Virginia State Police Drug Sniffing Dog With 74% Error Rate Enough To Establish Probable Cause To Search Vehicle

June 30, 2012

WYTHE COUNTY, VIRGINIA – The nose of a drug-sniffing police dog is not so sharp, but it’s good enough to support cocaine charges against Herbert Green.

That was the opinion of federal Judge Glen Conrad, who denied a motion this week to suppress the drugs found in Green’s sport utility vehicle with the help of a police dog named Bono.

Green’s lawyer had argued that Bono’s track record — drugs were found just 22 times out of 85 “alerts” by the dog — was so poor that police lacked probable cause to search Green’s SUV.

Had Bono failed the legal smell test, Green might have escaped prosecution on charges of having a kilogram of cocaine hidden in the back of his Lincoln Navigator.

Bono “may not be a model of canine accuracy,” Conrad wrote in an opinion filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke.

However, the judge ruled that other factors, including the dog’s training and flawless performance during re-certification sessions, were enough to overcome a challenge raised by Green’s attorney, public defender Randy Cargill.

The ruling clears the way for prosecutors to try Green on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Green, 45, of Pittsburgh, was arrested in March 2011. A state trooper patrolling Interstate 77 in Wythe County pulled him over on suspicion of having illegally tinted windows and an obscured license plate.

When Bono was called to the scene, he began to wag his tail furiously after catching a whiff of something near the rear panel of the vehicle, according to earlier testimony.

Prosecutors say that gave police probable cause to search the SUV, where they found a duffel bag holding cocaine and about $7,000 in cash.

But after learning that Bono had an accuracy rate of just 26 percent, Cargill filed a motion seeking to suppress the evidence.

At a hearing earlier this month, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Neese defended the performance of the German shepherd.

In some cases where nothing was found after an alert by Bono, police later determined that drugs had been in the vehicle earlier, likely leaving an odor the dog was trained to detect, Neese said.

Taking those cases into account, Conrad found that Bono’s accuracy rate was at least 50 percent.

In determining whether police had probable cause, the judge wrote that he had to consider other factors beyond the dog’s track record.

As a federal appeals court once put it, “the reliability of a drug-detection dog does not rise or fall on the basis of one sniff.”

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Pedophile Former Cartersville Georgia Police Officer James Scott Arrested, Charged With Child Molestation And Other Offences

June 30, 2012

BARTOW COUNTY, GEORGIA – A former police officer who has career ties to Cartersville Police Department as well as the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office has turned himself in to deputies on several warrants, including child molestation, taken for his arrest.

Bartow County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sgt. Jonathan Rogers confirmed James Scott’s surrender to deputies Monday when approximately five warrants were served against him.

Scott, according to CPD Public Information Officer Lt. Mark Camp, “worked for several departments, including the Cartersville Police Department, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, Dallas Police Department and the Kennesaw Police Department.” He served with CPD from July 1997 until September 2011.

A request for Scott’s personnel file from CPD was delayed Monday until the department’s employee who manages such files returns to the office to process the request sent by The Daily Tribune News on Monday afternoon.

Further information will be provided as it is made available.

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Warrants Used To Bust Kim Dotcom In New Zealand Raid Were Illegally Obtained – Null And Void – Efforts By FBI To Copy Data And Take It Offshore Were Also Unlawful

June 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – German-born Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, was one of four men arrested in January as part of an investigation of his Megaupload.com website led by the FBI.

Prosecutors say Dotcom was the ringleader of a group that had netted $175m since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization.

Dotcom’s lawyers say the company simply offered online storage.

On Thursday, New Zealand High Court Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann found the warrants used in the seizure of property from Dotcom’s mansion near Auckland were illegal and that moves by the FBI to copy data from Dotcom’s computer and take it offshore were also unlawful.

“The warrants did not adequately describe the offences to which they related,” Winkelmann said in her ruling. “Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid.”

In response, New Zealand’s police said in a statement they were considering the judgment and were in discussions with Crown Law “to determine what further action might be required”.

Police said no further comment would be made until that process was complete.

Dotcom is on bail in New Zealand, fighting attempts by US authorities who are seeking to extradite him on charges of copyright theft and money laundering. An extradition hearing is set for August.

Dotcom and his lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Television New Zealand quoted a spokesman for Dotcom as saying he was “pleased” but he would not be making any further comment on the court decision as appeals were likely.

Lawyers representing the U.S. government said the ruling had come as “no surprise” and that their legal team would be discussing options, including whether an appeal will be lodged, TVNZ reported.

Armed officers, backed by helicopters, cut Dotcom out of a safe room he had barricaded himself in within the sprawling country estate, reputedly New Zealand’s most expensive home. Millions of dollars in assets were seized or frozen including almost 20 luxury vehicles, dozens of computers and art works.

Before it was shut down in January, Megaupload was one of the world’s most popular websites, where millions of users stored data, either for free or by paying for premium service. Authorities say megaupload.com and related sites cheated copyright holders out of more than $500m.

US lawyers for Megaupload have also argued that US federal authorities cannot charge the company with criminal behavior because it is Hong Kong based, and also that no papers have ever been formally served.

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US Government Case Against Wikileak’s Julian Assange Would Be Long Uphill Battle For Prosecutors That Has Failed In The Past

June 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ever ends up in a US courtroom, prosecutors could face an uphill struggle trying to convict him, given America’s legal safeguards for publishers, analysts say.

Citing fears of prosecution in the United States, Assange remained holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London on Saturday, defying a British police order to turn himself in for extradition to Sweden.

Assange faces sexual assault allegations in Sweden but has refused to set foot there, saying he runs the risk of extradition to the United States, which he insists is intent on charging him with espionage or other serious crimes for releasing troves of once-secret files to the public.

Assange’s lawyers and supporters say his concerns are justified and not driven by paranoia.

They cite tough statements from senior US officials, interrogations of Assange’s colleagues and a grand jury investigation that has reportedly questioned associates of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of passing hundreds of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

“The grand jury is a serious business,” said Michael Ratner, a human rights lawyer advising Assange. referring to the discussions to determine whether a criminal indictment will be issued.

Some with links to Assange have reportedly faced questioning when trying to travel outside the United States and federal authorities at one point demanded Twitter open the accounts of WikiLeaks figures.

“They’re all over this case,” Ratner told AFP.

The US Justice Department will not comment on the grand jury probe and says it has no role in the extradition proceedings in London. But spokesman Dean Boyd said: “There continues to be an investigation into the WikiLeaks matter.”

Some US lawmakers and commentators have called for Assange to be charged with espionage or for conspiracy to obtain secret documents, arguing that he intended to sabotage America’s foreign policy and endangered lives by revealing the identities of informants.

Charging Assange under the Espionage Act — a vaguely worded World War I-era law — would be a difficult challenge, as it requires the government to show the accused intended to harm the US government or aid a foreign power, analysts said.

Without knowing the evidence held by US investigators, it’s difficult to predict how the government will pursue Assange’s case, said Charles Stimson, a former federal prosecutor.

“It’s a very open question as to whether you could try him for espionage,” said Stimson, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation think-tank who oversaw detainee policies at the Pentagon under ex-president George W. Bush.

A better option for prosecutors may be “to see whether or not they could charge him with something like conspiracy to disclose classified documents,” he said.

But such an approach would be breaking new legal ground, experts said.

Unlike Manning, charged with handing over a massive cache of secret State Department cables and military intelligence logs to WikiLeaks, Assange is not a US government employee obliged to withhold classified documents.

The United States has “never really successfully prosecuted a non-government official for taking documents that were classified,” Ratner said.

His defense attorneys portray him as a publisher, who merely came into possession of sensitive information. But US investigators would likely try to paint Assange as a plotter who helped Manning spill secrets, with the aim of tarnishing Washington.

Assange’s supporters can take comfort from a recent case against two pro-Israel lobbyists accused of passing on classified information to Israel, the first time civilians were charged under the Espionage Act.

After a long legal battle, prosecutors eventually dropped the charges in 2009.

The seminal case that proved the limits of government authority over publishing secrets came in 1971 over the Pentagon Papers, when President Richard Nixon tried to stop The New York Times from publishing classified documents on the Vietnam War.

The bid failed, with the courts citing the free speech rights enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Renowned First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, who worked on the Pentagon Papers case, said Assange’s website raises questions about the limits of freedom of expression, including the publishing of names of Afghans cooperating with the US government.

Some of Assange’s public comments have seemed to suggest a desire to undermine US foreign policy, comments that could backfire on him in court, Abrams said.

“WikiLeaks has a First Amendment argument, and it is a serious First Amendment argument, if it is ever charged,” Abrams said on C-Span television in 2010.

“At the same time, the government has a genuine and serious national security argument to be made with respect to the behavior, often the misbehavior, of WikiLeaks.”

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Houston Texas Police Officer Charged Woman With Bogus “Standing In Street” Charge And Took Her To Jail For Holding “Speed Trap” Sign On Sidewalk

June 29, 2012

HOUSTON, TEXAS – A Houston woman’s attempt to save drivers from a speeding ticket landed her something worse: 12 hours in jail.

As she rode her bicycle home from a grocery store last week near downtown Houston, Natalie Plummer noticed police officers pulling over speeders. After she parked her bike and turned one of her grocery bags into a makeshift sign warning drivers about the “speed trap” ahead, an officer drove up and arrested her.

“I was completely abiding by the law,” Plummer told ABC’s affiliate KRTK. “I was simply warning citizens of a situation ahead.”

But Houston police saw it differently, and arrested Plummer for standing in the street where there a sidewalk was present, a misdemeanor charge.

Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said that officers found Plummer standing in the street, waving her arms as she held the sign.

But Plummer denied ever leaving the sidewalk on West Dallas Street, alleging that the arresting officer invented a reason to detain her.

“He couldn’t take me to jail for holding up this sign or he would have. So all he could do was make up something fake about it,” Plummer told KRTK. The officer searched Plummer’s backpack, she said, and threatened to arrest her for obstructing justice, a felony charge.

Michael Dirden, Houston’s executive assistant police chief, said in a statement that if Plummer believes the police acted inappropriately, she should file a complaint with the department’s internal affairs division.

After being held in jail for 12 hours, Plummer was released on bond, and will soon appear in court to face her misdemeanor charge.

While Plummer’s method of alerting drivers to police activity might have been unprecedented, state laws covering such warnings are decades old. Their most common form, flashing headlights, is legal in some states but illegal in others.

Laws in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Florida allow headlight flashing, while other states, such as Arizona and Alaska, forbid it. In Washington, drivers may be fined $124 for flashing their high beams within 400 feet of another vehicle for any reason. Other states forbid headlight flashing in some circumstances but not in others.

In Massachusetts, flashing car lights is not illegal, but it may result in an encounter with a police officer. If a driver says no when an officer asks whether headlights were flashed to warn drivers of a speed trap, the officer might ask if the motorist was driving with defective lights — which state law forbids.

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8 New York TSA Air Marshals, Including Supervisor, Fired For Drinking On A Training Day – 6 Other Marshals Suspended For Not Reporting The Drinking

June 29, 2012

NEW YORK – The Transportation Security Administration is firing eight federal air marshals, including a supervisor, for allegedly drinking alcohol on a training day and suspending six others for not reporting the misconduct, the agency said Friday.

The 14 marshals belong to the New York office. All can appeal except a probationary employee who was terminated immediately.

The TSA told The Associated Press the drinking occurred at a restaurant in February and was reported to a website that allows employees to alert leadership of inappropriate behavior.

None of the marshals was scheduled for flight duty the day of the drinking. But the TSA said consumption of alcohol is forbidden anytime they are on the job.

The TSA didn’t know if any had yet retained attorneys.

Some of the marshals at the restaurant had their service weapons with them, the agency said.

Those being fired were required Friday to turn in their weapons and credentials.

“TSA holds all of its employees to the highest professional and ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace,” said Nico Melendez, an agency spokesman. “TSA’s decision to remove the individuals involved in the misconduct affirms our strong commitment to the highest standards of conduct and accountability.”

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7 Year Old Girl Gunned Down In Chicago Illinois While Selling Lemonade In Front Of Her Home

June 29, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — One day after a 7-year-old girl was gunned down as her mother watched while she sold lemonade in front of her West Side home, a ministers’ group is trying to persuade people to turn over the killer.

“It’s a sad day in Chicago,” said the Rev. Ira Acree of the Leaders Network ministry, which put up the $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman who killed Heaven Sutton, 7, while she was with her mother and other family members outside of their home in the 1700 block of North Luna Avenue in the North Austin neighborhood.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Acree was no less indignant than Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said to the unknown killer Thursday, “How dare you?”

“She’s an innocent seven-year-old,” Acree said, saying the girl had to try to dodge bullets as if she were in Afghanistan or the Wild West of the 1800s. “It’s horrific.”

Acree said the shooting had struck a nerve, and he said he hopes that someone who knows comes forward with the information without being prompted by the cash.

“You never know what kind of baggage might be associated with other cases, but come on. What can a 7-year-old baby be doing?” he said.

Heaven had told her mother, Ashake Banks, 38, that she wanted to move out of North Austin – which the family had called home for six months – because of all the violence in the area.

She had just gotten her hair done for a trip to Disney World that had been planned for next month, and was outside with her mother as they sold lemonade, candy and snacks under a canopy set up in front of their home. Two men opened fire around 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, and Heaven was struck in the chest.

“I had just called Heaven. She was sitting right next to me on my shoulder. Just laying on my shoulder,” Banks said Thursday.

Banks described the horrific sight of seeing her young daughter lying dead.

“For her to die like this – 7 years old, lying on a slab cold, her eyes just open, blood coming out her nose – I just want him to turn himself in. That’s all that I ask of him. And I’m asking for Chicago to help me,” she said.

The shooting also wounded a 19-year-old man in the ankle. That victim is recovering.

The fatal gunshot was fired by a gangbanger who was aiming at a rival who apparently had stopped to buy lemonade.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said detectives know which gangs were involved in the shooting, and said he expects them to wrap up the investigation quickly.

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House Oversight Chairman Issa Sticks It To Justice Department And Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Exposes Fast And Furious Secret Wiretap Application

June 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In the midst of a fiery floor debate over contempt proceedings for Attorney General Eric Holder, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) quietly dropped a bombshell letter into the Congressional Record.

The May 24 letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the panel, quotes from and describes in detail a secret wiretap application that has become a point of debate in the GOP’s “Fast and Furious” gun-walking probe.

The wiretap applications are under court seal, and releasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech, especially on a chamber’s floor.

