Thursday, September 30, 2010

Judge To Shoe Bomber: "We Are Not Afraid Of You"

This is not an urban legend. This is what the judge actually said to Richard C. Reid when he sentenced him to prison for trying to ignite a bomb in his shoe made of plastic explosives on a flight from Paris to Miami.

Think about this the next time you take off your shoes and go through the inspection lane in the departure lounge of an airport.

Mr. Reid told the Judge he is at war with our country.

Uh huh. This is what the Judge told him.

"...It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose..."

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say. His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah," defiantly stating, "I think I will not apologize for my actions," and told the court "I am at war with your country."

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

Judge Young: Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.

On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively. (That's 80 years.)

On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.
Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier, you are not; you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.
So war talk is way out of line in this court You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal.'

You are no big deal.

What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing? And, I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom. It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom, so that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.

We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure.

Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America , the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.
See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. And it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.

The FBI made this video to show people what Richard Reid's shoe bomb would have done to the airplane had he succeeded in igniting it.

Waco Tea Party Refuses Endorsements At Photo-Op

Co-founder weathers rigorous grilling from reporters regarding GOP alliances

Declaring the Tea Party a “principled movement,” the board of the local sipping society refused to endorse individual candidates.

Tea Party activists have no ties to the GOP, according to the board of the Waco Tea Party.

“We often hear or read references to candidates as 'Tea Party Candidates;' (though) those remarks are misleading the public and often confuse voters, we are not a political party; we are a principled movement,” reads a prepared statement.

"I wouldn't call them Republican values," said Mike Simon, a co-founder. "They are the principles upon which this nation was founded."

Appearing on the lawn of Waco City Hall in crystalline shirt-sleeve weather, co-founder Michael Simon withstood detailed questions from television and print media reporters about the movement's preferences for conservative over liberal politicians and causes.

Many Tea Party-affiliated challengers have gained nomination over more traditional and incumbent Republican candidates during the primary season. Now it's time for the general election on November 2.

This presented a mixed signal that differed from an announcement of the 1 p.m. Thursday conference announced by the group's Treasurer, Carol Waddell.

“With the elections less than five weeks away, it is time to release our endorsements for the 2010 elections,” Ms. Waddell announced earlier in the week by e-mail and on the Tea Party's website.

He was at pains to explain that the limited government, strict construction and free market movement confines itself to endorsing or opposing only causes and conditions, not the personalities peripheral to them.

Mister Simon and his colleagues claimed no particular preference for Republican candidates, a reversal of and announcement by The McLennan County Blue Collar Republican Club, which shares an interlocking directorate with the Waco Tea Party made two weeks ago that instead of endorsing the Republican candidates, they would encourage voters to pull a straight ticket and just skip voting in races in which they disapprove of the Repubican candidate. This way, political experts can look at the races block by block, zip code by zip code and precinct by precinct and see where certain candidates are held in disfavor.

“This is a meeting of the Waco Tea Party,” Mr. Simon reminded the throng of about 50 people attending the photo op and news conference.

“Because the tea party movement was formed in America's grassroots and is guided and directed by the people in our local community, the Waco Tea Party endorses you, the voter, in 2010,” according to an information sheet handed to reporters.

He announced that all of the races and candidates that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot are detailed on a voters guide available at There is nothing in the literature that indicates preference for one candidate over another, according to Mr. Simon.

He similarly announced:

A Saturday training seminar focusing on activist training and hosted by the Tea Party, American Majority and Americans for Prosperity will include a get-out-the-vote phone drive.
* A block walk to remind people to vote
* Ad campaign reminding folks of election day
* Heart of Texas Conservative Coalition Get Out the Vote Family picnic and BBQ.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The “New” Jail - Anatomy Of A $49 Million Stampede

Waco – The county's taxpayers are obligated to satisfy the terms of a $49 million revenue bond issue the Commissioners' Court authorized without voter approval to build a new jail to be operated by a private corporation.

The reason: “overcrowding.”

It's understood.

From there, matters become very confusing, according to records obtained by The Legendary under an Open Records information request.

It all starts with this conundrum.

When you look for the record that documents overcrowding of McLennan County's two jails, you won't find it.

In fact, conditions are so overcrowded that the new jail sat empty for several months. Why? No prisoners available to fill its capacity.

What is available is an Annual Jail Report completed by four inspectors of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards in January, 2008, that proclaims an inadequate inmate to staff ratio at the McLennan County Jail at 3201 E. Highway 6, among other deficiencies such as a lack of smoke detection equipment, some leaking toilets and inadequate water pressure in various showers.

Following a 36-hour inspection, Inspectors Fred St. Amant and Jackie Semmler wrote these laconic words.

“Staff inmates shall be supervised by an adequade number of corrections officers to comply with state law and these standards. One corrections officer shall be provided on each floor of this facility where 10 or more inmates are housed, with no less than 1 corrections officer per 48 inmates or increment thereof on each floor for inmate supervision...The facility does not meet the 1:48 staffing ratio at all times.”

That touched off a controversial plan to build the Jack Harwell Detention Center, a scheme that split the Court 3-2 and resulted in $4 million in bond debt service to be satisfied by the terms of a complicated contract with Community Education Centers of New Jersey to house inmates on a sliding scale fee schedule.

County Judge Jim Lewis says the arrangement costs taxpayers nothing to maintain.

His rival for re-election, challenger Dr. Ralph Cooper, an attorney and social psychologist, has a different opinion. He says it is costing taxpayers some $30,000 per month now, a figure that will go up with the expiration of a contract period that will end in October, right before election day.

Dr. Cooper maintains the county never needed a new jail, that predictions of a need for new capacity were erroneous all along.

Judge Lewis said he never knew otherwise, that all he could do was to trust the judgment of the experts.

One thing is for sure.

The records clearly indicate the state's inspectors could have been satisfied by the addition of corrections officers to the staff and the demands of an increasing population would have been satisfied at least until the year 2015, when the state would require space for 1,200 prisoners. Capacity on August 14, 2008, the day the Court voted to build the new jail, was 1,261. The experts said at the time that 1,488 beds would be needed by the year 2030.

After that bitterly contested vote, Adan Muñoz, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, lifted the remedial order imposed by the January inspection report. Addition of the staff needed to supervise the increased number of prisoners, 2,077 with the addition of an 816-bed jail, tipped the scales of the 1:48 staff to prisoner ratio.

Mr. Munoz had offered to conduct an independent analysis, but the Court acted first.

There is always more than one way to skin a cat, even when the cat is alive and well and doing just fine with its skin intact.

The most vocal critic, Commissioner Joe Mashek of West, alleged bid rigging on the part of Judge Lewis. He cried foul when a subcontractor construction firm, Hale Mills of Houston, was invited a year previously to study the possibility of expanding the Highway 6 jail's kitchen and laundry services and wound up getting the specifications needed to come up with a bid to build what was then proposed as a 1,000-bed new jail next door to the existing complex on Highway 6.

His complaints seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Judge Lewis and Commissioners Ray Meadows and Wendell Crunk voted to build the new jail. Mr. Mashek and Lester Gibson voted against the plan.

Mr. Mashek questioned the necessity of any such arrangements. He called on Sheriff Larry Lynch to interview, hire and train the staff needed to handle the number of prisoners projected for the future. He counseled a return to McLennan County's operation of the 329-bed downtown jail next door to the Courthouse.

It led to a verbal flare-up between he and Judge Lewis.

Said the Judge the day before the crucial vote, “The whole comment is ignorant.”

He estimated that hiring staff adequate to meet the demands of the jail standards commission would cost the Sheriff $5 million dollars. When he asked Commissioner Mashek what his plan would be to take back operations of the downtown jail, Mr. Mashek said, “That's not my problem. That's the Sheriff's problem.”

