Sunday, August 31, 2008


Academics never fail to amaze me. I haven't figured out why our nation's universities do not offer an "ID" degree - Doctor of Idiocy. Many institutions of higher learning now give credit for life experiences, thus immediately qualifying many educators as IDs, were such degrees available.

Educated idiots include those middle school and high school teachers who have sex with their underage students. How can these educators, some with children of their own, be so idiotic as to expect that their trysts will remain secret? Then there are the educated idiots among college and university presidents who have allowed, if not encouraged, political correctness, identity politics, radical feminism, militant marxism and thought control to poison the atmosphere of their campuses.

Robert Paxton is a prime example of an educated idiot. For 13 years, he was president of Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa. That was until he was forced to resign after The Des Moines Register published a photo of Paxton aboard a boat with a group of young people during a July 4 outing on Lake Okoboji.

The photo showed him holding the spigot of a Coors Light mini-keg suspended over a young woman's open mouth. Paxton, 52, has said all of the people who were drinking in the boat were of legal age. He said the beer keg was broken and wasn’t dispensing beer into the young woman’s mouth. He said his 19-year-old son, who was arrested for second-offense drunken driving early the next morning, was in the boat but was not drinking. All the drinkers were of legal age, the keg wasn't dispensing beer and his son was not drinking - yeah, right!

The small, insignificant college where I taught for 23 years had its own share of educated idiots at the helm. There was its first president, Herb Stallworth, a nice sort of flaky fellow, who suffered from a very severe case of "white guilt" because his ancestors had been Alabama slave owners. The college catered to the black community and Stallworth spent much of his time trying to interact with the school's black students.

One day I was talking with a student of the "angry black man" genre. He and I had engaged in a number of heated discussions, but we got along well because we respected each other. On this occasion, Dr. Stallworth came along, put his hand on the student's shoulder and asked him, "How's it going my brother?" The student turned around and struck him in the chest, knocking him back two or three feet, and telling him in no uncertain terms, "You ain't my brother, you mother fucking honky!" A shocked and awed president reacted with a sickly laugh before he scurried off and away.

On another occasion, a drunken black student went on a rampage, deliberately shattering the glass door on one of the front entrances to the administration building. Someone called the police who arrested the student and locked him up in the Texas City jail. Upon hearing of the arrest, good old Herb rushed into town and personally bailed the student out of jail. And how did the student repay the president's kindness? Well folks, he promptly returned to the campus and once again shattered the glass door which had been repaired while he was still locked up.

I will never forget the time I designed a brochure for our criminal justice degree program. For the front cover, I selected a photo of two uniformed officers with two leashed police dogs about to enter a building. Other division chairpersons, my dean, and the Dean of Instruction thought the photo was quite appropriate. My dean, who happened to be black, then gave me permission to print up 5,000 of the brochures. A couple of weeks later, Stallworth was shown one of the brochures. He exploded with rage, screaming that the photo was reminiscent of police dogs attacking black demonstrators in Birmingham. A red-faced Stallworth ordered that all 5,000 brochures be burned forthwith.

Then there was Fred Taylor who succeeded Stallworth as president. Back in those days, the early '70s, it was not unusual to get a whiff of marijuana on campus. One day, I stumbled across an impromptu meeting being held in the rear foyer of the administration building. There was Taylor, then Dean of Instruction, sitting on the floor with a dozen or more students. I overheard one of the students asking whether or not Texas City police officers could come on campus to arrest students for smoking pot. Dr. Taylor replied that the police could not come on campus without the college's permission.

I jumped into the discussion to inform the students that Taylor was mistaken. I told Taylor and the students that since the college was in Texas City, in Galveston County and in the State of Texas, city police officers, sheriff's deputies and Texas Department of Public Safety officers could enter the campus anytime without anyone's permission, and without having to notify the college they were conducting an on-campus investigation. And then I really made their day by telling them, "I wouldn't be surprised if there are undercover narcs on campus right now."

The prize for biggest educated idiot would have to go to Larry Stanley, when he was president. In 1990, at the beginning of the First Gulf War, we had a general staff meeting to kick of a new semester. Before the meeting, I went up to the podium and asked Stanley to lead us all in the Pledge of Allegiance. He refused. I then asked him to let me recite the pledge. Again he refused. When I asked him why, he replied, "This is neither the time nor the place for that." Neither the time nor the place? I thought he was out of his mind. Later he told me that he did not want the pledge recited because he knew the marxists would get up and storm out of the meeting. To that I say, so what and good riddance!

I am sure there are those who would consider me an educated idiot for risking my career by taking on the administration of Larry Stanley and his marxist masters. I know that it was not the smartest move I ever made, but it was the right thing to do. They did try to fire me after the Texas City Sun published my offer to buy Larry Smith, the college's leading marxist, a one-way ticket to any country of his choice if he agreed in writing never to return to America. That's when the administration really got pissed off. I had to go to the ACLU for help and they saved my ass.

Now back to Robert Paxton. While he was forced to resign as president of Iowa Central Community College, his departure was far from painful. Amazingly, he was granted $400,000 in severance pay. That gives real meaning to the old saying, "Ignorance is bliss."

Saturday, August 30, 2008


From time to time, I have referred to some academics as educated idiots. To illustrate that, the following joke is not all that far-fetched:

An esteemed professor of archeology was back from a dig in Israel where the oldest settlement in that part of the world had been discovered, along with a tablet containing drawings of what was thought to be the world's oldest writing. The crude drawings depicted left-to-right a woman, a donkey, a shovel, a fish and a Star of David.

The professor was there to give a slide show lecture and the hall was packed, standing room only. Finally, the tablet was discussed and a likeness of the symbols was put on the overhead projector for all to see. You could hear a pin drop as the Professor explained his findings.

"The first symbol as you see is a woman - which we take to mean that this society held women as equals if not in high respect and as an important part of life, showing their social sophistication. Next we have a donkey, proving their domestication of animals. Next we have a shovel which ties in with the donkey - in that it symbolizes farming and working of the land, cultivation of crops and building homes. Next we see a fish, further proving this idea of a productive society that had the ability to farm and fish. And last, we see a Star of David, showing that even at the beginning of what we can call recorded history of that area, the people were religious and they saw this religion as the cornerstone of their family, work, and culture together."

The room was quiet, reflecting with admiration, the simple ways of these people. Then from the back came the voice of an old man.

"Excuse me?" he said, "I don't mean to cause a problem, but you have it all wrong."

"What do you mean?" called the professor as all heads turned.

"Well," said the old man, "this is from Israel, so you're reading Hebrew. Hebrew is read right-to-left. You translated it left-to-right. According to my translation (Star of David, fish, shovel, donkey and woman), it should really read:

Holy mackerel - dig the ass on that broad!"

Friday, August 29, 2008


A friend forwarded me a list of eleven child support application responses concerning the father's identity which were supposedly submitted by single mothers from Detroit. I suspect this list may be bogus. True or not, since I always intended to submit some humerous blogs, here are the responses the mothers submitted. The original sender claimed that the State of Michigan granted child support payments to each of the eleven applicants:

The following are all replies that Detroit women have written on Child Support Agency Forms in the section for listing "father's details." These are genuine excerpts from the forms. Be sure to check out #11. It takes 1st prize and #3 is runner up.

1. Regarding the identity of the father of my twins, Makeeshia was fathered by Maclearndon McKinley. I am unsure as to the identity of the father of Marlinda, but I believe that she was conceived on the same night.

2. I am unsure, as to the identity of the father of my child as I was being sick out of a window when taken unexpectedly from behind. I can provide you with a list of names of men that I think were at the party if this helps.

3. I do not know the name of the father of my little girl. She was conceived at a party at 3600 East Grand Boulevard where I had sex with a man I met that night. I do remember that the sex was so good that I fainted. If you do manage to track down the father, can you please send me his phone number? Thanks.

4. I don't know the identity of the father of my daughter. He drives a BMW that now has a hole made by my stiletto in one of the door panels. Perhaps you can contact BMW service stations in this area and see if he's had it replaced.

5. I have never had sex with a man. I am still a Virginian. I am awaiting a letter from the Pope confirming that my son's conception was ejaculate and that he is the Saver risen again.

6. I cannot tell you the name of Alleshia's dad as he informs me that to do so would blow his cover and that would have cataclysmic implications for the economy. I am torn between doing right by you and right by the country. Please advise.

7. I do not know who the father of my child was as they all look the same to me.

8. Tyrone Hairston is the father of child A. If you do catch up with him, can you ask him what he did with my AC/DC CDs? Child B who was also borned at the same time.... well, I don't have clue.

9. From the dates it seems that my daughter was conceived at Disney World; maybe it really is the Magic Kingdom.

10. So much about that night is a blur. The only thing that I remember for sure is Delia Smith did a program about eggs earlier in the evening. If I had stayed in and watched more TV rather than going to the party at 8956 Miller Ave., mine might have remained unfertilized.

11. I am unsure as to the identity of the father of my baby, after all, like when you eat a can of beans you can't be sure which one made you fart.


The Houston Police Department has had a number of mismanagement scandals over the last few years. The crime lab has proved to be very unreliable. Evidence has disappeared from the property room. Overtime has been severely abused. Other serious problems have cropped up from time to time. In every instance only those employees directly in charge of the troubled units have been disciplined or terminated. No one in top management has been held personally accountable.

