Saturday, March 31, 2012

'Someone has to talk to Felipe. He's not a good Republican'

Cultural clash brews long running feud
Lorena – Los Altos de Jalisco is a family restaurant located in a strip mall overlooking the clogged traffic lanes of I-35. On weekend mornings, it is packed wall to wall with tables overflowing with parents, kids, cousins, aunts and uncles, all enjoying a breakfast of leisure over a lingering cup of coffee.

Judge Steve Smith of the 361st District Court at Bryan labors over a notepad, calculating just how many yard signs he needs in each community of McLennan County, chatting up long-time family friends and consulting with an old hand at local politics, former Associate Justice Felipe Reyna of the 10th District Court of Appeals.

Laboring with laser-like focus over a calculator and his lists, he goes through a bowl of the Jalisco's house brand of ultra-hot picante and a basket of chips while the table of 10 supporters waits for the chow to go down and the talk of hotly contested GOP primary races swirls around his head. The waitress brings more salsa, more chips, and after breakfast is finished and the lists of community activists headed out to post signs in neighborhoods throughout the county further refined, he comes to the point.

After 17 years as a trial judge, it's a characteristic well-honed by experience riding herd on windy barristers, rambling witnesses, and indecisive jurors, some of whom are very aware of the clock, and others who are paying no attention to the sands of time winging away his day on the bench.

You might say it's a jurist's stock in trade, this matter of coming to the point.

On this Saturday morning, the point is that though his opponent's public admonishment by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct isn't the only issue to be settled in this primary race for Chief Justice of the 10th Court at Waco, “It extends to everything else...”

Speaking of Chief Justice Tom Gray, he adds, “He tends to let his personal opinions find their way into his opinions. For me, it's a matter of judicial integrity.”

That's an item of interest to a former Chair of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas and serving faculty member of the Texas Center for the Judiciary.

It was Justice Gray's “vitriolic language,” so described by Commissioners, in dissenting judicial opinions which “contained unprofessional personal attacks” against his two colleagues, Associate Justices Bill Vance and Felipe Reyna, that started the feud, but it didn't end there.

First came the unfortunate incident of the March, 2007, keynote speech at the Republican Club of Somervel County in Glen Rose. The rural resort community on the Brazos is one of 18 counties in the jurisdiction of the 10th Court.

After Justice Reyna introduced him to the approximately 60 party faithful there assembled as “my good friend,” Justice Gray countered his remark.

“Really, we are not friends. He's never been in my home. I've never been in his home. And furthermore, every time there's a close vote on the Court, he always votes with Bill Vance.”

It was an awkward moment, to say the least, one made more impolitic by the fact that Justice Reyna's career started as a probation officer, morphed into the grind of a courthouse janitor by night and a Baylor Law student by day, included a stint as the District Attorney of McLennan County – a post in which his son Abel is setting records with aggressive prosecution – and ended in the bloodbath of 2010's let's-vote-the-rascals-out neocon zealotry.

Party stalwarts were shocked. “Later that evening, several attendees spoke to Justice Reyna, expressing displeasure with and apologizing for Justice Gray's comments,” the Commission's decision noted in an itemized “Findings of Fact.”

The remark is further explained in these laconic words.

“Both Justice Reyna and Justice Gray are Republicans; Justice Bill Vance is a Democrat.”

According to the Public Admonition, “Justice Gray attended Republican lunches and dinners and told party leaders, 'somebody needs to talk to Felipe. He's not being a good Republican,' and that Justice Reyna 'always votes with a liberal Democrat, (Justice) Bill Vance,' or words to that effect.”

There you have it. In spite of lofty judicial canons, the fine points of legal ethics, and the exacting extremes of the rule of law, it's still a very political process, this business of placing talented legal minds on the benches of Texas.

Indeed, Governor Rick Perry appointed Tom Gray, whose original training and career was in accountancy before he was admitted to the bar and practiced in the law firm of Leon Jaworski, to the Court to fill two years of another member's 6-year term. Then he ran in an election to finish the term before winning re-election as Chief Justice.

But the sensibilities of the campaign trail are not really all that suitable for what is considered conventional and proper conduct on the bench.

The Commission condemned Justice Gray's conduct by saying it “constituted willful and/or persistent violations...of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.”

But that wasn't all of it.

Security tapes caught Tom Gray entering Justice Vance's office without permission. The fact that it's a place of work and the Chief Justice was armed with a master key didn't excuse his actions, which he explained in his appearance at a hearing as a quest for a missing legal file.

“Justice Gray acknowledged, however, that after determining that the file was not in Justice Vance's office, he reviewed other papers located on Justice Vance's desk.” He also admitted unlocking and perusing both the offices of Justice Reyna and Justice Vance at other times without their permission.

That still seems to baffle Judge Felipe Reyna. “We all had master keys that fit every door up there!”

Then there were the “outbursts,” the comments to the Chief Clerk of the Court that things would be different when Justice Vance retired, the “sarcastic” remarks to counselors and staff, some of which left them “in tears.”

