Monday, December 31, 2012


Two veterinarians offer to help poachers get ivory without killing the pachyderms

By Ima Schmuck

The Unconventional Gazette
December 31, 2012

The Unconventional Gazette has obtained an exclusive interview with Drs. Annette Brunhilde and Miriam Finkelstein, two dental veterinarians that have a plan to save the elephants from extinction by poachers.

The San Francisco vets plan to go to the African countries of Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic where an estimated 25,000 elephants are slaughtered for their ivory every year. The elephants are either shot or hacked to death by gangs of poachers who use chain saws to remove the tusks of the slain creatures.

Brunhilde and Finkelstein told us that they have a unique plan by which they will help poachers to obtain the much sought after ivory without killing the elephants. They plan to organize and train a cadre of ‘tranquilizing squads’ that will accompany poachers and instead of shooting the elephants to death, they will shoot tranquilizing darts that will enable the poachers to remove the tusks without any other harm to the animals.

The two dental vets have already met with Gabon President Ali-Ben Bongo and obtained his approval for the plan. They will start their program in Gabon before approaching the presidents of the other African nations to obtain their approval as well.

President Bongo stated that it was far better for the elephants to lose their tusks than to lose their lives.

The plan calls for several ways of contacting poachers and offering to accompany them on their illegal elephant hunts provided that the tranquilizing squad members are allowed to dart the elephants in order to keep them from being killed.

President Bongo has promised that the poachers will not be prosecuted when they take part in nonlethal hunts and he will allow them to sell any ivory they obtain using this humane method.

Drs. Brunhilde and Finkelstein are optimistic that if their plan works in Gabon, President Joseph Kabila Kabange of the Congo and Central African Republic President François Bozizé Yangouvonda will follow Bongo’s lead in adopting their plan to save the elephants from extinction.

When asked about the UN global ban on ivory trading that took effect in 1989, the two vets said that the ban will be revised in Bangkok next March to allow resumption in trading, but only from existing ivory stocks gathered from elephants that have died as a result of natural causes. Brunhilde and Finkelstein said that trade in the ivory gathered by poachers from tranquilized elephants will remain banned but that will be their problem. “Our only interest is in saving the elephants,” they said.


Obama is determined to get new gun control legislation, including a ban on assault weapons, and because of Sandy Hook he’s got the clout to bring it about

I believe the massacre of 20 first and second graders at Sandy Hook was a game changer that will result in the passage of a new assault weapons ban. Of course, such a ban will not prevent future mass shootings. An assault weapons ban amounts to nothing more than feel-good legislation. A ban will not keep those guns out of the hands of criminals, gangbangers and psychos. But it will keep law abiding citizens from obtaining them.

Here is what Obama told David Gregory Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press:

“I'm going to be putting forward a package and I'm going to be putting my full weight behind it. I'm going to be making an argument to the American people about why this is important and why we have to do everything we can to make sure that something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary does not happen again.

I've been very clear that an assault rifle ban, banning these high capacity clips, background checks, that there are a set of issues that I have historically supported and will continue to support.

I'd like to get it done in the first year. I will put forward a very specific proposal based on the recommendations that Joe Biden's task force is putting together as we speak. And so this is not something that I will be putting off.

I am not going to prejudge the recommendations that are given to me. I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools. And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem.

The question then becomes whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away. It certainly won't feel like that to me. This is something that - you know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it's not something that I want to see repeated.

I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids.”


Woman who shoved man in front of subway train also said, ‘I just pushed him in front of the train because I thought it would be cool’

My fondest wish is that this crazy bitch gets a devout Muslim for a cellmate.


Associated Press
December 29, 2012

NEW YORK — A woman who told police she shoved a man to his death off a subway platform into the path of a train because she has hated Muslims since Sept. 11 and thought he was one was charged today with murder as a hate crime, prosecutors said.

Erika Menendez was charged in the death of Sunando Sen, who was crushed by a 7 train in Queens on Thursday night, the second time this month a commuter has died in such a nightmarish fashion.

Menendez, 31, was awaiting arraignment on the charge this evening, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. She could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted. She was in custody and couldn't be reached for comment, and it was unclear if she had an attorney.

Menendez, who was arrested after a tip by a passer-by who saw her on a street and thought she looked like the woman in a surveillance video released by police, admitted shoving Sen, who was pushed from behind, authorities said.

"I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up," Menendez told police, according to the district attorney's office.

Sen was from India, but it's unclear if he was Muslim or Hindu. The 46-year-old lived in Queens and ran a printing shop. He was shoved from an elevated platform on the 7 train line, which connects Manhattan and Queens. Witnesses said a muttering woman rose from her seat on a platform bench and pushed him on the tracks as a train entered the station and then ran off.

The two had never met before, authorities said, and witnesses told police they hadn't interacted on the platform.

Police released a sketch and security camera video showing a woman running from the station where Sen was killed.

Menendez was arrested by police earlier Saturday after a passer-by on a Brooklyn street spotted her and called 911. Police responded, confirmed her identity and took her into custody, where she made statements implicating herself in the crime, police spokesman Paul Browne said.

The district attorney said such hateful remarks about Muslims and Hindus could not be tolerated.

"The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter's worst nightmare," he said.

On Dec. 3, another man was pushed to his death in a Times Square subway station. A photo of the man clinging to the edge of the platform a split second before he was struck by a train was published on the front page of the New York Post, causing an uproar about whether the photographer, who was catching a train, or anyone else should have tried to help him.

A homeless man was arrested and charged with murder in that case. He claimed he acted in self-defense and is awaiting trial.

It's unclear whether anyone tried — or could have tried — to help Sen on Thursday.

Such subway deaths are rare, but other high-profile cases include the 1999 fatal shoving of aspiring screenwriter Kendra Webdale by a former psychiatric patient. That case led to a state law allowing for more supervision of mentally ill people living outside institutions.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


He took a hammer and with 13 blows smashed his 92-year-old grandmother’s head to a pulp because ‘she accidentally kneed me in the groin’

William Spengler, who shot dead two firefighters and wounded two others Christmas Eve in Webster, New York, received a prison sentence of 8 years 4 months to 25 years in 1981 for manslaughter in the killing of his 92-year-old grandmother.

Even Spengler was concerned about the possibility of repeat behavior. During his first parole hearing at New York’s Attica prison in 1989, one of the commissioners asked him, “What if it will happen again?” Spengler replied, “That’s the thing that does worry me in terms of if you’re capable of it once, are you capable of it again.”

In 1995, during his fourth parole hearing, while referring to the killing of the grandmother, one of the commissioners asked Spengler, “How do you, to yourself, how do you kind of justify it?” Spengler replied, “She accidentally kneed me in the groin.”

During that same hearing, the commissioner said: “Well 13 shots on the head. The grandmother. You killed a 92-year-old woman. We are worried about that. There might be another occasion where you lose your temper and you might repeat that behavior. That is what frightens us. That frightens us.” His parole was again denied.

Despite those frightening concerns, Spengler was paroled in 1998. His sentence was to expire in 2006. It would seem to me that, with all the concerns about repeat behavior, he should not have been paroled before 2004. And yet, that would not have prevented him from ambushing those firefighters on Christmas Eve.


America’s toughest sheriff believes armed cops in schools are better than armed teachers at protecting schoolchildren.

By Stephen Feller

December 28, 2012

In response to a nearby county’s announcement that it will arm teachers and principals to prevent a Newtown, Conn.-style massacre at its schools, America’s most famous sheriff said he will send members of his armed posse to schools around his county.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he would send members of his posse to protect the 50 schools that are located in areas that his department is singularly responsible for protecting, according to KTVK-TV in Phoenix.

“I have the authority to mobilize private citizens and fight crime in this county,” Arpaio said. “[Politicians] are going to be talking about the guns now for years. But I have certain resources at my disposal and I'm not going to talk about it. I'm going to do it.”

Arpaio created the 3,000-strong posse during the 1993 holiday season in response to violent incidents at malls. There haven’t been any violent acts in malls there since the volunteer police force was created.

Posse members will be sent to the 50 or so schools that are in areas the Sheriff’s Office patrols, a response to nearby Pinal County officials saying they’d like to arm teachers and principals.

Arpaio said he’s a fan of school resource officers and though funding has been cut in recent years for their presence, he thinks putting them back in schools will make them safer.

“I support arming cops in the schools," Arpaio said. "If you have a cop that's armed you don't need a teacher that's armed."


If the media and Trayvon Martin’s supporters had not painted Zimmerman as a white racist killer, he would not have needed a protection plan.

By Rene Stutzman

Orlando Sentinel
December 27, 2012

This was the plan to move George Zimmerman out of the Seminole County Jail and make him disappear: He would be outfitted in concealed body armor and driven away by an armed guard in a rental vehicle that had been checked to make sure no one had secretly placed a GPS tracking device on it.

He would be whisked away to a tourist resort, according to a recently-released "jail escort plan," where he would then go into the handicapped stall of the men's bathroom and change into a new shirt, hat and glasses.

