tuesday march 15, 4pm - damn we got some good press response at the international day against police brutality protest. six stinking tv crews showed up to cover the story at patroits square in down town phoenix. i dont know if any of it got on tv, but the tv reporters were there to cover it.
maybe 50 people showed up. it wasnt as big as the prior protests.
we had a rally at patriots square, then we marched to the phoenix police headquarters where some people gave talks about how bad the piggys are. then we marched over to sheriff joe's jail and protested there a while. maybe kevin heard us. then last we went back to patriot square and disbanded.
Total Federal Inmates: 182,229
Report Breakdown: BOP Facilities / Privately-Managed Facilities / CCM Offices
Facility State Count
ALDERSON FPC WV 995
ALLENWOOD FPC PA 136
ALLENWOOD LOW FCI PA 1,397
ALLENWOOD MED FCI PA 1,437
ALLENWOOD USP PA 1,135
ASHLAND FCI KY 1,219
ASHLAND-CAMP KY 310
ATLANTA USP GA 2,001
ATLANTA-CAMP GA 522
ATWATER USP CA 1,266
ATWATER-CAMP CA 122
BASTROP FCI TX 1,273
BASTROP-CAMP TX 165
BEAUMONT LOW FCI TX 1,959
BEAUMONT LOW FCI-CAMP TX 535
BEAUMONT MED FCI TX 1,851
BEAUMONT USP TX 1,327
BECKLEY FCI WV 1,835
BECKLEY-CAMP WV 382
BENNETTSVILLE FCI SC 45
BENNETTSVILE-CAMP SC 108
BIG SANDY USP KY 1,348
BIG SANDY-CAMP KY 123
BIG SPRING FCI TX 1,557
BIG SPRING-CAMP TX 152
BROOKLYN MDC NY 2,900
BRYAN FPC TX 862
BRYAN-ICC TX 62
BUTNER FMC NC 900
BUTNER LOW FCI NC 1,344
BUTNER MED FCI NC 856
BUTNER-CAMP NC 326
CANAAN USP PA 94
CANAAN-CAMP PA 67
CARSWELL FMC TX 1,181
CARSWELL-CAMP TX 236
CHICAGO MCC IL 751
COLEMAN LOW FCI FL 2,084
COLEMAN MED FCI FL 1,663
COLEMAN MED FCI-CAMP FL 427
COLEMAN USP FL 1,654
CUMBERLAND FCI MD 1,177
CUMBERLAND-CAMP MD 297
DANBURY FCI CT 1,186
DANBURY-CAMP CT 197
DEVENS FMC MA 1,136
DEVENS-CAMP MA 122
DUBLIN FCI CA 1,181
DUBLIN-CAMP CA 264
DULUTH FPC MN 859
EDGEFIELD FCI SC 1,681
EDGEFIELD-CAMP SC 541
EGLIN FPC FL 208
EL RENO FCI OK 1,329
EL RENO-CAMP OK 231
ELKTON FCI OH 1,923
ELKTON-FSL OH 574
ENGLEWOOD FCI CO 919
ENGLEWOOD-CAMP CO 147
ESTILL FCI SC 1,128
ESTILL-CAMP SC 298
FAIRTON FCI NJ 1,429
FAIRTON-CAMP NJ 123
FLORENCE ADMAX USP CO 376
FLORENCE FCI CO 1,314
FLORENCE FCI-CAMP CO 483
FLORENCE HIGH USP CO 963
FORREST CITY FCI AR 2,057
FORREST CITY FCI-CAMP AR 275
FORREST CITY MED FCI AR 762
FORT DIX FCI NJ 4,242
FORT DIX-CAMP NJ 414
FORT WORTH FMC TX 1,658
GILMER FCI WV 1,615
GILMER-CAMP WV 132
GREENVILLE FCI IL 1,304
GREENVILLE-CAMP IL 339
GUAYNABO MDC RQ 982
HAZELTON USP WV 38
HAZELTON-CAMP WV 121
HERLONG FCI CA 39
HONOLULU FDC HI 597
HOUSTON FDC TX 944
JESUP FCI GA 1,047
JESUP-CAMP GA 135
JESUP-FSL GA 612
LA TUNA FCI TX 1,153
LA TUNA-CAMP TX 197
LA TUNA-FSL (EL PASO) TX 423
LEAVENWORTH USP KS 1,759
LEAVENWORTH-CAMP KS 462
LEE USP VA 1,441
LEE USP-CAMP VA 115
LEWISBURG USP PA 1,418
LEWISBURG-CAMP PA 402
LEWISBURG-ICC PA 71
LEXINGTON FMC KY 2,053
LEXINGTON-CAMP KY 282
LOMPOC FCI CA 1,501
LOMPOC FCI-ICC CA 82
LOMPOC USP CA 1,294
LOMPOC USP-CAMP CA 309
LORETTO FCI PA 1,270
LORETTO-CAMP PA 145
LOS ANGELES MDC CA 1,055
MANCHESTER FCI KY 1,191
MANCHESTER-CAMP KY 500
MARIANNA FCI FL 1,004
MARIANNA-CAMP FL 267
MARION USP IL 421
MARION-CAMP IL 403
MCCREARY USP KY 1,395
MCCREARY-CAMP KY 130
MCKEAN FCI PA 1,257
MCKEAN-CAMP PA 325
MEMPHIS FCI TN 1,328
MEMPHIS-CAMP TN 304
MIAMI FCI FL 1,211
MIAMI FCI-CAMP FL 298
MIAMI FDC FL 1,516
MILAN FCI MI 1,506
MONTGOMERY FPC AL 927
MORGANTOWN FCI WV 1,090
NELLIS FPC NV 619
NEW YORK MCC NY 899
OAKDALE FCI LA 1,178
OAKDALE FDC LA 797
OAKDALE FDC-CAMP LA 144
OKLAHOMA CITY FTC OK 1,621
OTISVILLE FCI NY 1,076
OTISVILLE-CAMP NY 120
OXFORD FCI WI 1,137
OXFORD-CAMP WI 216
PEKIN FCI IL 1,304
PEKIN-CAMP IL 320
PENSACOLA FPC FL 575
PETERSBURG FCI VA 1,261
PETERSBURG FCI-CAMP VA 349
PETERSBURG MED FCI VA 1,992
PHILADELPHIA FDC PA 1,134
PHOENIX FCI AZ 1,279
PHOENIX-CAMP AZ 293
POLLOCK USP LA 1,288
POLLOCK-CAMP LA 125
RAY BROOK FCI NY 1,254
ROCHESTER FMC MN 843
SAFFORD FCI AZ 816
SAN DIEGO MCC CA 989
SANDSTONE FCI MN 915
SCHUYLKILL FCI PA 1,293
SCHUYLKILL-CAMP PA 312
SEAGOVILLE FCI TX 1,859
SEAGOVILLE-CAMP TX 167
SEATAC FDC WA 1,000
SEYMOUR JOHNSN FPC NC 600
SHERIDAN FCI OR 1,622
SHERIDAN-CAMP OR 482
SPRINGFIELD USMCFP MO 1,171
TALLADEGA FCI AL 1,153
TALLADEGA-CAMP AL 364
TALLAHASSEE FCI FL 1,441
TERMINAL ISLAND FCI CA 1,186
TERRE HAUTE FCI IN 1,133
TERRE HAUTE FCI-CAMP IN 402
TERRE HAUTE USP IN 120
TEXARKANA FCI TX 1,422
TEXARKANA-CAMP TX 366
THREE RIVERS FCI TX 1,239
THREE RIVERS-CAMP TX 345
TUCSON FCI AZ 868
VICTORVILLE MED I FCI CA 1,725
VICTORVILLE MED I-CAMP CA 275
VICTORVILLE MED II FCI CA 123
VICTORVILLE USP CA 726
WASECA FCI MN 1,034
WILLIAMSBURG FCI SC 354
WILLIAMSBURG-CAMP SC 124
YANKTON FPC SD 725
YAZOO CITY FCI MS 1,738
YAZOO-CAMP MS 127
BOP Facilities Count: 154,551
Facility State Count
BIG SPRING CI TX 2,802
CALIFORNIA CITY CI CA 2,612
CIBOLA COUNTY CI NM 1,025
DALBY CI TX 1,056
EDEN CI TX 1,379
ELOY DC AZ 483
ELOY DC-ICE AZ 939
MCRAE CI GA 1,644
REEVES CI TX 2,134
RIVERS CI NC 1,322
TAFT CI CA 1,748
TAFT-CAMP CA 504
Privately-Managed Facilities 17,648
LONG-TERM BOARDERS 192
HOME CONFINEMENT 1,373
JAIL/SHORT-TERM DETENTION 994
CONTRACT JUVENILES 242
CCM Inmate Count: 10,030
Total Federal Inmates: 182,229
kevin says to give laro my best regards
What is the deal on your charges? You said they are now charging you with resisting arrest ? That’s pretty odd since if I understand you correctly they never had a valid warrant out for your arrest. I though you said they didn’t get around to issuing a warrant for your arrest until several hour after your first hearing which was at least a week after you were initially arrested. How can you be charged with resisting arrest when you were not validly arrested? And another track on that if the goons from the Secret Service said that you were an insane madman and had to be arrested because you were a danger to yourself, other people and of course you were such a insane madman that you were a danger to George W. Hitler who is 2,000 miles away in Washington D.C. isn’t it expected that you were crazy and would resist arrest. I think it would be fitting that they drop the charges because as the Secret Service says “you were insane”. And I not accusing you of being insane. I think your just as sane as me or anybody else, but if the Secret Service used it as a lame excuse to arrest you why not use it as a lame excuse to drop the charges.
Also does that mean they dropped the other charges they where holding you on. I though you initially said they were charging you with assaulting several police officers. Did they give up on those charges? Or are they still holding them over your head but you lawyer doesn’t think they will convict you?
I will send Eric an e-mail telling him to write you. Hell if you want I can set up a web page where people can send you and laro letters via the internet. They can use one of my web pages to save the letters, and then when I send you and laro my news articles I can include the letters in there. Since most letters are short and since I am using this fine print it probably wouldn’t cost that much in postage and I could do it. Also if you want to send me letters to forward to Laro I don’t mind doing that. I would be nice to include an envelope and postage because I am a unemployed bum now. I can put my po box on it as the return address and the thugs at laros prison wouldn’t send it back to you.
government theives snuff out the competion by getting the thugs at the ATF to make it illegal to use credit cards to buy tobacco over the internet.
Deal to stub out Net cigarette sales
Buyers won't be able to use major credit cards
Mar. 18, 2005 12:00 AM
ALBANY, N.Y. - Major credit-card companies will refuse to participate in Internet sales of cigarettes nationwide under a government agreement made Thursday.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the companies and state attorneys general agreed to work together to prevent the long unchecked use of credit cards to buy cigarettes over the Internet across state lines. The agreement is effective immediately.
The result is that virtually all credit cards will no longer participate with Web sites based in the United States and abroad that sell cigarettes and tobacco products in every state, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said. The card companies also agreed to take action against Internet sellers that authorities identify as violating state and federal laws regulating cigarette sales.
States lose more than $1 billion a year in tax revenue from Internet tobacco sales, said Sheree Mixell, ATF spokeswoman.
The effort is important because enforcement has been difficult, even though in many states, including New York, the Internet sale of tobacco products is illegal. The trade undercuts traditional business operators, often avoids sales tax for states and localities, and can be a way for underage consumers to buy cigarettes and chewing tobacco before they turn 18.
"By working with all the major card companies, we will severely restrict the availability of the Internet retailers to make these illegal sales," said Spitzer, one of the lead attorneys general in the partnership sealed Thursday.
The negotiations were also led by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers. Attorneys general from Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin also participated.
"ATF investigations show that millions of dollars each year in illegal sales of cigarettes are diverted to fund terrorists and criminal organizations," said Michael Bouchard, ATF assistant director for field operations.
Earlier this month, MasterCard International issued a bulletin to its member banks on "the need to comply with rules governing the Internet sale and shipment of tobacco."
"MasterCard does not tolerate illegal activities of any kind," the statement said.
Joshua Peirez, senior vice president at MasterCard, told the Associated Press the policy basically meant the card couldn't be used for Internet purchases of tobacco "because at this point, no merchants are complying with all of these laws."
Smokers would still be able to buy cigarettes over the Internet, but they would not be allowed to use their credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Instead, they would have to use checks, money orders or some other payment system that would probably hold up delivery.
New York's ban on Internet cigarette sales was the first in the nation. But opponents argued the law wasn't about minors smoking, but about state tax revenue. The state's tax on a pack of cigarettes is $1.50, pushing the total price to around $5. Lower prices are offered on the Internet and in mail-order catalogs by tax-exempt Indian merchants and retailers in states with lower taxes.
i think the lapd tried to railroad robert blake and convict him even though they didnt have any real physical evidence linking to him to the crime as this relative of the victim says: "you really need physical evidence to win a case like that."
sure robert blake had a motive to kill the woman, and robert blake may have even murdered the woman but i dont think the lapd should have arrested him for those two reasons unless they had physical evidence proving that he did the murder.
it seems like the lapd did the same thing to oj simpson. yes oj had a motive and a reason to kill his wife but beyond that it didnt seem the lapd had any real evidence to arrest him with. also in that case it seemed like the lapd planted the glove and rigged the blood evidence.
Lawyer wants to 'wipe smile off' Blake's face
Mar. 18, 2005 12:00 AM
LOS ANGELES - A day after actor Robert Blake celebrated his acquittal on charges of murdering his wife, a lawyer for the victim's family said he would "wipe that smile off his face" in a civil case.
Blake, 71, held a jubilant news conference after being found not guilty on Wednesday in the May 2001 shooting death of his estranged wife of six months, Bonny Lee Bakley, 44.
The star of the 1970s television detective show Baretta was also acquitted of soliciting a former stuntman to murder Bakley, and the jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of finding him not guilty of asking a second stuntman to kill her.
But the verdicts did not end Blake's legal saga. He is also the subject of a wrongful-death civil lawsuit brought by Bakley's family.
It was held over until the conclusion of the three-month criminal trial.
"I'm going to wipe that smile off his face," Eric Dubin, lawyer for Bakley's family, told CNN on Thursday.
Dubin said the family felt Bakley, portrayed in court as a star-struck grifter who ran a mail-order sex business, had been murdered twice: "once in the car and once on the stand."
Bakley's adult daughter, Holly Gawron, expressed little bitterness over the outcome, telling the NBC Today show that "you really need physical evidence to win a case like that."
"Plenty of people were telling me not to expect anything, and from the beginning, I know he (Blake) was telling people that he was going to get away with it. So I've always had my doubts that he would be convicted," Gawron said.
Blake, who shook with emotion when the verdict was read, said after the trial that he planned to "go out and do a little cowboying" and celebrate his freedom with a road trip.
these government nannys have too much time on their hands
Proponen ley para prohibir movimientos sugestivos de cheerleaders.
AUSTIN - Un representante estatal demócrata presentó un proyecto de ley para poner fin a las actuaciones "sexualmente sugestivas" de las cheerleaders en eventos deportivos y otras competencias extracurriculares.
"Tienen una orientación demasiado sexual ... la forma en que mueven sus caderas y bailan", dijo el representante demócrata Al Edwards, quien lleva 26 años en la Cámara de Representantes estatal.
"Y luego les decimos: 'no tengan sexo a menos que sea en el matrimonio o por amor, es peligroso' y sin embargo los maestros y directores los ayudan con este tipo de movimientos".
Según el proyecto de ley de Edwards, si un distrito escolar permite tal actuación, el comisionado estatal de Educación determinaría cuántos fondos estatales le serían retenidos.
Edwards dijo que presentó la medida tras ver varias actuaciones de ese tipo en su distrito.
J.M. Farías, propietario de la empresa Austin Cheer Factory, dijo que el público recibirá con beneplácito la medida. Las competencias de cheerleaders sancionan movimientos sugestivos que puedan ser vulgares, dijo.
"Cualquier entrenador que sea bueno no incluirá eso en su rutina", señaló, agregando que la mayoría de las muchachas que se desempeñan como cheerleaders los viernes por la noche son entrenadas por profesionales que saben lo que deben hacer.
"No creo que esta ley afecte al sector en lo absoluto. De hecho, daría a los padres una sensación mejor, especialmente a los papás y los novios", señaló Farías.
The BOP extends telephone privileges to inmates to help them maintain ties with their families and other community contacts. Ordinarily, the inmate pays for the calls; but in some cases the receiving party pays. Limitations and conditions may be imposed upon an inmate's telephone privileges to ensure they are consistent with the BOP's correctional management responsibilities. A notice is posted next to each telephone advising inmates that calls are monitored. Unmonitored calls to attorneys are permitted in certain circumstances. Third-party or other alternative call arrangements are not permitted; this ensures inmates do not have the opportunity to use phones for criminal or other inappropriate purposes.
i suspect this is politically correct double speak and in reality that the phones are a $REVENUE$ program for the BOP. in the outside world i have several phone cards i bought at local stores where i can make long distance calls for 10 cents a minute and i didnt even search for a good deal. just what do they charge you in prison for phone calls.
this is interesting. it is a break down of how many people are in federal prisons for what crimes. clearly the winner for what most people are in federal jails is for victimless drug war crimes.
i was suprized at the second place winner which was for having weapons, explosives and arson. i shouldnt have been suprized about it and i suspect it is mostly for weapons and explosives with very few arsonists. my guess is the government afraid of people who have guns and explosives. that is despite the fact the the 2nd amendment says
the government shall not infringe on the people right to bear arms. i also consider anyone convicted of a weapons or explosive charge a political prisoner convicted of a victimless crime.
and the crime in third place is another victimless crime. my gosh that is immigration violations.
isnt it amazing that if your released all the people in federal prisons for victimless crimes you would release 75% of the people in federal jails, and slash the size of the federal prisons to 25%
also it looks like the feds are jailing a whole bunch of people for crimes in which they should be really jailed by state goverments for crimes such as: robbery, murder, burgulary, sex offenses, and kidnapping (yes i know bank robbery and kidnapping are federal crimes but they shouldnt be). if you removed these people from the federal prison system and the feds only jailed people for crimes which are clearly federal crimes such as counterfiting, spying (national security), and perhaps banking violations the federal prison size would shring to about ONE PERCENT of its current size and 99% of the people in federal prisons would be released.
Types of Offenses back to top
Drug Offenses: 88,578 (53.9 %)
Weapons, Explosives, Arson:
21,082 (12.8 %)
Immigration: 18,243 (11.1 %)
Robbery: 10,024 ( 6.1 %)
Property Offenses: 6,768 ( 4.1 %)
Extortion, Fraud, Bribery:
6,774 ( 4.1 %)
Homicide, Assault, Kidnapping:
5,324 ( 3.2 %)
Miscellaneous: 3,373 ( 2.1 %)
Sex Offenses: 1,732 ( 1.1 %)
Banking and Insurance,
Counterfeit, Embezzlement992 ( 0.6 %)
Courts or Corrections: 698 ( 0.4 %)
Continuing Criminal Enterprise:
602 ( 0.4 %)
National Security: 104 ( 0.1 %)
it also looks like the federal prison system is also a racist system. gee blacks are 40% of the inmates while blacks are only about 10% of the us population. and while it looks like latino are classified as white when it comes to race i suspect the system is also racist when it comes to jailing latinos or hispanics
Inmates By Race
White: 102,681 (56.6 %)
Black: 72,530 (40.0 %)
Native American: 3,136 ( 1.7 %)
Asian: 2,920 ( 1.6 %)
United States: 129,442 (71.4 %)
Mexico: 31,143 (17.2 %)
Colombia: 3,484 ( 1.9 %)
Cuba: 1,969 ( 1.1 %)
Dominican Republic: 3,489 ( 1.9 %)
Other/Unknown: 11,740 ( 6.5 %)
Inmates By Gender
Male: 168,977 (93.2 %)
Female: 12,290 ( 6.8 %)
Inmates By Security Level
Minimum: 18.7 %
Low: 39.4 %
Medium: 25.5 %
High: 10.4 %
Unclassified1: 5.8 %
Hispanic: 58,287 (32.2 %)
(this isnt a typo on my part. the federal web site only listed one type of ethnicity and that was hispanic. and in the race section they did not have a latino section, and i suspect they classifed all the latinos as white)
Prison Types & General Information
The Bureau operates institutions at five different security levels in order to confine offenders in an appropriate manner. Security levels are based on such features as the presence of external patrols, towers, security barriers, or detection devices; the type of housing within the institution; internal security features; and the staff-to-inmate ratio. Each facility is designated as either minimum, low, medium, high, or administrative.