According to the letter, the wiretap applications contained a startling amount of detail about the operation, which would have tipped off anyone who read them closely about what tactics were being used.

Holder and Cummings have both maintained that the wiretap applications did not contain such details and that the applications were reviewed narrowly for probable cause, not for whether any investigatory tactics contained followed Justice Department policy.

The wiretap applications were signed by senior DOJ officials in the department’s criminal division, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco and another official who is now deceased.

In Fast and Furious, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed assault guns bought by “straw purchasers” to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.

The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, was condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder scene.

Straw purchasers are individuals who buy guns on behalf of criminals, obscuring who is buying the weapons.

While Issa has since said he has obtained a number of wiretap applications, the letter only refers to one, from March 15, 2010. The full application is not included in what Issa entered into the Congressional Record, and names are obscured in Issa’s letter.

In the application, ATF agents included transcripts from a wiretap intercept from a previous Drug Enforcement Administration investigation that demonstrated the suspects were part of a gun-smuggling ring.

“The wiretap affidavit details that agents were well aware that large sums of money were being used to purchase a large number of firearms, many of which were flowing across the border,” the letter says.

The application included details such as how many guns specific suspects had purchased via straw purchasers and how many of those guns had been recovered in Mexico.

It also described how ATF officials watched guns bought by suspected straw purchasers but then ended their surveillance without interdicting the guns.

In at least one instance, the guns were recovered at a police stop at the U.S.-Mexico border the next day.

The application included financial details for four suspected straw purchasers showing they had purchased $373,000 worth of guns in cash but reported almost no income for the previous year, the letter says.

“Although ATF was aware of these facts, no one was arrested, and ATF failed to even approach the straw purchasers. Upon learning these details through its review of this wiretap affidavit, senior Justice Department officials had a duty to stop this operation. Further, failure to do so was a violation of Justice Department policy,” the letter says.

Holder declined to discuss the contents of the applications at a House Judiciary Committee hearing June 7 but said the applications were narrowly reviewed for whether there was probable cause to obtain a wiretap application.

Thousands of wiretap applications are reviewed each year by the DOJ’s criminal division. The applications are designed to obtain approval, so they tend to focus on the most suspicious information available.

A line attorney first creates a summary of the application, which is then usually reviewed by a deputy to Lanny Breuer, the head of the division, on his behalf. It is then reviewed and approved or denied by a judge.

Cummings has sided with the DOJ in the debate over the secret applications, but the full substance of his argument is unknown.

A June 5 letter from Cummings responding to Issa’s May 24 letter said Issa “omits the critical fact that [redacted].” The entire first section of the letter’s body is likewise blacked out.

“Sadly, it looks like Mr. Issa is continuing his string of desperate and unsubstantiated claims, while hiding key information from the very same documents,” a Democratic committee staffer said. “His actions demonstrate a lack of concern for the facts, as well as a reckless disregard for our nation’s courts and federal prosecutors who are trying to bring criminals to justice. We’re not going to stoop to his level. Obviously, we are going to honor the court’s seal and the prosecutors’ requests. But if Mr. Issa won’t tell you what he is hiding from the wiretaps, you should ask him why.”

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Efforts To Obtain Documents And Criminal Contempt Charge Against Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Shines Light On Holder, As Well As President Obama’s Efforts To Hide Documents

June 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Perhaps as significant as the contempt citation Congress issued to Attorney General Eric Holder is the likelihood Republicans will also go to court to enforce a congressional demand for documents – a tactic pursued only twice before in U.S. history.

The Republican-led House of Representatives voted on Thursday to find Holder, the country’s top law enforcement officer, in contempt of Congress for withholding documents in a botched gun-running sting operation on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a second vote, the House gave itself the authority to go to court to get the documents.

That will put a spotlight not only on Holder but also on his boss, President Barack Obama, who has insisted he can withhold the documents under executive privilege.

“The contempt citation will go away,” said Todd Peterson, a law professor at George Washington University.

“Congress will probably file a lawsuit, in part hoping to find some judicial support but more because it’s just another way to publicize the president’s refusal to comply with their demands for documents,” Peterson said.

Failure to obey a potential court order on the documents would expose Holder to a more serious contempt of court charge, though few expect it to come to that.

Critics complain that high-level legal jousting has become a sport in Washington, where partisan warriors look for any way to attack their foes.

Speaking to reporters in New Orleans, Holder said “an unnecessary court conflict” would ensue because of the House votes. He said it would not distract him or his staff “from the important tasks that are our responsibility.”

On both previous occasions when Congress went to court, the targets were Republican and the cases had some success.

In 1974 a federal appeals court granted a Senate panel’s demand for one of President Richard Nixon’s tape recordings, although the case was later dismissed on other grounds.

A PRECEDENT

In 2008 Democrats, investigating whether the firings of nine U.S. attorneys were politically motivated, won an order that forced Bush administration aides, including former White House counsel Harriet Miers, to hand over documents and testify.

The aides had refused. The House voted to hold them in contempt and went to federal court in Washington where Judge John Bates dismissed the aides’ claim that they were “absolutely immune” from having to testify.

It was the first time in U.S. history that a court successfully ordered the White House to turn over information to Congress.

Bates declined to referee the fine points of what documents the White House needed to turn over. Instead he encouraged a negotiated settlement, and the sides reached a compromise one year after Democrats sued.

Now, Republicans are tearing a page from the same playbook to use against Holder, whose cabinet role puts him in charge of the Justice Department in Obama’s Democratic administration.

The court action could entangle the Justice Department in an uncomfortable case and force the Obama administration to give new details of the unreleased documents.

The case pitting House Republicans against Holder would largely mirror the 2008 case, said Washington lawyer Stanley Brand, a former general counsel to the House.

“They’ll take the lawsuit that was filed in the previous case, they’ll change it to reflect the parties and the facts in this case, and they’ll file it,” Brand said. “They’re following what I’d call the Miers precedent.”

FAST AND FURIOUS

At issue is how Holder and the department responded to disclosures about a scheme codenamed Fast and Furious in which federal agents allowed potentially illegal gun purchases to go ahead in hopes of tracking the guns through Mexican drug cartels. Two of the guns were found at the scene of a 2010 shooting where a U.S. border agent, Brian Terry, was killed.

Republicans who disagree generally with Holder on the subject of gun rights say he has not been forthcoming about what he knew of the program.

Republicans “will use what we can,” including hiring lawyers, to try to get information from the Justice Department, said Representative Darrell Issa, who has led the House’s inquiry into the gun-running operation.

Holder said he was willing to negotiate with congressional investigators, although the Justice Department told Congress on June 20 that Obama was invoking executive privilege over the disputed documents.

A lawsuit would serve Republicans by keeping alive public discussion of the Fast and Furious episode, but it could be months before they would get additional documents.

“Even if the House wins the case in court, it’s not actually winning. It takes so long to actually win in court,” said Josh Chafetz, an associate law professor at Cornell University.

Holder might no longer be attorney general by then, if Republican Mitt Romney unseats Obama in the November 6 election or if Obama chooses a new attorney general for a second term.

In the meantime, a judge could force the Justice Department to disclose – at least to the court, in a document called a privilege log – further details of the documents it is withholding, Peterson said.

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US Justice Department Scrambles To Protect Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder From Criminal Contempt Charges

June 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Justice Department moved Friday to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from prosecution after the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress.

The contempt vote technically opened the door for the House to call on the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to bring the case before a grand jury. But because U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen works for Holder and because President Obama has already asserted executive privilege over the documents in question, some expected Holder’s Justice Department to balk.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole confirmed in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner that the department in fact would not pursue prosecution. The attorney general’s withholding of documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, he wrote, “does not constitute a crime.”

“Therefore the department will not bring the congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the attorney general,” Cole wrote, in the letter obtained by Fox News.

A department official told Fox News the letter was “pro forma” — or a formality — considering that ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey in 2008 also refused to refer two Bush White House aides to a grand jury after they were held in contempt.

Republicans nevertheless blasted the Justice Department for the move. Frederick Hill, spokesman for House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, said “it is regrettable that the political leadership of the Justice Department is trying to intervene in an effort to prevent the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from making an independent decision about whether to prosecute this case.”

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, also wrote in a letter to Machen that the Cole letter “has put the cart before the horse.” He suggested the U.S. attorney has not yet had a chance to make an informed decision on whether to move forward with the case.

The move by the Holder Justice Department, though, means Republicans are likely to take their case to civil court as they seek documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious — which was already the unofficial plan. Along with the criminal contempt resolution, Republicans also passed a civil contempt measure Thursday allowing them to go to civil court to try and get an order that would compel the Obama administration to release the documents.

Issa, R-Calif., had acknowledged Thursday night that it was “very possible” the president would instruct the U.S. attorney not to prosecute Holder. He indicated Republicans would use the civil courts to get what they want.

“The House has authorized me to hire staff and legal staff who can pursue civilly through the courts to try to get a federal judge to order, separately, this discovery,” he said.

Hill also told FoxNews.com that the next stop probably would be civil court, but he suggested the threat of criminal prosecution still looms. For now, the Obama administration can argue that its executive privilege claim over the documents protects Holder from the possibility of prosecution.

But if a civil court rules that claim invalid, Hill said, “then basically Justice has lost that shield.”

If the administration still refused to turn over the documents the Republicans want, then they could start looking at prosecution more seriously.

Republicans technically have a handful of other options if the Justice Department still refused to take the case to a grand jury.

Republicans could move to appoint a special prosecutor or even move to impeach. The last time that happened with a Cabinet member, though, was in 1876 — with the impeachment trial of war secretary William Belknap.

Hill said lawmakers are not looking at that option for Holder. They remain focused on the civil court route.

Machen and Holder also have spoken fondly of one another in public, further casting doubt on the possibility that the U.S. attorney would ever bring the case before a grand jury.

Machen is one of the two U.S. attorneys Holder tapped to lead an investigation into the recent rash of security leaks. In early June, Holder praised Machen and the other attorney as “great U.S. attorneys who have shown a willingness to take on difficult cases.”

Meanwhile, Issa continued to add fuel to the debate over Fast and Furious when he entered into the Congressional Record a letter detailing a secret wiretap application pertaining to the operation.

In the letter, Issa claimed the affidavit contained “clear information that agents were willfully allowing known straw buyers to acquire firearms for drug cartels and failing to interdict them — in some cases even allowing them to walk to Mexico.”

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Shreveport Louisiana Police Officer Kevin Perry Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Theft Of Drugs And Abuse Of Office

June 29, 2012

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA – Shreveport Police officials have charged a Shreveport officer in connection with a criminal complaint received by the department.

Shreveport Police Department Sgt. Bill Goodin says investigators received information in mid-March that a police officer was possibly involved in the theft of some prescription medication. The offense allegedly occurred while the officer was working an off-duty job at Broadmoor Middle Laboratory School. Detective supervisors were immediately notified and commenced an investigation into the allegations.

Based on evidence gathered during the course of their inquiry, investigators obtained arrest warrants Friday afternoon charging 44-year-old Kevin Perry with misdemeanor theft and abuse of office in office. Perry surrendered himself to authorities at the Caddo Correctional Center and was booked in on those charges.

Perry joined the Shreveport Police Department in November of 1990. He has been on paid administrative leave since March 22nd and will remain as such for seven days following his arrest, as required by the rules and regulations of the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board.

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UK Won’t Allow Extradition Of Most Wanted List Serial Pedophile To Country Now Famous For Wholesale Human Rights Abuses – The United States – Because US Authorities Couldn’t Guarantee A Fair Trial And Humane Treatment

June 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – One of America’s most-wanted paedophiles can walk the streets of Britain a free man after the High Court ruled that extraditing him to the US would breach his human rights.

Convicted paedophile Shawn Sullivan has been a wanted man since 1994 for allegedly molesting two 11-year-old girls and having unlawful sex with a girl of 14 in Minnesota.

If extradited to America and found guilty he could face 25 years jail on each count.

But two senior judges demanded assurances from the US Government that Sullivan – who lives in the affluent London suburb of Barnes with his Ministry of Justice worker wife – would not be put into a controversial sex offenders’ treatment programme.

Shawn Sullivan, a paedophile who is one of America’s most wanted men, will be allowed to stay in the UK with his partner, 34-year-old MoJ policy manager Sarah Smith

Today they refused to comply, and so the judges turned down the plea to return him to the US.

Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Eady both believe the programme, known as ‘civil commitment’, would be a ‘flagrant denial’ of his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

But critics will see it as another example of the one-sided extradition treaty between the two countries.

Last week it emerged that seven times more British citizens have been sent to the US under the lopsided Extradition Act than Americans sent in the opposite direction.

Home Office figures reveal how the treaty at the centre of the case against Asperger’s sufferer Gary McKinnon is being used by the US authorities far more often than their British counterparts.

Sullivan, who has joint Irish/US nationality – who also goes under the name O’Suilleabhain – was given a suspended jail sentence in Ireland in 1996 for sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls.

He was arrested in London in June 2010 while living with 34-year-old MoJ policy manager Sarah Smith in Barnes, South West London. They married in Wandsworth Prison before he was granted bail and tagged.

But lawyers for Sullivan – who has been put on America’s most-wanted sex criminals list – said if returned he could be declared ‘sexually dangerous’ and jailed without trial and with no hope of release.

The judges gave the US authorities until today to give an assurance that he would not be put on the civil commitment programme and be given a fair trial.

Today Lord Justice Moses confirmed that that ‘the United States will not provide an assurance’ that Sullivan would not be entered into the programme.

As a result his appeal would be allowed and extradition refused.

Sullivan originally from Fort Benning, Georgia, has remained here pending extradition proceedings.

Although on the list of America’s most wanted criminals he went undetected until 2007 when he was added to Interpol’s most wanted list.

In December 2010 Senior District Judge Riddle said there was no reason not to order extradition and sent the request from the US Government Home Secretary Theresa May.

In February last year she rejected representations on his behalf and ordered extradition.

But in refusing to give the go ahead Lord Justice Moses said there was a ‘real risk’ that if sent back his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights might be violated.

Under civil commitment, the court was told, someone could be held with no hope of release even though they had not been convicted of any offence.

Lord Justice Moses added: ‘I emphasise again that my judgment rests solely on my conclusion that the is a real risk that if extradited the appellant might be subject to an order for civil commitment within Minnesota, and that that amounts to a risk that he would suffer a flagrant denial of his rights.’

He said under the programme: ‘There is no requirement that the offences took place recently, nor , indeed, that the misconduct resulted in conviction, provided that the misconduct is substantiated by credible evidence.’