The Commission's conclusion was that “Justice Gray allowed his acrimonious relationship with Justices Vance and Reyna to improperly influence his conduct and judgment, and in the process, failed to treat those with whom he interacted in an official capacity, including court personnel, in a patient, dignified and courteous manner.”

Though the opinion wasn't as damning as those handed down that year regarding the Amarillo judge who “slapped the buttocks” of a court employee at a Christmas party, or the Dallas judge who just refused altogether to answer the complaints against him or even attend the hearings of the Commission, it was one previously remarked by editorial writers, in news articles, the cocktail hour political chat of lawyers, and talk radio pundits – a most unseemly bit of unwanted exposure for a very powerful court in the Texas judicial system, where the bulk of appeals never reach the two highest state appeals venues, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.

Though banshee howl and evil prowl, stay the course

It's trying to kill people before they kill you...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Doctrine, motivation - Adapt, Improvise, Overcome

Captain Moonlight forging ahead with festival

Billy Joe Shaver is booked as a headliner at Moonlight Music Festival

Meridian - Plans for the Moonlight Music Festival scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend are proceeding apace, to the quick march, with a posting of ticket prices for the music show and camping at the Bosque Bottoms reunion grounds located at Hwy 22 and Hwy 6. It was a fording and pasture stop on the Old Chisholm Trail where it crossed the Bosque River.

What's more, it's smack dab on the way to Montana.

Wednesday's oral arguments on Obamacare at SCOTUS

Transcript of hearing clues swing vote

The tenor of the the questions the justices are asking the plaintiff attorney and the U.S. Solicitor General makes it easy to see how they are leaning on the question of the constitutionality of Obamacare. A ruling is expected in June, but the Court is meeting today to take a preliminary vote and select the author of the majority opinion.

Knowledgeable observers say the crucial swing vote will be cast by Mr. Justice Anthony Kennedy.

- The Legendary


If the inevitable consequence of your position was that the Federal Government could just do this on its own, the Federal Government could have Medicaid, Medicare, and these insurance regulations, assume that's true, then how are the interests of federalism concerned? How are the interests of federalism concerned if, in Florida or Texas or some of the other objecting States, there are huge Federal bureaucracies doing what this bill allows the State bureaucracies to do? I know you have thought about that. I would just like your answer.


I have, and I would like to elaborate that the one-word answer is "accountability."

If the Federal Government decides to spend money through Federal instrumentalities, and the citizen is hacked off about it, they can bring a Federal complaint to a Federal official working in a Federal agency. And what makes this so pernicious is that the Federal Government knows that the citizenry is not going to take lightly the idea that there are huge, new Federal bureaucracies popping up across the country. And so they get the benefit of administering this program through State officials, but then it makes it very confusing for the citizen, who doesn't like this. Do they complain to the State official because it's being administered by a State official in a state building...


But, Mr. Clement, that is very confusing because the idea behind cooperative Federal/State programs was exactly a federalism idea. It was to give the States the ability to administer those programs. It was to give the States a great deal of flexibility in running those programs. And that's exactly what Medicaid is.


Well, that's exactly what Medicaid was. The question is, what will it be going forward?

One need only click here to read the entire transcript of the day's oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the health care act of 2010 before the Supreme Court:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mystery man in white Chevy van seen snatching signs

New Jersey registration of leased truck

Waco – The date, February 21, the time, early evening, the weather – calm, fair, winds light and variable.

A man who has requested anonymity put out Parnell McNamara for Sheriff signs at his home, located in a suburban addition between the Waco Airport and China Spring.

He left to run some errands, but when he returned, he found a stranger driving a large passenger van preparing to take the signs away.

“What are you doing with those signs?” he asked the stranger.

The man said he didn't want them cluttering his property.

“Oh, this is your property? I thought the bank and I agreed it's mine,” the homeowner replied, noting the Texas license plate number on the van.

“I'm sorry, but I thought it was mine,” the stranger said, nervously, and hurried to make his getaway in the white van.

A subsequent check showed the Texas tag number on the 2010 model Chevy Express, AL 40759, is registered to a New Jersey leasing company, ARI Fleet LT, of 9000 Midlantic Dr., Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.

When contacted, the official in charge of fielding all such inquiries for the corporation's safety office said the vehicle is leased to Washington Inventory Services, an international corporation with headquarters in San Diego, California. The van is in use by the Round Rock branch of the company, which uses it to haul inventory crews to retail outlets in order to perform inventory services.

Officials at the company did not return phone calls to their headquarters location.

The Parnell McNamara campaign organization has reported a large number of missing banners, yard signs, and large pasture signs in the area of Bosqueville and China Spring. Retired U.S. Deputy Marshal Parnell McNamara has reportedly declined to report the matter to the authorities, favoring an investigation and surveillance project by his ad hoc posse.

His rival in the GOP Primary for the nomination as a candidate for McLennan County Sheriff, Chief Deputy Randy Plemons, has reportedly made numerous reports of vandalism and theft of his signs to police. authorities.