Zimmerman, facing second-degree murder charges for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, would then walk to a different vehicle and be driven to a safe house.

All the while, bodyguards would watch for paparazzi, "aerial" and "negative counter surveillance" and be on the lookout for people wanting to harm or humiliate their client.

The plan was put together by an Orlando private detective whose company, Associated Investigative Services Inc., last week filed suit against Zimmerman and his attorney, Mark O'Mara, claiming they owe $27,000 for security services.

The company's invoices, attached to the suit, show that it billed Zimmerman and O'Mara $66,000 for 21 days of protection – an average of more than $3,100 a day – even though Zimmerman was still in the Seminole County Jail during seven of those days.

During one five-day period, the agency billed Zimmerman and O'Mara more than $5,100 a day, the invoices show.

O'Mara said last week that he paid the company $40,000, that the charges appeared to be exorbitant and that he never signed a contract.

Zimmerman is now being protected under a plan that costs $700 a week, O'Mara said.

Stephen Milbrath, the Orlando attorney who filed suit, said O'Mara was bound by an oral contract. The bodyguards took on a challenging assignment: To make a high-profile, widely-hated man invisible and safe.

Zimmerman, a 29-year-old Neighborhood Watch volunteer, has said he acted in self-defense, but the killing ignited racial tensions and sent thousands of people to the streets at rallies across the country. It prompted hate mail and death threats – and not just to Zimmerman but also to his parents, who abandoned their Lake Mary home and went into hiding; his lawyer; and the daughter of a judge.

Zimmerman is now free on $1 million bail, living with his wife and a different bodyguard at a secret location in Seminole County, his whereabouts tracked by a GPS device. It's not a happy life, according to O'Mara. Zimmerman is jobless, isolated and mostly stays indoors. His weight has ballooned.

The bodyguards' lawsuit, filed Friday in state circuit court in Orange County, shows the lengths to which Zimmerman has gone to stay out of sight.

On June 28, according to the suit, O'Mara phoned Chris M. Rumbaugh, an Orlando private detective and former Orange County deputy, undercover drug agent and SWAT team member.

Zimmerman was likely to be released from jail soon and needed a way to safely disappear then receive around-the-clock protection.

Rumbaugh's company put together the plan, according to the court documents. It's not clear whether it was fully carried out. He did not return a phone call Thursday; neither did O'Mara. But the plan called for Zimmerman, his wife Shellie, other family members and at times, O'Mara to be protected by a seven-member team of bodyguards.

The guards would rotate in and out on either 8- or 12-hour shifts and live in a room next to the Zimmermans, at a tourist-area hotel equipped with a kitchenette, records show.

The agency billed Zimmerman and O'Mara for around-the-clock protection from June 29 to July 18, the invoices show.


The Unconventional Gazette
December 29, 2012

A Sam Houston Institute of Technology study group that rated the nation’s presidents recently released its findings as to the best president of the United States of America.

Obama has been rated as the 4th best president ever. Democrats were ecstatic over the findings while Republicans were outraged, insisting that Obama was rated way too high.

Former president George W. Bush released the following statement: “I find it incredulous that President Obama would be rated that high when, ever since the 2008 campaign, all he’s done is to keep blaming me for everything that’s gone wrong in this country.”

The SHIT study found that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and 7 other presidents tied for first.

Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman and 13 other presidents tied for second.

18 other presidents tied for third.

Obama came in fourth.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


“This is spot on . . . but the liberals – once again – will, without hesitation, shamelessly and blatantly, with the arrogance of their elitism, take advantage of a horrific tragedy and the accompanying emotional furor, to further their campaign to trash the 2nd Amendment. It’s always curious to me how ready they are to do so, while holding the 1st and the 4th so sacred.”

The above quote was sent to me by a former student, now a Houston police sergeant, who has just returned from a year of front-line duty as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan.


Sen. Feinstein and other liberal members of Congress, kindly take notice!

by Aaron Blake

The Washington Post
December 27, 2012

An unprecedented number of Americans support the right to own a handgun, despite the recent mass killings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that have renewed the push for gun control.

Even with the killings in Newtown as a backdrop, a new Gallup poll shows 74 percent of Americans now support the right to possess a handgun, while just 24 percent would support a ban.

In fact, the Gallup poll is a near-perfect example of why passing gun control legislation will be difficult.

While a significant majority of Americans say they support new gun measures — 58 percent (up from 44 percent last year) — those same people can’t seem to come to an agreement when it comes to specific laws.

In contrast to other polling, Gallup even shows a majority of Americans remain opposed to an assault weapons ban — something the American people supported as recently as a decade ago.

This is very much like what happens with tax loopholes: People broadly like the idea of closing them, but once you start talking specifics (like the mortgage interest deduction), they don’t find a whole lot not to like.

And as the gun debate heats up in the coming weeks, these numbers should serve as a reminder that the American people will almost definitely like the idea of new gun control laws more than the actual laws themselves.

Which makes this a very difficult issue for Congress to legislate.


Says he will disband the PA and turn over the West Bank to Israel if peace negotiations don’t resume

Abbas has made this threat in English before and you can bet he never has and never will make such a statement in Arabic.


December 28, 2012

JERUSALEM -- Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas warned that he would disband his Palestinian Authority if there was no Israeli movement toward renewing peace talks after Israel's elections on January 22.

Abbas, in an interview with the Israeli daily Haaretz, said that if such a situation arose he would hand full responsibility for the occupied West Bank to the Israeli government.

"If there is no progress even after the election I will take the phone and call (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu," Abbas said.

"I'll tell him... Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys, and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority."

"Once the new government in Israel is in place, Netanyahu will have to decide -- yes or no," Abbas said in the interview published on the paper's website late Thursday.

This was not the first time that Abbas had resorted to such threats, but the Palestinian Authority has found itself in a grave situation over the past few months due to an unprecedented financial crisis.

Talks between the two sides have been on hold since September 2010, with the Palestinians insisting on a settlement freeze before returning to the negotiating table and the Israelis insisting on no preconditions.

Following last month's historic United Nations vote giving the Palestinians upgraded status in the world body Israel announced a new spate of settlement building in the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

In Thursday's interview Abbas said that since then Israel had also reduced security coordination with Palestinian forces in the West Bank.

He said he would be willing to renew negotiations with Netanyahu after the election but would demand that Israel freeze further settlement construction while they are being held, renew the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues that Israel has been withholding and release some 120 long-term Palestinian prisoners.

"These are not preconditions, these are commitments Israel already took upon itself in the past," he told Haaretz.

The Palestinian Authority was set up in 1994 with the return to Gaza after 27 years in exile of Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Under the Oslo accords on Palestinian autonomy, it was due to rule for a transitory period ending in May 1999.

Headed by Arafat, who died in 2004, then by Abbas, the Authority has exercised executive and legislative authority and has theoretically been responsible for security in the West Bank.

Netanyahu called early elections for January 22 in Israel, with his right-wing coalition expected to win.


It may not be the shootout at the OK Corral, but I see the making of a TV episode. Two officers, male-female partners, bring a suspect to the cop shop. Suspect grabs male officer’s gun and is shot dead by female officer after he wounded her, her partner and another cop. Dramatic music, please!

You say it’s been done before on TV and in movies. Shit! So, at least in this case, life imitates art. And I thought I had the perfect script. What a bummer!

Gunfire erupted Friday morning by a man being held at the station, 3 officers expecting quick recovery

Associated Press
December 28, 2012

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A man being processed on a domestic violence charge grabbed a gun and shot and injured three officers at a police station in southern New Jersey before he was killed.

It happened at the Gloucester Township police station in Camden County.

Police say gunfire erupted inside the station at about 5:45 a.m. Friday.

As the man was being processed on the complaint, he grabbed a gun and began firing. Three officers were hit before the suspect was shot and killed.

Police Chief Harry Earle says two of the officers suffered graze wounds and were treated at a hospital and released. The third was hit twice in the leg and was undergoing surgery. Earle says he's expected to recover quickly.

UPDATE: Since more details (below) have been released, for my TV script I would have changed the circumstances by having the gunman take the male partner’s gun so that the female partner could come to everyone’s rescue.

Eddie Jones III overpowered Officer Ruth Burns inside the station, shooting her and two other officers

Associated Press
December 29, 2012

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A man who had been arrested for allegedly stalking an ex-girlfriend overpowered an officer inside a police station, grabbed her gun and shot her and two other officers before being killed by police early Friday, authorities said.

All three wounded officers were expected to recover.

Eddie Jones III, 39, of Willingboro, overpowered Officer Ruth Burns inside the station in Gloucester Township, a Philadelphia suburb, police said. He fired at her and two officers who had been in a nearby room and came rushing to aid their colleague. The two officers fired on Jones, killing him.

"This morning, the reality of a cruel world fell upon our doorstep," said Mayor David Mayer. "We thank God our officers are expected to fully recover."

