Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Richard G. Convertino, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit and the subject of a nearly three-year, wide-ranging criminal investigation, said he is the victim of retaliation for speaking out about the government's mismanagement of the war on terrorism.
"This is nothing more than an all-out war against me. I am in the crosshairs," Convertino said during his first extensive comments on the case. "There is no better entity to cause absolute destruction on a person's life than the government."
He should know, as that was his former job description.
Monday, February 27, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's top prison administrator has resigned after two stormy years overseeing a troubled correctional system that Schwarzenegger has struggled to turn around.
Roderick Q. Hickman, who took over as secretary of corrections the day Schwarzenegger was sworn in as governor, told administration officials Saturday that he was quitting his job.
Governor fires prisons boss amid widening investigation
Alabama Prison Commissioner Resigns
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jeb Bush and Bob Riley.
Three Republican Governors with the same problem.
The Associated Press
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - A man accused of stealing a plane in Florida and flying it to metro Atlanta has a new cellmate after his parents complained their son has dental problems.
Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway moved Daniel Andrew Wolcott Friday night to the cell with a Dacula dentist facing murder charges in the death of his wife.
Conway says he moved Wolcott to Bart Corbin's cell because Corbin is -- quote -- "trained in dentistry." He says if Wolcott has any complications, the two cellmates can advise the medical unit.
He noted that Wolcott just had his wisdom teeth out.
The 22-year-old Wolcott is awaiting trial on charges that he stole a seven (m) million dollar private jet in St. Augustine, Florida, in October and flew it to Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville. He has been in jail since then in lieu of $175,000 bond.
Wolcott's parents, Scott and Diane Wolcott, have been at odds with Conway since November over dental floss NOT being allowed in the jail. They say their son has developed gingivitis and gum pockets because he has been unable to floss.
The couple says putting their son in a cell with a dentist who canNOT practice his profession is NO solution.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes Scott Wolcott as saying -- quote -- "This appears to be a very bad inside joke on someone's part."
Corbin is charged with murder in the death of his wife 33-year-old Jennifer Corbin, who was found dead of a gunshot wound to her head December fourth, 2004. He also is charged with murder in the death of a former girlfriend, 27-year-old Dolly Hearn.
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - A Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy who shot and killed one of the department's own dogs last year after it attacked her has sued the sheriff and two other department officials.
Detective Heather Schreckendgust, in a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court, seeks unspecified damages and evaluations by the department of the need for muzzles on attack dogs, how they're trained and their role.
Schrenkendgust's lawsuit alleges she was attacked as the result of negligence, recklessness and excessive force arising from the use of an uncontrollable dog.
The dog, a Belgian malinois called Bart, also was the focus of a lawsuit alleging it attacked and refused to let go of a woman who was chased by deputies in 2003.
The lawsuit said department officials were aware of the earlier lawsuit targeting Bart. That lawsuit, filed by Toni Osborn, alleged Bart chewed on Osborn's arm for nearly three minutes, essentially destroying it, and that an officer had to put a shock collar on the animal to stop it.
Florence Morning News, SC
A cell phone seized during a drug arrest at a Darlington County traffic checkpoint led to the arrests of two people accused of trying to buy cocaine.
Brandon Lemorris Scott, 24, of Jeffords Road in Darlington was charged with trafficking in narcotics after authorities found him carrying marijuana and cocaine, apparently packaged for sale, according to a press release from the Darlington County Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff's office's Special Tactics and Operations Patrol stopped Scott near Darlington at South Charleston and Pocket roads during a series of checkpoints Friday night and Saturday morning.
In Scott's pocket were digital scales, the type used to weigh drugs on the street, according to the press release.
Agents also found a small boy asleep in the back seat and called family members to take custody of the child, according to the press release.
Authorities seized his car, as well as several cell phones.
When one of the phones rang, a Darlington County Combined Drug Unit agent answered it and posed as Scott, according to the press release.
The caller wanted to arrange a drug buy, and the agents agreed to meet the caller and another man at a local store, according to the press release.
Travis Dean Davis, 32, and Walton Thomas Parrish II, 21, both of Daventry Drive in Darlington, met the agents and then were arrested and charged with attempting to purchase cocaine.
The checkpoints were held in conjunction with the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services; the Darlington County Combined Drug Unit; and the Lamar Police Department.
Authorities served three warrants at the checkpoints, and they seized about $1,800 in narcotics and about $1,670 in cash and property, according to the press release.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Ragged lines of ragged grey
Skeletons, they shuffle away
Shouting guards and smoking guns
Will cut down the unlucky ones
I clutch the wire fence until my fingers bleed
A wound that will not heal
A heart that cannot feel
Hoping that the horror will recede
Hoping that tomorrow we’ll all be freed
Sickness to insanity
Prayer to profanity
Days and weeks and months go by
Don’t feel the hunger
Too weak to cry
I hear the sound of gunfire at the prison gate
Are the liberators here?
Do I hope or do I fear?
For my father and my brother, it’s too late
But I must help my mother stand up straight
Birmingham News, AL
The St. Clair Correctional Facility near Odenville continues to pollute Little Canoe Creek four months after its deadline to fix the 15-year-old problem.
In October 2003, Alabama Corrections Commissioner Donal Campbell signed a consent order agreeing to fix problems with the prison's wastewater treatment plant by October 2005. The pollution has been going on since at least 1991.
But the problem persists and prompted a lawsuit by the state attorney general in September. The lawsuit accuses the prison of violating the Alabama Water Pollution Control Act.
Prison system spokesman Brian Corbett, in a statement last week, said prison officials are considering possible solutions. He said no money is requested in the current state budget to fix the problem.
The attorney general's lawsuit includes complaints against Draper and Elmore correctional facilities, which also are under consent orders. It also includes complaints against Fountain/Holman Correctional Facility, Limestone Correctional Facility and Red Eagle Honor Farm. Those facilities are not under consent orders but are in violation of their discharge permits, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court, asks the court to require the prison system to ensure the problems do not recur and to pay a fine.
Richard Allen, appointed Feb. 15 by Gov. Bob Riley to replace Campbell, who has resigned and is leaving the department Tuesday, promised to fix the problem but did not give specifics. "Absolutely it's going to be fixed," Allen said. "It's going to take time and money."
Remember, two-thirds of the turds fouling our formerly pristine waterways were produced by non-violent offenders. Many of these people were simply minding their own business in their own homes when they were attacked by roving bands of para-military thugs and drug off to the forced-labor prison camps. The war on drugs is a thinly disguised war on the American People.
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. A group of neighbors in a Sheboygan suburb are claiming victory in the community's war on drugs after it says it closed down drug houses where dealers operated.
Volunteers in the Neighbors Against Drugs program work with neighbors to post bright red anti-drug signs all around suspected drug houses.
Sixty-six-year-old Augie Margenau says dealers and their customers hate the attention and eventually leave the area.
Police credit the 35-person group with getting rid of 62 drug houses since the program started in 2003.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Monroe County Advocate Democrat, TN
The Madisonville Police Department is being sued in United States District Court by a couple who alleges they were handled with excessive force while at Wal-Mart.
Clearly the store manager had already handled the matter in a calm, courteous, efficient and respectful manner.
The cops found this intolerable and proceeded to demonstrate the superiority of their tactics of force, violence, degradation, intimidation and harrassment.
The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Department of Correction responded to a spate of problems including excessive force at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility by firing the prison's superintendent and replacing her for up to six months with a team of senior agency officials.
Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue fired Superintendent Jane Burns from the agency for what he termed ‘‘unacceptable practices'' and ‘‘missteps of management at the facility,'' including not following department policies.
Three guards currently face criminal charges over their actions at the juvenile center about 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
The actions Thursday follow a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department this month in which the state agreed to correct civil rights violations at three state juvenile facilities dating to 2003. The violations included physical abuse by guards, physical and sexual abuse by other inmates, and mental health and special education problems.
The Associated Press
MONTPELIER — An Underhill woman who was testifying before a House committee Thursday was cited into court after she displayed two vials of marijuana.
Sandra Wells Tungate was ordered to appear in court on April 6 on a charge of marijuana possession, said Capitol Police Officer Dale Manning. He said the pair of vials probably contained less than a half-ounce of marijuana.
CEDAR CITY - A man was shot at a house in Escalante on Friday night by a member of a police task force serving a warrant. Garfield County Attorney Barry Huntington, said the task force, including members of the sheriff's office, Drug Enforcement Administration, a Utah Department of Corrections SWAT team from the Gunnison prison and the FBI, were serving the warrant looking for drugs and weapons when a man at the house was shot about 6 p.m. The unidentified victim was taken to Garfield County Memorial Hospital in Panguitch and later transferred to Valley View Medical Center in Cedar City. Huntington did not know where the man was wounded, but said the injury was not life-threatening. He did not believe the victim was arrested. Huntington said the injured man was not the person being sought in the warrant.