Prisoners of ICE held by CEC, Inc., never have a nice day

On ICE for profit in the Big Apple

Aside from the issue of population density, the private jail woes of Essex County, New Jersey, and McLennan County, Texas, are very similar. Both have county lockups operated by Sheriff's Department staff; both have a privately operated detention center operated by CEC, Inc.The for-profit corrections corporation is under federal fire at both locations.

The Star-Ledger of New Jersey reports that CEC, Inc., is feeling pressure for the same reasons that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons removed ICE prisoners from the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco. - The Legendary

By Jason Grant
Reprinted from “The Star-Ledger”

Newark - The immigrants being held in Essex County and facing deportation tell of being locked down in rooms while being denied medical help, of not getting "a mere" 1,000 to 1,500 calories a day in nutrition, of trying to sleep fully clothed in freezing spaces, of fellow detainees "who haven’t seen the sun for over two years."

These are some of the testimonial details gathered from detainees whose anonymous quotes lace a disturbing report released Thursday by New York University School of Law’s immigrant-rights clinic.

The report, titled "Immigration Incarceration: The Expansion and Failed Reform of Immigration Detention in Essex County, N.J." and done in cooperation with New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees, will undergird an important law school-run conference today in Newark that focuses on the rights and treatment of the nation’s scores of imprisoned immigrants.

In 39 pages, the report claims Essex County has more than 1,200 detainees, many of whom are suffering through abusive, unsafe and unclean conditions that fail to meet the federal Immigration and Customs

Enforcement agency’s own standards for such detention.
It also bluntly recommends that "ICE should cease detaining immigrants in state and local jails, starting with those facilities that fail to meet the 2011 ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards," and says "ICE officials should use alternatives to detention, such as supervised release."...

Please click here to read the rest of the story:

Disappearing posts? New 'timeline' hassles with FB?

Legendary research suggests:

New 'learnings' about FB:

Apparently, there is a known bug, acknowledged 1 month ago by FB. I think it is specifically for those who have switched to "Timeline" layout.

HELP LINK to Report Missing Wall Posts:

FILTERED WALL for BIZ PAGES: (not personal profiles)
Another known issue unaddressed so far is *Missing Option to view ALL posts on your PAGE wall.

Currently, the only options are:
1.) Highlights (posts Admins mark w/star)
2.) Friend Activity
3.) Posts by Page (posted by Admins)
4.) Posts by Others (not your personal friends)

Obviously, these are all FILTERS!! So there is no way to display EVERY post. Argh!!

Known Issues on Facebook 
‎"Like" Known Issues on Facebook if you want the most current information about bugs and other issues on the site. Page: 1,409,857 like this

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First term DA putting criminals behind bars at brisk pace

Waco - Sheriff Larry Lynch told County Commissioners that he and his staff begin every working day discussing just who is eligible for bond and finding ways to get them released. Nevertheless, his office is in a jam with a depleted budget for outside care at the privately operated Jack Harwell Detention Center.

Then Commissioner Ben Perry requested that District Attorney Abelino Reyna come forward to brief the Court on the figures and tell them all about his brisk new campaign of aggressive prosecution of cases, some of which had languished for several years in the files of the DA's office when he took over on January 1, 2011.

"I'll just sit on the Sheriff's lap," Mr. Reyna quipped as Sheriff's Office Administrator Paul Wash vacated his chair at the crowded witness table.

And then, Mister District Attorney Abelino Reyna took to the microphone in McLennan County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, March 27, to explain to the Court why their jail is overflowing.

It's simple enough. His office sought and returned approximately 1,000 more indictments in the year 2011 than were prosecuted during the year 2010, in November of which he was elected the new District Attorney.

As he rattled off the figures, the impression created is that the number of criminals convicted through an onslaught of aggressive prosecution peaked some time during the first year of his administration and is going to remain at a plateau of activity.

It's all part of a three-pronged strategy he used in his campaign to unseat long-term incumbent John Segrest. First, to maintain a presence in the courtroom and let offenders know exactly who the DA is. Second, to go into the community and prosecute crime in the presence of his clients, the people. Thirdly, he intends to let the school kids and the youth of McLennan County know there is a District Attorney, that his name is Abelino Reyna, and he will definitely prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law.

Obamacare Supreme Court arguments - Round Two

Outside care jail budget will be dry in 3 months

Commissioners approve budget amendment
Emergency funding amendments dead ahead

Waco – McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch made a rare appearance today in Commissioners Court to explain how the projected budget for outside care of prisoners by CEC, Inc., will reach a $1.8 million shortfall at the end of fiscal year 2011-2012.

Prosecutors are seeking adjudication of indicted offenders at a much higher rate than was expected when the yearly budget was prepared. The resulting overflow of unexpected prisoners are held in the Jack Harwell Detention Center, which is operated by CEC, Inc., a for-profit New Jersey corporation.

At the rate of $275,000 per month, according to Budget Director Adam Harry, the budgeted funding will be depleted at the end of the coming three month period.

One alternative to cutting operating budgets for other departments will be to make emergency budget amendments to raise the necessary cash to make up the shortfall, said County Auditor Stan Chambers.