Sgt. James Garber was shot multiple times and underwent emergency surgery for a gunshot wound to the abdomen; his life was saved by a bulletproof vest. He also suffered a graze wound to the head.

Sgt. Kevin Thine suffered a laceration to his abdomen and a graze wound to the chin. Burns was shot in the foot.

Jones, a civilian employee of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, had been arrested for stalking the home of a former girlfriend after a caller told police they saw a suspicious man lurking at about 1 a.m.

He was brought back to police headquarters and when his handcuffs were removed for a brief period during processing, he lunged at Burns, knocking her down and taking her weapon, police Chief Harry Earle said.

The suspect "unleashed a barrage of gunfire" at the officers, Earle said. Jones was struck multiple times by return fire and was pronounced dead at the scene, the chief said.

The shooting will be reviewed by the state attorney general, as is customary with all shootings involving police officers. But Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said initial evidence shows that the officers responded to gunfire that was initiated by the suspect, and returned fire to save their lives and those of other officers in the building.


And 22-year-old Nessie Susana Topete Herrera would be most wanted by any hot-to-trot man because pictures show she’s a real hottie.

From Borderland Beat:


Proceso, amqueretaro
December 28, 2012

MEXICO CITY -- Nessie Susana Topete Herrera or Jessica Itzel Martinez Requena, one of the nine women most wanted by the Attorney General's Office (PGR), was captured Thursday in the city of Querétaro.

Immediately, the authorities of that entity made available to the Attorney General of the State of Mexico (PGJEM), which has outstanding warrants with justice for her alleged involvement in several robberies and murders committed in the cities of Zinacantepec and Toluca, as recorded in the criminal case 185/2011.

In addition, the 22 year old is associated with a band of robbers to computer businesses, from which four murders were derived.

Once the PGJE learned that the accused, who is from the state of Mexico, recently had moved to Querétaro, elements of the Crime Investigation Department deployed investigators who identified her exact location and then carry out her capture

According to information provided by the Mexican authorities , Nessie Susana Topete, 22, was part of a gang that was involved in the robbery trade with violence, operating in the cities of Toluca and Zinacantepec.

Another most wanted women by federal justice is Dolores Torres Moreno, La Lola , who is part of the kidnap gang known as Los Montante and also organized crime.

The third most wanted woman in the country is Andrea Penaloza Pineda, who is related to the killing of three youths in the El Seminario neighborhood, in Toluca.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that there have been 500 homicides in Chicago, a 17 percent increase over last year. And the year isn’t over yet.

Perhaps if Emanuel had put 100 percent of his effort into fighting his city’s murder rate instead of taking time out to attack Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu on behalf of his former boss, President Obama, the increase in homicides would have been somewhat less.

As the president’s surrogate in the Obama administration’s efforts to see Netanyahu ousted from office, Mayor Emanuel is obviously better at attacking the Israeli prime minister than attacking his city’s gang war.


By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
December 25, 2012

David Gregory, the host of the long-running NBC program Meet the Press, is under investigation by the DC police for violation of DC gun control laws. While interviewing Wayne LaPierre of the NRA Gregory displayed what was apparently a 30-round AR magazine. Under the District’s strict gun control laws mere physical possession of a high-capacity magazine is a serious criminal offense.

The DC cops have confirmed an investigation is under way. NBC has declined to comment.

Anybody remember about 15 years ago a private citizen was arrested near the Senate office building in possession of firearms, including a fully automatic Uzi. He was a private body-guard working for the Kennedy family. He was kicked loose and his firearms, including his machine gun, were returned to him and his arrest was voided.

Anybody really think anything bad is going to happen to David Gregory here? Anybody?

By the way, according to the Weekly Standard, Gregory sends his children to Sidwell Friends school, which has an 11-member security staff not counting the Secret Service there because the Obama children go there. Can you spell Hypocritical Slug?


Socialized medicine at work for the elderly and the infirm.

Situation described as ‘inhumane deportation’ of elderly and sick being sent abroad due to rising care costs

Mail Online
December 27, 2012

German pensioners are being sent to care homes in Eastern Europe and Asia in what has been described as an ‘inhumane deportation’.

Rising numbers of the elderly and sick are moved overseas for long-term care because of sky-high costs at home.

Some private healthcare providers are even building homes overseas, while state insurers are also investigating whether they can care for their clients abroad.

Experts describe a time bomb’ of increasing numbers unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes.

And they say the situation should be a warning to Britain, where rising numbers of pensioners are forced to sell their homes to pay for care.

The Sozialverband Deutschland (VdK), a socio-political advisory group, said the fact that many Germans were unable to afford the costs of a retirement home in their own country was a huge ‘alarm signal’.

‘We simply cannot let those people, who built Germany up to be what it is, be deported,’ VdK’s president Ulrike Mascher told The Guardian. ‘It is inhumane.’

Researchers found an estimated 7,146 German pensioners living in retirement homes in Hungary in 2011.

More than 3,000 were in the Czech Republic and more than 600 in Slovakia. There were also unknown numbers in Spain, Greece and the Ukraine, as well as Thailand and the Philippines.

Some told researchers they were there out of choice as costs were lower, while standards of care were often higher.

But many others admitted they moved reluctantly.

According to Germany’s federal bureau of statistics, more than 400,000 senior citizens cannot afford a German retirement home, a figure growing by around 5 per cent a year. This is because many are living for longer while their pensions are stagnating.

As a result, the Krankenkassen – or statutory insurers that make up Germany’s state insurance system – are discussing cheaper care in foreign retirement homes.

EU law prevents state insurers from signing contracts with overseas homes.

But that is likely to change as legislators are forced to respond to Europe’s ageing population.

Artur Frank, the owner of Senior Palace – which finds care homes for Germans in Slovakia – said it was wrong to suggest senior citizens were being ‘deported’.

‘Many are here of their own free will, the results of sensible decisions by their families who know they will be better off,’ he said.


Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has been attacked for not being black enough by a black racist, ESPN's Rob Parker.

By Larry Elder

Jewish World Review
December 27, 2012

To a black ESPN sports analyst, this is the critical question: Is Robert Griffin III, aka RG III, the black rookie sensation Washington Redskins quarterback, "a brother, or is he a cornball brother?" What has RG III done or said to raise a suspicion about his bona fides as a black person? More importantly, what does this have to do with appreciating — or choosing not to appreciate — Griffin as an athlete?

Turns out RG III fancies himself as a quarterback who happens to be black — as opposed to a black quarterback. When asked for the millionth time about his status as a "black quarterback," Griffin responded: "I don't play too much into the color game, because I don't want to be the best African-American quarterback, I want to be the best quarterback."

And, when asked at a press conference about Martin Luther King Jr., RG III said: "For me, you don't ever want to be defined by the color of your skin. You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That's what I've tried to go out and do. I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don't have to be defined by that."

Holy color-blindness!

Such an attitude doesn't cut it with ESPN's Rob Parker, who in addition to the "cornball brother" comment, said: "OK, he's black, he kind of does the thing, but he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kind of black, but he's not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he's off to something else. ... We all know he has a white fiancee. Then there was all this talk about him being a Republican."

Griffin is a winner so popular his jersey set a single-year NFL record for sales. Elected high school class president, RG III ranked seventh in his class, graduated a semester early and began college at 17. He graduated from Baylor University in three years with a degree in political science, a 3.67 GPA and two appearances on the Dean's List. He took graduate courses during his fourth year. He is the youngest of three children — his mother and father both sergeants in the Army. He's had the same girlfriend since college.

Yep, RG III's practically a degenerate.

Parker's comments got him suspended for 30 days. He wrote this apology: "I blew it and I'm sincerely sorry. I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care. This past Thursday I failed to do that. I believe the intended topic is a worthy one. Robert's thoughts about being an African-American quarterback and the impact of his phenomenal success have been discussed in other media outlets, as well as among sports fans, particularly those in the African-American community. The failure was in how I chose to discuss it on 'First Take,' and in doing so, turned a productive conversation into a negative one."

But what Parker said about RG III is standard operating procedure for the hosts and pundits on MSNBC and other outlets, who question the "blackness" of "inauthentic blacks" like Herman Cain, Allen West and Clarence Thomas.

Where's the apology from, let alone suspension for, the following?

MSNBC contributor Karen Finney, who said about Republican Herman Cain: "I think he makes that white Republican base of the party feel OK, feel like they are not racist because they can like this guy. I think he is giving that base a free pass, and I think they like him because they think he is a black man who knows his place."

MSNBC's Martin Bashir, who said: "Mr. Cain was supposed to attend the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial on Sunday ... but he failed to attend. Now there's been some surprise at his absence. But being honest, isn't this consistent for a man who really doesn't want to be overtly associated with African-Americans?"

MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who told black former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele that his party was "the Grand Wizard crowd."

HBO's Bryant Gumbel, who on his "Real Sports" program, said that he wouldn't watch the Winter Olympics: "Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention."

It took the bigoted treatment of RG III to make some people wake up and smell the ideological totalitarianism. Maligning a black person for "not being black enough" is a hideous form of bigotry, the antithesis of what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for.

