Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Banks Made $28 Billion in Second Quarter Profits

And they WANT MORE!

"To be sure, profits have rebounded from the depths of the financial crisis. All told, the nation’s banks earned $28.8 billion in the second quarter, nearly 38 percent more than a year ago and about what they earned in 2004....  But more than one-third of those profits came as banks shifted funds to their bottom line that had been set aside to cover losses"  

Related: Banks Reserve Profits For Themselves

 And the money set aside for losses came from YOU, taxpayers, in the form of a BAILOUT!

"As revenues dip, banks cut jobs, impose fees" August 29, 2011|By Eric Dash, New York Times

NEW YORK - Battered by a weak economy, the nation’s biggest banks are cutting jobs, consolidating businesses, and scrambling for new sources of income in anticipation of a fundamentally altered financial landscape requiring leaner operations.

Bank executives and analysts had expected a temporary drop in profits in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. But a deeper jolt did not materialize as trillions of dollars in federal aid helped prop up the banks and revive the industry.

And to payback people who were defrauded by the mortgage-backed securities swindle that has destroyed the world economy.

Now, however, as government lifelines fade and a second recession seems increasingly possible, banks are finding growth constrained.  

This when we were told no, no, no, that won't be happening by the same said experts. 

They are bracing for a slowdown in lending and trading, with higher fees for consumers as well as lower investment returns amid tighter regulations. Profits and revenues are slipping to the levels of 2004 and 2005, before the housing bubble.

A new wave of layoffs is emblematic of this shift as nearly every major bank undertakes a cost-cutting initiative, some with names like Project Compass. UBS has announced 3,500 layoffs, 5 percent of its staff, and Citigroup is quietly cutting dozens of traders. Bank of America could cut as many as 10,000 jobs, or 3.5 percent of its work force. ABN Amro, Barclays, Bank of New York Mellon, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Lloyds, State Street, and Wells Fargo have in recent months all announced plans to cut jobs - tens of thousands all told.

Even as they cut payrolls, banks are exploring ways to generate revenue that could translate to higher costs for consumers. Among the possibilities are new fees for automatic deductions from checking accounts that pay utility and cable bills, according to people involved in the discussions.


SunTrust Banks, a major lender in the Southeast, is already charging a $5 monthly fee to its “everyday checking’’ customers who use a debit card for purchases or recurring charges. And this fall, Wells Fargo plans to test a $3 monthly usage fee for new debit card customers in five states, on top of its normal service charges, which are $5 to $30 a month.

I would like to know WHEN does the GREED END!?!?  

When the HEAD is SEPARATED from the body?

That what it is going to take to get you greedy f***s to stop? 

Previously, other big lenders - including Bank of America, Chase, and PNC Financial - canceled rewards programs and altered checking account service charges to blunt the effect of rules curbing overdraft and debit card swipe fees.

Banks have been through plenty of boom and bust cycles before. But executives and analysts say this time is different. 

Is it JUST ME, or is this article DROOLING of SYMPATHY for the f***ing banks?

Lending, the prime driver of revenue, has been depressed for several years and is not expected to pick up anytime soon, even with historically low interest rates favorable to borrowers.  

And after all that loan liquidity (allegedly) was printed up and passed out.  

Banks POCKETED IT and put in RESERVE, 'eh?

Consumers are spurning debt after a 20-year binge, while businesses are so uncertain about the economy that they are hunkering down, rather than financing expansion plans.  

And we have been told for years the jobs are coming, business is investing, blah, blah, blah.

Making matters worse, the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep rates near zero into 2013 is eating into profit margins earned on mortgages and other loans, as well as depressing investment yields that usually offset fallow periods for lending.

The Feds existence makes matters worse; however, the banks are bitching?

All of this looms over the industry. To be sure, profits have rebounded from the depths of the financial crisis. All told, the nation’s banks earned $28.8 billion in the second quarter, nearly 38 percent more than a year ago and about what they earned in 2004, according to Trepp, a financial research firm. But more than one-third of those profits came as banks shifted funds to their bottom line that had been set aside to cover losses.  

Look how LONG it took the NYT to get around to the excerpt I led this post with.

That helped obscure a 4.4-percent drop in revenue, which fell to $188 billion, the industry’s level in 2005. Trepp analysts project it could fall an additional 4 percent to 5 percent over the next year.

In response, bankers are turning to the one area that is easiest to control - costs. They have begun programs aimed at cutting operating expenses, which have risen almost 13 percent since 2008.

Many involve moving middle- and back-office workers to cheaper locations, redeploying them to understaffed businesses like mortgage servicing, or finding ways for computers to replace personnel.


Globe's Maine Minute

Might take you longer if you decide to read them. 

AUBURN, Maine Man sentenced for sex assault on girl (Boston Globe)
EAGLE LAKE, Maine Police charge man after boat crash (Boston Globe) 
PORTLAND, MAINE Hearings set on shrimp fishing rules (Boston Globe) 
PORTLAND, MAINE Concern on health care rising, study says (Boston Globe) 
PORTLAND, Maine Wet spring causes maple tree infection (Associated Press)

Maine judge ends case of vet who made jet threat
Maine panel votes to back Democrats’ districts plan
Sides firm up in Maine effort to allow election-day voter registration
Maine same-day vote petitions submitted
Mainers tell Snowe they want to see cooperation 

I'm sorry I'm just not into reading the Globe these days, dear readers.

Connecting With Connecticut

2 dead, dozens of homes lost, but ‘it could have been worse’

Suspect in TD Bank robbery is sought 

Reports of mountain lions spur a warning in Conn.

Judge denies bid to bar victim from trial

Conn. man exonerated by judge in murder case ordered back to prison 

Conn. trooper layoffs will begin today

After four police suicides, Conn. law enforcement seeks answers  

Local man among Navy SEAL casualties

$49,000 to go to abuse victims in Haiti

Conn. man lands record-size bass

Rhode Island Post Saved by Providence

PROVIDENCE Jailed ‘Survivor’ Hatch seeks free lawyer (Associated Press) 
PROVIDENCE Program boosts school attendance (Boston Globe) 
PROVIDENCE Senator urges repeal of tax on tours (Boston Globe) 
PROVIDENCE R.I. Tea Party splits into two groups (Associated Press) 
PROVIDENCE Foreign naval officer cleared of charges (Boston Globe)

Civil unions in R.I. get few takers since being offered to gays
Man pleads not guilty to kidnapping in Rhode Island
Central Falls bankruptcy case begins in court 
Lawyer Robert S. Ciresi sentenced to 5 years in Rhode Island bribery case

Also seeRhode Island governor won’t seek federal disaster status

Flood of Vermont Links

They have other problems right now.