According to District Attorney Abel Reyna, the current spike in jail population is due to his office's aggressive indictment of accused criminals over the past year. He and the two criminal District Courts have been holding two Grand Jury sessions each month, each of which are returning a maximum of 120 to 150 indictments each month.

Mr. Reyna told the Court that he had taken the necessary steps to do this because during his career as a private attorney serving in the criminal defense bar, he had clients who were indicted, posted bond, and went on to re-offend as many as 9 times while prosecution against them languished under the administration of John Segrest, his predecessor, whom he defeated in 2010.

“We are asking that these people not be let out on bond,” he said. “In fact, we found a 1998 murder case that was in the back of a filing cabinet in a closet...”

In taking full responsibility for the need for prisoner care provided by an outside corporation, he assured the Court that if necessary, he will approve every personal recognizance bond, agree to any reduction in sentence or charges and any amount of bail. “You won't have anybody in your jail,” he said.

The members of the Court laughed and assured him that will not be necessary.

After lengthy discussion, the Court voted unanimously to amend the budget to take $285,020 from a contingency fund held in reserve for emergencies and an additional $100,000 from the deputy pay budget.

The budget amendment will bring the County up to date on invoices payable as of March 1.

Further signs of belt tightening

Commissioner Lester Gibson and Ben Perry agreed to defer a new system of having department heads and a minimum of two County Commissioners sign off on claims for vacation leave pay during each pay period.

The system will assure the Court that the benefits are actually due employees, a caution, said Mr. Gibson, because vacation claims average between $2,000 and $9,000 each time an employee leaves and the payroll department of the Treasurer's Office is not always sure they are due the benefits.

When an audit shows they are not, it requires litigation through the courts to get a judgment to collect the money.

Bulk of jail budget fix to come from 'contingencies'

One week deferral nets little change in plans

Waco – McLennan County Commissioners will consider a revised budget amendment request that will still cover the bulk of a $385,020 shortfall in outside care payments to CEC, Inc., from a “contingency” fund.

The shortfall is already spent. The Court just needs to find the money to pay the bill for the private prison operator to house McLennan County prisoners in the Jack Harwell Detention Center, a privately financed project with a $50 million price tag erected with revenue bonds the Court issued without voter approval.

Last week the Court decided to defer its decision until this morning, Tuesday, March 27, to discover if there are any other alternative sources of funding in the budget.

They decided to reduce the amount they would tap the contingency fund by $100,000, to $285,020, and took the remaining $100,000 from deputy pay funds and ancillary accounts dealing with withholding taxes, Medicare payments, FICA, and the like.

The read a recap of the coverage of last week's Commissioners Court meeting, click here:

To hear a 7-minute sound byte of the discussion that took place at that time, click on the orange arrow below.

Supreme Court: Mandatory health care a "tax" or a penalty

Washington - Yesterday's oral arguments over lawsuits filed by the attorneys general of 26 states challenging the Affordable Patient Health Care Act of 2010 examined whether the law's requirement for individual health care being enforced by the IRS is a "penalty" or a "tax."

A plaintiff attorney explained the position on the matter during the two hours of argument that ensued. Today, the Court begins to hear arguments over the constitutional challenge to the requirement and its supposed taxing power thereby bestowed upon the IRS.

The central question: Does Congress actually have the power under the provisions of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution to force individuals, employers and governments to purchase health care insurance and back that requirement with punitive actions carried out by tax collectors in U.S. Tax Court should they fail to comply?

Yesterday's arguments centered on the fact that no one has yet failed to obey the strictures of the new law, since it does not take effect until 2014. Therefore, does the matter belong in federal court at this early juncture, or is the litigation premature?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Doonesbury Creator Trudeau takes on Texas GOP

Abortion law the focus of banned comics

Garry Trudeau challenged conservative sensibility with a week-long series of comic strips satirizing Texas law governing abortion procedures.

Many of the state's conservative publishers banned the series of cartoons outright, while others throughout the nation moved the offending panels to the Op-Ed pages of their sheets.

Mr. Trudeau chose to publish his series during the week leading up to a marathon 6-hour oral argument session which began today before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Patient Care Act of 2010, otherwise known in conservative circles as “Obamacare.”

A decision on the lawsuit brought by 26 states attorneys general is expected in June.

Many of the rules attached to the new law concern the dispensation of reproductive health services, including under what terms and conditions such employers as religious institutions opposed to birth control and abortion must provide contraceptive devices and medicines, surgical procedures, and the like, in their employees' health benefits packages.

Matters regarding reproductive rights have become a litmus test for conservative candidates for office. The propriety of public finance of contraceptive, reproductive surgical procedures, and all other questions in that department are the object of deep probes by conservative questionnaires PAC's send to candidates seeking campaign funding. The questions are detailed, incisive, and exacting.

To see the entire series of the “Doonesbury” cartoons reviewing the new Texas law attached to seeking an abortion thus banned or placed in less offensive page positions, one need only click here:

The Knoxville Massacre - hate crime or an aberration?

Knoxville - A youthful couple ends an evening of movies and making out. As the girl prepares to leave for home in her car, her boyfriend leans in the door to get some sugar, and then someone put a gun to the back of his head.