Will ESPN send Parker to "sensitivity training," where many companies send their white bigots?


There have been a significant number of robberies, even killings, for Nike’s Michael Jordan sneakers. Those overpriced tennis shoes, many of which are bought by people who can ill afford them, have been targeted by armed thugs and strong-arm robbers in cities all over the country.

The latest murderous robbery took place here in Houston last Friday morning after two young men bought some Air Jordans at a mall. One of the men, 22, was shot in the head while his friend escaped under a hail of gun fire. The wounded man died later at a hospital. The two armed robbers were after the $185 shoes.

By Jeff Balke

Houston Press Hair Balls
December 27, 2012

Dear A-Holes,

Well done. You have reached the absolute lowest point on the criminal totem pole. You are now ranked down there with people who steal Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve and worthless lowlifes who literally take candy from babies. You killed a guy over a pair of shoes.

I must confess I barely knew Air Jordans still existed. I'm fairly certain most of the kids who buy them aren't even old enough to remember the guy they were based on. The man who died was 22 meaning he was born six years after Michael Jordan was drafted by the Bulls. He was one when Jordan won his first title, three when he left the NBA to play baseball.

I understand they are expensive. But, what is this, the '90s? Are you going to steal some flannel shirts next so you can "be like Eddie Vedder?" Maybe, if you're lucky, you'll find the one magic pair that turns you into Allen Iverson circa 1998. More likely, you just murdered someone for a stupid pair of basketball shoes.

And, let's be honest, they are not even a really nice pair of shoes. Sure, they are ok tennis shoes, but like most sports shoes, they'll be worn out or out of style within a year. But, even if they were plated in gold and came with a lifetime supply of hand jobs they still aren't worth killing over.

Also, how freaking cliché are you? Killing someone for a newly released pair of basketball shoes is to lowlife punks what closing down an orphanage that can't pay the rent is to a rich banker who looks like Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life. It's like a wealthy woman shoplifting out of compulsion at Barney's because she doesn't get enough love at home from her cold, unfeeling husband or Taylor Swift writing another breakup song. You are the punchline to a really stupid joke. You're Leno material.

I hope you get busted and put in a cell with some big, badass whose little brother really wanted a pair of Jordans for Christmas, but couldn't afford them or you got the one pair of Nikes with razor blades inside them like the pumps in Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes.

All because you killed a guy over a pair of shoes. Seriously, he died because you shot him over a pair of freaking shoes. A family doesn't have a son/grandson/nephew/cousin because you murdered him for his shoes.

Way to go, assholes.


Everyone with Feet

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Who would have thought that a Middle East terrorist organization would profit from Mexico’s illegal drug trade?

By J.T. Larrimore

Borderland Beat
December 25, 2012

A day after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s inauguration, opposition leaders met with the new leader to sign the “Pact for Mexico”, a bipartisan agreement to increase economic cooperation and improve the stability in a country notorious for its violent drug war and devastating corruption. The current plague of instability in Mexico appears to have attracted transnational criminal and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, which should be of paramount concern for President Peña Nieto. Hezbollah’s presence would further indicate a disturbing degree of instability in Mexico, which would undermine economic and social developments.

Hezbollah has been reportedly operating for over a decade in some of South America’s most corrupt and violent regions. However, a series of arrests, coupled with the discovery of an international money-laundering scheme in Mexico, has led some to claim that Hezbollah has now established a foothold in the country. While its presence in Mexico is still contested, the framework for Hezbollah’s operations is now met with ideal conditions, given the group’s history of operating in areas with high levels of corruption are present.

The South American drug trade has provided an opportunity for Hezbollah’s illicit activity for years, which would allow the terrorist organization to maintain financial solvency. According to U.S. security services, the majority of Hezbollah’s illegal operations have occurred along the Colombia-Venezuela border, as well as the Tri- Border Region between Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. In these areas, a number of analysts have suggested that Hezbollah has aligned with various drug cartels to the mutual benefit of all parties involved. Mexico, with its half-decade of escalating drug activity, presents similar conditions to those Latin American regions that are thought to already have ties to Hezbollah. These regions suffer from bouts of instability and are inflicted with high rates of corruption and a lucrative drug trade.

Evidence of Hezbollah’s Presence in Mexico

Hezbollah’s presence in Mexico is a conservational topic among politicians as well as security experts. However, recent arrests and a surge of indictments, strengthens the argument that Hezbollah is now active in Mexico:

On May 5, 2012, Jamal Yousef, a former member of the Syrian Army, pleaded guilty in a U.S. Court to a conspiracy that provided weapons to a Colombian terrorist organization in exchange for cocaine. Court documents revealed that the weapons used for the transaction had been stolen from Iraq, and were being held by a Hezbollah operative in Mexico.

On June 23, 2012, Ayman Joumaa, a Hezbollah associate, was indicted in a U.S. Federal Court on charges of a conspiracy to distribute narcotics and engage in potential money laundering. Ayman Joumaa and his associates were accused of smuggling narcotics from Colombia to Mexico for the “Los Zetas” drug cartel. The drug earnings would be transmitted, laundered around the world and then placed in business and bank accounts linked to Hezbollah.

In September 2012, authorities arrested three men suspected of being Hezbollah operatives hiding in Mexico. One of them was a Lebanese man named Raffic Labboun, also a naturalized U.S. Citizen, who was considered to be the leader of Hezbollah operations in San Francisco, however, he fled to Mexico after being released from prison in the U.S. for fraud linked to the terrorist organization.

While there has been a good deal of speculation over Hezbollah’s activity in Mexico, evidence reveals that their main objective has been financial in nature.

President Peña Nieto has inherited former President Felipe Calderon’s drug war; a war which has resulted in the deaths of 50,000 people, and has attracted Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) like Hezbollah within its borders. Although Hezbollah’s primary objective has been financial, it has aligned with Mexican drug cartels in order to better traffic narcotics and launder drug profits. President Peña Nieto must realize that this criminal alliance could topple any gains put forth by his administration. Michael Braun of the DEA has stated that Hezbollah is “in essence, the face of twenty-first century organized crime…meaner and uglier than anything law enforcement or militaries have ever faced.”

Hezbollah’s print in Mexico is still relatively light, but is an indication of the level of insecurity that the country continues to operate with on a daily basis. A high rate of corruption along with a lucrative drug trade perpetually threatens to stifle Mexico’s desire to overcome its reputation as a haven for transnational criminal and terrorist organizations


According to the California Department of Justice, 9,065,697 guns were sold legally in California from 1991 through 2011, with 601,246 guns having been sold in 2011. I suspect that with the possibility of new gun controls, Californians could buy over one million guns this year alone.

LAPD is now in the midst of a gun buy-back program and with the largest turnout ever, it expects to get 2,500 guns this time around. Whoopee, 2,500 guns out of millions! And naturally, the criminals and gangbangers are not participating.

By Louis Freedberg

December 21, 2012

Despite being ranked ahead of every other state on gun controls, California still faces enormous challenges in how to reduce gun violence as a result of the millions of weapons already in circulation in the state and the complexity of laws intended to regulate them.

These are the stark figures: Since 1991, close to 9 million guns were sold legally in California alone. Only about 1 percent of people seeking to buy them were unable to do so because of background checks. Over 1,300 types of weapons have been approved for sale by California’s Department of Justice – although the department points out that “private party transfers, curio/relic handguns, certain single-action revolvers, and pawn/consignment returns are exempt” from state approval.

And these figures don’t include unregistered weapons – those bought and sold illegally – and those brought legally to California from other states.

Neither armed guards on every school campus nor a less violent entertainment culture will do anything to reduce the massive flow of legal weapons into communities across the state. The number of weapons sold legally in California last year – over 601,000 – is the highest number in almost 20 years.

Just last Saturday, within 24 hours of the Newtown massacre, 17-year-old Montreal Blakely, a promising high school football player and standout student, was killed in San Francisco’s Bayview district by unknown assailants. The following day, 16-year-old Richard Aldana was shot riding his bicycle in the Harbor Gateway neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Multiply those numbers over the course of a year and the portrait of childhood deaths is even grimmer: 138 children under the age of 18 were murdered in California in 2010, the last year for which figures have been compiled by the Centers for Disease Control. Fourteen of those victims were children under the age of 12.

These murders keep occurring despite California’s pioneering Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act, named after the lawmakers who sponsored it after the 1989 killings of five children on the playground of Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton.

Former Assemblyman Mike Roos, who co-sponsored the bill, said he “takes some sort of real satisfaction that at least in California, these kinds of weapons are no longer seemingly the weapons of choice, that in a moment of mental breakdown or frustration or anger someone can’t go out and use them in a mass murder.”

Not surprisingly, the assault weapons ban triggered court challenges, and along with them a set of complex and often confusing regulations governing their sale or possession in California. For example, the state attorney general’s office website states clearly that “AK and AR-15 series weapons are unlawful for sale after August 16, 2000, even if their assault weapon characteristics are removed.”