Such scandals would be handled quite differently in the private sector. The top manager in the organization who has been assigned responsiblity for the operation of the scandalous unit would get the heave-ho along with the person directly in charge and his supervisor in mid-management. (We are not talking about scandals like those at Enron, where the chief executives were themselves involved in running a scam.) Supervision of employees, from bottom to top, is enhanced when those in charge understand that they will be held personally accountable for the foul-up of their subordinates.

Whenever there are problems in the police service they usually result from a lack of adequate or competent supervison. I have personally observed sergeants in the Houston Police Department staying at their desks (or sometimes even sneaking home) for a whole shift to study for a promotional exam instead of being on the streets to supervise officers on patrol. Some of these "supervisors" got away with this for several weeks at a time. Could that be because their immediate supervisors also studied the same way for promotion to the position they now hold?

Houston's problems are certainly not unique to its police department. Most law enforcement agencies are staffed with a good number of incompetent or unqualified supervisors. You often hear it said that, "He was a really good cop, but he is sure a lousy supervisor." Experience on the job and passing some promotional exams does not necessarily make a good supervisor. And while the mid-management person directly in charge of the crime lab may be a (civilian) criminalist, the top manager responsible for the lab will be a licensed peace officer who probably does not know the difference between DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and the DNC (Democratic National Committee).

Why is there so little personal accountabilty for screw-ups in the police service? As I see it, there are two primary reasons - labor contracts and politics. The "meet-and-confer" clauses in labor contracts often make it too troublesome to discipline rank-and-file officers and first-line supervisors. Since it is easy to find a lower ranking scapegoat to take the fall when things go wrong, top managers (sometimes even mid-managers) usually go unpunished, often because of political considerations.

The "meet and confer" clauses included in most police union contracts allow an offending officer to request the presence of his union representative during any disciplinary process. Many contracts require the attendance of the union rep even for a plain old ass-chewing by a police sergeant. In many jurisdictions this requirement so complicates the disciplinary process that, to avoid the cost of lawyers in case of an appeal, minor violations are simply overlooked. Misled into believing they are immune from punishment by seeing numerous minor infractions ignored, officers are more likely to commit a major violation down the road.

Political considerations appear responsible for the fact that nobody in top management has been held accountable for the scandals experienced by the Houston Police Department. Houston has a strong mayor type of government (as opposed to a city administrator system) and it is no secret that Bill White, the current mayor, has higher poltical ambitions. Punishing only first line supervisors and mid-managers covers up the failure of top management to carry out its responsibilities. By letting top management off the hook, the mayor saves himself from the embarrassing revelation that his police department is being mismanaged by incompetent police executives.

Personal accountability is the primary factor that will ensure close supervison and responsible management in the police service. I worked for a state law enforcement agency in which supervision all the way up the line was tight as a drum. Every supervisor was held accountable for the performance of those they supervised. If a line officer screwed up and was given a three-day suspension, his supervisor also received a three-day suspension unless he could document that he had taken steps along the way that could have prevented the subordinate's transgression. If a lieutenant got a three day suspension, his captain was also subject to the same suspension. The agency suffered realatively few screw ups because that level of personal accountability kept everyone "on the ball."

But what about a lay manager's accountability for the crime lab. We're talking about the captain or assistant chief who doesn't know the difference between DNA and the DNC. Trusting the criminalist in charge of the lab will not do it -that's what went wrong in Houston. A police agency could obtain the volunary services of three or four experts from the private sector to conduct monthly inspections of the crime lab's procedures. Even accredited labs can fall into disrepute and these monthly inspections could prevent that from happening. And by using outside inspectors, the lay manager would be meeting his responsibility for the successful operation of the lab.

Personal accountability is the name of the game when it comes to a scandal-free and successful operation of the police service. When police personnel, including top managers, are not held personally accountable, you will find poor supervison in the lower ranks and mismanagement at the top, a sure prescription for a police agency plagued with a miriad of serious problems.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Traditionally, the so-called Jewish vote has gone to the Democrats. It will probably be the same in November. However, author Brett Joshpe, a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School, had an interesting column in the August 20 issue of in which he wrote that Congressman Eric Cantor (R - Virginia) would be an excellent choice as John McCain's running mate. Joshpe believes that the choice of Cantor would cause Jewish voters to support McCain.

I do not believe that McCain will select either Cantor or Joe Lieberman as a running mate. But, his choice for vice-president aside, Joshpe's column gives Jewish voters other good reasons to support McCain rather than the Democratic candidate. Here is his column:

by Brett Joshpe

In a year that has seemed so bleak for Republicans, John McCain not only can upset Barack Obama and win the White House, he can change the voting dynamic of American Jews. With the Democratic and Republican national conventions scheduled over the next three weeks, both presumptive nominees could announce their running mates at any moment. Among a field of imperfect potential options, U.S. Representative Eric Cantor (R – Virginia) may be McCain's best option, and he is a good choice indeed.

Several vice-presidential contenders continue to be discussed in McCain's circles, from the obvious (Mitt Romney) to the slightly more obscure (Tim Pawlenty and Tom Ridge) to the dark horses (Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Joe Lieberman). While Romney would make a solid VP nominee, particularly given his fundraising prowess and expertise on financial affairs, he continues to be hurt by, among other things, his Mormon identity, which some evangelical Christians seem loathe to embrace. As unfair as that may be to Romney, this is a reality that McCain must confront.

Eric Cantor, however, who was largely unknown until his name recently appeared on McCain's veep short-list, could have a profound, long-lasting effect on party politics. Cantor also satisfies more of the vice-presidential considerations than any other candidate. He is young (45), but not inexperienced (seven years in Congress). Simultaneously, he is somewhat anonymous and thus avoids the trapped-in-the-Beltway image that has tainted many of his longer-serving colleagues. Cantor is from Virginia, which has become an important swing state this year that could go Democratic, especially if Obama chooses its governor, Tim Kaine, as his running mate.

Cantor has private-sector experience as a real-estate developer and has served on the House's committees on Financial Services, International Relations, and Ways and Means. These three posts strengthen his credentials on this election's two most important issues: foreign policy and the economy.

As a practicing Jew, Cantor would boost McCain's prospects in Florida due to its large Jewish population, much of which rightfully distrusts Obama. Cantor is solidly, unquestionably conservative and earned a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union in 2007. He scores very well on the major litmus tests important to the Republican "base," including conservative views on abortion, global warming, immigration, and gun control. As a candidate, he is a prolific fundraiser and once was called a "Bush attack dog," meaning he will not hesitate to criticize the Obama campaign while preserving John McCain’s image as dignified and presidential. Most important, however, Cantor could bolster Republican prospects beyond just this year by attracting Jewish voters into the GOP.

Ironically, Cantor's Judaism could prove more appealing to Evangelical Christians, who represent the most ardent supporters of Israel, than to religious Jews, who are often skeptical of Jews in power. This caution has its roots in the Mishna (transcription of Jewish oral law), specifically, Ethics of the Fathers, which warns against close affiliations with government authority that sever loyalties to the Jewish community. However, religious Jews already vote overwhelmingly Republican. It is the large swath of moderate Jews, who tend to vote Democratic, who would be most swayed by Cantor on the ticket, along with conservative Christians. Thus, Cantor could serve the delicate, dual role of attracting both moderates and the conservative base.

Although historically, Jews have leaned heavily Democratic, the time could be ideal for a political realignment. President Bush garnered an estimated 25 percent of the Jewish vote in 2004, a significantly higher percentage than he received in 2000, although not quite the nearly 40 percent that Ronald Reagan attracted in 1980. The Democratic Party virtually expelled its most prominent Jewish face, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-D – Connecticut), who vocally has endorsed and campaigned for McCain. The Republican Party and self-identified conservatives maintain a far more consistently and visibly pro-Israel stance than do their Democratic and liberal counterparts.

Obama has been, at best, inconsistent on Israel. Attempting to refute critics' claims that he harbored pro-Palestinian sympathies, Obama told a June 4 American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference that Jerusalem would remain Israel's capital. He later backtracked and said Jerusalem's status would be open to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Republican Jewish Coalition's website notes that Obama's national campaign co-chairman and military advisor, Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak, seemed to identify Jewish voters when asked to name the biggest obstacles to Middle East peace. "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote…here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it," McPeak said.

Of course, Obama also has stated that he would meet, without preconditions, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who keeps threatening to destroy Israel. In May, he called Israel "a stinking corpse…on its way to annihilation." The Democratic Party platform soon will call on Obama to fulfill his promise of condition-free direct diplomacy with Iran.

An ideal vice-president not only brings something to the ticket but can highlight something the opposition lacks. Eric Cantor can do both, while potentially transforming traditional Jewish voting patterns. A McCain-Cantor ticket could demonstrate to Jewish voters that the Republican Party, in fact, cherishes the values they embrace, including individual responsibility; education policies that benefit children, not teacher's unions; strong, unconditional support for Israel; and toughness in the War on Terror. In a less-than-ideal year for Republicans, Eric Cantor could help ensure an ideal ending.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


When I introduced my blog in November 2005, I emphasized that "Police officers can make their jobs easier by applying the Golden Rule whenever possible - treat others as you would want to be treated yourself." Some bad incidents cannot be avoided, but many problems between cops and citizens can be attributed to the poor attitudes of some officers, the assholes behind the badge.

