in front.

Smashing down the door of an austerely decorated fourth-floor condo, they seized the country’s most-wanted man at 6:40 a.m., a few minutes after the sun rose.

A neighbor who declined to identify himself for fear of retaliation said the apartment had only been occupied for two days. An employee of the building’s cleaning staff said that clothes were strewn across the floor and bed in the condo, and humble domestic appliances — a microwave, a floor fan, a flat-screen TV on a small table — were left inside.

Photos of the apartment published by a local newspaper showed cheap and unglamorous furnishings. Inside the condo, the photos showed little food or liquor: just a couple of dozen eggs on a shelf. A bag from a low-end supermarket lay on the floor.

Guzman was caught with an unidentified woman, said one official not authorized to be quoted by name, who added that the DEA and U.S. Marshals Service were “heavily involved” in the capture. Mexican officials said, however, that Guzman was detained along with a man they identified as Carlos Manuel Hoo Ramirez.

A U.S. law-enforcement official with direct knowledge of the killing of Zambada’s main lieutenant in November described it as part of a concerted binational effort to decapitate the Sinaloa cartel. The organization became the focus of U.S. and Mexican attention after a string of arrests and slaying of the heads of other cartels, most notably the seizure of brutal Zetas cartel head Miguel Angel Trevino Morales in July.

“Who are the only big fish left in the country? We can’t just twiddle our thumbs,” said the official who was not authorized to speak to journalists and spoke on condition of anonymity. “Now we focus on the biggest elephant in the room. It’s by virtue of default.”

Guzman’s arrest appears certain to all but quash U.S. concerns that Pena Nieto’s administration has been reducing cooperation with U.S. law-enforcement, a hallmark of his predecessor Felipe Calderon’s six-year term.

“This shows that cooperation is working, and that it’s discreet and based on intelligence-gathering,” said Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s National Autonomous University. “This is, without a doubt, the most important success of Pena Nieto’s administration.”

By early afternoon, Guzman was marched across the tarmac of the Mexican marines’ hanger at the Mexico City airport.

The man who eluded Mexican authorities for more than a decade looked pudgy, bowed and middle-aged in a white button-down shirt and beltless black jeans.

After his 2001 escape in a laundry truck from a prison he came to control through bribery, Guzman was rumored to live everywhere from Argentina to Mexico’s “Golden Triangle,” a mountainous, marijuana-growing region straddling the northern states of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua.

The Sinaloa Cartel grew deadlier and more powerful, taking over much of the lucrative trafficking routes along the U.S. border.

Guzman was hit with multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. as his drug empire stretched throughout North America and extended branches into Europe and Australia. Guzman’s play for power against local cartels caused a bloodbath in Tijuana and made Ciudad Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the world.

In 2013, he was named “Public Enemy No. 1” by the Chicago Crime Commission, only the second person to get that distinction after U.S. prohibition-era crime boss Al Capone.

He appeared in only a handful of photos during his years on the run, staring straight into the camera of an anonymous photographer and defiantly brandishing an automatic rifle.

On Saturday, as he was walked before the press, his hands were cuffed behind him and a masked marine pushed down his head with a black-gloved hand, as if to make clear that Guzman is now under state control.

Guzman said nothing, and looked subdued as he reappeared before the world for a few seconds before disappearing into the cargo bay of a helicopter waiting to take him to prison.


Detroit has a broken police department where morale is shot along with salaries, pensions and manpower

James Craig’s ‘dream job’ as the latest Detroit police chief may turn out to be a nightmare.

Inside the demoralized Detroit police force where cuts mean officers tell their wives: 'If I die you're on your own'

Associated Press
February 22, 2014

It has come to this: Even some criminals sympathize with Detroit's cops.

Baron Coleman thought he'd heard it all in his 17 years patrolling the streets. But then came the city's bankruptcy, a 10 per cent cut in police salaries, followed by support from a most unlikely corner - the bad guys.

‘When they saw us take a pay cut they were in shock. We were arresting guys ... and they were like, “I can't believe your city would do you like this.” ... I say, “Thanks for caring,”’ the veteran officer says with a smile. ‘It's just funny because I don't like communicating with a person who has just committed a robbery how sad my life is.’

Detroit police officers have long known adversity: They've worked in crumbling station houses with busted pipes, driven run-down cars, tangled with balky radios. They've navigated darkened streets - Detroit has thousands of broken street lights - chasing criminals, breaking up fights, encountering drug dealers who may be carrying AK-47s or wearing their own bulletproof vests.