Corrections officers and lawmen opposed the plan to build the jail and turn its operation over to the private corporation all along. The basic objection is that private corporations hire less experienced and less qualified corrections officers because they don't pay them as much.

A honcho for a statewide organization that represents jailers and officers, Charley Wilkison of Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas (CLEAT), called for a state and federal investigation into dealings between McLennan County officials and the private detention corporation.

He said the corporation's arrangement to pay Sheriff Larry Lynch $12,000 per year as an advisor an incentive to recommend the privatization scheme.

In addition to recommending finding ways to clear out non-violent first offenders, he alleged intentional inflation of the numbers of inmates. He said inmates are often kept in jail to create an “artificial safety crisis” so that a new jail can be built for private operations by CEC.

The utter truth of the matter is that all of the expert opinion offered came from persons studying the proposal from the point of view of CEC. Not one expert offered facts and figures who was not in the employ of the corporation.

Pay-At-Pump Skimming Scam Viral, Very Lucrative

Banking security experts say the rip-offs happen one of two ways.

You roll up to an ATM, put your card in the slot, wait awhile and then a funny thing happens. The machine tells you it's out of order and returns your card.

In the second scenario, one that is very common on the eastern seaboard and catching on from coast to coast, you are in a hurry at the gas pumps. You don't want to go inside and wait in line, so you just use your card, credit or debit, fill the tank, and cruise.

You may have just gotten scammed by a skimmer.

Here's how they operate.

By inserting a small device in the scanner, a wafer thin plastic chip with a magnetic strip, they are able to subvert the process of reading your card's magnetic strip, debiting your account and selling you the gasoline or dispensing the cash. These devices are cheap, easily obtained from crooked manufacturers overseas and can be installed in a matter of seconds.

Now your bank account number, your social security number, name and address are stored and waiting for the skimmer to come along to service the scanner you just used. It's probably just one on his route of many such locations, often serviced by gangs that operate as companies under legitimate sounding corporate names.

ATM's and pay-at-the-pump card scanners store information from the magnetic strip on the cards they have processed for a certain period – until other information crowds the signals off the chip. Skimmers take advantage of that, pull into stations and use a WiFi connection to vacuum the cyphers off the machine, and then go on their merry way.

What is next?

It's hard to tell. What was stolen is useful in so many ways. They have been known to set up phony credit accounts, apply for driver's licenses, create new false identities based on the one they just stole and re-sell them to illegal aliens, people on the run – literally, anyone with a need to travel light and on your dime.
In another scenario, skimmers make a new magnetic strip from the information they stole off your card, put it on top of the old magnetic strip from a gift card, discarded bank card or debit account card. Then they use scanners that may be accessed without a clerk seeing the card and noticing that it's a completely different card from the kind the magnetic strip indicates.

Gangsters either hit your account for hundreds of dollars a day, buy merchandise and re-sell it for cash, or just add a certain percentage on the bill so they can bleed you a little more tomorrow without your noticing.

U.S. Attorneys and state prosecutors are filing more cases for this type of theft with every month that goes by.

The private cops who work for banks say these operations are more like a company than a gang; their level of sophistication is just that organized and adapted to the cash flow that hums through the cybernetic world on a moment-to-moment basis.

What to do?

Use cash, they say. Though the technology is available to curb these thefts, merchants at filling stations and ATM terminals are reluctant to invest. It's a new cure for a new problem. To stay ahead of the curve on a fail-safe basis, return to the world of Federal Reserve notes, get a receipt and forego the seeming convenience of cybernetic marketing and accounting.

Here is how sophisticated these operations often become.

In a case of massive identity theft, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey recently announced the arrests of 53 suspects charged with a sophisticated fraud scheme.

Park Criminal Enterprises, based in Bergen County, New Jersey, bought Social Security numbers of Asian immigrants and re-sold them in the form of completely new identities or to thieves who used them to obtain credit, buy and re-sell merchandise, or scam the system for cash. Sang-Hyun Park bought social security numbers with a 568 prefix, the one typically issued to people from China or American territories in Guam, American Samoa, and Saipan.

They simply had their software sort the day's skimming routes for the desired prefix, culled them out and processed them. Why? Recent immigrants often don't trust banks, cops, or anyone else. They keep their mouths shut and try not to make the same mistake again. That makes them easy pickings for the criminal gangs.

A former lead prosecutor who worked an earlier case and is now a top cop for a technology solutions practice told newsmen that he has never seen anything like it. “What they were able to do by just stealing Social Security numbers is frightening,” said Kim Peretti.

Using cash only might be too dangerous, impossible at times, or just plain inconvenient. How do you deal with the problem?

If anything like this happens, such as a balky machine that suddenly tells you it's out of order or you get withdrawals from your account that you know you didn't make, cancel your ATM card or credit card, get an temporary card and go on about your business.

The card you just cancelled is then put on a hot list and the banking cops wait for someone to try to use it. One man so arrested in Massachusetts was recently jailed and held on a $5 million bond.

The skimming strips are readily available to those who wish to shop for them. Illicit manufacturers produce the devices in mideastern countries and other spots around the globe, market them on the internet and have large customer bases.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alleged Voter Registration Fraud Lighting Up Houston

All of Harris County's voting machines torched in a 3-alarm fire set by arsonists

Houston - Voters registered in vacant lots, halfway houses with only a few beds shown as addresses for 40 or more voters, some registered as many as six times – all this and more prompted Tea Party activists to go after registration fraud in the Bayou City.

The top voter registrar in this county turned over a list of 23,207 phony registrants to the District Attorney, all of them allegedly signed up by a former union official.

“The integrity of the voting rolls in Harris County appears to be under an organized and systematic attack by the group operating under the name Houston Votes,” said Leo Vasquez, Voter Registrar in the nation's 4th largest city.

When Catherine Engelbrecht and friends from the King Street Patriots volunteered as poll watchers in 2008, they said they were shocked by what appeared to be widespread slipshod and fraudulent practices by election judges.

Their subsequent investigations have netted former Service Employees International Union (SEIU) member Steve Caddle as a suspect in alleged massive voter registration fraud.

Mr. Caddle has admitted that “There have been mistakes made.”

Non-citizens have been found to be registered to vote; one deputy registrar turned in 1,597 applications in one day with the same person listed multiple times, often with different signatures; all these revelations prompted Mr. Vasquez to look at who was turning in the registration applications.

In a disturbing development, a person or persons unknown torched all of Harris County's voting machines in a three-alarm fire investigators have declared a case of arson.

Mayor, Aide Found Stoned To Death In Michoacan State

Blood-splashed Monday nets many lives in Mexico's drug world

Morelia, Michoacan - When lawmen found the two bodies abandoned in a pickup on a lonely dirt road, it appeared they had been hacked to death with machetes.

Closer inspection revealed that assassins killed Tancitaro Mayor Gustavo Sanchez and his advisor Rafael Equihua by hurling stones at them. He was the eleventh mayor killed this year by drug gangsters – the fifth since Mid-August.

In this region, soldiers have destroyed more than 20 methamphetamine labs during the past year. Police found City Council chief Gonzalo Paz dead after drug manufacturers kidnapped, tortured and killed him earlier this year.

In other violence Monday in Michoacan, five gunmen and a marine died in a fire fight in the Pacific coast town of Cohuayana.

Eight gunmen and a marine perished at Reynosa in a similar gun battle.

Gunmen raided a police outpost in Chihuahua, subdued 10 guards and escaped with 40 automatic rifles. Lawmen were questioning the men who surrendered to see if they were in collusion with the raiders.