It was the beginning of an ordeal in which 5 people - 4 men and a woman - over the course of several hours repeatedly raped the couple, cut off the boy's penis, set him on fire, and then shot him to death and left his body burning on some nearby railroad tracks. The girl suffered for several hours more as the rapists continued to savage her, poured lethal substances down her throat in an attempt to destroy DNA evidence, and stuffed her body while she still lived inside trash bags, where she suffocated.

Investigators found her butchered remains in a trash can, thrown away like a sack of garbage.

At one point, the five defendants obtained the right to new hearings based on a reversible error made by the trial judge, and residents of this Tennessee town in the Smoky Mountains have taken to carrying concealed firearms everywhere they go.

Self defense experts counsel their pupils to start fighting immediately if they are the subject of a carjacking or an abduction, because once an assailant has taken a victim to a private place, death - viciously exacted through sadistic means - usually follows close behind.

Much outrage has spread through both the white and black communities due to allegations of black on white hate crime and a lack of national media coverage, which white activists point to as racial bias.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

$230 billion Texas Water Plan - Buenos suertes, amigos

McLennan Court to cut budget to make jail payments

Lone Commissioner voted to face music

Reporting by R.S. Gates
Story by The Legendary,
Jim Parks

Waco – Come Tuesday morning, the buck stops in the first floor courtroom where McLennan County Commissioners make money decisions.

Their mission is to decide where to cut services in order to pay massive cost overruns in a contract with a private corporation they hired to build and operate an 800-some-odd bed detention center. The job, that of holding people in lieu of bond, those awaiting sentencing, or those who are slated for transfer to incarceration, is one that is constitutionally mandated as a ministerial duty.

In the arrangement so contracted, the private corporation has the stated goal of making a profit on that ministerial duty.

As of this month, McLennan County owes CEC, Inc., $385,020 for housing inmates in the Jack Harwell Detention Center next door to the county jail on Highway Six. This is in addition to nearly $846,000 paid in December of last year.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Kelly Snell asked Sheriff's Office Capt. Paul Wash if this situation “sneaked up” on the department's administrators.

If the present trend continues, by year's end, figures obtained from Commissioner Snell show the potential for over budget spending is a little over $3 million for housing prisoners in the privately operated jail, based on what has been spent so far this fiscal year.

Actual for CEC
3/13/2012 $232,960.00
2/17/2012 $277,504.50
1/30/2012 $270,907.00
12/28/2012 $242,151.00
12/28/2012 $281,190.00
12/28/2012 $322,458.50
10/1/2012 -$242,151.00 Reverse
Total $1,385,020.00

The payment noted for October 1 was made before the current fiscal year began, and was paid back from funds from this year's budget, and thus "reversed," according to County Auditor Stan Chambers.

Some members of the Court expressed surprise at the figures, though the Court had earlier approved the expenditures in a contract with Public Finance Corporation - an entity created at the time they issued nearly $50 million in revenue bonds - and entered into the contract, which calls for payments of so many dollars for each inmate so housed.

After completion of the new structure, when agreements to house federal inmates were not forthcoming, the Court voted to close its downtown jail, which houses about 320 prisoners, in favor of transferring all federal prisoners to the new Jack Harwell facility. The sheriff's department later transferred inmates in detention by McLennan County to the new jail.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons transferred about 100 female inmates held for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division of the Department of Homeland Security to a privately operated lockup in Williamson County.

Inspectors from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards determined that the women were denied proper health care services and were forced to endure unsanitary conditions caused by raw sewage backing up in the cells where they were housed, according to reports and a statement made by a former Adult Probation Officer, Robert Aguilar.

What was billed at its inception as a revenue enhancement project that would wind up costing taxpayers nothing is now a liability that will drain public coffers exponentially. The taxpayers are ultimately responsible for the public debt created by the Commissioners' Court and Public Finance Corporation, in spite of the fact that voters were not given a chance to approve of the arrangements in a bond issue election.

As of last Tuesday, the Court rejected the alternative of taking the money from a $1.3 million contingency fund held in reserve for rainy day emergencies and unforeseen disasters.

Only one member of the Court, Precinct 3 Commissioner Joe Mashek, voted against the one week deferral.

“This is going to wind up costing us a million dollars,” he said at the time. Then he proceeded to vote against the motion to defer the Court's action for one week.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Virginia's bold move to end suspension of habeas corpus

National Defense Authorization Act of 2012

This law would deprive citizens of the U.S. of their liberty, property and freedom as long as a state of war exists. That is a direct abrogation of the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees one will not be subjected to such mistreatment without due process of law.

In 62 years of living, The Legendary has never known a time when war was not in full progress. Furthermore, one is hard pressed to find any such due process of law herein.

Certain states, counties and cities have found a way to get around this law, which President Obama singed on January 1, by passing a nullification law under the terms of the 10th Amendment. One may read all about it here, or go to this website for further information:

Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for use of Military Force

Subtitle D—Counterterrorism


(a) IN GENERAL.—Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in sub- section (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

(b) COVERED PERSONS.—A covered person under this section is any person as follows:

(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.

