Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Courthouse security a key issue in sheriff's race

You already lost your right to know. What are you willing to give up next? - The Legendary

Hewitt – In today's economy, where working men and women live close to the edge and the buck is always tight, part time jobs that pay as much as $30 per hour are hard to come by.

That's why working the McLennan County Courthouse metal detectors at that rate was a key issue among members of the Hewitt Police Association last night as they heard Parnell McNamara and Randy Plemons explain their positions on a laundry list of issues.

Over the course of this week, the association intends to vote to give their endorsement to one or the other of the GOP candidates vying for the nomination to replace retiring Sheriff Larry Lynch.

Since District Attorney Abel Reyna and the judges of the 19th and 54th Criminal District Courts doubled up on Grand Jury sessions at the first of the year, there are twice as many docket calls, plea and sentencing hearings that call for each courthouse visitor to be screened for deadly weapons and other prohibited items before they can enter the first floor controlled access point.

Many Hewitt Police Officers work part time screening visitors at the check point, dressed in the uniform of a Hewitt Patrolman.

There is an alarming rumor afoot among their ranks. It seems some people believe that if elected Sheriff, Parnell McNamara will replace the part timers from Hewitt with McLennan County Patrol Deputies and Corrections Officers.

These folks say the rumor came from the camp of Chief Deputy Randy Plemons.


But it's old news that Parnell McNamara, a retired U.S. Deputy Marshal, is already on record in previous discussions with other associations that since the Sheriff has the power to deputize certified peace officers as Deputy Sheriff's Officers, the issue could be easily cleared up through an adroit management technique at least a thousand years in the making from the forests of Nottingham to the blood-spattered plains of Europe.

As such, they would be seconded to the Sheriff's Office, dressed in the uniform of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office, while wearing the badge of their home agency.

Why is it such a crucial question?

Some folks are inclined to say it all comes down to the votes, but wiser heads insist it's all about the insurance – workers' compensation insurance.

Serving as a peace officer is dangerous work. One runs the risk of injury, inadvertent infection with dangerous sexually transmitted diseases in the case of bites or punctures, or assault while serving on such a high voltage assignment as Courthouse security.

One of the 5 constitutional duties prescribed for Texas Sheriff's Departments is providing courtroom security for jurists, prosecutors, the defense bar, defendants, plaintiffs, and spectators.

If a certified peace officer is injured on the job and not covered by McLennan County's workman's compensation insurance policy, the coverage would devolve to their home agency's carrier – but not without a protracted and bitter fight between lawyers armed with dueling word processors.

Someone is thinking ahead.

Naturally, security at the Hewitt VFW post was tight when The Legendary showed up to cover the story. A news source had offered assurances that the meeting was open to the public, but Officer John Tucker, president of the Hewitt Police Association, was quick to straighten out that misperception. He said whoever in Woodway's Public Safety Department said that is true was sadly mistaken. It was moment - albeit frostbitten and matter-of-fact.

We live and learn.

Officers said even the venerable Dean of McLennan County Courthouse reporters, Tommy Witherspoon of “The Waco Tribune-Herald,” had called ahead and had been denied access to the confidential and private endorsement meeting.

Somehow, it just doesn't bode well for he public's need to know all about the risks inherent with security, worker's compensation, and the expense of manning a high security screening checkpoint with part time employees from another agency.

One is denied access to even the most basic information regarding offenses and arrests – and all other matters pertaining to law enforcement.

What a pity.

The three-judge panel at San Antonio that has been studying the redistricting of Congressional District 25 just ruled the new multi-county territory that stretches from Hill County to Dripping Springs is constitutional and legal. That's a big story.

The Legendary is off the McLennan County Sheriff's race. Somehow, I don't think it will make a whole lot difference.

I always get my story, no matter who calls ahead to make discreet inquiries amongst the friendly natives.


Al's Tokio Store Musicians' Reunion this Sunday...

New radio spot produced for KBCT 94.5 FM



This Sunday at the Tokio Store 3 p.m.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Catching flak? You're over the target, lost planet airmen

Discuss nullifying NDAA kidnapping laws



TRX: Tenther Radio is broadcast every Wednesday evening at 8pm Eastern and 5pm Pacific. Host Michael Boldin, along with rotating guest hosts Jason Rink, Lesley Swann, Nick Hankoff and others talk with top experts, newsmakers, and tenther activists every week. Call the show with questions or comments at 213.785.7848 and stream the broadcast LIVE at radio.tenthamendmentcenter.com

Virginians, Our Liberties Hang in the Balance

Most Libertarians have heard about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and its kidnapping (indefinite detention).

In December, Congress passed and the President signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Buried in NDAA’s hundreds of pages, Section 1021 purports to authorize the President to use the military to kidnap American citizens for suspicion of being terrorists. The President is REQUIRED to either hold them indefinitely, prosecute them before a military tribunal, or transfer them to a foreign country (rendition).

Section 1021 is a novel new power. It pretends that the United States is a battlefield and her citizens are enemy combatants who are not entitled to the protections of the Bill of Rights. We’re talking about…

* habeas corpus
* trial by jury
* representation by counsel
* confrontation of witnesses
* due process of law administered by impartial judges

Good people have taken this fight to the state level. Del. Bob Marshall, of Virginia, submitted an anti-detention (anti-kidnapping) bill, HB 1160. The official summary of 1160…

(click here for the rest of the story: http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2012/02/virginians-our-liberties-hang-in-the-balance/)

New rules for FBI detention of terrorists

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration outlined Tuesday when the FBI, rather than the military, could be allowed to retain custody of al-Qaida terrorism suspects who aren't U.S. citizens but are arrested by federal law enforcement officers.

The new rules issued by the White House resulted from a December compromise in Congress between the administration and a majority of Republicans and some Democrats who wanted a bigger military role and a reduced role for civilian courts in the fight against terrorism.

The new law that emerged requires military custody for non-U.S. citizen members of al-Qaida or "associated forces" involved in planning or attempting an attack on the United States or coalition partners — unless the president waives that provision...

http://www.centurylink.net/news/read.php?id=18841021&ps=1011&srce=news_class&action=3&lang=en&_LT=UNLC_USNWU00L3_UNEWS

Zoo contributor dodged indictment for gambling


Multi-county "8-liner" operation

Waco – The Cameron Park Zoological Gardens are situated on 52 acres of rambling vines and scrubby woods just uphill from the Pecan Bottoms on the banks of the Brazos River.

Mornings resound with the sound of white-handed gibbons hooting and hollering to defend their territory beside a couple of waterfalls on a pond beside a cave where they spend their days swinging through a series of ropes and tree branches.

The disappearing species is native to Burma, Thailand and Malaysia. They swing through foliage, taking 10-foot leaps and walking on tree branches as if they are tight ropes, balancing with their long arms. Males rarely grow to be more than 20 pounds; females are substantially smaller. They drink by licking the water from their white-skinned hands.