Vt. family files appeal over killing by police

Officers bought guns from Mass. crimes

Police say man assaulted 3-year-old

Vt. lowering flags for slain Navy SEAL

Veterans’ plaques stolen from cemetery

More outdoor time sought for inmates

Waste-hauler agrees to $1m settlement

Driver dead after car plunges into river

Vt. wants to resume train to Montreal  

Hospital acknowledges errors in death

Vt. Yankee told to maintain funds for closing

The Globe never reported the finding of tritium in the Connecticut River. 

Related: Feds Allowing Tritium Radiation Catastrophe Cover Up At North Anna VA Nuclear Plant?

Greenfield Was Ground Zero

And here I didn't think it was that bad.

"Perils lurk in Irene’s wake; Flooded rivers, downed wires still plague parts of region" August 30, 2011|By Peter Schworm and Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff

The storm-swept region confronted the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene yesterday, laboring to restore washed-out roads and farms in Western Massachusetts and repair downed power lines across the state that left nearly half a million residents without electricity a second day.   

We never lost power where I am.

A 52-year-old Southbridge man was electrocuted when he touched a railing on his porch that had come into contact with a downed wire.

His death was the state’s first casualty linked to Irene, which is responsible for 40 deaths in 11 states, according to the Associated Press. At least three people have died in Vermont, which is battling its worst flooding in perhaps a century, and two died in Connecticut.

The storm, which churned through Massachusetts Sunday afternoon, caused flooding along the Connecticut River, particularly around the western towns of Greenfield and Northampton, where 30 homes in a low-lying neighborhood were evacuated yesterday.

In rural towns along the Vermont border, many roads remained impassable, and officials warned that swollen rivers in the Springfield, Mass., area would remain a threat today.

“That’s ground zero for the flooding,’’ said Scott MacLeod of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency....


Vermont got it worse:

"In Vt., raging waters isolate communities" August 30, 2011|By Bryan Marquard and Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff

MONTPELIER - Flooding that officials compared to Vermont’s worst natural disaster isolated entire cities and towns, closed main roads across the state, and killed at least three people.

Heavy rains from what had been Hurricane Irene caused rivers to overflow, taking down utility poles, flooding basements, and cutting off power to tens of thousands of homes. The violent waters washed away picturesque covered bridges and crested above marks set by the 1927 floods that are the measuring stick for all Vermont disasters.

“It was worse than we could have imagined, frankly,’’ said Tom Donahue, president of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, which serves an area of the state left almost entirely isolated. “It’s once-in-a-lifetime damage - hopefully. I really feel everyone was prepared, but I don’t think you could have been fully prepared for something of this magnitude.’’


"Outages may stretch to weekend" August 30, 2011|By D.C. Denison, Globe Staff

Utility companies warned yesterday that it could take up to a week before power is restored to more than 500,000 residents in Massachusetts who remained without electricity in one of the largest outages in state history....

Even as the state’s biggest utilities, NStar and National Grid, dispatched crews to fix power lines, officials asked consumers to be patient. Not only was there extensive damage, they said, but there were also fewer repair crews dispatched from nearby states because they were dealing with the effects of Irene in their own areas....



Irene’s lashing thins Hub’s canopy

Thousands of travelers stranded as flights and trains canceled

After Irene, expect premiums to rise

Death toll across states rises to 40  

Connecticut 2 dead, dozens of homes lost, but ‘it could have been worse’

Maine Utility in Maine says power may take days to restore

New Hampshire Lynch says repairs to done by weekend   

RHODE ISLAND Rhode Island governor won’t seek federal disaster status

Globe Editorial Irene’s damage was extensive, but preparations paid off

Also see:

Good Night, Irene

Ignoring Irene

Irene's Impact

So much swept away
In Vermont towns, stranded by washed-out roads and bridges, the situation was so desperate that the National Guard yesterday delivered food and water by helicopter.
Sorry, readers. I didn't buy a paper today, and thus won't be reading one.

Stuck in Space

I've been stuck in a Boston Globe rut for a long time now, but that seems to be changing. No paper purchase today, readers.

"Rocket failure could prompt evacuation of space station; New crew on hold as Russians seek clues to accident" August 30, 2011|By Marcia Dunn, Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Astronauts might need to take the unprecedented step of temporarily abandoning the International Space Station if last week’s Russian launch accident prevents new crews from flying there this fall.

Until officials figure out what went wrong with Russia’s essential Soyuz rockets, there will be no way to launch any more astronauts before the current residents have to leave in mid-November.

The unsettling predicament comes just weeks after NASA’s final space shuttle flight....   

Because funneling money to Wall Street and making wars on Israel's enemies is more important.


Also see: Making Space For Russia

Fire and Fraud in the 'hamptons

"Judge rules against man accused in fatal fires" August 23, 2011|Associated Press

NORTHAMPTON - A superior court judge rejected yesterday a plea to suppress evidence in the case of a Northampton man accused of setting 15 fires that left two men dead and damaged property and vehicles more than a year ago.

Prosecutors allege the fires in the predawn hours of Dec. 27, 2009, were set by Anthony Baye. One of the fires destroyed a home and took the lives of 81-year-old Paul Yeskie Sr. and 39-year-old Paul Yeskie Jr.

Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney rejected Baye’s attempts to suppress his alleged confession to police.

His attorneys argued last spring that police conducted illegal motor vehicle stops on his vehicle on the night of the fires and that the troopers who questioned him failed to stop questions after he invoked his right to counsel. The suspect also argued that his statements were involuntary and that he was denied his right to prompt arraignment as a result of their interrogation of him.

But the judge disagreed, citing Baye’s willingness to talk to police even after he demanded an attorney.

She also cited the fact that the man chose to admit his role in less serious fires, but changed his story when he was confronted with evidence that placed him near other fires shortly after the each blaze broke out.

“The defendant knew what he was doing when he made the admission and was quite selective in what he stated,’’ Sweeney said in a 44-page decision. “The defendant felt trapped by the evidence, not by the behavior or questioning techniques of the troopers. This is what caused him to make selective’’ incriminating statements.