Police captured a man who allegedly set up the car bomb that killed three people in Juarez after killing a man, dressing him in a police uniform and luring emergency medical technicians and other police to investigate on a crowded city street. American federal officers say that attack resembles the type of stealth car bombings carried out by jihadist terrorists in mideastern cities such as Jerusalem.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fire Pelosi Bus Tour Swings Through Six Shooter Jct.

Waco - Republican National Chairman Mike Steele stepped down off a concrete bench in Heritage Square and walked over to a little boy of elementary school age.

His lanky frame towered over the kid, who grinned up at him.

“This young man owes $55,000 and he hasn't done a thing to deserve it,” said Mr. Steele.

A ripple of laughter surged through the crowd of about a hundred who had waited patiently for the big, red bus emblazoned with the words “Fire Pelosi” in letters at least a yard high. In his opening remarks, Mr. Steele told the crowd that he tells Democrat friends who criticize the paint job that he is aware it's “a little understated.”

But the young boy stood and solemnly stared up at Mr. Steele, a slight grin playing around the edge of his features. The kid wasn't really sure where all this was going. He just knew it was fun.

He endured some complimentary remarks about his attire, certain buttons and stickers his mom had put on his shirt, and the like.

Then the immensely powerful politician glad-handed him and said, while delivering a 2,000 megawatt smile with a huge grin, “Baby, I hope you've got the money because it's gonna be hard to pay off a debt like that - $55,000 – and you're just a kid!”

Then Mr. Steele read some notes about a wire report on something former Democratic Presidental candiate Senator John Kerry (D-Ma.) said just today.

“You remember him, don't you? The guy with the big boat and the whatever?”

Another ripple ran through the crowd, this one with an angry tone.

“The reason the Democrats are having the problems they are is people don't always understand,” he quoted Senator Kerry as saying. “The people stopped paying attention years ago.”

That remark brought forth a burst of merriment.

Mr. Steele followed up with the remark that the Tea Party has been paying attention. And how.

He went on to explain that people are sick and tired of the kind of leadership that just naturally assumes they don't know what's best for them, so it will impose from the top down a plan that will set them free.

“The people don't want government control; the people don't want government health care...” he concluded.

The moment passed, but the mood was light after the crowd had listened to Texas GOP National Committeewoman Bora Van Dormolen, a retired Lt. Col. In the U.S. Army, talk about the need to send House Speaker Nancy Pelosi down the road. It will require the winning of 39 new seats and replacing just that many Democrats to elect a new Majority candidate for Speaker of the House. She said, “I'm teed off.” Her goals for Texas GOP activists are simple and on message. Demographic surveys show that the majority ethnic type in Texas will be Hispanic long before mid-century.

“Get more Hispanics elected,” said Ms. Van Dormolen.

Simple, straight to the point and succinct, it was the main thrust of her message, other than her displeasure with the performance turned in by the Democratic Congressional leadership, particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.

The tone was upbeat, festive and friendly, but on message to the point of obsessive adherence to a line of conversation regarding the runaway federal spending that they think is the root of the problems this nation is now enduring.

Chief Of Police Should Have Looked Behind The Fridge

Can't always hit long ball for center field fence. Sometimes have to hit ball on ground, bouncing. - Ernest Hemingway

An outlaw Grub Street journalist, The Legendary does not have the equal protection of the law.

What does that mean? It means that as an outlaw, I don't necessarily run around breaking the law; I just don't have the equal protection of the law. They blacklisted me 40 years ago, placed me "out-law," so to speak.

How did things happen to be that way?

That was simple enough, a small matter that escalated out of all proportion and completely beyond all reason.

The hassle turned around a small, but important issue.

The truth.

When it came time to man up and get the job done, everyone on the lot was looking at The Legendary to see what he would do. After all, The Legendary was the one who was taking that small salary to report news in that small Texas town, and it was a daily struggle dealing with people who completely refused to release any information whatsoever. The slighest smirk, idle remark or gesture could mean a trip to la casa de calaboose.

It was time to hit the ball and it was always a predictable brush-back inside curve that just barely caught the corner of the plate.

What's more, on the northeast corner of the Courthouse Square, there was an old and faded sign with a picture of a very tall steeple and a proper brick church that said, “See You In Church Sunday.”

So, where did the information come from? It came from the people who lived across the tracks, beyond the old railroad hotels and the cotton compress, the mill and the gin. You got the news where you found it, gathered it from the people who knew, the wrecker drivers, bootleggers, pimps, whores, burglars' fences, drunks, junkies, waitresses, jailbirds, bail bondsmen and anyone else who was willing to add marginalia to that heady gumbo, that all-important first edition of history, the news.

Brand X journalism, the kind the folks at the Chamber – the all-important Chamber – who worked in the cool lobbies and board rooms of the banks, the law offices, the establishment churches and the mercantile emporiums just don't appreciate because it's always so bad for bidness.

Law and order wore a huge cowboy hat, dogging heels on his boots, an enormous revolver hanging from a low-slung highly tooled belt and holster, drove a beefed-up, gas-guzzling car with a very funny paint job and had an attitude that could frost your butt at 40 paces.

Was there a Brand A news organization in town?

You bet your sweet – well, never mind.

They had a 1,000-watt AM radio station that went off the air at sundown, a twice-weekly sheet with free classified ads that ran enormous, 4-column pictures of kids' – rich kids' - birthday parties, and printed a jail and arrest report with no comment or explanation at all, at all, thank you very much.

At the time, there was no subscription fee. It was what publishers call “TMC,” or total market coverage, mailed bulk rate to box holders and occupants throughout the area as a loss leader designed to keep the competition moving on down the line, off the air and out of the mailboxes.

During Grand Jury terms, they printed laconic lists of names of people who had been indicted.

No other newsmen need apply. The matter was always “under investigation.” Besides, you could find it in the columns of the Brand A sheet - when they got around to printing it.

Naturally, they got all the ad lineage in town due to their big-time connections at “the chamber.” That's because they were so good for bidness. Well-barbered, wearing loud plaid double-knit slacks, cloned white patent leather Gucci loafer knockoffs, and all the accessories, they were the darlings of the supermarket managers, car dealers, real estate agents and agri-business merchants.

Aside from political advertising, the highest rate charged was in the columns adjacent to that all-important jail and arrest report and the lists of Grand Jury Indictments.

Of course, though they didn't print anything that “the chamber” thought might be bad for bidness, they did print notices of officially adjudicated items such as foreclosures, divorces, evictions and the like, at the highest rate the law would allow.

We got our ads from the liquor and beer stores at the County Line and the one wet community in sight. There was a hardware merchant in a nearby town who ran a cash and carry operation, kind of a rent-to-own program for people in the market for a washing machine or a stove, air conditioner – whatever.

As Sinclair Lewis once remarked of Century City – or was it Gophers Corners - “ was a dry, polite, cruel smile of a town.”

Then, one day, the phone rang and it was a little old man from out of town – not far out of town, but far enough – who had a little story for The Legendary, an ordinary story about the way things go.

It became extraordinary, to say the least, but that took awhile.

Endurance is everything in a war, saith Mr. Hemingway, that is, when speaking in terms of fishing and how they are biting. Naturally, the old coot on the phone lived in a fishing shack near Lake Whitney, a retired gentleman on an unassailable pension, a World War Two veteran who wasn't afraid of man, beast or The Almighty Himself.

Unlike Archie Bunker, he didn't “go over to Ft. Dix for Nine-dee days to fight Hit-lah,” as Edith described Ah-Chee's experience in “the big one.”

This guy's big one started in North Africa and wound through Italy. Of course, he was shot full of holes and none of them were in his – ah – posterior regions.