He said because the United States may now wish to given an assurance and because if he allowed the appeal it may be to no avail, he was adjourning the case for further argument.

Mr Justice Eady agreed and said the material before them ‘reveals that there is more than a fanciful risk that the appellant would become subject to the civil commitment process’.

In the absence of any undertaking ‘he would suffer a flagrant breach of his rights’ under the Convention, which protects against loss of liberty without a proper hearing.

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Dumbass Evansville Indiana Police Bring News Crew Along On Violent SWAT Attack On Wrong House That Catches Innocent 18 Year Old Woman Watching TV

June 29, 2012

EVANSVILLE, INDIANA – The long-standing, heavily documented militarization of even small-town American police forces was always going to create problems when it met anonymous Internet threats. And so it has, again—this time in Evansville, Indiana, where officers acted on some Topix postings threatening violence against local police. They then sent an entire SWAT unit to execute a search warrant on a local house, one in which the front door was open and an 18-year old woman sat inside watching TV.

The cops brought along TV cameras, inviting a local reporter to film the glorious operation. In the resulting video, you can watch the SWAT team, decked out in black bulletproof vests and helmets and carrying window and door smashers, creep slowly up to the house. At some point, they apparently “knock” and announce their presence—though not with the goal of getting anyone to come to the door. As the local police chief admitted later to the Evansville Courier & Press, the process is really just “designed to distract.” (SWAT does not need to wait for a response.)

Officers break the screen door and a window, tossing a flashbang into the house—which you can see explode in the video. A second flashbang gets tossed in for good measure a moment later. SWAT enters the house.

On the news that night, the reporter ends his piece by talking about how this is “an investigation that hits home for many of these brave officers.”

But the family in the home was released without any charges as police realized their mistake. Turns out the home had an open WiFi router, and the threats had been made by someone outside the house. Whoops.

So the cops did some more investigation and decided that the threats had come from a house on the same street. This time, apparently recognizing they had gone a little nuts on the first raid, the police department didn’t send a SWAT team at all. Despite believing that they now had the right location and that a threat-making bomber lurked within, they just sent officers up to the door.

“We did surveillance on the house, we knew that there were little kids there, so we decided we weren’t going to use the SWAT team,” the police chief told the paper after the second raid. “We did have one officer with a ram to hit the door in case they refused to open the door. That didn’t happen, so we didn’t need to use it.”

Their target appears to be a teenager who admits to the paper that he has a “smart mouth,” dislikes the cops, and owns a smartphone—but who denies using it to make the threats.

While the open WiFi issue has caused many problems over the last five years—especially in child porn cases—the FBI is becoming more savvy about how it executes search warrants. As we noted last December, a well-run FBI child porn investigation (also in Indiana) took rather obvious precautions before executing a warrant:

On April 30, two FBI special agents drove past the Carmel home and noted the existence of two WiFi networks reachable from the property. One used WEP encryption, the other had the more robust WPA2, but the key point from the FBI’s perspective was that neither network was unsecured. A search thus seemed much more likely to find its proper target.

Because most people aren’t stupid enough to make obvious threats from their own home Internet connection, the corollary principle also holds: if a home does have an open WiFi connection, investigators might want to ease away from the flashbangs-and-SWAT-team approach; the threat of getting it wrong is a real one.

But Evansville police aren’t backing down from their initial SWAT raid (read more about their later justification for using such force). And the targets of that raid aren’t pleased. As the owner of the first house told the paper, “The front door was open. It’s not like anyone was in there hiding. To bring a whole SWAT team seems a little excessive.”

The city will be paying to repair the damage it caused.

Not that all Evansville residents think the SWAT raid was in any way improper. Writing on the same Topix message boards where the initial threats emanated, one resident responded to critics: “They had a warrant. Sometimes warrants turn up nothing. Her home was repaired. On with your life now crusader!!! Lol”

“Noodle heads come on here thinking they are just big bad asses, threatening cops and their families,” wrote another, “then the cops come back and bitch slap them with SWAT teams and flash bang grenades. Awesome. Teach these fools a lesson and make examples out of them.”

But when all you have is an IP address, some non-trivial percentage of the time you teach a lesson to the wrong fools.

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Neither Of Vaughn New Mexico’s Criminal Cops Allowed To Carry A Firearm

June 29, 2012

VAUGHN, NEW MEXICO – Freight trains still rumble through Vaughn, NM just like they have since the 1800s.

There are two schools, and a couple of bars and restaurants. Hoteliers still rent rooms to travelers even though few tourists stay overnight.

There’s little traffic and not much crime in this sleepy little town that 500 people call home.

Ranchers, farmers and business owners all support the second amendment.

Many own guns.

But not everyone in town has the right to carry a firearm – including the city’s only two police officers.

After run-ins with the law, both lawmen’s holsters are empty.

New Mexico State Police arrested Vaughn Police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo last summer after a grand jury in Texas indicted him for criminal nonsupport of his ex-wife and two young sons.

Armijo owed his first family more than $52,000. That amount was adjusted to $40,000 after he reached a plea deal with Randall County prosecutors.

“I was unable to make the amount that was being required and I got behind. Its hard, because if you’re not making enough to do it then what do you do?” Armijo told KOB. “It’s something I didn’t take care of and I know that I should have.”

Armijo, who’s annual salary is less than $30,000, got five years probation and was ordered to start making monthly payments to help support his 10 and 12 year old sons.

Texas officials also waived a standard condition of probation and decided to allow Armijo to carry a firearm.

Armijo requested his probation be supervised under a compact between New Mexico and Texas. It was approved, but New Mexico probation officials did not recognize the gun waiver Texas offered Armijo.

Unable to own a gun or any ammunition, Armijo sold an assault rifle to Guadalupe Sheriff’s Deputy Juan Sanchez in January.

Sanchez told a state police officer he purchased the AR-15 from Armijo for $250.

Nothing in the Armijo’s probation conditions prohibit Armijo from owning a dog.

But, State Police are investigating if Armijo used his K-9 during traffic stops.

They are also investigating an allegation Armijo may have used drugs from an evidence vault as a tool to train his K-9 dog — A dog the state says Armijo is not certified to handle.

In May, Director of the State Law Enforcement Academy Louis Medina received a letter from an Animal Protection of New Mexico case manager.

Alan Edmonds wrote to Medina after he received a call from someone who claim they witnessed Armijo beat the dog with a chain leash. In an informational report filed in May, State police officer Michael Wheeler claimed he saw the dog had an open wound.

“I clearly observed an open wound that was healing on top of the dog’s head,” Wheeler reported.

But Armijo denied hurting the dog.

“I know what you are looking at,” Armijo told Wheeler. “The dog hit her head on top of her cage. The drug dealers in town are making allegations that I have been hitting and abusing my dog. They are afraid I’m going to bust them.”
Armijo hires an un-certified officer

Brian Bernal is Vaughn’s second police officer.

He was hired this spring but still has not attended the state’s law enforcement academy and is not a certified cop.

Bernal has had his own legal problems, and up until a few weeks ago was carrying a weapon even though federal law prohibits anyone convicted on domestic violence charge from owning a firearm or ammunition.

In January 2011, Bernal pled Guilty in Santa Rose to assault and battery against a household member.

The misdemeanor was dismissed after Bernal completed an anger management course.

Reporter Gadi Schwartz and Producer Peter St. Cyr traveled to Vaughn to investigate the police force.

They confronted Mayor Paul Madrid, but he did not want to talk and slammed a garage door at his business off the main drag.

No one answered at the police station either.

Town residents did speak out and they have mixed feelings about the officer’s problems.

Many don’t think that Armijo should still have his job as chief.

“It’s ridiculous,” one man said.

Others don’t think the town should even have its own police force.

After a week of chasing Armijo down, the chief finally agreed to take St. Cyr on a ride around town in his police truck.

He claims he doesn’t need a gun to do his job.

“We have tasers, batons, mace … stuff like that,” Armijo said. “This isn’t a TV show. This is life. We don’t run in everyday with a gun drawn. Life isn’t in a pistol grip. It’s how you talk to people. I wasn’t the type of person to go, ‘I’m a cop now give me my badge and my chip on my shoulder.’ That’s not me.”

Guadalupe County Sheriff’s deputies and state police officers are called when Vaughn’s officers need backup.

Sheriff Michael Lucero told Schwartz his department already covers Vaughn.

“As a law enforcement officer I’m responsible for 3,000 square miles which consists of parts of Vaughn,” Lucero said. “We do handle it.”

Medina won’t comment on Armijo’s issue specifically, but said officers need to follow the law or find another job.

“You’re supposed to pay child support if that’s required of you. You’re supposed to follow all traffic laws,” Medina said. “If you get arrested for any reason then you’re in violation and that would be an allegation of misconduct that would come before our office for contemplation of revocation or suspension of their certification.”

Medina acknowledged he sent the chief a Notice of Contemplated Action after receiving a complaint against Armijo.

Medina said he will continue to review the matter and plans to make recommendation to the Law Enforcement Review Board soon.

Board members have the final say to suspend or revoke Armijo’s state certification.

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Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder Held In Criminal And Civil Contempt After Hiding Documents On His Department’s Efforts That Armed Mexican Drug Cartels

June 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents tied to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting — a discredited operation that has become a sharp point of contention between Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

The House approved a pair of criminal and civil measures against the attorney general, marking the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt by Congress.

House members approved the criminal contempt measure in a 255-67 vote. Almost every House Republican backed the measure, along with 17 Democrats. Shortly thereafter, the civil measure passed in a sharply polarized 258-95 vote.

A large number of Democrats — including members of the Congressional Black Caucus and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — walked off the House floor in protest and refused to participate in the criminal contempt vote. A slightly smaller number of Democrats appeared to boycott the vote on the civil measure as well.

Speaking in New Orleans, Holder dismissed the House action as “the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided — and politically motivated — investigation during an election year.” In a written statement, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer blasted congressional Republicans for pushing “political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight.”

The criminal contempt charge refers the dispute to District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, who will decide whether to file charges against Holder. Most legal analysts do not expect Machen — an Obama appointee who ultimately answers to Holder — to take any action.

The civil measure allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to file a lawsuit asking the courts to examine the Justice Department’s failure to produce certain subpoenaed documents, as well as the validity of the administration’s recent assertion of executive privilege over the documents in question.

Executive privilege: A rocky legal and political road in U.S. history

Legal experts contacted by CNN have said, based on recent precedent, that it could take years for the courts to reach any final decision in the civil case.
NRA watching Holder contempt vote
Boehner defends Holder contempt vote

Fast and Furious, a so-called “gun-walking” operation, allowed roughly 2,000 guns into Mexico with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. Two guns found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s fatal shooting were linked to the operation. Guns from the operation have also been linked to an unknown number of Mexican civilians’ deaths.

GOP leaders say the documents they seek are needed to get to the circumstances surrounding Terry’s death. Democrats insist the Republican-led probe is all about politics. Thursday’s vote came two days after House Republicans rejected the latest offer by the White House and Justice Department to turn over some of the documents sought by congressional investigators in exchange for dropping the contempt measures.

A senior House Republican aide told CNN the offer was insufficient.

In the hours leading up to the criminal contempt vote, Republicans repeatedly insisted that they were exercising proper legislative oversight of the executive branch and seeking answers for Terry’s family.

“In the real world Americans are expected to comply with subpoenas. Is the attorney general any different? No he is not,” said Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Florida. “The attorney general can stonewall all he wants. The attorney general can misremember all he wants. But whether he likes it or not, today responsibility will land on his desk.”

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, warned that “even the attorney general cannot evade the law. (It’s) time for America to find out the truth. … (It’s) time for a little transparency. Today is judgment day. That’s just the way it is.”

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the “House needs to know how this happened, and it’s our constitutional duty to find out. … No Justice Department is above the law, and no Justice Department is above the Constitution.”

Democrats accused Republicans of playing political games with an operation that leaders on both sides of the aisle concede was a mistake.

“What the Republicans are doing with this motion … is contemptible,” Pelosi declared. “This is something that makes a witch hunt look like a day at the beach. It is (the) railroading of a resolution that is unsubstantiated by the facts, based on a false premise.”

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, complained that “every single attempt for even-handed investigation has been thwarted by the Republican majority.” Holder is “a good, decent, honorable man. He’s doing an excellent job as attorney general. He does not deserve this.”

Among other things, Democrats contend that California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has refused to let witnesses proposed by Democrats give public testimony. They also claim he has been demanding documents outside the scope of the subpoenas Holder is accused of violating.
Contempt for Holder story?
A brief history of ‘Fast and Furious’

Specifically, Issa and other Republicans are seeking documents showing why the Justice Department decided to withdraw as inaccurate a February 2011 letter sent to Congress that denied any major flaws in Operation Fast and Furious.

Holder has repeatedly refused to turn over materials containing internal deliberations, and asked Obama last week to assert executive privilege over such documents.

Opinion: Holder contempt vote sign of ‘broken’ Washington?

A video released Tuesday by Democrats on Issa’s panel showed the chairman making past allegations of White House links to Fast and Furious, juxtaposed with Issa saying Sunday there was no evidence of a White House cover-up.

Some gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, maintain that the program allowed hundreds of weapons, including assault rifles, to end up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels in order for the Obama administration to press for new gun control laws. The NRA heavily pressured House members — most notably moderate and conservative Democrats — to back the contempt measures.

The contempt vote in Issa’s committee last week fell along strict party lines, with Republicans supporting a contempt recommendation and Democrats opposing it. The vote occurred before the gun lobby formally registered its support for the contempt resolution.

Rarely has any pro-gun-rights Democrat representing a rural and Southern district broken with the NRA’s position on key votes, especially in an election year.

Meanwhile, Pelosi argued last week that Republicans were targeting Holder because he is fighting their efforts to suppress voter turnout in November. Rep. John Larson, D-Connecticut, chastised Republicans earlier this week for pushing ahead on the contempt vote as part of a strategy to prevent economic progress and harm Obama’s re-election chances in November.

“This is just all part of a continuing plan, and whether it’s suppressing the vote or suppressing the economy — this obstructionist regime that we see that continues to block because they think they would rather see President Obama fail than the nation succeed,” Larson said.

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Food Stamps Have Already Doubled Under Obama Administration – USDA Wants Local Offices To Throw Parties With Activities, Games, Food, And Entertainment To Enroll Even More People

June 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – While spending on the food stamp program has increased 100 percent under President Barack Obama, the government continues to push more Americans to enroll in the welfare program.
receiptiants
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has embraced entire promotional campaigns designed to encourage eligible Americans to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

A pamphlet currently posted at the USDA website encourages local SNAP offices to throw parties as one way to get potentially eligible seniors to enroll in the program.

“Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle,” the agency advises. “Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP. Putting SNAP information in a game format like BINGO, crossword puzzles, or even a ‘true/false’ quiz is fun and helps get your message across in a memorable way.”

The agency’s most recent outreach effort targets California, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and the New York metro area with radio ads.

The ads have been running since March and are scheduled to continue through the end of June — at a cost of $2.5 million — $3 million, CNN Money reported Monday.

CNN Money further noted that the USDA began running paid radio ads in 2004, under President George W. Bush, who oversaw a 63 percent increase in average food stamp participation.

In the 1970s, one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today one our of every seven receive the benefit. After the recession, the ratio is expected to hover around one out of every nine, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Despite the high rate of food stamp participation, the USDA has numerous blueprints posted on their website aimed at getting more people to enroll in SNAP. A 2009 State Outreach Plan Guidance explains why the agency believes states should adopt strategies to get more people on the rolls:

Outreach Can Help Increase Participation in SNAP Resulting in Multiple Benefits for Participants, States, and Communities: SNAP is the cornerstone of the nation’s nutrition safety net and an investment in our future. SNAP offers the opportunity for improved nutrition and progress toward economic self-sufficiency for participants who become stronger members of the community. However, too many low income people, especially seniors, working people, and legal immigrants, who are eligible for SNAP do not participate and thus forego assistance that could stretch their food dollars and help improve their nutrition.

According to the USDA, greater food stamp usage can be an economic plus for states and communities.

“Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates $9.20 in an additional community spending,” the USDA contends in their outreach guidance. “If the national participation rate rose five percentage points, 1.9 million more low-income people would have an additional $1.3 billion in benefits per year to use to purchase healthy food and $2.5 billion total in new economic activity would be generated nationwide.”

During debate on the 2012 farm bill earlier this month, Senate Republicans pushed for amendments aimed at reducing the cost and participation in the food stamp program.

The Democratically controlled Senate voted down Republican efforts — denying amendments targeting the swelling rolls that were introduced by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, and others from Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions — arguing they could reduce access to those in need.

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Former Southport Indiana Police Officer Michael V. Richards Arrested And Charged With Beating His Girlfriend To Death

June 28, 2012

GREENWOOD, INDIANA – A former Southport police officer has been arrested in connection in the beating death of his girlfriend.

Michael V. Richards, 44, was arrested Thursday on preliminary charges of aggravated battery and involuntary manslaughter.

Richard’s live-in girlfriend, Michelle R. Andrews, 44, was found dead in her apartment June 2.

Autopsy results later confirmed that Andrews had died of blunt force trauma and that her death was a homicide, police said.

Richards was taken into custody without incident at Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis, where he was staying. He is being held at the Johnson County Jail on $28,000 bond.

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American Based Case Against Megaupload Resulted In Illegal Searches And Seizures Based On Bogus Warrants In New Zealand – High Court Orders Seized Computers Returned And Requests That Authorities In United States Do The Same

June 28, 2012

NEW ZEALAND – America’s case against Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom is looking increasingly shambolic, with a New Zealand High Court judge finding that the property seizures in January raid were illegal.

Both New Zealand’s National Business Review and TVNZ are reporting that Judge Helen Winkelmann has declared the warrants used in the searches of Dotcom’s mansion were illegal.

Furthermore, the judge said it was unlawful for Dotcom’s data to be sent offshore.

TVNZ quotes the judge as saying that the warrants “fell well short” of adequately describing the offences under which the warrants operated. “They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid”.

She has also ordered that “clones” of Dotcom’s machines held by NZ authorities be returned to him, that any data held in New Zealand should stay there, and that the country should “request” that US authorities return clones taken offshore.

This seems to be no near-run or “technical” victory: NBR says the judge ordered that all data seized be reviewed by a High Court lawyer with appropriate experience, and only data relevant to the case should be retained.

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Patent Trolling Lawyers And Companies Cost US $29 BILLION In 2011

June 28, 2012

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – New research from Boston University suggests that “patent trolling” is a very expensive business, costing $US29 billion in 2011 in America alone, and that trolling reduces the funds available for innovation.

The research, by James Bessen and Michael J Meurer of the university’s School of Law, drew on information published in litigation databases and a survey of defendants to come up with the figure.

Their research found that there were more than 5,800 defences by 2,150 companies against patent assertions by “non practicing entities (NPEs) in 2011.

While high-profile cases – by NPEs the researchers describe as “big game hunters” – give the impression that patent trolling is mostly between giant corporations, the researchers noted that the median defendant had annual revenue of $US10.8 million, and 82 percent of actions were launched against companies with less than $US100 million in annual revenue.

The researchers also analysed the financial state of publicly-traded NPEs, and state that these trolls “cost small and medium-sized firms more money than these NPEs could possibly transfer to inventors”. The result, they say, is that there’s less money available for invention.

The researchers note that NPEs have a long history, and that not all of it’s bad. “Some inventors lack the resources and expertise needed to successfully license their technologies or, if necessary, to enforce their patents. NPEs provide a way for these inventors to earn rents that they might not otherwise realize, thus providing them with greater incentives to innovate,” they write.

Nor is trolling via NPEs a new phenomenon, they write, noting that “patent sharks” in the 19th century used to target railway companies and farmers. However, the rise in NPE trolling has “reached a wholly unprecedented scale and scope”.

It should be noted that this research focused only on the NPE business model – it didn’t take into account the increasingly bitter, frivolous and expensive patent spats between active vendors such as Apple, Motorola, Samsung and the rest.

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Broke: Houston Texas Passes Ordinance Charging $5 Tax On Top Of $5 State Tax On Those Visiting Strip Clubs, Clubs With Wet T-Shirt Or Naked Sushi Contests To Pay For Rape Kit Analysis

June 27, 2012

HOUSTON, TEXAS – The city of Houston is turning to an unusual source to help fund rape investigations: strip clubs.

The City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday that requires strip clubs to pay a $5-per-visitor fee to help pay for the analysis of biological evidence collected from rape victims in hopes of identifying their attackers.

Police in Houston, and in many other parts of the U.S., lack the money to promptly analyze evidence such as hair particles and blood specimens, gathered by investigators in packets known as rape kits. Houston estimates it has 6,000 rape kits that have yet to be scrutinized by crime laboratories.

Supporters of the ordinance, which was supported by Mayor Annise Parker and approved on a 14-1 vote, contend that strip clubs should shoulder some of the costs of rape investigations because the establishments can cultivate unhealthy attitudes toward women that can lead to sexual assaults.

“There are negative secondary effects associated with adult-entertainment establishments,” said Ellen Cohen, the council member who championed the ordinance, which could generate up to $3 million in annual revenue.

The fee would also apply to clubs that stage occasional adult entertainment, such as “a wet T-shirt contest or naked sushi contest,” according to the ordinance, which states all the revenue is to go toward processing rape kits.

There are an estimated 30 clubs subject to the tax, according Ms. Cohen’s chief of staff.

Critics strongly question attempts to tie strip clubs to violence against women, calling the fee unfair. “There is no known correlation between people going to nice, high-end gentlemen’s clubs and rape,” said Albert Van Huff, a Houston lawyer who represents local strip clubs.

A 2009 report by the University of Texas at Austin concluded that no study has “authoritatively linked alcohol, sexually oriented businesses, and the perpetration of violence.”

The Texas legislature last year passed a law requiring police departments to report rape evidence backlogs to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has so far tallied 15,000 untested kits—a number expected to grow as more departments file their reports. Nationally, the backlog has reached about 400,000, according to a federal bill introduced in Congress last month that would provide greater funding for the testing of kits.

Of the 6,000 Houston kits, police don’t believe they all would yield useful evidence. In some cases, for example, the victim has decided not to press charges.

In Texas, a state law passed in 2007 already imposes a $5-per-customer charge, dubbed the “pole tax,” on strip clubs around the state. A portion of the fee, which has so far generated about $15.7 million in revenue, can be used to pay for testing rape kits.

The Texas Supreme Court last year rejected a claim that the state fee, sponsored by Ms. Cohen as a state lawmaker, violates free-speech rights by infringing on a mode of expression: sexually suggestive dancing.

Victoria Camp, Deputy Director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, said no one in her field believes that “if you walk into a strip club you become a rapist.” Still, she said, “the environment that goes on at strip clubs fosters a culture that is more tolerant, at the very least, of sexual violence.”

Houston clubs now face a double fee. “You are going to rip the economic rug out from underneath” the clubs, said Angelina Spencer, Executive Director of the Association of Club Executives, a strip-club trade group.

Council member Jack Christie said the strip clubs will survive. “When you look at videos of these clubs and see women putting $5, $10 and $20 dollar bills in their remaining clothing, I don’t think a $5 tax will hurt anybody,” he said.

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Court Martials For Two Air Force Training Instructors At Texas Lackland Air Base In Latest Sex Scandal – 35 Instructors Removed From Posts, Dozens Suspected, Four Accused

June 27, 2012

TEXAS – The Air Force announced Wednesday that two training instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas were referred to special courts-martial in a growing sexual misconduct scandal.

Master Sgt. Jamey Crawford was accused of wrongfully conducting a sexual relationship with a basic trainee and other offenses. Allegations against Tech. Sgt. Christopher Smith included wrongfully making sexual advances toward a trainee.

Their trial dates have not yet been set.

A dozen instructors have been suspected of assaulting female recruits.

Allegations of sexual misconduct between instructors and cadets began there last summer, and the Pentagon has ordered a comprehensive strategic review of the entire Air Force training community.

The widespread criminal investigation is looking into the possibility that cases of sexual misconduct extend beyond Lackland.

Investigators are looking at four Air Force bases in two states.

Since allegations of misconduct began, 35 military instructors have been removed from their posts. Four have been accused.

Sgt. Luis Walker, one of the accused instructors, pleaded not guilty and faces court-martial. He’s charged with raping or sexually assaulting 10 recruits between October 2010 and January 2011.

The Air Force says it’s being fully transparent.

“I want the public to know what’s going on,” said Lackland’s Col. Glenn Palmer. “I don’t want the possibility of someone saying, ‘Well look – they’re trying to cover it up.'”

The investigation comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced wider plans to deal with the issue.

In April, he said, “We will continue to develop our strategies. We’ll continue to devote our energy and our intention to enforcing our department’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual assault.”

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers such as Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., want to investigate the matter further with a hearing of their own.

“Congress has known about this problem in the military for 25 years,” she said in an interview broadcast on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday. “We’ve had lots of hearings, lots of reports. But are we willing to step up and do the right thing by taking it out of the chain of command so the victims really have the freedom to report these crimes and feel that they are not going to be marginalized and labeled and then dismissed from the military?”

This could be the worst sexual misconduct scandal to hit the military since a similar case involving the Army in Aberdeen, Md., in 1996.

On Wednesday, victims of military sexual assault planned to lobby members of Congress seeking support for legislation sponsored by Speier called the Stop Act. It would take probes of military sexual assault away from commanders and put them in the hands of a separate military unit.

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Federal Judge Clears Way For Florida To Continue Purging Non-US Citizens From Voter Rolls – Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department Sued State To Stop Purge

June 27, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – A federal judge has refused to stop Florida from removing potentially non-U.S. citizens from its rolls.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued the state to halt the purge, arguing it was going on too close to a federal election.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said Wednesday that there was nothing in federal voting laws that prevent the state from identifying non-U.S. citizens even if it comes less than 90 days before the Aug. 14 election.

Hinkle ruled that federal laws are designed to block states from removing eligible voters close to an election. He said they are not designed to stop states from blocking voters who should have never been allowed to cast ballots in the first place.

Gov. Rick Scott praised Hinkle’s decision, saying “irreparable harm will result if non-citizens are allowed to vote.”

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No Bath Salts Or Other Hallucinatory Drugs Found In Savage Black Beast Who Was Killed In Miami While Eating Another Man

June 27, 2012

MIAMI, FLORIDA – Rudy Eugene, the Causeway Cannibal who ate the face off a homeless man he attacked along the MacArthur Causeway, was apparently not high on bath salts or any other exotic street drug at the time of the attack, according to a report released Wednesday by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner.

The news leaves law enforcement officials wondering what drove Eugene to strip off his clothes, attack homeless man Ronald Poppo, and chew off pieces of flesh from Poppo’s face.

Speculation about the cause of Eugene’s rampage on Poppo’s face centered on drugs, specifically Bath Salts, after police union officials claimed a increase in bizarre behavior among people on the street using such drugs.

The much-anticipated toxicology report released by Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Hyma found marijuana in Eugene’s system, something CBS4 News had previously reported, but no evidence of any other street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs, or any adulterants found in street drugs.

The report said this includes cocaine, LSD, amphetamines (Extasy, Meth and others), phencyclidine (PCP or Angel Dust), heroin, oxycodone, Xanax, synthetic marijuana (Spice), and many other similar compounds.

Hyma’s office specifically ruled out Bath Salts, a class of synthetic drugs that have been known to cause bizarre behavior and overheating of people who use them, two things that made some believe Eugene’s cannibalistic behavior was to blame on the drugs.

“The department has also sought the assistance of an outside forensic toxicology reference laboratory, which has confirmed the absence of “bath salts,” synthetic marijuana and LSD,” the report said.

“Within the limits of current technology by both laboratories, marijuana is the only drug identified in the body of Mr. Rudy Eugene.”

The news from the medical examiner sends investigators back to square one as they look for what caused Eugene’s bizarre behavior.

PHOTO GALLERY: NOTORIOUS CANNIBALS IN HISTORY

A girlfriend and a friend who had seen Eugene hours before the attack said he had used Marihuana, but had seen him use no other drug before traveling to the Urban Beach Weekend on Miami Beach the morning of the attack.

Eugene abandoned his car on the beach and walked back to Miami on the MacArthur Causeway, stripping off his clothes during the 3 mile trip, at one point spotted swinging from a lamp post.

Once on the Miami side of the causeway, he encountered Poppo where the MiamiMover crosses the causeway, in view of security cameras on the Miami Herald building. Those cameras detailed how the naked cannibal attacked the much older Poppo, knocked him to the ground, and stripped him of his clothing.

Once overcome, Eugene chewed flesh from Poppo’s face, but a later autopsy report found he did not actually eat it.

A police called to the scene by people who spotted the bizarre attack tried to intervene but was forced to use his gun, killing Eugene and apparently striking the badly wounded Poppo.