The judge also acknowledged the fact that state troopers used coercive techniques as they pressed the suspect to admit that he set the fires.

“While the troopers’ use of these techniques were improper and designed to coerce the defendant into admitting that he set the fires, I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt based on the credible evidence that the use of the improper techniques did not overbear the defendant’s exercise of his free will,’’ the judge said.

Baye has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges, including two counts of murder, three counts of armed burglary, and 14 counts of burning a motor vehicle.

Baye, a former restaurant cook, was arrested about a week later and has been held without bail since.

Burn him at the stake.




Massachusetts Hotfoot

"Audit says nonprofit misused $1 million; Easthampton human services office scrutinized" August 26, 2011|By Amanda Cedrone, Globe Correspondent

A nonprofit human services provider in Western Massachusetts that works with mentally ill and emotionally disturbed children misused more than $1 million in taxpayer money, the state auditor’s office said yesterday.

The report said that the Northeast Center for Youth and Families Inc. mishandled funds over a five-year period, the auditor’s office said in a statement.

The organization, based in Easthampton, serves about 600 mentally ill and emotionally disturbed children in Massachusetts; it also operates in Connecticut....

Auditor Suzanne Bump said the center sent inflated cost information to the Department of Youth Services between 2006 and 2008, resulting in an unjustified overpayment of more than $650,000.

The center also inappropriately used $406,360 to cover out-of-state operating losses in Connecticut, the auditor said. And it hired independent consultants who could not be paid by the state, according to the report....

Bump also questioned the center’s doling out nearly $1 million in bonuses over a three-year period.

That issue was referred by auditors to the Department of Youth Services for review.


Also see: Retards Pad Retirement Pensions

It's special ed for $omeone anyway. 


Special needs agencies faulted
 More than two decades of failed oversight have allowed the state’s special education collaboratives to misspend millions of taxpayer dollars, according to the state auditor’s office.

Coast Guard Corruption

It's a service, right? 

"Coast Guard upgrade goes slow; Only 2 new ships added in 10 years" August 22, 2011|By Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press

PASCAGOULA, Miss. - Nearly a decade into the 25-year, $24.2 billion overhaul intended to add or upgrade more than 250 vessels to the Coast Guard’s aging fleet, it has two new ships to show after spending more than $7 billion.

Now it faces an uphill battle persuading a budget-conscious Congress to keep pouring money into a project plagued by management and cost problems....

The modernization effort that began in earnest in 2002 was designed to replace ships from the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam eras. But within the first year, as Congress started to dole out billions of dollars for new-found homeland security concerns after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Coast Guard officials realized their blueprint was not exactly what was needed.

“I’ll be the first to admit, we weren’t prepared to start spending this money and supervising a project this big,’’ said Robert Papp, the Coast Guard commandant.

Budget-cutting in the 1990s had left the service with few experts on buying new ships and other equipment. So the Coast Guard turned the project over to a joint venture between Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin. 

Now you know into WHICH POCKETS the MONEY WENT!

Huntington Ingalls Industries, a Northrup Grumman spinoff that is building Coast Guard ships, referred all questions about the program to the Coast Guard....

The program, known as Deepwater, appeared in trouble almost from the beginning. Early government audits criticized Coast Guard officials for a lack of oversight, which invariably led to early delays and cost increases.

“In essence, the contractors were overseeing themselves,’’ said Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. 

We used to say fox guarding the hen house.

Hurricanes, including Katrina in 2005, led to delays at the Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard where many new ships are being built.

In the early 2000s, the Coast Guard awarded a contract to Bollinger Shipyards Inc. to convert its 110-foot patrol boats to 123-foot vessels. Starting with eight ships, the contractor attached new steel to extend the hulls of the ships by 13 feet. The results were disastrous.

“What we found out was when you put new steel on old steel, it flexes,’’ Papp said. “Those patrol boats were unusable afterward, and there was a chance of a catastrophic failure.’’  

More WASTED MONEY on MILITARISM based on lies! 

I'm not saying we shouldn't have a Coast Guard, but WTF?!!


Also see: War Profiteer Piece of the Pie: F-35 Flying High in House

But social services have to be slashed.

Logan by the Lake

"Logan adding a $65m runway fail-safe; Extension into harbor stirs multiple concerns" August 22, 2011|By David Abel, Globe Staff

Logan International Airport has launched a $65 million project that will close the airport’s longest runway for at least six months and extend it hundreds of feet into Boston Harbor.

The project, which began in June, has required careful orchestration to balance environmental and neighbors’ concerns with the pounding of pile drivers and the arrival and departure of about 1,100 flights a day.

“This is a project that costs a lot of money, and we will hopefully never have to use it,’’ said Edward C. Freni, the airport’s director of aviation.

The undertaking, paid for mostly by federal grants and scheduled to be completed in 2013, will extend the existing runway safety area 400 feet on a hulking pier upheld by more than 300 concrete pylons that are being bored into the seabed....

But the project’s impact on eelgrass, a critical habitat for fish and shellfish, and the diversion of flights to other runways have upset some neighbors, who have complained about an increased number of planes flying over homes in East Boston, Winthrop, and Chelsea. They say the additional noise has been hard to take and have lobbied the Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan, to provide soundproofing for homes....


Related: Boston’s Logan International Airport to house terrorism task force

Feinberg Says BP Fund Has Performed Fine

"Fund has paid $5 billion in claims from BP oil spill" August 24, 2011|By Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - The fund set up to compensate victims of last year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has paid more than $5 billion in claims, the fund administrator said yesterday.

Washington, D.C., lawyer Kenneth Feinberg also released a summary of payouts from the $20 billion fund, which was established in August 2010 to help people whose lives and businesses were hurt by the spill....

“The Gulf Coast Claims Facility has largely succeeded in its primary objective - to compensate those individuals and businesses who can demonstrate financial harm due to the Oil Spill,’’ the report says. “The compensation program has not been perfect; but several midcourse corrections have been made in an effort to deal with the constructive criticism offered by victims of the spill, public officials, and others.’’  

Cover up complete and costs mitigated.

Critics say the claims process has been too slow, difficult to navigate, and lacked transparency. The critics include Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who sued Feinberg in July to get access to claims filed by coastal residents. Hood wants to make the claims process more transparent....