WAPPINGERS FALLS — The nation's drug czar came to Wappingers Junior High School on Friday to ask seventh-graders for their help with the war on drugs.
John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, shared a simple, often-repeated message of the dangers of substance abuse. His visit was arranged by U.S. Rep. Sue Kelly, R-Katonah.
In addition to protecting themselves, Walters told the students, "I really need you to protect your friends."
Walter Cronkite, the man dubbed "the most trusted man in America," sent out a passionate letter to over 100,000 people on February 23rd asking them to help end the war at home— the drug war— by supporting the non-profit organization, the Drug Policy Alliance.
"It is time for anyone who values his or her personal liberty and safety from the omnivorous State to leave America."
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Daniel Griswold, Stephen Slivinski, Christopher Preble
Marijuana Party founder running for governor
PATRICIA C. McCARTER
The Huntsville Times email@example.com
Loretta Nall smokes pot, and she wants to be your governor.
While speaking to 14 people at Wednesday night's Huntsville Area Libertarian Supper Club, the 31-year-old Alexander City mother of two said smoking marijuana could be considered a sin but not a crime, "and punishing sin should not be the role of the state."
Nall, who is vying for the Libertarian Party's nomination, was arrested for pot possession in 2002, not long after she wrote The Birmingham News a letter to the editor. In it, she encouraged citizens who don't support Alabama's tough marijuana laws to get involved in changing them.
She said police soon got a warrant and raided her home. They said they were tipped by an anonymous phone call and an alleged statement made by her 5-year-old to a DARE officer at school.
"They claim to have found 0.87 of a gram of pot in an envelope, addressed to me, lying on top of my printer," she told the gathering at Shoney's at University Drive and Memorial Parkway.
She was convicted of the misdemeanor charge but won on appeal and is awaiting another trial.
"Thus began my counterattack and what has become a life-consuming, all-out frontal assault on the U.S. drug policy," she said.
Nall is a housewife who has also been a burger flipper, an office manager, an apartment manager, a car salesman and a writer for Cannabis Culture magazine. Those aren't the professions of mainstream gubernatorial candidates - which she thinks makes her perfect for the job.
Even though she is the founder of the U.S. Marijuana Party, she said she doesn't advocate marijuana use.
"I'm pro-sanity," she said. "I advocate an adult's choice to select marijuana or alcohol. Look, the government already takes 48 percent of our paychecks. Is it too much to ask to let us relax the way that we want?
"If I don't care if my neighbor smokes a joint - and I find that most people don't care - why should I pay $12,000 a year to keep someone in prison for doing that?"
Los Angeles Times
In declaring a war on drugs, we've declared war on our fellow citizens. War requires "hostiles" — enemies we can demonize, fear and loathe. This unfortunate categorization of millions of our citizens justifies treating them as dope fiends, evil-doers, less than human.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Nall for Governor News Release
Contact: Loretta Nall for Governor Campaign
Email Address: Send Loretta Email
Web site address: Nall for Governor
Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate, Loretta Nall, To Speak in Huntsville Feb. 22, 2006
Alexander City, AL,-- Feb 17, 2006 —Alabama gubernatorial candidate, Loretta Nall, will address the monthly supper club meeting of the Huntsville Libertarian Party on Feb 22, 2006 beginning at 7:00 pm. This will be followed by a question and answer period.
This event will take place at Shoney's Restaurant located at 905 Memorial Parkway NW(in the back dining room)
Huntsville, AL 35801
Mrs. Nall, who casts herself as a Libertarian-leaning populist, is seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for Governor in 2006. During the forum she will discuss her election platform, which she says reflects traditional Alabama values.
Some of the topics Nall plans to address include drug policy and prison reform, tax credits for private & home school families, non-compliance with the Patriot and REAL ID Acts, the Iraq War and Alabama sovereignty over the state militia, separation of religion and government, fair taxes, gambling, ballot access reform, ballot initiative and referendum and bio-diesel.
She extends a warm invitation to all media and supporters, as well as any detractors, to attend the event and engage in a lively discussion of the issues during the question and answer period.
For more information or to schedule an interview please call the Nall for Governor Campaign at 251-650-2271 or 334-415-9174 or send an email
This information provided by the Nall for Governor Campaign
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Musings About The War on Drugs
Column: Global View
The Wall Street Journal
Economist Milton Friedman predicted in Newsweek nearly 34 years ago that Richard Nixon's ambitious "global war against drugs" would be a failure. Much evidence today suggests that he was right. But the war rages on with little mainstream challenge of its basic weapon, prohibition.
To be sure, Mr. Friedman wasn't the only critic. William Buckley's National Review declared a decade ago that the U.S. had "lost" the drug war, bolstering its case with testimony from the likes of Joseph D. McNamara, a former police chief in Kansas City, Mo., and San Jose, Calif. But today discussion of the war's depressing cost-benefit ratio is being mainly conducted in the blogosphere, where the tone is predominantly libertarian. In the broader polity, support for the great Nixon crusade remains sufficiently strong to discourage effective counterattacks.
In broaching this subject, I offer the usual disclaimer. One beer before dinner is sufficient to my mind-bending needs. I've never sampled any of the no-no stuff and have no desire to do so. So let's proceed to discuss this emotion-laden issue as objectively as possible.
The drug war has become costly, with some $50 billion in direct outlays by all levels of government, and much higher indirect costs, such as the expanded prison system to house half a million drug-law offenders and the burdens on the court system. Civil rights sometimes are infringed. One sharply rising expense is for efforts to interdict illegal drug shipments into the U.S., which is budgeted at $1.4 billion this fiscal year, up 41% from two years ago.
That reflects government's tendency to throw more money at a program that isn't working. Not only have the various efforts not stopped the flow but they have begun to create friction with countries the U.S. would prefer to have as friends.
As the Journal's Mary O'Grady has written, a good case can be made that U.S.-sponsored efforts to eradicate coca crops in Latin America are winning converts among Latin peasants to the anti-American causes of Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Their friend Evo Morales was just elected president of Bolivia mainly by the peasant following he won by opposing a U.S.-backed coca-eradication program. Colombia's huge cocaine business still thrives despite U.S. combative efforts, supporting, among others, leftist guerrillas.
More seriously, Mexico is being destabilized by drug gangs warring over access to the lucrative U.S. market. A wave of killings of officials and journalists in places like Nuevo Laredo and Acapulco is reminiscent of the 1930s Prohibition-era crime waves in Al Capone's Chicago and the Purple Gang's Detroit. In Afghanistan, al Qaeda and the Taliban are proselytizing opium-poppy growers by saying that the U.S. is their enemy. The claim, unlike many they use, has the merit of being true.
Milton Friedman saw the problem. To the extent that authorities curtail supplies of marijuana, cocaine and heroin coming into the rich U.S. market, the retail price of these substances goes up, making the trade immensely profitable -- tax-free, of course. The more the U.S. spends on interdiction, the more incentive it creates for taking the risk of running drugs.
In 1933, the U.S. finally gave up on the 13-year prohibition of alcohol -- a drug that is by some measures more intoxicating and dangerous to health than marijuana. That effort to alter human behavior left a legacy of corruption, criminality, and deaths and blindness from the drinking of bad booze. America's use of alcohol went up after repeal but no serious person today suggests a repeat of the alcohol experiment. Yet prohibition is still being attempted, at great expense, for the small portion of the population -- perhaps little more than 5% -- who habitually use proscribed drugs.
Mind-altering drugs do of course cause problems. Their use contributes to crime, automobile accidents, work-force dropouts and family breakups. But the most common contributor to these social problems is not the illegal substances. It is alcohol. Society copes by punishing drunken misbehavior, offering rehabilitation programs and warning youths of the dangers. Most Americans drink moderately, however, creating no problems either for themselves or society.
Education can be an antidote for self-abuse. When it was finally proved that cigarettes were a health risk, smoking by young people dropped off and many started lecturing their parents about that bad habit. LSD came and then went after its dangers became evident. Heroin's addictive and debilitative powers are well-known enough to limit its use to a small population. Private educational programs about the risks of drug abuse have spread throughout the country with good effect.
Some doctors argue that the use of some drugs is too limited. Marijuana can help control nausea after chemotherapy, relieve multiple-sclerosis pain and help patients whose appetites have been lowered to a danger level by AIDS. Morphine, some say, is used too sparingly for easing the terrible pain of terminally ill cancer patients. It is argued that pot and cocaine use by inner-city youths is a self-prescribed medicine for the depression and despair that haunts their existence. Doctors prescribe Prozac for the same problems of the middle class.
So what's the alternative? An army of government employees now makes a living from the drug laws and has a rather conflictive interest in claiming both that the drug laws are working and that more money is needed. The challenge is issued: Do you favor legalization? In fact, most drugs are legal, including alcohol, tobacco and coffee and the great array of modern, life-saving drugs administered by doctors. To be precise, the question should be do you favor legalization or decriminalization of the sale and use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines?