Poppo, who was taken to Ryder Trauma Center, survived the attack but has no memory of it. His face was virtually destroyed but doctors say much of it can be repaired.

Eugene’s family and friends say they are clueless about why he attacked Poppo, claiming the former high school football player and car wash employee had never shown such violent tendencies. Many believed drugs were to blame, but with Wednesday’s report the search has begun for a new cause for one of South Florida’s most bizarre crimes.

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Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder Speech Puts Kids To Sleep At Boys And Girls Club Of America Event In Washington DC

June 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — Attorney General Eric Holder appears to have put some kids to sleep during a Boys and Girls Club of America event in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

Images taken during Holder’s speech at the Grand Hyatt Washington to about 700 people shows some of the youngsters in the crowd either sleeping or outwardly bored while the attorney general was talking.

Holder was at the event to speak to the children involved in the 41 military-affiliated youth programs across the nation that were gathered in the nation’s capital.
Holders Speech Puts Kids To Sleep At Boys And Girls Club Event

“At a time when so many of America’s youth face significant obstacles and unprecedented barriers to success, I believe the need for positive and effective mentors like so many of the people in this room could hardly be more clear and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our kids could not be greater,” Holder said during the event.
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Dumbass Davenport Iowa Officals Send Notice To Wrong Address, Sends City Workers To Remove Couple’s Religious Items From Private Property, And Now City Has To Pay To Replace Items

June 27, 2012

DAVENPORT, IOWA – Mack Covey and his wife Merla were surprised one morning to find strangers in their backyard, taking things without notice, with not even a knock on the front door.

“Bottom line my freedom of religion was violated big time,” Covey says, “The door to the teepee was taken and the buffalo robe.”

“That was my teepee, which was an actual church,” he says of the items’ importance, “We’ve had ceremony here in it.”

Other non-religious items like umbrellas and cleaning poles were also taken, in total about $2300 worth of things Covey wants back.

“I just want what’s fair,” Covey says, “The monetary means to replace the items they blatantly stole. We weren’t notified, bottom line.”

TV6 spoke with Alderman Bill Boom today who says a notice was sent, but to the wrong address. He tell us the city was notified when a neighbor complained, citing items in the backyard, both religious and non-religious, as an environmental hazard. The city sent workers in to clean up what they call ‘debris,’ but Covey disagrees.

“It’d be like me going into one of the churches here in town and taking a cross,” he says, “That’s how much significance it has to me.”

The couple and their supporters have contacted public works and city aldermen, who have come to sort out the issue at the couple’s home. Officials say they’re working on a resolution.

“The workers I’m sure did not know what they took,” Covey says, “This is as important as life and death itself.”

An attorney for the city tells us the yard is in violation of an environmental ordinance that says residents have to keep your lawns clean and clear of debris. City officials say they’ve apologized to the couple and they’re in the process of paying them back so they can replace the items gone.

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Obama Administration Stimulus Rewarded Tax Cheats With $1.4 BILLION In Government Backed Mortgage Loans And At Least $27 Million In Tax Credits

June 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Tax cheats were given $1.4 billion in government-backed mortgage loans under President Obama’s economic stimulus, and the government doled out at least an additional $27 million in tax credits to delinquents who took the first-time-homebuyer tax break, according to a government audit released Wednesday.

Under government rules, delinquent taxpayers are supposed to be ineligible for the mortgage insurance program unless they have reached a repayment agreement with the Internal Revenue Service. But the Federal Housing Administration didn’t have the right controls to weed out bad applications, said the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ chief investigative arm.

That meant FHA insured $1.4 billion in mortgages for 6,327 borrowers who collectively owed $77.6 million in unpaid taxes, or an average of more than $12,000 each.

The auditors said that as a category, the tax cheats had foreclosure rates up to three times as high as other borrowers, which meant the delinquent taxpayers exposed the government to even greater risks.

“In the name of ‘stimulus,’ the federal government gave mortgage insurance to thousands of people we knew were tax cheats and had a bad track record paying their debts,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, who joined a bipartisan group of other lawmakers to request the investigation. “The federal government needlessly put taxpayers on the line to help tax cheats buy homes. Congress needs to ensure that tax cheats are no longer allowed to take advantage of FHA programs.”

In addition to the mortgages, the auditors found that more than half of the tax-delinquent borrowers claimed the first-time-homebuyers’ credit, worth up to $8,000.

GAO said there is no prohibition against someone claiming the credit, even though they still have unpaid tax bills. The credit is refundable, meaning taxpayers can get a check back from the government if the benefit exceeds their liability. IRS rules generally call for the agency to subtract any unpaid taxes from the refund, but in three of the nine cases that GAO analyzed in depth, it said the taxpayers had declared bankruptcy, meaning the IRS was prevented from docking the refunds.

The report was the GAO’s second study looking at tax cheats and the stimulus.

In the first report, GAO said thousands of contracts and grants were paid out under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to those with unpaid tax bills.

Mr. Obama pushed the $831 billion economic stimulus in early 2009 as a means of bolstering the faltering economy, and promised to use strict controls to cut fraud and abuse. At its peak in mid-2010, it was responsible for as many as 3.6 million jobs, but could have funded as few as 700,000, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Part of the Recovery Act was aimed at shoring up the housing market, which included the first-time-homebuyer tax credit and the mortgage assistance, which let the FHA insure loans at a higher rate in high-cost housing markets.

About 1.7 million individuals claimed the tax credit, while FHA insured more than $20 billion in mortgages for 87,000 homeowners, thanks to the Recovery Act provisions.

Under a White House policy, buyers who are delinquent on their federal taxes are not supposed to receive the mortgage assistance, unless they have worked out a repayment agreement with the IRS. But FHA rules don’t prod private lenders to ask for that information, and the FHA doesn’t have a system to work with the IRS to get that information.

Mr. Coburn joined Sens. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat; Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat; Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican; and Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, to request a review of the program.

“The stimulus-spending program was ill-conceived, with far too little oversight,” Mr. Grassley said. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone, unfortunately, that tax dollars have gone to tax cheats. It’s another one of many negative consequences of writing checks without enough checks and balances.”

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House Will Move Forward With Contempt Of Congress Vote Against Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Hiding Documents, Most Recently With Equally Disgraced President Obama’s Help

June 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Speaker John Boehner says the House will move forward with a contempt of Congress vote Thursday against Attorney General Eric Holder over the botched gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious. The White House said Republicans are seeking to score political points.

The Ohio Republican told reporters Wednesday that last-minute talks with the White House about releasing documents had failed to avert the vote. President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege to keep the documents secret, but Republicans say there’s no basis for that.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that the public would view the vote as “political theater” and “gamesmanship.”

Carney said the Justice Department and the White House on Tuesday had shown House Republicans a representative sample of the documents they were seeking. He said the administration’s offer would have provided “unprecedented access” to internal communications about how it responded to congressional inquiries into the Fast and Furious program.

The issue has political implications this election year. The National Rifle Association is keeping score, prompting some Democrats to join Republicans in voting for contempt. Such a citation would not cause the release of more documents on the operation, in which guns were allowed to “walk” from Arizona to Mexico in hopes they could be tracked.

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Lawsuit Charges Hillsborough County Florida Sheriff’s Department With Refusing To Give Rape Victim Prescribed Emergency Contraception Pill Because It Was Against Guard’s Religious Beliefs

June 27, 2012

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA – A Tampa rape victim can sue the Hillsborough County Sheriff for allowing a jail guard to refuse to give her a prescribed emergency contraception pill because it was against the guard’s religious beliefs, a federal judge ruled.
R.W., whose full name is not disclosed in court records, says she was raped on Jan. 27, 2007. After an examination at Tampa’s Rape Crisis Center, a doctor gave R.W. gave two anti-contraception pills, according to the complaint.
R.W. says she took one pill immediately and held the other to ingest 12 hours later, as directed.
While taking R.W.’s report of the crime, however, a Tampa police officer learned that there was an arrest warrant for R.W. for failure to pay restitution and failure to appear. At the Hillsborough County Jail, staff confiscated her second pill.
R.W. says she requested her second pill the next morning, but jail employee Michele Spinelli refused. “Spinelli told the Plaintiff that she would not give R.W. the pill because it was against Spinelli’s religious beliefs,” the first amended complaint states.
Although R.W. did not get pregnant, she sued Spinelli and Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee for gender discrimination and violations of the right to privacy and the right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
The sheriff moved to dismiss the counts against him, alleging R.W.’s claims are “implausible and merely incant the legal conclusion that Spinelli is a final policy maker,” according to the ruling.
“However, in this amended complaint,” U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich wrote, “Plaintiff has plead additional facts sufficient to render her claims plausible.”
Kovachevich, who dismissed the claims against the sheriff in the second amended complaint, wrote, “The single action of a final policy-maker can represent official government policy, even when the action is not meant to control later decisions.”
She continues: “In the third amended complaint, plaintiff alleged the following additional facts to support her claim that Spinelli was a final policy-maker: (1) Gee allowed Spinelli to work at the jail as the only person on duty with the power to dispense anti-conceptive medication. (2) Gee did not provide Spinelli with any guidance, supervision, or direction on whether she could refuse to dispense anti-conceptive medication based on her religious beliefs, and (3) Gee did not promulgate any policy on refusals to dispense anti-conceptive medication based on religious beliefs. None of these facts are mere labels or legal conclusions.
“Taken as true, these three facts provide plausible grounds for relief. The holding of Mandel, the broad definition of policy, and the fact that all governmental actions are the result of some official policy, grant plausibility to the Plaintiffs claim. Even though Spinelli was apparently some type of medical employee and seems to have no statutorily-granted, traditional policy-making role, Mandel suggests that she may still be a final policy-maker. Even though her act did not govern subsequent decisions of jail employees, it plausibly falls under the definition of ‘policy.’ Gee, as the representative of the municipality, promulgated no policy on anticonceptive medication and provided no guidance or supervision to Spinelli on the matter. Given that some entity must set policy for the government in each situation, plaintiff has rendered plausible the claim that Spinelli was designated the final policy-maker with respect to her decision to withhold anti-conceptive medication for religious reasons.”That is not to say, of course, that the Plaintiff will ultimately prevail on her claims. To the contrary, plaintiff faces several key evidentiary hurdles before liability will be proved… But at this early juncture, the Court must take the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true. It has done just that here – nothing more. Accordingly, it is,” the ruling states.

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Disabilities Act Targets Miniature Golf Courses, Driving Ranges, Amusement Parks, Shooting Ranges, Pools, Saunas, Gyms, And Requires Businesses To Allow Miniature Horses As “Guide Animals”

June 27, 2012

Although the Justice Department has extended the deadline for America’s hotels to comply with regulations regarding handicap access to swimming pools, new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines are already being applied at miniature golf courses, driving ranges, amusement parks, shooting ranges and saunas.

Among the provisions in the “Revised ADA Standards for Accessible Design,” which went into effect on March 15, is one requiring businesses to allow miniature horses on their premises as guide animals for the disabled. Another limits the height of slopes on miniature golf holes.

“The new standards, for the first time, include requirements for judicial facilities, detention and correctional facilities, and recreational facilities,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said during a conference in Baltimore on June 7.

“We expect the implementation of these accessibility standards to open up doors for full participation in both the responsibilities, such as jury duty, and the benefits, such as playing at city parks, of civic life for people with disabilities,” he said.

The 2010 ADA standards for Accessible Design require that at least 50 percent of golf holes on miniature golf courses be “accessible” – with a ground space that is “48 inches minimum by 60 inches minimum with slopes not steeper than 1:48 at the start of play.”

Other regulations include:

Saunas – provision of accessible turning space and an accessible bench.

Shooting facilities – provision of accessible turning space “for each different type of firing position.”

Golf courses – “an accessible route to connect all accessible elements within the boundary.” An accessible route must also “connect golf car rental areas, bag drop areas, teeing grounds, putting greens, and weather shelters.”

Gyms – at least one of each type of exercise machine must be positioned for use by a person in a wheelchair.

Amusement parks – any new or altered ride must provide at least one seat for a person in a wheelchair.

A section of the guidelines regulating commercial facilities states that, “a public accommodation shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.”

A public accommodation is defined as “a private entity that owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.”

“Miniature horses were suggested by some commenters as viable alternatives to dogs for individuals with allergies, or for those whose religious beliefs preclude the use of dogs,” the rules state. Also mentioned as a reason to include the animals is the longer life span of miniature horses – providing approximately 25 years of service as opposed to seven years for dogs.

“Some individuals with disabilities have traveled by train and have flown commercially with their miniature horses,” the Justice Department notes.

“Similar to dogs, miniature horses can be trained through behavioral reinforcement to be ‘housebroken,’” it adds.

However, “Ponies and full-size horses are not covered.”

A business owner can deny admission to a miniature horse that is not housebroken, whose handler does not have sufficient control of the animal, or if the horse’s presence compromises “legitimate safety requirements.”

The miniature horse addition has come under the scrutiny of at least one member of Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who offered an amendment that passed the House, banning funding to implement the provision. Chaffetz penned an editorial last month in opposition to the rule entitled, “Horses in the Dining Room?”

Last month the Justice Department extended the deadline for the rule requiring permanent wheelchair access to recreational pools. Citing “significant concerns and misunderstandings among a substantial number of pool owners and operators,” the department issued a notice in the Federal Register extending compliance from March 15 to May 21 this year. The date has now been pushed back further, to January 31, 2013.

The regulation requires large pools – those with over 300 linear feet of pool wall – to have two accessible means of entry, and smaller pools to have one.

For existing pools, owners making structural alterations are obliged to remove architectural barriers “to the extent such compliance is readily achievable.”

“As I consider the department’s accomplishments to date, and our plans for the future, I continue to take my inspiration from people with disabilities and their families,” Perez said in Baltimore.

“These individuals express the harm of segregation and the value of integration more eloquently than any lawyer’s brief ever could. They are the heroes of this civil rights movement.”

A person with a disability is defined by the ADA as, “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”

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Tears And Acting Stupid Keeps 18 Year Old Hillsborough County Florida Druggie From Going To Prison After 3 DUI’s In 18 Days

June 27, 2012

TAMPA, FLORIDA – An 18-year-old woman told police she didn’t realize “smoking marijuana and driving would be a DUI” when she was charged with driving under the influence three times in 18 days last spring. A prosecutor said Tuesday Kimberly McCarthy “doesn’t know herself what her substance abuse problems are.”

A judge gave McCarthy a chance to find out. Instead of sending her to prison, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Lisa Campbell ordered McCarthy into a residential drug treatment program followed by community control and supervision.