Two incidents, both involving dogs, come to mind. Most people who own dogs (or cats) see their pets as beloved family members - many love their dogs as if they were their children. The emotional bond between dog owner and dog can be overwhelming. That is something every police officer should know.

The first incident happened a couple of weeks ago in Berwyn Heights, Maryland. Here is how the Associated Press reported the story:

"Mayor Cheye Calvo got home from work, saw a package addressed to his wife on the front porch and brought it inside, putting it on a table.

Suddenly, police with guns drawn kicked in the door and stormed in, shooting to death the couple's two dogs and seizing the unopened package.

In it were 32 pounds of marijuana. But the drugs evidently didn't belong to the couple.Police say the couple appeared to be innocent victims of a scheme by two men to smuggle millions of dollars worth of marijuana by having it delivered to about a half-dozen unsuspecting recipients.

The two men under arrest include a FedEx deliveryman. Investigators said he would drop of a package outside a home, and the other man would come by later and pick it up.

Calvo said police apparently killed the Labradors 'for sport,' gunning down one of them as it was running away."

Now, I've participated in numerous drug raids, with a few of them having involved a wrong address. Mistakes happen and when they occur, all you can do is to apologize profusely to the innocent victims. Many of the raids occurred in the presence of dogs, usually Dobermans, Shepherds, Rottweilers or Chow Chows, breeds with a reputation for viciousness.

Only during my last raid were we ever attacked by one of the dogs, in that case a Pit Bull which an officer was forced to shoot. In the other raids, the dogs usually ran around and did a lot of barking, but were not agressive. I remember one raid in an isolated rural area where a marijuana plantation was guarded by two Dobermans. All of us ended up petting two appreciative tail wagging dogs. What I'm trying to get at is that officers should never shoot a dog, except as a last resort to keep from being attacked.

Although the mayor was obviously distraught over the death of his Labradors, was it outrageous for him to charge the officers with gunning down his dogs "for sport?" Not necessarily so. After all, there are quite a few asshole cops, some not beyond shooting a dog just for the fun of it. Narcotic officers do not enjoy the best reputation in law enforcement and the senseless shooting of two dogs in a mistaken raid only serves to reinforce a negative image of "narcs."

The second incident took place several days ago in San Marcos, Texas. Here is how two news organizations reported what happened.

ABC News: Officer Paul Stephens spotted driver Michael Gonzalez speeding down Interstate 35 and pulled him over for clocking 100 miles per hour. After a brief pursuit, Gonzalez pulled alongside the highway and emerged from his car, saying, "He's dying." "Who's dying? Relax," Stephens said as his cruiser's dashboard camera captured the interaction. "My dog," Gonzalez said during the Aug. 5 traffic stop. Gonzalez and his girlfriend said they were speeding because they were rushing their choking teacup poodle Missy to an emergency veterinary clinic for treatment.

But on the video, Stephens sounded less than empathetic as he berated the driver for putting others' lives at risk as he sped down the highway. "You're driving down the highway at 100 per hour," he said sternly. "It's a dog, it's OK. You can get another one. Relax." For 15 minutes, Stephens kept Gonzalez on the roadside. "He said, 'You need to chill out. It's just a dog.' And I said, 'It's not just a dog; it's my family,'" Gonzalez said. Missy died as Gonzalez waited for Stephens to issue a citation.

Though Stephens' supervisors found him not guilty of misconduct, they did agree he handled the situation poorly. "His world was collapsing. And what the officer says to him, basically, is, 'I don't care,'" said San Marcos police department chief Howard Williams.

The San Marcos Daily Record: As San Marcos resident Michael Gonzales recalls, one of the first things a police officer said to him after pulling him over for speeding early Wednesday morning was asking him "what he was on." Gonzales acknowledges he was hysterical after being pulled over on IH-35 going well in excess of the speed limits. But the reason, he said, was plain to see — the two- year-old teacup poodle in his girlfriend’s lap was gasping for breath, and the couple were rushing to an after-hours veterinary hospital in New Braunfels.

Gonzales and his girlfriend Krystal Hernandez say the dog, Missy, died during the time it took for officers to cite him for speeding. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the couple say police repeatedly told them it was "just a dog" and that they could buy another.

Gonzales and Hernandez say they had gotten home late and fed the 3.3 lb. dog but that she ate too fast, started choking and having trouble breathing.They called their local vet, who referred them to the New Braunfels facility. They saw the red flashing lights of the SMPD near the Centerpoint exit. After finding a place to pull over, Gonzales said, "I proceed to tell him what the problem was and he had the nerve to ask me what I was on, because basically I was hysterical. The dog’s already stopped breathing and going limp and (the officer) is wasting my time."

Gonzales said he pleaded with the officer to write the ticket quickly, or let him settle it later. "I’m like, man, can’t you please hurry, can’t we finish this? Do whatever you need to do, document it on your (vehicle) camera. And he wouldn’t do anything. He said at that point that ‘it’s just a dog. You need to chill out. You can get another one.’ I felt really disgusted at that."

He said about 19 minutes elapsed from the time he was pulled over until the officers released him. "Those minutes were crucial. It was devastating." Hernandez said she even offered to leave Gonzales there and drive the rest of the way. "I said ‘please let me go.’ They told me no. We waited like 20 minutes and they never did anything and my dog ended up just dying there."

There is just no excuse for how the officer handled this situation. He didn't give a shit about the dog or the feelings of its owner. Although Gonzales should not have been speeding, Stephens' pompous lecture on putting others' lives at risk was uncalled for under the circumstances. If the San Marcos PD allowed it, he could have escorted Gonzales to the emergency veterinary clinic and then issued him a speeding citation.

Stephens also gave his opinion on driving "at 100 per hour" by saying that Gonzales "had better have an actual child in that vehicle, not a damn dog." He just doesn't get it! That "damn dog" was really a child to Hernandez and Gonzales. And in Stephens' warped sense of right and wrong, driving at 100 mph would have been justified had that been a child Gonzales was rushing to a hospital.

I suppose the only way some jerks can amuse themselves is by making others feel miserable. I don't understand how these self-centered assholes get to be cops in the first place. All they do is undermine the public's confidence and trust in law enforcement and hurt the reputation of all police officers. I hope Mayor Calvo and Michael Gonzales will get good lawyers and sue their respective cities and the offending officers who were responsible for the deaths of their beloved pets.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I made my first trip to the Amazon in 1991. I wanted to take my son on an adventure trip to clebrate his graduation from college. I was able to arrange for a personal expedition deep into the Venuzuelan Amazon and obtained a special government permit to explore the territory of the Yanomamo Indians, a "stone-age" lifestyle tribe that exists in inaccessible parts of Brazil and Venezuela.

Our expedition was conducted by boat and consisted of two guides, a boatman, a friend of mine, my son and me. The three-week long expedition also took us inside Columbia and turned out to be one great adventure. We stopped frequently to take hikes in the jungle and spent most nights sleeping in hammocks under leantos by the river banks. Our guides also got several village chiefs to let us spend the night inside vacant huts in exchange for some sugar, flour and Crisco.

I fell in love with the Amazon. I returned seven more times, exploring additional parts of Amazonia in Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. I loved trecking through the jungle. It is so beautiful and so peaceful. Camping out at night in the jungle is unlike any camping experience in the good old USA. The only thing that has stopped me from returning again and again is that my age finally caught up to me - physical limitations made the hikes too difficuilt for me.

The Amazon rain forest is about 1.6 million square miles in size, covering about 40 percent of South America, including parts of Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia, Peru and Ecuador. Much has been written about the ecological threat of deforestation. It is estimated that 20 percent of the Amazon rain forest has already been razed.

Amazonia is in a state of flux. Slash-and-burn horticulture, the lumber industry, exploration for oil, gold mining and even Christian missions have all contributed to the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest.
It is easy to for us to sit back here at home and criticize the slash-and-burn habits, the cutting of trees for lumber, the exploration for oil and the mining for gold because even our poor are well-off compared to those who live in or on the edge of the Amazonian jungles.

Even the primitive Yanomamos slash-and-burn parts of the jungle to grow a few crops and to cut down the trees they need to build their shabono, the single communal hut inside of which the whole village lives. They hunt monkeys and rodents for food. And because the also rely on fish, their shabonos are put up next to river banks during the dry season. During the wet season they have to move their villages to higher grounds where the slash-and-burn process starts all over again.

As for the lumber companies, the cutting of trees provides a source of badly needed income for the people living in or along the edge of the jungle. I have personally seen some good schools and some impressive jungle lodges for tourists that have been built and given to the Indians by the oil companies. The Amazon gold miners are no different from the American miners who went to seek their fortune during the 1848 - 1864 California gold rush.

The South American governments are largely to blame for whatever ecological damage is being done by the lumber and oil companies. Those industries are merely taking advantage of the absence of effective environmental regulations in that part of the world. The lumber harvesting sites have taken out huge chunks of the rain forests. The oil exploration sites require a lot of clearing and are quite messy with their drilling rigs, crew quarters, oil storage tanks and loading docks for tanker truks or oil barges. And the transportation of heavy equipment, and of oil and lumber, require the building of roads through the jungle.