  1. A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

  2. (c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:

(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111–84)).

(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.

(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity. (d) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

(f) REQUIREMENT FOR BRIEFINGS OF CONGRESS.—The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organiza- tions, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘‘covered persons’’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

In the alternative:

Liberty Preservation Act: Nullification

AN ACT relating to detainment without charge, military tribunals, and transfer to foreign jurisdictions of persons residing in the State of (STATE); creating the Liberty Preservation Act; providing legislative findings and declarations of authority; prohibiting state from providing material support for certain acts; prohibiting state participation in the implementation of certain acts; making certain acts unlawful; providing penalties; and providing an effective date.Be it Enacted by the People of the State of (STATE):

SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law not to be codified in (STATE) Statutes reads as follows:

This act shall be known and may be cited as the “(STATE) Liberty Preservation Act”

SECTION 2. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the (STATE) Statutes as Section (NUMBER) of Title (NUMBER), unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

The Legislature declares that the authority for this act is the following:

1. The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that the United States Federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers delegated to it in the Constitution and nothing more. The guaranty of those limitations on federal power is a matter of contract between the state and people of (STATE) and the United States at of the time that the Constitution was agreed upon and adopted by (STATE) and the United States;

2. Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States provides that laws of the United States are the supreme law of the land provided that they are made in pursuance of the powers delegated to the federal government in the Constitution;

3. Article I Section 9, Clause 2 of the Constitution provides that the Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it;

4. The First Amendment provides that the Congress of the United States shall make no law prohibiting the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances;

4. The Fourth Amendment provides that the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated;

5. The Fifth Amendment provides that the People have a right to be free from deprivation of life, liberty, or property, without Due Process of law;

6. The Sixth Amendment provides that the people have a right in criminal prosecutions to enjoy a speedy trial by an impartial jury in the State and District where the crime shall have been committed; to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to confront witnesses; to Counsel;

7. The Fourteenth Amendment provides that the people are to be free from deprivation of life, liberty, or property, without Due Process of law.

SECTION 3. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the (STATE) Statutes as Section (NUMBER) of Title (NUMBER), unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

The Legislature finds that:

1. Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 purports to assert the President’s authority to not only arrest suspected terrorists, but also to determine whether or not a trial, including what type of trial, will be held for those arrested;

2. Section 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 requires detention without trial by the military for a certain class of terrorist and authorizes but does not require the same for citizens of the United States;

3. The exemption for citizens of the United States in Section 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 only exempts citizens from a requirement and reads as follows, “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States”;

4. The enactment into law by the United States Congress of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, Public Law Number 112-81, is inimical to the liberty, security and well-being of the people of (STATE), and was adopted by the United States Congress in violation of the limits of federal power in United States Constitution, including but not limited to, those listed in Section 2 of this act.

SECTION 4. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the (STATE) Statutes as Section (NUMBER) of Title (NUMBER), unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

1 The State of (STATE) shall not provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 within the boundaries of this state;

2. The Department of Public Safety is hereby directed to report to the Governor and the Legislature any attempt by agencies or agents of the United States Federal Government to secure the implementation of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 through the operations of that or any other state department;

3. The indefinite detention, prosecution according to the law of war, and transfer to a foreign jurisdiction of persons as provided for by Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 are in direct contravention to the limits on federal power as specified in Section 2 of this act and are illegal within the boundaries of the state of (STATE);

SECTION 5. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the (STATE) Statutes as Section (NUMBER) of Title (NUMBER), unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:

1. Any public officer, employee, or agent of the State of (STATE), or any employee of a corporation providing services to the State of (STATE) that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of Section 4 of this act shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months or by a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or both such fine and imprisonment;

2. Any official, agent, or employee of the government of the United States, or employee of a corporation providing services to the government of the United States that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of Section 4 of this act shall be guilty of a class B felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than one (1) year, or a fine of not more than Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 6. This act shall take effect immediately upon approval by the Governor.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Up above my head, I hear music in the air...

Shout it out, baby sister. Shout!

Ms. Rau, a musical student of McLennan Community College, will play The Legacy Cafe, 723 Austin Ave., Waco, on Saturday, March 24. The establishment serves diners beginning at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

War powers, Congress, NATO, United Nations...

The issue is Congress's power to declare war. Under our Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11) and this power is co-extensive with the power of the president as commander in chief. They -- Congress and the president -- are the only authorities named directly or indirectly as having a constitutional role in that decision.


Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al) questioning Defense Secretary Leon Panetta:

SESSIONS: "Do you think you can act without Congress and initiate a no-fly zone in Syria without congressional approval?"
PANETTA: You know, again -- our goal would be to seek international permission. And we would -- we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress. I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.
SESSIONS: Well I am almost breathless about that because what I heard you say is, "we're going to seek international approval and we'll come and tell the Congress what we might do, and we might seek congressional approval."… Wouldn't you agree that would be pretty breathtaking to the average American?
PANETTA: If we are working with an international coalition or NATO we would want to be able to get appropriate permissions in order to be able to do that. All of these countries would want to have some kind of legal basis on which to act.
SESSIONS: What "legal basis" are you looking for? What entity?
PANETTA: If NATO made the decision to go in, that would be one. If we developed an international coalition beyond NATO then obviously some kind of U.N. security resolution would be the basis for that.
SESSIONS: So you are saying NATO would give you a "legal basis"? And an ad hoc coalition of nations would provide a "legal basis"?
PANETTA: We would seek whatever legal basis we would need in order to make that justified. We can't just pull them all together without getting the legal basis on which to act.