As Detroit tries to rebound - a plan to emerge from bankruptcy was filed Friday - few groups, if any, have been feeling the pain of the city's financial collapse more than the police.

Despite some recent positive changes - a new chief, new cruisers, new plans - there's worry, frustration and anger among the rank and file.

Paychecks have shrunk. Morale is low. Co-workers have fled to more lucrative jobs. And those who remain face a formidable task: trying to protect a sprawling, often violent city where hidden dangers lurk among tens of thousands of abandoned houses.

Baron Coleman knows it's hard being a police officer anywhere. In these trying times, it may be a lot harder in Detroit.

Nearly a generation ago, when Coleman traded a factory job for a badge and crisp blue uniform, he had certain expectations: a good salary, great benefits and a pension.

The bankruptcy erased all that. The city's financial future is uncertain. So is his own.

Though he still enjoys being an officer, Coleman he says he never dreamed that as he approached age 50, he'd be working seven days a week - moonlighting in security jobs - to pay for two kids in school and compensate for a $15,000 drop in benefits and wages.

‘Right now, the dream of what I came on for has been destroyed,’ he says. ‘I'm worried. Is my pension going to be there? If I get injured, is the city going to cover my family? ... Before I would tell my wife, “If I die, I know you'll be taken care of.” Now, I tell her, “If I die, you're on your own.”’

The plan by Detroit's emergency financial manager to pull the city out of bankruptcy would give police and fire retirees at least 90 per cent of their pensions after eliminating cost-of-living allowances (other city workers would likely get at least 70 per cent).

But that plan probably faces court challenges and hinges on proposed state funding, among other factors.

While so many unresolved issues linger, the department is under new leadership. James Craig knew all about the department's troubles, but the former Detroit police officer who spent much of his 37-year law enforcement career in Los Angeles eagerly returned home last summer to take what he called his ‘dream job’ - chief of police.

He is the fifth man to hold the position in five years. But he is undaunted.

In a report last month, Craig announced a sweeping reorganization and vowed to reform a police department he said had been woefully mismanaged and had ‘lost the confidence of the public, lost the confidence of its own officers and lost its way ...’

Or as Craig puts it more succinctly: ‘The bottom line - the department, like the city, was broken.’

Some troubles have been general: The department has operated under a federal monitor for a decade because of accusations of abuse, including excessive force. That oversight is coming to an end.

Other embarrassments have been more specific: A member of an elite police squad now awaits retrial - the first jury was deadlocked - in the 2010 shooting of a 7-year-old girl killed during a chaotic search for a murder suspect. The events were captured by a reality TV crew.

The city's financial agony has only added to the dysfunction and disrepair. When Craig arrived, he discovered a 50-minute response time to 911 calls; twelve-hour shifts and stations that closed at 4pm; bulletproof vests that were no longer effective; and dilapidated cars with nearly 200,000 miles on their odometers.

Craig has reduced response time to eight minutes for priority called, scuttled extended shifts and ‘virtual’ precincts, had the vests replaced and, on his watch, the department got 100 new patrol cars thanks to $8million in donations from businesses.

Add to all that the stress of seeking justice for the victims of the violent incidents that have come to epitomize the Motor City: the Good Samaritan shot in the eye while trying to help two women robbery victims.

The 91-year-old man who was victim to a carjacking. (There were about 700 carjackings in the city last year. In October, Craig may have been a potential target himself when a man approached his unmarked cruiser at a stoplight. The chief didn't wait around to find out the stranger's intentions.)

Craig says when he took over, he had three goals: reduce violence, improve morale and restore credibility. The department, he says, is now on the mend and more accountable.

‘The people here deserve better,’ he says, ‘and they're getting better.’

He points to a 7 per cent drop in violent crime in 2013 from the previous year. And a 14 per cent decline in criminal homicides in the same period - from 386 in 2012 to 333 last year.

Encouraging as that is, it is precisely the same number of homicides that occurred in New York City, which has a population almost a dozen times larger than Detroit's.

Over seven months, Craig has been a high-profile presence, holding news conferences, appearing on radio and TV.

He recently made headlines when he declared more armed citizens - law-abiding ones, of course -- could help make Detroit safer. He says he learned that lesson as chief in Portland, Maine.