Minimum security institutions, also known as Federal Prison Camps (FPCs), have dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, and limited or no perimeter fencing. These institutions are work- and program-oriented; and many are located adjacent to larger institutions or on military bases, where inmates help serve the labor needs of the larger institution or base (ie: slave labor - the BOP didn't bother to add this on their web page).
Low security Federal Correctional Institutions (FCIs) have double-fenced perimeters, mostly dormitory or cubicle housing, and strong work and program components. The staff-to-inmate ratio in these institutions is higher than in minimum security facilities.
Medium security FCIs have strengthened perimeters (often double fences with electronic detection systems), mostly cell-type housing, a wide variety of work and treatment programs, an even higher staff-to-inmate ratio than low security FCIs, and even greater internal controls.
High security institutions, also known as United States Penitentiaries (USPs), have highly-secured perimeters (featuring walls or reinforced fences), multiple- and single-occupant cell housing, the highest staff-to-inmate ratio, and close control of inmate movement.
A number of BOP institutions belong to Federal Correctional Complexes (FCCs). At FCCs, institutions with different missions and security levels are located in close proximity to one another. FCCs increase efficiency through the sharing of services, enable staff to gain experience at institutions of many security levels, and enhance emergency preparedness by having additional resources within close proximity.
Administrative facilities are institutions with special missions, such as the detention of pretrial offenders; the treatment of inmates with serious or chronic medical problems; or the containment of extremely dangerous, violent, or escape-prone inmates. Administrative facilities include Metropolitan Correctional Centers (MCCs), Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDCs), Federal Detention Centers (FDCs), and Federal Medical Centers (FMCs), as well as the Federal Transfer Center (FTC), the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners (MCFP), and the Administrative-Maximum (ADX) U.S. Penitentiary. Administrative facilities are capable of holding inmates in all security categories.
Intensive Confinement Centers
USP Lewisburg, USP Lompoc, and FPC Bryan operated Intensive Confinement Center (ICC) programs for minimum security, nonviolent offenders with no significant history of prior incarceration. Similar to military-style "boot camps," ICCs were phased out in 2005.
A number of BOP institutions have a small, minimum security camp adjacent to the main facility. These camps, often referred to as satellite camps, provide inmate labor to the main institution and to off-site work programs. FCI Memphis has a non-adjacent camp that serves similar needs.
Satellite Low Security Facilities
FCI Elkton and FCI Jesup each have a small, low security satellite facility adjacent to the main institution. FCI La Tuna has a low security facility affiliated with, but not adjacent to, the main institution.
Mar. 06, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: Why is Alan Yurko still in jail?
In last week's column, the Florida judge looked over the new evidence -- it turned out the autopsy used to convict Alan Yurko of killing his sick infant son via "shaken baby syndrome" had not even been conducted on a child of the right race -- and vacated the conviction. After seven years, Alan Yurko was a free man ... right?
Ha, good one. You're not thinking like a government prosecutor.
"As soon as the judge said, 'I'm vacating this sentence,' the prosecution said, 'Your honor, we're appealing your decision,' which would have left him sitting in jail another two to three years, which would have come out the same way with the botched autopsy and the discredited medical examiner," Francine Yurko told me.
"So what they did is they offered him a plea bargain. They said, 'We won't appeal the judge's decision if right here you are willing to plead out to simple manslaughter, no child abuse, in which case we'll give you immediate release.' "
A deal which would prevent the Yurkos from suing the state of Florida for Alan's seven years of false imprisonment, of course.
"They cleared out the courtroom and gave me and Alan a chance to discuss it. It came down to three more years and the amount of money it would take to keep fighting, and he decided to take it, and he made it known that with the plea to manslaughter, what he was willing to work with was the fact of culpable negligence being a form of manslaughter.
"The way he phrased it in court was, 'I should have been a more informed parent; I should have taken a more active role in my child's health care, and if in fact I had been a more informed parent I would not have let him be given those shots.' "
You might want to make note of that. The state of Florida has now officially accepted, as grounds for a guilty plea to the crime of manslaughter, an admission by a grieving father that he committed a felony when he allowed his son to be killed by allowing medical authorities to give the infant a "standard" dose of vaccinations.
Alan "was given immediate release on Aug. 27 (2004) and he was home for two weeks," Francine says. Finally, a happy ending. The innocent man at home with his wife and stepdaughter ... right?
You are still not thinking like a government agent. Pay attention, now.
"Then Ohio decided to reactivate an old parole violation that stemmed back to when he was 19 years old," Francine says. "We believe law enforcement here or even the prosecution here, because of his being released, it was a retaliation kind of thing. ...
"When he was 19 he had been on parole (for burglary). Because of the risk factors with the birth, Alan left Ohio two months prior to the end of his parole, without permission. They took him back and violated him on leaving the state without permission and failing to report in over that time to his parole officer ... .
"So he was home for a few weeks in August and September, and then they came to our house and arrested him and sent him to Ohio. He was in holding for about a month; they extradited him back to Ohio. It took him 19 days to get him there, where he spent the entire time on a transport bus.
"And then of course he was there for a short period of time, he saw the head of the parole board, who was also a former public defender, and she looked into the case here in Florida and the information from Ohio and believed in his innocence and was very impressed with the Yurko Project and gave him time served, with immediate release."
OK. Finally Alan is home with his wife and ... no? You're catching on, aren't you?
"But as I said, it takes 60 days to process out. He saw the parole board there in Ohio and they gave him 'immediate release.' Of course it takes 60 days to process an 'immediate release,' so he will be out as of Monday.
"But through that experience, now I can help others, and help inform others, and maybe scare them enough into taking their kid in to have them checked out," Francine Yurko says.
But I think I'll still be calling the Yurkos again, sometime after March 7 ... just to make sure.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of "The Ballad of Carl Drega" and the forthcoming "The Black Arrow."
COOKIE D'OH! SILLY COP BUSTS SCOUT DAD
By LARRY CELONA and KATE SHEEHY
March 8, 2005 -- A bozo Brooklyn cop took a bite out of crime — by busting the dad of a Girl Scout for "not being properly licensed" as the child sold cookies.
"It was horrible — my granddaughter was scared stiff, and her father was humiliated," the child's grandmother, Grace Taras, told The Post last night.
The outrageous arrest unfolded at around 4:50 p.m. Saturday in front of 162 Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg, the family's old neighborhood. It's where Grace Marie Louis and her parents have been coming to sell the cookies since the girl was in first grade, her relatives said.
The 13-year-old Scout, from Bethpage, L.I., had boxes that residents had already ordered and was delivering them and collecting money, relatives said.
The teen also had extra boxes to sell in the family's van parked nearby.
Grace's dad, Hoi "Howard" Louis, was helping her on the street while her mother, Ann — who has multiple sclerosis and must use a wheelchair at times — waited in the van.
"That's when a police captain pulled up like Mighty Joe," Taras said.
The irate grandma said the captain and another cop from the 94th Precinct hopped out of an unmarked car and approached the family.
"A man said, 'Get over here!' " Ann Louis recalled. "I said, 'What the heck?'
"Gracie looked at me, and I said, 'Gracie, get in the car!' I didn't know who it was."
Then, "all of a sudden, the policeman screamed, 'Take our hands out of your pocket!' " to her husband, Ann Louis said.
The officers proceeded to slap the flabbergasted dad with a summons, which reads, in part, "Defendant observed offering for sale cookies w/o being properly licensed."
"My granddaughter didn't say a word because she was too frightened," Taras said. "She's very upset. Her father's very upset."
Apparently, the cop with the captain was upset, too.
He did not want to ticket the dad but was strong-armed by his superior, police sources said.
Taras said that when she called the police commissioner's office to gripe, even they seemed appalled.
"All I heard them say was, 'What?! Girl Scouts?' " she said.
a bill to jail oversexed high school cheerleader???
Measure aims to tone down cheerleading performances
Mar. 18, 2005 07:05 AM
AUSTIN - The Friday night lights in Texas could soon be without bumpin' and grindin' cheerleaders.
Legislation filed by state Rep. Al Edwards of Houston would put an end to "sexually suggestive" performances at high school athletic events and other extracurricular competitions.
"It's just too sexually oriented, you know, the way they're shaking their behinds and going on, breaking it down," said Edwards, a 26-year veteran of the Texas House.
"And then we say to them, 'don't get involved in sex unless it's marriage or love, it's dangerous out there' and yet the teachers and directors are helping them go through those kind of gyrations."
Under Edwards' bill, if a school district knowingly permits such a performance, state funds would be reduced in an amount to be determined by the education commissioner.
Edwards said he filed the bill after seeing several instances of such ribald performances in his district.
J.M. Farias, owner of Austin Cheer Factory, said cheerleading aficionados would welcome the law. Cheering competitions penalize for suggestive movements or any vulgarity, he said.
"Any coaches that are good won't put that in their routines," he said.
i made shit like this all the time in high school. jesus if was growing up now i would be arrested and jailed for life. and when i was a kid we even called them by their correct name which was a pipe bomb, not a stinking IED which sounds like it is something criminal.
2 questioned over explosive device left in neighborhood
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 18, 2005 02:20 PM
Police are questioning a 17-year-old and 20-year-old in connection with an explosive device that was left in a Chandler neighborhood earlier Friday.
The pair told police about leaving an improvised explosive device, or IED, on a street near Frye Road and Arrowhead Drive when they were stopped for erratic driving about 4 a.m.
Upon learning it lacked a power source, the officer located the device and moved it to another location.
Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and state Department of Public Safety officers assisted Chandler police in disposing of the device.
A search warrant was executed on the vehicle they were riding in, and evidence was retrieved that showed the pair had attempted to detonate the explosive, according to Detective Robert Krautheim.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or (602) 444-7983.
Mar 18, 4:45 PM EST
Conn. ex-Gov. Rowland gets year in prison
By MATT APUZZO
Associated Press Writer
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Former Gov. John G. Rowland was sentenced to a year in prison and four months under house arrest Friday for selling his office in a corruption scandal that destroyed his career as one of the Republican Party's brightest and fastest-rising stars.
The judge imposed the sentence after Rowland pleaded for leniency and confessed he had lost his way morally and developed "a sense of entitlement and even arrogance."
"I let my pride get in my way," he told U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey.
Rowland, 47, pleaded guilty in December to a corruption charge, admitting he sold his influence for more than $100,000 in trips to Las Vegas, vacations in Vermont and Florida, and improvements at his lakeside cottage. He resigned last summer amid a gathering drive to impeach him.
The judge cited Rowland's public service and his children in handing down the sentence, which was less than the 15 to 21 months called for in the plea bargain, and well short of the three years prosecutors said he deserved.
Rowland was also sentenced to three years of probation and fined $82,000, and was ordered to report to a federal prison in Fort Devens, Mass., on April 1.
After hearing the sentence, Rowland hugged his wife, Patty, who was sobbing, and his two daughters, who were also in tears. His wife mouthed to him, "It will be all right."
Rowland becomes one of more than a dozen former governors to be sent to prison. Among those jailed in the past few years: Edward D. DiPrete of Rhode Island and Edwin Edwards of Louisiana.
"Officials are expected to serve not his own interest or the interest of his friends, but the highest interest of the community," the judge said. "Gratuities were accepted as if they were his due."
Federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, in arguing for a longer sentence, told the judge: "Honest government matters. It has to matter. Send that message. Send it loud and clear. Without that rule of law, we are all lost."
Rowland was the boy wonder of Connecticut politics, sprinting through the ranks. He was a congressman at 27. He became the youngest governor in Connecticut history at 37.
Though a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, the charismatic Rowland enjoyed high approval ratings. President Bush appointed him to White House advisory committees and affectionately called him "Johnny."
But federal prosecutors said Rowland ran a corrupt office, with aides steering state business to companies in exchange for cash, gold coins and expensive gifts. Rowland's former co-chief of staff, Peter Ellef, and state contractor William Tomasso are under indictment and could get up to 20 years in prison.
As the investigation against members of Rowland's administration unfolded, each week brought new and damaging information. He was forced to admit that contractors paid for his home improvements and that state employees bought him a hot tub. Memos revealed that he had accepted Cuban cigars from a state contractor for years.
Rowland's fate was ultimately sealed by $15,549 in gifts from Tomasso and $91,493 in free airfare from the charter company Key Air. Rowland stayed at Tomasso's homes in Florida and Vermont four times in 1998 and 2002. Tomasso and other contractors and state employees provided renovations for Rowland's cottage that included a cathedral ceiling, a heating system and gutter work.
A Key Air executive appealed to Rowland for tax help in 2001 or 2002, and eventually won a tax exemption from the governor.
Associated Press writer John Christoffersen contributed to this story.
doesnt the government have something better to do then jail people for having sex with dogs????
Man says he had sex with dogs for their own sake
Mar. 18, 2005 09:12 AM
BRUSSELS, Belgium - A Belgian man on trial for having sex with dogs claims he did it out of compassion for man's best friend, a Belgian paper said on Friday.
Daily Gazet Van Antwerpen said the 36-year old in the eastern Belgian town of Genk told the court he had sex with dogs "out of love for animals", since a lot of them can't have sex, especially those locked up in refuges.
The man, only identified by his initials, could face six months in jail if convicted.
He had worked in an animal refuge before and had also posted thousands of pictures on the Internet of himself having sex with dogs, the paper said.
bad chandler piggys dont disclose conflict of interest!!!
Mar 18, 1:51 PM EST
Stun gun maker gave options to cops moonlighting as trainers
By BETH DeFALCO
Associated Press Writer
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) -- Taser International Inc. openly credits its use of active-duty police officers as trainers as a major ingredient in the company's meteoric rise to become the No. 1 seller of stun guns.
And like a lot of other cash-strapped startups, early on Taser offered some of those officers stock options as an incentive.
But with the Scottsdale-based company now under state and federal investigation over safety claims and accounting issues, questions have arisen about whether the officers' moonlighting represented a conflict of interest, particularly when their own departments were buying stun guns.
Jim Halsted is one example.
Halsted was a police sergeant in this town southeast of Phoenix when the police chief tapped him to make a presentation to the city council on March 27, 2003.
During the meeting, and as Taser's president looked on, Halsted touted the benefits of arming Chandler's entire patrol squad with Taser stun guns.
"No deaths are attributed to the (Taser model) M26 at all. That's absolutely incredible," Halsted is seen saying in a video of the presentation. "We put a Band-Aid on that person. There is no injury."
The council approved the $193,000 purchase of an additional 300 Taser guns and related equipment that same day, adding to a small number of stun guns it had already bought.
At the time, Halsted was one of four active-duty police officers granted stock options for serving on Taser's Master Instructor Board, which oversees Taser training programs.
In May, after 17 1/2 years with the Chandler police, Halsted quit to become Taser's Southwest regional sales manager.
A city councilwoman who set in motion a conflict-of-interest investigation the day after Halsted's sales pitch said it wasn't clear to her from the presentation that he got a paycheck from the company. And Halsted never mentioned the stock options to the acting police chief or when he went before the council.
The inquiry ultimately found that Halsted hadn't violated any conflict of interest laws. But just because no laws were broken doesn't mean Halsted acted ethically, said Marianne Jennings, a business ethics professor at Arizona State University.
Chandler's City Council should have known about the stock options, she said. "They might have made the same decision anyway, but they deserved to know."
Halsted told The Associated Press that he wasn't trying to hide anything: "They knew I was compensated as a trainer," he said of the City Council. "I clearly stated it (during the meeting) because I didn't want there to be any controversy or question. The extent of the compensation was irrelevant."
The investigation looked into Halsted's holdings and found that at the time of the presentation, his wife and children owned 462 shares of Taser stock. After three stock splits, those shares are now worth more than $70,000.
Halsted had also personally been granted options for 750 shares of Taser stock. After the splits, that stock would have been worth about $300,000 when Taser shares were trading at their 52-week high of $33.45 on Dec. 30. The stock now trades around $13 a share.
Taser had also given Halsted a five-day trip for two to Hawaii valued at $3,770 as a reward for training more officers to become Taser instructors than anyone else in 2001.
Taser defends the use of off-duty police officers as trainers, noting that police are allowed to moonlight for security companies and other private corporations as long as they follow their department's disclosure rules.
"Utilizing off-duty law enforcement officers to train other officers is standard industry practice," said Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle. He mentioned Armor Holdings - which makes police batons and body armor - as a company that also uses off-duty police as trainers.
But Taser is unique in that it pretty much has a lock on the stun gun market.
Since Taser began marketing police stun guns in 1998 as a way to subdue combative people in high-risk situations, more than 7,000 law enforcement agencies worldwide as well as the U.S. military have bought them.
But the safety of the weapons, which shoot darts 25 feet that deliver 50,000-volt jolts for about 5 seconds, has increasingly been questioned. According to Amnesty International, some 93 people have died after being shocked with the weapons, which can also be used like cattle prods.
In recent weeks, after several deaths that followed Taser shocks, some police departments have suspended Taser use to re-examine guidelines on their handling and/or await better data on health risks.
Tuttle says the company has roughly 300 "Master Instructors" worldwide who train other officers to become instructors and who conduct demonstrations at interested police departments. He said Taser pays about 35 of them on a per-session basis.
Tuttle said the company has not granted stock options to training board members since 2003. Citing privacy concerns, Taser declined to identify the other active-duty officers who were granted stock options.
Halsted isn't the only master instructor to leave his department and join Taser after accusations of a possible conflict of interest.
Sgt. Ron Bellendier quit the Minneapolis police department - he's now Midwest regional sales manager for Taser - in December after questions surfaced about his relationship to Taser.
Bellendier was the point man on Tasers for his department, which said he was involved in stun gun purchasing decisions even as he worked for Taser as a master instructor.
Bellendier told the AP that his decision to leave the department had nothing to do with the Taser flap, and that he submitted retirement paperwork before the controversy.
"I was only being paid when I instructed other officers," Bellendier told The AP. "It wouldn't have mattered if the department bought 5,000 Tasers, I wouldn't have gotten anything out of it."
Other master instructors, including several who served on the training board, have gone on to work for Taser in officer training and sales positions.
Taser has said that a total of 11 "consultants," which include master instructors and members of the training board, were granted stock options as part of their compensation package.
In addition to Halsted and Bellendier, former Sacramento police SWAT team member Sgt. Rick Guilbault went to work as Taser's director of training.
Guilbault served on the master instructor board with Halsted, although it is unclear whether he also received stock options. He did not return calls seeking comment and Taser would not disclose whether he was offered the options.
Louie Marquez, a retired Austin, Texas, police officer is a master instructor. Marquez said he still serves on the board but declined to answer questions about stock options.
the interesting thing about this is it looks like the cops are subpoenaing cell phone records to find out what phone numbers people are calling and using that information to shake down people.
As part of the investigation, sheriff's
detectives subpoenaed the cellphones of
the 11 suspected dealers and analyzed
more than 160,000 phone calls to
identify 581 households, primarily with
Scottsdale addresses, that made or received
more than three calls to the cellphones.
Scottsdale heroin ring busted; teens were target
Anne Ryman and Holly Johnson
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
Authorities have arrested 11 Mexican immigrants who they say were involved in a heroin ring that targeted Scottsdale students.
The suspected drug dealers preyed on Scottsdale teens because of their wealth, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
"We have serious drug problem in our schools. Actually, this may be just the tip of the iceberg," he said.
The undercover operation by the county Sheriff's Office resulted in eight teens facing drug charges, and 146 are identified as drug users or sellers. None of the sales took place on campus. However, the teens said they used or saw others using drugs on campus. Most were current or recent graduates of Scottsdale high schools, and a handful attended private and alternative schools.
Arpaio said he couldn't quantify whether heroin is a bigger problem in Scottsdale than elsewhere. Although the drug dealers in this bust focused on the Scottsdale area, their cellphone records were linked to homes throughout the Valley, he said.
