Friday, May 31, 2013

Obama's Tribal Justice

"Report shows rise in US prosecution of reservation cases" by FELICIA FONSECA and DAVE KOLPACK  |  Associated Press, May 31, 2013

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — American Indian leaders who have criticized the federal government for years over the way authorities handled major crimes on reservations can mark progress with the release of statistics from the Justice Department that show a 54 percent increase in the number of Indian country cases charged in federal court.

Between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, the number of cases prosecuted went from 1,091 to 1,677, according to a Justice Department report released Thursday.

‘‘They’ve taken their responsibility much more seriously than before,’’ said Brent Leonhard, an attorney with Umatilla tribe in Oregon.

The report marks the first look at government investigations and prosecutions on tribal lands. It comes as a result of the 2010 Tribal Law and Order Act, which requires the Justice Department to publicly release such figures.

Justice Department officials acknowledge that their work is far from done, but they say the numbers demonstrate the government’s commitment to combating violent crime on reservations where rates are higher than the national average.

Also, the report shows that prosecutors secured convictions in about two-thirds of nearly 6,000 reservation cases between calendar years 2011 and 2012. Of the 5,985 cases, about one-third were declined for prosecution. Some others were resolved administratively or sent to another prosecuting authority and didn’t end up in federal court.

The numbers show ‘‘that we’re walking the talk at the Department of Justice,’’ said Tim Purdon, US attorney in North Dakota.

Arizona, home to part of the nation’s largest American Indian reservation, had the highest number of total referrals with more than 2,000, followed by South Dakota with nearly 1,000.

Still, nearly 2,000 cases were declined for prosecution over the two-year span, a matter for which the Department of Justice has been criticized in the past.


House Settles With Homeland Security

"Programmer, US settle over laptop seizure" by Maria Cramer  |  Globe Staff,  May 30, 2013

A Cambridge computer programmer who backed a US Army private accused of leaking classified information has settled with the federal government in a case that began when federal agents seized the programmer’s laptop as he was returning from a Mexican vacation.

David House, a former MIT researcher who cofounded an organization to raise money for Bradley Manning, accused the Department of Homeland Security of violating his civil rights when he passed through a Chicago airport in November 2010.

Homeland Security agents did not have a warrant when they seized House’s ­laptop, camera, and a flash drive, then asked him questions about his ­relationship with Manning, according to House’s lawsuit. Manning is accused of leaking classified information about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that was posted on WikiLeaks and published by The New York Times and other news organizations.

More than two years after the encounter, the government has agreed to destroy any data it retrieved from the laptop and the other devices. The government also agreed to hand over copies of reports of the investigation into House. In return, House agreed to drop his lawsuit.

The case “dramatically ­illustrates the dangers of the government’s claim to extra­ordinary powers to search at the border,” said John ­Reinstein, an attorney for the America Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on House’s behalf. “That ­authority is not without its limit.”

House could not be reached for comment Thursday. A spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice ­declined to comment.

In his lawsuit, House said that after he helped create the Bradley Manning Support Network in June 2010, he was placed on a government watchlist and questioned repeat­edly at his Cambridge home by investigators from the Defense and State departments and the FBI.

On Nov. 3, 2010, House ­arrived at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. He was rushing to make his connection to Boston when he was stopped by two federal agents, who told him he would not be making that flight, according to the lawsuit.

The agents asked him about Manning, whether he had any connections to WikiLeaks, and about his work for the Bradley Manning Support Network, which says it has raised $1.1 million for Manning’s ­defense. The laptop the agents seized from House had information about donors, including their names.

The Department of Justice had tried to have the lawsuit thrown out, asserting that the government has the authority to conduct routine searches at a US border.

This is the same Justice Department that validated waterboarding, signed off on the destruction of CIA videotapes showing torture, ran guns to Mexican drug cartels, and said criminal banks were too big to jail? Just checking.

The government also ­argued that federal officials are not prohibited by the Constitution from searching electronic ­devices because they are connected to a specific group or ­organization.