Craig also has led a series of large-scale raids in crime-ravaged neighborhoods. News crews have been at his heels, chronicling his every comment, whether it's describing a raid as a ‘party’ (meaning law-abiding citizens can celebrate) or publicly apologizing that the crackdowns didn't come sooner

Many residents have cheered the raids. That's no surprise. But something else is: A few of those arrested have actually offered thanks.

Why would someone be grateful to be nabbed by the police?

‘They understand it's time for someone to come in and put an end to this. There's no secret,’ says Elvin Barren, commander of the organized crime division.

After a raid one handcuffed suspect, talking with a TV reporter, endorsed the work of Craig and his department: ‘Keep up the good work,’ he declared. ‘Keep my family safe.’

Among rank-and-file officers, there are deep-seated anxieties, both about the city's finances and their own.

They fear they're too short-staffed to adequately protect a city spanning about 140 square miles. Craig has announced plans to hire 150 new officers to shore up the 2,300-member force.

They worry about hazards posed by the thousands of abandoned homes, whether it's falling through a rotted floor or hunting a suspect hiding in the inky darkness.

And they're especially unhappy with the pay cut. Some say they're annoyed they have to work second or third jobs to pay the bills while others charged with turning the city around are bringing home six-figure salaries.

‘To say morale is up is a falsehood,’ says Scott Barrick, a second-generation officer who spent 19 years on the streets before recently becoming a full-time police union official.

‘It seems like every time we turn around they want us to do more and they want to give us less. You can't help but think, `Why am I doing this every day?' ... You feel like the entire burden of repairing the city is falling on our shoulders and quite frankly over the last year, it has.’

He remembers a fight that erupted last year after a nightclub closed in the pre-dawn hours and a crowd spilled into the streets. At first, Barrick says, there were just six officers to subdue hundreds.

‘We're calling for backup but no one is coming there is no one to help,’ he says. Eventually, four others arrived to quell the disturbance.

He often says, half-jokingly, that ‘we're five minutes from disaster all the time.’

The police force shrank as Detroit's population - now about 700,000 - dramatically declined.

From 2000 to 2010 alone, the city lost about a quarter-million residents. Parts of Detroit are prospering, notably a revitalized downtown. But some neighborhoods are barren landscapes littered with abandoned homes and weed-filled lots.

And some streets resemble disaster zones, with initials scrawled on houses, signifying to demolition crews where there's no water or electricity.

Vandals often plunder these empty houses, hauling off anything of possible value: windows, doors, bathtubs, sinks, copper, ductwork, dry wall, heaters, fixtures and more. ‘It's like a stripped turkey bone,’ Coleman adds.

Two years, ago, Officer Nicholle Quinn recalls, she and her partner were searching for a burglary suspect in a pitch-black abandoned house. As they headed toward the basement, she could hear and smell water. She told her partner to stop - ‘something doesn't feel right.’

She was right. Copper pipes had been ripped out and rising water had reached the basement ceiling. Anyone who stepped down could have drowned.

Quinn is among the many officers feeling a financial squeeze, both with a smaller paycheck and the increased cost of prescription drugs for her and her 11-year-old son to treat their year-round allergies. She moonlights whenever she can for extra cash, but isn't happy about it.

‘People become police officers because they love what they do,’ Quinn says. ‘They want to solve problems. They want to catch bad guys.’

But some rank-and-file officers feel they've borne the brunt of the department's sacrifices and it reaches the point, she says, where ‘you start hating to have to go to work for 10 percent less.’

Quinn's original plan was to work 20 years so that she would be eligible for retirement. Five years short of the mark, she's changed course. She's studying for her master's degree in public administration.

If she goes, she'll join the exodus of officers who've found better-paying jobs in suburban departments, universities and law enforcement agencies around the country. Detroit police officers' salaries top out at less than $50,000 a year.

In January, 19 new officers graduated and joined the force, but since the start of 2012, 425 members of the department - nearly 20 per cent - have left. The department could not provide details, including how many are retirements.

Not all of this is new.

‘I think the morale of the typical police officer frankly has been poor as long as I can remember,’ says Martin Hershock, dean of the college of arts, sciences and letters at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the son of a Detroit police officer who served from the 1950s to the 1970s.

‘My father and his friends constantly complained about community attitudes toward the police and the constant struggle they had with the city to protect their pensions,’ he says. ‘The city has often looked to balance the budget on the backs of the police and fire.’

But being an officer has become a ‘thankless job,’ with a vast area to patrol, a steady stream of citizen complaints and a general mistrust by a largely black populace, Hershock adds.