As part of the investigation, sheriff's detectives subpoenaed the cellphones of the 11 suspected dealers and analyzed more than 160,000 phone calls to identify 581 households, primarily with Scottsdale addresses, that made or received more than three calls to the cellphones. Phone calls were also received from households in east Phoenix, Cave Creek, Mesa, Queen Creek and parts of the West Valley
"The sheer size of this operation is daunting," said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, whose office assisted with the investigation.
This morning, Arpaio will send his Sheriff's Posse to those homes to talk with the parents and pass out fliers that contain drug-counseling and -prevention resources.
Dubbed Operation Safe Schools, the door-to-door visits are designed to educate, not prosecute, Arpaio said.
"I hope the doors are open when our 200 posse and deputies show up," he said.
The Scottsdale Unified School District is known for its public schools, which often rank among the top in Stanford 9 and AIMS test scores.
Arpaio has briefed Scottsdale School Superintendent John Baracy about the investigation's results, and Baracy said he will ask the Scottsdale School Board to use drug-sniffing dogs to conduct random searches of high schools.
Baracy said that every high school in the state will have instances where a small number of students bring drugs to school. The school district needs to do everything possible to help students as well as ensure schools remain safe and drug-free, he said.
For now, it's unclear whether the school district will discipline students listed in the Sheriff's Office report.
The office has not provided the district with a list of those students. Arpaio said he may provide the school district with that information as early as Monday.
Students who use drugs or are caught with drugs at school can face expulsion, although it's rare for a first-time offender to be kicked out.
Students who were interviewed by the Sheriff's Office as part of the investigation confirmed that drug use does occur on campus. Some of their allegations could be troubling, if confirmed:
• Students said they were aware of numerous young people who made it a daily habit to use drugs at school. High school bathrooms are where drugs are most commonly consumed, they said.
• One student told detectives he saw other students snort cocaine and use heroin while sitting in class. Students would place their backpacks on the desks to hide their use.
• The Sheriff's Office report also says that "still another source told detectives that the source had witnessed members of the cheer squad at a Scottsdale high school use methamphetamines and call it a diet program. Yet another source told detectives about football players at a Scottsdale high school using steroids.
None of the high schools were identified.
In an interview before Arpaio's announcement on Friday, the Scottsdale school superintendent said there were no plans to change the school district's drug policies.
The current policies are "pretty straightforward now," Baracy said. "There is no place for drugs on our campuses. We do need to offer programs for young adults who have issues."
The heroin ring bust is not the first time Scottsdale schools have been linked to a high-profile drug investigation.
In 2000, police discovered a small drug ring at Desert Mountain High School and expelled five students for distributing LSD. In the mid-1980s, several former Chaparral High School students were indicted on drug charges as part of a million-dollar cocaine network that at the time was the largest cocaine-trafficking ring ever broken in Arizona.
Prosecutors said the ring's 21-year-old kingpin cleared a seven-figure income and lived a jet-set lifestyle that included sports cars, lavish parties and a home with a maid at the base of Camelback Mountain.
the american empire is not as hot a superpower as emporer george w hitler though it was!
2 years later, Iraq war is draining U.S. military
Guerrilla movement is taxing resources
Ann Scott Tyson
Mar. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Two years after the United States launched a war in Iraq with a crushing display of power, a guerrilla conflict is grinding away at the resources of the U.S. military and casting uncertainty over the fitness of the all-volunteer force, according to senior military leaders, lawmakers and defense experts.
Unexpectedly heavy demands of sustained ground combat are depleting military manpower and gear faster than they can be fully replenished. Shortfalls in recruiting and backlogs in needed equipment are taking a toll, and growing numbers of units have been taxed by repeated deployments, particularly in the Army National Guard and Reserve.
"What keeps me awake at night is: What will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007?" Gen. Richard Cody, Army vice chief of staff, told a Senate hearing this week.
The Iraq war has also led to a drop in the overall readiness of U.S. ground forces to handle threats at home and abroad, forcing the Pentagon to accept new risks, even as military planners prepare for a global anti-terrorism campaign that administration officials say could last generations.
Stretched by Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States lacks a sufficiently robust ability to put large numbers of "boots on the ground" in the case of a major emergency elsewhere, such as the Korean Peninsula, in the view of some Republican and Democratic lawmakers and some military leaders.
They are skeptical of the Pentagon's ability to substitute air and naval power and believe strongly that what the country needs is a bigger Army.
"The U.S. military will respond if there are vital threats, but will it respond with as many forces as it needs, with equipment that is in excellent condition? The answer is no," said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
To be sure, the military has also benefited from two years of war-zone rotations. U.S. forces are the most combat-hardened the nation has had for decades, and re-enlistment levels have generally remained high. The war has also spurred technological innovation, while providing momentum for a reorganization of a military that in many ways is still designed for the Cold War.
Moreover, military leaders are taking steps to ease stress on the troops by temporarily boosting ranks; rebalancing forces to add badly needed infantry, military police and civil affairs troops; and employing civilians where possible. On Friday, defense officials worried about recruiting announced they will raise the age limit, from 34 to 40, for enlistment in the Army Guard and Reserve. The Pentagon is spending billions to repair and replace battle-worn equipment and buy extra armor, radios, weapons and other gear.
Yet such remedies take time and no one, including senior U.S. and defense officials, can predict how long the all-volunteer force can sustain this accelerated wartime pace. Recruiting troubles, especially, threaten the force at its core. But with a return to the draft widely viewed as economically and politically untenable, senior military leaders say the nation's security depends on drumming up broader public support for service.
"If we don't get this thing right, the risk is off the scale," said Lt. Gen. Roger Schultz, director of the Army National Guard, the military's most stressed branch.
95 percent of the GIs wounded and 90 percent of the GIs killed in Iraq also have occurred after President Bush triumphantly declared the end of major combat operations on May 1, 2003. does this mean you cant trust your government? :)
U.S. fails to forge plan for withdrawal
Republic Washington Bureau
Mar. 20, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - There's no enemy capital left to capture. No general to surrender his army. No statues of Saddam Hussein left to topple.
And still no timetable for this war to end.
It has been two years this weekend that Operation Iraqi Freedom began and almost two years since President Bush triumphantly declared that major combat operations in Iraq had concluded. That was on back on May 1, 2003.
But this month, the Department of Defense released data showing 95 percent of the 11,000 U.S. troops "wounded in action" in Iraq have been wounded since May 1, 2003.
And more than 90 percent of the more than 1,500 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq also have occurred since then.
The rapid assault on Baghdad launched in March 2003 may have gone smoothly, but the bloody two years since are dragging into a third year.
Just how much longer will this continue?
"The Cold War lasted for 40 years. I'm not saying this will last that long. But we're still in Western Europe even though the Soviet Union has collapsed," reminds Baker Spring, a national security research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
Polls by the Harris group, NBC News/Wall Street Journal and others show a majority of Americans believe the United States should leave Iraq within the year or at least start reducing its troop levels there.
But Bush and the Pentagon have refused to lay out a timetable for when U.S. and coalition forces will withdraw and hand over authority to the Iraqi counterparts.
"Our troops will come home when Iraq is capable of defending herself," is all that Bush would say at a White House news conference on Wednesday.
"Nobody knows - we're feeling our way through this," says Jay Farrar, a former Marine Corps colonel and aide to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is now a vice president for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a non-profit Washington-based think tank that studies national and international security.
"Anybody who tells you 12 or 18 months doesn't know what they are talking about - anybody saying that is making a guess," Farrar said.
Others agree, but Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's No. 2 officer, says combat planners hope at least to reduce the number of troops occupying Iraq within the next year from the current level of about 150,000.
Cody, the vice chief of staff, told reporters in Washington on Thursday that he believes "we'll start seeing that the force rotation coming in will be smaller than the force that's in there right now."
Some Pentagon estimates suggest the troop levels could drop to 105,000 by early next year. But Cody emphasized that the troop-reduction decision would be made next month by Gen. George Casey Jr., the top commander in Iraq, and that it would depend on whether the Iraqi security and military forces continue to improve their ability to fight the insurgency themselves.
Spc. Reuben Camacho, 24, of Gilbert, who returned home three weeks ago after 13 months in Iraq with the Arizona National Guard's 258th Engineer Co., said he was proud to serve his country, though his time in Iraq was long. He spent time as a mechanic supporting coalition units. From what he saw, Camacho said, he believes significant U.S. troop reductions, or withdrawal, can't occur for a while "because they (the Iraqis) still need to train people . . . and their government and we think they can take care of themselves."
After all, there would be no point leaving the new government undefended, Camacho said.
A lingering war could become a key factor in the 2008 presidential race.
Sen. John McCain. R-Ariz., who has not ruled out a possible run for the White House, could not be reached for comment on Friday. But he told the Grand Rapids Press prior to his visit Monday to western Michigan to attend events to raise money for Republicans that Iraq will be a factor in the next presidential race and "if the war continues to be a front-page issue, I think that's going to have an effect."
"It could hurt Republicans," he was quoted as saying. "So we've got to get American casualties down and shift responsibilities to (the Iraqi) government." But McCain, a member of the Senate's Armed Services Committee, also told the newspaper he believes the Iraqi elections have begun to take the United States "out of the picture."
Anthony Cordesman, a former defense intelligence analyst and Center for Strategic and International Studies expert in strategy, says that few Iraqi officials saw the recent elections in that country as a "tipping point" toward U.S. withdrawal even if hopeful Americans did.
Instead, he said that Iraqis see a process that would still take one or two years to complete and there remain "a host of uncertainties," including external ones. Among those concerns is assuring a new balance of relationships with Iraq's neighbors that will ensure that they not threaten Iraq or interfere in its affairs while making it clear that Iraq itself no longer poses a threat to any neighboring states.
Cordesman and others argue that the U.S. military was unprepared at the highest command levels for the aggressive insurgent and extremist activity in Iraq and efforts to split Arab Sunni, Shiite, Kurds and other minorities.
In his new study "Strengthening Iraqi Military and Security Forces," Cordesman dwells on what he calls the "tragic failure" by the United States in not having in its first year of occupation a concrete plan to develop what must be a key ingredient to long-term political and economic stability in Iraq: building effective Iraqi military and security forces.
"Like many U.S. officers and experts directly involved . . . Iraqi officials and officers feel that serious efforts to train effective forces only began in June 2004 and did not really gather serious momentum until September 2004," Cordesman concludes. "More time is needed for the forces to prove their merit, because a serious effort to build real capability is only about 10 months old."
Andrew Krepinevich, a defense and national security expert who is executive director of the Washington-based Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments, sees things moving in a positive direction, however.
Krepinevich says it is not difficult for small numbers of insurgents to mount the "level of attacks we're seeing right now." But he also suggests the numbers of insurgents still operating in Iraq could be as low as 20,000 in a country of more than 25 million people and that there is little evidence their efforts are gaining popular support.
The goal, he said, is to get a sufficient number of Iraqi military and security forces trained, "then we can scale back our involvement," he said.
Spring, of the Heritage Foundation, said the task in predicting how long this war will continue is really in defining precisely which "war" is being discussed. Calling the U.S. war against Iraq a "striking military success," Spring said the continued efforts in that country could be cast as part of a Bush's broader, ongoing war against radical Islamic terrorism.
And that is where his Cold War analogies come in. The U.S. military's presence in Western Europe continues to this day despite the lack of any real military threat, he notes.
"I would be a little bit surprised if the combat operations as currently defined in Iraq continue beyond another year or two," Spring said.
But if viewed as part of the broader, ongoing war against terrorism, he said, "My judgment is the end of this will come only when the American people . . . basically feel as comfortable in going about their daily lives, as much as possible, as they were prior to 9/11."
Still, the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Farrar believes there will come a tipping point in Iraq.
"It might be a combination of deficits and deaths at which the American people will say that's enough," he said.
"We haven't hit that point yet."
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-(202)-906-8136.
Insurgents kill 5 police officers in Iraq
War's 2nd anniversary ignites protests
Mar. 20, 2005 12:00 AM
BAGHDAD - Militants killed five police officers, including a police commissioner, on Saturday, the second anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, as the insurgency pressed on with its tactic of targeting Iraqi security forces, Shiites and Kurds and focusing less on American troops.
Newly elected Shiite and Kurdish leaders marked the March 19, 2003, start of the war with a fresh promise to form a government by the end of the month when the National Assembly convenes for only the second time, nearly two months after lawmakers were elected.
Around the world, tens of thousands of war protesters marked the day with street demonstrations, with the largest turnout among residents of America's closest ally in the war, Britain, where 45,000 assembled in London's Hyde Park before marching to the U.S. Embassy.
In Waco, Texas, President Bush said, "The Iraqi people are taking charge of their own destiny." He issued the order to invade Iraq, declaring Saddam Hussein a threat to the United States and the Middle East because he reportedly had weapons of mass destruction.
Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons never were found, and the administration subsequently said the invasion was still worthwhile because it freed Iraq from Saddam's tyranny and provided a democratic model for the Middle East.
In his weekly radio address, Bush saluted the more than 1,500 troops who have died in the war.
"I know that nothing can end the pain of the families who have lost loved ones in this struggle, but they can know that their sacrifice has added to America's security and the freedom of the world," he said. "Because of our actions, freedom is taking root in Iraq, and the American people are more secure."
In violence Saturday, gunmen killed Ahmed Ali Kadim, a Baghdad regional police commissioner, as he traveled to his office in the Doura neighborhood. In the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk, attackers killed a policeman, then bombed his funeral procession, killing three other officers, including the cousin of Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish leader pegged to become Iraq's next president.
A suicide attacker trying to kill U.S. troops in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, prematurely detonated his car bomb, killing only himself, Iraqi police and the U.S military said.
Despite the continuing attacks, the top U.S. general in Iraq, Army Gen. George Casey, said recently that the level of violence against U.S. troops had dropped significantly since the Jan. 30 elections.
That appeared to be the result of a tactical shift by the insurgency, made up mostly of Sunni Arabs who were dominant under Saddam, to focus violence on majority Shiites and Kurds, two groups persecuted under Baath Party rule.
The Jordanian-born terrorist mastermind Abu Misab al-Zarqawi and his al-Qaida group in Iraq have said they hope their relentless wave of bombings, kidnappings and beheadings will lead to a sectarian war.
Shiites make up about 60 percent of Iraq's 26 million people, while Sunni Arabs make up about 20 percent of the population. Kurds, who are Sunni but mostly secular, make up 15 to 20 percent.
"The terrorists have one policy. They want to prevent the formation of a democratic government and want to draw the people of Iraq into a sectarian war," said Ali al-Faisal, a member of the Shiite clergy-backed United Iraqi Alliance.
"In the past, they were targeting the American forces because they were in charge of security. After the new Iraqi army and police were established and succeeded in maintaining security and began annihilating them, they shifted their attacks. But they will fail because there is a real intent to fight terrorism," Faisal said.
im sure sheriff job arpaio also favors flushing the enitire bill of rights down the toilet. after thats what the bill of rights is for to protect us from the government and especially from government police
Sheriff favors random drug testing
Idea follows news of drug ring targeting Scottsdale students
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 20, 2005 12:00 AM
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Saturday that he believes all high school and middle school students should be randomly tested for drug use, this following the infiltration of a Mexican heroin ring that targeted mostly Scottsdale high school students.
"I'm surprised by the extent of heroin use," Arpaio said as a task force of detectives and posse members went door to door to talk to parents of students who are suspected of purchasing heroin.
Arpaio said the goal behind the random testing would be to get students into treatment, but the idea was met with skepticism.
"I'd love to do it if we could," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said Saturday.
When Horne served on the Paradise Valley School Board, random drug testing was implemented for athletes and other students in extracurricular activities.
However, it was overturned by a federal court judge in Phoenix after the district was sued by the Arizona Civil Liberties Union. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals later reinstated the testing, but limited it to students involved in voluntary activities like sports.
Eleanor Eisenberg, executive director of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union, said a new attempt at testing won't fly.
"If they start implementing random testing for all students, we'll be back in court," Eisenberg said.
Sheriff's officials contacted 315 households Saturday, mainly in Scottsdale but also in Chandler, south Phoenix, north Phoenix, Cave Creek, Mesa, Queen Creek and parts of the West Valley. Parents were given packets of information on treatment centers and drug-abuse counseling that is available.
The canvass program resulted from an eight-month probe spearheaded by the Sheriff's Office into a suspected heroin ring that was selling to students via cellphones. Sheriff's detectives subpoenaed the cellphones of the 11 suspected dealers and analyzed more than 160,000 phone calls. They identified 581 households where multiple calls had been made.
Lt. Paul Chagolla, a sheriff's spokesman, said records that would provide more details about the case would be made available this week.
Sheriff's authorities said they didn't know what to expect when they began knocking on doors early Saturday morning. But at the end of the day, they were pleased with the cooperation of most parents.
Sheriff's Detective Al Manza said he contacted the father of a former Saguaro High School student. The father said he suspected his son's problems but could never confirm them.
"With tears in his eyes, the father thanked me and said it's better to be told about it this way than hear he's been arrested," Manza said.
Deputy Brian Eilola said the mother of another former Scottsdale high school student didn't want to talk at first until she was shown the drug-counseling pamphlets.
"She said we were two years too late, but she agreed to show the pamphlets to other students and become a community advocate," Eilola said.
Detective Marty Overton said one father was a little confused when he showed up because another deputy had been there earlier.
"Turned out I was there for his other son," Overton said.
Apparently some of the parents, following initial contact, called the sheriff's command center to get more information on what they could do to help their children.
The households of an additional 146 students were also on the canvass list. But these addresses originated from undercover sources rather than cellphones.
Arpaio said this should be a wake-up call for parents who think drug abuse is something that goes on only along Van Buren Street. He believes Scottsdale was targeted because of its reputation for affluence.
The door-to-door canvassing will continue today. In addition, all of the 727 households will receive follow-up letters from the Sheriff's Office.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or (602) 444-6880
too bad we didnt have this in vietnam. it could have ended the war a few years earlier.
Soldiers making graphic movies
Los Angeles Times
Mar. 20, 2005 12:00 AM
BAQUBAH, Iraq - When Pfc. Chase McCollough went home on leave in November, he brought a movie made by fellow soldiers in Iraq. On his first night at his parents' house in Texas, he showed the video to his fiancee, family and friends.
This is what they saw: a handful of American soldiers filmed through the green haze of night-vision goggles. Radio communication between two soldiers crackles in the background before it's drowned out by a heavy-metal soundtrack.
"Don't need your forgiveness," the song by the band Dope begins as images unfurl: armed soldiers posing in front of Bradley fighting vehicles, two women covered in black abayas walking along a dusty road, a blue-domed mosque, a poster of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Then, to the fast, hard beat of the music - "Die, don't need your resistance. Die, don't need your prayers" - charred, decapitated and bloody corpses fill the screen.
"It's like a trophy, something to keep," McCullough, 20, said back at his cramped living quarters at Camp Warhorse near Baqubah. "I was there. I did this."
Film cameras arrived at the front during World War II, but soldiers didn't really document their own combat experience until the Vietnam War.
Today, video cameras are lightweight and digital technology has cut out the need for processing. Having captured a firefight on video, a soldier can create a movie and distribute it via e-mail, uncensored by the military. With editing software and access to Internet connections on military bases here, U.S. soldiers are creating fast-paced, MTV-style music videos using images from actual firefights and killings.
Troops often carry personal cameras and video equipment in battle. On occasion, official military camera crews, known as "Combat Camera" units, follow the troops on raids and patrol. Although the military uses that footage for training and public affairs, it also finds its way to personal computers and commercial Web sites.
The result: an abundance of photographs and video footage depicting mutilation, death and destruction that soldiers collect and trade like baseball cards.
"I have a lot of pictures of dead Iraqis; everybody does," said Spc. Jack Benson, 22, also stationed near Baqubah. He has collected five videos by other soldiers and is working on his own.
By adding music, soldiers create their own cinema verite of the conflict. Although many are humorous or patriotic, others are gory, like McCollough's favorite.
"It gets the point across," he said. "This isn't some jolly freakin' peacekeeping mission."
Commanders have discretion to establish regulations concerning photography on base, but common-sense rules apply, an Army spokesman said. Images that threaten operational security - such as pictures of military installations or equipment - are not allowed.
Before being deployed to Iraq, some Marines were told they could not take pictures of detainees, dead or wounded Iraqis or American casualties. But photographs and videos of dead and maimed Iraqis proliferate.