The zoo is beautiful, filled with rare species such as the American bald eagle, rhinos, tiny dik dik antelope, and elephants.

Everything has a price tag, it seems, and everything is marked by a plaque to let visitors know who paid for it. For instance, an attractive waterfall that spills into the little pond where the centerpiece exhibit of white-handed gibbons lives says it was donated by the Waco Realtors Association.

Real Estate.

There is an item for you. Area law enforcement administrators to this day talk about the slick deals a seasoned real estate operator made to hang on to his assets that were in danger of forfeiture when they were the subject of an illegal gambling investigation. The fact that he used the zoo as a bargaining chip is a source of wonder to these hardboiled detectors of crime.

Real Estate financier Jim Hawkins and his wife Nell are “Visionary” contributors to the zoo, having devoted a million-plus dollars to its design and upkeep. There are various grades of benefactors, including Guardians at $500,000; Sustainers at $250,000 an Conservators at $100,000.

Mr. Hawkins's Jhawk Enterprises is in the Conservator class of corporate contributors.

Mr. Hawkins is also the campaign treasurer for Chief Deputy Randy Plemons, a candidate for McLennan County Sheriff.

A former principal of mortgage derivative securities packager First City Financial Corporation, Mr. Hawkins operates as Jhawk1.

A number of years ago, the family business took on marginal commercial properties at a couple of locations on Waco Drive in this city, developing them as illegal 8-liner gambling parlors that used the popular machinesto entice compulsive gamblers into games of chance against the odds of the machine coming up with a favorable combination of computer chip-generated numbers.

When the number of free games they won were totaled up, investigators learned in Falls, McLennan and Bosque Counties, they were paid off in cash.

Of course, that practice is illegal.

That's when law enforcement in those jurisdictions moved in to confiscate the machines, initiate forfeiture proceedings on the properties, and otherwise encumber the assets.

In Waco, police were frustrated – stymied – by city management because Mr. Hawkins's contributions to the zoo were threatened by his coming indictment.

Word among the top brass in city and state law enforcement circles, Mr. Hawkins threatened to withdraw his financial support of the zoo.

Thus arranging leniency, his lawyers entered in countersuits as an intervenor in the forfeiture actions, praying for the relief of allowing him to take possession of the properties in which he was a lienholder, then sell them, along with the gambling machines, and thus recoup his losses.

GOP slugfest in Michigan's winter wonderland

Are we impressed yet? One wonders



Meanwhile, hometown boy Mitt Romney plays the anti-Obama, anti-union card while he berates Santorum for his voting record.



Monday, February 27, 2012

The problem: We don't have any stinking badges...



From the clerk's office to the Sheriff's Department, the local PD's, including Waco, there is an information embargo in place against ordinary citizens.

This rigorous control of public information is so jug tight, so total, so completely erroneous in the eyes of the law, that it would be ludicrous if it wasn't so completely bogus.

As to the lap dawg media and its crony crooked fellow cruisers, well, as Joe Bob Briggs often said, "We're just embarrassed for ya".

What to do?

We'll let you the people decide. If you don't get it; you don't get it. But the truth is, most of the rest of the Lone Star State gave up all this feudalistic jazz way back there some time in the previous century.

Good luck. - The Legendary

Bookkeeper stole $58,000, must pay back $18,000


Sentenced to 6 years deferred adjudication

Waco – Stephanie Wyatt is a dowdy, morbidly obese woman who admitted she stole something like $58,000 worth of cash, merchandise and services by forging credit slips and checks her employer trusted her to manage for the business.

The owners are afraid to total the losses, they say, which included a $10,000 levy with interest and penalties from the IRS because they say they had not a clear picture of their true income due to the machinations of Ms. Wyatt.

One thing she allegedly bought with the funds she admitted stealing from her employer was lap band surgery to help control her weight.

She also bought such items as cowboy boots for her male friends, gift certificates from Wal-Mart, and forged checks to pay herself more than the rate for which she had agreed to perform her services.

Before 19th District Judge Ralph Strother passed sentence on her for embezzling the funds under the terms of a plea agreement in which he accepted a guilty plea to the lesser charge of stealing $18,279.87 and not the $58,000 the owners of Sign of the Times said they could prove she took, co-founder and company CEO Darlene J. Nobles addressed her in the first person in a victim impact statement.

She told her that “I did not donate the $57,000 to you.”

Mrs. Nobles said that she could have used the $30,000 Judge Strother waived in restitution to provide activities for deaf people she could help obtain employment for the first time in their lives.

On the other hand, she said, “Thank you, Stephanie, for what you did. As a result of what you did, we have grown...My other employees are now making three times what you made.”

She also acknowledged that the shame of the admitted embezzlement is something Ms. Wyatt will have to live with for the rest of her life.

“I will do my best to keep the whispers going.”



Judge Strother addressed the open court in remarks about his arrival at a sentence of 6 years deferred adjudication and restitution of the $18,279.87.

“I realize this is not an agreed-upon figure and not everyone is happy with it.” He explained that with the assistance of probation officers, investigators, and officers of the Court, “This is the best I came up with.”

One got the feeling sitting in the gallery and listening to his tone that he was definitely making an effort at putting things mildly.

Before the court session opened, Ms. Nobles approached a young man who was filling in for the early morning hearing, a prosecutor unfamiliar with the case. As she asked specific questions as to how she could apply to make a victim impact statement, he became more curt and abrupt with each rejoinder.

Finally, in frustration, he said, “I don't know! I'm just over here working the hearing. I have to see if I can find someone...”

He hadn't planned on all this, and it showed.

As he tried to walk away with Mrs. Nobles following on his heels to the barrier that marks the well of the Court, she stopped him several times.

Thus detained, he became more voluble, saying, “The judge determined the figure...They don't want to just set someone up to fail by putting them on probation!”

He tried to effect his escape once again before sheagain detained him.

He waved a pink folder, showed Ms. Nobles some of the leaves bradded into it. “I don't know! They had a hearing. That's what the judge decided!”

He threw up his hands in frustration, then fled into Judge Strother's chambers. Someone slammed the door.

Mrs. Nobles' company, Sign of the Times, is a sign language interpretation service that helps persons disabled by deafness – most of whom are mute and unable to talk - in their dealings with those who deliver medical, legal, educational, and other professional services.

The certified interpreters employed by Darlene Nobles deliver a conceptually accurate interpretation of what is said to those who are unable to hear spoken language, then respond with a similarly accurate interpretation of the visual lingo the clients use to answer the questions of doctors, lawyers, social workers, intake clerks at local hospitals and clinics, judges, prospective employers, and teachers.

A group of them who attended the hearing gathered at a restaurant in the lobby of One Liberty Place, located across 6th Street from the Courthouse, where they had breakfast on their way to the office.