His story:

A son showed up with a drinking buddy who wound up staying all night with them at the shack on the lake, then helped himself to a Model 94 lever action Winchester .30-30 and took out hitchhiking west down the state highway before the rest of the household had made it to their knees.

He made it as far as Meridian before a highway patrolman decided to investigate why this bird was standing on the side of the road with a .30-30. It was an alarming sight to behold, some people thought, though it was a common practice in those days to keep both a lever action rifle and a scatter gun in the rear window rack of every pickup truck - including the one the kid drove to high school.

You got to have a horse. You also got to have a saddle carbine. Just ask Pancho Villa and his running buddy, Emilio Zapata. They, too, preferred "los dos treintas." It was the assault weapon of the time, and a good one.

Since he couldn't come up with any plausible explanation, the trooper hauled him back to Hillsboro for further investigation and - guess what - that old saddle carbine just happened to have been stolen from this house at the lake. What's more, it was the property of the old boy The Legendary had on the phone.

Now, the hitchhiker wound up pleading guilty to burglary, went to the pen and did his time, and by then he was back out on the streets - looking for his next score, no doubt.

All along, the deputy who had handled the investigation held the old man off about returning his rifle.

It was “evidence,” of course, and the matter was part of an “ongoing investigation.”

End of story? No way. This old dog face had staying power. Endurance. Mojo. You didn't mess with his rifle and get away with it. He raised hell. The deputy wouldn't budge.

Finally, the Dog Face got a court order for the return of the weapon and the deputy could not produce it. Just couldn't find it, though he claimed he had looked high and low.

There were certain repercussions.

That's when the cop quituated from the Sheriff's Department and started in as Chief of Police of that fair city, Hillsboro.

Things rocked on – for awhile – until appliances started disappearing from new homes going up on the edge of town. Stoves. Refrigerators. Dishwashers.

They found them in a barn on a place leased by the cop where he was feeding cattle as a sideline occupation to his police duties.

“Now, what about all this?” the sheriff asked those boys who survived their canoe trip in Deliverance, that movie made from Poet Laureate James Dickey's novella that just scared the hell out of men all over America that year.

Our man in the cowboy hat and the tall-walking boots knew his lines so very well. He told them that it was “evidence,” that the matter was part of “an on-going investigation,” and that was that. Or was it?

No way. He got his, after all.

They arrested him after a Grand Jury investigation returned an indictment, placed him in custody over night at the County Jail, and the next day the same judge who court-ordered the return of the rifle accepted a plea of guilty for multiple counts of burglary, which netted the cop a sentence of unsupervised probation and one day in jail with credit for time served, all of which was vehemently reported by the Brand A sheet to all the people they were likely to see in Church on Sunday or at that grandbaby's birthday party.

When last heard from, that cop was the Housing Director in a medium-sized west Texas city smack dab in the middle of the oil patch, the manager of that burg's indigent housing projects. He lost his badge and the certification it takes to wear one.

Lawmen really don't like to see spit stains on another cop's badge, y'hear?

Oh, well, back in Hillsboro, the bank owned the appliances. In that west Texas oil town, the city owned all the appliances in the projects. All the wrecker drivers and whores and bootleggers and junkies understood that one perfectly well right up front, though it was no doubt bad for bidness that they got the information. Can't be too careful about that, now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Corporations At The Root Of Illicit Narco-Trafficking

Money trail leads straight to the nation's board rooms and banks, experts say

No one paid much attention back in March when Wachovia, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the government.

The plea bargain included the payment of a $160 million penalty and the admission that the banking organization had laundered hundreds of billions of dollars for narco-traffickers in illicit drugs routed through Mexico and marketed in the U.S.

That's because the main stream media did not bother to explain that by doing so, the giant banking concern was able to get summary justice by paying less than 1% of the estimated $378.4 billion involved – an amount equal to one-third of the entire Mexican gross domestic product.

Social media such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter now dominate the news traffic from the border drug wars because the drug cartels have targeted journalists, eliminating 30 of them through kidnapping and murder so far this year.

Mexican drug gangsters just assassinated the 10th mayor of a city this year in a suburb of the industrial hub, Monterrey.

The Mexican government fired one in 10 policemen last month in an effort to get a handle on corruption. Gun battles take place daily amid the occasional car bombing in Reynosa, Juarez and Matamoros.

What else is new?

Intelligence types note the similarity of the tactics used by the Gulf Cartel and the rogue special ops soldiers' enforcement group, the Zetas, with those employed by Hezbollah and Hamas, both mideastern terrorist groups trained by Iranian jihadists.

The growing realization among homeland security officials and military types who study and plan for this problem that until the culture of corruption is wiped out, nothing much can be done about the so-called “war on drugs,” a war that has turned the northern tier of Mexican states into a killing field that has claimed more than 28,000 lives since Mexican President Felipe Calderon accepted U.S. Funds to mount a full-scale military attack on the drug cartels.

A Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives District 17, Col. Dave McIntyre, made this declaration repeatedly during the primary battle between 7 GOP hopefuls who duked it out for the nomination. Col. McIntyre had resigned from his position running a doctoral program in homeland security at A&M University at College Station.

The victor, oil man Bill Flores, also of Bryan-College Station, carefully avoided all mention of the issue.

He focused on the profligate spending experienced by the federal government that has driven the deficit into the trillions. But he never said a word about the security issue that is staring the nation in the face.

Another candidate vying for the Republican nomination, Chuck Wilson of Waco, who is a former CIA official and intelligence operative, threw all his support to Mr. Flores in the runoff campaign with Rob Curnock, a former television sports anchor and video dubbing service owner. Mr. Flores' campaign now occupies the offices on Lake Air Boulevard in that city once maintained by Mr. Wilson as his campaign headquarters.

The simple truth is this. There is a shadow government euphemistically referred to as the “intelligence community” that uses illicit narcotics as a way to raise massive sums of cash, cash that is then used to recruit, train, arm and equip foreign armies without the scrutiny of Congressional committees and Administration politicos.

Why narcotics? It's simple enough. They are worth a lot of money in the American markets of the underworld, it's a cash business, and the plants used to produce those narcotics are easily cultivated in the jungles and mountains of the regions where the latest brush fire wars of liberation are fought. They are places like southeast Asia, where war lords control the cue; the mountains of Afghanistan, where Islamic jihadists fight all comers, even their American sponsors from previous skirmishes; Colombia, Venezuela and Panama, where Uncle Sam can't afford to let the Communists get much of a stronghold, and the list goes on – and on.

Said Tom Burghardt in a recent article for Global Research, “While the United States has pumped billions of dollars into failed drug eradication schemes in target countries through ill-conceived programs such as Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative, in the bizarro world of the 'War on Drugs,' corporate interests and geopolitics always trump law enforcement efforts to fight organized crime, particularly when the criminals are partners in crimes perpetrated by the secret state.”

In the estimation of British journalist Simon Jenkins, “cocaine supplies routed through Mexico have made that country the drugs equivalent of a Gulf oil state,” whose statement appeared in the “Guardian” recently.

According to an article in “The Observer,” Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he saw evidence that “the proceeds of organized crime were the only liquid investment capital available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352 billion of drug profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.”

In an article produced by The National Security Archive, a series of documents obtained in a freedom of information act request proved that “both the CIA and the FBI intervened in 1981 to block the indictment of stolen car charges of the drug-trafficking Mexican intelligence czar Miguel Nazar Haro. The article claimed he was “an essential contact for the CIA station in Mexico City on matters of “terrorism, intelligence, and counterintelligence” and concluded that “there is a deep connection between the former Mexican intelligence service and the country's drug mafias.

