Thursday, July 31, 2014


Clint Eastwood promises that Alligatornado, his blockbuster film now in production, will make Sharknado and Sharknado 2 look like childsplay

The Unconventional Gazette
July 30, 2014

HOLLYWOOD – Clint Eastwood, with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson , Russell Crowe, Jessica Biel and Beyonce at his side, told a gathering of the Hollywood press corps on Wednesday that Alligatornado, his blockbuster film was now in full production with a budget of $130 million. The legendary star and movie director promised that Alligatornado will make SyFy’s Sharknado and Sharknado 2 look like childsplay.

“It’s going to have everything – action, horror, laughs and sex – as a supertornado sucks up all the alligators in the Everglades and deposits them on Washington, D.C.,” said Eastwood. “Unlike the unknowns in those two cheap SyFy Sharknado TV films, I’ve secured two of Hollywood’s leading action heroes in Dwayne and Russell, and two of the sexiest looking women in the world, Jessica and Beyonce … and yes, they’re both going to bare it all on the screen.”

Eastwood pointed out that unlike the unbelievable and ridiculous scenes of sharks flopping through the air and Los Angeles and New York being flooded all over, Alligatornado will be much more believable since "we won’t need to flood the District of Columbia because alligators are at home both on land and in the water. My alligators are going to hit the ground running and attack the White House and Congress … oh yeah, and they’re going to have a feast at the IRS. But just wait until you see them chomping away at the members of congress while both houses are in session. And they’re after the president and his family as Secret Service agents try desperately to save them."

Eastwood said that Cuba Gooding has been cast as President Barack Obama and Halle Berry as Michelle Obama. When asked if Barack ad Michelle would be devoured by the gators, he replied, “Well, I hate to give the plot away … all I will say is get accustomed to President Joe Biden.”

When reporters asked Jessica Biel how she felt about appearing in the nude, she blushed and replied, “I’ve never done anything like this before and I didn’t want to do it, but Clint is such a great director, and he’s so persuasive, that I couldn’t turn him down. There’ll be no body double, it’ll be my boobs and my butt. And my scenes with Dwayne will be absolutely steamy.

Beyonce said she did not hesitate to appear nude in the film when Eastwood proposed she bare it all. “How can I turn down such a great director? Besides, many of my concert tour costumes make me look almost naked anyway. I promise you, my nude scenes with Russell will be eye-popping.”

Russell Crowe said that he and Beyonce are playing the part of two Secret Service agents, and “we will be performing several simulated sex acts throughout the movie. When we’re not making love, we’re busy trying to save the President and the First Lady from a bunch of snapping alligators.”

Dwayne Johnson said he was playing the part of the National Zoo’s reptile expert who is called upon to rid the nation’s capital of the alligators. “Jessica plays the part of the zoo’s assistant director who has been having a longtime affair with me and insists on accompanying me as I try to get rid of the gators. And yes, like Russell and Beyonce, we too are going to perform several steamy simulated sex acts throughout the movie.”

Eastwood also announced that Tiffany Coyne, the stunning model on Let’s Make a Deal, will play a leading role as a stripper and pole dancer at Camelot, a well-known D.C. nude club. “Tiffany has also been having an affair with Russell. Wait till you see the cat fight between Tiffany and Beyonce … it will blow your mind as they battle over Russell, ripping each other’s clothes off, yanking at each other’s hair, punching and kicking each other amidst snapping alligators.”

When a reporter yelled, "Hey Clint, who's going to win that brawl, Beyonce or Tiffany?," Eastwood replied, "I'll never tell. Come see the movie."

Eastwood said that the movie is being bankrolled by George Soros. “George made me promise that the alligators would wipe out the officers and staff at the headquarters of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee]. He told me the reason he was willing to put his money into my film was because he hated that pro-Israel lobby group so much that even though this was a science fiction movie, it would give him the greatest satisfaction to see alligators chomping up the Zionists at AIPAC.”

Eastwood added that Sheldon Adelson wanted to bankroll the film, “but only if I got a real alligator to actually kill George Soros and some real gators to chew up everyone at the headquarters of J Street [a lobby group bankrolled by Soros to counter AIPAC].”

One of the reporters yelled, "Hey Clint, are your critters going after the Democrats or the Republicans?" Eastwood replied, "Well, I thought about them attacking only Democrats, but my alligators are bipartisan. I'll tell you one thing for sure ... Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are gator meat!"

Eastwood promised an electrifying climax when Dwayne and Jessica carry out a plan to exterminate the alligators. He estimated production would wind up by the end of the year and he is planning for the premiere to be held in the nation’s capital next July.


A Hamas imam is calling for the total extermination of the Jews

I’m sure that from the get-go, the goal of Hamas was to exterminate the Jews as much as to destroy the state of Israel.

By Cathy Burke

July 30, 2014

A Hamas imam is calling for the organization to "totally exterminate" the Jews because "wherever the Jews lived, they spread corruption," a video posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute shows.

The hate-filled speech was broadcast on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV on July 25, and was videotaped from Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, Israel National News reports.

In an excerpt from the alarming sermon posted by Jihad Watch, the cleric fumes:

"Our doctrine in fighting you [the Jews] is that we will totally exterminate you. We will not leave a single one of you alive, because you are alien usurpers of the land and eternal mercenaries.

"You are the mercenaries of all times. Research the history, my brothers. Wherever the Jews lived, they spread corruption. Oh, Muslims, didn't you notice that Allah said: 'They spread in THE land…' The definite article in 'THE land' means the entire land. 'They spread in the land corruption, and Allah loves not the corrupters.'"

Breitbart reports that the extermination of the Jews is included in Hamas' charter, where an introduction states, "Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave."

The genocide theme is then picked up in several articles of the charter, Breitbart notes, including the declaration that "Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims," and elsewhere:

"Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet (prayer and peace be upon him) said (in a Hadith):

'The time (of Resurrection) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!'"

Jihad Watch decried the lack of attention by "the international media." to the genocide threat.

People posting messages on the organization's website agreed.

One commenter on Wednesday said, "Those of us who are the sons and daughters of survivors know that when a group of people led by a death-cult ideology say that they will kill all the Jews, they mean it."

"The fact that this rhetoric is not reported in the mainstream press is frightening to me personally," the poster wrote. "Each time, it should make the headlines. I am amazed how many Jews don't get it."

Another commenter on the website is not alarmed just by the Hamas cleric's vow to "totally exterminate" the Jews, but also that "this is in Hamas' charter!"

"How dare [President Barack] Obama attempt to put Israel in harm's way by suggesting a 'ceasefire' from Israel! Hamas is the one to be condemned, not Israel. Jeez, the world has gone mad under Obama."


The Gaza power plant is insured with a U.S. Government agency, but I’ll bet that when the current Gaza war is over, American taxpayers will be stuck with paying for reconstruction of the devastated conclave.

By Christina Wilkie

Huffington Post
July 30, 2014

WASHINGTON -- As lawmakers on Capitol Hill scrambled to approve increased military funding for Israel this week, a little-noted federal agency across town prepared to spend as much as $84 million to compensate an American company for losses sustained in the Israeli bombardment of a Gaza power plant.

The money would come from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which helps U.S. companies expand business abroad in ways that, to quote OPIC's website, "help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, [it] advances U.S. foreign policy." The agency does all this in part by offering insurance policies designed to protect companies from political risk, a broad term that includes "war, civil strife, coups," and "terrorism."

An OPIC spokesman told The Huffington Post on Tuesday that a "U.S. investor in the power plant whose investment is covered by OPIC political risk insurance ... notified OPIC that the facility in question has been damaged."

That investor is likely Morganti Development LLC, a Delaware-based corporation that owns a stake in the only power plant in the Gaza Strip. As of Wednesday, OPIC said the company had yet to file a claim for the losses.

The Huffington Post was not able to contact Morganti Development LLC directly, and a representative for Morganti Group Inc., an affiliated company, did not respond to a request for comment.

The potential Gaza insurance claim highlights the costliness of U.S. foreign policy. First, the United States sends more military funding to Israel than to any other country. That kind of aid makes it possible for the Israel Defense Forces to conduct its highly sophisticated -- and some say overly brutal -- campaign in Gaza. Ultimately, paying for the results of that operation will also partly fall on the U.S. government.

The Obama administration is already working to rebuild Gaza and restore the region to a pre-war state, starting with a $47 million humanitarian aid package and more likely to come. The destruction of the power plant could produce a second wave of costs to be borne by U.S. taxpayers.

Complicating matters is the fact that Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel, and Hamas leaders have repeatedly pledged to keep up those attacks until Israel and the international community lift the blockade currently imposed on Gaza. In Washington, most of the recent funding proposals have been aimed at bolstering Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense shield, which has neutralized hundreds of missiles fired from Gaza in the past month.

As part of Israel's response to that rocket fire, the Gaza power plant was bombed on Monday, the flames and smoke visible for miles. Amnesty International argued that the bombing amounted to a "collective punishment of Palestinians."

The power plant had been bombed for the first time in 2006, during a similar wave of fighting between Israel and Hamas. At that time, Israel stepped in to help supply civilians in Gaza with power, but only after the United States and Great Britain applied diplomatic pressure. The OPIC spokesman told HuffPost that, despite media reports to the contrary, Morganti did not file a claim for the 2006 damage.

Morganti is part of the global construction empire of Palestinian billionaire Said Khoury, a prominent philanthropist whose Consolidated Contractors Company is the largest builder in the Middle East. Morganti Group has been a subsidiary of CCC since 1988. Khoury partnered with the energy conglomerate Enron in 1999 to build the Gaza power plant, an unprecedented project for Gaza and one supported by then-President Bill Clinton. When Enron dissolved in 2002, Khoury acquired its shares in the plant and holds them through Morganti Development.