It was a big break for McCarthy who at one point faced two felonies and a raft of misdemeanors and was denied bail because of her inability to control her addictions. She cried often in earlier court hearings. Her grandfather said she had a “good streak” somewhere inside her. Appearing Tuesday with her long hair chopped to a crew cut, she declined to say anything when sentenced.

McCarthy got her learner’s license only last November and wasn’t supposed to be driving without an adult. But in the first two months of this year, driving solo in her grandparents’ vehicle, she was cited for careless driving, violating her learner’s license and not wearing a seat belt.

On Feb. 23, police found her driving with an open bottle of Sailor Jerry spiced rum, 12 Xanax pills, marijuana and a bong. That led to her first misdemeanor DUI charge, plus a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance.

Six days later, the Department of Highway Safety sent her a letter stating it was suspending her license.

But she kept driving. On March 11, McCarthy was stopped again, once more charged with possession of marijuana and misdemeanor DUI. She told police she’d smoked marijuana four hours earlier.

Then the next day, McCarthy rear-ended a stopped car. The victims thought she looked drunk. Police noted glassy eyes. They found marijuana, a bong, a roach clip and a glass pipe in her van. This time she was charged with felony DUI.

“I feel sorry for her,” said the other driver, Darwin Matute, 41. “She’s wasting her life, and she doesn’t realize it.”

In court on Tuesday, Judge Campbell said McCarthy would remain jailed until a bed could be found for her in a residential drug treatment program.

After her treatment, she will serve three years of supervision, two of those years under community control, meaning she will have to wear an ankle monitor. When she finishes supervision, she will then begin a year of probation. The judge suspended her license for six months.

The judge also chastised McCarthy’s grandparents for allowing her to drive their vehicle and ordered it disabled for 10 days.

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65 Percent Belive Obama Would Be Better Suited Than Romney To Deal With Alien Invasion (Except He’s Done Nothing But Encourage Illegal Alien Invasion From South Of The Border, Hoping To Win Over Hispanic Voters)

June 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Aliens often compete with superheroes, vampires and zombies to top hit movie lists — but more than a third of Americans say UFOs are not a fantasy.

This photo taken in December 2006 at the Area 51 exhibit at the Alien Zone in Roswell, N.M., shows an alien standing outside a crashed spaceship. More than one-third of Americans believe aliens exist, according to a National Geographic survey.

This photo taken in December 2006 at the Area 51 exhibit at the Alien Zone in Roswell, N.M., shows an alien standing outside a crashed spaceship. More than one-third of Americans believe aliens exist, according to a National Geographic survey.

That’s the word from a new National Geographic Channel study finding that 80 million Americans are certain UFOs exist and that one in 10 believe they’ve spotted one.

“We wanted the pulse on people’s opinions,” says Brad Dancer, senior vice president of research and digital media for National Geographic. “We wanted to get a sense of how Americans view UFOs, what people believe and how mainstream pop culture may or may not be playing into their opinions on it.”

The results are in: Seventeen percent of Americans don’t believe UFOs exist, 36% think they do, and 48% aren’t sure.

The survey was commissioned for National Geographic Channel’s series Chasing UFOs, premiering Friday at 9 p.m. ET.

About 79% of those surveyed think the government has kept information about UFOs a secret from the public, and 55% believe there are real-life Men in Black-style agents who threaten people who spot UFOs.

So what if they stopped by? The survey shows:

•22% would try to befriend the alien, 15% would run away, 13% would lock their doors, and only 2% would try to inflict bodily harm.

•If angry aliens did attack Earth, 21% would call the Hulk in to deal with it, 12% would call Batman, and 8% would call Spider-Man.

•Nearly 65% think Barack Obama would be better suited than Mitt Romney to handle an alien invasion.

Extraterrestrial beings could not be reached for comment.

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Zimmerman Passed Lie Detector Test Administered By Sanford Florida Police One Day After Shooting And Killing Attacking Druggie Trayvon Martin In Self Defense

June 26, 2012

SANFORD, FLORIDA – A day after killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman passed a police lie detector test when asked if he confronted the teenager and whether he feared for his life “when you shot the guy,” according to documents released today by Florida prosecutors.

According to a “confidential report” prepared by the Sanford Police Department, Zimmerman, 28, willingly submitted to a computer voice stress analyzer (CVSA) “truth verification” on February 27. Investigators concluded that he “has told substantially the complete truth in regards to this examination.”

Zimmerman, the report noted, “was classified as No Deception Indicated (NDI).”

Along with questions about whether his first name was George and if it was Monday, Zimmerman was asked, “Did you confront the guy you shot?’ He answered, “No.” He was also asked, “Were you in fear for your life, when you shot the guy.” Zimmerman replied, “Yes.”

Before the CVSA test, Zimmerman–who was apparently not accompanied by legal counsel–signed a Sanford Police Department release stating that he was undergoing the examination “voluntarily, without duress, coercion, threat or promise.”

The lie detector test was requested by Chris Serino, a homicide investigator with the Sanford Police Department.

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Veteran Cleveland Ohio Police Officer Christopher Lane Arrested, Put On Desk Duty, And Charged After Attack On His Wife

June 26, 2012

CLEVELAND, OHIO — A Cleveland Police officer was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence by the Cleveland Division of Police Internal Affairs Unit on Tuesday.

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath, says the officer arrested, 40-year-old Christopher Lane, is a Fourth District Police Officer.

Lane is accused of physically assaulting his wife at their home on Sunday, June 24.

The officer was taken into custody without incident at the Justice Center, according to McGrath.

Lane is a 15-year veteran of the force.

According to McGrath, Lane will be assigned to a restricted duty, where he has limited contact with the public and does not respond to emergency calls while his case makes its way through the legal system

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Veteran New Jersey State Police Trooper Staff Sgt. Steven M. Jones Stole Thousands Of Dollars Worth Of Gasoline From State Fuel Pumps – Gets Sweet Retirement Deal With Pension That Doesn’t Include Prison Time

June 26, 2012

TRENTON, NEW JERSEY — For more than three years, a veteran State Police trooper stole thousands of dollars worth of gasoline from state fuel pumps for his personal vehicles without being detected — and when authorities did catch on, he was not charged criminally and was allowed to retire with pension.

Disciplinary records obtained by The Star-Ledger show Staff Sgt. Steven M. Jones admitted in April that he stole 3,128 gallons of gas valued at $7,038 from October 2007 to March 2011. The 25-year trooper then retired under a negotiated plea agreement with internal affairs.

At the same time that Jones was fueling up on the taxpayers’ dime, a government watchdog warned the State Police it was not doing enough to track gas use by troopers.

“There are documented cases where abuses have been discovered,” the Office of the State Auditor said in a 2008 report. “However, systematic monitoring is not performed.”

The findings echoed the auditor’s concerns raised a year earlier about weaknesses in how the state monitors fuel fill-ups for its entire fleet — a system overseen by the state Treasury Department, which at the time vowed to make improvements.

Five years later, the state has yet to award a contract that would enact safeguards to curtail state troopers and other employees from stealing gas.

“Until all safeguards are in place, there remains a risk of abuse,” said Peter McAleer, spokesman for the state Comptroller’s Office, which documented weak oversight over vehicles used by the Department of Children and Families in 2009.

The Treasury Department said it is now reviewing contract proposals for a new system to monitor fill-ups through real-time reporting of details such as who requested the gas and how much was pumped. Officials would not say if there is a timetable for awarding a contract.

“These types of things, particularly high-tech systems like this, tend to take awhile to actually get the contract in place,” a spokesman for Treasury, Bill Quinn, said.

In the case of trooper Jones, a spokesman for the State Police, Acting Sgt. 1st Class Brian Polite, said the incident focused on the “inappropriate actions of one individual.”

“A thorough internal investigation was conducted and appropriate disciplinary actions were taken,” Polite said.

He did not respond to questions about how the theft went on for years without being detected, how Jones was caught or what is done to monitor gas use.

Jones was suspended without pay in March for about two weeks before retiring under the plea agreement with internal affairs. Records show he forfeited his accrued personal, holiday and vacation time, which was worth roughly the same amount that he stole in gas. He is also barred from holding another law enforcement job in New Jersey and from obtaining a gun permit for retired officers, records show.

The State Police Retirement Board last month reduced Jones’ pension from 65 percent of his final salary to 50 percent because of the theft and also revoked his medical benefits. Last year, Jones earned a regular salary of about $105,000, not including overtime and other pay, according to state payroll records.

During the board’s hearing, Jones, 47, said he was a recovering alcoholic but did not always follow his treatment routine during the time he stole the gas. He also said he worked a large amount of overtime but could not overcome his debt, which led to his actions.

“Sometimes I do things I don’t normally do,” Jones said. He did not return a phone call seeking further comment.
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Jones was not charged criminally, and case law prevents a police officer’s admission during an administrative review to be the basis for subsequent criminal charges. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, Paul Loriquet, declined to comment specifically about the case.

“If we have sufficient proof that a law enforcement officer has committed a crime, we’ll prosecute that officer, as we would any other individual that committed a crime,” Loriquet said.

A source familiar with the case said it was reviewed by prosecutors at the Attorney General’s Office and there was not enough evidence to bring charges. The source was not allowed to discuss criminal investigations and requested anonymity.

The state Auditor’s report in 2008 noted the weak protections of the State Police’s fueling system. Most gas cards are assigned to individual patrol cars, though some are “transient” cards that can be used by any trooper at a particular barracks.

Three sources with knowledge of the State Police’s fueling system said it relies largely on the honor system and not every fueling yard has cameras to deter abuse. The sources requested anonymity because they were not allowed to speak with the media.

In addition, though fuel pumps ask for a badge number after a card is swiped, a trooper can enter anyone’s badge number and get gas. The auditor’s report said that makes tracking individual usage difficult.

“Having a more secure identification number associated with each transaction would make monitoring more effective,” the report said.

In its review of the state’s entire fuel monitoring system in 2007, the auditor noted there were multiple fill-ups on the same day, fill-ups exceeding fuel tank capacities and inconsistent mileage tracking.

The state has in the past charged public employees for stealing gas.

In 2008, the Attorney General’s Office charged a dozen public employees, including six with ties to the Department of Children and Families, in connection with stealing about 1,400 gallons of gas for their personal vehicles from government-run pumps.

In response to the arrests, the Comptroller’s Office reviewed the department and found hundreds of questionable fuel transactions and weak oversight. McAleer, the spokesman for the office, said the department has since made substantial improvements.

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Las Vegas Nevada Bar Closing After 20 Years And 15 People Will Lose Jobs Due To Water Bill – Used Only $60 In Water, But Bill Is $540 With Surcharges

June 26, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – A longtime Las Vegas bar is closing down, and owners say a new surcharge on their water bill is the reason. Larry’s Hideaway has been open for 20 years, but all that history is going down the drain.

The tune at Larry’s Hideaway this week is a sad one. Regular patrons like Jamie Cole hate to hear this saloon is shutting its doors for good.

“I’m going to cry,” Cole said. “It’s not right. This place has been here forever.”

Larry’s Hideaway president Brent Howard says the cost of operating the business increased over the years. A new water bill fee sealed the bar’s fate.

“I think it’s unfair to go after businesses,” he said. “The bill was five hundred and forty dollars for the total bill. The water usage on the bill was sixty dollars.”

Southern Nevada Water Authority officials say the new surcharge will help cover infrastructure costs. Because Larry’s Hideaway has a big water line to feed its sprinklers, the bar’s tab got expensive.

“We have to do something,” said Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who also sits on the Southern Nevada Water Authority Board of Directors. “It was presented that it was going to be a modest charge to everybody. This is far from a modest charge.”

After 20 years, Larry’s Hideaway will hold its last call. Sisolak says something must be done so this surcharge doesn’t drown out anyone else.

“I think we have to. There’s no doubt in my mind. You’re going to have businesses, more businesses, going out of business,” he said.

This Friday, loyal patrons will have one last toast, say their goodbyes and mark the end of an era at this country bar.

“I envision this place is going to be boarded up for a long time. I really don’t know what’s going to happen,” Howard said.

A few weeks ago, 15 people worked at Larry’s Hideaway. That number is down to eight, and most will be out of a job.

Friday night will be the last night Larry’s Hideaway will be open, and then the taps will be shut off – perhaps forever.

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Broke: Las Vegas Nevada Police Department Faces $68 Million Budget Shortfall – Costs $525 MILLION A Year To Run Department

June 26, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — The Metropolitan Police Department’s estimated $68 million budget shortfall next year has Sheriff Doug Gillespie preparing for a worse case scenario. He must find the money by April or be forced to make drastic cuts, including patrol officer positions, which are already at a bare minimum.

Metro estimates it will cost about $525 million to run the department next year. They have already scrapped two police academies, closed a substation and cut more than 230 positions in the last two years.

Gillespie detailed to the police commission how serious the situation is, calling on help from the City of Las Vegas and Clark County. In 60-days, he wants to know how much the department will get from each entity, and he expects a financial tug of war.

“The city and the county have had to reduce service levels as well, eliminate positions as well, so none of these decisions are going to be easy,” he said.

The county says it has no more to give and that deeper cuts are inevitable. Uniformed officer numbers are already near minimum safety levels.

“You can’t reduce their resources and numbers below acceptable levels,” said Gillespie.

Another big reason Metro is in this bind is Clark County’s declining property taxes, which have seen a 36 percent drop accounting for nearly $61 million that normally would have been in the police budget. The sheriff plans to ask the Nevada legislature to re-allocate $54 million earmarked to hire new cops to help fill the budget.

One of the more surprising moments of the meeting was a $350 donation that got a standing ovation. Paul Jones collected soda cans and donated the money to the department.

“I heard bad things were going to happen. I wanted to help save people’s jobs and help donate money,” he said.

What’s inside his piggy bank may not be much, but Gillespie says the gesture gives him goose bumps. With the department facing one of the toughest financial binds since the 1980’s, Jones is just happy he can give some relief.

“Thank you for keeping the bad guys off the streets,” he said.

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New York Police Flood Rapid Transit Buses And Trains With Cops To Catch Fare-Beaters – Most Of Which Turn Out To Be Children That Grew Over 44 Inch Limit But Still Ride For Free – Police Want Riders To Waste Their Time Reporting Fare-Dogers, Even Though They’ll Be Long Gone Before They Arrive

June 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The NYPD has begun flooding city buses with undercover and uniformed cops to nab serial fare-beaters, a problem that’s costing the agency $100 million a year, officials said yesterday.