‘They see the police department as perpetrating a long-standing culture of aggression, particularly toward minorities, even though the department itself is predominantly minority,’ he says.

Barrick, the union official, says he hears from officers daily. Veterans ask if they should quit now in case things get worse; younger police wonder if it's time to jump ship. He says it's hard to make decisions with so much unknown. He expects a turnaround, but the big question is when.

‘I do believe things are going to get better,’ he says, ‘but do you want to stay around and wait to see it?’

Sunday, February 23, 2014


When 84-year-old Kang Chun Wong got stopped January 19 by a NY cop for jaywalking, he did not understand the cop’s orders and was knocked unconscious, ending up bloodied in a hospital, an act that was defended by Mayor Bill de Blasio on the grounds that zero tolerance would be enforced against violators

On January 21 I wrote on BarkGrowlBite that it was hard for me to fathom why a very old man who does not speak English ends up bloodied in the hospital because he could not understand an officer’s orders in a jaywalking violation and tried to walk away. Now Mr. Wong, who was wrong, is suing for being wronged.

In response to the public outrage over how the police wronged Mr. Wong, Bill de Blasio, New York’s new Sandinista-loving mayor, released a statement through his office which said that because there have been too many traffic deaths, zero tolerance would be enforced against violators.

Apparently that zero tolerance does not apply to de Blasio. On Thursday, the mayor’s two-car convoy was spotted speeding 45 in a 30 mph zone in Queens and blowing through a bunch of stop signs. Less than 24 hours later, de Blasio and his security detail was seen jaywalking across Brooklyn’s busy Park Slope thoroughfare against a red ‘do not walk’ sign.

The Sandanista-loving mayor blamed it all on his NYPD security protocols. What a supreme crock of shit! Based on the mayor’s defense of the Wong beating, de Blasio should have been knocked on his sorry ass after he crossed Park Slope against the red ‘don’t walk’ sign.


Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, head of the Sinaloa Cartel, was captured Friday night in Mazatlan after eluding the DEA and Mexican authorities for 13 years

Despite a $5 million reward offered by the DEA for his capture, it took authorities 13 years to find and capture El Chapo, the billionaire head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Drug cartel.

The feared drug lord, who heads the fugitive list of U.S. drug officials, was busted in Mazatlan

By Deborah Hastings

New York Daily News
February 22, 2014

The billionaire head of Mexico’s massive Sinaloa cartel has been arrested in the beach resort town of Mazatlan.

A senior U.S. law enforcement official said Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ (Shorty) Guzman was busted Friday night without incident. The arrest is a stellar victory in Mexico’s battle against criminal drug syndicates that control large sections of the country with violence and extortion.

Guzman carried a $5 million bounty on his head offered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Considered extremely violent and dangerous, Guzman is wanted on several U.S. charges and is said to be responsible for the deaths of more than 10,000 people.

Considered an urban legend in Mexico, Guzman has placed on Forbes' list of billionaires and was named Chicago's No. 1 Public Enemy last year. "Not since the Chicago Crime Commission's first Public Enemy No. 1 has any criminal deserved this title more than Joaquin Guzman," said J.R. Davis, president of 94-year-old Chicago Crime Commission.

Nicknamed "El Chapo" (Shorty) for his 5-foot, 6-inch frame, Guzman's bloody cartel is responsible for supplying much of the multi-ton shipments of heroin, marijuana and meth that enters the U.S. from Mexico.

The DEA calls him the "godfather of the drug world." His worth is estimated at $1 billion.

Arguably the most feared kingpin in Mexico, Guzman, 59, was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and extradited to Mexico, where he was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison on narcotics trafficking charges.

In an audacious 2001 escape, Guzman bribed dozens of federal prison guards, who hid him in a laundry basket and walked him out the front door. He had been on the lam ever since.

Mexican and U.S. authorities gave little information about Friday night's capture except to say it occurred in Mazatlan and was a joint operation by both countries.

The subject of many "narcorrido" folk songs, Guzman is a grade-school dropout who entered the drug world at age 15, rising through the criminal ranks to become head of the Sinaloa Cartel, the largest crime syndicate in Mexico.

The ring has used planes, 747 jumbo jets, boats, railroad cars and vast tunnels running under the border to smuggle narcotics into foreign countries, most of it bound for the United States.

His storied empire was built with help from relatives. His son, Edgar, was killed in a shootout in 2008.

The famous outlaw had managed to elude arrest, despite living in plain sight, many complained.