McCullough said he hasn't seen any pictures of dead U.S. soldiers.
"It's just a little too morbid, a little too close to home,"
On the bases where Benson and McCullough live, the Army regularly searches soldiers' quarters for drugs, alcohol and pornography as part of what it calls health and safety inspections. But searching personal laptops would infringe on soldiers' privacy, said Capt. Douglas Moore, a judge advocate general officer with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Warhorse.
Overhauling Iraq security forces could cause ruin
Former regime members at issue
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Mar. 14, 2005 12:00 AM
BAGHDAD - Iraq's fledgling security forces are in danger of collapse if the newly elected government follows through on promises to purge the ranks of former regime members, politicians and analysts here warn.
The dismantling of Saddam Hussein's military is widely viewed as one of the gravest mistakes of the U.S.-led occupation, and the Bush administration has worked in the past year to reverse it by helping the interim Iraqi government restore the jobs of some highly skilled troops who served under Saddam.
Now, analysts say, the incoming government led by Shiite Muslims is at risk of repeating the error that was blamed for swelling the mostly Sunni insurgency.
About half the troops and 75 percent of the officers in the new Iraqi military served under the old regime, said Saleh Sarhan, spokesman for the Iraqi defense ministry. There are about 30,000 troops, he said, but the goal is to have a force of 120,000 by the end of the year. That goal is in jeopardy under the incoming government's plans.
Several Shiite politicians have said another overhaul is necessary to cleanse a security force still teeming with Saddam loyalists who act as informants and foot soldiers for the insurgency. Sunnis, on the other hand, predict catastrophe if the military dismisses its most seasoned soldiers.
"The Americans tried it and discovered it was the wrong move," said Salman al-Jumaili, a Baghdad University professor who studies the insurgency. "Doing it again is going to make these men easy recruits for terrorism and will lead to the destruction of Iraqi forces."
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, nominated for prime minister by the Shiite alliance that won the most votes in the Jan. 30 election, has not ruled out a campaign to continue cleansing the army. However, he said, it would be targeted only at Iraqis involved in past atrocities. Other alliance members call for a much wider purge.
Getting rid of the former regime's troops is the clearest path to forming a security force that wins the trust of Iraqis and hastens the departure of the American-led coalition, said Hadi al-Ameri, head of the military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Resistance in Iraq. Ameri, a contender for a key security post in the Cabinet, said most of his troops, who fought Saddam's forces for years from Iran, have been absorbed into the new Iraqi army. After years of struggle, he said, it would be difficult for his men to fight alongside their former enemies.
i assume this means terrorists have cruise missiles. the only thing left for them to do is get a nuke and point it washington dc.
Cruise missile sales probed
Deals described in prosecution by Ukraine officials
Los Angeles Times
Mar. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
MOSCOW - Smugglers in Ukraine shipped 18 cruise missiles, each capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, to Iran and China at the beginning of the decade, Ukrainian prosecutors said Friday.
The apparent sale to Iran of 12 of the Kh55 cruise missiles, which have a range of 1,860 miles, probably will add to concerns in Washington over suspected Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Allegations of the sales first surfaced last month in comments by a Ukrainian legislator, but public confirmation by the new administration of President Viktor Yushchenko came only Friday.
Each missile can carry a nuclear warhead with a 200-kiloton yield at altitudes too low to be detected by radar, and their shipment has been portrayed as a significant leak of Soviet-era weapons technology.
Yuri Boychenko, an aide to Ukraine's prosecutor-general, said in a telephone interview from Kiev, the capital, that sales had not involved the government of then-President Leonid Kuchma.
"No state orders were issued to execute this operation. In fact the state had nothing to do with it," Boychenko said. "It was a totally illegal deal carried out by an international criminal group."
But Hrihory Omelchenko, a legislator who went public last month with allegations of the smuggling, charged Friday, "It is ridiculous to say that they have no information about the involvement of high state officials.
"The deal, or actually two deals, were from the very beginning monitored by Ukrspetsexport, the state-owned arms-sale monopoly," Omelchenko added in a telephone interview.
"Kuchma was in the picture from the very beginning, and in other words he sanctioned the deals. Documents to that effect exist, and they should be at the disposal of the General Prosecutor's Office."
Omelchenko said the missiles were shipped to China in 2000 and to Iran in 2001.
If the missiles were made operational, they could strike Israel if launched from Iran and Japan if fired from China or its neighbor, North Korea.
The Japanese government reportedly is worried that the six missiles shipped to China could have ended up in North Korea, which claims to possess nuclear weapons. China is a longtime nuclear power that possesses a variety of long-range missile types.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said U.S. and Ukrainian authorities have discussed the missile sales. "Ukraine has launched an internal investigation into the incident. That's certainly something we welcome," he said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, speaking to reporters during a visit to Belarus, said the country's new reformist government bears "no responsibility for what our predecessors have done" and "can only denounce past unauthorized transfers of arms."
"The government has been revising the system of export control over arms and dual-purpose goods," he said, according to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
Boychenko said investigators have identified three key members of the smuggling ring: two Russians and a Ukrainian citizen identified as Vladimir Yevdokimov. He said one of the Russians is in custody in the Czech Republic and soon will be extradited to Ukraine. An investigation of the sales was launched by Ukraine's security service early last year, and a closed-door trial of Yevdokimov began last summer and is still under way, Boychenko said.
Bogdan Ferents, the attorney representing Yevdokimov, told the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass in comments reported Friday that the missiles involved in the case were substandard and should not even be considered weapons.
The Ukrainian side "contracted for cruise missiles but exported rubbish," he said.
Church held liable for abuse
San Francisco jury will award victim
Mar. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
SAN FRANCISCO - The Archdiocese of San Francisco knew or should have known that one of its priests was molesting boys during the 1970s, a jury decided Friday in a landmark case. The jury will now decide how much to award the victim.
By a 10-2 vote, the jury decided in favor of 47-year-old Dennis Kavanaugh, who had sued the archdiocese, alleging that the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard had molested him during the early 1970s.
Kavanaugh's was the first of more than 750 lawsuits against Roman Catholic dioceses in California to go to trial since California temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for filing sex-abuse claims in 2002.
The verdict and any subsequent award for damages could have broader implications for other lawsuits by increasing the pressure on the church to settle. Testimony in the damages portion of the trial is set to begin Monday.
"This victory is based and rests on the efforts, the courage, the guts and determination of so many incredibly brave survivors that came forward over the years," said Kavanaugh's attorney, Larry Drivon. "This is a vindication of their bravery."
An attorney and a spokesman for the archdiocese declined comment. The archdiocese did not dispute that Kavanaugh was abused. The question was whether Pritchard's superiors knew or should have known about it.
Two of Pritchard's victims, now in their 40s, testified that another priest who lived with Pritchard at St. Martin of Tours in San Jose caught him in the act of molesting them.
Pritchard died of cancer in 1988 before the allegations became known.
bisbee arizona uses slave labor to do maintenance at their city hall. can you blame them slave labor from the arizona state prison is damn cheep?
Arizona news briefs
Mar. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
Bisbee extends pact for state inmate labor
BISBEE - The city has extended its contract with the Department of Corrections to use inmate labor.
The city extended through 2009 to use three DOC inmates for maintenance at city hall. An additional seven to eight inmates work on other city projects.
The inmate workers are paid 75 cents per hour - considerably less than other workers would make.
i think alan goldman is on to something here. maybe he should read his bible and check that next :) i bet if he used some critical reasoning when reading the bible he would make the same statement about it.
'Da Vinci Code' is too stupid to be insulting
Mar. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
Why would a high official in the Vatican tell Catholics not to read The Da Vinci Code?
I don't see how a person of faith could have that faith challenged by a poorly written, childishly plotted, very bad book.
It is a comic book without pictures. It is an insult to our literary taste but too stupid to be an insult to the Catholic Church.
cops are not liable when they kill and maim people in car chases
California may put brakes on car chases
Daniel B. Wood
Christian Science Monitor
Mar. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
LOS ANGELES - In the car-and-driving capital of the country, "cutting to the chase" has taken on a life of its own beyond the movie studio lot. On local TV stations here, live coverage of car chases occurs with such regularity that one enterprising Web company promises to send its subscribers an alert every time a police pursuit is broadcast on television.
The advertising pitch is one more piece of evidence that the number of car chases in the nation's most auto- and people-populous state has risen sharply in recent years: from 5,895 in 2001 to 6,337 in 2002 to 7,171 in 2003.
While the unpredictable pursuit of someone breaking the law makes good television, chases often come with unintended consequences: destroyed property, costly lawsuits, and loss of innocent lives, including police personnel themselves. That toll has given rise to calls for a crackdown on police chases in the state.
Fueled by the growing statistics - including one fatality per week statewide, on average - and the outrage of families whose innocent loved ones have been killed or maimed in such pursuits, some California lawmakers want to step up restrictions on chases statewide. The state's 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has said that, since 1987, the state's loosely applied guidelines on pursuits, which give police immunity in damages, amount to a "get out of liability free" card. One proposal is calling for penalties for police who recklessly pursue drivers.
Two other states, Florida and Mississippi, have adopted stricter guidelines for officers in deciding when to pursue motorists, and now California wants to expand its own practices beyond parts of Los Angeles, where stricter policies are currently in place.
In Los Angeles, the LAPD adopted a new policy for high-speed pursuits involving minor traffic offenses in 2002. That change in policy is credited for a 78 percent drop in injuries to bystanders and a 33 percent drop in police injuries.
"I want to look at ways for law enforcement to reconsider its policies in ways that will actually save lives," said state Sen. Sam Aanestad in legislative hearings last week. Half of the state's fatalities in such crashes are innocent bystanders. Aanestad first introduced legislation last year, but it was seen by law enforcement across the state as too restrictive.
Now he is trying to include police perspective at the outset and new language for the law is expected to be drafted in the coming weeks.
"I'm not willing to wait a whole generation to start saving lives," the senator said.
In efforts to find common ground with police, the Senate Public Safety Committee heard testimony from retired chiefs of police, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol and statewide peace officer representatives.
They also heard from Candy Priano, whose 15-year-old daughter, Kristie, was killed when their family minivan was struck during a police pursuit in 2002. The legislation proposed by Aanestad would be called "Kristie's Law."
Both sides focused on the observation that California laws currently say police must adopt a pursuit policy in order for officers to receive blanket immunity, but are not required to follow the policy.
Sgt. Wayne Billowet of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office said that the culture of car pursuits, at least in the Sheriff's Office, has been slowly changing.
Over the past 15 years, he said, 40 percent of pursuits are now dropped voluntarily by the pursuing officers, a practice that used to be dictated only by commanders at headquarters.
One dispute that participants say still needs to be addressed is whether having stiff penalties for those who flee police is a significant deterrent. Geoffrey Alpert, a national expert who has written a book on the subject, claims that penalties don't work.
Corrections officer is jailed on graffiti charge
PHOENIX - A juvenile corrections officer was arrested Thursday night on charges he painted graffiti on a wall and fled from police. A Phoenix patrol officer saw Pablo Mendez, 28, in an alleyway in the 3100 block of West Garfield Street around 11 p.m.
Mendez, a corrections officer at the Eagle Point School inside the state's Southwest Regional Juvenile Corrections Complex in Buckeye, appeared to be spraying graffiti on a block wall facing the alley, said Detective Tony Morales, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department.
The officer confronted Mendez, who fled. When the officer caught him, Mendez resisted and the officer used pepper spray to subdue him, Morales said. He was being held at a Maricopa County jail on charges of graffiti, criminal damage and resisting arrest.
while the city of phoenix lost $67 million in revenue the mayor wants to hire 200 more cops to make phoenix a bigger police state
Mayor touts 'Opportunity Corridor'
'Engine' between river, Van Buren
Ginger D. Richardson
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 19, 2005 12:00 AM
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon thinks downtown development is off to a great start, an "economic engine" that will fuel the Valley and the state.
But it has limits, mainly a lack of vacant land, and he doesn't think it's big enough to sustain all the businesses that will ultimately want to move here.
So on Friday, Gordon proposed the creation of a new, larger economic engine: an area he is calling "Opportunity Corridor."
"It will be the new home to thousands of choices, thousands of jobs, thousands of opportunities," the mayor told about 850 people at his second annual State of the City address.
Also atop his agenda for the coming year will be education and public safety issues.
Specifically, he wants to hire 200 more police officers and firefighters by June 2006 and continue pursuing specialized high schools for nursing, teaching and bioscience.
But it was the Opportunity Corridor that captured much interest on Friday.
The Corridor will stretch from roughly the state Capitol at 19th Avenue, east to Scottsdale Road in Tempe, and run from Van Buren on the north to Rio Salado on the south. In between is nearly 15 square miles, or 10,000 acres.
And much of that land is vacant, which is precisely why Gordon thinks it will be so attractive to companies that want to locate here.
It's also near the proposed future light rail route, railway shipping yard and Sky Harbor International Airport.
"Opportunity Corridor" is a marketing strategy; a way to make people aware of what Phoenix and the Valley have to offer.
But it won't cost anything. It's simply about getting the word out, Gordon said.
"This is really just something that I felt could keep the momentum of downtown going, but did not require more people or financial resources," Gordon said.
Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman loves the idea because the entire region needs to come together for its individual cities to be successful.
"Tempe doesn't succeed unless Phoenix succeeds," Hallman said.
"And Tempe doesn't succeed unless Scottsdale succeeds.
"What Mayor Gordon has done ... is demonstrate that Phoenix doesn't succeed unless the region succeeds."
And the corridor isn't just about jobs or marketing land, Hallman and others say. It's about a quality of life package.
For example, Councilman Greg Stanton said that the creation of Opportunity Corridor dovetails perfectly into an already-in-the-works plan to restore Papago Park.
Phoenix is working on that initiative with both Tempe and Scottsdale.
"If you are going to try to bring knowledge workers into the area, you have to consider recreational opportunities, too," Stanton said.
Business and community leaders like the idea too.
"The mayor is presenting a great opportunity to significantly impact the regional and statewide economy," said Greater Phoenix Economic Council President and CEO Barry Broome.
Don Keuth, president of the Phoenix Community Alliance, also believes the strategy is a sound one.
"Well, there are probably a lot of people out there who are going, 'I wish he hadn't said anything because the price of land just went up,'" Keuth said.
"But the fact is, the potential is great, and it is good to put the spotlight on it."
Reporter Meghan Moravcik contributed to this story.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (602) 444-2474.
‘Motor Mile’ worth incentives?
By Garin Groff, Tribune
By Scottsdale standards, a proposed $1.5 million subsidy for the auto dealers on McDowell Road seems paltry.
The city would spread the money among about a dozen dealers over five years, making it among the smaller subsidies that Valley cities have paid in recent years to keep large businesses from fleeing to other communities.
But recipients of the money include the nation’s most lucrative auto dealer corporations — something that has critics calling the proposed subsidy an act of corporate welfare.
"I don’t know how anybody can defend this thing," City Councilman Bob Littlefield said. "We’re going to give money to a bunch of insanely rich people."
Scottsdale is considering spending $300,000 a year to help market dealerships on the "Motor Mile," where sales have slumped for several years because of competition from newer auto malls. The dealers have proposed using city funds with $848,000 a year of their own money for a Motor Mile ad campaign.
The City Council is set to vote on the matter April 5.
Supporters note the city’s share is tiny compared with perks elsewhere. For example, Gilbert offered $60 million in incentives to lure dealers to a new auto mall along Loop 202.
With that sort of competition, supporters say Scottsdale has to make some effort.
"This is not only going to benefit the car dealers, it’s going to benefit the entire region of the southern part of the city," said Virginia Korte, president of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce. "Let’s not forget that the dealers are contributing almost three times that city investment to make this thing happen."
Littlefield and other critics say the dealers are among the nation’s largest corporations.
A ranking of the nation’s largest dealerships in Ward’s Automotive Reports shows at least nine of the dealerships are parts of corporations each with more than a billion dollars in annual sales. A Ward’s list published in 2004 shows the Motor Mile parent companies include:
• AutoNation Inc., owner of four Pitre dealerships, with $19.3 billion in annual revenue. It’s the nation’s largest auto retailer and 97th on the Fortune 500 list of American corporations.
• United Auto Group, owner of four McDowell dealerships. It’s the nation’s second largest dealer group with $8.6 billion in annual sales.
• V.T. Inc., owner of Infiniti of Scottsdale. It’s the fourth largest dealer group with $5.6 billion in yearly sales.
• Bill Heard Enterprises Inc., owner of Bill Heard Chevrolet — ninth largest U.S. dealer group with $2.4 billion in sales.
"We’re giving money away to some of the richest people in our community," Littlefield said.
But Korte argues the large corporations need help because their businesses are struggling. While the intersection of Scottsdale and McDowell roads was once the Valley’s second busiest, freeways have siphoned off traffic and car buyers. At least three dealers have had pressure from the auto manufacturers they represent to move because of declining sales, Korte said.
Korte, whose family owned a Chevrolet dealership and now leases that land to Bill Heard, said dealers need a financial commitment to prove Scottsdale is serious about improving the area.
"I believe the dealers will have a real hard time supporting this marketing program without the city’s buyin," Korte said.
The dealers will probably leave without the money, taking with them $8 million a year in sales tax revenue, she said.
Councilman Jim Lane said that threat has been exaggerated. The dealers would leave slowly, giving the city time to prepare for something else. But he doubts a mass exodus. Given the dealers spend $8 million a year on advertising, he questions whether $300,000 more will reverse the weak sales trend.
The city’s offer is more about saving face in what might be an inevitable market shift, Lane said.
"I know a lot of officials in city government are scared to death for the fear the market will go the course and then they’ll be pinned with the blame," Lane said.
The size of the corporate parents shouldn’t count against the idea, Councilman Kevin Osterman said. The only consideration, Osterman said, is the dealers’ impact on Scottsdale’s bottom line. The Motor Mile incentives are proportional to contributions to a fund for downtown improvements, which he said have helped spur $1 billion in development.
The McDowell incentives could also spur other investments that will generate more tax dollars, he said. Osterman said critics have ignored that potential or they focus on the fact oftendespised car dealers will benefit.
"Whether you love them or hate them, the fact is they produce a tremendous amount of our General Fund money," Osterman said. "I’m not trying to coddle them or baby them or offer them a sweetheart deal. I just think it’s in our best interest."
Contact Garin Groff by email, or phone (480) 898-6554
your being watched: While in jail, Albert Smith wrote a letter addressed to Murphy Smith, his brother said. Prosecutors issued subpoenas for anyone Albert Smith wrote to and anyone who visited him while in jail, Darrel Smith said. Murphy was included on the list. (murhpy smith is a dog)
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Northwest Edition
Witness in murder case refuses to ‘speak’
By Tracy M. Neal Staff Writer email@example.com
Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2005
BENTONVILLE — Five-year-old Murphy Smith was summoned Tuesday to the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to give testimony regarding the Albert Kieth Smith capital murder case.
Murphy was ordered to appear at 10:30 a.m. under a prosecutor’s subpoena.
He arrived about 10 minutes early, but there was a problem. Murphy had a little difficulty getting into the Benton County Courthouse.
The deputy didn’t want to allow Murphy in the building.
Murphy is a white Shih Tzu. He’s the pet of kidnapping and murder suspect Albert Kieth Smith. The deputy instructed Darrel Smith of Van Buren to take the leashed Murphy outside. "He’s a witness," Darrel Smith, the accused man’s brother, replied as he showed the deputy a copy of the subpoena ordering Murphy’s appearance. The deputy allowed Murphy into the building. Minutes before entering the Prosecutor’s Office, Darrel Smith, as he waited with Murphy in the outer area of the Prosecutor’s Office, explained why Murphy had been summoned. "They have subpoenaed all kinds of people," Darrel Smith said.
Murphy was called for the interview, and he and Smith went into an office.
A few minutes later, the pair left the inner office.
Murphy’s ordered appearance had been a mistake, according to Darrel Smith.
While in jail, Albert Smith wrote a letter addressed to Murphy Smith, his brother said. Prosecutors issued subpoenas for anyone Albert Smith wrote to and anyone who visited him while in jail, Darrel Smith said. Murphy was included on the list.