How do they know that? When Naro's corrupt Dirección Federal de Seguridad (DFS) took command of counterinsurgency raids in 1970's, they often stumbled onto narcotics safe houses and “quickly took on the job of protecting Mexico's drug cartels.”

Unfortunately, the rest is history and the truth is on its face. It is equally unfortunate that the electorate does not seem to want to hear anything about it.

Field Stripping A Jeep - Reassembly In 4 Minutes Optional

Do you sometimes feel yourself getting older, especially when you see more youthful baby brothers chasing about madly?

Relax, it's probably later than you think. Observe. Enjoy. This won't take long, believe me. Like most other phenomena, it, too will pass.

The Legendary

Anti-War Protestors Targeted in Home Raids By FBI

FBI agents raided persons who protested American intervention in Latin America and the Middle East at their offices and homes on Friday.

Some were subpoenaed to testify before federal grand juries.

Agents were looking for evidence of illegal anti-war activities in the raids that took place at six locations in Minneapolis and two in Chicago.

One man's door was kicked down immediately after he left for work.

He was widely known for organizing massive anti-war protests at the Republican National Convention in 2008.

''To me this is harassment of anti-war activists and leaders who have spoken against US intervention in Latin America and the Middle East,'' Mick Kelly said. He insisted he had ''absolutely not'' been involved in any illegal activities.

Activist Jessica Sundin said the FBI had taken her mobile and given her a subpoena to testify before a grand jury in Chicago, and was looking for items related to her anti-war activities and trips to Colombia and the Middle East.

''I am angry,'' she said. ''I want people to know that the government is targeting people for our ideas.''

Friday, September 24, 2010

Iranian Prez Gets Funky At UN, Accuses U.S. Of Causing 9/11

United Nations, New York – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he suspects “some elements within the U.S. Government” orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

When he made his accusation, the United States delegation stomped out, followed by every representative of the European Union.

It was one of several such accusations traded between the Iranian President and President Barack Hussein Obama at the summit meetings regarding each others' nuclear programs.

Mr. Obama said Iran is the only member of the non-proliferation treaty nations that cannot demonstrate its peaceful intentions.

He emphasized that “ law is not an empty promise.”

The U.N. Security Council has passed four rounds of increasingly restrictive economic sanctions against the revolutionary Islamic republic in protest to its escalating defiance of non-proliferation treaty violations.

About 1,000 cheering demonstrators rallied outside the building, applauding wildly when former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said they have the support of the world's democratic governments.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said he believes the U.S. caused the terrorist attacks in order to further support Israel. The nation of Iran does not recognize Israel's right to exist, nor does it extend diplomatic recognition to the Israeli government.

Cotton Season Returns - Bob Wills Is Still The King

Cutting down throught the valley of the Brazos the other night, I got a blast from the past on the tubes. It was a scratchy and far-away old station. The only thing missing was the static from the high wires as I high-balled it down the Santa Fe line. It's a stereophonic and solid state world, but the V-8 was making the tires hum on the blacktop and the moon was full and bright.

Here was old shifty eyes himself - Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys - doing "Sitting On Top Of The World."

Cotton season is back in full force and I was digging on the King Of Western Swing, coming at me in stereo, doing a Mississippi Delta blues on the twin fiddles and steel strings, Al Strickland standing by to radiate the eighty-eight.

Get a load of this, y'all:

Skin Tone Dispute Erupts In Congressional Race

Hispanic organizer castigates los dos amigos conservative in letter to the editor

Sooner or later, it was bound to happen. Racial resentment reared its ugly head in the District 17 race for U.S. Representative.

A veteran political operative named Aguilar printed a letter to the editor in the Spanish weekly, “El Tiempo,” accusing a fellow Hispanic-surnamed individual of thinking he's better than his darker-complexioned brethren of Aztec descent because he is what is known in the barrio as a huero – a light-skinned Hispanic man of European descent.

Bill Flores calculates that he is a ninth-generation Texican. According to his family tree, the progeny of Mr. Flowers, un vaquero del llano estacado, got a toe-hold long before the Scots-Irish component of the Tennessee and North Carolina mountain tribes filed in for the land grab of 1836 following the ignominious siege at the shrine of the Alamo and the slaughter at the Mission of Goliad.

Mr. Flores is light-skinned, ergo, reasons his antagonist, he must be of Spanish descent and be possessed of an attitude of superiority based on that fact alone.

He was no easier on Abel Reyna, Republican contender for Criminal District Attorney who is campaigning to unseat long-term prosecutor John W. Segrest. He misspelled his name, "Able," and tarred him with the same brush, making a remark about playing golf and other GOP trademarks.

And if that wasn't enough, he roped in the Tea Party, characterizing it as racist and resembling the Ku Klux Klan. I got news for Sr. Aguilar. The KKK is solidly southern Democrat, an old timey organization known for lynching Republicans, no matter their ethnic origin. Look it up. Start with General Nathan Bedford Forrest. They gon' tell you down in Dixie, amigo.

The rest of the diatribe resembles the brand of fear and loathing you can hear on any stoop from the Bronx to the capital of fruits and nuts, Los Angeles nigh Tinseltown, California.

You will find the letter reproduced in the Hispanic political club website, GOP Is For, or in the current edition of “El Tiempo,” published at Waco.

It's all about how Mr. Flores is against veterans benefits and health care programs for the poor, his being hard on people who are out of work, etc. Reading through the letter a second time, the glaring fact that jumps out at you is this. This man is scared to death he's going to lose something if Bill Flores is elected over the incumbent, Representative Chet Edwards. Shoot, y'all, they're both Aggies. What does that tell you?

Be all that as it may, it's a sad event to behold when the politics of racial disharmony rears its ugly head among the members of any community, no matter their ethnicity, be it flavored with chili and tamales or corn beef and cabbage, soul food or pheasant under glass.

The truth is this amongst Texicans – our pappies all got here as quickly as they could. Most of them came running. They knew what they were after and it's here - with plenty to go around for those who will get down in the dirt and scuffle for it. Our bunch started off with a bang. They stole it fair and square!

It doesn't matter how your people got here because once you're here, participating in that age-old quid pro quo, the status quo of the mess we done got ourselves into now, it's all about if - and nothing in between. We are all side by each in this durned old struggle of scratch, bite and fight for what resources are available.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Poll - Bill Flores Leading 19 Points Over Chet Edwards

Bill Flores is leading the Texas Congressional District 17 race for U.S. House of Representatives by 55% over incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards' 36% share.

The revelation came in a poll released by OnMessage, Inc., a Washington, D.C., scientific market share polling firm retained by Young Gun Republicans vying to unseat Democratic Representatives nationwide.

Said Wes Anderson of OnMessage, “More than anything else, it is the national wave, including the messaging that Congress is broken and is spending us into oblivion and taxing us into oblivion, and we're sick of it.”

The poll was done on September 19-20 while both campaigns were running television ads. It has a margin of error of 4.9 points.

Mr. Anderson also said he believes the voters polled were reacting to attack ads the Edwards campaign directed at Mr. Flores.

Mr. Flores told reporters that he was impressed with the number of cross-over independent voters attracted to his campaign.

“That group of people was always the group that Chet Edwards was able to attract to vote for him, but now they're seeing past the way he describes himself, and they determined he's not really independent, that he is a Pelosi Democrat.”

A new ad aired today entitled “Fork In The Road” that ties the Edwards campaign to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca). Paid for by The American Future Fund, a 501(c)4 organization with conservative politics, the ad is appearing on network channels in Waco and on cable channels in the Dallas-Ft. Worth broadcast area.

Demo Challenger Reacts To Judge Jim Lewis' Mocking Rant

The race for McLennan County Judge is starting to resemble one of those protracted exchanges of historic notes between Sam Houston or Andrew Jackson and their antagonists in classic duels fought outside Nashville.