The OPIC insurance policy for the Gaza power plant was issued in 2004 and has been maintained since then.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the Israelis have been ‘mischaracterizing’ Kerry’s efforts to broker a cease fire between Israel and Hamas

I must tell you, we’ve been dismayed by some press reports in Israel mischaracterizing his efforts last week to achieve a ceasefire. The reality is that John Kerry, on behalf of the United States, has been working every step of the way with Israel in support of our shared interests.

So spoke National Security Adviser Susan Rice as she addressed a meeting of Jewish leaders on Monday at the National Press Club. She was there to defend John Kerry against Israeli criticism that he was either incompetent or anti-Israel when he tried to broker a Gaza cease fire together with Qatar and Turkey, both strong supporters of Hamas.

To her credit, Rice did not criticize Israel’s Gaza operation and she staunchly defended Israel’s right to defend itself. She went even further with a blistering criticism of the United Nations for constantly taking a one-sided position against Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. Rice said:

When countries single out Israel for unfair treatment at the UN, it isn't just a problem for Israel, it is a problem for all of us. No country is immune from criticism, nor should it be. But when that criticism takes the form of singling out just one country, unfairly, bitterly and relentlessly, over and over and over, that is just wrong – and we all know it.

Concerning last week’s vote by the U.N. Human Rights Council to consider possible war crimes charges against Israel, a vote in which 17 nations abstained and the U.S. was the lone vote against, Rice said:

The United States stood with Israel, and said 'no'. We were the lone vote in the human rights council. Even our closest friends on the council abstained. It was 29 to one. But the one, as usual, was America. That is what we mean when we say: you [Israel] are not alone.

Of course, it should be noted that Rice was talking to Jewish leaders and told them what they wanted to hear. I wonder what she would have said had she been addressing Palestinian advocacy groups instead? And all of what Rice said must be taken in the context that it was Rice appearing on the Sunday morning TV news shows, who lied about the Benghazi consulate attacks having been a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video showing.

The CIA had briefed the White House that the Benghazi consulate attack was planned and carried out by an organized terrorist group. It is inconceivable to me that Rice, our U.N. ambassador at the time, had not been briefed aboout the CIA assessment. Did she take it upon herself to lie on the news shows? I seriously doubt it. I think she was was following the big boss’ orders.

Nice try, Barack, but the next time you want your Secretary of State defended, try sending someone other than your deputy liar in chief whose credibility you damaged back in September 2012.


A NY appellate court overturns a murder conviction because the killer’s mother couldn’t find a seat inside the courtroom during jury selection

On March 9, 2008, Daniel Floyd, 23, gunned down Leon Hill during a dice game in Brooklyn. The two had argued over money on the crap table. Floyd split, but returned 20 minutes later with a gun and shot Hill to death.

Floyd was tried, convicted and given a prison sentence of 15 years to life. But on April 25, 2013, the Court of Appeals, NY’s highest court, overturned the conviction because Floyd’s poor old mommy could not find a seat inside the courtroom packed with potential jurors. A panel of judges ruled that because the courtroom was packed with potential jurors, the proceedings were unlawfully closed to the public.

Here is the New York Post’s description of the ruling:

“Defense counsel observed, ‘Certainly, as a public spectator, she has an absolute right to be present,’ ” the decision states. “Defendants have a constitutional right to a ‘public trial,’ ” the decision goes on, adding that overcrowding does not justify courtroom closure.

“This violation . . . requires a new trial,” the judges ruled.

The Post called Floyd “The luckiest ‘killer’ in New York.

On Monday, Floyd was back in court for a preliminary hearing on his retrial. His next court appearance is scheduled for September 12.

When I first read about the appellate ruling I thought it was a joke. It wasn’t a joke, but the ruling sure made a joke out of our criminal justice system.


By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
July 28, 2014

Yes, it’s true, though these are not the ectoplasmic spirits of movies and TV. These are inventions of local police commanders who are falsifying records in the same sort of way that CompStat was being tweaked, to make things look better than they actually are.

Assuming the LA TIMES piece is correct, what is going on is that the local commanders are listing ghost cars as being on patrol, when in fact they are not, to ensure that their on-patrol stats are up to snuff. Since these are tracked by computer you can’t just invent them from whole cloth, so they use real cops who are on their days off or in the station doing paperwork and show them as being out on patrol in real cars that are in fact in the garage and not out patrolling. This is a way of making it look as though the local commanders are doing their job by getting a required number of cops out on patrol when that is in fact not happening.

The LA police union has forwarded complaints along these lines to the Inspector General who is said to be actively investigating the case.


By George Friedman

Stratfor Global Intelligence
July 29, 2014

We have long argued that the Arab-Israeli conflict is inherently insoluble. Now, for the third time in recent years, a war is being fought in Gaza. The Palestinians are firing rockets into Israel with minimal effect. The Israelis are carrying out a broader operation to seal tunnels along the Gaza-Israel boundary. Like the previous wars, the current one will settle nothing. The Israelis want to destroy Hamas' rockets. They can do so only if they occupy Gaza and remain there for an extended period while engineers search for tunnels and bunkers throughout the territory. This would generate Israeli casualties from Hamas guerrillas fighting on their own turf with no room for retreat. So Hamas will continue to launch rockets, but between the extreme inaccuracy of the rockets and Israel's Iron Dome defense system, the group will inflict little damage to the Israelis.

War Without a Military Outcome

The most interesting aspect of this war is that both sides apparently found it necessary, despite knowing it would have no definitive military outcome. The kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers followed by the incineration of a Palestinian boy triggered this conflict. An argument of infinite regression always rages as to the original sin: Who committed the first crime?

For the Palestinians, the original crime was the migration into the Palestinian mandate by Jews, the creation of the State of Israel and the expulsion of Arabs from that state. For Israel, the original sin came after the 1967 war, during which Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. At that moment, the Israelis were prepared to discuss a deal, but the Arabs announced their famous "three nos" at a meeting in Khartoum: no negotiation, no recognition, no peace. That locked the Israelis into an increasingly rigid stance. Attempts at negotiations have followed the Khartoum declaration, all of which failed, and the "no recognition" and "no peace" agreement is largely intact. Cease-fires are the best that anyone can hope for.

For Hamas, at least -- and I suspect for many Palestinians in the West Bank -- the only solution is Israel's elimination. For many Israelis, the only solution is to continue to occupy all captured territories until the Palestinians commit to peace and recognition. Since the same Israelis do not believe that day will ever come, the occupation would become permanent.

Under these circumstances, the Gaza war is in some sense a matter of housekeeping. For Hamas, the point of the operation is demonstrating it can fire rockets at Israel. These rockets are inaccurate, but the important thing is that they were smuggled into Gaza at all, since this suggests more dangerous weapons eventually will be smuggled in to the Palestinian territory. At the same time, Hamas is demonstrating that it remains able to incur casualties while continuing to fight.

For the Israelis, the point of the operation is that they are willing to carry it out at all. The Israelis undoubtedly intend to punish Gaza, but they do not believe they can impose their will on Gaza and compel the Palestinians to reach a political accommodation with Israel. War's purpose is to impose your political will on your enemy. But unless the Israelis surprise us immensely, nothing decisive will come out of this conflict. Even if Israel somehow destroyed Hamas, another organization would emerge to fill its space in the Palestinian ecosystem. Israel can't go far enough to break the Palestinian will to resist; it is dependent on a major third-party state to help meet Israeli security needs. This creates an inherent contradiction whereby Israel receives enough American support to guarantee its existence but because of humanitarian concerns is not allowed to take the kind of decisive action that might solve its security problem.

We thus see periodic violence of various types, none of which will be intended or expected to achieve any significant political outcome. Wars here have become a series of bloodstained gestures. There are some limited ends to achieve, such as closing Palestinian tunnels and demonstrating Palestinian capabilities that force Israel into an expensive defensive posture. But Hamas will not be defeated, and Israel will make no concessions.

Sovereignty and Viability Problems

The question therefore is not what the point of all this is -- although that is a fascinating subject -- but where all this ends. All things human end. Previous longstanding conflicts, such as those between France and England, ended or at least changed shape. Israel and Palestine accordingly will resolve their conflict in due course.

Many believe the creation of a Palestinian state will be the solution, and those who believe this often have trouble understanding why this self-evidently sensible solution has not been implemented. The reason is the proposed solution is not nearly as sensible as it might appear to some.

Issues of viability and sovereignty surround any discussion of a Palestinian state. Geography raises questions about the viability of any Palestinian polity. Palestine has two population centers, Gaza and the West Bank, which are detached from one another. One population center, Gaza, is an enormously crowded, narrow salient. Its ability to develop a sustainable economy is limited. The West Bank has more possibilities, but even it would be subordinate to a dynamic Israel. If the Palestinian workforce is drawn into the Israeli economy, both territories will become adjuncts to Israel. Within its current borders, a viable Palestine is impossible to imagine.

From the Israeli point of view, creating a Palestine along something resembling the 1967 lines (leaving aside the question of Jerusalem) would give the Palestinians superb targets, namely, Tel Aviv and Haifa. Given its history, Israel is unlikely to take that risk unless it had the right to oversee security in the West Bank in some way. That in turn would undermine Palestinian sovereignty.

As you play out the possibilities in any two-state solution, you run into the problem that any solution one side demanded would be unbearable to the other. Geography simply won't permit two sovereign states. In this sense, the extremists on both sides are more realistic than the moderates. But that reality encounters other problems.