The operation has led to 1,228 fare-beating arrests from Jan. 1 through June 24 — a 102 percent increase from the 609 arrests in the same period last year, according to NYPD statistics released yesterday.

Much of the crackdown took place in The Bronx, where 992 people were caught ripping off the system. Last year, 412 people were arrested in The Bronx for fare-beating on buses.

Staten Island, which officials say is regularly among the worst locations in the city for bus fare-beating, came in second place, with 60 arrests this year — up from three last year.

The NYPD has also ramped up random inspections, sending uniformed cops on board buses more than 900 times in the past month.
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Boston Taxpayers On The Hook For $150,000 To $200,000 For Obama’s Fundraising Visit

June 26, 2012

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Outraged taxpayer advocates slammed President Obama for lavishly politicking on the taxpayers’ dime last night, as Boston ran up a hefty tab providing security so the Democratic incumbent could breeze in and out of town for a series of re-election events.

“It’s an atrocious waste of taxpayer money,” said David Tuerck, a government ethics watchdog with Suffolk University. “There is no taxpayer interest in any of this. It’s all about getting him re-elected, and the campaign should pay for everything.”

Mayor Thomas M. Menino rebuffed questions about security costs.

“(It’s) the president of the United States, and I respect the office he holds,” Menino told WBZ-radio. “I’m not gonna let petty politics play any part of what the presidential visit (means) to the city of Boston.”

Menino added that he wants to make sure the president has a great visit to Boston.

“It’s very exciting for the city. I’ll just say we’re honored by having him here tonight,” Menino said.

City Hall refused to provide a cost estimate, but one city official predicted it could run between $150,000 to $200,000 to provide security for Obama, in town on a $3.1 million fundraising tear. The Boston Police Department had hordes of officers outside Hamersley’s Bistro in the South End and at Symphony Hall. Boston police will also likely provide security as Obama stays the night and leaves this morning.

“Given that many municipalities are facing budget crunches of their own, squeezing them even further for political events can grate on a lot of residents’ nerves,” said Pete Sepp, vice president of the conservative-leaning National Taxpayers Union. He argued that presidents from both political parties should pick up their campaign tabs.

“This is a major problem of incumbency. They utilize Air Force One and all trappings to make political trips, and they only pay a portion of it with their campaign funds,” he said.

Obama, who gave a warm endorsement to Elizabeth Warren during last night’s fundraiser in the packed Symphony Hall, focused on rallying supporters. He admitted his race against Mitt Romney will be tough but urged voters to stick with him.

“This election will be close. It will be close because there are a lot of folks who are going through a tough time,” he said. “I believe in you and if you believe in me … then I need you to stand with me for a second term as president.”

Obama’s campaign pays for a portion of the $182,000-an-hour cost of operating Air Force One and his presidential motorcade, said campaign officials last night, but they did not detail how much.

The cost of protecting Obama almost halted a campaign visit yesterday in Durham, N.H., where residents protested paying for the political event. A private donor eventually covered the cost of the trip to the city, which only served to raise objections among conservatives about the secrecy.

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Nixon 2.0: House Oversight Committee Investigates White House Involvement In Eric Holder’s Botched “Fast And Furious” Operations After President Claims Executive Privilage To Hide Incriminating Documents Linking Holder And/Or President To Scandal

June 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The chairman of the House oversight committee investigating White House involvement in the botched “gun-walking” program that led to the 2010 death of U.S. Border Patrol agent accused President Obama on Monday of downplaying his involvement in the program or intentionally obstructing the Congress’ inquiry.

Rep. Darrel Issa’s letter to Obama questioned the legal basis of the White House move to withhold subpoenaed documents from the Government Reform and Oversight Committee under protections afforded Obama by executive privilege. The Justice Department denied Issa’s committee the subpoenaed documents last week, prompting the GOP-led committee to vote along party lines to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

The full House is scheduled to consider the contempt citation this week. The White House contends it’s legally entitled to withhold documents related to internal deliberations on policy and advisory discussions among Obama’s senior advisers. It was the first time Obama, who pledged a new era of government transparency, has exerted executive privilege.

Issa said the assertion of executive privilege, which occurred after 16-months of negotiations between his committee and Justice officials over documents related to the gun-walking program called Fast and Furious, raised two troubling questions.

“Either you or your most senior advisers were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it…or, you are asserting a Presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation,” Issa wrote. “To date, the White House has steadfastly maintained that it has not had any role in advising the Department with respect to the congressional investigation. The surprising assertion of executive privilege raised the question of whether that is still the case.”

Issa’s committee has subpoenaed documents it believes relevant to Justice and White House deliberations that led to a false Justice Department submission—in Holder’s name—in February 2011 that Fast and Furious was not a gun walking operation. The committee had been told by whistle-blowers that Fast and Furious allowed large quantities of AK-47 firearms and variants to “walk” into Mexico. Two of those firearms were discovered at the scene where Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed near Rio Rico, Az., on Dec. 14, 2010.

The White House dismissed Issa’s letter.

“The Congressman’s analysis has as much merit as his absurd contention that Operation Fast and Furious was created in order to promote gun control,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz. “Our position is consistent with Executive Branch legal precedent for the past three decades spanning Administrations of both parties, and dating back to President Reagan’s Department of Justice. The Courts have routinely considered deliberative process privilege claims and affirmed the right of the executive branch to invoke the privilege even when White House documents are not involved.”

Issa has at times suggested Fast and Furious might have been initiated as part of a larger push for tighter U.S. gun control laws. The chairman largely abandoned that theory on the Sunday talk shows.

The Bush administration in its second term initiated the gun-walking program in an attempt to prosecute gun-runners and drug traffickers in Mexico. Under a larger program called Operation Gun Runner, an ill-fated program called Operation Wide Receiver was conducted from 2006-2007. It was riddled with inefficiency and poor inter-agency cooperation and communication. It yielded no arrests or indictments on Bush’s watch. The Obama administration reviewed the dormant Bush-era cases and brought charges against nine people accused of low-level gun trafficking offenses. In October 2009, the Obama administration expanded efforts to pursue high-level Mexican drug and arms traffickers. Building on Wide Receiver, efforts at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives greatly expanded the use of surveillance of firearms purchases. These efforts grew into Fast and Furious.

At the heart of Issa’s inquiry is how much Justice and the White House knew about the origins of Fast and Furious, its scope and its operational ambitions.

As he did on the Sunday talk shows, Issa held out hope for a compromise over the disputed documents. The full House has never before voted to hold an attorney general in contempt of Congress.

“I remain hopeful that the Attorney General will produce the specified documents,” Issa said. Short of that, the chairman urged Obama to “define the universe of documents over which you asserted executive privilege and provide the Committee with the legal justification from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).”

Issa acknowledged Justice has provided in excess of 7,600 documents, but said the high-stakes dispute is now over those related to Justice’s initial denial—nearly three months after agent Terry’s death—that that Fast and Furious was a gun-walking operation.

“These key documents would help the Committee understand how and why the Justice Department moved from denying whistle blower allegations to understanding they were true; the identities of officials who attempted to retaliate against whistle blowers,” Issa wrote, adding the committee also want to learn “whether senior (Justice) Department officials are being held to the same standard as lower-level employees who have been blamed for Fast and Furious by their politically-appointed bosses in Washington.”

Issa also asked Obama to explain “what extent were you or your most senior advisers involved in Operation Fast and Furious and the fallout from it” and sought documents related to “any communications, meetings, and teleconferences between the White House and the Justice Department between February 4, 2011 and June 18, 2012, the day before the Attorney General requested that you assert executive privilege.”

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TSA Directing Its Staff To Hire People With Criminal Records That Exhibit Violent Tendencies And Psychopathic Behavior

June 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A TSA supervisor turned whistleblower has revealed to the Alex Jones Show how the federal agency is deliberately directing its staff to hire people with criminal records who exhibit violent tendencies and psychopathic behavior.

Explaining how his job involved filing reports on other TSA screeners who didn’t follow procedure, “Rob” expressed his alarm at the fact that criminals were being hired who exhibited the behavior of “psycopaths.”

“We have a program in the state of Rhode Island where we take prisoners who are out for non violent drug offenses and everything else – basically sociopaths – and we’re sending them to a ten day course and getting them out in uniform out checking people,” said the whistleblower.

Rob added that people who seemed professional were disregarded in favor of applicants who had criminal records and displayed a tendency for megalomania and power trip behavior.

“If they have a background and it’s something like violence or abusing authority we put them right in, we put them guys on the floor first day,” said Rob, adding he was also encouraged to hire Iraq war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It’s all about the power trip, it’s all about having people bug their eyes out at the public and getting the public conditioned to the fact that the police state is coming,” he added, noting how TSA screeners were directed to stick their chests out and “eyeball people.”

As a recent report by Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn highlighted, the fact that TSA agents are so routinely caught engaged in criminal behavior is by no means an aberration but stems “from TSA’s hiring practices and insufficient use of background checks.”

This includes the TSA’s recruitment policy which, instead of representing an “intelligent risk-based organization,” actually fails to conduct criminal and credit background checks on many of its employees while advertising “for employment at the Washington Reagan National Airport on pizza boxes and on advertisements above pumps at discount gas stations in the D.C. area.”

A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Last month it emerged that a Catholic priest who had been defrocked over allegations of child sex abuse was subsequetly hired by the TSA to work at Philadelphia International Airport.

Rob also divulged how TSA screeners were being ordered by their supervisors to check bags of people arriving at the airport who were merely there to pick up passengers, adding how he was directed to search a diaper bag belonging to a woman who had come to pick up her husband.

“We’re doing patrols in the parking lot with dogs, we’re even going as far out to the train station because the train station is connected to the airport here and we have guys walking around the train station, walking around the rental cars, we’re inspecting cars coming into the parking garage, I mean we’ve fully expanded – we’re no longer just at the gate and just at the security checkpoint,” he added.

Rob also explained how he was part of a coalition of TSA agents working at the airport in question who refused to grope passengers in certain areas, but that supervisors were firing those who took this stance.

During a subsequent private phone call with Alex Jones, the whistleblower said he had already been contacted by his bosses to be reprimanded over his on-air revelations. Given the fact that Rhode Island only has one major public airport, it’s easy to see how TSA superiors were able to discern Rob’s identity.

We’ll have further updates on this story as it progresses.

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Suspended North Providence Rhode Island Police Chief John J. Whiting Claims He Didn’t Steal Stripper’s Cash

June 26, 2012

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – A suspended Rhode Island police chief testified at his trial Monday that he did not steal $714 from a stripper’s pocketbook after chasing a SUV in which she was riding during Tropical Storm Irene.

Testifying in his own defense, North Providence police Col. John J. Whiting gave a vastly different account of his exchange with a Pawtucket police officer who was investigating the Aug. 28 vehicle chase and foot pursuit in Pawtucket that involved the police chief.

Whiting, 58, of North Attleboro, has pleaded not guilty to larceny over $500 and solicitation to receive stolen property. Providence County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini dismissed a charge against him of criminal solicitation to obstruct justice. Whiting’s case is being decided by a judge instead of by a jury.

Pawtucket Officer John Brown testified last week that Whiting confessed to stealing the money. Brown said Whiting gave him the money with instructions to spend it in Las Vegas and not say anything about it.

Whiting testified he told Brown to take the money as seized evidence and was being sarcastic when he told him: “I don’t give a (expletive) if you go to Vegas.”

Giving his first public account of the events, Whiting described getting into a pursuit with a Ford Explorer while driving through Pawtucket on his way to work in North Providence. He said the SUV was trying to get around a downed tree when he tried to pass the vehicle, and someone instead threw an object at his SUV.

Whiting testified he then chased the vehicle until it turned down a dead-end street and struck a parked car.

The Explorer’s occupants ran away from the crash site, Whiting testified. Among them was 21-year-old Justina Cardoso, a former stripper who testified she left behind all her belongings, including her money.

Whiting said he went through the SUV looking for evidence that might indicate who was in the vehicle. He said he found money inside a zippered pouch that he took because no Pawtucket police had shown up yet.

During cross examination, Whiting testified he made a “conscious decision” to turn over the money to Brown, the Pawtucket officer who reported to the scene, at the conclusion of the investigation on the dead-end street where the chase ended.

“I had no intention of stealing the money. I didn’t steal the money,” Whiting said.

He added he did not have time during the investigation to tell Brown that he had the money.

“I have $714. How long does that take,” Assistant Attorney General Mark Trovato asked.

Before Brown left the crash scene to finish his work at the Pawtucket police station, Whiting testified that he asked Brown to meet him at a nearby parking lot.

“I was going to give him the money at that time and answer any other questions about the accident,” Whiting said.

When they arrived at the parking lot, Whiting testified he and Brown made small talk. Whiting, who served on the Pawtucket police force for nearly 30 years before becoming the North Providence police chief, is an acquaintance of Brown, who has been a Pawtucket police officer for 24 years.

Eventually, Whiting testified, Brown said he was going to the site where Whiting tried to pass the Explorer to look for the bottle that the police chief thought was thrown at his vehicle, and Whiting accompanies him.

Whiting said he then turned over the money to Brown, who asked: “What did you steal it or something?”

Whiting said he angrily told him no and that he’s “never stolen anything in my … life.”

Whiting also testified that Brown was mumbling and hesitant to take the money from him. He said he was having trouble understanding what Brown was saying to him.

Whiting acknowledged he failed to count out the money he was turning over to Brown. Still, he said he expected Brown to submit it as seized evidence.

“I admit I made a mistake by not counting out the money in front of him. That’s the only mistake I made,” Whiting said.

He is expected to continue his testimony on Tuesday.

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Obama Does The Most Logical Thing He Could Think Of At Boston Massachusetts Fundraiser – Piss Off Red Socks Fans

June 26, 2012

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – Were they boos or cheers for “Youk?”

Being booed was probably the last thing President Barack Obama expected from the crowd at a Symphony Hall fundraiser Monday night, but that happened when the president “thanked” Boston for Kevin Youkilis, who was just traded to the Chicago White Sox.

“I’m just saying, he’s going to have to change the color of his socks,” the president said laughing.

Youkilis was traded from the Red Sox, to Obama’s favorite team on Sunday for infielder Brent Lillibridge and pitcher Zach Stewart.

“I didn’t think I was going to get any boos out of here,” he said. “I should not have brought up baseball, I understand, my mistake, you got to know your crowd.”

Tickets for President Obama’s fundraiser at Symphony Hall cost between $250 and $2,500.