North Korea Finds a Friend

Good friend to have if you are under threat:

"North Korea considers nuclear testing moratorium, leader says; Agreement comes during visit to Russia and could jump-start stalled talks" by  Choe Sang-Hun and Seth Mydans, New York Times / August 25, 2011

MOSCOW - North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has agreed to consider a moratorium on nuclear weapons tests and production and said he would return to stalled six-party talks on the nation’s nuclear program, Russia’s presidential press secretary told the Russian media yesterday.

Kim made the agreement at a meeting with President Dmitry A. Medvedev in the southern Siberian city of Ulan Ude, where he stopped during a weeklong trip in his armored train....

“Russia has consistently advocated a peaceful, political, and diplomatic solution to this problem, for the restoration of dialogue and cooperation between North and South Korea,’’ the Kremlin said in a statement.  

The U.S., on the other hand....

Medvedev said on television that progress had also been made on a Russian proposal to build a natural gas pipeline to South Korea that would pass though North Korean territory....  

These are the important things that concern governments.

And the old man is really trying to have a smooth a hand-off of power to the son, 'eh?

"N. Korea to discuss recovery of remains" August 20, 2011|Washington Post

WASHINGTON - North Korea announced an agreement yesterday to discuss how the US could recover remains of American troops killed in the Korean War, the most significant sign of progress since US officials halted such work in 2005 amid growing tension over Pyongang’s nuclear program.

Roughly 8,000 US service members remain missing, with 5,500 of them believed to be buried in North Korea, according to the Pentagon.

The North’s state media quoted an unidentified foreign ministry official yesterday saying that Pyongyang had accepted the US proposal to talk and that preparations for discussion had begun.

Relatives of the missing soldiers reacted to the news with hope.

“The void that was created all those years ago never gets filled,’’ said Rick Downes, 63, whose father’s plane went down in North Korea when Downes was 3 years old. For decades, relatives like him have followed the ups and downs of North Korea’s turbulent diplomacy, with the chances of recovering their loved ones changing with each development.

“There’s some bitterness there,’’ said Downes, president of the Coalition of Families of Korean and Cold War POW/MIAs, “because of how people over time have politicized this as an issue.’’  

Same with Vietnam.

Washington has been careful in calibrating its reengagement with Pyongyang, declining to resume broader multinational talks on the North’s nuclear disarmament without some sign of commitment.

Any excuse not to talk from the U.S.


The Philippines Political Problem

Muslims are to blame for everything in this world.

"Muslim rebels reject Philippine peace proposal" by Oliver Teves, Associated Press / August 23, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines' largest Muslim rebel group rejected a government proposal for autonomy in the country's south as inadequate but said Tuesday they will continue talks.

Representatives from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front insisted on a substate for minority Muslims, chief government negotiator Marvic Leonen told reporters in a video conference from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the talks were held.

The government position omitted the word "substate" because that would require a change in the Philippine Constitution, Leonen said. He said the government proposal contained autonomy but the rebels believed it did not go far enough.

Rebel vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar told ABS-CBN television that the government proposal "does not address the real issues."

"We want to first address the political issue," he said. "This is a political problem, not an economic problem. We are not talking here about economic reforms, which are nothing if they are not given a political solution."

The rebels earlier gave up their demand for a separate state and said they are willing to work with the government on protecting Muslims' rights in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation....


China Looking Over US Shoulder

"Biden tells China its US assets are ‘safe’" August 22, 2011|Associated Press

CHENGDU, China - An official Xinhua News Agency commentary on Vice President Joe Biden’s visit said China would be looking for actions, rather than words, from the US government to restore confidence in the American economy by gradually reducing the deficit, cutting debt, and promoting economic growth.

“What is especially important is to let the world see that the US government and relevant departments have the determination, ability, and political aspiration to take actions to resolve these complicated issues,’’ the commentary said.

Biden and Xi, China’s vice president who is expected to begin taking over the top leadership next year, later visited a high school that was rebuilt after the devastating 2008 earthquake, partly with the help of US government and private assistance.


And we will be looking back at them:

From Hub, ’89 rebel again challenges China
Following the Tiananmen prodemocracy movement, Chai Ling fled to the United States in 1990, and emerged as the head of a Boston software company and a wife and mother. But now, at 45, she’s taking on the People’s Republic once again.

The Myanmar Meeting

"Suu Kyi meets Myanmar’s president" August 20, 2011|Associated Press

YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar’s government invited democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to a meeting yesterday with the president, state-run television reported, in her highest contact with the new, nominally civilian government since her release from house arrest in November.

Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein held “frank and friendly discussions’’ to “find ways and means of cooperation,’’ the state-run broadcast reported while airing video of them greeting each other.

The meeting lasted nearly an hour and was “significant,’’ a government source told the Associated Press earlier. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with journalists.

The 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate has called for dialogue with the government since her release from seven years of house arrest.

If Suu Kyi’s opposition party reaches an accommodation with the government, it could serve as a reason for Western nations to lift political and economic embargoes on the country that have hindered development and pushed it into dependence on neighboring China.

Nyan Win, the spokesman for Suu Kyi’s Nation League for Democracy party, told the AP that Suu Kyi’s meeting “could be the first step toward national reconciliation’’ but declined to elaborate until details were available.

The president, who was prime minister under the military junta that handed over power to his government in March, is reputed to be a moderate and relatively accessible compared to past leaders


Bengali Divorce

"Banished Bengali woman kills self, children" August 17, 2011|Associated Press

DHAKA, Bangladesh - Bangladesh’s High Court launched an inquiry yesterday into the deaths of a woman and two of her children who jumped in front of a train after villagers decided to ostracize her over allegations of an extramarital affair.

A group of influential villagers in Habiganj district voted Sunday that Ferdousi Akhter, 35, should leave the community, after she was accused of having an affair with a neighbor while her husband was working abroad.

Akhter took her four children, aged 8 to 12, and jumped with them in front of a train later Sunday, killing herself and two of the children, police chief Moinuddin Chowdhury said.

The High Court said yesterday that it would summon Chowdhury and eight local officials and villagers to appear before the panel next Tuesday to give details of the incident and explain why it was not averted.

Human rights groups have urged the government to crack down on such gatherings of prominent villagers who meet without formal authority for decisions known as arbitrations. Activists say these panels abuse their authority by meting out punishments.

They sometimes operate alongside elected local councils, which do have the authority to rule on minor disputes over property and other issues, but must refer bigger issues and crimes to the police.