Israel's High-Water Mark

Currently, Israel is as secure as it is ever likely to be unless Hamas disappears, never to be replaced, and the West Bank becomes even more accommodating to Israel. Neither of these prospects is likely. Israel's economy towers over its neighbors. The Palestinians are weak and divided. None of Israel's neighbors pose any threat of invasion, a situation in place since the 1977 neutralization of Egypt. Jordan is locked into a close relation with Israel, Egypt has its peace treaty and Hezbollah is bogged down in Syria. Apart from Gaza, which is a relatively minor threat, Israel's position is difficult to improve.

Israel can't radically shift its demography. But several evolutions in the region could move against Israel. Egypt could change governments, renounce its treaty, rearm and re-enter the Sinai Peninsula. Hezbollah could use its experience in Syria to open a front in Lebanon. Syria could get an Islamic State-led government and threaten the Golan Heights. Islamists could overthrow Jordan's Hashemite monarchy and pose a threat to the east. Turkey could evolve into a radical Islamic government and send forces to challenge Israel. A cultural revolution could take place in the Arab world that would challenge Israel's economic superiority, and therefore its ability to wage war. Iran could smuggle missiles into Gaza, and so on.

There is accordingly an asymmetry of possibilities. It is difficult to imagine any evolution, technical, political or economic, that would materially improve Israel's already dominant position, but there are many things that could weaken Israel -- some substantially. Each may appear far-fetched at the moment, but everything in the future seems far-fetched. None is inconceivable.

It is a rule of politics and business to bargain from strength. Israel is now as strong as it is going to be. But Israel does not think that it can reach an accommodation with the Palestinians that would guarantee Israeli national security, a view based on a realistic reading of geography. Therefore, Israel sees little purpose in making concessions to the Palestinians despite its relative position of strength.

In these circumstances, the Israeli strategy is to maintain its power at a maximum level and use what influence it has to prevent the emergence of new threats. From this perspective, the Israeli strategy on settlements makes sense. If there will be no talks, and Israel must maintain its overwhelming advantage, creating strategic depth in the West Bank is sensible; it would be less sensible if there were a possibility of a peace treaty. Israel must also inflict a temporary defeat on any actively hostile Palestinian force from time to time to set them back several years and to demonstrate Israeli capabilities for psychological purposes.

The Palestinian position meanwhile must be to maintain its political cohesion and wait, using its position to try to drive wedges between Israel and its foreign patrons, particularly the United States, but understanding that the only change in the status quo will come from changes outside the Israeli-Palestinian complex. The primary Palestinian problem will be to maintain itself as a distinct entity with sufficient power to resist an Israeli assault for some time. Any peace treaty would weaken the Palestinians by pulling them into the Israeli orbit and splitting them up. By refusing a peace treaty, they remain distinct, if divided. That guarantees they will be there when circumstances change.

Fifty Years Out

Israel's major problem is that circumstances always change. Predicting the military capabilities of the Arab and Islamic worlds in 50 years is difficult. Most likely, they will not be weaker than they are today, and a strong argument can be made that at least several of their constituents will be stronger. If in 50 years some or all assume a hostile posture against Israel, Israel will be in trouble.

Time is not on Israel's side. At some point, something will likely happen to weaken its position, while it is unlikely that anything will happen to strengthen its position. That normally would be an argument for entering negotiations, but the Palestinians will not negotiate a deal that would leave them weak and divided, and any deal that Israel could live with would do just that.

What we are seeing in Gaza is merely housekeeping, that is, each side trying to maintain its position. The Palestinians need to maintain solidarity for the long haul. The Israelis need to hold their strategic superiority as long as they can. But nothing lasts forever, and over time, the relative strength of Israel will decline. Meanwhile, the relative strength of the Palestinians may increase, though this isn't certain.

Looking at the relative risks, making a high-risk deal with the Palestinians would seem prudent in the long run. But nations do not make decisions on such abstract calculations. Israel will bet on its ability to stay strong. From a political standpoint, it has no choice. The Palestinians will bet on the long game. They have no choice. And in the meantime, blood will periodically flow.


The Unconventional Gazette
July 29, 2014

A young Arab boy asks his father, "What is that weird hat you are wearing?"

The father said, "Why, it's a 'chechia' because in the desert it protects our heads from the intense heat of the sun."

"And what is this type of clothing that you are wearing?" asked the young man.

"It's a 'djbellah' because in the desert it is very hot and it protects the body." said the father.

The son asked, "And what about those ugly shoes on your feet?

His father replied, "These are 'babouches", which keep us from burning our feet from hot sand in the desert."

"So tell me then," added the boy.

"Yes, my son?"

"Since we’re living in Dearborn Michigan, why are you still wearing all that shit?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Administration officials said the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy

No one should blame Israeli officials for saying that Kerry is either incompetent or anti-Israel when he places Israel and Hamas on the same level, as if Israel is not an ally of the U.S. and as if Hamas is not a terrorist organization, while trying to broker a ceasefire with the help of Qatar and Turkey, two strong supporters of Hamas. Not only is Qatar an enemy of Israel, but Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan hates Israel with a purple passion. Kerry should never have chosen the supporters of Hamas as bedfellow.

The Obama administration angrily claims that the Israelis have misinterpreted and distorted Kerry’s proposals and are out of line in their criticism. But when even Israel’s dovish left joins in the criticism, then you know they did not misinterpret or distort Kerry’s actions.

If deserved criticism of Kerry is going to jeopardize relations between the U.S. and Israel, then there isn’t much of a relationship to start with. The strong traditional relationship between America and the Jewish state has been slowly but surely withering away under Obama’s inept and biased leadership.

Actually I believe both Kerry and Obama are pro-Israel. It’s just that in trying to broker a peace agreement they keep bending over to the side of the Palestinians so as to avoid the appearance of favoring Israel. In doing so they are either turning a blind eye to or are ignorant of what is really behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – Israel wants to live in peace and security as a Jewish state and the Palestinians want to destroy the Jewish state.


Associated Press
July 28, 2014

Obama administration officials were fuming Monday over a torrent of Israeli criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry's latest bid to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

In unusually harsh language, officials said the criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy. They also said the personal attacks on Kerry crossed a line and were particularly disappointing at a time of active conflict.

Israeli media commentators have leveled almost nonstop criticism at Kerry in recent days over his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations. Kerry was also being accused of abandoning some of Israel's key demands during the negotiations.

In trying to implement the cease-fire over the weekend, "U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry ruined everything," wrote columnist Ari Shavit in Monday's Haaretz, Israel's leading liberal newspaper. "Very senior officials in Jerusalem described the proposal that Kerry put on the table as a 'strategic terrorist attack'."

Kerry did not directly mention the criticism during brief remarks Monday. However, he did seek to debunk the notion that the U.S. had backed away from its support for the demilitarization of Gaza, which has been a top priority for Israel.

"Any process to resolve the crisis in Gaza in a lasting and meaningful way must lead to the disarmament of Hamas and all terrorist groups," Kerry said.

Kerry returned to Washington Sunday after a week of shuttle diplomacy in the region failed to secure the weeklong cease-fire he sought.

U.S. frustration with Israel seeped into the White House's readout of a phone call Sunday between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The White House said Obama told Netanyahu that the U.S. had "serious and growing concern" about the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza. He also called to an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire," according to the White House.

The U.S. officials who described the administration's view of the Israeli criticism insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter on the record by name.


The Speaker of the House makes it crystal clear that the U.S. should stand on the side of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians

It’s a shame that the Obama administration does not see fit to back the conditions Israel insists it needs for a safe and secure nation.


The Associated Press
July 28, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that support for Israel must be the United States' main focus and not peace mediation in a subtle jab at the Obama administration.

"At times like this, people try to isolate Israel - but we are here to stand with Israel," Boehner said in remarks at the National Press Club. "Not just as a broker or observer — but as a strong partner and a trusted ally."

Boehner defined that support: "Well, it doesn't mean issuing vague, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand statements. No, it means backing up our words, and showing solidarity with our friend."

The comments from the Ohio Republican came as Secretary of State John Kerry has tried to negotiate a humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas after weeks of fighting, with little success.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned his country that it faces a prolonged campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Boehner said the U.S. House will always support Israel's right to defend itself.

"We will not equate professional militaries with terrorist organizations that use human shields and seek to maximize civilian casualties," Boehner said. "And we insist that the demilitarization of Gaza be not just a House goal but a shared, uncompromising U.S. and international objective."

Boehner addressed the National Leadership Assembly for Israel, which was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.


Many medical scientists say marijuana has not been proved safe and effective for medical treatment

By David Murray

Houston Chronicle
July 26, 2014

The state of Texas is deciding whether to embrace medical marijuana as approved policy, perhaps in the spirit of Gov. Rick Perry's receptivity to "states' rights" on marijuana. While the Legislature will have several bills to consider by 2015, an important question remains unanswered: Is medical marijuana really what it seems - a compassionate response to genuine suffering? Or is it a bait-and-switch move by drug legalizers?

Supporters cite the suffering of those with serious illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, as the reason for their project. And they readily tout a list of medical conditions that they think will generate public concern. For instance, marijuana is claimed to treat glaucoma, and even rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

But medical scientists know that marijuana has not been proven safe and effective. The American Glaucoma Society has written: "There is no scientific basis for marijuana's use in treatment," and there is evidence that it could actually do damage.

And in the journal of the American Epilepsy Society we read: "Marijuana itself has major shortcomings as an epilepsy treatment ... evidence for efficacy in treating seizures does not meet the necessary standard to recommend it to patients." Worse, researchers state that "marijuana use or withdrawal could potentially trigger seizures in susceptible patients."