The missions present an entirely different set of problems. Our expedition stopped at three missions. The evangelical mission at Tamatama and the Catholic mission at La Esmeralda, both along the Orinoco River, have cleared a large section of the jungle, with each having built an aircraft landing strip. The evangelical mission along the Padama River is closest to the Yanomamo's territory and has also cut out a large chunk of the jungle. But it is their debilitating effect on the indigenous people that is of the greatest concern.

The missions exist for the purpose of Christianizing the heathen Indian population. The missions are also providing an education and badly needed medical services to the Indians. That is all well and good. But what happens to the Indians after they've been converted and educated. They leave the jungle and head for the cities to seek employment. Unfortunately for them, jobs are few and far between and they find themselves in surroundings far different from their former jungle habitat.

I spent a few days in Puerto Ayacucho, the state capital of Venezuela's Amazonia territory. It was sickening to see what the Christianization of the mission Indians has done to them. Just as with our American Indians, alcoholism runs rampant among the former jungle inhabitants. I saw hundreds of drunken Indians, quite a few passed out on Puerto Ayacucho's sidewalks and in its street gutters.

The missions have not succeeded in converting the Yanomamos. They are still a war-like people and do not cotton to strangers. As a matter of fact, the military in Tamatama warned us that we would be at some risk by venturing into their habitat. We were able to visit two Yanomamo villages without mishap. In one of those villages most of the Yanomamos were suffering from malaria, with several infants and adults near death. The missions and shrinking jungles offer hardly any threat to the Yanomamos. But, they are seriously threatened with extinction by malaria.

There is probably no way that the deforestation of the Amazon can be stopped. Even the enactment and enforcement of good environmental regulations will have little impact on the search for lumber, oil and gold. The best that can be hoped for is a better management of the environment around the tree cutting, oil drilling and mining sites so that the ecological impact will not be too devastating.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I checked out Snopes and did not find anything to indicate that Larry the Cable Guy did not make up this list of sayings. In keeping with my desire to publish some humorous blogs from time to time, this is one of them and it contains some wisdom to boot.

The Wisdom of Larry the Cable Guy......

1. A day without sunshine is like night.

2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.

9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.

14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?

20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?

21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'

22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Every once in a while it just seems right to change course a little bit. Since my blogs are usually serious, I want to inject a little humor in this one. Having entered the golden years long ago, jokes about seniors have a special meaning to us burn-outs. Here are some from the Florida Retirement Gazette that my good friend Jay Wall sent me. The one about the hearing aid reminded me of when I used to wear mine.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A little old lady was sitting on a park bench in The Villages, a Florida Adult community.

A man walked over and sits down on the other end of the bench. After a few moments, the woman asks, 'Are you a stranger here?'

He replies, 'I lived here years ago.'

'So, where were you all these years?'

'In prison,' he says.

'Why did they put you in prison?'

He looked at her, and very quietly said, 'I killed my wife.'

'Oh good!' said the woman. 'So you're single...?'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Two elderly people living in a Port Charlotte Retirement Community, he was a widower and she a widow, had known each other for a number of years. One evening there was a community supper in the big arena in the Clubhouse.

The two were at the same table, across from one another. As the meal went on, he took a few admiring glances at her and finally gathered the courage to ask her, 'Will you marry me?'

After about six seconds of 'careful consideration,' she answered 'Yes. Yes, I will!' The meal ended and, with a few more pleasant exchanges, they went to their respective places. Next morning, he was troubled led. 'Did she say 'yes' or did she say 'no'?'

He couldn't remember. Try as he might, he just could not recall. Not even a faint memory. With trepidation, he went to the telephone and called her.

First, he explained that he didn't re member as well as he used to. Then he reviewed the lovely evening past. As he gained a little more courage, he inquired, 'When I asked if you would marry me, did you say 'Yes' or did you say 'No'?' He was delighted to hear her say, 'Why I said, yes, yes I will. And I meant it with all my heart'.

Then she continued, 'And I am so glad that you called, because I couldn't remember who had asked me.'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A man was telling his neighbor in Sun City Center , 'I just bought a new hearing aid. It only cost me $3,000 dollars, but it's state of the art, and I can hear everything perfectly now.'

'Really,' answered the neighbor. 'What kind is it?'

'Ten minutes to six.'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Morris, an 82 year-old man in Miami , went to the doctor at the local Medical Clinic to get a physical. A few days later the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.

A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Morris and said, 'You're really doing great, aren't you?'

'Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma' and 'be cheerful,' Morris replied.

To which the doctor said, 'I didn't say that, Morris. I said, you've got a heart murmur, be careful!'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A little old man shuffled slowly into the 'Orange Dipper', an ice cream parlor in Leesburg, and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool.

After catching his breath he ordered a banana split. The waitress asked kindly, 'Crushed nuts?'

'No,' he replied, 'hemorrhoids.'

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Ashley Herzog is a senior journalism major at Ohio University. Her latest column in (August 12, 2008) advised conservative students to avoid certain college classes. My only disagreement with Herzog is with the title of the article - she should have entitled it, "College Classes to Avoid," thus making it applicable to all students, not just the conservative ones. Anyhow, here is Herzog's article:

College Classes for Conservatives to Avoid
by Ashley Herzog

When school starts in the fall, many college students will be paying exorbitant tuition to universities that offer a silver platter of worthless courses: classes in Marxism, prostitution (Sociology of the Sex Industry is all the rage), "queer theory," pornography, and rock and rap music. While some of these classes are easy to spot as non-educational, others masquerade under legitimate-sounding names in mainstream academic departments.

As an Ohio University senior who has sat through plenty of college junk courses—many of which were required for graduation—I’ve compiled a list classes for incoming freshmen to avoid.

1. Don’t register for English classes that revolve around the writings of some allegedly oppressed group, such as "Gay and Lesbian Literature" or "Women and Writing." These classes typically have nothing to do with great, or even good, literature. I once signed up for a Women’s Writing class to fill a requirement. Did we study the classic works of history’s best female authors, such as the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen? Nah. Instead, the class mostly revolved around short pieces by untalented women who whined about America’s "sex/gender system." The only assigned book was the biography of Assata Shakur, a female Black Panther who fled to Cuba after she was convicted of murdering a cop.

2. Avoid classes that teach American history not as it actually happened, but as the professor thinks it should have happened. Check out the required texts before registering. If the professor uses books like Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (which claims that American leaders orchestrated the Civil War to halt the impending socialist revolution), don’t waste your money; you’re unlikely to learn much. In fact, according to a 2006 study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, you might end up among the 40 percent of college students who can’t place the Civil War in the correct decade.

3. If possible, avoid the sociology department, especially introductory-level classes. These are often crash courses in politically correct thinking. You will be expected to view all social problems through the prism of race/class/gender oppression, and to display a negative attitude toward religion, law enforcement, morality, marriage, and families.

4. Be skeptical of classes with words like "Non-Western" and "Multicultural" in the title. Some are legitimate and valuable studies of societies outside the West. Others are taught by self-described "cultural relativists" who denigrate America while defending heinous cultural practices in the third world. For instance, I once took a class in which the relativist professor attempted to justify Female Genital Mutilation—a barbaric custom forced on little girls in Africa and the Middle East—by claiming it was no different from adult women in the West undergoing cosmetic surgery.

5. Don’t spend your money on what I refer to as "Trash Studies": classes in pop culture, drugs, sex, and the entertainment industry. If your school offers something on the order of Berkeley’s "Journal Your Ass Off" or Johns Hopkins’ "Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll in Ancient Egypt," avoid them. These classes are especially tempting because students can earn A’s without putting forth any intellectual effort. However, if you take your education seriously and want to maximize your tuition dollars, avoid Trash Studies, where you’ll inevitably learn a boatload of nothing.

Of course, many of these classes are difficult to avoid and might even be required for graduation. But I hope this list will prevent college freshmen from wasting their precious time and money on the politically correct, non-educational classes that have become so common on our campuses.


CompStat originated in the New York City Police Department in 1994, under the leadership of Police Commissioner William Bratton and Deputy Commissioner Jack Maple. Compstat is the name given to the NYPD's accountability process. It is a management philosophy or organizational management tool for police departments. CompStat employs Geographic Information Systems that map crime and identify problems, and is designed to reduce crime, improve the quality of life in the community, and manage personnel and resource deployments.

Jay Wall, a civic minded Houston real estate broker, together with two other concerned businessmen, authored an op-ed piece in the Houston Chonicle about CompStat which advocated the adoption of that program by the Houston Police Department. Wall, who is not connected with CompStat in any way, has addressed numerous civic organizations to promote its adoption by HPD. His efforts even got the backing of the Houston Police Officers Union. Unfortunately though, Mayor Bill White and his puppet police chief, Harold Hurtt, have refused to adopt CompStat, asserting that HPD already used a similar program.

CompStat has been successfully adopted by Los Angeles and many other jurisdictions with significant crime reduction results, something Houston has not been able to achieve. In every city, the adoption of CompStat has led to the ouster of management personnel, and that is probably the real reason White has opposed its adoption by HPD. It is no secret that Mayor White intends to run for Governor of Texas and he is not going to rock the boat by adopting a program which will reveal that his police department has been infested with incompetent management.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of City Journal and is the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute which publishes the journal. She has written a comprehensive article on the spread of CompStat from NYPD to other police agencies. Here is Part 1 of Mac Donald's article, "The NYPD Diaspora," which was published in the Summer 2008 edition of the City Journal:

Former New York cops bring cutting-edge, effective policing to beleaguered communities.