Atikur Rahman, head of the elected council in Habiganj, said he had looked into Akhter’s case two weeks earlier and exonerated her.


Globe's Indonesian Balihoo

"An Indonesian militant who allegedly made the explosives used in the 2002 Bali bombings was escorted home under tight security yesterday, more than six months after he was captured in northwest Pakistan....


Teacher a Victim in Vietnam

Vietnam jails French-Vietnamese teacher over blogs

I trust that will never happen in Amerika.

Dual Citizenship Duplicity

"Researchers and US officials say they are seeing a wave of people with dual citizenships, at a time when students are coming to US universities at record levels, more households have members from more than one country, and globalization has eroded old notions of allegiance to a single country....


What, no mention of any dual national Israelis in the agenda-pushing piece?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Immigrants on the Move in Massachusetts

Friends don't let friends.... 

"Family alerted police on driver; Illegal immigrant charged in death of Milford man" August 23, 2011|By Martine Powers and Maria Sacchetti, Globe Correspondent | Globe Staff

MILFORD - Nicolas Guaman, accused of dragging a motorcyclist for a quarter of a mile after a collision, showed not a flicker of emotion when police told him the motorcyclist was dead, a document filed in court yesterday showed.

He simply shrugged, police said.

Guaman appeared yesterday in Milford District Court, where he pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including vehicular homicide while under the influence, failure to stop for police, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and reckless conduct creating risk to a child.

An immigrant from Ecuador living illegally in the United States, Guaman may face deportation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency following his arrest.

Guaman was allegedly drunk when his Ford pickup collided with a motorcycle ridden by Matthew Denice, 23, of Milford at Congress and Fayette streets about 7:50 p.m. Saturday. Guaman’s 6-year-old son sat next to him in the truck....

The arrest of Guaman and reports that he previously faced criminal charges raised concern about why he had not already been reported to immigration authorities, and highlighted the ongoing debate over a federal initiative to identify illegal immigrants.

Milford police arrested Guaman in 2008 on charges of assault and battery on a police officer and at least one public employee and of breaking and entering, according to the police and the Worcester district attorney’s office. The case was continued without a finding for one year. Police said he also faced a few minor traffic charges dating to 2007, but the district attorney’s office could not confirm that information.

Some officials said the case showed why Massachusetts should embrace the federal program known as Secure Communities, a computer-based system launched in 2008 that automatically cross-checks the fingerprints of everyone who is arrested against immigration databases, alerting immigration authorities so they can take action against those here illegally.

“It’s a textbook example of why we need to join Secure Communities,’’ said Worcester Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis. “This is what we are trying to avoid.’’

State Senator Richard T. Moore, a Democrat from Uxbridge, wrote Governor Deval Patrick yesterday urging him to crack down on illegal immigrants driving without a license.

“The people of Milford are in shock and mourning over the senseless loss of a promising young life,’’ he wrote. “Once again, what can be done to assure the people of Milford and Massachusetts feel safe on their roads and in their neighborhoods?’’

Spokesmen for Patrick did not comment on the debate yesterday, but expressed condolences to Denice’s family.

In a report filed in court, Milford police Officer Angel Arce described “a wild and chaotic scene.’’

Denice was trapped in the truck’s passenger-side wheelwell, screaming, as Guaman drove away, police said. Despite frantic efforts by passersby, who chased after the truck and pounded on the windows, Guaman allegedly drove a quarter of a mile before turning and driving onto a curb, dislodging Denice from the wheelwell.

Then, witnesses told police, Guaman backed off the curb, running over Denice’s body, and continued down the street.

Police cruisers chased him for several blocks before he stopped. When officers opened the door of the truck, they saw Budweiser beer cans on the passenger seat and on the floor. Guaman’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot. The truck’s cab reeked of alcohol, Arce wrote.

When police pulled Guaman from the truck and attempted to handcuff him, a little boy jumped out and began punching and kicking the officers, yelling at them to leave his father alone.  

Your dad is a murderer, kid.

The boy was Johnathan, Guaman’s son. Saturday was his sixth birthday, said Paul Jarvey, a spokesman for the Worcester district attorney’s office.  

And dad decided he would get plowed.  A birthday the kid will never forget.

Guaman failed several sobriety tests, police said. He told police the accident was not his fault and said he did not stop “because his truck was damaged and he didn’t know what to do,’’ the report said....  

No, the thought was "I'm drunk, I gotta get outta here."


Also see: Driver in fatal Milford hit-and-run to be arraigned

Illegal immigration is not to blame for fatality, Patrick says

Of course, if he wasn't here.... 

I'm sure the governor would also agree that guns don't kill people, people kill people. 

Looks like we got another one:

"Obama kin arrested on DUI charge" by Billy Baker and Glen Johnson, Globe Staff / August 30, 2011

FRAMINGHAM - As he was being booked on drunken driving charges by Framingham police last week, Onyango Obama was offered a chance to make a phone call to arrange for bail.

“I think,’’ he said, according to a police report, “I’d like to call the White House.’’

If he was hoping to reach his nephew, Barack Obama, he would have been out of luck; the president was vacationing with the first family on Martha’s Vineyard.

The elder Obama, who is the half-brother of the president’s late father, according to a spokesman for the law firm representing him, is in the custody of immigration officials, awaiting possible deportation to Kenya....

Obama was arraigned Thursday on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to yield at an intersection, and negligent operation, according to Cara O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney. She said a judge ordered him released on personal recognizance, but he was held on an immigration detainer....


That should make an interesting test case:

"US will focus on deporting criminals; Obama move aims to free up courts; some immigrants may stay for review" August 19, 2011|By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff

The Obama administration declared yesterday that it would grant an indefinite reprieve to an estimated thousands of immigrants facing deportation, allowing them to stay and work legally so officials can more quickly deport convicted criminals and other serious cases.

Like drunk drivers?  Yeah, wait until they kill someone before sending them back.

Federal officials said they are launching a review of each of the roughly 300,000 cases in the nation’s immigration courts to ensure that new and existing ones reflect the administration’s priorities to detain and deport criminals and threats to public safety.

The move is likely to inflame political tensions with immigration looming as a campaign issue in 2012, and it has major implications for Massachusetts, which has the second-longest immigration court backlog in the United States.

I'm sure the mass media would like that; however, the ISSUES are WAR and the ECONOMY!