A large percentage of Americans will probably say no, mainly because they are law-abiding people who maintain high moral and ethical standards and don't want to surrender to a small minority that flouts the laws, whether in the ghettos of Washington D.C. or Beverly Hills salons. The concern about damaging society's fabric is legitimate. But another question needs to be asked: Is that fabric being damaged now?
Contact: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
By MARY SHAW
Philadelphia Daily News, PA
The "war on terror" has prompted many to ponder the deplorable conditions at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other locations far from home. However, many Americans might not realize that prison conditions are often just as harsh right here in the United States.
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- The Indiana Department of Correction is investing in programs to help inmates reintegrate into society after their release from prison in an initiative that prisoners' rights groups say is unprecedented.
The state in recently years has had a 40 percent rate of recidivism within three years of release. At that rate, about 5,600 of the 14,000 inmates released last year by Indiana's prison system would return behind bars.
The Road to Re-Entry program announced in August by Correction Commission J. David Donahue tries to link offenders to community groups and state services that can help them get jobs and avoid lapsing back into criminal behavior.
Tragic Tales of Ritalin Rage
by Evelyn Pringle
Monday, February 20, 2006
Nashville City Paper, TN
If marijuana becomes a legal substance, Tennessee has the ideal growing conditions to cultivate a cannabis farm, according to High Times magazine Editor Steve Hager.
Bob Stutman, a retired agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, says the legalization of marijuana would create an epidemic of addicts on par with alcohol abuse in the U.S.
Stutman and Hager have made careers on opposite sides of the marijuana legalization divide, but several times a year they share the stage on college campuses for a scholarly debate on the topic. The two will meet tonight at 8 p.m. in the Vanderbilt University Student Life Center.
Springfield State Journal Register, IL
Julie Falco came to Springfield last week for the third year in a row to persuade lawmakers to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
With her, she brought a Tupperware container with marijuana-laced brownies and “popped them right in the room.” That drew reactions – “most of them were grins or something’s up” looks, she said - from people in the hearing room.
The Associated Press
Nearly a third of the inmates serving time in Alabama's overcrowded prisons were sentenced under the state's habitual offender law, deemed one of the harshest in the nation by sentencing experts.
Unlike most states, Alabama's repeat offender law -- often known as the three-strikes-and-you're-out law -- does not figure in the length of time between convictions or the severity of prior offenses.
More than half of the nearly 8,600 habitual offenders were given tougher or "enhanced" sentences after their latest conviction was for property or drug crimes, according to the Alabama Sentencing Commission's preliminary 2006 report. That doesn't mean they didn't commit a violent crime in the past; but in most cases the law doesn't give any weight to the prior offense.
"Alabama does have one of the most stringent habitual felony offender acts," said Lynda Flynt, executive director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission.
Tomislav Kovandzic, a criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said this has created a problem in corrections.
The habitual offender laws in general don't cut down on crime but do result in prison systems that are "busting at the seams" and increasingly demand larger chunks of state budgets, he said.
The majority of states that have such laws introduced them in the 1980s and 1990s, when the nation adopted a "tough on crime" motto, he said.
"These laws don't do anything in reducing crime," said Kovandzic, who has researched three-strikes laws. "They're keeping people in prison and they're seeing the repercussions in an aging prison system that's costing them a fortune."
Habitual offenders are inherently one of the most expensive populations in Alabama's prison system due to the population aging over lengthy or lifelong sentences. They cost the prison system $112 million dollars a year -- or 36 percent of the fiscal 2006 budget. That takes a toll on the underfunded, understaffed, dated prison system that's at double designed capacity with more than 27,000 inmates.
"We can be as tough on crime as we're willing to pay for," said professor Greg Weaver, director of the sociology, criminology and criminal justice programs at Auburn University. "That's part of the politics of the matter."
Kovandzic agreed. "It's not politically feasible to say 'OK, we're going to let everyone out,'" he said.
The chairman of the Joint Prisons Committee, Sen. Myron Penn, D-Union Springs, said habitual offender laws are popular because people want to feel comfortable about convicts being kept off the streets and politicians want to preserve their tough stance on crime. But, he added, the number of inmates coming in eventually outpaces the number going out.
"It's easy to have the hard-core image of locking them up and throwing away the key," Penn said. "But it is costly to the overall problem for overcrowding."
Alabama is among 16 states that provide for life imprisonment upon conviction for one prior felony, according to a 2005 state-by-state comparison of habitual offender laws by the Alabama Sentencing Commission. For example, a person with two forgery convictions can be sentenced to life in prison.
"If you have three nonviolent crimes, you could still get the same sentence as someone who has committed three violent crimes," said Brian Corbett, spokesman for the prison system.
For example, a convict with prior convictions for manslaughter and rape still might get the same sentence as a three-time forgery convict.
"To me, that's not fair," Flynt said.
If the most recent crime is a Class A felony, such as murder, kidnapping or first-degree rape, the previous crimes are reviewed in determining any "enhanced" sentence. But in all other cases, the severity of the earlier crimes is not considered.
Alabama also has the highest "range of enhancement," allowing judges to add an additional 15-99 years or life imprisonment to a repeat offender's sentence. South Carolina has the lowest range, with 1-5 years.
Kovandzic said giving judges more discretion is not necessarily a bad thing, because it still gives them the option to add fewer years when determining enhanced sentences for nonviolent crimes.
Eleven states, not including Alabama, have habitual felony offender laws only for certain crimes. Those states, including Southern states Tennessee and Virginia, take into account whether the previous felonies were violent crimes, such as sexual assault, armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
INDIANAPOLIS - A judge erred when he didn't tell jurors that a man convicted of fleeing arrest had the right to resist police if they used excessive force, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
The unanimous decision reversed Shane Allen Wilson's conviction in Tippecanoe Superior Court.
Judge Les A. Meade erred when he decided that a common law rule allowing a person to resist arrest to avoid injury was outdated and no longer applied, the three-judge panel ruled.
Jonathan Login was subjected to an arrest that a judge deemed 'illegal and unconstitutional' -- but he fears his nightmare isn't over
By MARK BONOKOSKI
Toronto Sun, Canada
When the Nottawasaga OPP did its public takedown of groundhog hunter Jonathan Login almost three years ago, Insp. Mark Allen claimed his detachment's gung-ho arrest was not over the top -- despite guns being trained at Login's head as he lay face down on his own property in front of his frightened family and despite the gloved-hand anal cavity search which was conducted in full view of passersby.
Government - The entity that holds a monopoly on the use of force within a territory
PHOENIX (AP) — The son of a U.S. Senate candidate in Arizona was arrested and booked on drug charges, accused of selling narcotics to college students, officials said.
The 24-year-old son of former state Democratic Party chairman Jim Pederson was taken into custody Friday after a search of his home, deputies said.
James Robert Pederson was charged with possession of narcotics, marijuana and paraphernalia, and misconduct with weapons, among other charges, Lt. Paul Chagolla said. He was released on his own recognizance Saturday morning.
The elder Pederson, who is challenging Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, asked for the public to respect his family's privacy.
"This is a personal matter that is obviously very troubling and being dealt with within our family right now," Pederson said in a statement.
Detectives began investigating the younger Pederson five weeks ago after receiving information that he was using drugs and selling them to college-age students, deputies said.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said politics weren't involved.
"It was brought to my attention that he was selling to students," Arpaio said, "and I make that a top priority."
Kyl also issued a statement, expressing empathy for the Pederson family "as they deal with this difficult problem."
Amnesty International report: Ill-treatment of inmates in Maricopa County jails, Arizona
Saturday, February 18, 2006
4 paragraph excerpt:
AUSTIN, Texas -
Whittington is seriously civilized, particularly on the issues of crime, punishment and prisons. He served on both the Texas Board of Corrections and on the bonding authority that builds prisons. As he has often said, prisons do not curb crime, they are hothouses for crime: "Prisons are to crime what greenhouses are to plants."
In the day, whenever there was an especially bad case of new-ignoramus-in-the-legislature -- a "lock 'em all up and throw away the key" type -- the senior members used to send the prison-happy, tuff-on-crime neophyte to see Harry Whittington, a Republican after all, for a little basic education on the cost of prisons.
When Whittington was the chairman of Texas Public Finance Authority, he had a devastating set of numbers on the demand for more, more, more prison beds. As Whittington was wont to point out, the only thing prisons are good for is segregating violent people from the rest of society, and most of them belong in psychiatric hospitals to begin with. The severity of sentences has no effect on crime.
Texas still keeps the nonviolent, the retarded, senior citizens, etc. locked up for ridiculous periods -- all at taxpayer expense. If we could ever get to where we spend as much per pupil on education as we do per prisoner, this state would take off like a rocket. In 2003, we spend nearly $15,000 per prisoner, while average per-pupil spending was just over $8,000.