It's true that studies are ongoing, and there is excitement over the potential of a substance found in marijuana, cannabidiol, to be more beneficial than the intoxicating compound, THC. Anecdotes have surfaced concerning efficacy for seizures, but clinical trials have yet to validate these reports. It is easy to understand the hopes of parents wishing to help their suffering child. But marijuana is unproven as an appropriate response, and, as with any proposed medication, scientific results must drive the decisions.

Are medical marijuana advocates playing on public sympathy in order to advance their political agenda? It often seems that way, particularly when their argument takes this form: "Cannabidiol might be a valuable therapeutic substance for a rare form of childhood epilepsy. Therefore, we demand that legislators give everybody a smoked weed full of high-potency THC."

Beyond the absence of evidence of medical value, marijuana itself is a source of major risk, both for its effects as a compound, and for the impact of the dispensaries on communities.

The THC found in marijuana has been called a neurotoxin and has been linked to damaged IQ. As two Yale University psychiatrists wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month, "The potential harms associated with medical marijuana need to be carefully considered. No other prescription medication is smoked … furthermore, there is evidence that marijuana exposure is associated with an increased risk of psychotic disorders in vulnerable individuals."

In Colorado, where marijuana is flooding the streets following legalization, the percentage of THC has soared to unprecedented levels through deliberate cultivation. The THC has gained at the expense of the potentially useful cannabidiol; lab analysis shows this compound remains but a small percentage of the product. The ratio of the intoxicating compound to the potentially beneficial one stands contrary to the claim that "it's all about the medicine."

As for the dispensaries, many in law enforcement believe that medical marijuana, while masking itself as a compassionate intervention, has become a front for drug trafficking. In Colorado, parents and the medical community argue that the slippery slope from medical to recreational legalization was in fact planned, whereby medical compassion was enlisted as the first deliberate wedge to gain wider access to the drug.

We know that the marijuana dispensaries serve as a substantial source of "diverted" marijuana going to high school students. Last year, the "Monitoring the Future" national survey of youth found, of those living in medical marijuana states, fully 34 percent of drug-using 12th-graders pointed to a medical "card holder" as a source for their drug.

In sum, we learn that careless use of marijuana can actually make things worse for patients. Second, there is a need for more research of potential value and potential risks, but it must be done by proper standards of medical evidence. Third, there is evidence that "medical" marijuana actually leads to greater illicit drug use, particularly by youth.

Approve medical marijuana? Legislators in Texas would do well to follow the ancient adage of medicine: "First, do no harm."

Murray, formerly chief scientist at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, is a senior fellow in the Center for Substance Abuse Policy Research at the Hudson Institute.


A sign placed in a bar’s window that included a reference to Irish drunks, offended a lot of people, but probably not the Irish

It just goes to show that the politically correct crowd can’t take a joke. The people that objected to the sign need to get a life.


So read a sign in the window of The Dock, a bar in Montauk on New York’s Long Island. The NO IRISH DRUNKS part of the sign set off a shitstorm of protests.

George Watson, the owner of The Dock, is a retired NYC firefighter who bought the bar in 1973. In response to the protests, Watson used his website to say:

At The Dock, we feel that in order for a joke to be funny, it must be told at someone’s expense. We tell ethnic, sexist, and racial jokes - everyone gets their turn in the barrel. If you are self absorbed yuppie scum with a cellphone and ''free spirited'' children, go elsewhere.

While Watson was unapologetic, he did cover up the word ‘Irish’ with a sheet of paper that reads: SENSITIVE.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Hmmm, I wonder if this were to happen in the U.S., would it be covered by Obamacare?


The Israelis are infuriated that in his cease fire proposal, Kerry placed Israel and Hamas on the same level, as if Israel is not an ally of the U.S. and as if Hamas is not a terrorist organization

I’m surprised it took them this long to see what a jerk Kerry really is. Even Israelis opposed to Netanyahu’s policies are shocked over Kerry’s bias against Israel. But then again, the Secretary of State is merely carrying out Obama’s incompetent anti-Israel policies.

While Kerry was conniving with the foreign ministers of Qatar and Turkey, both strong supporters of Hamas, Obama made an angry call to Netanyahu on Sunday indicating he was losing patience. Although he condemned the Hamas rocket attacks and reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself, he demanded that Israel institutes an “immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now.” Since the two can’t stand each other anyway, I hope Netanyahu had the balls to tell Obama, “Fuck off you idiot!”


Israel Today
July 27, 2014

Israeli government ministers who on Friday unanimously rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Gaza ceasefire proposal said a day later that the entire affair had clearly demonstrated either the incompetence or the anti-Israel bias of America’s top diplomat.

“Kerry took the terms put forth by [Hamas leader Khaled] Mashal and then presented them as an American [ceasefire] proposal,” one Israeli government official was quoted as saying by Israel Hayom.

According to some of the details of Kerry’s plan that were leaked to the Israeli press, the Americans wanted an immediate halt to all hostilities in Gaza, followed by negotiations between Israel and Hamas in Cairo. On the table would be vastly increased funding for Gaza’s Hamas regime and an opening of the border between Israel and the volatile coastal enclave.

Kerry’s proposal apparently made no mention of the need to eliminate Hamas’ ability to militarily threaten the Jewish state.

As Ha’aretz correspondent Barak Ravid, one of Israel’s premier left-wing reporters, put it:

“The document recognized Hamas’ position in the Gaza Strip… [and it] placed Israel and Hamas on the same level, as if the first is not a primary US ally and as if the second isn’t a terror group which overtook part of the Palestinian Authority in a military coup and fired thousands of rockets at Israel.”

Ravid, like Israel’s government ministers, was forced to conclude that “if Kerry did anything…it was to thwart the possibility of reaching a cease-fire in Gaza. …the American secretary of state will be responsible for every additional drop of blood that is spilled.”

What really irked Israel was that an acceptable ceasefire had already been tabled by Egypt, and Kerry had initially backed that initiative and signaled that his proposal would be based on it.

What Kerry ultimately put forward after consulting with Hamas allies Qatar and Turkey was a complete departure from the Egyptian proposal and a “prize for terror,” according to Israeli officials.

When the Israeli cabinet met again on Saturday to discuss further action in Gaza, there were reportedly few kind words for Kerry. According to Channel 2, various ministers described the US secretary of state as “negligent,” “lacking the ability to understand” what is happening on the ground, and “incapable of handling the most basic matters.”

As Israel draws ever closer to Arab neighbors who have a shared interest in seeing Hamas and similar groups defeated, the Obama Administration’s handling of the situation is likely to further drive a wedge between Jerusalem and Washington.


Another NYPD cop is in trouble for the way he struggled with a man who was resisting arrest

A bystander used his cellphone to videotape a cop who appeared to be stomping on the head of a man who had been struggling with NY cops trying to arrest him. This comes after the July 17 videotape of another NY cop taking down Eric Garner with a choke hold which may have contributed to his death.

On Tuesday night, police officers in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn observed Jahmiel Cuffee with some marijuana. Gary Dorner, a bystander, started recording the incident on his cellphone when the cops asked Cuffee to identify himself. He handed over his ID, but when the officers tried to arrest him, he resisted them. One cop briefly pulled his gun. The cops wrestled Cuffee to the ground. All this time a crowd screamed at the cops. One of the officers walked away, then suddenly returned and placed his foot on the head of the still struggling man.

Dorner told Pix 11;

He abruptly stomped on top of the gentleman’s head. He lifted his foot with excessive force and came down like he was stepping on an ant or a roach or something at the time. He wasn’t doing anything wrong and the officer just stepped on his head.

Cuffee was taken to a hospital to be treated for minor neck and head injuries. He was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana.

Cuffee had at least eight prior arrests for possession of pot. In January 2008 Cuffee was packing a gun when he got busted for selling marijuana. During that incident, he also resisted arrest and fought with the cops.

Joel Edouard, the officer who allegedly stomped on Cuffee’s head, was placed on desk duty and stripped off his badge and gun.

Speaking about the videotaping of cops making arrests, police union spokesman Patrick Lynch said:

They never capture the criminal act or offense that brings police action to the scene, They present an isolated period of a police interaction but never the entire scenario. That's why it is necessary when video tapes surface to have a complete review of the facts in every case before arriving at any conclusion.

My only comment in this case is to say that I do not think that NYPD trains its officers to place their feet on a struggling arrestee’s head. Edouard should have watched where he was stepping.


In an editorial, The Times calls on the government to repeal the laws against marijuana

In an editorial on Sunday, The New York Times called on the federal government to repeal the laws against marijuana. The Times editors wrote:

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

The editors then played the race card with this liberal pablum:

The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.

I wonder if The Times editors ever bothered to consider that many of those young black men were already criminals - thieves, burglars, muggers, carjackers, gangbangers - when they got busted for pot possession. Of course, it’s not politically correct to acknowledge that it’s the culture of the ghetto that creates career criminals.

As far as I’m concerned, The Times can play the race card all it wants, but to say that pot is “far less dangerous than alcohol” infuriates me. Because there is plenty of research to the contrary, that statement is a bald-faced lie!

All the anchors on the Sunday morning news shows expressed surprise that The Times would call for the repeal of the pot laws. Are they kidding? This should come as no surprise to anyone since The New York Times is the most liberal of our nation’s major newspapers.


The Unconventional Gazette
July 27, 2014

A Priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish.

The parish’s Congressman, who was also a member of the congregation, had been chosen to make the presentation and to give a little speech at the dinner. However, he was delayed in traffic, so the Priest decided to say his own few words while they waited:

I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place.