But US District Court Judge Denise J. Casper rejected the ­arguments....

Related: Judge Casper's Cover Up

Manning’s trial is scheduled to begin June 3....

Manning has already pleaded guilty to 10 charges related to the leaks, but prosecutors are trying for a conviction on more serious charges, including multiple counts of violating the ­Espionage Act....

Elizabeth Goitein, codirector of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, called the Espionage Act a Draconian law that prosecutors in this case are abusing.

“The Espionage Act should be used only for spies, traitors, and enemies of the state,” she said. “I think it’s ­inappropriate to use it for whistle-blowers or Bradley Manning, who did not act with ill intent.”

Think dual-national Israelis, Americans.

Many have hailed Manning as a hero who sought to ­expose wrongdoing by the ­Army while others have ­labeled him a traitor. Goitein said she believes Manning, who released 750,000 files of wide-ranging information from diplomatic cables to videos of civilians being killed, is neither.... 

I think he's a scapegoat and patsy for what everyone sees is a Mossad intelligence-gathering operation.


Related: Burying Bradley Manning

Two Life Sentences For Luke

"Self-described neo-Nazi guilty of 2009 Brockton murders, rape" by Brian Ballou |  Globe Staff, May 30, 2013

BROCKTON —  Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruz called Keith Luke a “savage, evil person.”

“I think Keith Luke is the new poster child as to why we need the death penalty” in Massa­chusetts, Cruz said.

During the two-week trial, 293 exhibits were entered as evi­dence, including 4,500 pages of mental health documentation on Luke going back to when he was 7 and two hours of videotaped interviews police conducted with him after his deadly rampage through this working-class city with large immigrant communities.

Luke confessed to the crimes and gave a series of bizarre expla­nations for his actions, saying, among other things, that he was angry about black men raping and killing white women on a “genocidal scale’’ and that “Jew-controlled ­media” have done nothing to report it, his attorney Joseph Krowski Jr., said in court.... 

Okay, what that tells us is all those racially-inciting sites dedicated to such things are a trap and government-controlled garbage.


Six Zionist Companies Own 96% of the World's Media
Declassified: Massive Israeli manipulation of US media exposed

There is the truth that is now discredited by this psyop.

Krowski said Luke had been in a psychiatric hospital for at least three years prior to 2009 and had told medical staff who treated him that he harbored thoughts of raping, torturing, and killing. 

And he was let out?

Krowski said Luke had spent most of his time alone and had held a job for ­only one day in his life.

Then how was he paying his living expenses? Which government intelligence agency payroll was he on?

Krowski said Luke was not in touch with reality, that his client described a “Zionist-occupied government” that keeps a list of white survivalists, including him, and that the government was planning to round them up and put them in camps....

Now I am forced to conclude the extermination camps are a straw man, what with Luke and Alex Jones screaming about such things; however, it really can not be denied -- despite the attempt at discrediting -- that this government has been infiltrated with Zionist Jews. They staff all levels of Congress and the executive at so many levels.

Luke was arrested after a brief police chase during which he shot at two police officers.

They didn't shoot back and kill him like what happens so often? Hmmmmm!

During an interview later with police, Luke said he wanted to continue to a local synagogue to kill Jews during bingo night and then shoot himself in the head.

What was stopping you from killing yourself after the cops found you?


Related: Unlucky Luke 

Seems like he got pretty lucky to me.

The Murder of Donald Moskites

"Conn. man dies in fight with state troopers" by John R. Ellement  |  Globe Staff, May 30, 2013

A Connecticut man died following a physical confrontation with two Massachusetts state troopers and state highway workers that began when the man was seen walking on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Brighton Wednesday night, author­ities said.

In a statement Thursday, State Police identified the man as Donald T. Moskites, 47, of Windsor, Conn.

Moskites’s death is under investigation by State Police and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office.