All manner of immigrants in the courts’ pipeline could stand to benefit, from factory workers detained in the 2007 New Bedford raid, to same-sex couples about to be separated, to youths facing deportation.

“The president has said on numerous occasions that it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases,’’ Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wrote yesterday to Senate majority leader Harry Reid, outlining the policy.

Doing otherwise, she added, “hinders our public safety mission - clogging immigration court dockets and diverting DHS enforcement resources away from individuals who pose a threat to public safety.’’

It's just ONE BIG GAME, folks!


Susan Long, codirector of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which studied the issue in 2007, said most cases in immigration court appear to be people accused of violating immigration, not criminal, laws....

Yesterday, advocates for immigrants rejoiced in what many said was their first victory since President Obama took office promising - and failing - to tackle immigration policy overhaul in his first year.

Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, praised the move as a “humane and rational approach.’’

“This is a huge victory, not just for the immigrant and refugee community, but for all of us as American people, living up to our ideals,’’ Millona said. “It makes no sense to deport innocent children, to deport immigrant families. This is huge for the president. We commend him.’’

But others condemned the decision as a failure to enforce federal immigration laws.

“Everyone who’s here illegally should not be allowed to stay here,’’ said Joseph Ureneck, cochairman of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform, which favors tougher controls on immigration. “They should be returned to their home country.’’

The Washington-based Federation for American Immigration Reform called the Obama administration’s move a “huge breach of the public trust’’ and said it would essentially halt enforcement against many illegal immigrants.

The policy shift would affect less than 3 percent of most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, but even that number is clogging the federal immigration courts at record levels....


Also see: US set to expand deportations, says Massachusetts governor’s OK not needed  

I gotta get moving, readers. 


Obama's uncle is called a fugitive
The uncle of President Obama arrested here last week on drunken driving and other charges has been a fugitive from deportation since 1992, according to two federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the case.

Back to Kenya he goes.

Immigrants at Work in AmeriKa

"Farmers oppose bill on verifying workers’ immigration status" July 31, 2011|By Jesse McKinley, New York Times

PATTERSON, Calif. - Farmers across the country are rallying to fight a Republican-sponsored bill that would force them and all other employers to verify the legal immigration status of their workers, something they say could imperil not only future harvests but also the agricultural community’s traditional support for conservative candidates.  

Yup, you will starve without the illegals, America.  One in seven of you is starving already, but....

And I'm not trying to deny people a living or good life; however, the farmer's like the illegals because they are cheaper with no benefits and are less likely to complain about working conditions.

The bill was proposed by Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. It would require farmers - who have long relied on a labor force of immigrants, a majority here without legal documents - to check all new hires through E-Verify, a federal database run by the Department of Homeland Security devised to ferret out illegal immigrants....

It is an open secret that many farm workers’ documents are false....  

It's the same thing with the newspaper.

Farmers say it could cripple a $390 billion industry that relies on hundreds of thousands of willing, low-wage immigrant workers to pick, sort, and package crops.

“This would be an emergency, a dire, dire situation,’’ said Nancy Foster, president of the US Apple Association, adding that the prospect of an E-Verify check would most likely mean that many immigrant workers would simply not show up. “We will end up closing down.’’  

And the fruit will rot on the tree, huh?

That sentiment is echoed by growers like George Bonacich, an 81-year-old apricot farmer who has been working the same patch of land in Patterson, 80 miles east of San Francisco, since 1969.

This year, Bonacich employed up to 100 farmhands to pick a total of 50 to 100 tons each day, often in triple-digit heat. He speaks passionately about his employees - “They’re good people, hard-working,’’ he said - and plainly about what would happen if E-Verify were to become the law of the farmland. 

The implication is that you are not, American.

“If we don’t have enough labor at peak time, the fruit goes on the ground,’’ he said. “The fruit will only stay on the tree so long.’’

While Smith’s bill seems to have a good chance of passing the House, the Senate, controlled by Democrats, appears more skeptical. Democrats have said they will point to a Congressional Budget Office report on a similar bill that concluded it would cost the federal government $22 billion over a decade from lost tax revenues now collected from the paychecks of illegal immigrants ineligible for services....   

But somehow a lot of them get services anyway. 

And you see what government cares about whatever your status.

Smith’s bill has attracted more solid support from nonagricultural business leaders, opening a divide between them and agricultural interests. National organizations of restaurant owners and home builders gave their backing. The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which unites Latino businesses in Smith’s district that have often been at odds with him, is leaning toward endorsing the bill, said Ramiro A. Cavazos, president of the chamber.

Still, Smith recently acknowledged the surge of worry in rural areas. He said he would soon introduce a separate bill to “address the needs of the agriculture industry,’’ either proposing changes to the current federal temporary farm worker program or offering a new guest worker program.  

That would make like what, 25 different guest worker programs?

Smith’s E-Verify bill also includes a three-year grace period before growers would have to comply. But such caveats have done little to quell opposition from farm groups, who have been pleading for years for an overhaul to allow a legal immigrant workforce.

And that discontent could manifest itself in elections, farm representatives warn.


Back to the fields. Break is over.

Washington state cancels illegal immigrant reporter’s license

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Globe sleeping on the job, huh?

"Immigration fines cost 14 New England companies; Paperwork lax, US agency says" July 22, 2011|By Matt Rocheleau, Globe Correspondent

Fourteen New England companies were fined a combined $285,000 during the past fiscal year for failing to document that their workers were in the country legally, federal authorities announced yesterday.

The fines followed audits by the US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of federal I-9 forms, paperwork that must be filled out by employees when they are hired to show they have legal authorization to work.

Eight of the cited companies were in Massachusetts, including Commercial Cleaning Service in Allston, which was fined $100,000, and masonry contractor D’Agostino Associates Inc. in Newton, fined $22,792.

The immigration agency said it also fined Andover Healthcare Inc. of Salisbury, All In One Insulation Inc. of West Boylston, Polcari Enterprises Inc. of Saugus, Seatrade International of New Bedford, Harvest Co-op Markets of Cambridge, and Collt Manufacturing Inc. of Millis. The amounts of those fines were not released.

Some of the companies were found to have “suspect documents,’’ said Bruce M. Foucart, head of investigations for ICE in New England.

“That means more than likely they had an illegal workforce,’’ Foucart said by phone yesterday. “By not having the proper paperwork, workers had to be let go.’’

Fine amounts were calculated based on the seriousness of violations, whether companies were cooperative, and whether there were multiple offenses, he said.