The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents; embezzled from his employer; had an affair with his boss’s wife; had sex with his boss’s 17 year old daughter on numerous occasions, taken illegal drugs; had several homosexual affairs; was arrested several times for public nudity and gave VD to his sister.

I was appalled that one person could do so many awful things. But as the days went on, I learned that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people.

Just as the Priest finished his talk, the Congressman arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and gave his talk:

I’ll never forget the first day our parish Priest arrived. In fact, I had the honor of being the very first person to go to him for confession.


The Unconventional Gazette
July 27, 2014

A man was stopped by the police around 2 a.m. and was asked where he was going at that time of night.

He replied, “I'm on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late.”

The officer asked, “Really? Who's giving that lecture at this time of night?”

He replied, “That would be my wife.”

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Hamas claims that Gaza is being strangled by Israel and Egypt’s blockade and it demands that the blockade be lifted before it will agree to stop firing rockets at Israel. But it’s not the blockade that is strangling Gaza, it’s how Hamas allocates its funds.

Imagine how much it costs to build those tunnels and buy rockets

The Wall Street Journal
July 25, 2014

A common argument by critics of Israel in its conflict with Hamas is that Palestinians wouldn't have to resort to terror if they didn't feel isolated and economically beleaguered in Gaza. This ignores that Palestinians on the West Bank have enjoyed generous foreign aid and a period of strong economic growth. More important, this ignores that Hamas pours whatever money it has into what is essentially a terror economy.

Consider the network of tunnels, whose number and expanse are the big surprises of this latest Gaza war. These are not the tunnels scratched out of dirt by hand a la Charles Bronson in "The Great Escape."

These are large and sophisticated passageways that sometimes run for miles and are often more than 60-feet down to escape seismic detection. They are reinforced by concrete and some are large enough for vehicles. Their purpose is to hide and transport weapons, as well as to infiltrate men into Israel to grab hostages or murder civilians.

The economic point is that building these tunnels and smuggling thousands of missiles takes money—lots of it. If Hamas cared about the well-being of its citizens, it would use that money to build schools and public works or invest in businesses. Instead, Hamas devotes its scarce resources to building a terror economy of tunnels and rockets and sending its young men to die in suicide raids. That is why Gaza is impoverished.


The Kansas Supreme Court overturned the death sentences of two brothers who massacred four people on the technicality of them not being tried separately during the sentencing phase

In a case that became known as the Wichita Massacre, brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr broke into a Wichita, Kans. home in December 2000 and forced three men and two women to have sex which each other before shooting each of them in the head.

Jonathon, then 20, and Reginald, then 22, forced the five victims to have sex with each other. The two women were also repeatedly raped by the brothers. Then they kidnapped the five and forced them to withdraw money from ATMs. Finally they took all five to a snow covered soccer field where each was shot in the back of the head execution style. One of the women, a 25-year-old school teacher identified only as H.G., survived because her metal barrette deflected the bullet. H.G. ran naked through the snow seeking help. She was a compelling witness against the brothers during their trial.

In 2002, Jonathan, now 34, and Reginald, now 36, were tried and convicted on 93 counts, including capital murder, rape, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. The brothers were sentenced to death.

The Carr brothers had an extensive criminal history. Just prior to the Wichita Massacre, they robbed Andrew Schreiber, 23, a Newman University assistant basketball coach. Three days later they shot and mortally wounded Ann Walenta, 56, a cellist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, as she tried to escape being robbed by them.

On Friday, in a 6-1 ruling, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned the death sentences because the brothers were not tried separately during the penalty phase of the trial. The court upheld 57 of the 93 convictions, but overturned three of the four capital murder convictions. Most of the overturned convictions involved the counts charging the brothers with forcing the victims to have sex with each other.

In the three capital murder convictions that were overturned, the court ruled that the instructions to jurors had been flawed because the judge tied those charges to the rape of the surviving victim rather than to the four murdered ones.

On the remaining capital murder conviction, the court ordered that the brothers be returned to the Sedgwick County District Court for a new penalty phase of the trial, with each to be tried and resentenced separately.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney has not decided whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme court, but he has promised to continue seeking the death penalty.

Here we have a case in which there was overwhelming evidence of guilt, but the Kansas Supreme Court chose to overturn the death sentences of two worthless pieces of shit on technicalities. Damn those damn technicalities! Justice is being denied the four murdered victims – Aaron Sander, 29, Brad Heyka, 27, Jason Befort, 26, and Heather Muller, 25 – and their loved ones. And justice is also being denied Ann Walenta and her loved ones.

I have no objection when a death penalty is overturned because the defendant had a piss-poor attorney, or where the prosecution withheld mitigating or other evidence favorable to the accused, or where a serious error was made during trial, but none of that applies in this case. What the Kansas Supreme Court did is a dirty rotten shame!

By the way, right after these horrendous murders, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were nowhere to be found screaming for the scalps of the killers. Could that be because the victims were white and the Carr brothers black?


The Secretary of State is meeting in Paris with his counterparts from Qatar and Turkey to broker a Gaza cease fire even though Qatar is a strong supporter of Hamas and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has promised to haul Israel before the International Court for war crimes

The Obama administration continues to show that it is not a true friend of Israel. It is upset with Israel over the disproportionate killing of Palestinians in the conflict with Hamas. That conflict would come to a screeching halt if only Hamas and Islamic Jihad would just stop firing rockets at Israel’s civilian population.

The air attacks and ground offensive against Gaza are designed to take out the rocket launchers, the rocket supplies and the tunnels that have been built to store those supplies and to provide a way for terrorists pop up inside Israel. The problem for Israel is that the rockets are launched from the grounds of homes, schools, hospitals and Mosques, and the rocket supplies are hidden in schools, Mosques and even in hospitals, as well as the tunnels. And those tunnel entrances are inside Palestinian homes. Thus the high toll of civilian casualties.

Any cease fire that will lead sooner or later to a resumption of rocket attacks against Israel will be seen as a great victory for Hamas. For Israel it will mean that the deaths of its soldiers have been for naught. And a cease fire will also allow Hamas and Islamic Jihad to regroup.

Kerry has chosen to partner with Israel’s enemies to broker a cease fire. He is conniving in Paris with his counterparts from Qatar and Turkey. Qatar is a strong supporter of Hamas and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has declared that Israel “is surpassing Hitler in barbarism” and has promised to haul the Jewish state before the International Court for war crimes. With Qatar and Turkey involved, Israel is not going to get a square shake out of any cease fire.

I am sure that the people of Israel deeply regret and are truly saddened that there are so many Palestinian civilian casualties, especially of women and children. Israel is not deliberately targeting those civilians, but civilian casualties will always be high in urban warfare. Of course, there would have been far fewer casualties if Hamas had not been using the civilians in Gaza as human shields.

It is especially ironic and the height of hypocrisy that the U.S. would be so concerned about the deaths of innocent civilians at the hands of Israel in its war with Hamas. During WWII, half-a-million German civilian men, women and children were killed because American and British warplanes deliberately targeted civilians by carpet bombing Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin and other German cities. And we dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, thereby killing and wounding 150,000 men, women and children in Hiroshima and 75,000 in Nagasaki.

At the time the A-bombs were dropped, I was overjoyed because if it weren't for those bombs, I could have easily been killed had we invaded Japan. Today, I am just as pleased that President Truman ordered those bombs dropped. But that doesn’t alter the fact that during WWII we deliberately killed and wounded millions of civilians. The civilians being killed and wounded in Gaza were not deliberately targeted by Israel’s armed forces. Why then is Israel now accused of war crimes when the U.S. wasn’t?

If Obama and Kerry were true friends of Israel, they would not interfere in Israel’s efforts to wipe out Gaza’s rocket launchers, rocket supplies and terrorist tunnels, whose sole purpose is to bring death and destruction on Israeli civilian targets.


A federal judge rules that the D.C. ban on carrying handguns outside the home is unconstitutional

Federal judge Frederick Scullin ruled Saturday that the Washington D.C.'s ban on carrying handguns outside the home is unconstitutional. Judge Scullin said:

There is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia's total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia's complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.

The judge ordered the city to allow residents to carry handguns outside their homes and to let non-residents carry them as well.

The case, Palmer et al v. District of Columbia et al, was filed five years ago. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that D.C.’s total ban on handguns violated the Second Amendment. An appeals court ruled in 2011 that all handguns in D.C. must be registered.

You can bet your life that the gun control crowd will appeal Judge Scullin’s ruling. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Obama’s Justice Department joined in to support the appeal as a friend of the court.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Beretta reacts to Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which bans a number of firearms and restricts gun ownership, by pulling up stakes and heading for gun-friendly Tennessee.

Beretta’s move comes on the heels of last May’s announcement by Remington Arms that, in wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act gun-control law, it will shift production of the popular Bushmaster rifle and 1911 pistol assembly lines from New York to gun-friendly Alabama.

By Natalie Johnson

The Daily Signal | July 25, 2014

Italian gunmaker Beretta announced this week the company is relocating its U.S. headquarters from Maryland to Tennessee in response to gun restrictions passed last year.

The company has been producing firearms in Maryland since 1977 but the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which bans a range of firearms and places restrictions on gun owners, solidified Beretta’s move out of state.

“We tend to be a company that has deep roots,” board member Jeff Reh told the Baltimore Sun. “We didn’t want to leave Maryland or even consider it but we decided it was the most prudent course of action. We could have been happy staying in Maryland for hundreds of years.”

General Manager Jeff Cooper cited an earlier version of the statute introduced by the state Senate that would have prevented the company from producing or storing firearms in Maryland as a key reason for the move.