State Police said the incident began about 10:10 p.m. when a trooper saw Moskites walking on the ramp near Exit 19 on the eastbound side of the Pike in Brighton. The trooper “directed Mr. Moskites to come down off of the ramp,’’ State Police said.

The Connecticut man walked down the ramp and into the turnpike’s maintenance yard, where troopers questioned him to see if he needed assistance.

“Mr. Moskites, who is described as a very large man, ­became violent and physically assaulted the troopers, biting one of them in the forearm,’’ State Police said in the statement. Conley’s office said that when Moskites bit the trooper, he removed “a large chunk of flesh from his arm.’’

Moskites, the two troopers, and Massachusetts Department of Transportation workers engaged in an intense physical struggle during which a trooper dosed Moskites with pepper spray, State Police said.

During the struggle, Moskites’s heart stopped beating.

“At some point during this violent struggle, Mr. Moskites went into apparent cardiac arrest,’’ State Police said.

Troopers began performing CPR and Boston Emergency Medical Services crews took him to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, where he was pronounced dead, State ­Police said.

Moskites’s relatives were ­notified of his death by ­Connecticut State Police. Police in Windsor, Conn., “have had multiple interactions with Mr. Moskites,’’ State Police said.

State Police are trying to ­determine why Moskites was in Boston.

The names of the troopers are currently being withheld, State Police said.

The two troopers were taken to the same hospital, where they were both treated and ­released, State ­Police said.


Also seeToddler drowns in East Hartford swimming pool

No Fish For You!

I'll be breaking for lunch in a moment and thought I would give you what is on the Globe menu today: 

Coakley's Catch:

"Coakley files lawsuit over fishing cuts" by Meghan E. Irons  |  Globe Staff, May 30, 2013

Accusing the federal government of shoddy science and indifference to the plight of Massachusetts fishing families, Attorney General Martha Coakley sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday over its attempt to limit this year’s catch on cod and other fish.

Everyone is really beginning to come around.

Her office called restrictions that slashed limits by 78 percent of 2012’s quota Draconian. The suit was filed in US District Court.

“The federal government has failed in its responsibility in considering the devastating economic impact of their regulations on our fishing families,’’ said Coakley, flanked by lawmakers and fishermen at Boston’s Fish Pier. “NOAA’s regulations are essentially a death penalty on the fishing industry of Massachusetts as we know it.”

NOAA officials acknowledged Thursday that the quota reductions are drastic but said they are essential to rebuilding severely depleted groundfish stocks and preventing overfishing among populations that have been alarmingly slow to recover....

And it's not because of the Gloucester fisherman, it's large-scale multi-nationals with their mile-long drift nets that have done this.

Scientists held much hope for Gulf of Maine cod after a 2008 assessment appeared to show that the population was thriving and would steadily ­rebuild. But those hopes were dashed after a 2011 assessment showed a depleted stock, said Thomas Nies, who heads the New England Fishery Management Council.

Scientists spent last year conducting another full assess­ment at the request of the fishing industry to determine why the numbers were off. They concluded that the bleak 2011 figures were accurate, Nies said.

Isn't counting fish like herding cats?

Still, this year’s drastic cindustry. 


Addressing Thursday’s press conference, US Representative Stephen F. Lynch slammed the federal government, calling its ­approach in addressing the fishing stock one-sided, arrogant, and self-righteous.

“We understand there is a need to manage fish stock and to manage our way back to a healthier fishing environment,’’ Lynch said. “However, these regulations that we see will simply put the fishing industry out of business.”

You were the best of a bad lot, Steve, and would have brought a different view to the chamber.

The lawsuit names the New England Fishery Management Council, which advises NOAA and which voted on the new limits in January.

Cod is a New England staple, popular on the dinner ­table and a big seller for fishermen.

“It’s the king of all groundfish,’’ said Angela Sanfilippo of Massachusetts Fishing Partnership. ”People demand it.”

But the government’s effort to manage fishing stock has forced fishermen to face harsh cuts that have jeopardized their livelihoods and put them on the brink of hardship....