Outlaw blues in the key of reality - eversomuchmoreso

'Perfect storm' throws CEC contract into deficit

Captain Paul Wash on the hot seat

Jail admin: No budget for $385K shortfall

Waco – For some reason, offenders both accused and convicted, are choosing to lay out their time rather than bonding out of the McLennan County corrective system of three jails.

One of the jails is empty, undergoing extensive renovations; another, privately operated, is filled with a lot more prisoners than anticipated; and the third is operated by the County Sheriff's Department.

The deal is this. There is a shortfall, and it's very expensive to cover. Way more than a quarter of a million expensive to cover at $385,020. Potentially, the entire burden could cost more than $2 million to cover the full pop.

That got a thorough airing and rag chew in Commissioners Court this morning, Tuesday, March 20, when County Budget Director Adam Harry asked for a budget amendment to cover the shortfall.

Somebody had some explaining to do.

The designated hitter, Captain Paul Wash, strolled up to the hot seat, sat down, and began to give the McLennan County Commissioners Court the bad news first.

He needs $385,020 to cover a budget shortfall in $35 per day per prisoner fees paid to private corrections operator CEC, Inc., to house prisoners at the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

There was no follow-up good news to tell.

The next item was even worse. There is no fat to trim, no overage, no extra money to be found in the department's budget. He needs the money from the “contingency” fund, the rainy day, mad money, disaster relief, worst nightmare 'fraidy hole dough to cover what he's already owing the New Jersey corporation - $385,020 – and that ain't hay.

Paying it off won't get them out of the woods.

It will just get them current with their current bill. To get the money for the next 6 months, something about which Commissioner Joe Mashek said, “This is going to wind up costing us a million bucks,” they will have to go the well again, as many times as it takes.

Said Commissioner Kelly Snell, in an incredulous tone of voice:

“Didn't y'all see all this coming at you?”
The answer, delivered in low, modulated, halting tones, is – no.

It was a “perfect storm,” said Capt. Wash. Or, perhaps he said it has been described by some people as such. Words to that effect.

You may judge for yourself by clicking here:

What's more, the budget planning process has changed, according to Budget Director Adam Harry. Where each Commissioner at one time served as a “liaison” in certain areas, it's no longer done that way.

It's now government by committee, in which a committee of the whole arrives at spending solutions by “workshop” discussions.

It's an interesting new system, according to Commissioner Ben Perry, who said some department heads, as well as elected officials, learned by surprise that items they had budgeted had been cut, after all.

Not good. Check it out.

Mr. Harry was seeking guidance as to whether they want their surprises from budgetary perfect storms, “before, during, or after” the budget planning process.

FCC makes ready for low power FM licenses

Washington – Community activists will have a chance to apply for an estimated 1,000 new low power FM broadcasting permits as early as this fall.

In a vote yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission approved clearing a backlog of about 6,000 pending applications, hundreds of them for FM “translators” that would serve as repeater stations to rebroadcast the signals of distant broadcasting stations operated by conglomerate corporations that own an unlimited number of stations.

Instead, non-profit organizations with community-based missions will be allowed to apply for non-commercial construction permits to set up stations of 100 watts or less power in 12 mid-sized populated urban areas, including San Antonio and Sacramento.

The new stations will be limited to effective radiated power (ERP) of 100 watts (0.1 kilowatts) or less, with maximum facilities at 30 meters (100 feet) antenna height above average terrain (HAAT). A low power FM station has a broadcasting radius of about 3.5 miles

The decision resulted from the decade-long work of the Philadelphia-based Prometheus Project to pass the Local Community Radio Act of 2010, which cleared the way for the commission's decision.

The Prometheus activists had persuaded the FCC to stop processing the translator station permits in 2005 in favor of the new pending legislation.

Said Milena Velis, an organizer and educator with Philadelphia-based Media Mobilizing Project, “In Pennsylvania, we're facing big challenges, from education cuts to rural poverty to environmentally destructive shale drilling. We see community radio as a way to bring people together and create solutions from the ground up.”

Similarly, Carlos Garcia, lead organizer with Puente Arizona, said “Anti-immigrant voices dominate the airwaves. Community radio can help us tell our own stories, share news and information, and get organized.”

The low-power stations have a start-up price tag of $10,000 and cost about $1,000 per month to operate.

Yellow Moon - John Hiatt, Aaron Neville, Herbie Hancock

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rainy day Musicians' Reunion at Al's Tokio Store

Tokio - Cody English dropped by to sit in with Casey Kelley and friends before he caught the bus out of Abbott for a quick trip to Colorado Springs playing music with family and friends.