“While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the state,” Cooper told the Washington Times.

Beretta’s move will strip 300 jobs out of Maryland, according to Forbes.

The company began building a factory in Tennessee after the bill was passed, though this facility was solely going to be used for new equipment and the manufacture of new product lines. The threat of the further restrictions ultimately pushed the company out of Maryland.

“The chance we would go through that next legislative session or the one after that was just too great a risk for us to accept,” Reh said.

Beretta’s Tennessee branch is scheduled to open mid-2015.


By Dan Perry

Associated Press
July 25, 2014

CAIRO -- The third Gaza war is playing out much like the first one more than five years ago: The harrowing civilian toll in Gaza is now at the center of the discourse, eclipsing the rocket attacks by Hamas militants that were the stated reason for the Israeli assault.

Then as now, a question persists: Beyond the carnage, are Israel's airstrikes against civilian locations achieving anything at all?

It ended messily for Israel in 2009. A U.N. commission investigated, Israel refused to cooperate, and the resulting report — since then partly disavowed by its own author, former South African judge Richard Goldstone — said Israel deliberately targeted civilians and might have committed war crimes, along with Hamas.

About 1,400 Palestinians, including many hundreds of civilians, were killed in the operation dubbed "Cast Lead," along with 13 Israelis. After 18 days this year, the civilian death toll of operation "Protective Edge" is at similar levels — and the proportion is higher. Israel's argument is similar as well: Hamas is to blame not only for attacking a much-stronger power with rockets, but also for operating from within heavily populated residential areas, as well as mosques, hospitals and schools.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said Wednesday that some of the recent Israeli attacks, including those on homes and on a care center for the disabled, raise "a strong possibility that international law has been violated in a manner that could amount to war crimes."

She also condemned indiscriminate Hamas attacks — including 3,000 rockets fired since July 8 that have killed several civilians in Israel — and said storing military equipment in civilian areas or launching attacks from there is unacceptable. But "the actions of one party do not absolve the other party of the need to respect its obligations under international law," she added.

International law can be a fuzzy and subjective thing, its application dependent on circumstances. The wider context also affects the degree of political pressure on Israel to stop. So it is important to note that there are also key differences between now and 2009. Here's a comparative look:


It is hard for outsiders to grasp the meaning, to Israelis, of Tel Aviv. The seaside metropolis of about 2 million is prosperous and fun, and an easy, generally liberal atmosphere prevails. It is a place of high tech, of electric nightlife, of diverse and highly Westernized culture, of surfing and gay pride parades. It is essential to an often unspoken but profound feeling that many Israelis cling to, which oddly aligns with what Arab critics would say: That they somehow do not belong in the Middle East.

In 2009, Hamas was firing relatively small projectiles with minimal range, mostly aimed at border communities surrounding the blockaded Gaza Strip. These are gritty places: hardscrabble towns that are relatively poor; or kibbutz farming communities whose people are often idealistic and pioneering. The people under fire there were certainly displeased, but by and large had no illusions about where they live.

Now Hamas is firing at Tel Aviv, which is 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the strip, and even at some cities beyond. One landed near Tel Aviv's airport, causing U.S. and European airlines to suspend flights. Millions are living with the threat of rockets every day. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can go on TV and ask Americans what they would do if New York or Chicago were under constant rocket attack. The argument resonates, the world seems to be listening, and even many in the Arab world agree. So Israel gets more room to maneuver.


Hamas rode relatively high in 2009, in its own particular way.

The Islamic militant group had legitimately won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, was denied the share of power it wanted by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, and in a little over a year had battled its way to full control of Gaza. It promised cleaner government than the Palestinian Authority and was relatively popular as a result. Israelis and much of the world, remembering suicide bombings and bus attacks, rejected Hamas as a terrorist group, to be blockaded and shunned. But in the Arab world at least, there was a veneer of legitimacy. Hamas had powerful supporters in Iran and the Gulf, and neighboring Egypt was not openly an enemy back then.

Much has happened since in the Arab world, and it hasn't helped Hamas. The Arab Spring brought a wave of Islamist successes, following by a widespread sense of their misrule. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, which largely spawned Hamas, is now outlawed; its leaders are on trial and the group is portrayed by media as terrorists. Jihadis cut from a similar cloth as Hamas are considered in leading Arab circles to have brought destruction and disgrace in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Egypt's own Sinai region.

There is not much love for Israel in the Arab world, and growing horror at the civilian deaths in Gaza. But many in the region seem nonetheless pleased to see Hamas get hammered, and some would be happier still to see it gone. The Obama administration seems more involved in the region than that of President George W. Bush in its final days: Secretary of State John Kerry and other international negotiators are scrambling around the Middle East, but genuine pressure seems lacking. More maneuvering room for Israel.


There are two kinds of governments in Israel when it comes to the heart of the matter, which is peace with the Palestinians and the possibility of a Palestinian state.

One kind was in power during "Cast Lead." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was clearly committed to pulling out of the West Bank one way or another and was making rather far-reaching offers to Abbas: a state in all of Gaza and the vast majority of the West Bank, and a share in Jerusalem. For a variety of reasons no deal was struck, but Olmert was perceived as serious on the Palestinian issue. This opens doors and spreads positivity, and Israel enjoyed some space as a result.

It's a very different story under Netanyahu. He dropped his lifelong opposition to a Palestinian state in recent years — but his terms are very far from those of the Palestinians. Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank is roaring ahead, and nine months of peace talks got scarcely beyond quibbles and procedure. Netanyahu's own party continues to oppose a Palestinian state, and there is a sense of a wink about his moves in this regard. And so the region and the world view him with considerable suspicion. If he were fighting anyone but Hamas, the atmosphere for Israel would be most uncomfortable by now.


During the 2008-9 campaign, it was not exactly clear what the outcome would be. Would Hamas break under the assault? Would the people of Gaza blame Hamas for their suffering and overthrow the group? Is victory possible? It was not even clear whether Israel ruled out reoccupying the strip, from which it had withdrawn four years earlier.

The answers to those questions are clearer now. In both campaigns, as well as another one in late 2012, Hamas has shown that it will simply continue firing rockets no matter what the outcome to the people of Gaza. Hamas does not seem on the verge of being overthrown despite its heavy-handed rule. And the people actually support Hamas' stated goal of ending the Israeli-Egyptian blockade so much that there seems to be scant pressure on Hamas to give in. On the Israeli side, there is minimal desire to retake the inhospitable strip.

It's also clear that Israel's various efforts to minimize the deaths with a variety of warnings aren't working well. For the third time, the world sees images of whole families buried under rubble, of children in a morgue. And for all its claims of precision, Israel's military is having trouble producing detailed explanations of why any particular building was hit.

It lends a sense of predictable futility to the proceedings, and raises questions in Israel itself about the strategy. The answer tends to be that doing nothing in response to rocket fire on cities is not an option. That logic dominates the Israeli discourse for now. But to many, it is starting to feel uncomfortable nonetheless.


Two naked men and one wearing only briefs broke into a Bonita Beach, Florida eatery and took off with 60 burgers, three pounds of bacon and some red peppers

On Sunday at 3:06 a.m., three brazen burglars, two of them completely naked and one wearing only briefs, broke into the kitchen of Doc’s Beach House, an eatery at Florida’s Bonita Beach. Apparently the naked thieves were only after food and not any of the burger joint’s money. They absconded with 60 burgers, three pounds of bacon and some red peppers, as well as a paddleboard. The whole kitchen caper lasted only five minutes.

When the thieves realized they were being filmed by security cameras, they tried to cover up their dicks and faces. But they were too late, as the cameras caught their dicks and all.

Later that morning, Doc’s kitchen staff found the red peppers on the beach near a beach bathhouse about 100 yards from the eatery. The News-Press reports Shelly Isom, one of Doc’s waitresses, as saying “They left a trail like Hansel and Gretel. One of them probably said after, 'Uh, guys, where did we leave our clothes?’”

Nancy Sansevieri, another waitresses, laughingly referred to the trio as “knuckleheads’ and named them “Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest.”

Lou Bangert, Doc’s manager, told the News-Press that his waitresses “want to meet the bandits. Everybody wants to work the night shift now.”

Since the waitresses are hot to trot for the culprits, I would have to think they were very well endowed.

The police have released pictures of the thieves but the naked truth is that the bare-ass bandits remain unidentified and are still at large.


The Onion
July 25, 2014

MCALESTER, OK—Shortly before administering a lethal injection to a prisoner sentenced to death by the state, Oklahoma Department of Corrections executioner Michael Callahan reportedly entered the death chamber Friday at Oklahoma State Penitentiary carrying a large plastic bag full of purchases from a nearby Home Depot.

“I typically run out to the store an hour or so ahead of time and grab some of the stuff we need,” Callahan told reporters, referring to the jugs and canisters of hazardous chemicals acquired from the home improvement retailer, which included antifreeze, rat poison, and the weed killer Roundup. “This’ll be the first time I’m going with drain cleaner instead of bleach, so I’m really curious about how the guy’s going to react. I’ll kind of mix this stuff together and fill up a syringe with it and we’ll be good to go. I think 50 CC’s seems about right.”

Callahan added that in the event the toxic concoction failed to kill the prisoner, he could always make a second trip to Home Depot and be back at the execution chamber in half an hour.

Friday, July 25, 2014


By Dennis Prager

The Middle East conflict is framed as one of the most complex problems in the world. But, in reality, it's very simple. Israelis want to live in peace and are willing to accept a neighboring Palestinian state. But most Palestinians and other Arabs are not willing to accept a Jewish state and want Israel destroyed.