Yet gun shops now openly sell weapons with the AR-15 name tag. On its website, for example, a Placerville gun shop with the chillingly coincidental name Newtown Firearms describes itself as “Calfornia’s premiere AR-15 and tactical semi auto rifle dealer in Sacramento.” “If you are trying to buy an AR-15 in California, you have come to the right place,” it declares.

According to the Department of Justice, AR-15 rifles that have been modified with a fixed, non-detachable magazine that holds no more than 10 rounds do not fit the definition of an assault weapon. They are thus likely to be legal in California.

State officials say that without examining the weapons being sold, it is impossible to know if they are legal under California laws – underscoring the complexity of regulating them. “It is not black and white,” said Michelle Gregory, a spokesperson for the California Department of Justice. “It all comes down to the characteristics of the weapon, whether it fits the definition of an assault weapon or not. We wouldn’t be able to tell without taking a closer look at it.”

In the meantime, a vigil was held on Friday in honor of Montreal Blakely in his hometown of Concord, exactly a week after the Newtown massacre. To raise money for his funeral, his football teammates sold Christmas ornaments printed with the number 9. That was the number on his football jersey.


I wonder how the executives, editors and reporters of The Journal News feel now that thousands of pissed-off gun owners know where they live.

By Gregory Ferenstein

December 26, 2012

A week after the Newtown massacre, The Journal News published an interactive Google Map with the names and addresses of gun permit owners in select New York cities. The bold move has escalated into a transparency arms race, after a Connecticut lawyer posted the phone number and addresses of the Journal‘s staff, including a Google Maps satellite Image of the Publisher’s home. “I don’t know whether the Journal’s publisher Janet Hasson is a permit holder herself, but here’s how to find her to ask,” read Christopher Fountain’s blog post. The double irony here is that open data was heralded as a tool of enlightened civic dialog, and has been co-opted for fierce partisanship, bordering on public endangerment.

The Journal‘s original publication of the map sparked nationwide outrage and thousands of angry comments. Gun permit holding is public information in New York, and can be acquired through a mere request via the Freedom of Information Act. But, coming on the heals of the Newtown shooting, the publication had a clear provocative intent. “New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information,” said a defiant Hasson.

Given that Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle used in the School shooting was reportedly legally registered with the killer’s mother, the Google Map sparked a debate about whether gun owners should be labeled like other potential menaces to society, “The implications are mind-boggling,” said Marine Scott F. Williams to The Journal News, “It’s as if gun owners are sex offenders (and) to own a handgun risks exposure as if one is a sex offender. It’s, in my mind, crazy.”

Blogger Christopher Fountain took the debate into his own hands, publishing the personal information of The Journals‘ staff. “Hundreds of thousands of readers; Janet, you have a great Christmas Eve,” he wrote, after a popular political outlet, Instapundit, linked to his post.

Ironically, the promise of open data was supposed to lead to open-minded discussion. “If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’s actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects,” reads the often-cited quote from Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who stands a champion to modern-day nonprofits fighting for greater access to health, legislative, and administrative government data.

Open data advocates have struggled to get media attention for their utopian vision of automated government services. This latest use of open data via Google Maps, both to publish gun permit ownership and journalists’ geolocation data, seems to have hit the media sweet spot, as it plays into our debased partisan interests. It appears that transparency lends itself equally to being both a tool of democracy or a partisan weapon.


Oklahoma’s Health Department described the situation as “bizarre and reckless”

In the private prison industry, expediency apparently trumps public safety.

A convicted murderer, rapist and two other California felons badly injured in October 2011 prison riot in Sayre were housed at a Midwest City nursing home for weeks following their release from hospitals in western Oklahoma

By Andrew Knittle

December 23, 2012

MIDWEST CITY — The state has fined a nursing home $168,000 for taking in a convicted murderer, a rapist and two other felons injured in a prison riot.

The inmates, who stayed at the Midwest City home for nearly a month, were shackled to their beds, not far from the typical residents one would find in any nursing facility.

Detailed in a report by the state Health Department, the unusual arrangement at the nursing home is described as “bizarre and reckless.”

Dorya Huser, chief of long-term care for the state's Protective Health Services, said the inmates' stay at Buena Vista Care and Rehabilitation Center is “completely shocking … and I've been doing this a while.”

According to state documents, the inmates were at the nursing home from Oct. 19, 2011, to Nov. 15, 2011.

Huser said it's the first time she's heard of such a thing.

“To put felons in a nursing home is just appalling,” she said. “They had been convicted of extremely serious crimes, and that in itself would make them a danger to other residents.”

Buena Vista was fined an additional $180,000 for other infractions uncovered during an inspection earlier in the year. These fines arose from failure to comply with various provisions required of facilities that get federal money.

Huser said the realization that four dangerous felons had lived at the nursing came during a routine inspection in March.

“We went in there to do a regular survey and came upon this,” Huser said. “Everybody was puzzled as to how on earth this happened.”

Huser said residents of the facility were “very much impacted” by the presence of the inmates, who were shackled and chained to their beds and watched at all times by two armed guards.

“The prisoners were taken through the facility, at times, and the residents saw them during that time,” she said. “It was very unsettling for them. Try and imagine that.”

The investigative report also indicates a third guard was assigned to patrol outside the building for invaders — a troubling possibility, Huser said.

“What if the people the inmates had got into it with to begin with had located them,” Huser said. “I think the home got lucky that nothing happened.

“In truth, they had felons in there that were involved in a riot. They didn't know who was going to show up at the door.”

All of the inmates at North Fork Correctional Facility are from California, which began transporting prisoners out of state years ago to ease overcrowding.

The prison, located in the small western Oklahoma town of Sayre, is owned and staffed by Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest private prison companies in the world.

Mike Machak, spokesman for the prison company, confirmed the inmates were from North Fork and that they were sent to Buena Vista to recover from injuries they suffered during an Oct. 11, 2011, riot at the sprawling facility.

The riot, described by local law enforcement as the worst in the prison's history, left 46 prisoners injured. Sixteen of those were hurt badly enough to be taken to nearby hospitals.

Three prisoners were in critical condition, prison officials said shortly after the riot.

Machak said the decision to place the inmates at the nursing home was recommended to the prison company.

The inmates, who aren't named, all had severe head injuries and a variety of other ailments, the report shows.

“After consultation with (the) hospital and other medical professionals, it was determined that the most appropriate treatment for the injured inmates was a skilled nursing facility,” said Machak, who noted that “at least two highly trained officers” guarded the inmates at all times.

“At no time were the patients, staff or public at risk.”

Yet, according to the Health Department's report and findings, the 120-plus residents of Buena Vista were in “immediate jeopardy” for the 28 days the inmates lived at the home.

“This is not what nursing homes are for,” Huser said. “And that's the reason the fine was so high. Those residents were in immediate jeopardy while those inmates were there.”

“What are those old people supposed to do if somebody comes through that door with a gun?”

Machak would not say whether Corrections Corporation of America has ever used nursing homes to house badly injured inmates in the past under similar circumstances.

Attempts to get comments for this story from Buena Vista administrators were not successful.

The nursing home was fined a total of $347,450 for violations uncovered during the inspection in March.

Such fines are handed down by Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that works with states to provide oversight of the Medicare program and parts of the Medicaid program covered by federal dollars.

The fine has been paid, but the case has been appealed and is still waiting for a final determination.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


In Sunday’s Houston Chronicle, ‘Could Liability Insurance Help Limit Gun Violence?,’ a commentary by Loren Steffy, suggests liability insurance might be a better solution to gun violence than new gun control laws.

Personally, I don't believe that will work because criminals and gangbangers simply will not buy the insurance, while among the insured there will always be some psychos that will go on a shooting spree.

Steffy is the Chronicle’s business columnist. Here are some excerpts from his column:

Given the Second Amendment, a regulatory response to guns - certainly to gun ownership - is unlikely, although some lawmakers in the past week have vowed to restrict sales of assault weapons.

In the weapons world, liability is diffused. Gun makers - unlike manufacturers of automobiles, ladders or Easy Bake ovens - are immune to product liability suits. Congress granted them a special exemption passed in 2005.

To paraphrase the old Tom Lehrer song, they ship the guns out, who gets shot down isn't their concern.

If not the gun makers, then who should bear the cost of gun violence?

We could, of course, raise taxes on sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, much like we tax cigarettes, another big threat to public health.

But there's a better solution that deserves consideration: liability insurance for gun owners, which could take several forms. One would be some sort of federally mandated liability insurance, similar to mandatory liability insurance for car drivers.

Another proposal, by Bernard Bell, a law professor at Rutgers University, calls for expanding liability laws to create a no-fault liability for gun owners. That would mean that owners are liable for deaths or injuries caused by their weapons, even if they took proper safety precautions.

"There would have to be some sort of insurance so that gun owners could spread the cost of that liability," said Bell, who's written about gun liability. "The cost of liability insurance would presumably reflect the cost the injuries that result from the use of firearms."