Bill Doss teamed up with Jeff Ward and Dave Giddens on a hobo ballad, accompanied by one of Al's ceiling fans that went undiscovered until The Legendary got back to the house.

Rainy conditions, sporadic brilliant sunshine, and old friends drifting in and out - pickers and folks who really care - rounded out a relaxed day at Al's.

In the background, kids and dogs playing and running, the sound of ivory dominoes shuffling across the tables, and folks back-slapping and guaranteeing their way through a good time - the mark of a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the prairie.

But Casey Kelley woke them up with the old story, the one Willie uses to open every show, "Whiskey River," as he and Cody teamed up on the lyrics and the rain poured down on Al's tin roof.
Jeff Ward did one about one last border run, and people began to loosen up for the duration.

That's when the fast train to Georgia pulled out of the station with plenty of foldin' money in our man's pocket and a full head of steam.

T.L. Pack and Pat Richey let everyone know all about every drive-by trucker's weekend lament, and how you'd better be home by Saturday night.

Texas graded “D+” in public integrity study

New Jersey takes top honors

“A West Virginia governor borrowed a car from his local dealership to take it for a “test drive.” He kept the car for four years, during which the dealership won millions in state contracts.”

This anecdote and many other examples appear in a Center for Public Integrity study released today that ranks the 50 states in order of their responsiveness to ethics concerns.

Surprisingly, the best rated state examined in the study is New Jersey.

Researchers placed reporters in each state capital to study the way ethics and public information procedures are handled.

Texas received a D+ rating because the appointed members of the Ethics Commission are divided along party lines, procedures call for a super majority on the commission to take action, and public officials must make their own evaluation of whether they are influenced by the influence peddlers knocking at their doors...

Changed Facebook format forces major changes

New coding has halved Legendary readers

Market placement techniques which took effect on March 1 are forcing blogsters into obscurity.

It's as basic as which brand gets prominent, easy to find placement on supermarket or Wal-Mart shelves – while Brand X is indifferently shelved in other, more obscure locations - over there, mister or sister, behind the Hula Hoops, right next to the Pet Rocks.

Frozen out of most official sources of information, or, worse, forced to comply with a 10-day hold on “public information act” requests for even the most basic information - a policy that turns information into history, not news - The Legendary has experienced an overnight decrease in readership.

Starting in early March, Facebook changed its corporate policies and began a strict program of "archiving" certain groups of “friends” painstakingly assembled over the period of several years.

Suddenly, The Legendary group consists of three members.

Even more difficult, all attempts to post news items to the group – and others – results in only the insertion of a URL code, nothing more.

Establishment types with the backing of corporate sponsorship, however, take prominent placement over all others' attempts to place items of interest, dominating the pages in the same way as in more traditional media, the insertions replete with photos, logos, video and comments. Others in less favored categories are relegated to a dry as toast notation of a URL which, when clicked, leads to the blog of its original presentation.

The result is an overnight 50% decrease in page views, and the trend is continuing downward.

The new pattern of information control and management would not be so egregious if one did not have the distinct impression that the “accredited” media has no problems with obtaining information.

The people who are so eager to let you know every last detail of some Hollywood drunk's latest peccadillo with cocaine or shoplifting are able to get official news releases at will.

The truth is that the news and information policies are set by men and women who are either operating behind a badge as certified law enforcement officers, or did at some time in the past. Those who are not were often prosecutors who traded up to judgeships, congressional or legislative seats, or executive department appointments at some critical point in their careers.

It's no surprise to thinking people that ideas are marketed in much the same way as any other commodity or luxury item, through sales information as well as other, more intangible means such as movies, situation “comedies” and news presentations.

Take a look at the campaigns against smoking or other tobacco use launched seemingly overnight a decade in the past.

These campaigns, which used the techniques of psychological warfare, methods such as isolation and social ostracism, resulted in a basic sea change in peoples' thinking.

The net result was simple enough. Governments state and local derived huge benefits from tobacco purveyors penalized in class action lawsuits brought by state attorneys general.

Eric Holder's 1995 anti-gun message -
“Make guns like cigarettes” contributor Charles C. Johnson found a C-Span clip of then U.S. Attorney Eric Holder outlining a plan to "really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way."

Mr. Holder, who went on to serve as a Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration, remarked that at the time people were beginning to “cower in doorways” to smoke cigarettes.

Holder was addressing the Woman's National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to "change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC" about guns.

"What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that's not cool, that it's not acceptable, it's not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes."

Holder added that he had asked advertising agencies in the nation's capital to assist by making anti-gun ads rather than commercials "that make me buy things that I don't really need." He had also approached local newspapers and television stations, he said, asking them to devote prime space and time, respectively, to his anti-gun campaign.

Ah, yes, I'm sure we're all familiar with that particular continuum. Leads to harder stuff, you know.

Local political leaders and celebrities, Holder said, including Mayor Marion Barry and Jesse Jackson, had been asked to help. In addition, he reported, he had asked the local school board to make the anti-gun message a part of "every day, every school, and every level."

Every level. Sounds rather totalitarian, doesn't it? At every level.