Here, in a five-minute video, is really all you need to know:


The 70-year-old husband and father of the missing women is arrested in Ohio for their murder

Last month, family members filed missing person reports on a mother and daughter with the New York State Police. There was just one little problem. The two, Marcia and Elizabeth Honsch from the village of Brewster, had been missing for 19 years. Brewster is about 60 miles north of NYC.

The cops would not comment on why it took the family members 19 years to report the two women missing. I suppose you could say, better 19 years late than never.

Through an internet search, the NY state police were able to connect the missing women to two unidentified bodies found 19 years ago. Elizabeth, 17 at the time, had been found September 28, 1995 with a gunshot wound to the head behind a shopping plaza in New Britain, Conn. She had been found wrapped in trash bags and a sleeping bag. Her mother Marcia, 53 at the time, was discovered October 6, 1995 by a hiker in some woods in Tolland, Mass., about 40 miles from New Britain. Marcia also had a gunshot wound to the head. The NY State Police forensics lab was able to establish a positive identification of the bodies.

On Wednesday, police made an arrest in the murders of Marcia and Elizabeth Honsch. Robert Tyree, 70, formerly Robert Honsch, was arrested in Dalton, Ohio where he had been living for the past 19 years. Honsch had assumed his new name and settled down in the Ohio town. He married again and had children with his new wife. During his 19 years in Dalton, Honsch remained arrest free until Wednesday.

Honsch is being held for extradition. He is expected to be extradited to Massachusetts first.


Hate-mongering Prime Minister Erdogan says Israel “is surpassing Hitler in barbarism” with its attacks on Gaza

The Israel-hating Turkish Prime Minister completely disregards the fact that Israel is defending itself against relentless rocket attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and that Hamas is using the women and children of Gaza as human shields. If anyone should be hauled before the International Court for war crimes, it should be Hamas.

When Erdogan makes the outrageous statement that Israel “is surpassing Hitler in barbarism,” he is spewing forth a load of hate-mongering venom.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan says Israel should face trial over Gaza assault

Mail Online
July 24, 2014

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today said his country would push for Israel to be tried at an international criminal court if it kept up its assault on Gaza.

Turkey, a member of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance, was once Israel's closest regional ally, but has recently become one of its most vitriolic critics.

'At the moment, Hamas is prepared for everything in order to achieve a ceasefire... (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas is prepared too,' Erdogan told CNN news channel in an interview.

'Israel is not even approaching such a thing and is spitting death, spitting blood.'

Mr Erdogan's comments come just days after he accused Israel of 'surpassing Hitler in barbarism' with its Gaza offensive.

'If Israel continues with this attitude, it will definitely be tried at international courts,' Erdogan, who is campaigning for a presidential election on August 10, told a rally of supporters in the southern port city of Mersin.

'We will see this happen and Turkey will struggle for this,' he told the cheering crowd.

Today, Mr Erdogan stood by his comments likening Israel's actions to those of Hitler and said the Jewish state was committing genocide.

'It is beyond comprehension that Israel is still defended by the West and the world is silent about it. Therefore we cannot remain silent and we will not be silent,' he said.

The politician's rhetoric will likely play well with his electoral base of largely conservative Sunni Muslim voters, who he hopes will hand him victory in next month's poll, the first time Turkey's president will have been elected by a popular vote and not by parliament.


Courthouse News Service
July 23, 2014

LOS ANGELES -- In a dozen lawsuits, hundreds of Los Angeles police officers claim the city violates fair labor standards by making them work through meal breaks and stiffing them for overtime.

Hundreds of unionized police officers sued the city in Federal Court on Monday, in closely related complaints.

The officers had joined other plaintiffs in two fair labor complaints against the city. The new lawsuits were filed after judges decertified the lawsuits, Roberto Alaniz vs. City of Los Angeles, et al., and Cesar Mata vs. City of Los Angeles et al., and dismissed the "opt-in" plaintiffs' claims.

In the latest string of lawsuits, the officers claim the LAPD makes them work through meal breaks, and deducts the so-called "Code 7" breaks from their wages.

The unlawful deductions cause the LAPD to lowball overtime wages by "reducing the hours worked in the gap," the officers say.

Nor does the LAPD take into account the time officers need to prepare or finish arrest reports or preliminary investigation reports, the complaints add.

"Time spent before and/or after watch for the benefit of the LAPD was not compensated, when it should have been, at the proper overtime rate as required under FLSA [Fair Labor Standards Act]," the July 22 complaints say.

The officers say the city treats other jobs, such as preparing for roll call, signing arrest warrants and accounting for personnel, as unpaid tasks rather than overtime.

"Though defendants were aware that plaintiffs performed this compensable work, plaintiffs were never compensated for these additional hours of work. Plaintiffs also were expected and required to complete assigned tasks/reports within a limited amount of time. Therefore, plaintiffs worked, but were not compensated, for their labors," a typical lawsuit states.

Citations in this article are from Ismael Aldaz Sr. et al. v. Los Angeles.

According to the officers, the city knows police work after watch without pay because the practice is "widespread" and has gone on for years.

"Moreover, plaintiffs' managers and supervisors were fully aware that plaintiffs started work early to prepare for roll call because plaintiffs' supervisors pursuant to the policy of the LAPD and/or either pressured or ordered them to start work early to prepare for roll call, and often engaged in the preparation for roll call alongside them," the complaint states.

The LAPD does not train its officers to recognize overtime tasks and log them accordingly, according to the complaint.

"Defendant received the benefit of plaintiffs' work without the significant cost of paying plaintiffs for overtime hours worked," the complaint states. "This benefit to the employer, however, was only achieved by creating illegal procedures that denied plaintiffs compensation for missed Code 7's and persuading plaintiffs and other officers that they should unknowingly work overtime by failing to train them and thus not be compensate them for their time or to work overtime by withholding training on what is or is not overtime."

The nonparty Los Angeles Police Protective League represents 9,900 LAPD officers. Union spokesman Eric Rose declined to comment on the lawsuits.

The plaintiffs seek actual, consequential, liquidated, and incidental losses and damages.

They are represented by Gregory Petersen of Newport Beach.


By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
July 23, 2014

I am not saying that all gang oriented violent assholes are stupid, but sometimes I wonder.

Rocky Riberal, 46, his son Brandon Riberal, 20, and Raymond Valles, Jr., 19, have just finished undergoing trial in Stockton for a gang related collateral damage homicide. That is hardly unusual, but some of the ancillary goings-on were sort of strange.

Many of the home boys were present in court to show solidarity for their fellows. Some of the people who showed up to show support had active warrants out for their arrest. I am sure the deputies were grateful for the easy catch. The judge went so far as to not allow the defendants relatives to read letters of support in open court, for fear of creating a disturbance in court.

The two younger defendants each denied being the shooter. The father expressed remorse at loaning out his car, which was used in the drive-by shooting that killed Eric Valverde, 29. The youngsters asked the court for mercy, to allow them to go on and do good things. The judge was not particularly helpful as both young men had recent convictions. The father admitted to loaning a gun and the rented SUV to his son, but denied he knew they were going to hurt anybody.

Valles (who was a juvenile at the time of the killing) and young Riberal both got life without plus 57-to-life. The older Riberal got 82-to-life. Two other defendants are awaiting trial in the same matter.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


An Arizona inmate gasped and snorted for 117 minutes during his execution before he croaked

Joseph Wood, 55, was executed Tuesday by the state of Arizona for the 1989 murder of his girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father. The state used a lethal drug cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone. The only problem was that the bastard didn’t croak until 3:49 p.m., some 117 minutes after the lethal injection began. During that time, Wood gasped for air 660 times, according to a journalist from the Arizona Republic who witnessed the execution.

An hour after the start of the execution, Wood’s lawyers filed an emergency motion in a federal district court to halt the execution and their client’s ‘suffering.’ Alas, they were too late.

As can be expected, there was an immediate hue and cry about how poor old Joe, who roosted on death row for 25 years, suffered during his cruel execution. But Dietz's sister, Jeannie Brown told NBC News that "I don't believe he was suffering. Who really suffered was my dad and my sister when they were killed."

Gov. Jan Brewer, while expressing concern over how the execution went, told NBC that Wood didn't suffer "in stark comparison to the gruesome, vicious suffering that he inflicted on his two victims."

I don’t understand why some capital punishment states keep using a combination of lethal drugs when a single dose of pentobarbital, as used by Texas and Georgia, works just fine. I am sure Wood’s two hours of gasping and snorting will energize the 'hug-the-condemned' opponents of capital punishment. And it will create a wave of appeals over lethal drugs in future executions, including those in Texas and Georgia. The question is: With this coming on the heels of last April’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, will Wood’s execution lead to the end of lethal injections?

As an aside, I want to commend that Arizona Republic reporter for the way he managed to keep an exact count of the 660 gasps. I suppose though, that was as good a way as any to pass two hours of sitting around.


Four Pennsylvania teenagers threw rocks from an overpass, one of which crushed a schoolteacher’s forehead

Shortly before midnight on July 10, brothers Brett, 18, and Dylan, 17, Lahr, Tyler Gregory Porter, 17, and a juvenile identified only as KLM were just out to have some fun. They drove onto an overpass on Interstate 80 in White Deer Township, Pa. where they stopped to pelt passing cars with rocks.

At the same time, an Ohio family was driving to New York to attend a show when suddenly an object smashed through the windshield of their Nissan. The object, which turned out to be an eight-pound rock the size of a football, crushed the forehead of Sharon Budd, 52, a seventh-grade Uniontown teacher and mother of four. Mrs. Budd was rushed to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where it was touch-and-go whether she would live or die.