Since the late 1990s, more than 18 police commanders have left the New York City police department to run their own agencies elsewhere. This unprecedented migration has spread the Compstat revolution—the data-driven transformation of policing begun under New York police commissioner William Bratton in 1994—across the nation. Some of the transplants are well-known: Bratton himself now heads the Los Angeles Police Department; and his former first deputy, John Timoney, has led both the Miami and the Philadelphia forces. But the diaspora also includes lesser-known young Turks who rose quickly through the NYPD’s ranks during the paradigm-shattering 1990s. Now, as chiefs in their own right, they’re proving the efficacy of analytic, accountable policing in agencies wholly dissimilar from New York’s—in one case, achieving success beyond anything seen in Gotham or elsewhere.

José Cordero once led precincts in the Bronx and in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, and eventually he served as New York’s first citywide gang strategist. Like other members of the diaspora, he describes the 1990s NYPD as a life-changing experience: "It was an incredibly resourceful, competitive environment. The wave of captains I was privileged to serve with fed off of each other’s experiments." In 2002, he took the helm of the Newton, Massachusetts, police department, bringing crime in that already safe city down to its lowest point in over 30 years.

Then he moved to a very different city. East Orange, New Jersey, has 70,000 citizens by official counts, about 95 percent of them black, and deep pockets of poverty. Crime there—much of it violent—had started skyrocketing in 1999, reaching a per-capita rate in 2003 that was 14 times that of New York City and five times that of Detroit. East Orange’s mayor recruited Cordero to quell the violence; Cordero started work in 2004. The results were astonishing. By the end of 2007, major felonies had dropped 68 percent, and homicides 67 percent, from their 2003 high—possibly a national record. (By comparison, from 1993, the year before Bratton arrived in New York City, through 1997, major felonies in New York dropped 41 percent and homicides 60 percent.) East Orange’s remarkable experience should give pause to criminologists, who too often ascribe crime drops to anything but policing reforms.

If the true test of a leader is his ability to imbue an organization with his vision, Cordero has leadership skills in spades. Intelligence-driven policing, as he calls the Compstat principles, is now in the department’s bloodstream, as is the still-iconoclastic belief that the police can actually lower crime. Compstat refers both to the weekly crime-analysis meetings that Bratton pioneered in 1994 to grill precinct leaders about crime on their watch and, more broadly, to the crime-fighting principles that underlay those meetings: relentless gathering of information, constant evaluation of tactics, and a mechanism for holding commanders accountable for public safety. East Orange commanders now focus obsessively on their mission and revel in coming up with new ways to make the city inhospitable to criminals.

The transformation that Cordero effected in the East Orange department mirrored the one he had lived through as a young NYPD captain at the dawn of Compstat. "All we had done up to that point was put people in jail, and it hadn’t made a difference," recalls the 52-year-old Bronx native. "The new concept was, know everything you possibly can about crime. What I took away from that period was that by challenging yourself continually to know what you don’t know, you can produce big results."

So Cordero tasked his new team to find out everything it could about who was shooting whom. He combined East Orange’s gang and narcotics squads to maximize information-sharing between drug and gang detectives, since the narcotics trade and gang violence entwine so closely. Eventually, the department targeted the most violent drug dealers and drove them out of business. Word got out on the street that if you engaged in a shooting, not only were you going to do time—possibly in the federal slammer—but your whole criminal enterprise would be shut down.

Weekly Compstat meetings are at the core of the East Orange crime rout, but Cordero, like his expatriate peers, borrows freely from the entire gamut of crime-busting techniques developed in New York. He put East Orange’s two most dangerous streets under 24-hour lockdown for six months while the police bore down on the dealers, a strategy that his NYPD colleague (and now Newark top cop) Garry McCarthy had successfully pioneered in Washington Heights. Today, those two streets are clean and orderly.

Ronald Borgo exemplifies the East Orange Police Department’s transformation. He exudes enthusiasm as he sits at a computer terminal, putting the turbocharged crime-analysis computer program that Cordero designed through its paces. "I was ready to move on until I saw what Director Cordero brought on board," says the barrel-chested 27-year veteran of the department, who is soon to be confirmed as chief (a position underneath director). "I’m embarrassed to say that in 2000, we didn’t know how to connect the dots. We were just reacting to crime. The director gave us the knowledge and the confidence to actually fight it."

However much Cordero and Borgo stress that it is managerial and philosophical change, not fancy gadgets, that has driven crime down, it’s hard not to be wonderstruck by that computer program—"Compstat on steroids," as Cordero calls it. Its "crime dashboard" graphically presents layer upon layer of real-time crime and policing information, updated every 30 seconds. Commanders can check whether any sector of the city is meeting its daily, weekly, and monthly crime-reduction targets, and how the sector’s record stacks up against last year’s numbers. They can instantly pull up a history of the crimes committed at any location, along with every police response to those crimes, in order to evaluate what strategies have or have not succeeded there in the past. Users can activate the city’s public cameras to display crime hot spots.

And most unusually, users can observe how every patrol car is deployed at that moment and what it is doing to prevent crime, in what the department calls "directed patrol." Directed patrol is really nothing more than what good beat cops used to do as a matter of course, before the 911 radio car swallowed their jobs: rather than simply cruising around town waiting for trouble to happen, an officer is supposed to use his time to preempt crimes, ideally by getting out of his car. Cops might walk up a housing project’s stairwell to check for drug dealers, say, or pass out flyers about a robbery spree at a mini-mall. "You’d be surprised what people will tell you when you’re out of your car that they won’t call the department about," says Borgo—such as that a neighboring apartment is likely dealing drugs. Institutionalizing the concept of directed patrol represents a "huge organizational change in how officers work on the street," says Lieutenant Chris Anagnostis. "The new model is: when a cop is not answering a radio call, he should be back in his zone engaged in proactive policing."

The real-time display of patrol activity allows managers to monitor deployment patterns as well as officer initiative. "If a citizen reports a problem, and an officer doesn’t see and act on it, then it becomes clear to me that he is not enthusiastic about his job," says Cordero, who dismisses the suggestion that the oversight may feel Orwellian to a street cop. "We’re not looking to see if an officer is having a cup of coffee. We’re in the business of protecting people; any good cop will see the value of that. For those that don’t, I have a word for them: ‘Tough. Find another line of work.’ "

The patrol-car locator system did produce a backlash. Some officers broke their cars’ antennae or yanked out the requisite communication wires. Cordero remained unfazed: "There’s 70,000 people I care about; I don’t fear disgruntled cops." He seems to have won the battle—officers now treat the vehicle locators as a matter of course. And self-initiated activity has gone way up, reports Borgo. "In 2004, we did 6,389 directed patrols and we thought we were working. In 2007, we did almost half a million," he says. "The technology is one thing, but these cops, my cops, are working. I’m so proud of these cops."

After the department introduced the crime dashboard in 2005, crime plummeted 26 percent in one year. Currently, only supervisors at headquarters and in the field have access to the dashboard, but eventually, every officer on the beat will have a simplified version in his car, so that he can monitor crime in the city in real time and see how his colleagues are responding.

The crime dashboard was just the start of East Orange’s technology boom, which has cost about $1.5 million, paid for with federal and state grants and criminal forfeiture money. On the two streets that had been locked down, the department gave residents computer programs enabling them to report suspicious conditions by pointing their mouses at street photos. Community patrol officers have "virtual directed patrol" screens in their cars that let them watch two places simultaneously: they can park at a drug corner to deter dealing, for instance, while calling up camera shots of other high-crime locales throughout the city. Back at the station house, a detective rides the same public camera system, zooming in on a license plate, say, to see if a car is stolen or if its driver is wanted on an outstanding warrant. Borgo is even building a room in the reception area with 42 large screens that will display live shots from all over the city—a public display of the department’s surveillance capacities, which criminals already falsely believe are all-encompassing. "And I’m going to get civilians to monitor them: they see as well as people in uniform," he adds slyly.

Gunshot-detection sensors at various locations alert headquarters immediately when a gun gets discharged outdoors. Cameras then take pictures around the source of the shot, with an emphasis on roads and nearby arteries leaving the city, since in 70 percent of East Orange shootings, someone zooms off afterward in a car. The department also plans to introduce license-recognition technology that will automatically tell the police when a stolen car has entered the city.

(Continued in Part 2)


Here is Part 2 of the City Journal article, "The NYPD Diaspora," by Heather Mac Donald.

Bratton famously drew on business principles to transform the NYPD bureaucracy into a crime-fighting machine—a bottom-line orientation that Cordero has absorbed as well. "You have to treat this business as if it were your own," he says. "A Fortune 500 company is in the business of making money; we’re in the business of saving lives. Can I survive a year without a return on my investment? Maybe. Five years? No." Cordero regards the public as the consumers of policing services. "We don’t accept excuses when we’re shopping if any item is not available; we expect supply to be consistent with demand," he points out. "The public should not accept excuses from the police."