They explained that sign language is not a spoken, or auditory, language, but a visual form of communication, one in which there are more than one dialect and many semantic differences than the basics of spoken language.

It's all part of the accommodations provision of the Federal Americans With Disabilities Act, a guarantee that the disabled will be given access to public places, to apply for jobs, get benefits and receive medical services in spite of their difficulties.

Turn the heat up on criminals “as much as I can"


McNamara – Cawthon strategy two-pronged

West – To serve as a working Sheriff of McLennan County, a lawman first and an administrator second, Parnell McNamara has a two-pronged approach.

“I want to turn the heat up on the criminals as much as I can,” he says.

Here is how he and his sidekick intend to do the job.

First, drugs are the single most potent, acknowledged source of crime in any cop's book.

Either the victims of the drug trade's predatory nature of addiction - and the subsequent loss of moral fiber that always results - are selling dope, stealing to get more of it, or they're out of their minds due to its influence and mistreating their fellow humans as a result.

But there is a problem. There is nowhere for the average citizen to turn when it comes to fighting back against the kind of abuse the world of drugs thrusts upon them.

People who have to put up with all that misery seem to be on their own in a world populated with cops too busy to hear out their complaints.

The McLennan County Sheriff's Department eliminated the multi-agency drug task force some time during the first term of the Larry Lynch administration.

Parnell McNamara has a remedy for that, he told friends and supporters at a get together held at the Czech Inn in this community Sunday afternoon.

By reviving the Drug Task Force, an agency staffed by officers seconded from police agencies throughout the county, he intends to give his fellow citizens a friendly ear when it comes to doing something about the miserable conditions caused by drug use.

He recalled a case where a woman contacted him and he took her to see the narcotics officers of the now defunct drug task force. They arranged to have her persuade a certain drug dealer in a Waco suburb to sell her some cocaine.

“He wound up doing time in the penitentiary for that,” Marshal McNamara recalls.
His sidekick, a retired Texas Ranger who now works as an agent of the Texas Department of Corrections, Institutional Division, is seconded to the U.S. Marshal's Service Fugitive Warrants Division.

He says there is a decided lack of cooperation from the Warrants Division of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office.

For instance, Matt Cawthon recalled during an interview following Marshall McNamara's campaign presentation, when investigators of the District Attorney's office were looking for about a dozen persons who had been indicted for Lone Star Card fraud, they learned that the post-indictment capias warrants were most definitely on file.

How about those arrest warrants, they asked the warrants division of the sheriff's office?

Oh, they had them. They were on file, just waiting to be served on an inter alia, unaided basis by police officers making their usual rounds who may have detained a man or woman on some matter, then learned the suspect is wanted under an indictment, sealed or otherwise.

The warramts were safe and secure in a filing cabinet, neatly logged in on a computer system, but they were as yet unserved.

That wasn't what they people from the DA's office were wanting. They wanted the deputies to actually get out there and serve the arrest warrants.

They were refused. The people in the warrants division turned them down.

Why?

He says the answer was simple enough.

Top-ranking officials of the Sheriff's Office claim they just don't have the resources to go out and serve every warrant.

Getting at the information as to exactly how many such warrants are languishing in the files is difficult.

Open records requests cannot be couched in the terms of an interrogatory. They must be specific as to what is requested, and not of a general nature, such as, “How many capias warrants do you have for Lone Star Card abuse?” or, even better, “How many outstanding capias warrants do you have on file?”

Ranger Cawthon estimates there are from 600 to 700 such warrants awaiting service.

To remedy that situation, all one needs to do is to staff an aggressive and proactive warrants division, and then let the deputies on that flying squad serve the arrest warrants as they are issued, according to Ranger Cawthon.

Wikileaks begins publishing 5 million Stratfor e-mails



Austin - Crippled by a banking embargo by such credit providers as Visa and MasterCard, the Bank of America, and other international financial services companies of all efforts to raise donations, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange acknowledged his anti-secrecy hacking group is unable to continue what have been normal operations. In retaliation, the organization began to publish some 5 million e-mails stolen from Stratfor, an Austin strategic forecasting private intelligence agency that serves major corporations.

Recently, founder and CEO George Friedman arranged for a credit security company to monitor clients and former clients of the Stratfor service whose bank accounts Wikileaks operatives invaded in raids that netted thousands of dollars in each case before banks were alerted to the fraudulent activity.

He denied disinformation spread by Wikileaks that he has resigned as the company's CEO.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hast thou heard of whiskey heaven? Canst thou dig it?



This is the cat who sang "Sea Cruise" over Huey "Piano" Smith, y'all. Dig that pompadour. Speaks of the pompitous of love, I say.

- The Legendary

Reality cartoons from court cases

This selection of videos supplied to The Legendary by former Associate Justice Felipe Reyna of the 10th District Court of Appeals at Waco.



"Please, enjoy!" - Felipe Reyna

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Single? Wealthy? Corrupt? Hmmmm.


One has to be single, wealthy, or corrupt to function in this political system. - Sarah Palin

Sounds like practically a letter of recommendation to The Legendary Jim Parks.

Embezzler of $57,000 to answer for $30,000 less

Darlene J. Nobles, proprietor, Sign of the Times

Court offers 10 years probation, $18,000 pay-back

“What does the judge benefit in gifting $30,000 at my expense?”

Waco – A 2008 startup, Sign of the Times struggled at first, then got enough of a client base that the resulting cash flow crunch forced a reliance on credit cards to meet expenses.

As the company established reliable cash flow, the credit cards went into a lock box one by one, until there was no further need for them.

And then Darlene J. Nobles hired Stephanie Wyatt. After embezzlement of at least $57,000, a $10,000 IRS levy for penalties and interest, and a lot of service charges from card services companies, she and her husband are afraid to even speculate how much the entire affair cost them.

It took three years to get the Waco Police Department to file the charges, more time to obtain an indictment, and then the phone rang one day last week.

It was a prosecutor – an Assistant District Attorney – calling to let her know the charges had been plead down, the amount the woman admitted to stealing is now $18,000, and she's going to be sentenced to restitution of that amount, 10 years probation, and deferred adjudication. When she completes the sentence, there will be record of a felony conviction.

Darlene Nobles recalls how the women who work for her were patient, accepting long hours and low pay as the small company got off the ground. There were “girls' days out” for manicures and massages, long lunches, and drinks.

As the outfit grew, Mrs. Nobles decided to let her daughter take over the bookkeeping duties. She intended to move Stephanie Wyatt into another position - with even greater responsibilities before she discovered that the banks and card services companies were dunning her for $57,000 in credit slips for trips to Texas Motor Speedway, pairs of boots for Ms. Wyatt's male friends, expensive lunches and weekend trips. What's more, certain clients had been incorrectly billed; they had not been charged nearly what the company was due to receive.

Something was wrong. Dead wrong.