While none of the 14 companies appealed, some negotiated lesser fines; others agreed to pay the initial amount ordered.

A voice mail left yesterday afternoon at the Allston cleaning company was not returned.

The owner of D’Agostino Associates, Romeo D’Agostino, said his company was fined for not properly filling out paperwork.

“I didn’t dot my I’s and cross my T’s,’’ he said by phone. “… I don’t hire’’ illegal immigrants.

In 2006, the Globe reported that the company “had 19 instances of workers with bogus or questionable Social Security numbers on public school projects in Littleton and North Easton.’’

Blueberry grower Jasper Wyman & Son of Milbridge, Maine, was fined $118,000. In November, the Globe reported that the firm had been cited “for violations that range from paperwork errors to the possibility that more than 200 of its 1,200 person workforce over two years were in the country illegally.’’

Edward R. Flanagan, president and chief executive of Wyman, told the Globe then that he never knew the workers lacked proper documentation. He said he had started using a federal verification system that lets companies check the legal status of workers.

Foucart said yesterday that the blueberry grower also cooperated with ICE officials in fall 2008 during the arrests of eight potentially illegal employees. They were arrested on administrative, not criminal, charges and went through court deportation proceedings, he said.

Nationally, ICE says nearly 4,000 businesses have been fined nearly $7 million combined on such violations.


The Mexican Harriet Tubman

"Octogenarian pleads guilty in Calif. immigrant smuggling case" August 20, 2011|By Julie Watson, Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -A female-dominated ring that prosecutors say led 80 people a month to the Los Angeles area, the family-run smuggling business for more than 40 years when most mom-and-pop rings were driven out by increasingly violent men guiding illegal immigrants along perilous routes.

In an almost inaudible voice, the Spanish-speaking Felicitas Gurrola pleaded guilty yesterday to charges that she directed a smuggling organization that guided migrants across the heavily fortified US-Mexico border by giving them imposter IDs to present to immigration authorities at the crossing in San Ysidro, Calif....

The route Gurrola’s ring used from Tijuana to San Diego is the busiest US border crossing in the world.

Gurrola’s lawyer, Tom Matthews, said she ran her business for four decades without hurting any of her clients - unlike many of the traffickers who have left migrants stranded in the desert’s searing heat or drawn them into fast-moving Rio Grande waters, where they have perished.

“She was not shoving them in car trunks or building compartments,’’ he said. “This was a far cry from that. For what it counts, she passed them safely. Everyone involved had a chaperone and looked after them. Safety was always their concern. It was an old-school operation. She apparently ran it efficiently and safely and now she’s paying the consequences. Even a short sentence will end up being a life sentence for her.’’


Decades ago, Mexicans in small towns and villages who wanted to seek work in the United States often would hire a trusted family member or neighbor who had already been and who would agree to guide them for a small fee.

But mom-and-pop organizations have faded away with the dramatic increase in border security.


Romney's Rooms

He's got a lot of them, and he's gonna have more:

"Romney to nearly quadruple mansion’s size" August 22, 2011|Washington Post

WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million California beachfront mansion.

The former Massachusetts governor is planning to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot home facing the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, Calif., and replace it with an 11,062-square-foot home, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune....

The Romneys have spent considerable time at their home in La Jolla, a wealthy beach enclave in San Diego. Two of their sons, Matt and Craig, as well as several grandchildren live in the area. And Ann Romney, who has multiple sclerosis, has access to horse riding in California. She believes that riding and the warmer weather have a therapeutic effect.... 

I'll bet she doesn't have to worry about health insurance premiums.


Related: Romney says Calif. home is doubling, not quadrupling 

As if it mattered. 

Have you been able to keep your piece of crap, American readers? 

Also see:   

Mitt Romney Was Born in Mexico

House of Bush Converts to Mormonism

Romney's Law

So it is Bush, Perry, or PAUL

Then there is only ONE CHOICE! 


Abortion foes target Mitt Romney’s health care law in Massachusetts

Romney stays course despite Perry run

Romney-Perry feud dates back to 2002 Olympic Games  

Which crap corporate candidate do you want?

California Foaming at the Mouth

"Calif. could be first state to ban foam containers" August 29, 2011|Associated Press

SACRAMENTO - Restaurant owner Gary Honeycutt says a push in California’s Legislature to ban the plastic foam containers he uses to serve up takeout meals could cost him thousands of dollars in an industry where profit margins are razor thin.

BJ’s Kountry Kitchen, in the heart of California’s farm country, uses about 26,000 of the 9-inch foam clamshells a year, mostly for takeout by the customers who come in for the restaurant’s popular breakfast omelets.

“We put cheese on those omelets. And when we put the cheese on, it’s really hot and bubbly and it goes right through the biodegradable stuff,’’ he said. He said he expects his costs would more than double if the state requires him to use only biodegradable cartons.

The bill by state Senator Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat, would prohibit restaurants, grocery stores, and other vendors from dispensing food in expanded polystyrene containers beginning in 2016.

If signed into law, the measure would make California the first to institute a statewide ban on such containers.

More than 50 California cities and counties have similar bans.

The bill would exempt school districts and city and county jurisdictions if they implemented programs that recycled more than 60 percent of their foam waste.

Lowenthal said litter from the foam containers is one of the most abundant forms of debris found in city streets, sewers, and beaches.

“It’s not biodegradable, it’s not compostable, and if it’s in the water for a long time, it breaks up into small beads and lasts for thousands of years,’’ he said. “It costs millions to clean up beaches.’’

Other jurisdictions across the country have banned the foam, including Suffolk County in New York and Freeport, Maine.


Stack of Pennsylvania Stories

"Police check Facebook posting after killing" August 17, 2011|Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - Authorities are investigating two theories in connection with the death of a man gunned down hours after a judge upheld felony charges against his former girlfriend, who was accused of offering $1,000 on Facebook for someone to kill him....   

“I will pay somebody a stack to kill my baby father,’’ Corey White’s ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old London Eley of Philadelphia, wrote in a post this spring, according to a police affidavit.

“Say no more … what he look like … where he be at … need that stack 1st,’’ 18-year-old Timothy Bynum of suburban Darby wrote back, police said.

A “stack’’ is $1,000, investigators said.

Eley’s attorney said at Monday’s hearing that his client was merely venting about an argument she’d had with her ex-boyfriend and had no intention of following through.