Friday, February 17, 2006
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A man who had his fingertips surgically removed to avoid identification has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of drug trafficking.
Jesus Jimenez-Mejia, 29, of Mexico already was in custody on immigration charges in May when authorities launched a series of raids in the Yakima area that resulted in more than 30 arrests on drug and immigration charges.
Prosecutors called it one of the largest methamphetamine operations ever busted in central Washington and named Jimenez-Mejia as the mastermind.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bud Ellis said Jimenez-Mejia had his fingertips replaced with fingertips from another human being. He said authorities do not know where the replacement fingertips came from.
Parts is parts
Customers at Farm Fresh fit an index finger into the small, black fingertip scanner and then select a payment option. STEVE EARLEY/THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT
Farm Fresh testing fingertip scanner at checkout
By JEREMIAH MCWILLIAMS, The Virginian-Pilot
© July 7, 2005
The Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — More than two thousand pounds of marijuana have been seized by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Authorities say that makes it possibly the largest drug bust in the history of Alabama.
The sheriff's office said the its Highway Safety Unit seized the marijuana worth more than four (m) million dollars Thursday. Federal charges are being sought in the case.
Thirty-nine year old Guillermo Carmona and twenty-five year old Darwin Argueta-Aceituna, both of California, were arrested for trafficking marijuana.
Authorities say the safety unit, which includes Hoover Police officers, has seized more than 10 million dollars worth of narcotics and drug money since last year.
A cannabis smoker has been arrested after complaining to police that he was sold bad weed.
Hans-Juergen Bendt, 52, from Darmstadt, lodged a complaint about his dealer with police after he sold him seven ounces of "completely un-enjoyable" hash.
Bendt complained the dealer refused to refund him the £270 he had paid for the drugs.
But despite the official complaint, in which Bendt described himself as a victim of "fraud" involving drugs of "absolutely mediocre quality", the officers failed to act upon the allegations and booked the complainant instead.
He is now being charged for the illegal purchase and possession of narcotic substances.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Three of four Dallas police tactical officers shot while serving a warrant have been released from Parkland Memorial Hospital, police said Thursday afternoon.
The fourth, Senior Cpl. Dale Hackbarth, will be kept overnight for observation, according to a statement from Senior Cpl. Max Geron, a police spokesman.
The four were wounded about 7 a.m. Thursday at a home in south Dallas, said Senior Cpl. Donna Hernandez, a police spokeswoman.
Released from Parkland on Thursday were Senior Cpl. Adolfo Perez, Senior Cpl. Harry Deltufo and Sgt. Ken Wilkins. The officers were shot with a handgun, Geron said.
The incident occurred at 1228 Oak Park Drive, near South Polk Street. Senior Cpl. Jamie Kimbrough said a tactical team pulled up to the house in an armored vehicle and announced through a public address system that they were there to serve a drug warrant.
Someone fired at the officers from the house, and the officers returned fire, Kimbrough said. The armored vehicle moved between the house and the officers to protect them.
Officers fired a chemical agent into the house, and four people ran out, she said. One was taken to Methodist Hospital with injuries. The others were taken to the police department for questioning.
Kimbrough would not release the name of the chemical agent fired into the house. She said she did not know how many people fired on police and she did not have more details about the warrant.
All the officers were wearing protective vests, and none suffered life-threatening injuries, according to broadcast reports. Police had closed off the area, and it was unclear whether the shots were fired from a house or an apartment complex.
The Texas Tactical Police Officers Association
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I just received this from Utah Congressman Chris Cannons office. Please click the link at the bottom and call your elected official about this bill.
My boss, Congressman Chris Cannon wanted me to share the following statement concerning prisoner re-entry, something we thought you might be interested in.
If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at the number below.
Congressman Chris Cannon (UT)
I wanted to make sure you were aware that today the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will be voting on the Second Chance Act. It's a serious attempt to some of the many serious problems that plague our prison system.
The Second Chance Act is a bipartisan bill that will help coordinate what the federal government does when prisoners come back into society. The bill increases the federal financial support to states and community organizations to help as a growing number of prisoners returns to our communities. The bill addresses issues such as jobs, housing, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and support for families.
The Second Chance Act helps state and local governments to work together to help people who have paid their price to society become contributing citizens. Using this approach we can improve the efficiency of reentry services and make sure that all level of government work together for the returning prisoners and the communities and families they come home to.
It is our responsibility as a society to address the most basic needs of prisoners coming home. Through the Second Chance Act, we can reduce prisoners' chances of re-offending and improve their success as productive, contributing citizens. This legislation is a bipartisan effort that applies new solutions to this problem. We hope to improve our accountability to our citizens and better utilize state and local innovation.
To contact members of the Subcommittee, visit the House's website
In the coming weeks, this bill will come before the full House Judiciary Committee and then, hopefully, to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. I will keep you posted as we near our goal.
Thomas - Your guide to pending legislation in D.C.
To access current information on The Second Chance Act go to Thomas and enter H.R.1704 in the search engine (specify Bill Number as opposed to the word/phrase option)
European edition, Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The students — nearly 40 of them — went into the Heidelberg High School bathrooms one at a time.
Then, in front of German and U.S. military police, the students had to take off their clothes. Some disrobed to their underwear, while a few had to strip naked.
Police were looking for drugs after having received several tips from students.
Although the search turned up a small amount of suspected marijuana, the incident last Friday has upset some parents and students and caught many school officials off-guard.
Heidelberg High School students (clothed)
The NewStandard, NY
Feb. 15 – The public-relations gloss that has long wrapped the Bush administration is fast becoming a blemish on the White House, according to lawmakers who have uncovered some $1.6 billion in federal funds spent on promoting various administration-sponsored programs.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’s research and auditing body, tracks more than 340 contracts negotiated between several government departments and PR, advertising and media firms from 2003 through the first part of 2005.
The study, requested by the House of Representatives Democratic leadership, found that from 2003 to mid-2005, the administration racked up some $1.4 billion in contracts with advertising agencies to broadcast positive messages about its policies and initiatives. Another $200 million went to public-relations companies, and $15 million were spent building connections with media outlets. Individual members of the press received a total of $100,000 in promotional contracts.
According to a fact sheet issued in tandem with the GAO report, the top contractor hired by the White House was Leo Burnett USA, which received contracts worth $536 million over the study period. In addition to the government, Leo Burnett counts Philip Morris, Walt Disney, McDonald’s and Visa among its clients and controls advertising agencies in 82 countries. The company branded the "Army of One" ad campaign, though the Defense Department last December broke ties with the company by signing a deal with a new ad agency worth an estimated $1.35 billion over five years.
More work from Leo Burnett: ONDCP Ads.
Do ad agencies normally do Pro Bono (free) work for the same government agencies that award them contracts?
Here is the philosophy of this company that apparently promotes wars of all kinds:
"We believe the very best, most successful and enduring brands stand above their competitors because they have created legions of believers.
Disney, McDonald’s, Nintendo, Heinz and Kellogg’s are some of the world’s most valuable brands because people have gone well beyond merely buying them. These are brands people believe in.
When people believe, they buy more, pay more, stick with a brand more and advocate the brand to others. And so belief is the ultimate brand currency."
Speaking of Kellogg's, why does Tony Tiger sound like a Drill Instructor these days?
Compare the chant in Tony's "Earn Your Stripes" commercials:
Everywhere we go
People want to know
Who we are.
So we tell them.
We are tigers!
Mighty, mighty tigers!
We are tigers!
Mighty, mighty tigers!
To the "Everywhere We Go" military cadence. (mp3)
The James Frey fiasco is not the first time accounts, descriptions or even research about drugs have been sensationalized or fabricated and proven false.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The state's prison system is increasing its overflow into Louisiana, having sent 140 men there Sunday, with many more to follow.
The Department of Corrections plans to send 500 inmates to a Pine Prairie, La., prison owned by LCS Corrections Services Inc., the same company that holds 311 of Alabama's women prisoners in Basile, La.
"That'll give us some relief," said Bobby Timmons, executive director of the Alabama Sheriffs Association.
DOC has long been in violation of a court order to pick up all inmates the department has incarcerated in county jails for more than 30 days. As of Friday, there were 610 such inmates, part of 2,100 total that DOC is supposed to find room for in a system that is operating at 222 percent of its design capacity.
The Association of County Commissions of Alabama is clamoring for DOC to do something because housing state inmates is costing the counties a lot of money.
The state gives counties $1.75 a day for each state inmate, leaving local sheriff's departments to make up the difference. Tri-county jails spend between $17.60 and $42.25 a day per inmate, with Montgomery County spending $42.25 and Elmore County spending $17.60. It costs about $30 a day to house an inmate in Autauga County.
Timmons said some county jails have beds the state could rent, but for a lot more than the statutory $1.75 a day the counties now receive. He guessed statewide there could be room for 75 state inmates.
"They need to open the door and give us an opportunity to say no to them," Timmons said.