How about a $700 billion bailout? Will that cover things for a while?

Tory Bramante, the owner of the fishing vessel America, said local fishermen have felt betrayed by past government assurances that restrictions over more than a decade would lead to healthy groundfish populations by now....

Yes, people really are catching up with the lies and broken promises from this government, across all fronts. 

Oh what a deadly (and fragile) web we weave....


Related: Crunching Down a Globe Lunch 

Spiders for lunch?

Europe's Empty Net

"EU unveils plan to reduce overfishing" by Raf Casert  |  Associated Press, May 31, 2013

BRUSSELS — The European Union agreed to drastically alter its fishing policy Thursday, aiming to end decades of overfishing that has depleted many species in its Atlantic and Mediterranean waters.

Combine these actions with the endless radiation being released into the Pacific from Fukushima and the still oil- and corexit-contaminated Gulf of Mexico and we are looking at a serious seafood shortage when that is how most of the world survives. Maybe the globalist endgame and elimination of useless eaters is on the way.

The plan — backed by representatives of EU member states, the European Parliament, and the executive commission — commits the fishing industry to respect scientific advice on overfishing, to reduce the amount of healthy fish thrown back into the sea, and to protect sensitive areas at sea.

As long as it is sound and not some made up fart mist hiding the decline and supplying the agenda-pushing papers with poop to scoop. 

North Sea stocks of cod, the emblematic fish in the Atlantic EU waters, have declined by roughly 75 percent over three decades, and special campaigns to revive the species have long struggled.

Bluefin tuna, once the pride of the Mediterranean, has seen its stocks drop by 80 percent over the same time.

Because the catch is going to Japan for sushi

Also see: Finally, a Post About Fukushima 

Sorry it took so long to serve.

Under the new plan, overfishing should end by 2015 for most species and by 2020 for all stocks.

‘‘The next generation will have stocks to fish that are in a better state than that they are now,’’ said Ireland’s marine minister, Simon Coveney, who represented the 27 EU nations at the talks.

The plan needs the approval of the member states and the European Parliament, but since they were intensely involved in the negotiations, that was not expected to be a problem.

‘‘I am confident we can get the agreement,’’ said Coveney.

European Parliament rapporteur Ulrike Rodust was equally ‘‘confident of a large majority in the plenary’’ of the legislature.

Environmental groups welcomed the agreement.

‘‘For decades in Europe, fishing has been a story of decline, with severe overexploitation of fish stocks,’’ said Greenpeace expert Saskia Richartz. ‘‘The deal that is emerging today is good news.’’

Unless you are a hungry person.


Or maybe you need to be on this:

Big Mac McDiet 

"McDonald’s CEO: I lost weight by being more active" by CANDICE CHOI  |  AP Food Industry Writer, May 31, 2013

NEW YORK — McDonald Corp.’s chief executive, Don Thompson’s McDiet....

Eating at McDonald’s ‘‘every single day.’’ 

Someone already did that and it didn't work out to well.

Thompson was responding to a question about how the world’s biggest hamburger chain is adapting amid the growing concerns about ­obesity.

Fish is low fat, but that catch will soon be dropping. I wonder what other fish they will mislabel and call cod. Globe won an award for that stuff, didn't they? 

Does anyone trust the world food supply anymore?

Thompson said that he lost the weight by getting active again....

The remarks come as fast-food chains and packaged food companies face criticism about making products that fuel obesity rates.

At the Sanford Bernstein conference on Wednesday, Thompson noted that customers have many options at McDonald’s. For example, he said, someone might get a Big Mac one day and a grilled chicken salad another day.

But going forward, he said: ‘‘I don’t see salads being a major growth driver.’’


Time to chow down!

Benching This Post About Northampton

Was a big flap over here on local morning radio:

"Northampton brings back downtown benches" Associated Press, May 31, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — Six benches will be reinstalled in downtown Northampton a week after their removal sparked protests and debates about homelessness, poverty, and the use of public space, Mayor David Narkewicz said Thursday.