Moreover, Cordero argues, a police department must respond to what consumers actually want from it, not to what it thinks they should want. The two things are not necessarily identical, as Broken Windows theorists point out and police departments discover time and again. "In the South Bronx, we took out the gangs; violence plummeted," he recalls. "I expected kudos, but instead people asked what we were doing about stolen cars, prostitution, and Saturday night boom boxes." Consistent with his business-service model, Cordero started sending civilian inspectors to East Orange households where officers had answered 911 calls, to poll residents about the officers’ performances. These audits, like the directed patrols, were initially unpopular among some members of the rank and file but are also now regarded as routine.

Crime continues to fall in East Orange, half a year after Cordero left the department to become New Jersey’s first gang-violence czar and bring intelligence-driven policing to the entire state. As of mid-June 2008, crime in East Orange was down another 15 percent over the same period in 2007, even as violence remains high in perennially murder-torn cities like Camden.

And the sense of urgency about crime-fighting, which it is the Compstat mechanism’s supreme accomplishment to institutionalize, has not abated. Early one Wednesday morning in May, a fatal shooting took place in an East Orange apartment—an apparent drug assassination. Borgo had been working on the case since 4 am. The crime dashboard showed that except for the homicide, no crimes had been reported in the city through mid-morning. "It’s a good day in one sense," Borgo says, "but you can’t have a good day when your one crime is the ugliest one of all. I’m not having a good day; I’m having a terrible day." He tried to take heart from the overall statistics. The night shift was down 73 percent in crimes that week, compared with the same week last year; the day shift was down 81 percent. And over the last five months, the department was still down one murder from the previous year, even after that morning’s shooting. "We’re going to keep it going by being proactive, but this homicide is a major concern to me," he agonizes.

Cordero is amazed that the most radical premise of Compstat policing—that the police can lower crime—is still not universally held among top managers. "When I hear from chiefs, ‘Crime results from the economy,’ my response is: ‘And you haven’t retired . . . why?’ " As for Borgo, he keeps a large graph of the city’s historic crime drop on a wall in the police station to imbue his beat officers with the urgency of their mission. "People were being victimized at an unbelievable rate before," he says. "If crime was still at 2003 levels, we’d have 14,000 more victims today."

Other NYPD grads have also had a significant effect on their new cities through the application of Compstat principles, easily outstripping national crime averages. For example, Jane Perlov, a former NYPD deputy chief, brought violence in Raleigh, North Carolina, down 33 percent between 2001 and 2007 by breaking the city up into six police districts and making the district leaders responsible for crime on their watches. John Romero, an NYPD deputy inspector, lowered crime in Lawrence, Massachusetts, over 50 percent from 1999 to 2005 by demanding performance from his commanders and basing strategies on the most up-to-date, accurate information. Timoney, the first NYPD Compstat-era commander to take the reins of another department, reduced homicides in Philadelphia over 25 percent in two years—the first homicide decrease that violent city had seen in 15 years. And Bratton has slashed crime by 34 percent since becoming chief of the LAPD.

An NYPD hire can produce these effects because, as Cordero discovered, Compstat crime analysis and accountability are far from ubiquitous, despite their proven track record. "These were new principles to people here," says Thomas Belfiore, who took over the Westchester County Department of Public Safety in 2003. "I asked for monthly reports; they were all verbiage. Very little was actually measured."

Even if some version of Compstat has preceded an NYPD grad, it likely lacks the requisite oomph. "There was a Compstat here before," observes Edmund Hartnett, the feisty chief of the Yonkers Police Department, "but—how to say this diplomatically?—it was city hall–driven; there was little interaction over strategies and tactics." Hartnett has posted the funeral card of Compstat’s primary architect, the late Jack Maple, on his wall, so that "the Jackster" will always be watching over him. Maple would presumably be pleased that Hartnett brought crime to a ten-year low in Yonkers during his first year leading the department in 2007. "We weren’t getting crime updates before," says Sergeant Mike Papaleo, head of Yonkers’s newly energized Street Crimes Unit, which targets guns and violent crime. It could take a couple of weeks for data to trickle down to the field. "Now, because of the information out of Compstat, I can assign my guys to immediately tackle patterns as they emerge." Commanders like Papaleo also receive news of individual crimes on their BlackBerrys every three hours.

New York City is ringed to its north by Compstat graduates. Nearly all the major jurisdictions in Westchester County—Yonkers, White Plains, Mount Vernon, Rye, and the county itself—are now led by a crime-analysis disciple. In some quarters, this has produced—along with crime drops—an even greater level of the usual resentment against outsiders. One Westchester County chief asked another, who had been brought in from New York: "Why is the NYPD always getting these jobs? They should be our jobs." Keeping NYPD memorabilia in one’s office to a minimum is advisable, the NYPD veteran suggests. Cordero studied management manuals to prepare himself for shaking up the East Orange force. He overcame the inevitable resistance to change "by quick victories and a vision of where we wanted to go," he says. "It’s a huge challenge, telling a deputy chief with 30 years’ experience: ‘We’re doing things differently now.’ "

NYPD recruits also have to be careful not to bring NYPD-scale demands to their new departments. After all, no other police department in the country has the resources available to New York commanders. "Your education in the NYPD is invaluable, but [it makes] you think that’s how the rest of the world is," Westchester County chief Belfiore warns other new bosses. "You’re used to pressing a button and saying: ‘I need a communication unit that speaks Spanish to help me find a missing five-year-old.’ Get ready: you’ll have a girl on the emergency services team who lives in [remote] Dutchess County, and you’ll have to wait an hour for her to get dressed and show up. You really have to temper your impatience. You can beat them down and take the heart out of them."

David Chong, the affable commissioner of the greatly overstretched Mount Vernon agency, outlines the triage decisions that commanders in less lavishly funded departments face: "In the NYPD, to move 20 to 30 officers in response to a problem is nothing; here, it’s an entire shift. If I want to do a weekend sweep to take back a corner, I have to pay half the force overtime to come in, and that means I’m taking from the budget of other city services. You have to learn that it’s a marathon, not a sprint." Chong has compensated for thin staffing by pressing his detectives to get as much intelligence as they can from victims as well as their assailants, since in his jurisdiction, today’s robbery victim may well be tomorrow’s perpetrator. He lowered violent crime 18 percent in 2007, but he longs for more manpower: "I could drive crime completely down in the central city if I had the resources," he says wistfully.

But perhaps the biggest challenge that an NYPD transplant faces is not local resentment or a drastically reduced force but rather the clout that police unions possess elsewhere. "In the NYPD, no one sees the union contract," says Pat Harnett, a major player in the Compstat revolution who ran the Hartford Police Department from 2004 to 2006. "In smaller departments, it’s the first thing they’ll show you: ‘This is the contract; you can’t do anything outside it.’ " Labor-management relations were Cordero’s biggest challenge in Newton. "It’s a different culture up there," he reports. "If you say, ‘Officer, you need to get out of your car,’ you get back: ‘It’s not in my contract, we need additional pay for that.’ " In strong civil service systems, officers, not their commanders, in essence decide in which posts they will serve, based on seniority. In small towns, too, the union chief may live next door to the mayor and talk to him every day about the unreasonable demands that the new chief is placing on the department.

Union recalcitrance has driven some New York stars away from new jobs. John Timoney left the Philadelphia department, where he had little ability to put his top picks into leadership positions, "fed up with banging my head against the wall" with the unions over officer discipline and personnel decisions, he says. Former NYPD intelligence commander Dan Oates left the Ann Arbor department, he reports, frustrated with the power of Michigan’s labor law to "crush positive change."

And a Newark police union has mounted an audacious challenge to Garry McCarthy, Newark’s only hope for escaping its decades-long stranglehold of violence. McCarthy, a Maple protégé and battle-hardened street cop, served as the NYPD’s chief crime strategist from 1999 to 2006. Since taking over the civilian position of police director in Newark in late 2006, McCarthy has moved accountability for crime to his precinct commanders, required 150 officers to leave their desks to fight crime on the streets—including, most controversially, on nights and weekends—and beefed up the department’s analytic abilities. He has also uncovered gross mismanagement of the department’s overtime budget. For his labors, the union representing Newark’s sergeants, lieutenants, and captains is suing to strip him of his powers, alleging that he is encroaching on those of the uniformed police chief. McCarthy is undaunted: "These people are gnats to me," he told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I’m here with a mission." If he wins the suit, McCarthy is confident of his future success. Homicides were down 44 percent in the first half of 2008 compared with the previous year. "We’re only scratching the surface here in Newark," he says. "Wait till we start getting complicated."

The absence of a regressive union culture in Gotham may help explain why the caliber of NYPD top brass is so high. Its executives stand "head and shoulders above the competition," one ex-NYPD leader observes, perhaps because they actually have the authority to lead and innovate. New York City should reward its police unions, Oates says, for their unacknowledged flexibility.

For all the adjustments that smaller departments require of their new chiefs, they do offer ambitious crime-fighters an unparalleled intimacy with the communities that they serve. This April, Mount Vernon commissioner Chong was popping across to City Hall to snag a reporter an impromptu meeting with the mayor when a large man in a dented SUV politely accosted him. The driver had recently opened a bakery on a commercial thoroughfare and had noticed people streaming into and out of a nearby store without buying anything. There had already been a drug bust at the store, but it looked as though the activity had started up again. "Now I’m scared for my wife, who sometimes works alone" at the bakery, the businessman told Chong. Chong promised to follow up on the matter; he has since visited the bakery twice on his ubiquitous bike. The drug investigation is ongoing, but the couple is satisfied with the department’s response. "Chong’s a great guy," the baker, Michael, enthused. "He’s approachable and makes you feel like he’s paying attention."