According to DOC spokesman Brian Corbett, there have been no official talks in terms of leasing county jail space.
A $2.9 million federal grant will pay the $29.50 per inmate per day LCS charges to keep the men. This is enough money to last through the budget year that ends in September.
Whether the state will continue to pay for the men in Louisiana will be a matter for the Legislature as it builds next year's $300-plus million DOC budget.
On the issue of substance abuse initiatives, I would like to thank the first lady for tackling one of our state's most important public health issues: childhood drinking. She has taken a personal and passionate interest in the issue, empowering local community efforts and being a supportive voice for parents.
I suggest that what she has done may set a template for how to attack a related and equally frightening problem: methamphetamine use. Studies tell us that alcohol abuse is a gateway to hard drug use, particularly methamphetamines. Thus, we can more effectively address meth problems by redoubling our attention to teenage and preteen alcohol abuse and recognizing the need for new approaches to drug treatment and recovery.
Today's meth scourge isn't like past drug problems. This is a drug that has more lasting impacts on the body. People need more time in treatment to recover. The drug is easy to manufacture and readily available.
In the spirit of looking for new answers, I turn again to the governments closest to the people. Specifically, Casper and Cheyenne have embraced "Meth-Free" initiatives that are not dependent on state mandates. Rather, the opposite is true. Many of the suggestions coming from these community initiatives are worthy of state attention, such as advocating drug testing in businesses and building a "fast track" to treatment for people who admit they have a problem. State efforts should support community activism. I suspect grass roots solutions will be more productive and closer to the people than "gold dome" answers.
The director of the Department of Health and the new administrator of the Division of Substance Abuse have rolled up their sleeves and are ready to work with the Legislature to address the methamphetamine problem and the issues raised in the recent legislative audit. In addition, I have designated a formal liaison position within my office to make sure I am able to continue to work closely with the department and local initiatives to advance this effort.
Lou Ferrigno, 54, who played the green-skinned monster on the CBS-TV show from 1977 to 1982, was sworn in during a ceremony Monday night.
"My father was a police officer with the New York Police Department; I've always had a high respect for officers," Ferrigno told The Associated Press. "I want to give back to the community, and I want to work with young kids, help them get off drugs."
Ferrigno was a bodybuilder before he starred on the TV show. The late actor Bill Bixby played mild-mannered scientist David Bruce Banner who, as Ferrigno, turned into a Herculean, green-skinned monster whenever he lost his temper. He switched back to Bixby's character as soon as he calmed down.
And just how did the Hulk get to be the Hulk anyway? Wasn't it some lab experiment gone wrong?
Wonder if he will teach kids not to use ummmm...steroids?
Orlando Sentinel, FL
DAYTONA BEACH -- On the night he died, the 53-year-old homeless man tried to plead with his attackers, according to newly released records.
Five teenagers were arrested in connection with Roberts' slaying, at a campsite in the woods near Holly Hill.
Several of them smoked marijuana, according to the interviews.
Spurgeon, during his interview with police, offered some insight into why Roberts was killed. "I guess we were too high, and acted stupid," he said. "I wasn't trying to kill him. I just wanted to hit him."
Yep, I know pot always gives me an uncontrollable urge to murder homeless folks. In fact, that's the only reason I smoke it. Sometimes I might get some low-potency pot that only makes me feel like maybe slapping around some guy who is behind on his rent. But give me some good stuff and it's Look Out Homeless!
A former resident of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center says he was beaten so hard in December that his eardrum ruptured, the latest in a growing list of complaints about violence at the controversial facility.
Roosevelt Thompson, 16, was sent to the center Dec. 22, suspected of possessing marijuana.
Thompson, who told his story publicly for the first time Monday, said it isn't clear why the guard attacked him. But he said that after he took off his shoes and pants to enter his room--standard procedure--a staff member came in, hit him with a closed fist and kicked him until another staff member pulled the guard off.
"He kept on hitting me until I fell on the floor," Thompson said. "He was kicking and punching while I was on the ground."
Thompson's story is emerging just days after the Annie E. Casey Foundation found "multiple instances of battery or assault by staff on residents," in a study commissioned by the county.
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE The smell from a hydroponics lab being run out of a tractor-trailer in Southwest Miami-Dade was so potent detectives say they could smell it from the street before going in to bust the operation.
Story with video
BOSTON — Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana would no longer be considered a criminal offense under a bill that won the backing of a legislative committee on yesterday.
The bill, which was approved by the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee on 6-1 vote, would make possession of a small amount of a marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $250 fine. Those 18 years old or younger would also have their parents notified.
Possession of that amount of marijuana is now considered a criminal office punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for the first offense.
Sen. Steven Tolman, D-Brighton, co-chairman of the committee, said the goal was to make sure that someone found with a small amount of marijuana doesn't have a criminal record that could make it difficult for them to get into college, obtain student loans and make it harder to find a job.
Critics of the bill say it could encourage the use of marijuana by easing some of the social stigma.
The House chairwoman of the committee, Rep. Ruth Balser, D-Newton, said the focus should be on prevention, not jail time.
"A priority of our committee is to develop programs of prevention, education and treatment and shift away from an involvement with the criminal justice system," Balser said.
The committee's approval is just the first step in a long process. The bill must still be approved by the House and Senate and sent to Gov. Mitt Romney's desk. If Romney were to veto the bill, it would need a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override the veto.
Several states have already approved similar legislation.
Monday, February 13, 2006
"one or two pot-smoking libertarians"
A few hours earlier, those in the ballroom had been treated to an even more bizarre spectacle when two pro-marijuana groups -- at least one of which is funded by billionaire Peter Lewis, bane of conservatives everywhere -- staged a debate with a former pro-football player over the merits of smoking dope. "You want the government involved so bad," thundered Ethan Nadelmann of the pro-pot Drug Policy Alliance. "What about the market ... What about having confidence in people's basic sense of freedom and good judgment."
"We got enough lazy people in America," objected Gary Copp, a sports radio host, who formerly played for the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. A few minutes later, the anti-weed Copp admitted he had smoked a few joints in his time. That was about as sophisticated as the debate got.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
NEW ATHENS - Since he was hired in August 2004, Kirk has snagged more than $100,000 in grants for the department, a significant amount of money for a town that budgets about $350,000 a year for police protection.
"We have to hope and look for grants. Otherwise the money is not there," said Village Trustee Bryan G. Rausch. "Without him getting the grants, we could never have the items we have now."
Those items include a thermal imaging camera, a $13,000 piece of equipment that can detect heat. It's useful when searching for a missing person or grow lights nurturing marijuana plants.
The chief did ruffle a few feathers when he proposed a crackdown on teens possessing tobacco. State law prohibits stores from selling tobacco to those under 18, but it is up to each community to go after those who possess it. Some residents were concerned that their children could have criminal records for something so minor.
Kirk said the onus should be on both the store and teen - a view the Village Board agreed with in enacting an ordinance allowing police to ticket minors caught smoking.
HEBRON - A Northern Kentucky couple are facing drug charges after their son told police about their alleged pot use.
John Williams, 51, and his wife, Jennifer, 36, were arrested after investigators said the couple's 16-year-old son told Boone County High School Resource Officer Rick White details of his parents' alleged home-based, marijuana-growing operation, the Boone County Sheriff's Department said.
The couple was charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.
"The 16-year-old son of these two...says, 'I'm tired of the lifestyle. I'm tired of them growing dope in the house. I'm tired of them having dope in the house. And I'm tired of them using dope in the house,'" Deputy Tom Scheben said.
I suspect he will quickly tire of being a ward of the state.
By Deitrich Curry
A Montgomery police officer was arrested Saturday night on charges of drug possession after investigators burst into his southeast Montgomery apartment.
Donny Young, 25, who lives on Moorcroft Drive, was arrested at 11 p.m. and charged with felony possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. He served in the traffic division. His twin brother, Danny Young, also was arrested and charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and felony possession of cocaine.
Police Chief Arthur Baylor ordered the arrest after learning the officer might be involved in criminal activity and a search warrant was issued.
Baylor, whom a witness saw at the arrest scene, said he wants to maintain the integrity of the Montgomery Police Department.
"It is unfortunate for me to have to conduct an arrest of a police officer," Baylor said in a news release. "However, I would like for this arrest to serve as notice that I am committed to ridding this community of illegal drug activity."
Police would not reveal how long they have been investigating Young or how they learned he might be involved in drug activity.
"We are very limited in what we can release because it is a narcotics investigation," said Capt. Huey Thornton, a police spokesman. "We are concerned about releasing information sensitive to the investigation."
Young resigned from the Montgomery Police Department while being interviewed after the arrest by investigators from the Internal Affairs Bureau.
He and his brother were placed in the Montgomery County Detention Facility on bonds exceeding $100,000 because they are both considered to be flight risks, according to the news release.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Harry Whittington, 78, was "alert and doing fine" after Cheney sprayed Whittington with shotgun pellets on Saturday at the Armstrong Ranch in south Texas, said property owner Katharine Armstrong.