Because she was working full time to help her ailing mother receive proper care, Mrs. Nobles had never known about the charges. The bookkeeper had intercepted the mail and paid the minimum payments, keeping her forgeries a secret.

The resulting headaches cost the good will of clients and in at least one case, the loss of the business of that customer. The Nobles have instituted rigorous accounting and auditing procedures.

Monday morning, Stephanie Wyatt will be sentenced to a 10 year term of probation for the embezzlement of $18,000 – not the true figure of $57,000 for which she was indicted. She will be allowed to pay restitution at a rate as low as $100 per month, Mrs. Nobles was told.

Like many crime victims in Texas, Darlene Nobles wants to know why a predatory criminal has been allowed to plead guilty to doing something that did not, in fact, really happen, and is being allowed to go her way with only a light punishment.

“She's walking away with a $100 slap on the wrist. She's walking away with no felony,” Mrs. Nobles told The Legendary.

Culture war extends to plumbing, psycho-social drama



Picture this.

The lady is an out-of-towner, a native of a huge metropolis from the eastern seaboard.

Has a lot of alphabet soup behind her name, has earned multiple degrees in social work, psychology, behavioral sciences – does forensic work for the Courts, makes jailhouse evaluations in cases of substance abuse, child abuse, manufacturing and sales of controlled substances, possession of narcotics, bail, probation and parole revocations.

She's a long way from home, living in this community of evangelical christendom, a long way from school, temple, the community of law givers, interpreters of the faith.

She wears sensible shoes, smokes constantly, sometimes lighting one cigarette off the butt of another, and the following adjectives would be accurate descriptors of her affect – hyperaware, hypervigilant, quick to take flight, passive aggressive, manipulative.

She has a lot of power and knows how to use it.

She's active in liberal party politics, hob nobs with professionals from the legal, academic, corrections, and law enforcement communities. Together, they make plans, look into the future, plot strategies and routes to a safer, saner, more – ah – sanitary world in which to – oh, well, you know – shape the way people think - react - get along with each other.

She works out of town at various lockups in neighboring county seats.

She got a call at work the other day.

Seems her apartment in Waco was flooding, some kind of problem with the plumbing.

The on-site manager needed her to drop what she was doing and come stand by while the plumbers and the owner made various adjustments.

She rushed through the hour's drive, pushed her subcompact to its limits, compressed the journey to 45 minutes, came upon the scene to find raw sewage running out her front door, soaking into the carpets, exuding an odor of an utterly sick-making and vile character to the ambient atmosphere.

She's an alcoholic – recovering - goes to meetings, talks about her business in front of bewildered people who have felt the first nips of the wringer, others who have been caught in the dragnet, felt the inexorable pressure of the vice as they slowly accepted the truth, that they were doing life on the installment plan, and then watched the state take away their children, their privileges, declare them incompetent – insane.

They are caught, beat, busted, addicted to something they hardly understand, and, the truth is, they never really wanted anything other than some relief.

The apartment manager met her at the door, filled with sympathy, her tone caring, loving, solicitous.

Thrusting a full glass of whiskey on the rocks at her, she said, “Here, dear, I'm sure you're going to need this,” as she launched into a narrative about having the restoration company out right away to take everything out of the apartment, rip out the carpets and do a thorough cleaning with bleach to disinfect everything - right away.

Serious offenses preventable - keep accused in jail

Personal recognizance bonds add to misery

“Well, yes, but did you notice the time the whole thing took place? Yeah, right at shift change time.” - high ranking police administrator

How do the proactive policies of personal recognizance release of repeat offenders affect the public health and safety? We took the time to put together some retrospective articles carried by The Legendary over the past couple of years to get the answer to that question.

The results can be startling for the unintiated, the unaware, or those who have simply not been paying attention. - The Legendary

Follow the hyperlinked sections to get a comprehensive picture of the way business as usual is conducted at the McLennan County Sheriff's Office.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2012

Fiery crash that claimed man's life was preventable

Driver was released on traffic warrants
Records show failure to appear on $3,000 fines

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

Waco – McLennan County Jail authorities released a woman who later rear-ended a car on W. Waco Drive on outstanding warrants for more than $3,000 in traffic fines involving a failure to appear in municipal court, records show.

According to booking cards obtained through a public information act request, Miranda Monique Campbell, 28, who also goes by the name Miranda Jones, walked out of McLennan County Jail the day before Waco police apprehended her twice in disturbance calls while behind the wheel on February 3.

She later drove her Mercury Mountaineer SUV to a fiery crash with the Ford Ranger pickup driven by Isidro Pech Que, 40, of Mexico. The accident claimed Mr. Que's life after the pickup burst into flames.

Investigators estimated the SUV was traveling at speeds as high as 130 miles per hour just prior to the collision.

Officers had stopped her car twice before as she traveled down W. Waco Dr., but did not take her into custody prior to the collision.

Following a report of a disturbance at 6:30 p.m. On Feb. 3, officers released Ms. Campbell and her companion Cindy Ann Murray, 39, following a confrontation in the lobby of police headquarters on W. 4th St...
http://downdirtyword.blogspot.com/2012/02/fiery-crash-that-claimed-mans-life-was.html

SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2011

Private jail to “borrow” McLennan County prisoners

FOR SALE: Crossbar hotel with plenty of striped sunshine. Auction will begin bright and early Thursday, July 28, when qualified bidders...

Waco - Jail contractor CEC, Inc., will receive 180 prisoners from the local county lockup, according to a knowledgeable confidential source.

The planned move is intended to allow the New Jersey-based corporation to “make parole.”

According to the source, “CEC has the same old 300 they have always had...no new contracts...which means that we have around 250 empty beds to use.” That's in addition to the 326 empty beds in the downtown jail, which was at one time contracted by CEC as a lockup for federal prisoners.

That facility stands empty, awaiting multimillion dollar remodeling and refurbishment to its lock systems, smoke and fire detectors.

When the company began to operate the year-old $50 million Jack Harwell Detention Center, located adjacent to the McLennan County Jail on Highway 6, the Commissioners' Court and Sheriff Larry Lynch elected to allow the contractor to transfer the prisoners to the new jail.

So far, the only thing the move has netted the taxpayers is the obligation to cover the interest carry on the bonds. Even though they are revenue bonds issued by public service corporation created by the County Commissioners' Court and not approved by the voters as General Obligation Bonds, taxpayers are still liable for the financial burden...
(click here for the rest of the story and hyperlinked sections that lead to others - http://downdirtyword.blogspot.com/2011/07/private-jail-to-borrow-mclennan-county.html

Friday, February 24, 2012

Occupy SEC generates 325-page letter on loopholes

Volcker Rule watered down, holed and looped

Click here to read the letter: http://www.occupythesec.org/letter/OSEC%20-%20OCC-2011-14%20-%20Comment%20Letter.pdf

Should we bring back Glass-Stegall? Let Ms. Goldstein do her teach-in thing. You decide.