The challenger bringeth forth the tar baby and he lays it on the Judge's bench.

That is, Dr. Ralph Cooper strolled into the McLennan County Judge's office and dropped off a letter first thing this morning.

He won't let the mocking tone of the Judge's reply to his pointing out faulty arithmetic in calculating true costs of the new Jack Harwell Detention Center slow him down.

It's still costing taxpayers a cool net loss of $30,000 per month to build a new jail and let a private corporation run it, no matter how much attention Ralph Cooper is getting. The numbers did not change over the course of just a few days.

The challenger tried to read a statement about this to the Commissioners' Court on Tuesday morning, but the judge cut him off and told him his time was up.

Then he made a Facebook entry that said Ralph Cooper is just trying to get attention after telling the reporter for the local daily paper that it was a “cheap” way for the Democratic nominee to get his name in the paper.

Here's what Dr. Cooper wrote in reply:

“Had I been able to complete my remarks, you would have heard that I specifically did NOT propose using the new jail as a mental institution. Rather, I asked the Court to appoint a citizens commission to explore alternatives.”

The Judge had written in his Facebook entry, “My opponent seems to want to do anything for attention. Has he thought about the consequences of his proposals? Who's going to pay for the additional nursing staff if we turn the new jail into a mental institution? Who's going to pay for the renovations to bring a building built to house prisoners to a building meant to house mental patients?”

Infra-dig, Dr. Cooper's remarks make some kind of sense to a man who spends his days dealing with the mental infirmities of certain offenders. Often, it seems, society uses its jails as adjunct mental institutions for people who will not stop drinking and driving, whipping up on the old lady's head and writing checks made of rubber.

Aside from an extensive legal practice involving battered women who seek a divorce and custody of their kids, Dr. Cooper is a social psychologist with a doctoral degree in that particular social science.

Judge Jim Lewis is a career politician with 40 years of service under the double dome of the McLennan County Courthouse to his credit. He started off as a deputy sheriff who rose to the rank of jail administrator, then got appointed to the Commissioners' Court and subsequently elected County Judge.

They put it on the line for this idea, and came up winners

"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God,
to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors."

--George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

What, Me Worry? Dig - Alfred E. Newman for Speaker!

Admittedly, this is not the Alfred E. Newman men and women of an age came to know and love during their formative years in the 50's and 60's.

OUR Alfred E. Newman was a creature who sprung fully formed from the brow of Mr. Ernest K. Gaines, late of Brooklyn, who kept a padlock on his refrigerator so no one could get to his stash of Blatz Beer, and publisher of “Mad” Magazine - “.25 Cents – Cheap!”

Much later, it was “.35 Cents – Kinda Cheap!”

Much, much later, long after I should have known better, it was “.50 Cents – Outrageous!”

That publication was known for its utter trashiness and all the dangerous ideas it foisted off on the youth of America. In fact, “Mad” Magazine was once one of the titles investigated by a Congressional Subcommittee battling the smut and filth that was slowly taking over the minds of an entire nation's youth.

Somehow, we pulled through.

But I digress.

OUR Alfred E. Newman usually had his forefinger inserted in a nostril of his wide and spatulate nose – at the least, to the second knuckle – to the extent that it looked as if he had penetrated his skull to mid-brain in an effort to pick and be rid of – well - you know what!

You see, as we all learned, it's not whether you pick your nose; it's what you do with the boogers that counts, something Mr. Gaines and his mascot Alfred E. Newman were always quick to point out.

But I was paging through Facebook when suddenly I saw Mr. Bill Flores' face peering out at me. As a candidate for Congress opposing Chet Edwards, (D-TX, Dist. 17), I am just totally positive that Mr. Flores has nothing to do with Mr. Newman.

It was this other novel and unique announcement that drew my attention.

Now, I don't know if Mr. Flores has anything to do with this, or not, but I intend to inquire bright and early to see if his staff knows if he is backing this novel idea.

Check it out!

“The Speaker Education Project is a nonprofit effort dedicated to educating the public about the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives, and highlighting the fact that non-Congressmen are eligible to serve in the chamber's top position - (second only in line to succession to the Presidency after the Vice President, of course.)

“The Speaker Education Project is a project of Americans for Limited Government. Americans for Limited Government ( is a 501c(4) and neither endorses nor opposes candidates for public office.


It's true that Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution proclaims that the members of the House of Representatives will choose a Speaker of the House.

It's equally true that this venerable language makes no specific mention of whether that personality must be a member of the House of Representatives – or not. Nor does it mention that of the 60 Speakers the members of the United States House of Representatives have chosen, all of them have been not only members of that chamber, but members of the majority party.

Let's live a little. Bend the rules, just this once.

Can you imagine?

I just think there is no finer candidate for the position than our Mr. Alfred E. Newman – that is, if he doesn't have to be elected to Congress. I'm not sure if the members would – ah – cotton to his ethnic roots and all such as that, if you take my meaning.

At least, I'm pretty sure that some folks from upstate N'Yahk and from Joisy would object right off the bat, knowing those boys for what they are – lovely people, one and all, I assure you.

I'm just asking, dear hearts, that you keep an open mind on the subject and think about giving one of my childhood heroes the nod.

In fact, I've decided not to bother Mr. Flores about all this. He's a busy man. We'll just keep it among ourselves – for now.

But who knows? It could become a groundswell, an irresistible and compelling DESIRE of We The People...

Stop me before I hurt myself.

- The Legendary

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Public Record – Local Violent Offenders Often Go Free

Cops, Prosecutors, Courts fight to keep secrets of public record

Please allow me to introduce myself;
I'm a man of great wealth and taste.
Been around for a long, long year,
sold many a man's soul to waste...
- The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”

(A poster prominently displayed on the wall of the press room at Houston Police headquarters, ca. 1972-73)

Waco – When the smoke clears in a public records fight involving complaints to the Attorney General's Open Records Division, The Legendary is left with pitiful xerox copies of reports involving sad little episodes involving murder, terror, rape, mayhem and - in general - man's infinite capacity to perpetrate acts of cruelty and evil toward other men, his women, his kids, other peoples' kids and the rest of God's ever-loving children.

It makes a man wonder if it's really worth it. It must be. Just look at the fuss it causes when you ask questions on those downtown errands.

So mote it be.

For instance, the Robinson Police Department finally relented and sent along a copy of the original offense and arrest report regarding an attempted capital murder of an elderly car dealer in that city.

It was an assault so vicious that the stabbing instrument, a knife blade, actually penetrated the skull and left Ray Easley of Excel Motors with a brain injury for which he was hospitalized for a week.

When his accused assailant was apprehended days later, he was in jail a mere 4 days before Jail Magistrate Raymond Britton released him on his personal recognizance. It cost Steven Ray Johnson only his signature to go free – that, and a promise to appear when summoned for court.

The lieutenant in charge of the investigation and a records clerk swore up and down that the information is not a matter of public record. They didn't know they were talking to a police reporter from Houston who was there when the local gendarmes tried the same tactic and got slapped down by the First District Court of Appeals in Houston. That case went on to be codified into the Texas Open Records Act, an instrument that – along with the original case law – delineates what the public has the right to know and not know regarding offenses against the peace and dignity of the People Of The State Of Texas and arrests made therefor.

It's called Houston Chronicle Publishing v. City of Houston, 531 S.W.2d 177, 184-185 and 536 S.W. 2D 559 (Tex. 1976) (per curiam).

The rest may be found in §552.108, Tex. Govt. Code, Roviaro v. United States, 353 U.S. 53 (1957) and Texas Rules of Evidence 508, according to John W. Segrest, McLennan County Criminal District Attorney.