Darrel Smith said prosecutors had talked with his brother’s wife, and she told them the only Murphy Smith she knew was the dog. "They dismissed it," Darrel Smith said. "They may need to do the same for my brother."
A few hours after Murphy’s scheduled appearance, Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Robin Green said that, in preparing for trial, her staff subpoenaed anyone who wrote to Albert Smith or whom he wrote to while in the county jail. Green confirmed that Smith wrote his pet a letter from the jail which resulted in Murphy’s subpoena. "I do like dogs," Green said. "I enjoyed seeing the dog (Murphy). It wasn’t necessary for them to bring him, and a telephone call would have sufficed."
Green said she thanked them for coming and apologized for any inconvenience. "The dog was friendly enough and probably would have been a very cooperative witness," Green said.
Albert Smith is accused of killing Bella Vista resident David Douglas Howard. He was implicated in the crime because his former wife had been having a relationship with Howard, whom she met over the Internet, according to an affidavit of probable cause in the case.
Howard, a Bella Vista resident, was shot twice in the back of the neck with a. 22-caliber handgun. His body was found Sept. 20, 1999, by highway workers along Interstate 40 in McIntosh County, Okla. Howard was last seen alive on Sept. 15, 1999.
The accused murderer’s former wife, Linda Smith, reported Howard was missing. She was questioned about having the same last name as Albert Smith, and she told an investigator the man was her former husband.
Investigators had found a note in Howard’s home that linked the two men.
The medical examiner indicated Howard died Sept. 16, 1999. Since very little blood was found where the body was located, investigators believe the body was transported to the site.
Jury orientation and preliminary jury questioning in the case are scheduled to begin Friday.
On Wednesday, Green announced she received a threatening letter in the mail Tuesday wanting a trial delay. Green said the letter — which did not have a sender’s name or any other identification other than a Fort Smith postmark — did not contain threats of harm against anyone, but it had a threatening tone.
Green, along with Deputy Prosecutor Shane Wilkinson, met with Circuit Judge Tom Keith concerning the letter.
The trial will go on as planned.
Copyright © 2001-2005 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Police Charge Man for Flashing With Banana
GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) -- A former Stamford police officer has been charged with lewd conduct involving a toy banana. Arthur Bertana, 62, who had been on probation for lewd conduct more than four years ago, was arrested Saturday after police said he placed a toy banana in his pants and flashed people.
Bertana was charged with breach of peace and interfering with a police officer.
"Over a span of time, there were several reports of a subject wearing extremely tight pants with an obvious bulge stuffed down his pants," Sgt. Roger Petrone Jr. said Wednesday.
Bertana would allegedly greet passersby on the busy street while trying to draw attention, Petrone said. At times, he placed a bag in front of his pants, then moved it and show the bulge, he said.
"It was a yellow, plush, child's toy banana," Petrone said. "It had a smiley face on it."
Bertana was released on a $5,000 bond for a March 21 appearance in Stamford Superior Court in Stamford.
Information from: Greenwich Time, http://www.greenwichtimeonline.com
Sex, not money, buys happiness, study says
Cox News Service
Mar. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
ATLANTA - If you're spending long days at the office in hopes of a raise, you may want to consider going home early and jumping into the sack.
Increasing sex frequency from once a month to at least once a week provides as much happiness as a $50,000-a-year raise, according to a paper titled "Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study," submitted to the National Bureau of Economic Research, one of the leading organizations in its field.
The findings come from two economists - David Blanchflower of England's Dartmouth College and Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England - who are leaders in a growing field known as "happiness economics," which includes research on how such things as unemployment or the position of an employee's desk affect happiness.
"People are interested in questions about what gives people satisfaction," Blanchflower said. "We, as economists, look at money and marriage."
In their 2004 study, Blanchflower and Oswald analyzed self-reported sexual activity and levels of happiness of more than 16,000 American adults who participated in surveys since the early 1990s.
"I think it says more money is not going to bring you as much happiness as a good family life," Blanchflower said.
Furthermore, their study found that a lasting marriage offers about $100,000 worth of happiness a year; that is, on average, a single person would need to earn an extra $100,000 annually to be as happy as the married person with the same education and other characteristics.
The research also found no difference in the amount of happiness from being in a gay relationship, but that, regardless of sexual orientation, the most happiness came from having just one partner.
Lynda Talmadge, an Atlanta marriage and sex therapist, said the research on sex and marriage provides food for thought but oversimplifies the complexity of intimacy.
"I think it really depends on the context. How good is the marriage? And with sex, it requires both sides having a positive attitude and being open to changing the frequency," said Talmadge, who co-wrote the book Lovemaking: The Intimate Journey of Marriage (Syren, $20) with her husband, William Talmadge, also a sex and marriage therapist.
"That said, I think it is very good for driven Americans, who are taught that material things will buy them happiness, to pause and reconsider, because it's the richness of relationships that makes us happy," Lynda Talmadge said.
'Drive-by' suits vex businesses
Mar. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
LINCOLN, Neb. - Gary Walker was horrified when legal documents arrived at his small restaurant notifying him that he was being sued for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal law that requires wheelchair ramps and other features for the disabled.
The feeling turned to anger when Walker found out the man suing him, Shiloh Hobleman, had filed a series of practically carbon-copy lawsuits against more than a dozen small businesses in the area.
"Hobleman is what can only be characterized as a 'serial plaintiff,' " Walker's lawyer said in court papers. "Except for the named defendants, each of the ADA complaints is virtually, if not exactly, identical to the instant suit - right down to the typographical and grammatical errors."
Around the country, business owners, judges and politicians are complaining that employers are being hit with a spray of "drive-by" ADA lawsuits that they say are little more than shakedown attempts by lawyers hoping for a quick cash settlement.
Those who are covered under the ADA say the lawsuits are necessary to get business owners to make their buildings more accessible. Among other things, the 1990 federal law requires ramps, parking stalls and signs, and dictates the height of countertops, the placement of toilet grab bars and the width of doors.
But some judges have suggested that a large number of ADA lawsuits are frivolous actions filed by a small number of disabled people and their lawyers. And a Florida congressman plans to reintroduce a bill to address what he sees as a serious problem.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell of Orlando noted in a ruling last year that Jorge Luis Rodriguez, a paraplegic, had filed about 200 ADA lawsuits in just a few years, most of them using the same attorney.
"The current ADA lawsuit binge is, therefore, essentially driven by economics; that is, the economics of attorneys fees," Presnell wrote. He said Rodriguez's testimony left the impression that he is a "professional pawn in a scheme to bilk attorney's fees" from those being sued.
In December, a federal judge in Los Angeles said a man who filed hundreds of lawsuits accusing businesses of violating the ADA was running an extortion scam. The judge barred the plaintiff, Jarek Molski, from bringing any more lawsuits without court permission.
Molski, who has used a wheelchair since he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident a decade ago, has filed 400 suits since 1998 against restaurants, wineries, bowling alleys, banks and other places. In most cases, the judge said, Molski demands $4,000 a day until the target of his suit is brought into compliance with the law, then agrees to a cash settlement.
James Lawson of Stillwater, Okla., who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, said such lawsuits are needed. He said he has filed 26 of them after talking to business owners and complaining to the Justice Department without results.
"Even though I'm in a wheelchair full time I still want to be independent and enjoy life to the best of my ability," he said. Lawson said he found his lawyer through an advocacy group for the disabled, and insisted, "I am in no way being used as a pawn by the law firm. I in no way profit from this." Eric Holland of the Justice Department's Disability Rights Division said the government takes every ADA complaint seriously and resolved 360 of them last year.
In Oklahoma, the phenomenon has led the Oklahoma Restaurant Association to post a warning on its Web site about attorneys hiring disabled people to seek out ADA violations.
Hobleman's attorney, Ted Vrana, dismissed suggestions that he filed Hobleman's ADA lawsuits simply to collect the legal fees. "I think the law is intended to assist the disabled people," Vrana said.
Hobleman does not have a listed number and could not be reached for comment.
Hobleman, who uses a wheelchair, charged that the bathroom faucets in Walker's restaurant did not comply with the ADA, the "Handicapped Accessible" sign was in the wrong place, and a handicapped parking spot was not marked properly.
Walker fixed the problems, and a federal judge refused to let Hobleman's lawyer recover money from Walker for legal fees.
Many store owners, however, agree to fix the problems and pay the legal fees simply to avoid going to court.
"You can't just ignore the lawsuit," Walker said. "The sad part of it is there's got to be thousands of small businesses, if not tens of thousands, that have already paid these attorneys just because they were horrified about having to go to federal court."
For his part, Walker had to pay more than $2,200 defending himself against the lawsuit.
Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., is pressing for a law that would give businesses notified of ADA violations 90 days to comply before they could be sued.
"Too many lawyers view ADA lawsuits as a quick way to become millionaires and too many small businesses have become their prey," the congressman said.
Drug addicts making Valley a hotbed for bogus bills
Trend fueled by advanced printing technology
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
Metropolitan Phoenix is emerging as a national hot spot for funny money thanks to the Valley's burgeoning population of methamphetamine addicts and access to advanced printing technology.
Ken Huffer, special agent in charge of the Secret Service in Arizona, said counterfeit currency is showing up with regularity at nightclubs, convenience stores and restaurants.
Last year, merchants and consumers here wound up getting stuck with more than $1.2 million in fake cash.
Huffer said 78 percent of counterfeit bills passed in Arizona are produced on modern office machinery - inkjet printers, photocopiers, laser printers - rather than offset printing presses. Nationally, the ratio is nearly reversed: Just 13 percent of the nation's bogus currency is manufactured on office equipment.
The point: Arizona has spawned a new brand of counterfeiter who produces just enough bad bills to pay for a motel room and support a drug habit.
"Now they're able to print as they go," Huffer said. "They lay it on the glass . . . and hit 'print.' Generally, if we find a counterfeiting plant, we'll find drugs involved."
The methamphetamine phenomenon is reflected in another dubious distinction: Last year, Arizona led the nation in identity theft per capita, largely because of the state's "tweaker" population.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, federal agents seized 523 kilograms of methamphetamines in Arizona last year. That was more than any other state except California, with 787 kilograms and a population more than six times that of Arizona. By comparison, agents seized 2 kilograms in Michigan, 10 in New York, 29 in Colorado and 73 in Washington.
Huffer said the nexus is clear. And currency counterfeiters, equipped with computers and printers, often produce falsified documents as part of their business.
Identity theft raised a national alarm in recent years, but counterfeiting stayed below the public radar.
In the past two weeks, banks in Arizona have turned $75,000 worth of bogus bills over to federal agents. The greenbacks were neatly stacked on a table in front of Huffer: tens, twenties and hundreds. He picked up a C-note featuring Benjamin Franklin and eyed it through a magnifying glass: "See how it runs? That's because the inkjet isn't colorfast. This one's printed on a bleached $5 bill."
He inspected several more of the bills, noting that each is the handiwork of a single Phoenix man: James Arch Steele, 40, now residing at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Tucson.
In mid-2003, a confidential informant told Scottsdale police that Steele was churning out phony $100 bills and using a network of criminals to distribute them. More than 350 of the bills had been turned over to the Secret Service, and no one knew how many more were on the street.
A pre-sentence report filed in Maricopa County Superior Court describes the operation: Steele would take $1 bills and bleach them, then use a computer program and printer to manufacture counterfeit $100s on the blank currency. "(He) would give bills to local drug addicts to pass at stores," the report says. "The addicts were to make purchases in order to obtain change for the hundreds. They would bring the items purchased and the change back to the defendant, who would give the individuals 50 percent of the remaining money."
Police set up surveillance of Steele's trailer near Bell and Cave Creek roads. They got permission to track cellphone calls. They arrested or detained four associates passing identical counterfeits.
On Aug. 29, 2003, detectives and Secret Service agents pulled a midnight raid. They found Steele and several associates identified in court papers as affiliates of the Aryan Brotherhood White supremacist prison gang. They also discovered 21 counterfeit bills, a computer with a $100 template on the monitor, washed currency, a surveillance camera, a stolen truck, a police scanner and a packet of drugs.
The pre-sentence report says one of Steele's associates described him as "so addicted to methamphetamine that he gets sick when he's not using it."
Steele, a self-employed mechanic with no felony record, was indicted on multiple counts involving forged currency, fraud and theft. He pleaded guilty to forgery, but denied being a counterfeiter or addict. Family members and friends wrote to the judge, saying Steele was a good man and wonderful father. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
The maximum sentence for counterfeiting is 20 years. But Huffer said first-time offenders are likely to get probation unless they are ringleaders.
Much of America's phony money is printed overseas, especially in Colombia and Lebanon, by skilled counterfeiters. But it no longer takes real craftsmanship. Domestic criminals use an employer's copier after hours. They design dollars on home computers and use high-resolution printers.
"The bad guys already know how easy it is to do," said Huffer, an agent for 21 years. "What's important is how easy they are to detect. . . . We're combating it here."
He held several bills up to a window, pointing out flaws.
The first was colored with a false green made from yellow and blue dots visible on close inspection. Another lacked the key watermark shadow of Andrew Jackson's portrait, visible on real cash when held to the light. A third bill did not have color-shifting ink that makes the dollar amount change from green to black when held at an angle. A fourth lacked the required security thread.
Huffer emphasized that America is not overwhelmed by counterfeit cash, which accounts for just $3 out of every $100,000 in circulation. But phony bills are expensive for victims who accept them. And anyone who knowingly passes a phony buck violates federal law.
Huffer said bad bills should be turned over to police or a bank.
Depending on whether suspect information is available, the Secret Service may investigate. The agency, a branch of the U.S. Treasury, logs each bad bill on a database, keeping track of where specific counterfeiters are operating.
For example, Huffer checked a $10 bill received as change recently from a Phoenix restaurant. He found that more than 100 inkjet replicas, each with the same serial number, had been passed in Arizona and Utah over the previous four months.
Huffer said businesses can reduce the loss by filing forms for a tax deduction, but individuals are out of luck. That's why he advises merchants to have a magnifying glass by the cash register and to make sure employees are trained to spot counterfeits.
He is less encouraging about special pens designed to detect bad bills because they sometimes don't work.
Still, he said, "If you're handling money a lot, anything you can do to safeguard yourself is great."
You might even come across the handiwork of James Steele. Huffer said the prison inmate's computer images got passed around before he was arrested, and others are now using the software.
"Oh, yeah, his notes linger on," the agent said with a sigh.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-8874.
Sign off, Mr. Bush
Faking the news has another, uglier name: Propaganda
Mar. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
Polished and photogenic, the person standing before the camera with a microphone in her hand signs off: "In Princess Anne, Maryland, I'm Pat O'Leary reporting."
A TV news reporter? So one might think. Indeed, the federal government very much would like you to think the hundreds of "prepackaged news" broadcasts it produces each year are something very much like a typical news report.
As reported in the New York Times, at least 20 government agencies are spending millions each year to produce "reports" that lull undiscerning TV watchers into believing they are seeing real news delivered by real reporters.
But they are not.
Regardless of what the Bush administration (and the Clinton administration before it, the pioneers of the noxious practice) would have you believe, they are propaganda tools produced by public relations firms hired by various federal agencies to promote their policies and programs.
The spots are fed to local and cable news audiences with the complicity of the broadcaster, which may or may not identify the spot as a product of the government.
Financially, it is a great deal . . . for the broadcaster that saves money, for the PR firm that gets a fat federal contract to produce the broadcasts (also known as "video news releases") and, of course, for the federal agencies that get guaranteed good publicity.
But it is hardly good for the citizens who are manipulated by such faux news.
Mainstream media in recent years have come under much criticism - plenty of it well-earned - for slackening the principles of objective journalism.
But the fast-evolving government intrusion into the media business gives viewers and readers something else entirely. And it can only come under the heading of "propaganda."
Recent revelations that Bush administration agencies have paid a syndicated columnist to write favorably of its policies are of a family. Yes, the media are flawed, but one of their principal public duties continues to be standing as a watchdog for just the sort of shenanigans these government propagandists are producing.
President Bush has made a concerted effort to bypass the Washington media, which he judges as biased. Fine. His choice.
But the alternative is not to get into the media business himself. Prepackaged "news" and whatever other faux news the federal government is producing must stop.
Glendale police chief on leave, investigated
Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor and Brent Whiting
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
After less than five months as Glendale's top cop, Police Chief Andrew Kirkland was placed on paid administrative leave Monday as he faced an internal investigation.
City officials would not describe the focus of the probe.
"The city will not comment further on a pending personnel matter," said Julie Frisoni, a Glendale spokeswoman.
Kirkland also declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.
"The only thing I can say is that . . . there are two sides to things," he said. "And at some point, I'm sure that I will get to share my thoughts."
He added, "The only person that will know whether or not I'll be able to weather the storm . . . is the city manager."
When City Manager Ed Beasley hired Kirkland, now 43, as assistant chief in June 2003, it was clear Kirkland was being groomed to replace then-Police Chief Randy Henderlite, who had announced his retirement.
And that's what happened when Henderlite left his post a year later. Kirkland was sworn in as chief last October with a $130,000 annual salary.
"I have no inside information, but something obviously happened," Councilman Phil Lieberman said Monday. "I don't even know anything was going on. I thought he was doing a pretty good job."
Kirkland took the job in Glendale after a 17-year police career with the Portland, Ore., Police Bureau, including a stint as assistant chief.
Kirkland's name surfaced during internal investigations at least two times in his Portland career, according to published reports. One was an internal-affairs investigation in 1994 for allegedly making repeat visits to a girlfriend during work hours. The other, a rape allegation leveled by a prostitute, dates to 1988. That accusation was rejected by a grand jury.
When questioned last year by The Arizona Republic about those allegations, Kirkland said his employment record in Portland was absolutely clean and that the accusations there had been proven to be false. He said he was thoroughly investigated by Glendale before he was offered a job and that he passed polygraph tests.
Glendale police Capt. Preston Becker and Brent Ackzen, acting assistant director for the Police Department, will oversee police operations "until this matter is fully addressed," Frisoni said.
Reach the reporter at monica .email@example.com.
these general used to be bad guys. now the american government loves them. yea sure we are brining democracy to iraq. the only thing we brought to iraq was a new dictator.
Once-scorned Iraqis helping rebuild army
Los Angeles Times
Mar. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
BAGHDAD - When Brig. Gen. Karl Horst fought during the invasion of Iraq two years ago, he didn't bother learning the names of Saddam Hussein's generals.
"I didn't care who they were; we were going to kill them," he said.
Last week, during a parade-ground ceremony at the Baghdad airport, Horst kissed the whiskered cheeks of an Iraqi general who once was awarded the country's highest military honor by Saddam himself.
The airport scene, where top U.S. commanders shared roast chicken and rice with several former officers of the dictator's army, brought into sharp focus the new military reality here two years after the invasion. American generals are literally embracing former enemy leaders, many of them once banned from the new Iraqi army by U.S. authorities, but now courted as partners in building an effective Iraqi fighting force.
Today, the top priority of U.S. commanders is training the Iraqi army and police to one day battle the country's insurgents on their own. As U.S. officers frequently tell reporters, "Our job is to train ourselves out of a job."
"A lot has changed in two years," Horst said. "Instead of exchanging lethal fire, we're exchanging e-mails. And in a lot of ways, this job is more difficult and complicated than our job two years ago."
Trainers pulled away
Even as American units struggle to contain the insurgency, thousands of U.S. trainers are being pulled away from combat in the daunting effort to transform Saddam's corrupt and undisciplined army into a lean, efficient force.
The last time U.S. trainers tried to rebuild an Arab army in the midst of a sectarian war and terrorist attacks, in Lebanon in the early 1980s, the effort failed.
The obstacles in Iraq are enormous. Saddam, paranoid about coups, kept his army units isolated and unable to communicate. U.S. trainers say Iraqi soldiers have little concept of officer accountability or a noncommissioned officer corps with effective authority and leadership. Many have refused orders to fight, and when they do fight, their fire is often undisciplined.
Both U.S. and Iraqi commanders are so concerned about ethnic rivalries that they refuse to provide ethnic breakdowns of the new army's makeup. Saddam's army was dominated by Sunnis and was used to crush Shiite and Kurd uprisings. The new army has more Shiites and Kurds than Sunnis, prompting fears by Sunnis that they will be targeted for retribution.