Similar liability exists for companies that make dynamite and people who keep wild animals, Bell said. The plan would address the cost of mass shootings such as those in Connecticut, but also the costs of more common gun-related deaths and injuries.

Insurance companies are good at assessing risk, and any gun insurance program would use a series of formulas to set premiums based on the profile of the owner as well as the type of weapon and ammunition.

For example, a 20-year-old buying an assault rifle would pay a much higher premium than, say, a 50-year-old with a hunting rifle, much like a teenage driver faces higher premiums than a middle-aged one.

Likewise, insurance companies would consider the psychological and medical histories of the buyers, as well as the number of times a type or model of weapon has been used in crimes.

"It's essentially an incentive to gun owners that you can maybe reduce insurance rates if you take precautions that are effective in reducing gun deaths," Bell said.

Of course, mandatory liability insurance hasn't eliminated accidents involving uninsured drivers, and no insurance would remove the threat of dangerous weapons or mass shootings. But it would help to assign a cost to them.

The benefit of an insurance program is that it assesses a level of risk to both owners and their guns.

Mass shootings are rare, but that doesn't mean there's nothing that can be done to minimize them.


The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre was full of hot air when he told the press Friday that Israel had armed guards in its schools, this being quite contrary to the actual facts.


Associated Press
December 25, 2012

JERUSALEM -- Israel's policy on issuing guns is restrictive, and armed guards at its schools are meant to stop terrorists, not crazed or disgruntled gunmen, experts said Monday, rejecting claims by America's top gun lobby that Israel serves as proof for its philosophy that the U.S. needs more weapons, not fewer.

Far from the image of a heavily armed population where ordinary people have their own arsenals to repel attackers, Israel allows its people to acquire firearms only if they can prove their professions or places of residence put them in danger. The country relies on its security services, not armed citizens, to prevent terror attacks.

Though military service in Israel is compulsory, routine familiarity with weapons does not carry over into civilian life. Israel has far fewer private weapons per capita than the U.S., and while there have been gangster shootouts on the streets from time to time, gun rampages outside the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are unheard of.

The National Rifle Association responded to the Dec. 14 killing of 20 first-graders and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school by resisting calls for tighter gun control and calling for armed guards and police at schools. On Sunday, the lobby's chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, invoked his perception of the Israeli school security system to back his proposal.

"Israel had a whole lot of school shootings until they did one thing: They said, 'We're going to stop it,' and they put armed security in every school and they have not had a problem since then," LaPierre said on the NBC News show "Meet the Press."

Israel never had "a whole lot of school shootings." Authorities could only recall two in the past four decades.

In 1974, 22 children and three adults were killed in a Palestinian attack on an elementary school in Maalot, near the border with Lebanon. The attackers' goal was to take the children hostage and trade them for imprisoned militants.

In 2008, another Palestinian assailant killed eight young people, most of them teens, at a nighttime study session at a Jewish religious seminary in Jerusalem. An off-duty soldier who happened to be in the area killed the attacker with his personal firearm.

Israel didn't mandate armed guards at the entrances to all schools until 1995, the Education Ministry said — more than two decades after the Maalot attack and two years after a Palestinian militant wounded five pupils and their principal in a knifing at a Jerusalem school.

Israel's lightly armed school guards are not the first or the last line of defense. They are backed up by special police forces on motorcycles that can be on the scene within minutes — again bringing out the main, but not the only, difference between the two systems.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor spelled it out.

"We're fighting terrorism, which comes under very specific geopolitical and military circumstances. This is not something that compares with the situation in the U.S," Palmor said.

Because it is aimed at preventing terror attacks, Israel's school security system is part of a multi-layered defense strategy that focuses on prevention and doesn't depend on a guy at a gate with a gun.

Intelligence gathering inside Palestinian territories, a large military force inside the West Bank and a barrier of towering concrete slabs and electronic fencing along and inside the West Bank provide the first line of defense.

Guards are stationed not just at schools, but at many other public facilities, including bus and train stations, parking lots, malls and restaurants.

"There are other measures of prevention of an attack taking place, which are carried out 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all over the country," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Many are not for public knowledge.

Gun lobbyists who might think Israel hands out guns freely to keep its citizens safe might be less enamored of Israel's actual gun laws, which are much stricter than those in the U.S. For one thing, notes Yakov Amit, head of the firearms licensing department at the Ministry of Public Security, Israeli law does not guarantee the right to bear arms as the U.S. Constitution does.

"The policy in Israel is restrictive," he said.

Gun licensing to private citizens is limited largely to people who are deemed to need a firearm because they work or live in dangerous areas, Amit said. West Bank settlers, for instance, can apply for weapons licenses, as can residents of communities on the borders with Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Licensing requires multiple levels of screening, and permits must be renewed every three years. Renewal is not automatic.

The policy is designed "to strike a balance between needs and risks," Amit said. "We know that weapons are a dangerous thing, and in the hands of someone who isn't trained or isn't reliable, it causes problems."

The gap between Israeli gun ownership and U.S. gun ownership is consequently staggering. A total of 170,000 guns are licensed for private use in Israel, or about one gun for every 30 adults.

In addition to the privately held weapons, 130,000 guns are licensed to Israeli security companies, firing ranges, government ministries and companies that operate in areas deemed dangerous. Soldiers who carry assault rifles off base during their regular or reserves service turn them in when they complete their tours of duty.

By contrast, U.S. authorities estimate that at least one-third of all American households have firearms — and in many cases, not only one.

Americans are also much freer to choose what type of guns they buy. Automatic weapons of the type Lanza used to gun down his victims are banned for private ownership in Israel. It is also rare for a person to be authorized to own more than one firearm, Amit said.

Eighty percent of the 10,000 people who apply yearly for licenses are turned down, he said. In the U.S., people can purchase firearms from private dealers without a background check or a license of any kind.

In Israel, applicants must undergo police screening and medical exams, in part to determine their mental state, Amit said.

Many Israelis receive weapons training in the military. But to be licensed to receive a weapon outside the military, they must undergo at least two hours of additional training, then repeat the training and medical exams every three years before they can renew their licenses.

Anybody who possesses a legally acquired gun waives the right to confidentiality, and authorities cross-reference for new information about the gunholder every three months.

"The point is not to complicate, but to make sure the system makes things safer," Amit said.


His plan sounds good to me, but it will never fly with the Palestinians, the European Union and the U.S.

By Ryan Jones

Israel Today
December 25, 2012

The national religious bloc on the right-wing of Israeli politics has been an easily-dismissed minority voice in government in recent years. But new leadership appears to have revitalized the movement, and polls show the main national religious party will be the third largest faction in the next Knesset.

According to a poll conducted by the Dialogue survey company, the Jewish Home party will win 13 seats in the next Knesset, just behind the left-wing Labor Party with 17. A poll conducted two weeks ago gave Jewish Home as many as 16 seats. Jewish Home has only three seats in the current Knesset.

Both polls predicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party would take 35 seats when Israelis go to the polls next month.

Jewish Home is the new name of the former National Religious Party. Its surge in the polls is being largely attributed to newly-elected party leader Naftali Bennett.

Bennett is a 40-year-old hi-tech entrepreneur who previously worked as Netanyahu's bureau chief when the latter was head of the opposition in the 1990s.

Jewish Home and the National Religious Party before it have traditionally been focused on the politics of the land, and that will not change under Bennett. Following his victory, the new Jewish Home leader said that dividing the land of Israel is like "cutting a crumb in two," and Israel must resist all pressure to do so for the sake of a phony peace.

Instead, Bennett said in a graphical video presentation posted to the Internet, Israel should implement a policy of annexation and autonomy in regards to Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank").

In the video, Bennett advocates official annexation of what is known as Area C, the 60 percent of the "West Bank" where all of the Jewish population lives. Areas A and B, which are currently under Palestinian Authority control, and which contain 96 percent of the local Arab population, would be granted autonomy, but not independence.

To make this work, Bennett calls for heavy investment in new infrastructure that would provide the autonomous Palestinian areas with greater freedom of movement.

Bennett argues that this is the only way to both give the Palestinians most of what they claim to want, while also safeguarding Israel's security.

Bennett says Israelis need to beware that Netanyahu will look to again forge a coalition with left-wing parties that will lead to his dismantling of Jewish settlements under international pressure.

Netanyahu's Likud tried to fight back by harping on a statement by Bennett that Israeli soldiers tasked with forcibly evacuating Jewish settlers should ask to be reassigned. Likud officials attacked Bennett for allegedly calling for sedition, but Bennett insisted he had done nothing of the sort.

Either way, the episode only served to strengthen Bennett and his party and to draw away even more support from Likud.


As with Susan Rice, a bitter Senate fight over the nomination of Chuck Hagel may not be worth the cost to the Obama administration.

Following widespread criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, Obama administration official tells National Journal it is "fair" to say Obama is weighing candidates other than Hagel for defense secretary

By Yoni Hirsch

Israel Hayom
December 25, 2012

Amid widespread criticism from both the Right and the Left in the U.S., the White House is rethinking former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel's candidacy for defense secretary, the National Journal reported on Sunday.