Michael is just the sort of asset that long-struggling Mount Vernon needs. Forward-looking and optimistic, he has decided to invest in the city in the hope that it will experience the same turnaround that he witnessed in the Bronx and White Plains on his bread routes. "I see more foot traffic and stores coming my way," he says. Owners are trying to organize a business improvement district, despite the difficult economy. "Everyone’s taking pride in their buildings and fixing up storefronts. It’s just a matter of time before everything is built up."

Chong and his NYPD peers are acutely aware of the value of entrepreneurs like Michael, and they know how crucial policing is to their success. "If I can remove the fear of crime from this area," Chong asserts, "people will come, developers will come. If it can be done in Harlem and on 42nd Street, it can be done here." The redevelopment of Yonkers’s leafy waterfront, a short water-taxi ride away from Wall Street, began before Ed Hartnett took over the police department, but its continuing viability rests on keeping crime down. And East Orange has added yet more proof to the assertion that Cordero made at his 2004 swearing-in: "It’s been proven, time and again, that safety is vital to the rebirth of great American cities." Standing-room-only crowds engage in bidding wars at auctions of commercial and residential properties; the city’s stately old homes are getting long-overdue makeovers; and neighboring Orange, still mired in corruption and crime, looks on enviously at East Orange’s policing revolution.

Cordero, Hartnett, and other members of the NYPD diaspora have been hit with the usual racial-profiling charges as they try to rid their cities of criminals; Yonkers has even had a visit from Al Sharpton himself. The race-baiters are oblivious to the fact that the greatest beneficiaries of proactive policing are blacks, who make up the overwhelming share of urban crime victims. The sixties-era excuse for crime has it exactly backward: crime is not the result of a bad urban economy, but it will certainly contribute to one. When crime declines, not only are black lives saved, but urban economies can rebound and provide jobs to people with the drive to get ahead.

The anti-cop agitators may be indifferent to the toll of crime on the people they claim to care about, but the black mayors whom several members of the NYPD diaspora work for are not. "We make it no secret that public safety is paramount," says Mount Vernon mayor Clinton Young. "As long as the kids are safe, and the elderly safe, we are doing our job." And as long as Compstat policing, the motor of New York City’s unanticipated turnaround in the 1990s, continues to spread throughout the United States, more of America’s great cities can look forward to futures of safety—and of opportunity, wealth, and creativity.
Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor of City Journal and the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Her latest book, coauthored with Victor Davis Hanson and Steven Malanga, is The Immigration Solution.

Monday, August 11, 2008


On August 1, Georgia took a gamble by sending its troops to attack the civilian population in and occupy the breakaway province of South Ossetia. Last week Georgia lost its gamble when Russia responded with its military might. Russia's invasion of Georgia gives us the opportunity to compare the foreign policy capabilities of Senators McCain and Obama.

Just because Georgia happens to be a close ally of the United States, that does not necessarily mean Russia was wrong with its military response to Georgia's repression of the secessionist movements in the pro-Russian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhasia. Russia complained that Georgia's troops killed 2,000 civilians in South Ossetia. Likewise, many civilians were killed by Russia's military response against Georgia. But, no matter which side is right or wrong in this conflict, we are obligated to do everything possible to back our ally, Georgia.

In response to Russia's attacks on Georgia, both McCain and Obama issued a statement. Here is part of what McCain had to say:

"Today, news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into thesovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave.

.............. The U.S. should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course it has chosen. We should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia’s security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation. ............."

And here is Obama's entire statement:

"I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis."

McCain's statement was blunt, unequivocal and direct to the point. He called for immediate and specific action by the United States, the U.N. Security Council, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and NATO to pressure Russia into stopping and reversing its military attacks against Georgia, a sovereign nation.

On the other hand, Obama hoped to please both sides by issuing a fuzzy feel good statement. He called on Russia and Georgia to sit down together in direct talks to resolve their conflict. And he called on both sides to show restraint.

Restraint? Georgia should show restraint? How absolutely absurd! Georgia is being invaded by the Russian army, its cities are being bombed by the Russian airforce, and its ports are being blockaded by the Russian navy, and they are supposed to show restraint. Has Obama been smoking funny tobacco?

Let's suppose that the Mexicans living in the State of New Mexico wanted to break away from the United States and have that state become a part of Mexico. Our government then calls in the National Guard to repress protests and demonstrations by the Mexicans. The Mexican army then invades New Mexico and its airforce bombs cities in the surrounding states. According to Obama's way of dealing with international conflicts, the United States should show restraint in responding to Mexico's invasion and we should sit down in direct talks with Mexico to see if we could not come up with an amicable solution.

At the Olympics, President Bush confronted Russian Premier Putin and expressed his displeasure and "grave concern" over events in Georgia. His pleas for Russia to stop their military attacks and to withdraw from Georgia fell on deaf ears. Because the United States now finds itself in a weakened position, Putin, in effect, told Bush to go screw himself. And those talks occurred between friends, rather than between enemies.

Obama seems to believe we can resolve most international conflicts by talking to our enemies. Sure sounds good, blut that's not the way the cookie crumbles. I have maintained that an Obama presidency would be a disaster for Israel. With Obama's statement on the Russian invasion of Georgia, I can now say with confidence that an Obama presidency will be a disaster for America's foreign relations.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


In yesterday's blog, "Allegiance to the United States," I wrote that "We are constantly subjected to the false but politically correct assertion that Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority are 'moderates'..........." In today's, Caroline B. Glick's column, "Ignoring Failure in Gaza," reveals that I was not blowing smoke. Here are some excerpts from Glick's column:

"It should be pointed out that Hamas's victory (in Gaza) over Fatah was not a victory of extremists over moderates in any real sense of the terms. Both Hamas and Fatah share the aim of destroying Israel. This was made clear most recently in the lead-up to the Annapolis conference last November. As US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the coming of peace, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas refused to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Moreover, there is little to distinguish between the groups' embrace of terrorism as a means of achieving their aim of destroying Israel. Fatah forces have carried out more attacks against Israel than Hamas has.

Hamas's refusal to even pretend that it is willing to live at peace with Israel is what distinguishes it from Fatah. And the Palestinians' embrace of Hamas after Israel withdrew from Gaza demonstrated that the withdrawal increased the popularity of the prospect of continuous war against Israel among the Palestinians."

Glick maintains that when Fatah, as opposed to Hamas, says it is willing to live in peace with Israel, it is just paying "lip service" to the international community. According to Glick, what really sets Hamas apart from Fatah is that, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas is financed and armed exclusively by Iran, while Fatah is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, with some additional financing by the U.S. and European countries.

One of Israel's problems in dealing with the Palestinians is that its society is deeply divided. The Peace Now movement, Israel's far-left peacenicks, is willing to compromise the nations security if that's what it takes to disengage the Jewish state from its sworn enemies. Glick points out that Israel's "elite" hate the settlers. There is the deep divide between the religious and secular Israelis. The religious Israelis and the settlers, most of whom are religious, take the most hardline approach against the Palestinians while the elites seem eager to accept the illision that Abbas and Fatah are moderates.

Then there is also the political divide. Kadima and the Labor Party represent the left-wing while Likud is the right-wing party. None of those parties can win a majority in the Kneset (Israel's parliament) in order to form a government without the alliance of some of the splinter parties that represent the religious Jews, the settlers, the Russian immigrants, the communists and other special interest groups.

Hamas and Fatah are like two peas in a pod. Kadima and Labor are willing to accept the illusion of Abbas and Fatah as moderates while Likud is under no such illusion and sees them for what they really are - radicals in sheep's clothing bent on destroying the State of Israel.

Friday, August 08, 2008


The other day, some friends and I were discussing Obama's campaign for the presidency. When I offered my opinion that an Obama administration would change America's Mideast policy in favor of the Palestinians, one participant said that I was one of those Jews with an allegiance to Israel. I tried to make it perfectly clear that my allegiance is to the United States of America, the country I dearly love, and not to Israel.

Admittedly, because of my background, I am a very staunch and hard-line supporter of the State of Israel. My parents and I came to this country in 1936 as refugees from Nazi Germany, three years after Hitler came to power. Both sets of my granparents were lost in the holocaust which took the lives of six million Jews.

The persecution of Jews by the Nazis in Germany and Austria was preceded by a history of progroms against Jews in eastern Europe - Poland (In 1648, 100,000 Jews were slain by Polish Ukranians), Russia (In 1905, hundreds of Jews were massacred in Odessa), Lithuania, the Balkans, etc.. In every country occupied by the German army during WWII, there were many people who were eager to point out Jews and to help round them up for deportation and shipment off to Nazi death camps.

My family was very fortunate in that we were able to come to America at a time when the United States refused to take in most of those Jews who tried to come here in a desperate attempt to flee the Nazis. We were admitted only because we had some relatives here who agreed to sponsor us. Despite our government's awareness of the Nazi's "final solution," Jews were not allowed refuge in the United States if they did not have an American sponsor.