Click here to listen to the story: http://hw.libsyn.com/p/1/e/e/1eed0204e031b000/dn2012-0224-1.mp3sid=8a6417078455b805b456a781993b4776&l_sid=18778&l_eid=&l_mid=2920601&expiration=1330106720&hwt=58910f0d14375b079f24884090028683

Stock tipster touts natgas-related companies

Methane to downtrend 25% to $2 tcf

"Don't change the engine; change the fuel"

Rick Rule has lived through more "boom and busts" in the natural gas sector than almost anybody. The latest bust has brought natural gas prices down from about $4.80 per trillion cubic feet (tcf) to $2.65 per tcf in the past nine months… And Rick says it isn't over yet.

Rick told me he wouldn't be surprised if natural gas prices hit $2 in the short term. That's about a 25% decline from current prices.

If this forecast proves correct, that's an even stronger argument behind the buildout of a new transportation network based on natural gas. At $2 per tcf, natural gas would be more than 65% cheaper as a transportation fuel than gasoline.

Rick says, "The cure for lower prices has always been lower prices." In other words, with cheap natural gas prices, it's just a matter of time before the markets begin to adapt. Soon we will be exporting the fuel to emerging markets, replacing coal with natural gas in our electric plants… and running our cars on natural gas.

Rick sees that happening in the next five years. That forecast may seem like an eternity in today's markets. Most investors are looking for quick scores these days: 100% gains inside of a few months.

But getting in early and holding stocks through megatrends is how millionaires are created.

Imagine buying shares of Apple after the tech giant released its first iPhone in June 2007. Five years later, you would be sitting on gains of more than 300%.

In 2003, before "fracking" became an everyday story in the financial media, a small company called Range Resources began using this new technology to unlock natural gas. Five years later, the stock had jumped nearly 1,300%.

Right now, you have the chance to invest in one of the biggest energy megatrends in more than a decade. We have a massive supply of natural gas. And it's dirt-cheap. Like Rick suggests, it's just a matter of time before the markets adapt.

Trucking companies are adapting right now. Waste Management, UPS, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart are buying trucks with engines that run on natural gas. Clean Energy Fuels is building natural gas fueling stations across every major highway in America. Soon, Ford and GM will be selling cars that run on the clean fuel.

I agree with Rick. It's just a matter of time before we see widespread adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Getting in early on this trend could result in huge profits for investors.

Good investing,

Frank Curzio

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A tale of two jails and the peoples' law enforcement

Waco – Two lawmen with diametrically opposed views shared the stump at the Wardlaw Training Center in the industrial park shaped by the city and county governments. They appeared before a cross section of the decision makers in politics and business and finance who helped grow that industrial park on the prairie just south of Hwy. 6.

Several hundred attended the McLennan Republican Women's Club Candidate Forum.

On the one hand, we have an old-time Deputy U.S. Marshal. Parnell McNamara is a fourth-generation “law” who walks with the bowlegged strut of a working cowhand; he goes nowhere without a 10 or 20X Silver Belly beaver perched on his silvered head, and actually commands a world-renowned posse of like-minded lawmen.

They include his brother Mike and a favored sidekick, Matt Cawthon, who retired from the Texas Rangers and joined the Marshal's Service's fugitive warrant squad, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, and a passel of other pragmatic law and order men.

They not only made the cover of “Texas Monthly” in a rave take-out written by none other than the celebrated dean of Texas crime reporters, Gary Cartwright, but they tracked down one of the most hated and feared mad dog killers of women and helpless youths in recent memory, Kenneth McDuff, a dark soul who murdered, was paroled , killed again and went on a desperate spree before he got his date with the needle.

If that don't beat all, they did it on national television, with the help of the host of “America's Most Wanted,” John Walsh.

This critter says the County Sheriff is the “people's law enforcement” because FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, ATF – all the alphabet soup types – the State Troopers, city cops, and even the hallowed Texas Rangers, are appointed.

Only the Sheriff is elected by we the people.

He's right. Look it up. Get your state constitution down and check out the duties and powers of this official, the shireve, with his or her 1000-year history of English common-law tradition. You will come away a changed citizen with a new understanding on yourself.

Here is an official who can, in theory, convene courts, grand juries, launch investigations, conduct auctions of seized and foreclosed property, serve warrants and all criminal and civil process, detain and incarcerate the accused, indicted and convicted – and the list goes on and on.

What does Parnell McNamara want to do? Listen to what he told the people.



First of all, there used to be such a thing as a drug task force. It's gone, now. After Marshal McNamara retired, his friends and neighbors came to him for help, and he learned the sad truth. There used to be a place of resort for this thorny problem; it is no more, he says. He has no idea why. He says that in 32 years of transporting, tracking down and arresting criminals, serving process for the federal court system, and all the other things a Deputy U.S. Marshal does, most of the troubles he saw stemmed from drugs.

Today, he and his neighbors are on their own.

Secondly, a lot of people get killed and – guess what – their killers are never apprehended.

An elderly couple who lived in an opulent neighborhood called for help twice on a dark night in 2001 and still got beaten to death for their trouble. A female sales clerk at a Shell station on Interstate was found dead behind the counter. He killer or killers are yet to be apprehended. There are 50 such cases in Waco, alone – cold as last year's ashes, and clues are going stale by the minute.

He has a remedy for both these things. Put a special squad to work to detect and arrest the perpetrators, then prepare the cases that will put them behind bars.

Finally, leadership in the McLennan County government, its Sheriff's Department and the investment community decided to privatize two of the county's lockups. They built a new one at a cost of nearly $50 million. The old one next door to the courthouse sits empty.

Marshal McNamara says he will never tolerate a privately run jail in his county, if he can just get that badge pinned on and get busy. It just doesn't work that way in the McNamara world view. He didn't just say it once; he has declared it repeatedly.

On the other hand, we have Chief Deputy Randy Plemons. He says his staff of 370-some-odd people are doing a wonderful job, that the jail is “another city” that requires 3,000 meals a day and a thorough cleaning on a routine basis, and he can't say enough that is good about the people who staff his department.

He bragged that the jail passed its latest inspection by state officials “with flying colors” after flunking three in a row. What's more, Federal Bureau of Prisons inspectors required nearly 100 federal inmates to be removed to another facility because of deficiencies in health care services and filthy conditions involving raw sewage standing in the floors of some of the cells.

He is heavily certified and trained, even holds a certification from the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia. You can hear a digest of his remarks here. Just click on the little arrow on the left.

Government: Anonymous will attack power grid



Anonymous posted this rejoinder

A loaded political term, its results precise


Imprecision in terror a hard reality

...The connection between state-sponsored terrorism and the Cold War ran so deep that when the Cold War ended with the Soviet Union's collapse, many declared that terrorism had ended as well. I witnessed this phenomenon while serving in the Counterterrorism Investigations Division of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) in the early 1990s. While I was in New York working as part of the interagency team investigating the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newly appointed assistant secretary of state abolished my office, declaring that the DSS did not need a Counterterrorism Investigations Division since terrorism was over...