A senior Obama administration official told the journal it was “fair” to say Obama is weighing candidates other than Hagel for defense secretary. Among the candidates being considered in particular are Michèle Flournoy, who was undersecretary of defense for policy in Obama's first term, and Ashton Carter, who the current deputy defense secretary.

If selected, Flournoy would become the first female defense secretary.

The report comes only a week after Bloomberg News reported that Hagel was Obama's top choice for the job.

Criticism of Hagel's possible nomination has focused on what some have said is his frequent opposition to Israel's interests after voting several times against U.S. sanctions on Iran and making disparaging remarks about the influence of what he called a "Jewish lobby" in Washington. He has also been criticized for his previous remarks about gays.

The journal said Hagel was also paying, to some extent, for his "bluntness and bravery" in supporting unpopular decisions during his 12 years in the Senate. His stance against his own party and former U.S. President George W. Bush ahead of the war in Iraq turned him from a potential Republican presidential contender "into a pariah within his party," the journal said.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


From Borderland Beat:

by Chivis Martinez

Borderland Beat
December 24, 2012

So I embellished the title for a hook, but it is a true story none the less. In place of the usual greetings of Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, I thought I would share a Christmas memory from the Chivis vault.

Each year for 9 years we [our family foundation] have a large Christmas Posada [Party] in one of the cities in Coahuila, bussing in children from 6 cities to the host city of that year. About 7 years ago I thought it would be incredibly awesome to have Santa arrive on top a camión de bomberos,[fire truck]. We were expecting 1500 disabled children from 7 cities from Saltillo to the north border.

The children were assembled in front waiting in great excitement, some were singing songs, others clapping and saying a little chant, the media was there in full force, teacher, directors, parents and a delegation from Saltillo headed by the Secretary of Education.

Santa was played by Carlos, a director of one of the CAM schools for the profoundly disabled. At the last minute I thought it would be special for the children along the route to the party hall to not only see Santa but that he could throw candy and trinkets to them from his red bag. The driving route through the main street of the city was only 2 miles to destination and a straight course except one turn from a street adjacent to the street in front of the hall.

Atop the fire truck is a tiny bench and two side handle bars, this is where Santa sat having a glorious time belting out “HO HO HO FELIZ NAVIDAD” and throwing goodies. Santa decided to take a page out of “Titanic” and stand proudly, albeit dangerously. He was just about to arrive before the waiting crowd….when it happened.
The fire truck turned the corner....and Santa half fell off the top!

The children were screaming and pointing, adults gasped and Santa had one leg dangling both hands gripping “something”. Adults were looking at one another not sure if it was part of an act, especially those knowing Prof Carlos, as he is prone to being silly for a good laugh from the children. But this was no act. Luck was on his side, as the tuck was only a half block after the turn to the hall.

The truck stopped, and the “bomberos” rushed to help Santa. Once upright, he adjusted his tousled wig and hat, grabbed his bell, and children laughed and squealed with delight thinking it was all for a great laugh. I was the first to speak to Santa and said I was so grateful that he is in such excellent physical condition and as he hugged me he said in my ear, Recuerda esto como el dia que la humanidad de los niños casi mata a santa claus" (“Remember this as the day, the humanitarian of children almost killed Santa Claus”).

Monday, December 24, 2012


His wife insisted on the firing after she found texts exchanged between her husband and the assistant.

The bombshell ruling came after Melissa Nelson, 32, sued her boss of 10 years, Dr. James Knight, for gender discrimination; he felt her presence was a threat to his marriage

By Joe Kemp and Rich Schapiro

New York Daily News
December 22, 2012

Horndog bosses in Iowa have a new tool to save their marriages — they can fire employees who are too hot for the workplace.

The state’s all-male Supreme Court ruled 7-0 Friday that an Iowa City dentist legally canned his female assistant because she was “irresistibly attractive” and a threat to his marriage.

The bombshell ruling came after Melissa Nelson sued her boss of 10 years, Dr. James Knight, for discrimination.

The married mother claims she was fired in January 2010 after Knight's wife became jealous of the pair’s relationship, which included harmless text messages between them outside of work.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s right,” Nelson said on CNN Saturday night. The 32-year-old also said she was stunned to be fired.

“I worked hard, enjoyed my job, and one day it just came to a screeching halt.”

Knight, 53, admitted Nelson was a great worker, but he complained her tight clothing was too much of a distraction.

He even once told Nelson that if his pants were bulging, she would know her outfits were too revealing, the lawsuit said. And he quipped about her irregular sex life, saying it was “like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.”

The dentist consulted with a local pastor, terminated Nelson and gave her one month’s severance. Knight later admitted to Nelson’s husband that he feared he would eventually try to start an affair.

“These judges sent a message to Iowa women that they don’t think men can be held responsible for their sexual desires,” Nelson’s attorney, Paige Fiedler, told the Associated Press. “If (the bosses) get out of hand, then the women can be legally fired for it.”

Nelson said she wouldn’t have been fired if she were a man. In the Saturday interview, she said her work attire was hardly revealing.

“I wore a long-sleeve or short-sleeve T-shirt and I wore scrubs,” Nelson said, adding that she’s “happily married.”

After the ruling from one of but a few testosterone-only panels in the nation, Justice Edward Mansfield wrote that allowing the suit would have stretched the definition of gender discrimination.

Knight’s lawyer, Stuart Cochrane, said the ruling is a home-run for family values.

“While there was really no fault on the part of Mrs. Nelson, it was just as clear the decision to terminate her was not related to the fact that she was a woman,” he told the AP. “The motives behind Dr. Knight terminating Mrs. Nelson were quite clear: He did so to preserve his marriage.”


Shooting from a helicopter or pursuing police vehicle is not practical because, unlike in shooting from a stationary position, the shots are likely to be off target.

Records show 1 of 5 vehicles was disabled by shots prior to October incident that killed two Guatemalan men

By Havana Pura

Borderland Beat
December 22, 2012

Texas Department of Public Safety officers have fired guns from helicopters while pursuing vehicles five times over the past two years, according to new information on the practice obtained by the American-Statesman.

According to the records, released by the agency Friday after several public information requests, the tactic was clearly successful in only one instance.

Details of the incidents, which all occurred along the Mexican border, raise additional questions about the necessity and effectiveness of a policy that experts have said is almost unheard of in other law enforcement agencies due to the high risks associated with firing a weapon from a moving helicopter at a speeding vehicle.

The practice has been under scrutiny since Oct. 25, when a DPS trooper fired into a pickup racing along a South Texas dirt road near La Joya, killing two Guatemalan men hidden in the bed under a blanket. A third man was injured by the gunfire.

The chase began after Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens spotted the truck and called the DPS for air assistance after it refused to stop. Following the incident, the DPS explained that officers may use gunfire to end a high-speed chase that threatens the lives of bystanders.

The trooper, Miguel Avila, shot as the truck was speeding toward a school more than a mile away, which the DPS said posed a potential danger to students. Alba Caceres, the Guatemalan consul in McAllen, has said the men in the truck had “no guns, no drugs.” Texas Rangers are investigating.

In practice, the airborne marksmen aim at a fleeing vehicle’s tires to disable it. But, as the deadly October incident demonstrated, they don’t always hit their intended target.
On Oct. 21, 2010, a DPS officer in a helicopter fired a single shot at a fleeing vehicle suspected of smuggling narcotics — but missed the car. “Round did not hit vehicle,” the agency’s summary of the incident stated.

The vehicle was eventually stopped when officers threw down spikes to puncture its tires. Although 800 pounds of marijuana was recovered, “two suspects abandoned vehicle and fled to Mexico,” the report concluded.

In another case, on Sept. 13 of this year, a DPS rifleman fired three rounds at a vehicle reported by Mission police to be stolen. From the report, however, it is unclear whether the bullets played a role in ending the chase; Mission police couldn’t provide additional details Friday.

“Three bullet holes were later found in the vehicle,” according to the DPS report. “Three suspects exited vehicle and fled to Mexico.” Just over 1,000 pounds of marijuana were recovered.

In a third pursuit, it is unclear from the report why a DPS officer fired shots.
On June 2, 2011, a state helicopter joined Starr County sheriff’s deputies in pursuit of a vehicle. The report doesn’t specify why the driver was being chased; Sheriff Rene Fuentes didn’t return a call for comment Friday afternoon.

In the course of that chase, Highway Patrol officers also threw down two strips of spikes, a tactic the report describes as “successful,” deflating three of the car’s tires.
When the vehicle continued to speed away, smoking and throwing off rubber debris, according to the report, a DPS shooter in a helicopter fired five rounds “in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the vehicle.” It is unclear from the report whether any rounds hit the vehicle.
“Driver eventually came to a stop and fled on foot, after which he was quickly taken into custody,” the report concluded.

Of the five pursuits the agency has now disclosed in which DPS officers have fired from helicopters at fleeing vehicles, only one was clearly effective, according to the DPS summary of incidents.