Armstrong said Cheney turned to shoot a bird and accidentally hit Whittington.
Fitting performance from an armchair warrior.
Posted by Ryan W. McMaken at February 12, 2006 12:24 AM
After I posted on Disney character Ludwig Von Drake being named after
Ludwig von Mises, someone went in and changed the
wikipedia entry to say that he was in fact named after
Beethoven. A google search reveals that this is a controversial matter. The
Dutch version still has him being named after Mises (unless someone goes in and changes that too).
PANAMA CITY - Martin Lee Anderson played basketball and hung out with other kids in this hardscrabble neighborhood of barred windows and attack dogs that surrounds the cemetery where he was buried last month.
He made the honor roll last year and had not been in serious trouble before he and four cousins were arrested last June for taking their grandmother's Jeep Cherokee from a church parking lot and crashing it.
Although 14-year-old Anderson wasn't the driver, he was charged with grand theft. Other problems followed, including suspension from school and an arrest for trespassing.
On Jan. 5, he was admitted to the Bay County Sheriff's Office Boot Camp. Two South Florida legislators who have seen a video tape of his last conscious moments say he was brutally beaten by guards who kicked and punched him.
Anderson's death has led some state leaders to demand changes at Florida's military-style boot camps.
Rep. Gus Barreiro, R-Miami Beach, who viewed the video last week said it shows a brutal beating.
"Even toward the end of the videotape, where you could just see there was pretty much nothing left of Martin, they came out with a couple of cups of water and splashed him in the face," Barreiro said.
"When you see stuff like that you just want to go through the TV and say, 'Enough is enough. Please stop hitting this kid,' " he said.
Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, a former federal prosecutor, also expressed outrage after viewing the tape, and said he did not think there was any question that excessive force was used.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has said Barreiro and Gelber were allowed to view the tape because they serve on the Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee. Several members of Gov. Jeb Bush's staff also were allowed to view the tape.
But Anderson's parents, Gina Jones and Robert Anderson, have not been allowed to see the last conscious moments of their son's life.
"No human being on this earth should go through what my son went though. I just wish they could have done me like that instead of it being him," Robert Anderson said.
Anderson's family wants the video of his admission to the camp made public, but FDLE has refused to release the tape, saying it is part of the ongoing investigation.
Jones recalled dropping her son off at the camp, when he said he would do whatever it took to succeed.
She said she will always regret promising him as they parted that things would be OK for the next six months.
"What was my baby thinking when he was down on the ground and they were doing those things to him? Was he thinking that 'My mom said it would be OK' when they had their knees in his back?" Jones said.
She said doctors told her that her son's kidneys and liver were too badly damaged from what happened to him at the camp to be donated.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office Boot Camp
WEST FARGO, N.D. - Police were surprised to get a call early Saturday from a woman seeking to buy marijuana.
"A young lady called the West Fargo Police Department and asked the dispatcher if he knew where there was marijuana," Officer Ken Zeeb said.
The dispatcher told her it was illegal, but she insisted, and police then told her they had some in the evidence locker, Zeeb said. The 20-year-old Fargo woman showed up at police headquarters a short time later, and gave the dispatcher $3 to buy pot, he said.
She was arrested on charges of criminal attempt and possession of drug paraphernalia.
"She seemed to be very coherent and aware of what she was doing when I spoke to her. She did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or anything like that," Zeeb said.
"I've heard of some crazy things happening. A lot of times, you just think to yourself, 'I don't think this one can be topped,' and then something like this happens," the officer said.
National Ledger, AZ
If you want to understand how difficult it is to cut the federal deficit -- it will surpass $400 billion in the 2007 budget -- take a look at the Byrne grants. Named after New York City police officer Edward Byrne, who was killed by drug dealers, the grants have provided annually about $500 million to local law-enforcement efforts since the program was signed into law by the first President Bush. Critics on the left and the right consider the program to be ill-conceived and ineffective, and they've urged Washington to eliminate the grants. But Congress keeps pouring millions into the program.
David Mulhausen, a policy analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation, considers the Byrne grants to be mostly "pork projects." He sees "a big accountability problem."
Mulhausen is not alone. The White House Office of Management and Budget studied the Byrne grants and gave the program a 13 percent rating for results and accountability. That's an F-.
Hartford Courant, United States
Third-party candidates rarely win statewide elections. But they have managed to force issues onto the radar and have even seen some of them become law. Social Security happened that way. Ross Perot forced Bill Clinton to tackle the budget deficit. In New Haven, the Green Party got ruling Democrats to embrace campaign finance reform.
So third-party candidates like Cliff Thornton - who's seeking to become the Green Party's candidate for governor - should not, must not be discounted.
Since retiring from the former Southern New England Telecommunications Corp. nine years ago, Thornton, 61, has crusaded to end the drug war. He's cared about the issue since his school days in Hartford's North End, when his mother died of a heroin overdose two weeks before his graduation from Hartford Public High School.
What's so conservative about the war on drugs?
Spending billions in taxpayer dollars with no clear progress? Inserting government agents into Americans' private lives? Holding a million men and women in prison for what are mostly nonviolent crimes?
Please, how does any of that promote the values that principled conservatives hold dear?
None of it does, of course.
United States Department of Defense definition of terrorism:
"the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Calvina Fay Declines for Second Time After Canceling Scheduled Appearance
MPP Press Release
ELIZABETH CITY — Flash, bang, boom! The bright white light and smoke of a flash-bang device could be seen for blocks around a house on Factory Street.
It was one of six suspected drug houses hit by police during simultaneous raids Thursday night.
The take wasn’t large, but the message was loud.
On Thursday night, about 60 police officers from several jurisdictions gathered in the cafeteria at Northeastern High School. They started the night with pizza and soda, talking shop and swapping stories.
Yet the relaxed atmosphere quickly turned to business when Elizabeth City Police Sgt. Gary Bray called for everyone’s attention.
Bray, the operation’s commander, explained that the drug investigations began on the houses in December as a result of citizen and police complaints. Undercover police made several controlled buys from suspects at each targeted location in an effort to secure search warrants.
The group then broke into six teams – one for each house that was to be raided.
Police K-9 units and Elizabeth City and Currituck County SWAT teams were assigned to houses where crowd control was expected to be an issue.
Each team gathered at one of six tables and opened up a white box. Inside was a photo of the targeted house, evidence-collection supplies and a hand-drawn map of the house interior.
The team leaders held up the map, pointed out entry points and organized how officers would arrive at the scene and “stack” their entrance into each house.
An hour after arriving at the high school, police gathered their gear, re packed the boxes, stopped for a brief prayer and headed to the parking lot.
At 8:05 p.m., police climbed into their cars – both police cruisers and unmarked vehicles – and headed out to their staging areas.
Ten minutes later, once everyone was in place, Bray announced the order to go.
Within seconds, three houses were hit with flash-bang devices, while police hit three others with battering rams and ran inside.
The flash-bang devices caught the attention of neighbors. Some stood outside on their porches and watched. The devices are meant to surprise and distract suspects.
Once the police secured the houses and handcuffed their suspects, they began searching. Officers wearing helmets and carrying rifles cast shadows through the windows as they walked through the interiors looking for evidence and additional suspects.
In the end, nine people were arrested or cited at the scene, and police collected more than 1 ounce of crack cocaine, 12 grams of marijuana, two firearms, assorted drug paraphernalia and more than $1,200.
While there were no major finds, police know they made an impression in the community.
What a fun time! You get to hang out with your buddies, play dress-up, bomb peoples homes and kidnap them, plus there's Free Pizza! This is even better than bowling night.
From Wikipedia Grenade
Stun grenades, also known as flashbangs, were originally designed for the British Special Air Service. Stun grenades are used to confuse, disorient, or momentarily distract a potential threat for up to five seconds. A "flashbang" can seriously degrade the combat effectiveness of affected personnel for up to a minute. The best known is the M84 Stun Grenade, commonly known as the "Flashbang", so called because it produces a blinding (1 million Candela) flash and deafening (170-180 decibel) blast. This grenade can be used to incapacitate people, generally without causing serious injury.
The Associated Press
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A Genesee County sheriff's deputy was shot during a drug raid, but was expected to recover from his wounds, authorities said Friday.
Deputy Jeffrey Antcliff, 37, was hit once in the buttocks Thursday night by a .22-caliber bullet, which lodged near his spine, said Undersheriff James Gage. The deputy was taken to a hospital for treatment, Gage said.
Antcliff was part of a team of deputies who were executing a search warrant at a suspected drug house, Gage said. The team backed out of the house and surrounded it, and the suspect called 911 to report that he was being attacked.
Dispatchers told him that deputies were there and that he should leave the house with his hands up, which he did, Gage said. The man, the only person in the home at the time, was taken into custody.