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Former President Carter Highlights Obama’S Widespread Abuse Of Human Rights – President’s Efforts Help Our Enemies And Alienates Our Friends

June 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the “widespread abuse of human rights” by authorizing drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists.

Jimmy Carter, America’s 39 th president, denounced the Obama administration for “clearly violating” 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that the “United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.”

“Instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends,” Carter wrote.

While the total number of attacks from unmanned aircraft, or drones, and the resulting casualties are murky, the New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan alone 265 drone strikes have been executed since January 2009 . Those strikes have killed at least 1,488 people, at least 1,343 of them considered militants, the foundation estimates based on news reports and other sources.

In addition to the drone strikes, Carter criticized the current president for keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention center open, where prisoners “have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers.”

The former president blasted the government for allowing “unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications.”

He also condemned recent legislation that gives the president the power to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, although a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect for any suspects not affiliated with the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration,” Carter said.

While Carter never mentioned Obama by name, he called out “our government” and “the highest authorities in Washington,” and urged “concerned citizens” to “persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership.”

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Rule Breaking Orlando Florida TSA Agent Dumped Man’s Grandfathers Ashes On The Floor And Started Laughing

June 26, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – A man’s attempt to bring the ashes of his grandfather home to Indianapolis ended with an angry scene in a Florida airport, with the ashes spilled on the terminal floor.

John Gross, a resident of Indianapolis’ south side, was leaving Florida with the remains of his grandfather — Mario Mark Marcaletti, a Sicilian immigrant who worked for the Penn Central Railroad in central Indiana — in a tightly sealed jar marked “Human Remains.”

Gross said he didn’t think he’d have a problem, until he ran into a TSA agent at the Orlando airport.

“They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,'” Gross told RTV6’s Norman Cox. “She picked up the jar. She opened it up.

“I was told later on that she had no right to even open it, that they could have used other devices, like an X-ray machine. So she opened it up. She used her finger and was sifting through it. And then she accidentally spilled it.”

Gross says about a quarter to a third of the contents spilled on the floor, leaving him frantically trying to gather up as much as he could while anxious passengers waited behind him.

“She didn’t apologize. She started laughing. I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me.”

TSA rules say a crematory container in carry-on baggage must pass through the X-ray machine at the security checkpoint.

But the agency’s own website says human remains are to be opened under, “no circumstances.”

“I want an apology,” said Gross. “I want an apology from TSA. I want an apology from the lady who opened the jar and laughed at me. I want them to help me understand where they get off treating people like this.”

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Dozens Gather In Middleborough Massachusetts To Protest Bogus Law Against Swearing

June 26, 2012

MIDDLEBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – Several dozen people have held a profanity laced rally to protest a Massachusetts town’s bylaw allowing police to hand out $20 tickets for public swearing.

See also: Nutcase Middleborough Massachusetts Police Chief Bruce Gates Has Never Heard Of 1st Amendment, Wants To Issue $20 Tickets To Anyone Who Swears Downtown

Some people shouted curse words while others carried profane posters supporting free speech at Monday’s rally in the rain on the Middleborough Town Hall lawn. People who support the bylaw also showed up.

The protest rally was organized by Adam Kokesh, a libertarian who publishes podcasts online from a Virginia studio. He says police can “steal from you if they don’t like what’s coming out of your mouth.”

But police won’t be issuing any tickets until the state attorney general determines if the bylaw making public cursing a civil offense is constitutional. The bylaw was passed overwhelmingly two weeks ago at a town meeting.

Public swearing was a crime under a seldom-enforced 1968 bylaw.

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Widening Sex Scandal Rocks Lackland Air Force Base In Texas

June 26, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – From a chapel pulpit on Lackland Air Force Base, where every American airman reports for basic training, Col. Glenn Palmer delivered his first order to nearly 600 recruits seated in the pews: If you’re sexually harassed or assaulted, tell someone.

“My job is to give you a safe, effective training environment,” Palmer said firmly.

What the colonel did not mention directly in his recent address was a widening sex scandal that has rocked the base, one of the nation’s busiest military training centers. Allegations that male instructors had sex with, and in one case raped, female trainees have led to criminal charges against four men. Charges against others are possible.

The most serious accusations surround an Air Force staff sergeant scheduled to face a court-martial in July on charges that include rape and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault. The other three defendants were charged with lesser crimes ranging from sexual misconduct to adultery. All of the defendants were assigned to turn raw recruits into airmen in eight weeks of basic training.

A two-star general is now investigating alongside a separate criminal probe, which military prosecutors say could sweep up more airmen. Advocates for female service members and members of Congress have started taking notice.

“It’s a pretty big scandal the Air Force is having to deal with at this point,” said Greg Jacob, a former Marine infantry officer and policy director of the Service Women’s Action Network. “It’s pretty substantial in its scope.”

Yet there are signs the Air Force still doesn’t have a handle on the full depth of the problem. Staff Sgt. Peter Vega-Maldonado pleaded guilty earlier this month to having sex with a female trainee and struck a plea deal for 90 days’ confinement. Then he acknowledged being involved with a total of 10 trainees – a number previously unknown to investigators.

On Friday, after months of embarrassing disclosures, the head of the Air Force’s training command ordered Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward to lead an independent investigation. That same day, the Air Force gave reporters rare access to Lackland’s instructional headquarters in an effort to show there was nothing to hide.

The headquarters facility is where Lackland trains the people who train recruits. Inside one small classroom, three women and two men were lectured on the importance of having a moral compass while watching a slide presentation titled “Integrity First.”

Lackland has about 475 instructors for the nearly 36,000 airmen who will graduate this year. That’s about 85 percent of what Lackland would consider a full roster of instructors, a demanding job that requires airmen to work longer hours than most for four years, at the expense of family and personal time. The Air Force recently launched a smartphone app to help recruit instructors. Topping a page of frequently asked questions is whether the divorce rate for instructors really is higher. (The Air Force says no.)

Palmer said that a slight shortage in instructors has not lowered the standards for applicants. In response to the allegations, he said instructor training is being revamped and that he was accountable for problems within the training wing.

Leaders of the instructor program, however, said the responsibility falls on the accused.

“A person sitting in that seat, they’re going to do what they’re going to do when no one is watching,” said Master Sgt. Greg Pendleton, who oversees the training. “That’s across the board. That’s just them. When we’re outside this door or outside these walls, there are individuals that have their own personal values.”

So widespread is the fallout that Lackland halted operations for an entire day in March to survey about 5,900 trainees about whether they had seen or been a victim of sexual misconduct.

It was a highly unusual move for a vast 15-square-mile base that runs with relentless efficiency. A new class of airmen graduates every Friday for 50 of the 52 weeks in the year. At first, Palmer, commander of the 737th training wing, said he wasn’t sure that halting training was even possible.

Airman Andrea Madison, a new graduate who was in basic training at the height of the investigation at Lackland, said she never felt uncomfortable with her instructors.

“They want to make sure no foul play is happening, no one is taking advantage of us,” said Madison, of Columbus, Ohio.

Last week, one commander of a Lackland training squadron caught up in the sex scandal was dismissed after the Air Force lost confidence in his leadership. Col. Polly Kenny, 2nd Air Force Staff, said the dismissal was not directly related to the sexual misconduct investigation.

Nearly three dozen instructors at Lackland have also been removed in the past year, but the Air Force will not say how many lost their jobs as a result of the investigation that began last fall, only that the majority of dismissals were unrelated.

The first sexual misconduct allegations at Lackland surfaced a year ago against Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, who is charged with 28 counts.

Walker, the only instructor who has been accused of sexually assaulting another airman, faces life in prison if convicted. His civilian attorney, Joseph Esparza, has declined to speak with reporters and did not return multiple calls for comment.

Sexual assault victims are reassigned and can apply for a “humanitarian discharge” from the military, but Lackland civilian spokeswoman Collen McGhee said she did not know whether those affected by this case had done so.

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Broke: Detroit Michigan To Lay Of 164 Firefighters – 19% Of Workforce – Claims It May Be Temporary

June 26, 2012

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – As Detroit continues to work through its financial difficulties, the city will lay off 164 firefighters by the end of July, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s office announced Monday.

The layoffs could be temporary, as the city hopes to secure a federal grant that would restore the jobs of 108 firefighters. Still, there is no guarantee the city will be awarded the grant, Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said during budget talks this spring.

“Since I became mayor, I’ve made public safety my top priority, and I’ve said I would protect the jobs of police and firefighters, but fiscal realities have made this untenable,” Bing said in a statement. “With my administration continuing to work to fiscally stabilize the city and with recent cuts to the city’s budget, we’re announcing the layoffs of 164 Detroit Fire Department firefighters by the end of July.”

Bing said he hopes that many, if not most, of the remaining 56 firefighters who will lose their jobs will be recalled as the fire department loses others through retirement and attrition. The layoffs represent nearly 19 percent of the fire department’s 881 sworn firefighters. There are also 248 EMS technicians.

Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, called the layoffs disastrous and said the action will force 16 fire companies throughout the city to close.

“For as long as we’ve been fighting fires in the city of Detroit, we have guaranteed that if you call us, we will come,” McNamara said in statement. “If these cuts remain, there will be times when we won’t have the necessary resources to respond. … We have a disaster waiting to happen that will likely result in not only the loss of property, but potentially the loss of lives.”

McNamara said Bing is calling for $23 million in cuts from the department, cuts that “will put its fire department and its residents at great risk — increasing response times and further taxing an already greatly reduced workforce.”

In his statement, Bing said Austin and his staff have developed a plan to maintain the highest levels of fire service by:

• Deploying engines from adjacent sectors and using newly installed GPS systems in the engines and rigs to best dispatch fire department personnel.

•Conducting thorough risks/gain analysis of interior versus exterior fire suppression.

•Continuing community fire prevention education.

“Laying off any of our courageous and dedicated public safety personnel is the last thing I want to do at this point, but I have to face this hard reality,” Bing said.

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7 And 8 Year Old Children And Counselor Leaving Washington DC Summer Camp Lunch Program Shot By Savage Black Beast Trying To Kill Another Man

June 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The children were returning from lunch, marching in line and singing songs when the bullets started to fly.

A 7-year-old boy was shot in the right shoulder. An 8-year-old was struck in the right ankle. A counselor was hit in his left thigh but managed to usher the group of about 30 children to safety, D.C. police said. The shooting victims were expected to survive.

The children and their counselor were apparently caught in a spray of bullets fired by one man at another for reasons that aren’t clear, police said. The gunman fired at the second man as he ran toward the children in the 1900 block of Savannah Street SE, police said.

Police were looking for a black male wearing a white T-shirt, possibly with a ponytail. They were also looking for the man targeted by the shooter.

“Certainly we don’t think they were shooting at 6-year-old children,” said 7th District Cmdr. Joel Maupin.

Police combed a parking lot and grassy area about 50 yards from where the children were shot. More then two dozen police cars were on the scene.

The shooting occurred shortly after noon near the heart of the Villages of Parklands, a neatly manicured public housing area.

The children, ages 6 to 12, had been attending the Villages of Parklands community summer camp. Most of the group lived in the Orchard Park neighborhood. The counselor, in his 40s, was an area pastor who worked for the Villages of Parklands, neighbors said.

The group was returning from a federally funded meals program. It was the first day of the three-month DC Free Summer Meals Program available to poor children around the city.

Neighbors said they heard the children singing “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” and then nearly a dozen gunshots.

“I’m so afraid,” said Angela Agnew, holding her 1-year-old grandson. “It’s terrible. You can’t bring your kids outside without worrying about getting killed.”

Barry Lynn said he expects more shootings as the summer heats up.

“Due to the economy, people are hungry, people are desperate,” Lynn said. “You are going to see a lot of these senseless shootings.”

The management company for the public housing apartments, William C. Smith & Co., did not return calls for comment.

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Waco Texas Savage Black Beast Chased A Neighbor And Started Growling And Barking, Then Beat, Killed, And Ate A Dog

June 26, 2012

WACO, TEXAS – Police in Waco arrested 22-year-old Michael Daniel Monday after they say he ate a dog.
Family members called police on June 14th, saying Daniel assaulted people at the home, chased a neighbor and started barking and growling.

What happened next is horrific.

Witnesses say Daniel grabbed the family dog, beat and strangled it…then started to eat it.

The dog died at the home.

Daniel is believed to have been on a bad trip from ingesting “K-2,” a synthetic drug.

He was taken to the hospital and now faces a felony charge for animal cruelty.

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Veteran San Francisco California Gay Rights Adcocate Larry Brinkin Arrested For Child Pornography

June 26, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – San Francisco police have arrested veteran gay rights advocate Larry Brinkin in connection with felony possession of child pornography.

Brinkin, 66, who worked for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission before his retirement in 2010, was taken into custody Friday night. He spent the night in jail before he was released on bail, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department.

The district attorney’s office will decide Tuesday whether to file charges. “We’re still reviewing the case,” district attorney’s spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said Monday.

Police say that Brinkin had pornographic images, some that appear to show children as young as 1 and 2 or 3 years old being sodomized and performing oral sex on adult men, in e-mail attachments linked to his account, according to a search warrant served by San Francisco police.

Representatives of America Online contacted authorities after coming across e-mail attachments from one of its subscriber’s accounts containing what they believed to be child pornography.

The Los Angeles Police Department, which was assigned to the case, traced the IP address associated with the account, Zack3737@aol.com, to Brinkin, a San Francisco resident, according to court records. Los Angeles police forwarded the case to San Francisco police.

San Francisco investigators say the account was registered to Brinkin, and that he paid for the e-mail service with his credit card.

Police provided two examples of e-mail messages from last year in which Zack3737 provides disturbing descriptions of the exploitive sexual acts.

The e-mail account also is linked to Yahoo discussion groups on sexual exploitation of young boys and girls, according to the search warrant.

Executing a search warrant Friday, police seized two laptops, a desk top computer, videos, a floppy disk and thumb drives from Brinkin’s Waller Street home.

During his 22-year tenure at the Human Rights Commission, Brinkin was best known for championing equal rights for gays and lesbians. He helped craft San Francisco’s groundbreaking Equal Benefits Ordinance, which became a national model for workplace equality.

Upon Brinkin’s retirement, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution declaring the week of Feb. 1, 2010, “Larry Brinkin Week” in San Francisco, saying his “dedication to advance the civil rights of all people has never stopped.”

Former Supervisor Bevan Dufty who authored the board resolution, said Monday that he was shocked to learn of Brinkin’s arrest. “I have admired and respected his work for the LGBT community,” Dufty said. “I respect and am confident that there will be due process.”

Brinkin did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

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