Soldiers in some Iraqi units have stolen equipment, trainers say. Others have ruined equipment by not properly maintaining it. Many units have been infiltrated by insurgents, commanders say, despite rigorous attempts to screen and monitor recruits.
"Yeah, there are plenty of problems," said Capt. Darrell Gayle, who began training an Iraqi battalion last summer and is turning it over to new U.S. trainers. "But I'm handing off a much better unit than when we started, and a year from now, it'll be even better. You can't do this overnight."
For U.S. commanders trained to confront the enemy, the ambitious program is a departure from the traditional focus on combat. The training of foreign armies is normally left to U.S. Special Forces, who are assisting in the Iraqi program.
In his first formal session with his battalion commanders and staff late last month, Col. Steven Salazar spent more than four hours reviewing his brigade's mission for the upcoming year, much of it devoted to training Iraqi security forces. Salazar's 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, had just taken control of a section of north-central Iraq.
'It is their war'
As part of the presentation, the colonel offered a 1917 quote from T.E. Lawrence: "Better the Arabs do it tolerably than you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them."
On Feb. 21, just as new American units were replacing outgoing troops in the third rotation since the invasion, an Iraqi army brigade was put in charge of its own "battle space" for the first time. About 1,500 soldiers of the 40th Brigade took responsibility for a swath of central Baghdad that includes the insurgent strongholds of Haifa Street and the Adhamiya district.
The brigade conducts operations on its own, U.S. commanders said, although it is still under the overall command of an American general. "Embedded" U.S. trainers remain with the battalion as advisers but do not direct operations, U.S. officers said. U.S. forces stand ready to assist if the brigade requests help.
"This is a very significant event, it represents a fundamental shift toward Iraqi self-sufficiency," said Horst, assistant commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, which took over control of central Baghdad from the 1st Cavalry Division in late February.
"It's a tough assignment. Haifa Street is like the bar scene in 'Star Wars,' " he said. "There are lots of scary people around there."
Elsewhere, Iraqi soldiers routinely patrol with American units. Many wear hoods or masks because of assassination threats by insurgents. In recent months the insurgency has shifted its focus of attacks away from U.S. units to Iraqi army and police targets, particularly new recruits.
Pay his high
Yet Iraqi commanders say recruits continue to pour in for jobs that pay exorbitant salaries by Iraqi standards, about $300 to $400 a month for enlisted men, $400 to $500 a month for officers.
Nearly 60,000 Iraqi army soldiers and 82,000 Iraqi police have been trained and equipped, said Col. Robert Potter, a U.S. military spokesman. As recently as last July, he said, there was just one "deployable" Iraqi army battalion capable of combat operations. Today, he said, there are 40 such battalions, with 53 others in various stages of training and readiness. Each battalion has roughly 700 to 800 soldiers.
The Iraqi government says it wants 150,000 soldiers trained by the end of the year. U.S. commanders declined to say whether they were on track to meet those goals.
sure you can get a fair trail in america. well maybe, well maybe not
Supreme Court turns aside Moussaoui witness request
Los Angeles Times
Mar. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed an effort by accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui to question three suspected al-Qaida members as potential witnesses in his trial in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks.
As a result his trial, delayed by appeals, appeared to be back on track. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema had said that Moussaoui's trial could begin no sooner than 180 days after final Supreme Court action, meaning that it could open in late September.
Moussaoui, the only person charged in the 2001 terror attacks, has denied being part of the terrorist plot. If convicted, he could be executed.
The Justice Department said it would move to quickly propose a trial date. A spokesman said the court's rejection of the appeal "affirms our belief that the government can provide Zacarias Moussaoui with a fair trial while still protecting national security interests."
Moussaoui's lawyer, Frank Dunham Jr., said he would not comment on the high court's action.
Moussaoui has argued that to prove his innocence, he needs access to three prisoners in U.S. custody who are suspected of being members of al-Qaida. U.S. officials have refused to make the prisoners available, arguing that they continue to be intelligence assets and that any questioning would compromise national security.
The prisoners have not been identified in court documents. But they are believed to include Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, who are suspected of planning the attacks.
The Supreme Court rejected Moussaoui's appeal without comment.
Citing national security concerns, a lower court had ruled that Moussaoui and his lawyers could not interview the potential witnesses. Rather, they would be given government-prepared summaries of the captives' statements.
His lawyers challenged the argument that Moussaoui's ability to defend himself would not be harmed by his having to rely on a government agent's account of the statements and by his inability to directly question the potential witnesses.
They argued that this forced reliance on the summaries "from unnamed, unsworn government agents purporting to report unsworn, incomplete non-verbatim accounts" of witness statements was a violation of Moussaoui's Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.
Relying on the summaries, Moussaoui's lawyers argued, would be sufficient only if there was no dispute over what the witnesses had said, a dispute that cannot be resolved without access to the witnesses themselves.
The Bush administration argued that a review by the Supreme Court was premature because government attorneys were still preparing the summaries. It said that the points raised in the appeal were more appropriately addressed after the trial.
george w hitler comes to tucson again
Bush makes Social Security pitch in Tucson
McCain joins call to fix Social Security 'once and for all'
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
TUCSON - President Bush brought his pitch for Social Security change to Arizona on Monday and was joined by former rival Sen. John McCain in appealing for bipartisan cooperation to "fix it once and for all."
"All ideas are on the table except raising up the payroll tax rate," Bush told a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,500 supporters at the Tucson Convention Center.
"This is a national issue that requires people of both parties to give a national response," he said.
The Social Security fund will start running red ink about 2017 and will be depleted around 2042, according to projections relied upon by the president. At that point, all money coming in will be paid out immediately to beneficiaries, requiring a cut of nearly 30 percent in benefits.
The problem arises from the impending retirement of baby boomers, longer life expectancy and payment of higher benefits than in the past, the president said.
Bush made clear in his 40-minute appearance that he considers establishment of personal savings accounts within Social Security essential, although public polls and congressional reaction have not swung to majority support.
The powerful AARP seniors organization, which had backed Bush on Medicare reform a year ago, is among those campaigning against the idea.
McCain, the Arizona Republican who ran against Bush in the 2000 primaries but supported his re-election last year, added:
"I say to our Democrat friends, 'Come and sit down at the table and let us work together to save the safety net. The door is open to the White House and to the Republican side of the aisle.' "
Bush emphasized that his concept would apply only to workers born in 1950 or later. Current recipients of Social Security and those nearing retirement would not be affected, he said repeatedly.
State Democratic Chairman Jim Pederson said there is no urgency to enact changes this year, as Bush is pressing for, and there can be no bipartisanship until the president puts forth a specific plan.
"He's gone off on the kick of privatization, and that won't solve the money problem," Pederson said. "We need to discuss a plan that honestly addresses the problems of Social Security and, hopefully, gets it out of the political arena."
Addressing the Democrats' view that while change is needed there is no crisis now, McCain said: "We know how much money is coming in. We know how much money is going out. Does anybody believe we should wait until there's no money and we have to cut off people's Social Security checks? Absolutely not."
Bush admitted there is no Social Security trust fund because the federal government spends whatever is left after paying benefits.
"It's a pay-as-you-go system," Bush said.
"You pay, and we go ahead and spend it."
The president's Tucson appearance brought to 16 the number of states in which he has staged what he previously acknowledged was "marketing" of his ideas. By the end of the day, he also had taken his message to Colorado and New Mexico.
Billed as "conversations" on the topic, Bush's sessions, and one in Phoenix two weeks ago by Democrats opposing his plan, featured several citizens giving testimonials of what Social Security has meant to their well-being and why it should or should not be altered.
Pederson and state Republican Chairman Matt Salmon acknowledged that the road shows amount to preaching to the choir, considering that tickets to both events were distributed almost exclusively to people partisan to either side.
Salmon, noting that Bush had the courage to visit a city that went for Democratic Sen. John Kerry in the November election, said, "I'd love to see some national debate in which the audience is mixed."
The only dissent Monday came from about 150 protesters who waved signs and chanted outside as the audience filed in and out.
Under the plan outlined by the president, workers born in 1950 or later would be allowed to invest about one-third of their payroll taxes, now totaling 12.4 percent of earnings up to $90,000, in conservative stock and bond funds. The private market's interest rates would produce higher returns than the government program.
A worker with an average annual income of $35,000 would accumulate $250,000 by retirement, Bush said.
The program would be voluntary, and although a retiree would not be allowed to cash in the entire investment, interest from the nest egg would supplement Social Security benefits. The fund would pass on to heirs upon death.
Democrats argue that regardless of whether returns would be higher at retirement, diversion of payroll taxes to personal accounts would deprive the system of revenue it needs to pay benefits now, so the change would cause an additional government deficit of as much as $5 trillion in 40 to 50 years.
As Bush has done in recent days on his two-month series of rallies to push for personal savings accounts within Social Security, he indicated some willingness to consider additional proposals.
"There are ways to make sure the system is progressive," the president said. "It's an interesting idea."
He did not elaborate on what "progressive" meant to him, but others have used the term to describe easing back benefits to high-income recipients or raising the $90,000 cap on earnings subject to payroll taxes.
Cleric admits scam of his parishioners
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 22, 2005 12:00 AM
As a pastor, Douglas Sanchez was supposed to care for the elderly and disabled.
Instead, the minister duped them and others into a $1 million financial scheme that could land him in prison for a dozen years.
The Mesa man last week admitted that he was guilty of nine felony charges, including theft and fraudulent schemes, as part of a plea bargain. Sentencing is set for April 8, in Maricopa County Superior Court before Judge Michael Wilkinson.
"At least he acknowledged he did it. Up until now, he said he was innocent," said Carol Butler, who invested more than $220,000 in Sanchez's decade-long scam, which included promissory notes and investment contracts.
Investigators said Sanchez preyed upon members of his congregations, including those who were older and handicapped.
He promised members much higher returns than they could get anywhere else. He also used his company, DMS Power Cash Flow, as a conduit for the notes and contracts, according to investigators.
Arizona's assistant attorney general, Theodore Campagnolo, said the plea agreement calls for Sanchez to serve three to 12.5 years in prison and up to seven years of probation. The typical sentence is five years.
The settlement allowed 15 other charges to be dropped.
Sanchez, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulent schemes, four counts of theft, two counts of taking the identity of another and two counts of illegal control of an enterprise.
His attorney could not be reached.
The plea agreement said the crimes occurred between Jan. 1, 1994, and Dec. 31, 2003, and it calls for Sanchez to pay $1.1 million in restitution.
The Arizona Corporation Commission first investigated Sanchez and ordered him in 2003 to repay nearly $900,000 to 14 investors.
Matthew Neubert, the commission's securities director, said it was unlikely Sanchez had enough money to repay his victims. But he said the commission and the Attorney General's Office would seek Sanchez's assets.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-8995.
when people in the government start wearing ski masks to protect their identity it is almost certain that the people in the government are criminals.
Handcuffing woman in raid ruled OK
Mar. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police did not violate a woman's constitutional rights by handcuffing her and inquiring about her immigration status while searching her family's home.
Justices unanimously reversed a lower-court ruling ordering two Simi Valley, Calif., officers to pay $60,000 to Iris Mena for their actions in a 1998 search.
Mena awoke at dawn in her bed to find an officer in a ski mask pointing a submachine gun at her head. SWAT team members led the woman through rain to a cold garage, where she was kept in handcuffs and questioned for up to three hours while the home was searched under a valid warrant.
A jury determined that her right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures was violated, but the Supreme Court on Tuesday disagreed.
"This was no ordinary search. The governmental interests in not only detaining, but using handcuffs, are at their maximum when, as here, a warrant authorizes a search for weapons and a wanted gang member resides on the premises," Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote for the majority.
The opinion said police also could question Mena's citizenship status and search her purse for immigration documents during the detention, ruling that it was not an unreasonable extension of an otherwise legitimate search.
government criminals like to keep their crimes secret.
Navy SEALs say photos endangered their lives
Mar. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
LOS ANGELES - A federal lawsuit filed by Navy SEALs and the wife of a special-forces member claims the Associated Press violated copyright and privacy laws and endangered the servicemen's lives by publishing photographs of them with Iraqi prisoners.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in San Diego, seeks unspecified damages.
It also asks the court to bar the AP from further use of the photos and to require the news agency to protect the SEALs' identities.
It replaces a lawsuit filed in state court in December to add the federal copyright infringement allegations, plaintiffs' attorney James Huston said.
"The claims are just as groundless in federal court as they were in state court," Dave Tomlin, the news cooperative's assistant general counsel, said in a statement.
"The pictures are of obvious public interest. AP obtained them in a completely proper way and was right to publish them."
the only think i think is stupider then religious superstitions is when the government makes it illegal for people to beleive in religious superstitions. and these idiots in texas government seem to want to make it illegal for these moron folks to do their superstitious stuff.
Texas bill takes aim at polygamist group
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Mar. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
A Kerrville, Texas, lawmaker is trying to make it harder for a polygamist group that is building a compound south of San Angelo to practice some of its more controversial beliefs.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has historically been based in the twin towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, began erecting buildings on the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado in Schleicher County about a year ago.
Former members have accused the group of coercing girls as young as 14 to marry, sometimes to their relatives, and staging a political takeover of local government in Colorado City and Hildale.
A bill filed by state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, would raise the minimum age of marriage with parental consent to 16 from 14, make it illegal for stepparents to marry stepchildren and toughen residency requirements to run for office.
A separate bill filed by Hilderbran would allow the Schleicher County hospital district to switch from at-large seats to single-member districts to prevent the sect from taking control of the board.
Similar laws regarding underage marriage in Utah and Arizona have not been effective in curbing polygamy.
"What I'm hoping to accomplish is to keep Eldorado and Schleicher County from becoming like Colorado City where this cult came from, and not only protect them but keep it from happening anywhere else in Texas," Hilderbran said.
Salt Lake City lawyer Rod Parker, who represents the sect in some legal matters, said he is concerned by Hilderbran's comments.
"It appears he is specifically targeting them," Parker said.
Because polygamy is a core belief of group members, it is nearly impossible to stop them, Parker said.
"They believe in order to reach salvation they must practice polygamy," Parker said. "There's not a lot the state can do to stop someone who thinks their eternal salvation is at stake."
government idiots? is that a good word for this? of course the bottom line is $revenue$ not justice
Justice slow at overcrowded Mesa court
Jammed facility gets by in pinch
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
Gwen Wilson works in a sea of 53,000 files jammed into a room at Mesa Municipal Court. There are four workers but room for three desks.
"It's stressful. It's hard to keep things in order," said Wilson, 52. "My co-worker has tendinitis from pulling out files. Sometimes, we misplace things for lack of space."
Clerks rub shoulders with each other at a crowded front counter to collect fines from the public. Because there's no room, 10 other clerks work from home to enter criminal complaints into a database.
"You don't have enough room, and you have all these papers," said Melissa DuPree, 37, a clerk. "It gets hectic at times."
Overcrowding is a fact of life at the state's third busiest municipal court, with little hope for relief until a new facility approved by voters in a bond issue is built and opened. That's at least three years away.
"I don't know how they've been working in that environment since 1984," when the building opened, said City Councilman Mike Whalen, a former assistant police chief.
The court has less space than when it opened since the city built the crime lab in the basement, Whalen said.
Defendants wait hours in the jail court and sometimes spend an extra night in jail at city expense because there is no room to add another judge.
Mesa police Lt. Brian Kozak, who supervises the city's 27-cell lockup, said the logjam is so severe that defendants sometimes wait two weeks in county jail, costing the city $47 a day, to make a court appearance in the overwhelmed jail court.
Kozak proposes building an arraignment center in the new court building modeled after a Pima County facility, where defendants can get cases settled in one day.
Although court officials say 93 percent of visitors are served within 15 minutes, some wait considerably longer during busy periods like Friday afternoons, because there are no additional windows where clerks can accept fines, deputy court administrator Lenny Montanaro said.
Cases later back up when defendants fail to show for court appearances, Montanaro said. Arrest warrants are pending against 24,188 defendants. An additional 11,926 defendants have failed to pay fines.
"We have the knowledge to run the court efficiently. We just can't," said Presiding Judge Matt Tafoya, referring to lack of space. "We're in a submarine. We have no place to grow."
Mesa voters and city officials acknowledged the problem a year ago. They approved a $50 million bond issue to build two new buildings, a new police crime lab and a courthouse.
But the City Council delayed issuing the bonds because of concerns about whether Mesa has adequate funds to pay the interest and operating costs, City Manager Mike Hutchinson said.
"We'll have a plan in place," Hutchinson said.
He said it would be in place by late April when the council starts considering the budget.
Whalen said the space shortage dates back to the defeat of a previous bond issue in 2000 for city buildings.
Until the city can complete the building project, Thomas said, "we have to use our imagination and creativity."
Those creative measures include dismissing unpaid fines from court ledgers if the defendant was found guilty at least 10 years ago, and every possible means of collecting the debt was unsuccessful for at least five years.
"There's a point where you say, 'If the case is 15 years old, how long do you keep going on it?' " Tafoya said.
The result was that $635,328 in unpaid fines, stemming from 1,938 cases, was written off as bad debt, Montanaro said.
But the busy court, visited by about 250,000 people a year, also collected more than $11.7 million in fines and more than $1.3 million in bonds during 2004, he said.
ray krone who was framed by the phoenix police for murder and spent 11 years in prison will get $722,000 from maricopa county. a measly $65,000 for each year in jail.
County to pay nearly $1.6M to settle lawsuits
By Gary Grado, Tribune
Maricopa County supervisors are prepared today to approve almost $1.6 million to settle lawsuits arising out of the wrongful conviction of former death-row inmate Ray Krone and a training accident that killed a Scottsdale police sergeant and injured a Gilbert policeman.
The family of Sgt. Thomas Hontz, 45, and former Gilbert police officer Michael Wagner alleged in separate lawsuits that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was liable for Hontz’s death and Wagner’s career-ending injuries because it effectively made and distributed a tool known as a "gas ax" without testing it or warning anyone of its dangers.
The county is settling both of the gas ax cases for $870,000, and insurance companies are picking up an additional undisclosed amount in the settlement, according to Peter Crowley, the county’s risk manager.
Approval of the settlements is on the agenda of today’s Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting.
"The Wagners are gratified to be finished with the case," said John Commerford, Wagner’s attorney.
Jack MacIntyre, a sheriff’s office spokesman, said the case was defensible and claims the sheriff ’s office wasn’t at fault in the accident.
"It’s always sad when you have an officer die using anything like this and has several small children. That’s certainly a very empathetic side of the case," MacIntyre said. "We’re empathetic with it. We’re sad to see it happen."
Hontz and Wagner were in training in Gilbert on Feb. 20, 2002, when Hontz placed a smoke grenade into the gas ax, which is a tool SWAT teams use to punch through walls to disperse smoke or pepper spray into buildings where suspects are hiding.
The particular smoke grenade was not compatible with the gas ax and exploded, according to court records.
A piece of shrapnel entered Wagner’s shoulder, nearly exiting his chest and just missing his heart.
Wagner also sued Scottsdale, which paid him $250,000 to settle. Hontz’ wife, Cathy Hontz, was unable to sue Scottsdale because of Workers Compensation laws.
Krone, who spent three of his 11 years in prison on death row, is scheduled to receive $722,000 from the county and an insurance company will pay an additional sum in the settlement, Crowley said.
Crowley would not disclose the amounts insurance companies are paying in either of the cases because he hadn’t heard back from lawyers on whether that is a matter of public record, he said.
Krone, contacted in Pennsylvania late Tuesday, said he hadn’t heard from his attorney, and he doesn’t consider the lawsuit settled until he has a check in his hand.
He said it’s a shame he even had to bring a lawsuit.
"The taxpayers do not deserve to owe anything or pay me anything. There’s a few individuals who should have been held accountable . . . and they are representing the good people of the state of Arizona, and those few people have been able to go on with their careers and their lives," Krone said. "And again it’s going to be taxpayers and other people who were not at fault who are going to have to make restitution for what I lost."
One of those he points a finger at is former Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley, whose deputies prosecuted the first-degree murder case against Krone.
Krone said he is outraged Romley has never apologized to him in person.
Krone was released from prison on April 8, 2002, after DNA evidence pointed to someone else as the killer of 36-year-old Kimberly Ancona, a Phoenix woman who worked at a bar Krone frequented.