On Sept. 23, 2010, Starr County sheriff’s deputies began chasing a vehicle after it evaded officers, the report states, adding: “During high speed pursuit, vehicle nearly struck other vehicles and began to drive toward a more populated area. From helicopter, DPS commissioned officer fired one round at vehicle’s tire, which deflated.”

According to the report, the vehicle came to a stop and the driver was taken into custody. “25 lbs marijuana, one baggie cocaine and open beer recovered from vehicle,” the DPS report concluded.


On Friday, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre held a news conference in which he called for armed cops in every school and blamed gun free zones, the culture of violence on TV, in the movies and in video games, inadequate mental health services, and the failure to enforce existing gun laws for the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

LaPierre should have kept his mouth shut, or if he was going to say anything about the Newtown shooting, he should have limited his remarks to the culture of violence.

The front page of the New York Post pictured LaPierre and read: ‘GUN NUT! NRA loon in bizarre rant over Newtown’ The front page of the New York Daily News also pictured LaPierre and read: ‘Just 90 MINUTES after moment of silence for Newtown victims, vile NRA nut blames everyone and everything EXCEPT the GUNS – CRAZIEST MAN ON EARTH’

I’ve called attention to the reaction of these two newspapers because neither of them is particularly liberal. The Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a prominent conservative who also owns the Fox News networks. I think the terms ‘loon’ and ‘nut’ were entirely appropriate in this instance.

LaPierre should have let the dust settle before opening his big mouth and putting both feet in it. He’s made other stupid statements in the past, including his opposition to the banning of so-called ‘cop killer’ bullets. I was a member of the NRA for many years, but I dropped my membership after having had my fill of LaPierre’s extreme remarks.

Considering that 20 first graders have just been slaughtered, gun rights advocates would have served their cause best by being muted in their approach to this terrible tragedy. They should have waited until the gun control advocates had calmed down before setting forth their positions. At times, silence is indeed golden!


By Bob Walsh

PACOVILLA Corrections blog
December 23, 2012

Deputies from the Kern County SO Gang Suppression Unit busted two people after finding one of those horrible, evil “assault rifles” and a loaded, high-capacity magazine during a parole compliance check in Bakersfield.

After the search on Quincy St. at about 2200 Friday night the deputies arrested Javier Rodriguez, 34, and Anthony Ochoa, 25. The weapon involved was a SKS rifle, which presumably had been altered to accept removable magazines.

Rodriguez was arrested on a parole warrant among other things. Both were also charged with participation in a criminal street gang.

I wonder why they didn’t just arrest the rifle and let the two criminals go. After all, it is the horrible, evil, disgusting weapon that is at fault and not the people, isn’t it?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The SKS is a Soviet era military rifle that was replaced by the more versatile AK-47.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Op-Ed: ‘Don’t let people who already have them keep them’

In Friday’s Los Angeles Times, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns, who sentenced Gabrielle Giffords’ shooter to seven consecutive life sentences plus 140 years in prison, called for an outright ban on military-style weapons.

Criticizing the former ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines as too weak, Judge Burns in calling for a new ban said this time "Don't let people who already have them keep them. Don't let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don't care whether it's called gun control or a gun ban. I'm for it."

If Judge Burns gets his way and the federal government begins to confiscate legally bought firearms from gun owners, America will seem more like a dictatorship than a democracy.


Sen. Cornyn: 'It would be a bad nomination'

I agree with my Senator, John Cornyn, who has done a good job representing the State of Texas and has been a reasonable voice within the Republican Party. Unfortunately, if Obama nominates Hagel as expected, his nomination will probably be approved by the Senate because its members tend to support their former colleagues.

By Stephen Feller

December 21, 2012

A prominent member of the U.S. Senate came out Friday against the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense — despite the fact that he has not actually been nominated for the position.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn told the Washington Post that he had problems with several positions Hagel has taken over the years, many of which will receive opposition from both sides of the aisle.

“It is not just an isolated problem. It is a consistent position in support of American weakness,” Cornyn said. “I can’t support a Hagel nomination if it comes . . . There are some points about his record that make him unacceptable.”

Cornyn said he has heard prominent Democrats raise concerns about Hagel’s position on Israel, and Cornyn himself offered a list of issues that give him pause.

The list included Hagel's view that a nuclear-armed Iran could be contained, and that direct negotiations with Hamas would be productive — both of which Cornyn vehemently disagrees with.

“It would be a bad move,” Cornyn said, continuing, “and one of the reasons I’ve taken the position [to oppose]. ‘Mr. President don’t do that. It would be a bad nomination.’”


Short of legalizing prostitution, this proposal seems worth a try.

Police are working to join forces with health department officials and judges to provide social services and health screens for those arrested on suspicion of prostitution

By Steven Alford

Corpus Christi Caller-Times
December 9, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI — Police officers and health care providers soon will give prostitutes an option to get off the streets and find help.

Instead of jail time, law enforcement plan to work with county health care officials and judges to provide social services and health screens for people accused of prostitution.

Police Chief Floyd Simpson said the idea is modeled after a program he saw while working in Dallas, where police and medical staff set up mobile clinics in areas with the most prolific prostitution rates.

Known prostitutes were screened for diseases and offered options to find a legitimate job, go back to school, or receive mental health care instead of jail time.

"We're trying a different approach rather than just arresting them again and again," he said.

Often prostitutes are repeat offenders, going through a revolving door of arrest, incarceration, counseling and release, he added.

"We can't wait months for the system to kick in," Simpson said. "We have to try and help those who are trapped in this endless cycle."

A police captain went to Dallas to visit with officers and learn about the program and what can be used in Corpus Christi.

District Attorney Mark Skurka said he supports the diversion program.

Skurka envisions the initiative will be similar to the county's drug or DWI courts, where first-time offenders are offered deferred prosecution if they're willing to participate in counseling, community service or other terms set by the court.

"It's best to catch them early before it becomes a lifetime career," Skurka said.

Corpus Christi police often hold undercover operations known as "Jane" stings. Officers attempt to purchase the services of a suspected prostitute and arrest them when they agree to the terms.

The most recent sting was Oct. 17 on the city's Northside. In just three hours, undercover officers arrested eight women and a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of prostitution.

Skurka said when he was a young assistant district attorney, authorities identified the 10 most active prostitutes in Corpus Christi and procured year or longer jail sentences in an effort to keep them off the streets.

It worked, for a while.

But with prostitution, often those arrested are homeless, helpless or being victimized and have few other options, Skurka said, making it a multifaceted problem.

"There's got to be another way to approach the problem than just locking them up and throwing away the key," he added.


Former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta, 90, to marry bride 30 years his junior

I knew Jake through my friendship with Rocky Graziano. Rocky and Jake were best friends. According to this article, Jake’s ‘father put him on the street to fight other neighborhood children for entertainment in order to make money to help pay the rent.’ I don’t know whether that is actually true, but I do know that Rocky and Jake stood back to back in many street fights with neighborhood thugs.

LaMotta engaged to long-term girlfriend Denise Baker, 62

By Louise Boyle

Mail Online
December 21, 2012

Jake LaMotta has never been shy of stepping into the ring - or placing one on the finger of the woman he loves.

The 90-year-old boxing hero is to marry for the seventh time to long-term fiancée Denise Baker, 30 years his junior.

LaMotta, the New York boxer who inspired Oscar-winning movie Raging Bull, is set to tie the knot at a justice of the peace in Bisbee, Arizona on January 4.

Ms Baker, 62, told the New York Post that they would probably 'take a nap' following the ceremony.

The couple planned to have a big party two days later where a preview of a new film about LaMotta will be shown.

The Bronx Bull was originally billed as a follow-up to Raging Bull before a legal dispute with the film studio forced creators to publicly say it had no affiliation with Scorsese's masterpiece.

The couple also recently performed in a stage show in New York written by Ms Baker.

The boxer was born Giacobbe LaMotta on the lower east side of Manhattan in 1922. His father put him on the street to fight other neighborhood children for entertainment in order to make money to help pay the rent.

LaMotta went pro at the age of 19 and became known as the 'Bronx Bull' for his aggressive style of fighting where he stalked opponents around the ring, often taking heavy blows himself into order to land devastating punches. He won 83 fights in his career including 30 knockouts.

Following his retirement from boxing, LaMotta owned bars and had a successful career in the film industry appearing in 15 films including The Hustler with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason.

His memoir Raging Bull: My Story became the basis for the 1980 film starring Robert De Niro and directed by Martin Scorsese.

DeNiro trained with LaMotta until he had the look and moves of a professional boxer.

Later the actor famously gained 60 pounds to play the older LaMotta by gorging himself in Paris restaurants for three months. DeNiro won the Academy Award for best actor for Raging Bull.

LaMotta has been married six times before. His second wife Vickie, whom he married when she was 16, is portrayed in Raging Bull by actress Cathy Moriarty. The sporting legend has six children, four daughters and two sons.