Narkewicz ordered the removal of six of the 16 public benches downtown last week following complaints from businesses about loitering and aggressive panhandling that was driving away shoppers. One business owner complained of fights and drug use.

The mayor and other city officials said the benches were meant for short-term use by business customers.

‘‘Feedback on my experiment has been swift, impassioned, and substantial,’’ Narkewicz said.

‘‘Legitimate concerns have been raised about the loss of downtown seating, particularly for the ­elderly and disabled, and the perception removing benches may create that Northampton is somehow less welcoming, insensitive to class and poverty issues, or walking away from its well-established leadership role on homelessness and hunger,’’ he wrote.

Some people complained that the removal of the benches was aimed at discouraging the homeless from hanging around and failed to address the underlying problems of poverty.

Homeless? In Northampton? 

As for the underlying causes of poverty, those rest in corporate control of the economic and political proce$$, and at bottom the private central banking Ponzi scheme that undergirds it.


Another hot issue:

"Northampton man pleads guilty in fatal arson

A Northampton man charged with setting fires in the city, including one that killed an elderly man and his son, has pleaded guilty to arson and manslaughter charges during his trial. Anthony Baye pleaded guilty Monday in Hampden Superior Court, as the second day of testimony in his trial was getting started. He had been charged with murder in the December 2009 deaths of World War II veteran Paul Yeskie Sr., 81, and his son, Paul Yeskie Jr., 39, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of manslaughter for each death. Baye, 28, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday."

Related: Globe Can't See Through Northampton Smoke

From dismissal to guilty plea? 

Globe also never gave me anything on the police brutality, and local media quickly dropped it.

Also see: Six green ideas from Northampton


"Mass. woman accused of killing wife seeks bail

A Massachusetts woman awaiting retrial in the 2010 strangulation and beating death of her wife has asked a judge to free her on bail. A lawyer for Cara Lee Rintala, 46, asked a judge Thursday to release his client on $250,000 bail. In the motion, her lawyer said Rintala’s family, friends, and members of her church have all helped raise the money and support her release. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported that prosecutors oppose granting bail because of the seriousness of the charges. Authorities said Rintala killed Annamarie Cochrane Rintala, a paramedic, in their Granby home in March 2010 after months of stress about finances. The murder trial in March ended in a mistrial."

That's been another hot issue on local radio.

A Little Tardy With This Post

Sorry, but the Globe is beginning to bore me in between the hilarious hoaxes and silly scripts.

"Report says 17 percent of students chronically absent

A review of Rhode Island education data shows that 17 percent of schoolchildren in the state were absent at least 18 days during the 2011-12 school year. WPRI-TV reported that its review found 29 state schools at which that figure was above 30 percent and six schools where more than half the students missed more than 18 days. Those schools were Hope High School, Alvarez High School, Central High School, and Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, the RYSE School in the Chariho school district, and Construction Career Academy in Cranston. The state considers students who missed more than 10 percent of the 180-day school year to be chronically absent."

Also seeTo Chafee, party not so grand anymore

I really don't care for either one these days. Both are beholden to the same interests in one form or another. I still lean Republican for fringe reasons, but I have been effectively excommunicated by the party.

Ticked Off at New Hampshire Post

Just warning you:

"N.H. residents advised to guard against ticks

New Hampshire health officials said there have been fewer cases of Lyme disease in recent years, down from a high in 2008, but people should still take precautions to prevent being bitten by ticks. There were 1,301 cases of Lyme disease identified in the state in 2011 and 1,460 in 2012. There were 1,600 cases in 2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 24,364 cases of Lyme disease nationally in 2011, which is down from a high of nearly 30,000 in 2009. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash that is round or looks like a bull’s-eye."