Authorities believe the 911 call was placed as a cover story, Gage said. Deputies identified themselves before entering the house and three uniformed officers were part of the team, Gage said.
BY GARY FINEOUT AND MARC CAPUTO
Miami Herald, FL
TALLAHASSEE - James Crosby, who rose through the ranks to head Florida's prison system, was abruptly fired by Gov. Jeb Bush on Friday as a widespread corruption probe appeared to target the very man who was supposed to clean up the department.
For more than a year, Crosby has watched close associates and guards in the nation's third-largest prison system reel from convictions, arrests, search warrants and reports concerning a steroid-selling ring, theft of state property, misuse of inmate labor, a no-show job for a prison-league softball player, a drunken brawl at a law-enforcement banquet and a mysterious suicide of a prison captain accused of raping an underling.
Friday, February 10, 2006
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- State prisons Commissioner Donal Campbell resigned today.
In a statement, Governor Bob Riley accepted Campbell's resignation, which is effective February 28th. "I'm grateful for Commissioner Campbell's commitment and service to the state of Alabama...During his tenure, Donal has maintained a positive outlook in one of the most difficult positions in state government."
Campbell, a former Commissioner of the Tennessee prison system, took the post in January 2003.
He inherited an underfunded corrections system plagued with overcrowding and lawsuits, including a pending case in which Campbell was under the threat of a contempt citation due to overcrowding.
Campbell is quoted in the press release as saying,"The challenges facing Alabama's prison sytem are well known and have built up over decades, but under Governor Riley's leadership, the right steps are being taken to face those challenges and reform the system."
No replacement for the job has been named at this time. Campbell said he is stepping down to pursue other opportunitiees.
I think Donal Campbel might have been having nightmares about slamming cell doors, as he was under threat of prison himself.
I don't think Donal was the problem. The prison system was broken when he inherited it and the legislature lacks the guts to do anything meaningful to ease the prison overcrowding crisis.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
DES MOINES — The Johnson County sheriff told Iowa legislators Wednesday that the state should reduce the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
“I think small increments of possession of marijuana should be treated as a simple misdemeanors where the officer on the street can cite and release and not have to bring them to jail,” Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said.
He said his office is overrun with marijuana offenses, which take time and funding away from dealing with more serious crimes. He estimated that there were 700 arrests in his county last year for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Johnson County includes Iowa City and the University of Iowa.
BBC News, Rome
The Italian government has approved a law that increases sanctions against people who smoke marijuana, putting the drug on a par with cocaine and heroin.
Under the new legislation, people found in possession of cannabis could risk having their passport and their driving licence suspended.
The government has forced through this new legislation with a confidence vote.
The move has been greeted mostly with dismay by opposition MPs and drug treatment professionals.
Under the new rules, dealing and trafficking in drugs - whether heroin, cocaine or cannabis - will be punished with jail sentences of between six and 20 years and a fine of up to 260,000 euros (£180,000).
People who ignore repeated warnings to stop using cannabis will face a driving ban and be forced to stay at home at night.
According to recent statistics, a third of teenagers in Italy have smoked marijuana at least once, and 10% of adults are said to smoke it on a regular basis.
On Wednesday more than 200 protesters and at least one opposition MP smoked cannabis joints in protest outside parliament.
Opposition leaders said it would be one of the first laws they abolish if they win power in April.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
American Daily, OH
Calvina Fay of the Drug Free America Foundation has pulled out as a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which begins in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, because a “mini-debate” she was scheduled to appear in had been stacked against her. As it now stands, the event will feature two advocates of drug legalization, both of them funded by leftist billionaire and anti-Bush activist George Soros.
Calvina Fay ran away
Biloxi Sun Herald, USA
GULFPORT - A man placed on life support this weekend after an alleged beating at the Harrison County jail died Monday night, sheriff's department officials said.
Harrison County Sheriff George H. Payne Jr. confirmed the man's name is Jessie Lee Williams, 40, of Gulfport.
Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said Williams was declared brain dead earlier in the day and the family made the decision to take him off of life support. An autopsy will be performed today to determine cause of death.
Williams was hospitalized Saturday night after he was placed in restraints at the jail and was "reportedly unresponsive" later, according to Delores Lewis, state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman.
An anonymous caller told the Sun Herald that Williams was placed in a restraining chair at the jail and was beaten after he was restrained.
BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER
Miami Herald, FL
Other festivities included:
According to boot camp records obtained by The Miami Herald, since 2003 the Bay sheriff's office has verified complaints that an officer forced several youths to strip naked and then perform pushups and other exercises in the middle of the night.
Probably it sounded something like this:
Full Metal Jacket Drill Sergeant (mp3)
except not as well executed.
Update: Fla. Video Said to Show Boot Camp Beating
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A videotape shows guards brutally beating a boy at a military-style boot camp for juvenile delinquents not long before the teenager died, two lawmakers said Thursday.
Martin Lee Anderson, 14, died Jan. 6 at a Pensacola hospital, a day after he entered the camp because of an arrest for theft.
Anderson complained of breathing difficulties and collapsed during exercises that were part of the entry process at the camp, which was run by the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities have said he had to be restrained when he became uncooperative during the workout.
State Rep. Gus Barreiro, a Republican, called the videotape "horrific," saying he had "never seen any kid being brutalized ... the way I saw this young man being brutalized."
WAXAHACHIE, Texas - Wildflowers may not be the only thing sprouting up along a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 35 in Ellis County this spring.
As several law enforcement agencies joined the chase, the fleeing driver tore open and threw 17 to 19 bags out of his window.
After driving over a second set of spikes set out by authorities, the suspect finally stopped and was taken into custody, and he was "literally covered in marijuana," Phoenix said.
Also, some people with police scanners heard that a man was throwing marijuana out of his car window and drove to the scene to try to retrieve it, Phoenix said.
War on Drugs Featured Issue at Country’s Largest Annual Conservative Conference, February 9th - 11th
This Year’s Conservative Gathering, Co-Sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, to Feature Debate on Ending the War on Drugs
Alliance’s Executive Director to Address CPAC on the Failures of the War on Drugs and the Growing Support for Drug Policy Reform on the Right During February 10th Panel
Monday, February 06, 2006
Nall for Governor Campaign Update
I hope this campaign update finds you all doing well and growing more excited about the upcoming election with every passing day. I know that I am.
The month of January was a busy one at the Nall for Governor campaign headquarters.
On January 10, 2006 the Alabama Legislature came back into regular session and there were many bills being introduced and debated that our side has a stake in.
I spent a number of days in the State House attending hearings and meeting legislators to renew ties made last session and to shore up and strengthen them if needed. I wrote two articles about the sessions. DAY 1 and DAY 2..
Both articles have received much praise so please take the time to read them if you have not already done so.
Everyone who was supportive of prison reform and medical marijuana last session is still supportive and we managed to pick up a Senate sponsor for the Compassionate Care bill.
That bill is slated to be reintroduced into committee in mid to late February of 2006. Right now a lot of my time is focused on finding patients, family members of patients and physicians who are supportive of this legislation and preparing them to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, the full Legislature as well as the media at some point in the future.
This is proving to be a daunting task, as you can well imagine.
I have been vocal about marijuana laws for so long now I tend to think nothing of openly admitting that I do use marijuana and that I think it should be legal. I have forgotten the fear that I once felt when discussing this subject openly.
Most Alabamians still live with the fear of losing their kids, homes, jobs and possibly even their lives by going public and I have to keep reminding myself of that.
It infuriates me and sickens me that my fellow Alabamians are made to cower in their homes, like rats trying to avoid detection, in order to be able to use a natural plant to ease their pain, suffering or just the basic stress of life.
Living in such a way is alien to my people and they have only conformed to this unnatural way of life because of the government guns being pointed at them.
Once Alabamians are reminded of who they really are, then my friends, the real fight will be ON!
Also in January, I was able, due to the generous contributors on this list, to get 150 campaign signs and two sets of car magnets made. Here is a photo of me with one of my signs.
I have about 50 left so 100 should be popping up in places all over Alabama. Only one has been stolen to date.
By far the high point of January was speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4572 in Wetumpka, Alabama, which is just outside Montgomery.
Back in DecemberI was invited to speak at the candidate forums they are hosting during this election. My original date was slated for sometime in March. The vice commander of the VFW post sent me an email on January 7 and asked me if I would be able to speak on January 23 instead.
I agreed to do so even though that only gave me about two weeks to come up with a good speech and I believed this to be my one really good shot at getting the media to pay attention to my campaign. The text of the speech can be READ HERE!
I set to work and came up with what will be the bones of my stump speech for the remainder of this election year.
The VFW speech is the longest speech I have ever written and by far the longest that I have ever given.
45 minutes of non-stop information assault. I was worried that I would give out but when I got on stage time zipped by and it was over before I knew it.
I arrived around 6:15 in order to set up my camera and settle into the atmosphere.