Thus, most German Jews were not as fortunate as we were. When we came here, this country was ripe with anti-Semitism and I suspect that was the reason the United States refused to accept Jewish refugees. As a result, countless Jews who could have been saved, perished in the Holocaust. My love for and allegiance to this country has never wavered even though the United States must bear some responsibility for the deaths of many Jews in Hitler's concentration camps.

This brings me to the reason why the survival of Israel is so important to Jews. Jews continue to be persecuted in parts of eastern Europe and in the Muslim dominated countries of Africa and Asia. There has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Germany and other western European countries. Israel is the only place of refuge for those Jews who are not wanted in other countries where they happen to live.

Israel is in an extremely precarious position. It is surrounded by millions of Arabs, the Palestinians among them, who have vowed to destroy the "Zionist entity." Israel is a very tiny nation, only nine miles wide at one point. For security reasons, it is imperative that Israel must retain parts of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Israel is constantly pressured by the United Nations, the European Union, and to some extend by the United States, to make concessions to the Palestinians that will be detrimental to its security and survival.

And what about the Palestinians? We are constantly subjected to the false but politically correct assertion that Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority are "moderates" who want nothing more than an independent Palestinian state living in peace, side by side with Israel. When Abbas and other Palestinian leaders speak to the Western World in English, that is what they say. But that is a big lie! Nothing could be further from the truth!

When Abbas and his lieutenants speak in Arabic, it is clear that their true goal is an independent state which encompasses all of the old Palestine and calls for the obliteration of the Jewish state. And since the inception of Yasser Arafat's PLO, Palestinian leaders, including Abbas, have repeatedly expressed the vow to exterminate Israel, and they continue to do so to this very day. Moderate? That's a joke! Abbas and Fatah may not be quite as radical as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, but make no mistate about it, they are radicals in sheep's clothing.

As a former refugee from Nazi Germany, I am a staunch supporter of Israel and I take a hardline position against the Israelis giving what I call suicidal concessions to the Palestinians. But, I owe no allegiance to the State of Israel. Let there be no doubt, my allegiance is to this great country of ours, the United States of America! That is why I proudly fly the American flag (illuminated at night) in front of my home 24/7. God bless America!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


After 15 years, justice has finally been served. Mexican citizen Jose Medellin, 33, was put to death last night for the brutal murders and rapes of two teenaged girls. The execution was delayed four hours while the U.S. Supreme Court considered yet another appeal, one of several it has heard since his conviction in 1993.

The government of Mexico, which took Medellin' case and that of other condemned Mexican nationals to the U.N.'s International Court of Justice (World Court), won a ruling from that court which ordered the U.S., and in Medellin's case, the State of Texas to stop the executions pending a review of their cases. Mexico claimed their condemned nationals had not been afforded the assistance of the Mexican consulate as required by the 1963 treaty known as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, a treaty that the U.S. signed together with more than 170 other countries.

The Mexican government condemned Medellin's execution. The Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, "The Mexican government will continue insisting on the obligation of the United States to provide the review and reconsideration of the death sentence of other Mexican nationals." The ministry emphasized that Medellin's execution was a "clear" defiance of last month's World Court ruling and a violation of international law.

So protested the government of a lawless nation where countless of its citizens are murdered and raped by their fellow Mexicans every year. Come to think of it, Jose Medellin would have been a perfect fit for Mexico's crime ridden society.

For all those weeping willows and bleeding hearts who are bemoaning Medellin's death, here is a quick history lesson. Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14, took a shortcut home from a party when their paths crossed six drunken hoodlums celebrating a gang initiation inside a park. The girls were grabbed, thrown to the ground, gang raped and sodomized for an hour, and then strangled. Medellin later bragged to friends that they had raped a couple of virgins and that after stangling them, stomped on their throats "to make sure they were really dead."

And what has happened to Jose Medellin's five cohorts for participating in this heinous crime? Derrick O'Brien was executed in 2006. Peter Cantu was also sentenced to death, but an execution date has yet to be set. Efrain Perez and Raul Villarreal are serving life sentences after having had their death sentences commuted because they were juveniles at the time of the crime. Venacio Medellin, Jose's younger brother, is serving a 40-year sentence.

As for all the alarmists who fear that other countries will now retaliate by denying American citizens arrested abroad their right to obtain U.S. consular assistance, I say, baloney! That is a scare tactic which is nothing more than a red herring. To all those who called for Texas to stop Medellin's execution - including the World Court, Mexico, President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and newspapers like the Houston Chronicle and the New York Times - I say, Hallelujah, justice has finally been served!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Yesterday, I blogged that Israel's sworn enemies are financing Obama's campaign. Today, WorldNetDaily had a column on illegal Arab contributions to Obama's campaign. Here is that WND column:

Illegal Obama donors: Middle Eastern Arabs
By Aaron Klein
© 2008 WorldNetDaily, August 5, 2008

Gazan brothers' illicit contributions listed in government campaign filings

JERUSALEM – Palestinian brothers inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are listed in government election filings as having donated $29,521.54 to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign.

Donations of this nature would violate election laws, including prohibitions on receiving contributions from foreigners and guidelines against accepting more than $2,300 from one individual during a single election, Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, told WND in response to a query. The contributions also raise numerous questions about the Obama campaign's lax online donation form, which apparently allows for the possibility of foreign contributions.

Last week, the Atlas Shrugs blog outlined a series of donations in 2007 made to Obama's campaign from two individuals, Monir Edwan and Hosam Edwan, totaling $29,521.54. In an online form on Obama's campaign site, the Edwans listed their street as "Tal Esaltan," which they wrote was located in "Rafah, GA."

Rafah is not a city in Georgia. The Atlas blog immediately raised concerns that the money may have been donated from the Gaza Strip town of Rafah.The Edwans' donations are listed in both FEC filings and other election filing sites, such as CampaignMoney and

Monir made 20 donations ranging from $717 to $2017.50 from October through November 2007. His donations totaled $24321.41. Hosam made seven donations ranging from $508.63 to $1725.96, totaling $5,200.13, all in October 2007.

A WND investigation tracked down the Edwans, who are brothers living in the Tal Esaltan neighborhood of Rafah, a large refugee camp in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The Edwans are a large clan that include top Hamas supporters. Speaking to WND, the two brothers praised Obama and admitted giving the money online to his campaign. They said they are not U.S. citizens or green card holders but are citizens of "Palestine." The Edwans denied they are affiliated with Hamas. Palestinian sources in Gaza confirmed the Edwans in question are secular, but could not say whether they supported Hamas.

Monir and Hasam Edwan denied their financial transactions online – listed as donations in U.S. government election filings – were actual donations to Obama's campaign. Instead they claimed they purchased about $30,000 in Obama T-shirts from the presidential candidate's online store – a contention that did not hold up during a WND interview, when they changed their story several times.

"My brother Hosam and I knew that Obama will be a big hit even before he became a candidate. We knew the guy would be a celebrity in Gaza so we decided to invest the amount of $29,000 to buy Obama T-shirts from his website and sell them in Gaza," Monir Edwan told WND, speaking by cell phone from Gaza."I know on the back of this story Obama rivals will present our business as a donation and they will try to use this story to let Obama fall, but I'm telling you, we bought T-shirts," Edwan maintained.

Edwan said any profit made from purportedly selling the Obama T-shirts was not returned to the Obama campaign. "We have nothing to do with the Obama campaign. We just like Obama and believe he will be the best for the Palestinians and for the world."

At first Monir Edwan claimed he sold the T-shirts in Gaza for around $9 and that a profit was made. "Some young men even bought the T-shirts for 60 shekel ($17.29), which is a lot to spend in Gaza on a T-shirt, but that is how much Gazans like Obama," Edwan claimed. But it was pointed out to Edwan the T-shirts for sale on Obama's website are listed as $20.08 and that selling the merchandise for less would not yield a profit." Maybe we sold the shirts for a lot more. I can't remember now," said Edwan.

Asked why he would purchase T-shirts at such a high rate and pay the cost of shipping when he could pay a company to produce T-shirts for less, Edwan replied, "We wanted the shirts to come from the campaign." But Edwan could not explain how he managed to get shipments of T-shirts into the Gaza Strip during the months he claimed to have purchased the merchandise, since Israel imposed a tight closure of the Gaza Strip starting in June 2007 that lasted until June 2008, when the Israeli government agreed to a cease-fire with Hamas in Gaza."We don't want to cause any damage to Obama's campaign," was Edwan's reply.

Edwan said he wants Obama to be president. "Not just the people in Gaza but people from all over the world are rooting for this great man," he told WND.

FEC spokesman Biersack told WND contributions from overseas are allowed if the donations are coming from U.S. citizens or green card carriers. But he said accepting money from foreigners would violate election provisions.He said there are strict guidelines against accepting more than $2,300 from one individual during a single election. "I am not familiar with the particulars of the case, so I am commenting in general. The FEC will have to examine all the circumstances before determining any wrongdoing," Biersack clarified.

Obama's campaign did not return WND phone calls or e-mail queries.That the Edwans were able to contribute any money to Obama's campaign from Gaza opens questions into the methods used by the presidential candidate's website to accept online donations. The website donation form asks each donor to affirm he or she is a U.S. citizen and is above the age of 16 but doesn't require donors to prove their citizenship status, such as providing a social security number. The form further requires the donor to affirm the contribution is not coming from a corporation, political action committee or lobby group.