"Leaders praise N.H.’s fallen soldiers

New Hampshire’s elected leaders offered gratitude Thursday for the men and women who died while serving in the nation’s armed forces. Governor Maggie Hassan joined members of the state’s congressional delegation at an outdoor Memorial Day ceremony that drew hundreds of veterans and their families to the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery. The governor said the people of New Hampshire are deeply indebted to all who gave the ‘‘ultimate sacrifice’’ for their country, including more than 40 New Hampshire soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Oh, yeah, war dead over damnable lies always pisses me off more than anything else, including banksters.

Vermont Covered For Today

"Covered bridge in Dummerston, Vt., closing for repairs

A 141-year-old covered bridge in Dummerston, Vt., is closing for several hours Thursday and Friday to repair damage from a truck accident. Police said William Miller, 23, of Dummerston was driving the truck as part of his employment in collecting sap for his family’s farm, and did not realize the height restriction on the bridge as he attempted to cross it March 31. The rear cargo section of the truck struck the West Dummerston Covered Bridge, shattering a cross beam and tearing the trim. There were no structural issues."

"Man charged in teacher killing again seeks new lawyer

A Vermont man charged along with his wife in the killing of a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is again asking for a new lawyer. A judge dismissed Allen and Patricia Prue’s requests for new attorneys on May 21. The Prues have been charged with luring Melissa Jenkins out of her home last year and killing her before dumping her body in the Connecticut River. Both have pleaded not guilty, Allen Prue to first-degree murder; Patricia Prue to aggravated murder."

Also see: Slow Saturday Special: Vermont School is Racist

Manoloules Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

"Southborough man pleads guilty to manslaughter

A Southborough man originally charged with murder in the death of his uncle in his Cape Cod vacation home has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter. Christopher Manoloules was scheduled for a status review Wednesday but instead entered a plea in the October 2009 shooting death of Aris Manoloules in his Hyannis home. The Cape Cod Times reported that Manoloules, 21, was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison, with credit for the nearly four years he has served while awaiting trial. Aris Manoloules’s brother-in-law, Robert Upton, was convicted of murder in January. The victim’s brother, Treefon, who had been charged with masterminding the killing, was acquitted."

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shoplifter Escaped Through Ceiling

"Alleged shoplifter found in ceiling" by Lauren Dezenski  |  Globe Correspondent, May 30, 2013

A Bedford woman accused of shoplifting from a Chelsea Market Basket has been arrested after hiding in the store’s ceiling for more than two hours, police said.

Laura Baum, 26, had a not-guilty plea entered on her ­behalf at her arraignment in Chelsea District Court Wednesday on a host of charges, including shoplifting, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and resisting arrest.

Market Basket employees ­allegedly observed Baum attempt­ing to leave the store Tuesday night without paying for items worth $113.69, accord­ing to a police report.

Baum initially cooperated with employees, but when a ­cashier blocked her from leaving the store before paying a fine, she allegedly pulled a knife out of her waistband and ­attempted to stab him, the report said.

The cashier avoided the knife, and Baum allegedly locked herself in a supply closet, broke a ceiling tile, and climbed into the building’s structure, the police report said.

The Chelsea Fire Department responded to the supermarket at 170 Everett Ave. just after 8:30 p.m. to assist in the search for Baum. Using several ladders in the store and a thermal imaging camera, responders located Baum, Fire Captain Michael Masucci said. She was found ­after 10 p.m., trapped between two walls in the back of the store.

Masucci said those at the scene were concerned about Baum injuring herself if she fell from the ceiling.

“At one point, we could see her walking along the light fixtures in the ceiling,” Masucci said. “They were bowing under her weight.”

When she was pulled from the ceiling, Baum had lacerations on her hand and was taken to Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett, the report said.

She was held on $1,000 cash bail after her arraignment Wednesday.


Ohio Over-and-Out: Taking Bite Out of Crime

"DNA clears man in wife’s killing" by Amanda Lee Myers  |  Associated Press, January 30, 2013

CINCINNATI — A former police captain who spent nearly 15 years in prison in his former wife’s killing was exonerated Tuesday by a judge who said new DNA tests proved his innocence and that no reasonable jury that saw the results would have convicted him.