...As Carl von Clausewitz noted, war is the continuation of politics by other means; terrorism is a type of warfare, making it also politics by other means. Because it is a tactic used by the weak, terrorism generally focuses on soft, civilian targets rather than more difficult-to-attack military targets.

The type of weapon used does not define terrorism. For example, using a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device against an International Security Assistance Force firebase in Afghanistan would be considered an act of irregular warfare, but using it in an attack on a hotel in Kabul would be considered an act of terrorism. This means that militant actors can employ conventional warfare tactics, unconventional warfare tactics and terrorism during the same campaign depending on the situation...


- Scott Stewart, Stratfor “Terrorism Weekly,” 2/23/12

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Natural gas as a motor fuel gaining ground on gasoline

Natural gas is selling for half the cost of gasoline. Many trucking firms have already made the switch to natural gas as a fuel, while many corporations – breweries, bakeries, cement haulers and refuse truckers - that rely on trucks to make local deliveries have followed suit.

According to the Census Bureau, there are over 100,000 gasoline stations in America. This makes it easy for the 234 million vehicles in the U.S. to fuel up. However, there are only about 1,000 natural gas fueling stations.

(click here for a map of their locations) http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/natural_gas_locations.html

While most of these stations are strategically located across major trucking highways, thousands more will be needed to support entire trucking fleets running on natural gas.

Clean Energy Fuels is leading the charge. With help from natural gas-producer Chesapeake Energy, the company plans on building 150 new natural gas fueling stations. Half of these should be open by the end of the year.

Other natural gas producers have begun to open natural gas fueling stations. Integrys Energy and Questar are mid-cap companies that already operate natural gas fueling stations in the U.S. And they're building more.

Most of these companies are trading near their 52-week highs. Business is booming right now. Some states are beginning to provide incentives for companies to build new gas stations supporting the clean fuel.

Once these new fueling stations are built, there's a strong possibility auto manufacturers like GM, Ford, and Toyota will begin making cars that run on the clean fuel. After all, these manufacturers already make vehicles that run on natural gas in other countries.

We are still in the early stages of the natural gas infrastructure trend. In other words, investors can still cash in on this trend by investing in some of the companies building "America's Natural Gas Highway."

Frank Curzio

Up in Memphis, the music's like a heat wave...

To defend the U.S. Constitution against military kidnapping


Watch these columns for more on this tomorrow p.m. - The Legendary

WASHINGTON, DC — In the first few weeks of 2012, at least six jurisdictions have enacted local resolutions opposing the military detention provisions of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed into law by the president only a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, legislation to nullify the NDAA has been introduced in legislatures of several states from coast-to-coast, with a Virginia bill passing the House of Delegates 96-4 last week.

Concerns about NDAA detention provisions transcend political party, ideology, and geography, and representatives in these diverse jurisdictions have stood up to resist an ongoing bipartisan assault on constitutional rights by federal officials. While a debate about the scope of the NDAA’s potential abuses continues to distract congressional policymakers, who voted without realizing the law’s terrifying implications, their counterparts in state and local governments are proving more conscientious, proactively acting on their oaths of office to defend the Constitution.

This Thursday, Feb. 23, a diverse group of state and local elected leaders from both major political parties, representing various parts of the country, will address their shared concerns about the need to restore due process in the wake of the damage wrought by the NDAA. These women and men have answered the call for all levels of government to actively work to restore vital limits on dangerous—and profoundly un-American federal powers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

McNamara's focus - drugs, burglary, home invasion


Above all - a great respect for 2nd Amendment
Crawford – The elderly couple phoned police because they were menaced by thugs in the wee hours of the morning. Officers did a drive-by of their opulent home located barely a block off Lake Shore Drive in Waco, then failed to respond altogether around 3 a.m.

“This still haunts me,” Parnell McNamara told friends and supporters who crowded into the lobby of the Security Bank in this small city, the home town of President George “Dub-yah” Bush.

“The son-in-law came in and found them beaten to death at 10 a.m. the next morning...”

The truth is, said the veteran of 32 years as a Deputy U.S. Marshal – half of them as the Deputy in Charge of the Waco office – that drugs are the root cause of the violence, the burglary and the home invasions that lead to murder and most other forms of human misery.

He intends to put a drug squad on the streets under the supervision of the Sheriff's Department, as well as a cold case squad to clear the hundreds of violent murders that have gone unsolved in Waco and McLennan County over the past decade.

“If you're looking for someone who will put on a badge and a gun, then hang around the office, I'm not your guy,” he said to peals of laughter.

He ended his remarks on a lighter note after the somber moments of recalling how Mr. and Mrs. Loving lost their lives to violent home invaders, a cold case from 2001 that has still not been cleared.

My opponent has been going around saying I'm a one-term Sheriff...I want to thank him for acknowledging that I will be elected...” The throng of well-wishers and contributors cracked up and applauded enthusiastically.

In introductory remarks, Captain Barney Witt of the Woodway Police Department, a former candidate in the GOP primary who dropped out to throw his support to Marshal McNamara, asked the crowd, “When was the last time you saw the Sheriff's Office take a stand on anything?”

Marshal McNamara and Captain Witt both decried the fact that the McLennan County lockup failed a Jail Standards Commission inspection for the third time in a row.

“Y'all know how I feel about private jails. I'm not all that crazy about them,” Marshal McNamara said. He said people who are paid barely more than minimum wage cannot do the job a County employee who works for the Sheriff's Department and not a private corporation can do.

It's yada yada time again, y'all - way down yonder NOLA

Mardi Gras in da Big Easy? This is what it be like, y'all. It's a party all the time for them what do...

CEC, Inc., partner of McLennan County Sheriff's Office


McLennan County receives fees from a private corporation that operates one jail with no prisoners while at their other location, the jail is only half full and the federal government withdrew its prisoners because of substandard health care and filthy conditions.

The Sheriff is paid a hefty annual fee to perform inspections he does not perform, the corporation pays rent on an empty jail. Is there a problem here?

Let R.S. Gates explain his views on the subject.

Scientists slate one-third of Earth's population for death




'Spaceship Earth' plans to jettison passengers

Reprinted from “The Onion”

WASHINGTON—Saying there's no way around it at this point, a coalition of scientists announced Thursday that one-third of the world population must die to prevent wide-scale depletion of the planet's resources—and that humankind needs to figure out immediately how it wants to go about killing off more than 2 billion members of its species.

Representing multiple fields of study, including ecology, agriculture, biology, and economics, the researchers told reporters that facts are facts: Humanity has far exceeded its sustainable population size, so either one in three humans can choose how they want to die themselves, or there can be some sort of government-mandated liquidation program—but either way, people have to start dying.