Krone was arrested Dec. 31, 1991, two days after the stabbing death. A dental expert said Krone’s distinctive tooth pattern matched a bite mark on Ancona’s breast, and a witness said "Ray" was going to help her close the bar.
Krone’s August 1992 conviction and subsequent death sentence were overturned on appeal, but he was convicted again in 1996 and received a life sentence.
Contact Gary Grado by email email@example.com, or phone (602) 258-1746
newly elected maricopa county attorney andrew thomas is a racist nazi who wants to deny mexicans the right to bail
Indocumentados no tendrán fianza
Por Valeria Fernández
Marzo 23, 2005
Una iniciativa de ley para prohibir que los indocumentados acusados de cometer un crimen grave no puedan salir bajo fianza ha atraído el apoyo del procurador del Condado Maricopa, Andrew Thomas, y el repudio de grupos defensores de los derechos civiles.
La resolución HRC 2028 que le negaría a los indocumentados el derecho a una fianza podría someterse al voto popular en 2006 sin pasar por el escritorio de la gobernadora una vez aprobada por la Legislatura.
El procurador Thomas dijo durante una conferencia de prensa que los indocumentados representan un riesgo más grande de darse a la fuga a traves de la frontera si los dejan salir bajo fianza.
“Mucha de esta gente regresa de nuevo a los Estados Unidos después de pagar la fianza”, comentó. “Pero no vuelven a enfrentar la justicia, sino para cometer otros crímenes contra los ciudadanos de Arizona”.
Aunque no pudo presentar estadísticas basándose en información anecdótica, Thomas aseguró que “en algunos casos después de que les dan la fianza son deportados por el gobierno federal, a pesar de que hay cargos pendientes contra ellos”.
“Tenemos que asegurarnos que enfrenten la justicia”, puntualizó.
El procurador citó entre varios casos de inmigrantes acusados de crímenes el de Oscar Martinez García, quien fue arrestado bajo cargos de posesión de drogas y armas. En 1998 Martinez García pagó una fianza de 3 mil 200 dólares y salió de la cárcel a la custodia de autoridades migratorias que lo deportaron.
Un año después regresó a Phoenix y cuando la policía detuvo su auto, uno de los pasajeros le disparó mortalmente al oficial Marc Atkinson.
Además, Thomas acusó a las autoridades migratorias de no estar haciendo bien su trabajo para proteger las fronteras.
De acuerdo a datos de la Oficina de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE por sus siglas en inglés) esta agencia pasa a buscar a la cárcel del Condado Maricopa a un promedio diario de 35 extranjeros que en su mayoría salen bajo fianza. Según la oficina del alguacil, se estima que por día 360 detenidos son dados de alta del sistema carcelario.
Las quejas del procurador no son nada nuevo para las autoridades de ICE, quienes alegan estar haciendo solamente su trabajo: deportar a quienes no están en el país legalmente.
“Si el condado los deja salir bajo fianza y porque tenemos un retén llegan a nuestra custodia sin una convicción criminal, ¿qué más podemos hacer (que deportalos)?”, dijo Russ Ahr, portavoz de ICE.
Una categoría de personas diferentes
La iniciativa HCR 2028 que cuenta con una hermana gemela en la HR 2389, una versión idéntica que en este caso debería ser firmada por la gobernadora, representaría una reforma a la constitución arizonense.
Asimismo, se limitaría a negarle la fianza a indocumentados o personas que extendieron su estadía en el país ilegalmente por cometer delitos serios del primero al tercer grado.
“Esta propuesta manda el mensaje de que la gente que no está aquí con un estatus legal no va a recibir el beneficio de ser inocente hasta que se pruebe si es culpable”, dijo Eleonor Eisenberg, directora estatal de la Liga Americana de Libertades Civiles (ACLU por sus siglas en inglés).
Ante estas alegaciones Thomas argumentó que “aunque no puedan salir bajo fianza se les va a dar un proceso justo y una oportunidad de demostrar que son inocentes”.
No obstante, esta propuesta no cambia las cosas demasiado, expresó Eisenberg, ya que actualmente los jueces ya pueden determinar si le darán el derecho a una fianza o no a alguien que represente un riezgo de darse a la fuga.
“Pero esta no es la única ley en la legislatura de Arizona que impone un tratamiento diferente para los indocumentados”, agregó.
Otras leyes propuestas por el republicano Russell Pearce permitirían que un juez impusiera una sentencia más fuerte sobre alguien por el hecho de ser indocumentado.
“Desafortunadamente todo esto se basa en el color, en el origen nacional y en la raza de la gente”, enfatizó Eisenberg.
La resolución que ya pasó al Senado todavía espera la aprobación de ese organismo.
“Yo quiero saber ¿cómo la vamos a pagar?”, reaccionó inicialmente el senador republicano Robert Blendu, ante la crisis en el sistema carcelario y las demandas de la propia gobernadora para que el gobierno federal pague los costos por retener a extranjeros en las correccionales.
Contacte al reportero: firstname.lastname@example.org
arizona government is run by a bunch of racists who hate mexicans??? probably
Otra vez contra la matrícula consular
Por Valeria Fernández
Marzo 23, 2005
El Senado estatal aprobó la semana pasada la propuesta de ley SB 1511 que no permitiría que se acepte la matrícula consular como una forma de identificación para obtener un beneficio público.
Esta propuesta, todavía sujeta a la aprobación de la Cámara de Representantes, fue interpuesta en la Legislatura estatal sin éxito en años anteriores.
Este año las expectativas de que reciba apoyo de los representantes que tienen una mayoría conservadora son más amplias, dijo el representante Pete Ríos.
La propuesta sometida por el republicano Dean Martín, impediría que tanto las agencias del estado como las ciudades y otros municipios acepten una identificación que no sea emitida por el estado o por el gobierno federal de los Estados Unidos.
Según Ríos si esta ley se aprueba muchas personas ya no tendrán forma de presentar una identificación para pedir cualquier servicio público, así sea la conexión del servicio del agua o la electricidad.
El representante destacó que sería ir en contra de la voluntad de varias ciudades y pueblos que ya han aceptado la matrícula consular mexicana como forma de identificación.
Por su parte, el senador Robert Blendu, quien votó a favor de esta propuesta en el Senado, dijo que los indocumentados de todas formas no pueden demandar servicios cuando ingresan al país de forma ilegal sin respetar las leyes.
Uno de los argumentos que defendió Blendu contra el uso de las matrículas consulares es que pueden ser fáciles de falsificar.
Sin embargo, autoridades consulares mexicanas niegan que este sea el caso, especialmente desde que se incorporaron nuevos datos biométricos a este documento.
Según Virginia Arellano, encargada del Departamento de Sistemas del Consulado Mexicano en Phoenix, la matrícula ya cuenta con una huella digital, una descripción física de la persona, y ciertos decodificadores que no se ven a simple vista pero que la policía puede usar para ver si es un documento legítimo.
Martin, promotor de la propuesta, no estuvo disponible para contestar llamadas de La Voz.
Contacte al reportero: email@example.com
george w hitler comes to tucson
Bush promueve reforma Seguro Social
Marzo 22, 2005
Phoenix.- El presidente George W. Bush insistió en la necesidad de reformar el sistema del Seguro Social de Estados Unidos mediante medidas de carácter permanente para evitar que continúe deteriorándose y caiga en bancarrota.
"En 2018, el sistema caerá en números rojos y cada año después será peor si no solucionamos el problema. Para poner un ejemplo, en 2027 habrá un déficit de 200 mil millones de dólares", aseguró Bush
durante un acto proselitista en Tucson, Arizona.
El mandatario, acompañado de políticos locales y de Washington, incluyendo el senador por Arizona, John McCain, hizo sus comentarios al iniciar una gira de trabajo por Arizona, Colorado y Nuevo México, para promover su plan de reforma al seguro social.
Durante la sesión de preguntas y respuestas de casi una hora en el Centro de Convenciones de Tucson, Bush respondió a los asistentes y explicó su iniciativa que busca privatizar parcialmente el actual sistema.
"Entiendo que las personas estén nerviosas sobre el diálogo del seguro social. Sé que algunos temen que porque Bush y McCain estén hablando del tema les puedan quitar su cheque del seguro social pero eso no va a pasar", aseguró.
Reiteró que su propuesta no afectará a los beneficiarios nacidos antes de 1950, quienes continuarán recibiendo los beneficios sin modificaciones y desestimó comentarios que señalan lo contrario.
Empero el jefe de Estado advirtió que el sistema cuenta con deficiencias que afectarán a las generaciones más jóvenes y futuras de estadunidenses si no se adoptan medidas apropiadas ahora.
Recordó que grandes cantidades de "baby boomers" nacidos después de 1945 estarán jubilándose dentro de poco, pero además están viviendo más tiempo y los beneficios están aumentando.
Debido a ello, menos trabajadores estarán contribuyendo al sistema para sostener a un número mayor de pensionados, dijo Bush.
Explicó que su propuesta de semiprivatización del Seguro Social busca la opción a beneficiarios de invertir sus ahorros de manera conservadora en bonos y acciones con oportunidad de obtener una tasa de interés más elevada de lo que es posible bajo el sistema actual.
"Por eso he propuesto permitir a los estadunidenses más jóvenes colocar una parte de sus impuestos salariales en cuentas personales", dijo al exhortar de nuevo a republicanos y demócratas en el Congreso federal a trabajar de manera conjunta para solucionar el problema.
Detractores del plan de Bush argumentan que contrario a lo que afirma el mandatario, su propuesta afectará de manera negativa el sistema del servicio social al eliminar beneficios para trabajadores más viejos y más jóvenes.
Por su parte McCain, rival de Bush durante la nominación presidencial republicana en 2000, endosó el plan del presidente estadunidense para reformar el servicio social.
"Les pido a nuestros amigos demócratas que se nos unan y sienten a la mesa. Debemos hacer esto juntos", añadió.
racist phoenix police shake down lations and poor people who live long I-17 in the area of camelback road
Operativo deja múltiples arrestos a lo largo de I-17
Por Chakris Kussalanant
Marzo 22, 2005
En un operativo multilateral, agentes del Departamento de Policía de Phoenix se unieron a alguaciles del Condado Maricopa y la Oficina del Fiscal Federal para hacer una limpieza de la comunidad Black Canyon a lo largo de la Interestatal I-17.
Más de 120 efectivos atendieron 80 órdenes de arresto el pasado miércoles contra criminales violentos o criminales que de casualidad transitaban el área durante el operativo.
En un caso, oficiales detuvieron a un sospechoso que no estaba incluido en la lista de arrestos, pero viajaba en un vehículo que había participado en un homicidio la noche anterior.
El operativo fue parte del Programa Contra Violencia (VIP), el cual lleva dos años de existir, pero dio frutos asombrosos durante 2004, ayudando a reducir en un 23% el nivel de criminalidad en Phoenix.
“El programa es muy sencillo, tiene tres pasos. Primero nos enfocamos en un área, recaudamos y analizamos evidencia, luego identificamos ciertos criminales que cometen la mayoría de los crímenes y hacemos los arrestos”, explicó Mike Fraser, comandante de Phoenix y creador del VIP.
El año pasado, el proyecto VIP concentró fuerzas policíacas en el centro de la ciudad, a lo largo del corredor de la calles Washington y McDowell, entre las Calles 7 y 32. En estas zonas, el operativo de un año logró reducir los crímenes violentos en un 31.2%, homicidios en un asombroso 72%, las violaciones en 26.1%, los robos en 19.9% y asaltos agravados en un 34.2%.
Los operativos que ocurrieron la semana pasada en Black Canyon son producto de tres meses de vigilancia y trabajo encubierto en el área.
En el caso de Black Canyon, las acciones de la policía produjeron el arresto de vendedores de drogas, asesinos, adictos y ladrones de autos.
“Todos nos reunimos una vez a la semana para hacer nuestra parte para crear una red de seguridad. No se puede llegar a una de estas reuniones y decir que no se ha hecho lo que se debía, todos estamos comprometidos al programa”, dijo Fraser.
El funcionario aseguró que los niveles de criminalidad en la comunidad de Black Canyon han estado reduciéndose de 25-30%, pero tomará un mes para determinar las estadísticas exactas y el impacto que tuvo el reciente operativo, se estima que los resultados sean aún mayores.
Usando un centro de comando móvil y fiscales estatales y federales, el programa VIP logra no sólo arrestar a criminales violentos, sino procesarlos en cuestiones de minutos e inmediatamente presentar cargos simultáneos y de alto grado.
Paul Charlton, fiscal federal por Arizona aplaudió los resultados del VIP, pero reconoció también la ayuda de los residentes en la captura de criminales.
“Lo extraordinario del programa es el nivel de cooperación entre las agencias y el sistema tan sencillo de utilizar estadísticas. Sabemos que el 80% de los crímenes son cometidos por 20% de los criminales, al enfocarnos en ese 20%, tenemos un gran impacto”, dijo Charlton. “Pero las estadísticas no cuentan todo, el verdadero éxito es cuando las personas pueden sentarse en el patio de su casa a disfrutar de su vecindario”.
Aunque hay programas multilaterales enfocados en criminales violentos en estados como New York, Charlton calificó el nivel de cooperación en Arizona como idóneo.
Charlton incluso citó la disponibilidad de la Ciudad de Phoenix de pagar por los salarios de dos fiscales para ayudar al fiscal federal a procesar casos.
Jack Harris, jefe de policía de Phoenix, se sintió complacido con el éxito del programa y dijo que pronto estarán considerando otra área de enfoque y se planea extender los abarques del VIP en el siguiente año.
big stinking deal!!! the racists in the government also want to deny drivers licenses to people from mexico and other countries.
Nuevo manual en español
Por Chakris Kussalanant
Marzo 22, 2005
Esta semana el Departamento de Motores y Vehículos (MVD) anunció que se completó la impresión del nuevo Manual de Manejo y Licencias 2005, el cual será distribuido pronto en todas las sucursales de la entidad.
“Sacamos 150 mil copias del nuevo manual en español, los costos generales de la impresión fueron de 60 mil dólares. Esta vez sacamos más ejemplares en comparación con las impresiones del 2000 y 2001 que alcanzaron sólo a 50 mil copias”, dijo Cydney DeModica, portavoz del MVD.
La publicación del nuevo manual de manejo en español ha tardado al menos seis meses, después que La Voz alertara el hecho de que el documento ya no estaba siendo producido en octubre del año pasado.
El alegato principal de la institución para no reimprimir el manual era que no había fondos para costear su actualización, traducción e impresión.
Mucho del esfuerzo para producir la nueva edición actualizada del Manual de Manejo y Licencias 2005 del MVD se debe gracias a las contribuciones de traducción y cotejo de dos hispanas, Lourdes Lerma, nueva portavoz del MVD y Sandra Quijada, representante del Departamento de Transporte de Arizona (ADOT) ante la Comisión Arizona-Sonora.
Ambas ayudaron a la señora DeModica y al MVD en la traducción y actualización del documento.
La edición 2005 del manual de manejo incluirá una nueva sección dedicada a explicar la mecánica de las rotondas y cómo conducir alrededor de ellas.
Asimismo, el manual detallará un cambio a la ley de reembolsos para placas de autos, la cual permitirá a un conductor reclamar cualquier gasto superior a los 12 dólares por la placa de un vehículo vendido.
El cambio es parte de un proceso legal de varios años y afecta la venta de vehículos usados.
Además de producir una versión impresa, el MVD se ha comprometido a tener una versión PDF del manual en línea.
Si usted necesita bajar la versión actual del manual de manejo en español, puede encontrarla en www.dot.state.az.us/mvd/driver/driverservices.htm.
Si usted no tiene acceso a una computadora, visite su biblioteca local y pida ayuda sobre cómo imprimir el documento.
i also included the english version of this article. it is the article where the border patrol wants to take radar technology that the military uses to spot humans and use it to keep our latino friends from coming to the usa. cool technology. but if you ask me we should rip down the stinking fence that seperates the border, fire everybody in the INS (la migra) and let anybody who wants to american in with out asking any questions.
Avanza militarización fronteriza
Por Chakris Kussalanant
Marzo 22, 2005
Un novedoso sistema de radar creado por una compañía local ha probado ser un arma efectiva para mantener la Zona de Bombardeo Barry M. Goldwater en Yuma, al suroeste de Arizona, libre de sus más recientes intrusos: inmigrantes indocumentados.
Aunque el sistema fue implementado hace un año para resguardar instalaciones militares y proteger a civiles de los obvios peligros en la zona donde la Fuerza Aérea hace ejercicios con bombas y misiles, autoridades federales ahora están buscando la manera de conseguir fondos para comprar docenas de unidades para asistir a la Patrulla Fronteriza (CBP) en la detección y aprensión de indocumentados en la frontera Sonora-Arizona.
Mario Villarreal, portavoz de la CBP en Washington D.C., confirmó el proceso de adquisición de los radares, pero rehusó hacer comentarios sobre la posible militarización de la frontera entre Arizona y México.
“La agencia de Aduanas y Patrulla Fronteriza siempre está buscando nuevas tecnologías que ayuden a nuestros agentes en el campo en sus esfuerzos para proteger la seguridad nacional”, dijo Villarreal. “La tecnología, el personal y la infraestructura son importantes para proteger las fronteras de nuestro país y mantener a los Estados Unidos seguro”.
Entre los congresistas federales que han pedido la apropiación de los radares para la CBP está el representante republicano por Arizona, J.D. Hayworth, quien asegura que el sistema es absolutamente necesario, después que el director del FBI, Robert Mueller entregara este mes un reporte indicando que la agencia ha detenido en la frontera a personas provenientes de países que albergan terroristas.
Oficiales de CBP ya han solicitado un presupuesto de 53.1 millones de dólares para el año fiscal 2006, el cual incluiría fondos para la adquisición de los nuevos radares.
De acuerdo a fuentes en Washington D.C., han habido varios debates para incluso enviar reservistas o los U.S. Marines a proteger la frontera.
Aunque apoya medidas de seguridad nacional, para el congresista demócrata por Arizona, Ed Pastor, la protección de la frontera no debe militarizarse.
“No apoyo la idea de enviar al ejercito a la frontera, no están capacitados para operaciones de regulación y servicio, sino militares”, dijo Pastor. “Tampoco apoyo la idea de que la frontera ha servido para la infiltración de terroristas”.
Pastor argumentó que aunque los radares pueden servir para localizar indocumentados, también pueden ayudar a salvar las vidas de aquellos perdidos o abandonados en el desierto.
La Zona de Bombardeo Barry M. Goldwater es una planicie desértica de 1.6 millones de acres que comparte 37 millas fronterizas con México. Debido al incrementado número de personas que empezaron a cruzar la frontera en 2003 y por motivos de seguridad, autoridades militares decidieron implementar el sistema de radar en mayo de 2004.
El sistema, creado por Sensor Technologies & Systems Inc. de Scottsdale, puede detectar el movimiento de una persona o vehículo en un radio de seis a 10 kilómetros. El radar no necesita antenas o sensores especiales. Se necesita sólo una persona y una computadora normal para operar el radar.
“El radar funciona como un radio FM, pero en vez de enviar música, envía ondas cortas y largas que pueden detectar desde un conejo hasta un caballo, persona o carro”, explicó Steve Ware, ingeniero de STS y quien ayudó a desarrollar el sistema. “Una vez que la onda rebota de un objeto en movimiento, el sistema triangula la ubicación del objeto y un sistema de cámaras ubica la fuente de movimiento”.
Recientemente el representante republicano por Arizona, Jim Kolbe agregó una enmienda al Acta de Verdadera Identificación, la cual obtendría fondos para la implementación de radares terrestres. Sin embargo, la ley tiene tantas medidas extremistas que se estima no pasará en el Senado.
Aunque las dos iniciativas que buscan fondos federales extraordinarios para adquirir los radares fallaran, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional tendría suficiente dinero para hacer la compra del sistema a pequeña escala.
Arizona se ha vuelto el corredor más activo del país para el cruce de inmigrantes indocumentados. El año pasado la Patrulla Fronteriza arrestó más de 500 mil indocumentados que cruzaron la frontera con México, más que el total de arrestos en los estados de California, Texas y Nuevo México juntos.
yea sure we can when the drug war. well maybe when hell freezes over
Aumenta uso de “mulas” hacia EU
El Paso (Texas), (EFE)
Marzo 22, 2005
Las autoridades fronterizas han manifestado su preocupación por el aumento en el número de casos de padres que utilizan a sus hijos como "mulas" para transportar drogas hacia EU.