As I walked up to the door I saw a sign announcing my appearance and stating that the bar would be closed from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
I remembered seeing Roy Moore there a few weeks earlier and noting that the bar was closed and no smoking was allowed. I thought at the time it made for a very boring atmosphere.
I did not see the need for that. This is the VFW after all. This is their house and I am a guest. I think it is absurd to ask a bar to stop being a bar. When in Rome as they say...
I went in and placed my things near the podium.
I decided I would let the Vice Commander know that closing the bar down and banning smoking during my speech was not necessary.
ME: "Hi Mr. Dean, thanks again for organizing these forums and inviting me to participate."
VC DEAN: "Thanks for coming Mrs. Nall. We want the community to become more involved in politics and to know who all the candidates are."
ME: "I wish more organizations would take on that role. I wanted to let you know that it is not necessary for you to close down the bar or ban smoking while I am speaking."
VC DEAN: "Really?"
ME: "I don't have any objections to the bar giving full service to anyone who walks through that door while I am here. You organized this whole event with your own time and money and there is no reason to ask you to lose money by closing the bar. I am also a smoker and as long as there is decent ventilation in here then people can smoke as well."
VC DEAN: "That's great. You know we closed it for Roy Moore because he is a Baptist preacher and all."
ME: "Well....I am about as far removed as one can possibly get from a Baptist preacher."
VC DEAN: "Well..I'll go tell everyone at the bar that it is staying open then. Would you like something to drink while I am up there?"
ME: "Yeah...I need a shot of whiskey for my nerves." (this was said in a joking manner)
VC DEAN: "Darlin', you can have whatever you want."
ME: "No, no I am just kidding... ice water will be fine. Whiskey makes me mean enough to give you both barrels."
VC Dean proceeds to the bar to make the announcement that alcohol will be served during my appearance and to get me some water. I could have sworn I heard clapping and whistling as that was announced.
He comes back with a cup of ice water and a large shot of Evan Williams.
VC DEAN; "I thought you might change your mind."
And...well y'all know me...I don't like to be rude and all...so BOTTOM'S UP!!
It burned like fire going down and regardless of any medicinal or relaxing affects whiskey has it still tastes like pure shit.
Now, it's true that I am not much of a drinker. Alcohol has never been my friend. I like beer and wine in moderation but whiskey in anything over an extremely moderate amount (read= 2 drinks) can make me go absolutely off my rocker, have black-outs and do terrible things. I usually stay very far away from it.
But, whiskey can also have a calming affect and act as a social lubricant to me in very small quantities....my nerves were wound tighter than Dick's Hatband so I knew that one shot would not hurt a thing and would probably relax me and enable me to give a better speech.
I was right.
It was just what I needed to take the edge off.
ME: "Thanks...I think I really probably needed that." Do you know which media outlets are going to cover tonight's event?"
VC DEAN: "Well, the Wetumpka Herald and the Montgomery Advertiser covered the first two that we had but neither of them returned my calls or acknowledged my news releases about the event."
ME: "Well, I hope they show up....but even if they don't I still have a speech to give and I did not come to give it to the media."
And I did indeed give a speech. From all indications it is the best of my career and has resonated with everyone who has heard it in such a deep way that even I am surprised.
About 20 people turned out to see me. There were an additional 20 or so people in the bar and by the time my speech ended they had all turned their chairs and bar stools around and were a part of my audience, clapping, cheering and whistling right along with everyone else.
It was an absolutely remarkable thing. To see my fellow citizens react to and connect with me in that way was something akin to a religious experience.
Please Watch the Video of My Speech. I want you to see and feel what I saw and felt that night.
No media showed up to cover the event.
Was I disappointed?
I worked hard to pull that off and did so with grace and splendor. It was REAL and the media should have been there to feel that power.
I was under the impression that the media had agreed to cover all of these forums and it was a real surprise to me to be literally blacked out.
Up until I officially launched my campaign for Governor I had great relations with the media in Alabama. In the last 3 and a half years I have had 105 letters and articles about my work published. Many of those have been in Alabama print media. I have done numerous radio and TV interviews and appearances as well.
I wrote the editor at one of the papers and asked him why his paper blacked me out.
He responded with "let me see your official papers to be on the ballot."
Gee, since when did newspaper editors start sounding like Homeland Security Officers?
He and I went back and forth for a few emails. In the end he apologized and said he would cover any future events I do in that area.
Another supporter of mine wrote him and told him how wonderful an event he missed and this same editor told him it was due to a staffing problem. Wonder why he indicated to me that it was because I do not yet have ballot access?
One friend joked that I have become so powerful that I have developed the ability to actually keep the media away.
But, enough about the failures of Alabama media...let's look to what lies ahead for the rest of this month.
As I stated earlier, I will be spending much of this month recruiting patients, family members of patients and physicians to testify. If any of you reading this can help me in any way in this regard please contact me via email.
I have spent much of the last two weeks contacting the League of Women Voters in Alabama, student government associations at the state's Universities and other places that normally sponsor candidate debates and do not exclude third parties from participating. I have asked to be included in any debates for this election. I will keep all posted on the status of those requests.
I have made a wonderful contact in North Alabama who has an internet radio station and wonderful contacts within the music community in legendary Muscle Shoals. This gentleman has offered to provide free campaign advertising on his station. He will even record the ads for me. He is also contacting the Drive By Truckers about playing a possible fundraiser for my campaign and getting other bands in the area together to play a fundraiser as well.
This gentleman has also printed out ballot access petitions and is circulating them in his area.
He is a former prison guard.
We have never met. He is one of the people who saw the video of my speech at the VFW and that won him over. He is re-broadcasting my entire speech on his station in the very near future.
Some of the other things that I have planned this month are more time in the legislature watching the following bills.
HB233: Chemical endangerment of exposing a child to a methamphetamine laboratory, crime of established, penalties, Sec. 26-15-3.2 added; Sec. 26-15-2 am'd.
HB414: Firearms, sale or delivery to nonresidents and acceptance of delivery by residents, authorized in and from all states, Sec. 13A-11-58 am'd.
HB301: Pardons and Paroles Board, discretionary medical or geriatric release of inmates, procedures for applications and review of applications, Alabama Medical and Geriatric Release Act
HB1: Defensive deadly physical force, justification further provided for, no requirement for retreat from aggressor intruding in a dwelling, residence, or vehicle, immunity, Secs. 13A-3-20, 13A-3-23 am'd.
HB283: Sentencing Commission, voluntary sentencing standards for certain felony offenses adopted by commission, approval by Legislature
HB284: Probation, revocation by trial court, modification of sentence and sanctions further provided for, certain provision re credit for intermittent sentence and home detention further provided for, Sec. 15-18-8, 15-22-54 am'd.
HB312: Schools, arrest without warrant authorized when officer has reasonable cause, based upon word of authorized school employee, to believe a misdemeanor has been committed in the presence of the employee by person arrested, Sec. 15-10-3 am'd.
HB328: Federal law enforcement officers, arrest powers for felonies in state under certain conditions, Sec. 15-10-1 am'd.
HB432: Death penalty, moratorium on imposition and execution not to exceed three years, procedure for administering
SB24: Adult bookstores, adult movie houses, adult video stores, or other adult-only enterprise, location restricted and license denial authorized under certain conditions, appeal
Those are just a few of the sessions I will be sitting in and reporting on.
Also this month I plan to have more campaign materials made including signs and printer literature. I will make a trip to North Alabama and try to facilitate a speaking engagement/fund raiser working with the gentleman at the radio station.
In mid to late February the Compassionate Care Act will be reintroduced in the House Judiciary Committee and I, of course, will be there for all of those proceedings.
Through the Libertarian Party a string of "supper club" speaking engagements are being set up for me and I will need money to get to and from those places.
Today is Feb. 6, 2006, the first day I am allowed by state campaign finance law to resume campaign fundraising activities. Everyone seeking state elected office was required to stop soliciting and accepting campaign contributions from Jan. 10 until Feb. 6 for the first 30 days of the regular legislative session.
Due to January and the first few days of Feb. being very busy for me my funds are extremely short right now.
My fundraising goal for February is $5000 and most of that will be spent for radio and television ads in addition to travel expenses to and from Montgomery and other places in Alabama, campaign signs and literature.
Please make a contribution today. If you have friends and family members that live outside of Alabama but might be willing to contribute then please pass this along to them. Any US citizen can legally make a contribution to my campaign for Governor.
I am required by law to record the name and address of all donors and I have to report all donations exceeding $100. If you make a contribution please include your name and address.
I would like to offer all of my contributors the opportunity to also become fundraisers for this campaign. I will pay you ten percent of whatever you bring in. If there is any interest in this please contact me for further information.
Thank you all for your continued support of my campaign for Governor of Alabama. Look for updates in your inbox throughout this month.
Your Compatriot in the Fight for Liberty,
Vote Nall Y'all...It's Just Common Sense