And soon, the scientists confirmed.

"I'm just going to level with you—the earth's carrying capacity will no longer be able to keep up with population growth, and civilization will end unless large swaths of human beings are killed, so the question is: How do we want to do this?" Cambridge University ecologist Dr. Edwin Peters said. "Do we want to give everyone a number and implement a death lottery system? Incinerate the nation's children? Kill off an entire race of people? Give everyone a shotgun and let them sort it out themselves?"

"Completely up to you," he added, explaining he and his colleagues were "open to whatever." "Unfortunately, we are well past the point of controlling overpopulation through education, birth control, and the empowerment of women. In fact, we should probably kill 300 million women right off the bat...”

(please click here to read the rest of the story - http://www.theonion.com/articles/scientists-look-onethird-of-the-human-race-has-to,27166/



Monday, February 20, 2012

Talkin' beer joint battle royal, caressive puntry sounds


Musicians' Reunion at Al's Tokio Store
Tokio – It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it turns out raunchy and rowdy.


Young girl walks into the beer joint with her family. Barmaid asks her for ID and she gets an attitude, throws driver's license at the girl.

Barmaid throws it back, refuses service.

Fists fly, hair is pulled, owner steps in, gets a chunk of hide and tissue bit out of his forearm.

Ouch.

Both families join in. After all, it's a family beer joint.

Cow-a-bunga! No bueno.

Other than that, there is a lot to flash upon at the workouts for working musicians who appear fortnightly at Al's. No cover, Bubba's burgers, many flavors of brewski, lots of people on hawgs - with dawgs, guitars, friendly faces, wide open spaces.

Yay-us.

That's what I'm talkin' about.

Both kinds of music - country and western.

One never knows who will show up, so easy to get there near Exit 351 on I-35 at West. Ask around.
br /> A bass made of a bedpan; a Russian motorcycle with two-wheel drive and a huge mastiff riding in the sidecar; ladies in black leather riding chromed-up, pinstriped metal flake dream machines from Milwaukee.
Yowza.

Outlaw caressive puntry, that's the name of the game.

Dig:

Real estate man perplexed by political tactics

Sheriff's race heats up on personal lines

"There is no lawful authority for judges or a court to direct the law enforcement activities of a county sheriff. He is not part of the judicial system. He holds executive power. He can set up a court, empanel a jury, and can even try judges or federal officials who violate the law…A Sheriff takes on the special responsibility of preserving and protecting the rights, liberties, and freedoms of the people within his county against unlawful acts, including any unlawful act committed by public officials working in the government. He has a direct obligation toward the people living within his county." - Bernadine Smith, founder of the Second Amendment Committee

Waco – Jason Attas was surprised by a series of e-mails he received from homebuilder Marvin Steakley. Looking back, he says he still does not understand what a dispute over a homebuilding contract has to do with who the next Sheriff of McLennan County will be.

He is a commercial real estate agent of the J.S. Peevey Co., and a close personal friend of the McNamara family.

These e-mails alleged that since he, Mr. Steakley, was involved in a legal dispute with retired Texas Ranger Matt Cawthon and his wife Shelly over a cost-plus building contract to build their custom home in a suburb near Waco, that he, Mr. Attas, should not support Parnell McNamara for Sheriff in a race against Chief Deputy Randy Plemons.

According to Mr. Attas, the material he received from Mr. Steakley claimed that Mrs. Cawthon had slandered him, defamed his character by calling him a thief and a liar.

In support of those allegations, his attorney made a motion to discover all financial records pertaining to the home building contract, including personal financial and private identity information of a sensitive nature. Mr. Steakley did not send this information to Mr. Attas. He sent only his impressions of the character of the Cawthons and a copy of an e-mail Mrs. Cawthon sent to her banker regarding the matter.

In the e-mails, Mr. Steakley questioned the quality of character and suitability of the personality of Marshal McNamara's close personal friend, Matt Cawthon.

A company in which I own an interest is in an active lawsuit against Matt and his wife, Shelly. Based on Matt's deposition taken on Septembet 7, 2011 and also in part on email correspondence sent by his wife to third parties, I am of the opinion it may not be in the best interest of the citizens of McLennan County for Matt to have any role in the sheriff's department. People who have seen the aforementioned documents agree and I think others would be hard pressed to not draw the same conclusion if they were to read them.

Regards,

Marvin Steakley


The exchange of e-mails began after Mr. Attas penned a letter to the editor of the local daily, expressing his opinion that Mr. McNamara is a good choice for Sheriff.

Furthermore, he alleged that because the ex-Ranger, who now works seconded to the Department of Justice as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal and employed by the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, refused to pay him an estimated cost overrun of approximately $70,000 over the estimated amount they agreed upon, he should question the character of Parnell McNamara and his fitness to be the Sheriff.

Ranger Cawthon and his jump out flying squad have recaptured many fugitives mistakenly released from custody by elements of the McLennan County Sheriff's Department when they should have in fact been held for federal charges, local warrants, or to face various criminal complaints for which they had not yet posted bond.

What followed was a rich stream of the ins and outs of pending litigation between his company and the Cawthons.


“He initiated all this...He just volunteered all this,” said Mr. Attas, sounding rather puzzled, even though the intervening months have given him a chance to get used to Mr. Steakley's actions.

“I think it's petty,” said Mr. Attas.

It is no secret that Mr. Cawthon favors Mr. McNamara for the elected position, nor is there any mistake that they are sidekicks and very good friends to one another.

But beyond that point, Mr. Attas, recalls, he became very confused as to what Mr. Steakley expected him to do with the information he had received through an e-mail from this stranger, Steakley, the homebuilder from Houston.

So, he told him so in e-mailed replies, and then turned the correspondence over to the Cawthons' attorney, Henry Wright, of Waco.

“I'm not sure what any person is supposed to do with this information,” Mr. Attas replied to Mr. Steakley.

Mr. Wright obtained a protective order from the judge enjoining Mr. Steakley from further propagation of any such personal information about the Cawthons' financial affairs.

“What I got from Steakley was a handful of e-mails about what he sent to the Sheriff,” Mr. Attas recalls. "He did not send me the same material he sent the Sheriff."

“The truth has only one side...There is no doubt which side I'm on.”

Mr. Steakley admitted under oath that he did, indeed, send personal banking records such as cancelled checks, credit card statements, the couples' loan applications, bank statements, their social security numbers and personal cell phone numbers, to Sheriff Larry Lynch and Deputy Plemons.

Both have denied they received any such information.


Mr. Cawthon said in an interview on the day he received the Court's protection against any further revelations that a confidential informant came forward to let him know that the matter had been under discussion in the Sheriff's office, that there was abundant evidence that Sheriff Larry Lynch and Chief Deputy Randy Plemons had, in fact, received the information.