Someone else who got big stacks:

"Philadelphia schools chief agrees to go" August 23, 2011|Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - The city’s embattled schools superintendent abruptly left the district yesterday with $900,000 promised in severance, capping a tumultuous tenure that saw increased test scores and graduation rates but also clashes with community members, the teachers union, and elected leaders....

Arlene Ackerman’s tenure collapsed over the past few months as the district faced a colossal hole in its $2.8 billion budget, disputes with the teachers union, and criticism of everything from her salary to her management style.

She is credited with continuing the district’s rise in test scores as well as lowering class sizes in primary grades, creating a parent-outreach program, and launching an initiative to transform chronically failing schools.


"Soldier sought in 4 slayings found dead after manhunt" August 29, 2011|Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - A soldier suspected of killing four people in Pennsylvania and Virginia was found dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in suburban Philadelphia after a daylong search during which he fired at and injured officers, authorities said.... 

Leonard John Egland, 37, of Fort Lee, Va., had recently returned from the latest of three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, said David Heckler, district attorney in Bucks County.


"4 die in flash floods that swallowed cars

PITTSBURGH - Flash floods that killed four people and forced others to swim to safety or climb onto car roofs was a freak accident caused by heavy rainfall that overwhelmed the sewer system just as rush-hour traffic clogged low-lying city streets, officials said yesterday. A mother and her two daughters died in Friday’s flood after becoming trapped in their vehicle. Another woman’s body was washed into the Allegheny River. Back-to-back storms had pounded the city with 3 to 4 inches of rain (AP)."

Globe Speaking Greek in New Jersey

I can't understand them.

"Princeton bars freshmen from Greek system" August 24, 2011|Bloomberg News

NEW YORK - Princeton University president Shirley Tilghman is banning freshmen from joining fraternities and sororities as of the 2012-2013 year, after an internal report said the groups encourage exclusivity and alcohol abuse.

Members of sororities and fraternities will also be forbidden from any form of “rush,’’ or recruitment, of freshman students, the Princeton, N.J.-based school said in a statement on its website. Upperclassmen won’t be stopped from joining the groups, said Cass Cliatt, a university spokeswoman.

While about 15 percent of Princeton undergraduates participate in sororities and fraternities, the organizations are not recognized by the university, do not have residential houses, and have been prohibited during much of the school’s history.

The report on campus social life produced last year by a 13-member panel of students, faculty, and staff said that the groups lead students to narrow, rather than expand, their set of friendships.

But Jake Nebel, a Princeton junior who is master of the school’s Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter, argued that fraternities and sororities, often called Greek societies because they are named for Greek letters, do not limit students’ contact with others, and in fact help them expand their relationships.

“Developing close friendships is both difficult and important during freshman year, and Greek societies serve that purpose for the large number of students who are interested in them,’’ he said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Supporters of the societies suggested a compromise that would allow freshmen to join the groups in their second semester of school, Nebel said.


"N.J. community grieves loss of 4 football players in fatal SUV crash" August 22, 2011|Associated Press

LINWOOD, N.J. - A New Jersey high school and its community were grappling yesterday with a hard reality: Four players on their local football team died and four others were injured in an SUV crash on the way to a team meal....

The crash hung heavy over the community yesterday, where filling bleachers at the school’s Friday night games is part of life every fall....


"Park ride collapses, injuring 5 people

WILDWOOD - An amusement park ride designed like a giant pirate ship that swings back and forth partly collapsed at a New Jersey amusement park where a girl fell to her death from a Ferris wheel in June. The center mast snapped on the Sea Dragon ride Friday night and five people were injured, police said (AP)."

Also see: New Jersey court orders change to witness ID evidence

Murder plot suspects now in N.J. jail   

Pakistani Murder Plots

Globe Lets Carp Get Away in Chicago

Who would want to go fishing with them? 

Feds to step up hunt for Asian carp near Chicago

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Yeah, some friend.

"Long prison term for 4th convicted in fatal beating" July 20, 2011|Associated Press

CHICAGO - A Chicago man convicted in the 2009 videotaped beating death of a high school honors student was sentenced to 32 years in prison yesterday, the fourth of five defendants in the case to receive lengthy terms behind bars.

Eugene Riley, 20, could have walked away from the 2009 attack on 16-year-old Derrion Albert, but instead, he jumped out of his car, grabbed a wooden board, and slammed it into the high school sophomore’s head while the teen was lying on the ground, according to James Papa, Cook County assistant state’s attorney.

In a cellphone video that circulated worldwide after it was posted online, Derrion’s attackers are seen punching and kicking him, slamming him over the head with large boards, and finally, stomping on his head....


Also see: Prosecutors file rebuttal to Blagojevich bid for retrial

Lost in the Nevada Desert

"Desert searched for missing woman" August 20, 2011|Associated Press

ELY, Nev. - Investigators returned yesterday to the remote Nevada desert in their search for a Utah mother missing since 2009, after an earlier check of the area yielded information.

Searchers began the day looking through abandoned mine shafts off Highway 50. The area is about 235 miles southwest of Susan Cox Powell’s home in West Valley City, Utah, where she was last seen Dec. 6, 2009.

Powell was 28 when she was reported missing Dec. 7 after she failed to show up for her job as a stockbroker.

Her husband, Joshua Powell, told police he left his wife at home about 12:30 a.m. that day to go winter camping in freezing temperatures with their young sons - then ages 4 and 2 - on the Pony Express Trail, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City. The 4-year-old confirmed the trip to police.

Police have called Joshua Powell a person of interest in the missing person case.


Might as well place a bet while we are there:

"Man gets 3 years for Bellagio holdup" August 24, 2011|Associated Press

LAS VEGAS - The son of a former Las Vegas judge, who wore a motorcycle helmet and brandished a gun as he carried out a Hollywood movie-style holdup of the posh Bellagio casino, was sentenced yesterday to at least three years in prison....

Carleo’s crime was captured by security cameras, which showed him wearing a helmet and carrying a handgun as he dashed out of the Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Carrying $1.5 million in chips, Carleo pointed his gun at a valet before jumping on a motorcycle and speeding away before dawn on Dec. 14. No shots were fired.

The eye-popping denominations of the Bellagio chips - many ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 each - drew intense media interest and comparisons to Hollywood movies like “Ocean’s Eleven.’’

--Bellagio bandit gets 3 to 11 years for casino heist--"  

Related: Night in Nevada