The Legendary extends his gratitude to Mr. Segrest for taking the time to draft a memorandum of law concerning these matters. It is an act of professional courtesy much appreciated.

Basically, you cannot know about matters that are the object of an “ongoing” police investigation. That means ballistic reports, polygraph examinations, witness statements, medical reports and other lab analyses.

Once an offense has been reported and an arrest made, either/or, it's a matter of public record, according to an AG's opinion, which the Robinson police chose to defy.

They got some help making up their ever-loving minds after The Legendary contacted the Open Records Division of the Attorney General's Office.

Then there is the case of Keith Lewis Hill, who originally assaulted his wife Janice in Hewitt back in January of 2008, according to an offense report.

He blacked her eyes, bent her over a dresser and bruised her face.

Police charged him with aggravated assault and when he got to court in August of that year, Asst. Criminal Dist. Atty. Mark Parker allowed him to plead guilty to assault – family violence, a misdemeanor conviction which netted him a 365-day sentence to be served in the County Jail and a $300 fine. District Judge George Allen suspended the sentence and imposed community supervision by the Adult Probation Department and attendance at the family violence course. Despite ongoing efforts to bring light on the subject, no evidence has yet surfaced of Mr. Hill complying with either requirement of his sentence.

It didn't do much to change Mr. Hill's way of doing things.

He found his wife where she was hiding in Grand Prairie not much later and tried to take her wedding rings away from her. When she put them in her mouth, he tried to choke her with them.

A month later he located she and her mother at an east Dallas address where he murdered them before turning the gun on himself.

Dallas authorities were flabbergasted, to say the least.

Aaron Firquin of Bruceville-Eddy is held presently under a $5,000,000 bond in McLennan County Jail after he allegedly murdered his grandfather with a large butcher knife and a hammer.

According to a probable cause affidavit in support of an arrest warrant, he tried to tell the investigating officer who arrived after he called 9/1/1 that he had found his victim in the bathtub with water running on him. The officer looked at the scene, which had blood spatter on the walls and ceiling and a trail of destruction and signs of violence, blood trails and the blood-stained murder weapons soaking in the kitchen sink under a running facucet.

The list goes on and on, headed by the cases of two accused child rapists, Benjamin Morrison and Danny Passmore, both of whom were charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, and then let go on writs of habeas corpus after 90 days in which the prosecution had failed to seek and get an indictment.

Judge Ralph Strother authorized the release of Mr. Passmore after the District Attorney declined prosecution because it takes about 9 months to get results of DNA tests from the DPS laboratory at Austin. Mr. Morrison is back in jail following his indictment in August.

The Legendary puts it to the members of the public. Do you feel you have a right to know these facts? I think it's a fair question.

Apparently the People of the State of Texas feel that way, too. They encoded the means of discovery of these kind of facts in their Government Code and Justices of Appeals courts have made these holdings.

In cases of hotly disputed public policy involving the peoples' right to know, ask yourself this question.

Who benefits?

Cui bono.

May I assure you this is not Latin for status quo, or, as a Texas Ranger once testified in court, “The mess we done got ourselves in now.”

For instance, in neither the case of Mr. Morrison, nor Mr. Passmore, was any bond fee posted. They merely signed an agreement that a $100,000 lien would be levied against their properties and chattels if they failed to appear in court. Media reports differed and made it sound as if they had posted a $100,000 bond, which they did not, as reflected clearly by the record.

Judge Called Out On Arithmetic of Jail Costs by Ph.D.

Net Cost to taxpayers - $30,000 per month

Judge Lewis calls it “a cheap way to get your name in the newspaper”

It was one of those embarrassing moments that come around in public life, the bearding of the lion in his own den.

McLennan County Judge Jim Lewis listened to only part of the message, then he cut his challenger off. He told Dr. Ralph Cooper, Democratic candidate for County Judge, that the Court had no further time to listen to his remarks.

But the numbers don't lie.

Judge Lewis has been telling the media that the county is actually making money – or breaking even – on an 816-bed jail built to be operated by CEC, a private corporation headquartered in New Jersey.

Dr. Ralph Cooper – his doctorate is in social psychology - put the lie to the claim during the public statement portion of Commissioners' Court proceedings.

“...I would like to address a matter of arithmetic,” he began.

By the time he was through, he had explained why the county is actually experiencing a $30,000 per month net loss on the operation of the Jack Harwell Detention Center, a $50 million project erected on revenue bonds issued by the Commissioners' Court.

Less than half of its beds are filled at present.

Here's the way the figures add up – or don't add up, depending on your point of view.

“Last week, a member of this Court (Judge Jim Lewis) was on TV news saying that the County is gaining 'more than a half-million dollars a year' on the new jail. According to the publicly available information, the truth is that the County gets $40,000 per month, which is an annual rate of $480,000...That is less, not more than $500,000 a year. After the end of the year, the County will receive $2.00 per prisoner per day, which at current occupancy is less than $25,000 per month or only $300,000 per year.

“Second, there is a net loss of revenue resulting from closing the downtown jail.

“To get prisoners into the jail and get that $40,000, the County closed the downtown jail from which the County was getting an estimated $70,000 per month. That means that the decision to build the new jail is costing the taxpayers of McLennan County $30,000 a month in net lost revenue, and the decision to build it is a net loss to the county, now and in the foreseeable future.”

He went on to explain that criminologists predicted an uptick in jail population during the first decade of the new century.

“Had the criminology community been consulted, they would have said that 25 years ago a downturn in crime and jail populations was predicted for the first decade of this century, as the 'echo boom' generation, the children of the 'baby boomers,' reached thirty years of age, and aged out of the highest crime rate segment of the population.”

He never got the chance to finish his statement.

Confronted by a journalist from the Waco daily, Judge Lewis said, “I am not going to reply to anything Mr. Cooper says. That's just a cheap way for him to get his name in the paper.”

Here's the rest of the story.

“Until May,” said Dr. Cooper in a prepared statement, “the county was housing its prisoners at the downtown jail for $37.50 per prisoner per day. The County is now paying $45.50 at the new jail, a net increase in cost to taxpayers of $8.00 per day or about $243 per month per prisoner put in the new jail.”

He also pointed out that the Harris County and Dallas County prisoners that will be brought in to help pay the expenses on the new jail will be housed at a rate of $45.00 per day – 50 cents cheaper per diem than McLennan County prisoners shifted from the downtown jail.

“Because these are important economic issues for the County, I ask the Court to appoint a citizens commission to explore alternatives.”

Question – a rhetorical and completely speculative question in its nature: For whom is this so cheap a way to get one's name in the paper?

Any volunteers for the citizens' commission to study the true and actual costs of the Jack Harwell Detention Center?

Apply at the office of Judge Jim Lewis in the McLennan County Courthouse.

Route To U.S. Cocaine Markets Starts In Gulf of Uraba

Bitter border fighting for drug routes starts in a land of total conflict

The Colombian navy intercepted a boat carrying 1,887 kg of cocaine in the Golf of Uraba on Sept. 21, EFE reported. The boat was traveling along the Acandi coast near Panama when the incident occurred. Authorities confiscated the shipment and arrested the five-member crew.
- Stratfor, 9/22/10

The paramilitary soldiers arrive in large groups, some of them wearing hoods. They drag people out of their homes and torture them in public, then they murder them.

Their routine accusation, that they are mixed up with the guerillas who arrive under cover of darkness, take up residence in the school rooms and public buildings of the towns, and exact a protection tax, is tantamount to a summary death sentence.

This province in northwestern Colombia is part of a bitterly contested illicit trade route that extends from the jungles of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to America's inner cities. The Gulf is placid, its shores easily accessible to the small boats used to transship the precious cargo of refined cocaine on its way to market.