In 2005, the fugitive walked into a restaurant in Colonia Las Quintas, after bodyguards armed with AK-47s told patrons to remain in their seats and continue eating.

"A man is going to come in, the boss. We ask that you remain in your seats; the doors will close and nobody is allowed to leave ... Do not worry; if you do everything that is asked of you, nothing will happen. Continue eating and don't ask for your check. The boss will pay," one of the guards told diners, according to George W. Grayson's 2011 book "Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State?"


Drunken couple got in a cab, removed their clothes and had sex all during the 40-minute drive to their destination where the man refused to pay the cab fare

These drunks obviously hooked up after he hit on her in a bar. And when all was said and done, he dumped his new found friend about an hour’s drive from her home.

The cops in this case are to be commended. They saw to it that the cabbie got paid and they did not arrest the two when they had cause to do so. That’s good police work!

The cab driver said the intoxicated pair had sex during the journey from Rosemont to Orland Park in Illinois and the man refused to pay the $83 taxi fare until the cops arrived and made him use his mother’s credit card

Mail Online
February 22, 2014

An intoxicated Illinois man who refused to pay his taxi fare after having sex in the back seat was forced to use his mother's credit to cover his debt.

The taxi driver called police when the amorous man and woman he picked up outside a Rosemont bar on February 9 wouldn't pay the $83 charge.

The driver said the lovebirds had spent the 40-minute journey to Orland Park making love after taking off most of their clothes.

Chicago Tribune reported cops who arrived at the 15500 block of Sunset Ridge Drive encountered two incoherent passengers and clothing 'strewn throughout the taxi'.

The 27-year-old man eventually agreed to cover his bill, using his mother's credit card, before leaving his 31-year-old date to find her own way home.

Police said they took the woman back to the police station, where her brother picked her up.

She was from Elgin, about an hour drive from Orland Park.


Danish Minhas hired a former high school classmate to rid himself of his ‘strict’ mother

He checked to make sure his mother was home, then left the door open for his hired hitman, and smiled when the dirty deed was done.

By Brian Rogers

Houston Chronicle
February 21, 2014

A former Lee High School student on Thursday admitted to hiring a classmate in 2009 to kill his mother.

Danish Minhas, 21, pleaded guilty to murder in exchange for 50 years in prison. He admitted to paying classmate Nur Mohamed $4,000 to brutally stab his mother, Tabassum Khan, on Nov. 24, 2009.

Minhas was 17, and Mohamed was 18 at the time.

"I think this was a very unusual crime," said prosecutor Angela Weltin. "It's very, very sad and hard to contemplate why anyone would want to do this."

Minhas, who was often seen at school sipping Starbucks before reading the morning announcements over the public address system, wanted to get away from his "strict" mother, investigators said.

Minhas pleaded guilty Thursday in state District Judge Jim Wallace's court. He was scheduled to go on trial Monday and could have faced life in prison if convicted by a jury.

Last year, Mohamed pleaded guilty to murder and agreed to testify that Minhas hired him to kill the 43-year-old woman. In exchange for his testimony, he sentenced to 40 years in prison, Weltin said.

Police were initially suspicious of Minhas, who said he found his mother's body after staying out all night, first on a date, then driving around Galveston.

While investigating, detectives found a bloody handprint on the doorknob that was traced back to Mohamed.

Mohamed later said he had worn rubber gloves, but they had been cut in a struggle with Khan.

After he was arrested for drugs at school a few weeks after the slaying, police were able to match the prints and later DNA to Mohamed.

When he pleaded guilty last year, Mohamed said Minhas picked him up and took him to his apartment on the night of the slaying. He said Minhas went in to check that his mother was home, then left the door open and signaled him.

After the stabbing, Minhas took Mohamed home.

When asked whether Minhas seemed to have any remorse after the slaying, Mohamed said, "He just smiled."


By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
February 21, 2014

A very interesting bill has just passed the Arizona legislature and moved on to Governor Brewer's desk. This law would allow business owners in Arizona to discriminate against customers they do not want to deal with based on religious convictions.

This bill, if passed into law, would allow wedding photographers to decline to photograph gay weddings on the basis of the photographer's religious opposition to homosexuality. It would presumably allow Christians to decline to do business with Jews, Moslems to decline to do business with infidels, Rastafarians to decline to do business with Pastafarians and Hindus decline to do business with monotheists.