Doug Prade was set free because the new DNA results are “clear and convincing,” said Judge Judy Hunter.

Prade’s lawyer, Carrie Wood, said that when she called Prade to give him the news, he broke down in tears and could not speak for a while.

“This was a very humble and thankful Doug,” said Wood, who works for the Cincinnati-based Ohio Innocence Project and has been working for years to free Prade.

If a higher court overturns Hunter’s ruling, Prade would get a new trial.

A prominent doctor, Margo Prade, 41,was found slumped in her minivan on Nov. 26, 1997. She was shot six times.

The only evidence was a bite mark on her arm.

A forensic dentist testified for the prosecution that he was sure Doug Prade was responsible, while a defense expert said that the defendant’s teeth could not have left it. A third expert said there was no way to be certain.

Jurors found Prade guilty, and the 30-year veteran of the Akron Police Department was sentenced to life.

In August, Prade hoped the results would be enough to free him.

“For them to find what I had known all that time was no surprise to me,” he said by phone from prison. “I guess it was an epiphany to everyone else — ‘Hey, this guy was telling the truth.’ ”

Since the trial, bite-mark comparisons have come under fire as sham science.


Also see: Ohio Over-and-Out: Fryeing a Rapist

Barber Pissed Off at Doctor

"A retired barber accused of shooting a California urologist to death in his exam room suffered from prostate problems and was angry about his incontinence after a recent surgery, neighbors said Tuesday....


Florida Fugitive Shot By Texas Police

"Authorities shoot, kill Fla. fugitive

GRAPEVINE — The Florida prisoner who escaped in Texas by stabbing a detective with his eyeglasses was fatally shot early Saturday after refusing to cooperate with officers and lunging at them, police said. Alberto Morales was shot in a wooded area of Grapevine, a community near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It put an end to a massive five-day search that started when he escaped Monday from a Walmart parking lot."

Does that sound plausible to you?

Related: Globe Fogging Up FBI Shooting in Florida

Now they are saying he never had a blade.

Georgia Post Going Down

"5 killed, 2 injured in Georgia plane crash" by Russ Bynum  |  Associated Press, February 22, 2013

THOMSON, Ga. — A small plane aborted its landing at a Georgia airport before it hit a 60-foot utility pole and crashed, killing five people onboard and leaving two hurt, federal authorities said Thursday.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said at a news conference that the plane burst into flames after crashing. One of the plane’s wings was cut off when it hit the pole, causing the aircraft to leak fuel that then ignited, he said. The plane is almost completely destroyed.

It is not immediately known why the plane aborted its landing....


"4 indicted in deadly salmonella outbreak" by Kate Brumback |  Associated Press, February 22, 2013

ATLANTA — A federal grand jury indicted four former employees of a peanut company linked to a 2009 salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds, leading to one of the largest recalls in history.

The 76-count indictment was unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Georgia. It charged the former employees of Virginia-based Peanut Corp. of America with conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and other offenses related to contaminated or misbranded food....

‘‘When those responsible for producing or supplying our food lie and cut corners, as alleged in the indictment, they put all of us at risk,’’ Stuart F. Delery, who heads the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a news release....

While we all want safe food, there is something strange about this government hollering liar.


Ashby Aberration

Deaths of mother, son in crash shock town of Ashby
Second driver in fatal crash also a firefighter

Slapped Around in Minnesota

"Man charged with slapping child jobless" Associated Press, February 19, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — A man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight is out of a job, his former company said.

How odd that TSA can molest them and no problem.

Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Hayden, Idaho, is no longer an employee of the AGC Aerospace and Defense Co., according to Daniel Keeney of DPK Public Relations. Keeney would not say whether Hundley was fired or resigned.

Al Haase, chief executive of AGC, in a statement early Sunday called reports of behavior by one of its executives on recent personal travel ‘‘offensive and disturbing’’ and said he ‘‘is no longer employed with the company.’’ The statement did not refer to Hundley by name.