One of the chief allegations of complaint in Mr. Steakley's suit was that of defamation of his character in a one-page excerpt of an e-mail between Mrs. Cawthon and her banker, Mike Schmidt of American Bank in Waco. In that e-mail, she ventured the opinion that Mr. Steakley is a thief and a liar, and that she, Mrs. Cawthon, intended to run him out of town.

Obviously, the 11 women and 1 man on the jury believed her. Truth is an absolute defense against the charge of criminal libel, slander and defamation of character.

A week of evidence and testimony elicited from witnesses and exhibits, including examination of Mr. Steakley and his son, Andrew, revealed enough information about the matter that the jurors were convinced by a preponderance of the evidence that what Mrs. Cawthon had written to Mr. Schmidt is the truth.

The homebuilder lost his bid to make the Cawthons pay money he said they owed, received a take nothing judgment on his claim of slander and libel, and was ordered to pay the Cawthons' attorneys' fees in the matter. This led to a week-long jury trial in 74th State District Court in Waco. The questions were among 19 they were instructed to decide by Judge Gary Coley before returning a near-unanimous 11-1 verdict in some of the questions, and agreeing unanimously on the rest.

Where did Mr. Steakley obtain the memo Mrs. Cawthon wrote to her banker, Mr. Schmidt?

Only Ranger Cawthon and his attorney, Henry Wright, have asked that question, said Mr. Attas.

“It came from the discovery materials she was ordered to turn over to Steakley's attorney...Shelly Cawthon was not going to be accused of withholding any information she was ordered to produce.”

This is what Mrs. Cawthon wrote to Mike Schmidt of American Bank:

“...I hope that we can obtain enough information to file criminal charges on them...I am going to make it top priority to ruin their reputations in this town...”

Rick Santorum has “commanding lead” in GOP primary

If the election were held today, 45 percent of a sample of 800 Texas voters would select former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

In a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, weighted by the 2008 Current Population Survey and the 2007 Pew Religious Landscape Survey, pollsters determined that former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich would receive 18 percent, Mitt Romney 16 percent, and Ron Paul 14 percent of voter support.

“The presidential race in Texas remains highly volatile, and the numbers could change significantly between now and the state's primaries. They were originally scheduled for March 6 — early voting would have started this week — but have been delayed by redistricting litigation. Texas still doesn't have all of its congressional and legislative maps in place, and May 29 appears to be the earliest possible primary date,” according to the Texas Tribune's story...

(click here for the rest of the story) http://www.texastribune.org/texas-politics/2012-presidential-election/santorum-leads-republican-field-texas/

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Identity theft scam linked to IRS inquiries

You get an e-mail that says your tax payment was rejected, that the IRS needs more information.

Whoa. Stop right there. Go no further, or you're going to get ripped off for your identity.

There is a fraud risk that you need to be aware of. It is related to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System and everyone should be on their toes, due to the fact that we are smack dab in the middle of tax season.

This scam is targeting EFTPS users and the scheme uses an e-mail that claims your tax payment was rejected and takes you to a website that requires you to present more information. However the website contains malware that will attempt to infect your computer. If you receive a message claiming to be from the IRS or EFTPS you should do the following.

Do not reply to the sender, nor should you access the links on the site or submit any information to them.

If you receive this message in your inbox you should forward the message as it was sent to you and immediately send it to the department that handles this at phishing@irs.gov...

Read the rest of the story here: http://www.connectyourhome.com/news_and_articles/featured-connectyourhome-articles/watch-out-for-online-scammers-that-are-posing-as-the-irs/

B. Zimmerman on the triple play to retire the side





Waco Tea party “guilty until proven innocent”

IRS backlash centers in Cincinnati office

...Also, the information you submit should be accompanied by the following declaration:
Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this information, including accompanying documents and, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the information contains all the relevant facts relating to the request for the information, and such facts are true, correct, and complete...we will be required by law to make the application and the information that you submit in response to this letter available for public inspection...


It appears that IRS investigators are targeting Tea Parties that applied for not-for-profit tax exemption status under §501(c)(4) of the U.S. Tax Code.

A top official of the Waco Tea Party called to raise hell about the matter.

Toby Marie Walker's voice comes over the phone hot, her tone vehement.

“None of us have ever received any pay for the things we do for the Tea Party!” She claims she and her husband have contributed thousands to the cause of limited government, free markets, and lower taxes.

“But with the IRS, you're guilty until proven innocent,” she fairly shouts. When she and Michael Simon received compensation for services provided political candidates' campaigns, they had taken a leave of absence from their duties at the Tea Party, she explained.

It's all about a letter the organization received – along with many other such local Tea Parties – that originated at an IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio, near House Speaker John Boehner's district.

The Waco Tea Party released a copy of the letter they received earlier this weekend on the group's Facebook page.

It'a a real doozy. You can read it by clicking here.


As the group's Facebook announcement states, they applied for the coveted 501(c)(4) not for profit tax exempt status of a civic organization in June of 2010, paid an $850 fee and settled down to wait.

That was before the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Citizen United v. FEC, a holding that set political organizations free to electioneer, advertise and make in-kind contributions to their heart's content, nullifying FEC regulations against such practices. It all started with a video produced by the Citizen United organization that made many unflattering remarks and drew unattractive conclusions about Hilary Rodham Clinton's political record. When the FEC came down on the organization, they sued, and the case wound up in the high court.

The neoconservative world hasn't been quite the same since then.

You can read all about it here, by clicking on the Waco Tea Party's Facebook page and reading the update.

After waiting for the tax man's decision since summer of 2010, they are now asked to come up with these kind of answers:

“1. Please provide copies of your current web pages, including your Blog posts. Please provide copies of all of your newsletters, bulletins, flyers, newsletters or any other media or literature you have disseminated to your members or others. Please provide copies of stories and articles that have been published about you.

“2. Provide copies of the pages of your social networking sites...

“5. Provide your actual revenues and expenditures for 2010 and 2011, and a projection of the 2012 revenues and expenditures. Please be very explicit about your expenditures...

“7. Provide copies of the agendas and minutes of any Board meetings, and, if applicable, membership meetings, in which electoral issues were discussed or to which candidates for political office were invited...

“11. List the dates of the radio shows in which candidates for political office were invited or in which candidates as candidates were mentioned by name. Please provide transcripts of the pertinent parts of those shows...”

The letter also demands percentages of time spent on member events in which electoral issues are discussed; financial or other support to candidates, slates of candidates, or political parties; compilation and distribution of candidate quesstionnaires, voter guides, incumbent or candidate ratings, and so forth; member events in which only legislative issues are discussed.”

And the list goes on – and on.

Ms. Walker estimates it will cost the group anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 to comply fully, but there is a catch.

They have until February 23 to respond. The letter of inquiry was dated Feb. 1. It was received in the Tea Party's mailbox on the 7th. All the way from Cincinnati, O-HI-Oh-Ho-Ho (click here for the minority report)