Paramilitary soldiers, whom many say are trained by U.S. soldiers, serve the drug lords, men looking for a place to stash their vast wealth gained from illicit exports of cocaine. They are busy clearing the rain forest and turning it into pasture land for their vast herds of cattle.

They recruit new soldiers from the orphans of those they have killed as suspected guerilla sympathizers, many of them too small to fit in a paramilitary uniform or to lift their weapons.

Guerilla forces oppose these private armies, their Marxist doctrine dictating support from people they claim to protect. Many observers believe the guerillas slip across the border from Venezuela, then take refuge there or in the buffer zone of La Guajira when events turn too hot for them.

It's a bloody conflict that has attracted the attention of such liberal Senators as Russ Feingold, (D-WI), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is urging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to withhold certification of the Colombian government in its level of compliance with U.S. human rights standards.

Every mile of the trade routes that snake through the Gulf of Mexico and up the Pacific Coast to the Gulf, Sinaloa and Zeta drug cartels is heavily contested by these opposing private armies, the bloody influence of billions of dollars worth of illicit drugs smuggled to the ghettos of America exacting a toll in human misery at every step in the journey.

The fighting became so fierce that the Geneva Convention was invoked as far back as 1996 to afford human rights to indigenous people displaced by the fighting in an internal conflict fueled by a lucrative illicit trade on the one hand and U.S. military aid on the other.

O'Donnell Trails By 15 Points In Delaware Senate Race

Conservative critics such as Karl Rove hit her use of campaign funds

Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin protege Christine O'Donnell is trailing Chris Coons by 15 points and the election clock is ticking.

Only 41 days remain before the general election. Campaign experts say her chances of election are slim because contributors usually look at the polls before making donations for last gasp, final lap media buys.

An estimated 11 percent of Delaware voters consider themselves "persuadable," according to the latest Fox News poll. Realists doubt Ms. O'Donnell can close the gap.

The conservative, Tea Party-backed candidate is facing an uphill battle largely due to her record on campaign finance.

Such right wing luminaries as Karl Rove have called for an investigation into how she spent campaign funds in her present effort and in previous races.

He called on former Alaska Governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin to prove her sincerity by going to Delaware, putting up her own funds and spending time helping Ms. O'Donnell get elected.

Mr. Coons, a Wilmington lawyer, is the elected New Castle County Executive and a colleague of Vice President Joe Biden, a former member of the County Council.

He began his career as in-house counsel for the Newark, Delaware, firm that produces the chemical used to treat Gore-Tex waterproof fabrics.

During a stint as staff counsel for a Washington, D.C., investors advocacy organization, he wrote extensively of economic conditions in South Africa and of a groundswell movement among certain investors favoring divestiture of holdings in corporations based in or active in that nation.

A body of college writings produced by Mr. Coons has labeled him in certain conservative circles as a Marxist. He has come under fire for an article he wrote for his college newspaper, entitled "Chris Coons: the making of a bearded Marxist".

In the article, he described his transformation from a Republican to a "Democrat suspicious of America's power and ideals. College anthropology courses had "undermined the accepted value of progress and the cultural superiority of the West", while coursework on the Vietnam War had led him to suspect that "the ideal of America as a ‘beacon of freedom and justice, providing hope for the world" was not correct.

He went on to state that his belief in the "miracles of free enterprise and the boundless opportunities of America" may be untrue.

Medical Insurers Run Backwards From Insuring Kids

They cite unexpected costs too high to surmount and still make money

Parts of the new Health Care Reform Act of 2010 take effect Thursday.

One predictable development raised its head immediately.

As usual, even if you've got the money, you still can't buy it because it's not for sale.

An estimated 500,000 kids without health insurance will be affected by a decision by major medical carriers to stop selling new policies for children only.

Aetna and Blue Cross said they will stop selling children-only policies as soon as the new law goes into effect tomorrow because they just can't make any money under the new terms of doing business. The companies said they will begin their new policy in California, Illinois, Florida and elsewhere immediately. In ten states including Texas, Cigna announced it will also stop selling the policies. "We made a decision to stop offering child-only policies to ensure that we can remain competitive in the 10 markets where we sell individual and family plans," said Cigna spokeswoman Gwyn Dilday. "We'll continue to evaluate this policy and could reconsider changing this position as market dynamics change."

Kids who are already covered by the parents' employers would not be affected, but those who are not already covered, especially those with pre-existing conditions, will be passed by because of the huge increase in the cost of doing business.

“Unfortunately, this has created an un-level competitive environment,” according to a statement issued by California's largest for-profit insurer, Anthem Blue Cross.

Health care advocates, lawmakers who voted for Obamacare and regulators are angered by the move because it will obviously place a huge new strain on such public insurance programs as MediCal, which is intended to serve the poor.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Defense Bill – DREAM Act, Don't Ask, Don't Tell Blocked

Senate Democrats fell substantially short of the 60 votes needed for cloture to send the FY 2011 Defense Authorization Act to the floor for debate and an up or down vote.

The measure included in seperate rider bills an automatic extension of citizenship to resident alien enlistees in the Armed Forces and end to the “don't ask; don't tell” policy against gays and lesbians serving in the military.

In reaction, Senator Bob Menendez, (D-NJ), called the fact that not one Republican Senator voted to send the bill to the full Senate for debate “shameful.”

BATFE Bill: $37.5 Million On Gun Trafficking Putsch

Obama signs Executive Order banning re-importation of 1 million M1 Garand rifles

“THE NEWS,” Mexico City
PHOENIX – Deputy Director Kenneth E. Melson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced the formation of seven new Project Gunrunner anti-firearms trafficking groups during a news conference on Friday in which he and Dennis K. Burke, United States District Attorney of Arizona, announced the results of the ATF’s Gun Runner Impact Team (GRIT) initiative, a nearly 100-day deployment of bureau resources in the Phoenix area to disrupt illegal firearms trafficking by Mexican drug dealing organizations.

The GRIT initiative sent more than 80 ATF employees to Arizona and New Mexico to launch 174 arms-trafficking investigations, according to an ATF statement.

As a result of the 2010 emergency supplemental appropriation for border security, the ATF received $37.5 million for Project Gunrunner. With this funding, the ATF will establish and place firearms tracking groups along traditional and newly-discovered firearms trafficking routes and hubs in Atlanta, Dallas, Brownsville, Texas, Las Vegas, Miami, Oklahoma City, and Sierra Vista, Ariz.

“Lives are being lost to violent crime every day on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border,” said Melson. “Through Project Gunrunner and its GRIT initiative, the ATF is shutting down the supply routes of firearms traffickers.”

“We are fighting on a crucial front here today to reduce violence in our own communities, and to disrupt and dismantle the southbound supply of weapons to the cartels,” said Burke.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has signed an executive order banning the re-importation of nearly one million M1 Garand and M1 Carbine rifles back into the U.S. The rifles have been on loan to the government of S. Korea since the end of the Korean War.

State Department officials cited an acute need to limit the amount of firearms falling into the hands of private citizens due to gunrunning by smugglers trafficking in arms to Mexican drug cartels.

The M1 rifles have been slated for destruction by melting them down. Traditionally, the weapons have been redistributed by the Director of Civilian Marksmanship as part of an NRA program designed to sharpen the firearms skills of American citizens.

This was the scene outside Austin Police Department headquarters earlier this year when the BATF and the police shut down a gun show because individuals were selling firearms to other individuals. The controversy arose when the law enforcement types said they should be Federal Firearms Licensees, though there is no law against one individual selling a firearm to another unless it can be proven the gun is stolen or one or both of the individuals involved in the transaction is not allowed to sell, buy or possess a firearm.