It could be interesting, or even amusing it the governor signs it into law.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This reminds me of when the Irish bartender of a New York bar refused to serve me a beer and ordered me out because he thought (correctly) that I was Jewish. That was not amusing, at least not to me, and not to the bartender either after Chief Gordon House, my Indian companion, beat the supreme shit out of him.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Obama’s foreign policy has lost the respect and trust the U.S. had earned with our allies, and the fear of our adversaries, before he became president.


Israel Today
February 21, 2014

The man who was until just recently US President Barack Obama's top advisor on the Iran nuclear crisis says there is little-to-no chance that Western diplomatic efforts will actually prevent the Islamic Republic from attaining atomic weapons.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Gary Samore, who is a top political science expert at Harvard University, said the West simply hasn't given Iran enough reason to feel that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions.

That is precisely the criticism that has been coming out of Jerusalem for years. Western diplomatic efforts have lacked the kind of teeth necessary to convince Iran that it's simply not worth pushing forward.

Samore noted that the type of Iranian concessions that would truly put a nuclear bomb out of reach - the dismantling of various nuclear facilities - are being outright rejected by Tehran.

At the same time, Western powers now see themselves bound to the diplomatic process so long as Iran remains at the negotiating table, even if the Iranians are rejected all serious proposals.

This process, Samore explained, could last for years, until such a time as Iran feels it is in a position to simply walk away and test a nuclear warhead.

To be fair, Samore doesn't believe anything will prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons short of a large-scale ground invasion by America and its Western allies. And that, of course, is almost certain not to happen. Anything else would simply delay the inevitable.

And delay might be the only play the West has under its current leadership.

Samore believes Obama and European leaders would settle for a deal that set Iran's nuclear program back far enough that it would need a full year to field a nuclear weapon if and when it decided to do so. A bit of a buffer that would allow Iran's enemies to prepare should the Islamic Republic become too belligerent.

But, with the kid-gloves approach Obama and the West are currently taking, Iran is far from being compelled to accept even that kind of arrangement.


Federal judge rules that NYPD was looking for terrorists, not spying on a religious group; blasts Associated Press for unauthorized release of police documents

In tossing a Muslim lawsuit against NYPD, the federal judge was highly critical of the Associated Press for the unauthorized release of police documents detailing intelligence operations to root out terrorist groups. It was the AP story that got Muslims and civil libertarians all in an uprorar.

Intelligence unit didn't discriminate against Muslims with far-reaching surveillance aimed at identifying "budding terrorist conspiracies" at mosques

By Tom Hays

Associated Press
February 21, 2014

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department's intelligence unit didn't discriminate against Muslims with far-reaching surveillance aimed at identifying "budding terrorist conspiracies" at Newark mosques and other locations in New Jersey, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

In a written decision filed in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought in 2012 by eight Muslims who alleged the NYPD's surveillance programs were unconstitutional because they focused on religion, national origin and race. The suit had accused the department of spying on ordinary people at several mosques, restaurants and grade schools in New Jersey since 2002.

The plaintiffs, including the former principal of a grade school for Muslim girls, "have not alleged facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion," Martini wrote. "The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies."

The judge added: "The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. ... The motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but to find Muslim terrorists hiding among the ordinary law-abiding Muslims."

The ruling also singled out The Associated Press, which sparked the suit with a series of stories based on confidential NYPD document showing how the department sought to infiltrate dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups and investigated hundreds in New York and elsewhere.

"Nowhere in the complaint do the plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of documents by The Associated Press," Martini wrote. "This confirms that plaintiffs' alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press's unauthorized disclosure of the documents. ... The Associated Press covertly obtained the materials and published them without authorization. Thus the injury, if any existed, is not fairly traceable to the city."

Farhaj Hassan, a plaintiff in the case and U.S. soldier who served in Iraq, said he was disappointed by the ruling.

"I have dedicated my career to serving my country, and this just feels like a slap in the face_all because of the way I pray," he said.

The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and the California-based civil rights organization Muslim Advocates, which represented the plaintiffs, also called the decision troubling.

"In addition to willfully ignoring the harm that our innocent clients suffered from the NYPD's illegal spying program, by upholding the NYPD's blunderbuss Muslim surveillance practices, the court's decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion," CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy said.

The Associated Press declined to comment on Thursday's ruling. The city's Law Department declined comment. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had been staunch supporters of the surveillance programs, saying they were needed to protect the city from terrorist attacks.

A similar lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn is still pending.