Una mujer residente del poblado de Fabens (Nuevo México) enfrenta cargos por haber utilizado a sus hijos, de 11 y 9 años, para transportar drogas a EU.
La mujer y sus hijos fueron detenidos en el cruce internacional de Fabens por inspectores de la Oficina de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza (CBP) luego de descubrir paquetes con droga adheridos a los cuerpos de la mujer y de los niños.
Aunque, según las autoridades, ha sido poco común que los padres de familia utilicen a sus hijos para el cruce de droga a Estados Unidos, estos casos han comenzado a manifestarse en la frontera, por lo que ya se ha comenzado a revisar a niños en los cruces.
Más Patrulla Fronteriza
Marzo 8, 2005
Grupos privados urgieron al Congreso a presionar al presidente George W. Bush para que contrate más agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza, al argumentar que la falta de personal representa un serio riesgo para la seguridad del país.
Los grupos, entre ellos la asociación sindical de la Patrulla Fronteriza y de familiares de víctimas de los atentados del 11 de septiembre de 2001, externaron su preocupación por lo que consideraron una nueva falla del gobierno para proteger las fronteras.
Indicaron que la necesidad de contratar más agentes se hace urgente ante crecientes reportes que destacan la amenaza de que terroristas puedan internarse ilegalmente en Estados Unidos a través de las fronteras. publicidad
"Esta falla para hacer valer las actuales leyes de migración tanto en nuestras fronteras como dentro del país, es lo que llevó a los ataques" de 2001, dijo Peter Gadiel, presidente del grupo Familias del 9/11 para un Estados Unidos Seguro.
Al comparecer ante el Subcomité de Migración de la Cámara de Representantes, Gadiel -quien perdió un hijo en los ataques contra el World Trade Center- dijo que quienes se oponen a reforzar la Patrulla Fronteriza no tienen razón para ello.
En su turno, T.J. Bonner, el presidente del Consejo Nacional de la Patrulla Fronteriza, que aglutina a 10 mil de estos agentes, hizo un llamado a los legisladores para reforzar la agencia.
"Les imploramos por recursos adicionales. Por desgracia necesitamos ayuda, mucha ayuda", dijo.
Las críticas contra Bush se derivaron de su decisión de solicitar fondos en el presupuesto para 2006 para contratar a 210 nuevos agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza, contraveniendo un plan aprobado antes por el Congreso.
Bajo ese plan, el gobierno contrataría 10 mil nuevos agentes durante los próximos cinco años para reforzar la vigilancia en las fronteras, particularmente la del sur.
Aunque la congresista demócrata por Texas, Sheila Jackson Lee, dijo favorecer un fortalecimiento de la seguridad en la frontera, insistió que ello no debería hacerse bajo el argumento de la lucha contra el terrorismo.
"La migración no equivale a terrorismo, de ninguna manera. Lo que debemos hacer es encontrar terreno común para responder a todas las preocupaciones, no sólo a ésta", dijo.
Jackson Lee dijo que igualmente importante debería ser detener las trágicas muertes de inmigrantes, al recordar que en el año pasado 325 personas perdieron la vida tratando de cruzar la frontera.
"Un año antes murieron 340 y antes 320. Es es algo que se tiene que detener", dijo.
En su turno, el congresista demócrata por Texas, Salomón Ortiz, se refirió al problema que presentan miles de inmigrantes indocumentados no mexicanos que son liberados tras su captura, por insuficiencia de espacio en los centros de detención.
Ortiz, cuyo distrito comprende una porción de la frontera sur de Texas, dijo que la situación se ha tornado en un problema de seguridad, "porque no sabemos de quién se trata y dónde están".
Bajo las actuales leyes, aquellos inmigrantes indocumentados no mexicanos son liberados, quedando pendiente su comparecencia para una audiencia de deportación, aunque de acuerdo con cifras oficiales sólo un 70 por ciento de éstos cumple.
this dude is one major criminal. the united states wants to jail him because he played a game of chess in yugoslavia?
Bobby Fischer sale de prisión japonesa con destino a Islandia
Por ERIC TALMADGE
- NARITA, Japón (AP) _ El legendario ajedrecista Bobby Fischer salió el jueves de un centro de detención japonés y abordó de inmediato un avión con destino a su nueva patria, Islandia, luego de estar detenido durante nueve meses mientras las autoridades locales trataban de deportarlo a Estados Unidos.
Fischer, con una larga barba gris, jeans y una gorra de béisbol cubriéndole el rostro, salió del centro de detención migratoria en las afueras de Tokio la mañana del jueves.
Las autoridades japonesas arrestaron al excéntrico ajedrecista en julio, cuando trató de dejar el país con un pasaporte norteamericano carente de validez.
Mientras era llevado el jueves al aeropuerto en una limosina negra, proporcionada por la embajada de Islandia, su vehículo fue rodeado por una docena de funcionarios migratorios, fotógrafos y reporteros.
Fischer, de 62 años, estaba acompañado por su prometida, Miyoko Watai, jefa de la asociación de ajedrez japonesa, y el embajador de Islandia en Japón, Thordur Oskarsson. La pareja luego abordó un avión con destino a Islandia.
Fischer se mostró tan aguerrido como siempre al llegar al aeropuerto, donde habló brevemente a la prensa.
"No estaré libre sino hasta que salga de Japón. Este no fue un arresto. Fue un secuestro planeado por Bush y Koizumi", dijo, refiriéndose al presidente estadounidense George W. Bush y al primer ministro japonés Junichiro Koizumi.
"Ellos son criminales de guerra y deberían de ser colgados", dijo.
Mientras entraba al aeropuerto, se dio la vuelta, se desabrochó el pantalón y simuló que iba a orinar en un muro.
El ajedrecista sostiene que su pasaporte fue revocado ilegalmente y acudió a los tribunales para evitar ser deportado a Estados Unidos. Washington quiere la extradición de Fischer por violar las sanciones económicas contra la antigua Yugoslavia al jugar una partida de exhibición contra Boris Spassky, de la desaparecida Unión Soviética, en 1992.
Sus partidarios en Islandia, donde Fischer, ex campeón mundial, se coronó campeón mundial en 1972 tras enfrentar Spassky, acudieron en su ayuda casi de inmediato.
El lunes, el parlamento de Islandia otorgó a Fischer la ciudadanía por votación de 40 a favor y dos abstenciones.
La concesión de la nacionalidad islandesa a Fischer debe ser rubricada por el presidente para ser definitiva, pero era esperada el martes, informaron sus abogados.
hate dogs? grapes and raisins, onions and garlic are your friends.
Fido really should stick to dog food
Mar. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
The other day in this fine newspaper there was a letter in Dear Abby about the danger of feeding grapes and raisins and garlic to dogs. Ever since then I have been getting calls and e-mail from you people wanting to know if this is true.
Well, c'mon guys. It was in Dear Abby, so it must be true, right? Has Dear Abby ever tried to fool you before? Of course, it's not really Abby. She's dead. Her daughter took over the column.
I wonder if one of my daughters would like to take over this column after I join the choir invisible. I doubt it. They're both pretty smart.
Anyway, so many of you seem to be worried about this that I thought I had better check it out, especially since the letter didn't exactly say why grapes and raisins and garlic are toxic to pets.
And in the course of checking this out I discovered that paintball ammunition is very bad for your dog. Why anyone would give their dog paintball ammunition is beyond me, but I suppose it happens sometimes.
It turns out that yes, indeed, grapes, and by extension, raisins, can make your dog very sick and maybe even kill it. Grapes and raisins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and eventually kidney failure.
The occasional grape every now and then probably isn't really going to hurt old Rex much. However, if your dog were somehow to get its teeth into a whole bunch of grapes or a box of raisins, you'd have trouble. You need to try to get the pooch to barf and then get it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The thing of it is, nobody seems to know why grapes and raisins are so harmful to dogs. They just are. So be careful.
As for garlic and onions, they think the problem is that they both contain n-propyl disulfide. If I knew what that was, I'd explain it to you. The important part is that this substance can affect the red blood cells in your dog or cat and the animal will end up with hemolytic anemia. That's bad.
Apparently cats are more prone to the onion-garlic problem than dogs are because of differences in hemoglobin.
Even foods with garlic or onion salt or powder can be risky.
That said, I also found something that said a little bit of garlic will help keep the fleas off your dog. I don't know about that. Don't you think it would be better to err on the side of caution? That's what I think, and I bet if you asked Dear Abby she'd agree.
Reach Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-8612.
'It's alive' - ain't progress grand?
Mar. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
Poor Dr. Frankenstein.
He pumped fluids through a dead body, saw it twitch, and cried, "It's alive!"
The populace promptly pursued him with pitchforks and torches for having the audacity to claim parity with the Creator.
Some 70 years later, medical doctors pump fluids through dead bodies for years and years and cry, "It's alive." They are rewarded by the U.S. Congress for creating life. Ain't progress grand?
If any of these people actually believed in God, they would allow those souls to go home.
damn kids are getting smarter all the time. helping george w hitler expand the american empire could get you killed.
Army likely to miss recruiting goals
Mar. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The Army expects to miss its recruiting goals for March and April, continuing a worrisome trend, Army Secretary Francis Harvey reported Wednesday.
February was the first month the Army missed a recruiting goal since May 2000, and Harvey said the forecast was for continued shortfalls in the next two monthly reports.
The Army hopes to bridge the gap by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, with a new recruiting effort promoting patriotism, Harvey said. It has increased by about a third the number of recruiters nationwide, he said.
For the first five months of the fiscal year, through February, the Army is 27 percent short of its overall goal. Still, the active-duty Army hopes to recruit 80,000 soldiers by Sept. 30.
Active-duty Army recruiting achieved 94 percent of its goal for February.
The Army Reserve reached 90 percent of its goal, but the beleaguered Army National Guard, citizen soldiers who have borne much of the burden in Iraq, reached only 75 percent of its goal for the month.
According to the Pentagon, 46 percent of all troops in Iraq are members of the National Guard or Reserves.
Harvey said the monthly results matter less than the Army's ability to meet its annual goal by year's end.
It has done so every fiscal year since 1999.
He acknowledged that an increasingly significant factor in the recruitment failures has been the reluctance of potential recruits' parents to let their children be put into harm's way in the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
i bet a 100,000 AK-47 might make it harder for the american empire to invade you
Rumsfeld 'concerned' about weapons
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Mar. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
BRASILIA, Brazil - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday issued the strongest U.S. condemnation yet of Venezuela's planned purchase of 100,000 AK-47 rifles, saying he couldn't "imagine why" Venezuela needed the weapons.
Lower-level officials of the Bush administration had been sounding the alarm for some time on the Venezuelan plan to buy the AK-47s from Russia, fearing that the weapons, munitions or rifles they replace could arm rebel groups fighting the government in Colombia. But this is the first time that a senior Cabinet-level official has used such blunt language.
In a news conference with Jose Alencar, Brazil's vice president and defense minister, Rumsfeld said that "certainly I'm concerned" when asked about the AK-47s.
"I can't imagine what's going to happen to 100,000 AK-47s. I can't imagine why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s," Rumsfeld said of the weapons purchase. "And I just personally hope it doesn't happen, and I can't imagine that if it did happen, that it would be good for the hemisphere."
Rumsfeld's concerns did not appear to be shared by Brazil. When pressed for a comment on the issue, Alencar said Brazil respected Venezuela's right to determine its military needs.
"Brazil has always defended and continued to defend the self-determination of all," he said.
Venezuelan officials have said the weapons are needed to create a militia to confront a U.S. invasion. They also argue that the rifles will replace aging Belgian FAL models and that it is their right to modernize their armed forces.
The AK-47s are part of a multibillion dollar weapons purchase that includes plans to acquire from 40 to 50 advanced Russian MIG-29 jets, a move questioned by the Pentagon given that the country already owns comparable U.S. F-16s and has largely peaceful relations with its neighbors.
The Bush administration has been urging Brazilian and other Latin American leaders to contain Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a self-described Bolivarian revolutionary and a sharp critic of administration policies.
On Monday, the Bush administration announced that it was halting $2.3 million in military aid to Nicaragua until it destroys 1,000 SAM-7 missiles. Rumsfeld said the shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles are a "very attractive weapon" for "terrorists who are anxious to threaten people."
Rumsfeld's comments on Venezuela came while in Brazil as part of a Latin America swing.
this is one dangerous fugitive that has gotten away from the USA for more then 10 years. this evil neferous criminal is wanted for playing a chess game in yugoslavia. he is known to have a chess set filled with weapons of mass destruction and he knows how to use them.
Chess' Fischer going to Iceland
Mar. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
TOKYO - Bobby Fischer, the fugitive chess legend, reached an agreement Wednesday with Japanese authorities to avoid deportation to the United States, his supporters said. Sources familiar with the case said he will instead be released after eight months in prison here and flown to freedom in Iceland as early as this morning.
The deal to free Fischer came after Iceland, a chess-loving nation that hosted his historic Cold War-era victory over Soviet Boris Spassky in 1972, granted Fischer citizenship this week in a move to help him evade trial in the United States. Fischer, 62, who grew up in New York, has dodged a U.S. arrest warrant since playing a chess match in Yugoslavia in 1992 in violation of U.S. sanctions at the time.
Fischer evaded U.S. authorities for more than a decade with the help of global chess fans from Argentina to the Philippines, who offered him shelter even as he ventured out every now and then into the public eye to offer scathing anti-American and anti-Jewish rants. He was finally nabbed in July at an airport outside Tokyo for traveling on a voided U.S. passport.
Fischer's reported violation of U.S. sanctions is not considered an extraditable offense in Japan. American authorities were instead counting on Japanese laws mandating deportation of persons detained for traveling on false documents to their countries of citizenship.
Fischer made a number of failed attempts to block an unwelcome homecoming to the United States - including seeking refugee status, renouncing his U.S. citizenship and unveiling plans to marry his companion Miyoko Watai, a four-time women's chess champion in Japan.
But Fischer found success in Iceland, where, at his request, the parliament honored his "historic connection" with the tiny island nation, voting 40-0 Monday to grant him citizenship. The move came despite U.S. protests. "Mr. Fischer is a true Icelander now," Iceland's ambassador to Japan, Thordur Oskarsson, told reporters in Tokyo.
Japanese officials agreed to allow Fischer to travel to his adopted homeland as long as he withdraws a still-pending lawsuit he filed against the Japanese government to block his deportation. John Bosnitch, chairman of the Tokyo-based Committee to Free Bobby Fischer, said Fischer would do so Thursday morning before heading directly to the airport to board a flight to Iceland via Copenhagen.
"The people of Iceland have rescued Bobby Fischer from injustice," Bosnitch said.
The case had become an irritation for Japan, with Fischer alleging - falsely, according to the Japanese - that he had been physically abused by his captors. A Japanese official familiar with the case said the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo had been informed of the decision to allow Fischer's release.
Now U.S. officials are preparing for a legal rematch.
i bet this jerk is in favor of getting rid of juries altogether. hell if our super smart government rulers accuse somebody of a crime we certainly dont need a jury to say they are guilty.
Prosecutor calls Blake jury 'stupid'
Los Angeles Times
Mar. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said jurors who acquitted actor Robert Blake of the murder of his wife are "incredibly stupid" and insisted his office put on a good case.
In his first comments on the high-profile loss, Cooley told a group of reporters that the verdict shows prosecuting celebrities is extremely difficult in Los Angeles.
"The Blake case taught us some lessons, that is for sure," Cooley said. "Quite frankly, based on my review of the evidence, he is as guilty as sin. He is a miserable human being."
Chuck Safko, one of the jurors, answered with scorn of his own.
"To hear him say we aren't a smart jury is sour grapes," he said. "They didn't have a good case. Their case was built around witnesses who weren't truthful."
Blake, 71, was accused of murdering his wife on May 4, 2001, mainly based on the word of two Hollywood stuntmen who testified the actor tried to hire them to kill her. Only two jurors ever thought Blake might be guilty, according to interviews after the verdict, and through two weeks of deliberations, all 12 came to the unanimous verdict of not guilty.
The comment shows Cooley is "small-minded," said Blake's attorney, Gerald Schwartzbach. It was worthy of a politician, not a lawyer, he added.
Cooley's comments were unusual but not unethical, according to legal experts.
"To criticize the jurors is unprofessional; it is unbelievable," said Laurie Levinson, a professor of criminal law at Loyola Law School who attended portions of the Blake trial. "I think you have to give the jury credit. They are a very conscientious jury. It was a reasonable-doubt case, and disagreeing with Mr. Cooley doesn't make them stupid."
Cooley praised the prosecutor, District Attorney Shelly Samuels, who had won 48 of 49 murder trials before Blake. He said that his office had yet to conduct a formal postmortem on the case but that among the issues to be reviewed would be the effectiveness of jury consultants and whether assigning a second attorney would have helped.
In celebrity cases, he said, prosecutors have to get into the minds of jurors and understand how they think about stars.
Cooley said his office also was aware of the "CSI effect," a demand on the part of some juries for the kind of certainty shown on television programs such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, in which crimes are solved conclusively in less than an hour.
"It does create false expectations," he told reporters.
In what was a circumstantial-evidence case, Blake jurors in interviews said the evidence was insufficient to convict beyond a reasonable doubt, the high standard in criminal cases. One juror said prosecutors could not put the murder weapon in Blake's hands.
so far the war in iraq has cost $300 billion. that is $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in the USA. ($300 billion / 300 million people.
hasta ahora la guerra in iraq cuesta 300 billones de dólares. esta $1,000 por cada hombre, dama y nino in el pais. ($300 billones / 300 million gente).
Aprueban 81.2 billones de dólares para la guerra
Por Chakris Kussalanant
Marzo 22, 2005
La Casa de Representantes en Washington D.C. aprobó esta semana un paquete suplementario de 81.2 billones de dólares, destinados específicamente para mejores equipos militares y blindaje para las tropas en Irak y Afganistán, subiendo el costo total de la guerra por encima de los 300 billones de dólares.
Con un voto de 388 contra 43, tanto republicanos como demócratas aprobaron la mayor parte del plan de gasto presentado por el presidente George W. Bush, pero no sin fuertes críticas y argumentos que estos dineros deberían ayudar al proceso de retirar las tropas estadounidenses de ambos países.
“Yo apoyé el proyecto de apropiaciones suplementarias no porque creo en la guerra de Irak, sino porque quiero que nuestros soldados en Irak y Afganistán regresen a casa seguros y pronto”, dijo el congresista demócrata por Arizona, Ed Pastor.
“Esta legislación es mejor que la anterior en su enfoque y uso, provee mejores recursos a nuestras tropas e incluye un paquete de ayuda internacional para Dafur y las zonas afectadas por el tsunami”, explicó Pastor.
El proyecto también aumentó los beneficios a familiares de soldados que han muerto en el extranjero a 100 mil dólares, en vez de 12 mil.
Aunque el congresista y otros se sintieron satisfechos con la finalidad del nuevo suplemento, cada vez son más los funcionarios preocupados por el incremento en la deuda interna y externa del país.
Esta semana también marcó el déficit de comercio internacional más alto en la historia de los Estados Unidos, llegando a 665.9 billones de dólares en 2004.
Según el Departamento de Comercio, esta cifra es 25% superior al record anterior de 530.7 billones en 2003.
Aunque la administración Bush asegura que las cifras de deuda reflejan una economía creciente basada en mayores importaciones y menos exportaciones estadounidenses con un ritmo superior al resto del mundo, muchos economistas y políticos sienten que las ganancias transferidas a otros países empeorarán la calidad de vida de los estadounidenses.
“Hace un mes Corea del Sur tomó la decisión de que ya no deseaba invertir tanto en dólares, así que diversificaron y el mercado se vino abajo”, dijo Pastor. “La semana pasada Japón decidió hacer lo mismo y el mercado volvió a tomar un golpe. Mientras cinco barcos arriban con mercadería extranjera, sólo uno va al exterior y usualmente a China. Somos nosotros los que estamos dependiendo del mundo”.