Doctors worked feverishly over a two week period to keep Mrs. Budd alive. They had to remove pieces of her skull from her brain. They removed parts of her intact skull to allow for swelling of the brain and used a piece of her skull to fabricate a bridge between her eyes. Doctors felt it necessary to remove the right frontal brain lobe and parts of the left one too. They had to use screws, bolts and plates in order to keep her face together.

The scar from the rock runs from her right ear across her forehead. The one from the removed part of her skull runs across the top of her head from ear to ear. While Mrs. Budd is expected to live, she will probably lose the sight in her right eye. And she will no longer be able to function as a teacher, nor will she be able to perform some otherwise routine tasks.

Now that I’ve described the extent of her injuries and the extraordinary surgeries required to keep Ms. Budd alive, the question is: How should the four rock-throwing assholes be punished?

The two Lahr brothers and Porter are being held and charged as adults with aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and counts of propulsion of missiles into an occupied vehicle or onto roadway, possessing of instruments of crime and recklessly endangering another person. KLM is being held as a juvenile.

I am sure there will be those do-gooders who will say that the assholes are only guilty of committing a youthful indiscretion. Youthful indiscretion my fucking ass! These four bastards were would-be murderers and don’t tell me they didn’t know that when they were tossing those rocks. All four must be punished to the fullest extent of the law and the sentences on all counts should run consecutively, not concurrently.


A Syracuse cop was looking at his patrol car’s computer, not at a red traffic light when he collided with another cop car

Syracuse, NY Officer Robert Harrington, 35, was driving his marked patrol car while responding to a suspicious person call late Tuesday morning. He was looking at the patrol car’s computer instead of where he was going. He blew a red traffic light and – oops, a great big, big oops – he collided with an unmarked Syracuse cop car driven by Detective Edward MacBlane, 51.

Neither Harrington or MacBlane were hurt, but you couldn’t say that about the two cop cars.

Harrington was not cited for blowing the red traffic light. Now suppose Harrington had been a civilian, do you think he would have gotten off without getting a citation? If you still believe in the tooth fairy, you could say Harrington was not cited because it was the computer’s fault.


A former teen mother, who dropped out of high school and then earned two masters degrees to become Brooklyn school principal, blew it all by keeping bad company

It seems sort of tragic that this woman, who dragged herself up by the bootstraps, had such a bright future before she blew it all, probably because of the bad company she kept.

Public School 28 Principal Sadie Silver, 40, of Bushwick, was removed from her position after she and Michael Acosta, 34, were arrested Friday when cops said they caught the pair bringing heroin and prescription drugs into Coxsackie Correctional Facility

By Kerry Burke and Ben Chapman

New York Daily News
July 21, 2014

A highly touted Brooklyn principal was yanked from her post Monday, three days after state police caught her trying to smuggle heroin into a maximum-security prison upstate with a 10-year-old in tow, city education officials said.

Public School 28 Principal Sadie Silver, 40, of Bushwick, was arrested Friday with Michael Acosta, 34, after cops caught the educator and her partner carrying heroin and prescription drugs into Coxsackie Correctional Facility.

Silver and Acosta face felony charges of promoting prison contraband and criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well as a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child, since they had a 10-year-old with them when they were collared.

State Police Maj. Patrick Regan said Silver and Acosta had arrived for a previously arranged visit with an inmate at the 1,000-inmate prison for men in Greene County, where they intended to pass off the drugs.

“Silver and Acosta were found to possess a quantity of heroin and suboxone, which they were attempting to deliver to the inmate,” Regan said in a statement. “Silver and Acosta brought a 10-year-old child with them while they attempted to deliver the narcotics.”

The two would-be smugglers were both released on bond. They each face possible prison time if convicted of their alleged crimes.

City education officials removed Silver from her job after hearing of her arrest and reassigned her to an administrative center away from students.

“We’ve reassigned her away from her school pending the outcome of her case,” said Education Department spokeswoman Margie Feinberg. Silver will continue to draw her salary of $129,920.

Before her arrest, Silver was known as an up-and-coming school leader who overcame her own troubled childhood to serve the children in the community where she grew up.

In a 2012 Daily News profile, Silver explained that she was a teen mother who dropped out of high school, but rose above those challenges to earn two master’s degrees. She has worked in city schools since 1996.

“It was the teachers that believed in me, that got me to where I am today,” Silver said in the article, which praised gains in reading scores at the school under her leadership.

But that year, Silver was slapped with a $1,500 fine by the city Conflict of Interest Board for using her position to land her brother a data-entry job at her school.

Reached at home in Bushwick Monday, Silver’s mother, Denise Ortiz, 57, was still reeling in shock over her daughter’s arrest.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Ortiz, who wouldn’t reveal the nature of Silver’s relationship with Acosta, or identify the child who was traveling with them when they were pinched. “She went to college and I taught her to do the right thing. Her record speaks for itself.”

A relative who answered the door at Acosta’s home said Acosta is Silver’s boyfriend and the child they brought with them to the jail is Silver’s daughter.

“He’s been trying to stay away from trouble,” the relative said of Acosta.


Cuomo snuffed the commission he appointed to root out corruption because it investigated those with links to him

Cuomo’s excuse for forcing his commission to withdraw subpoenas was to say that such a group appointed by a governor's office and staffed by its designees, and as such, "cannot investigate the executive. It is a pure conflict of interest and would not pass the laugh test.”

Now that is about as lame and laughable as any excuse one could possibly come up with.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

July 23, 2014

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office blocked a commission it set up to sniff out corruption in Albany from the start, an extensive investigation by The New York Times reveals, objecting when the panel turned its focus on groups or issues with ties to the governor's office.

Last year, Cuomo established a Moreland Commission, a panel governors can create under a 1907 law that allows them to establish groups to investigate wrongdoing and recommend legislative improvements.

Cuomo's panel was announced with much fanfare, appointing 25 commissioners and three special advisors from across the state to root out corruption in the state Board of Elections, lobbying law, public ethics, and more "abuses of the public trust."

The commission had just gotten started on its probe when investigators subpoenaed a media firm that had bought millions of dollars in advertising for the state Democratic Party.

The firm, Buying Time, had also counted Cuomo as a client, and when word of the subpoena reached Cuomo senior aide Lawrence Schwartz, he called Moreland Commission co-chair William Fitzpatrick and told him to "pull it back."

The subpoena was withdrawn, and the commission, only in its second month, was already hobbled by the governor's office, reports The Times.

That was just one in a long list of subpoenas that were drawn up and dropped over the course of just under a year.

But Cuomo's office, in a 13-page response to The Times' investigation, defended its actions with the commission, saying that such a group is appointed by a governor's office and staffed by its designees, and as such, "cannot investigate the executive. It is a pure conflict of interest and would not pass the laugh test.”

Many of the commissioners involved in the group said they saw the Cuomo demands as politically motivated and hindered an investigation the governor had vowed would remain independent, The Times reports.

The commission did target several politicians and offices, including a lawmaker who allegedly used campaign funds to support an out-of-state girlfriend and pay for tanning-salon visits.

Eventually, Cuomo disrupted the commission in April, less than halfway through what had initially been told would be an 18-month period, and federal prosecutors are investigating the roles Cuomo and his aides took in shutting down the probe.

The panel was also marred by infighting and accusations, reports The Times, and at one point, investigators believed one of Cuomo's appointees was monitoring their communications, and many of the commission's members quit the panel.

Cuomo's office, though, said the commission needed its guidance because the commissioners often "did not understand the budget or legislative process or how state government worked,” and its subpoenas had "no logic or basis." Further, it accused the commission of targeting Cuomo's supporters to put on a show, not for legitimate investigations.

Two attorneys, E. Danya Perry, a former federal prosecutor who was the panel’s chief of investigations and Regina M. Calcaterra, a former securities lawyer who served as the commission’s executive director, often conveyed the governor's office's wishes, but Cuomo was never far from the action, says The Times.

But many of the commission, including some of New York's most seasoned prosecutors, believed they would have more free rein to pursue investigations as an independent group.

"The thing that bothered me the most is we were created with all this fanfare and the governor was going to clean up Albany,” said Barbara Bartoletti, legislative director for the League of Women Voters of New York State and a special adviser to the commission. “And it became purely a vehicle for the governor to get legislation. Another notch for his re-election campaign. That was it.”

But as the investigations got too close to Cuomo's office, there were often confrontations between Perry and Calcaterra. And while Perry was a senior prosecutor who handled one of the country's largest immigration-fraud cases, among others, she was a political newcomer. Calcaterra, meanwhile, had spent years in politics and ran as a Democratic state Senate candidate in 2010, being disqualified because of a residency requirement. She'd led another Cuomo Moreland panel to dig into utility companies' responses to Hurricane Sandy.

As a result, one of the first roadblocks Perry and her investigators encountered came when they sought to subpoena the Real Estate Board of New York, whose members have been among Cuomo’s most generous supporters.

And as the investigations went on, Perry eventually told staff to assume that Calcaterra was reading their emails, and Investigators began keeping files on their laptops rather than on a shared drive.

After months of infighting, concerning a wide slate of investigations, Cuomo made his announcement that the commission would be disbanded, in a short statement that came less than 72 hours before the state budget deadline.

The announcement was made as part of a budget deal that included some improvements in state ethics laws, including strengthening statutes on bribery and corruption while enforcing election-law reforms.

And not long after the panel was shut down, Cuomo told government advocates that he had not set up the panel to use as leverage.

"You can’t set up a government investigations committee to extort the Legislature to act,” he said.