Hundley was president of AGC’s Unitech Composites and Structures unit.

He was charged last week in federal court in Atlanta with simple assault after being accused of slapping the 2-year-old boy during the Feb. 8 flight. His attorney, Marcia Shein, of Decatur, Ga., said Hundley will plead not guilty. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.

The boy’s mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, told the FBI their flight was on final descent into Atlanta when her 19-month-old son started to cry due to the altitude change.

Hundley told her to stop the baby from crying, FBI special agent Daron Cheney said in a sworn statement. She said Hundley then slapped him in the face, scratching the boy below his right eye.

Bennett said Hundley was increasingly belligerent during the flight, adding she was shocked when he used a racial slur after Jonah started crying.


New Hampshire Lawmakers Skiing Trip

They went this past weekend.

"Lawmakers ponder new perk — free ski passes

New Hampshire’s House is voting this week whether lawmakers should get free ski passes for Cannon Mountain. The majority of the Legislative Administration Committee is recommending killing a bill Wednesday that would grant the legislative perk. A one-day lift ticket is $70 for an adult and the bill would allow unlimited free access. Opponents say using the free pass a half-dozen times would be worth twice as much as lawmakers’ biennial salary. Supporters argue that lawmakers have open access to state parks to promote awareness of the locations. They say skiing at Cannon doesn’t add costs to the ski area and encourages members to experience that part of New Hampshire culture."

Burned by Bonfire in New Hampshire

"Man dies, teen hurt in gas-ignited fire

A 20-year-old man died in New Hampshire after he was burned in an outside fire Saturday night that also injured a 17-year-old girl, according to the state fire marshal’s office. The man was identified by the state medical examiner’s office as Daniel Hewey of Warner. The two burn victims were found when authorities responded to Deer Meadow Road in Webster at about 10:20 p.m., according to a statement from the fire marshal’s office. Hewey was taken to Concord Hospital, where he died, the statement said. Investigators said Hewey used gasoline to ignite a brush pile, which caused a small explosion. “The cause of his death has been ruled accidental due to inhalation injuries and burns from the fire,” the statement said. The female victim was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She is expected to recover."

Lasarte Placed on Leave

"Woman accuses BU professor of assault" by Travis Andersen  |  Globe Staff, February 18, 2013

A Boston University professor is on unpaid leave following his arrest on charges that he attacked a woman with a key and threatened her with brass knuckles inside an Arlington home, officials said on Sunday.

Pedro Lasarte, 65, was arrested Feb. 10 at a house on Moulton Road after a woman told police that he scratched her arm with a key and brandished brass knuckles, telling her, “I know where to hit you with these where there won’t be a mark,” according to an Arlington police report.

A working phone number for Lasarte could not be located on Sunday, and he did not return an e-mail seeking comment. It was not clear who is representing him.

Lasarte and the woman gave conflicting accounts of what touched off the dispute, with the woman saying it was over washing dishes and the professor saying he was angered over purchases that she made with his credit card, according to police.

Colin Riley, a BU spokesman, said Lasarte, a Spanish professor, has been placed on unpaid leave, but declined to say whether his status would change while the case is pending.

According to the arrest report, officers responded to the home in the afternoon and encountered Lasarte, who was known to one of the officers and who “was being belligerent . . . not listening to our commands while repeatedly questioning our motives/requests.”

The report added, “Eventually, we were able to persuade Lasarte to don a pair of pants,” and he was handcuffed for officer safety.

He told police that he was upset with the woman for running up $3,000 in charges on his credit card, but he denied touching her, according to the report.

It does not identify the woman or state her relationship to Lasarte. It was not immediately clear if he lives in that home.

The woman said she was washing dishes earlier in the day, which upsets Lasarte, because he enjoys washing them at night, the report states. He scraped a key against her left arm, leaving red scratch marks, and pulled out the brass knuckles, police said.

In addition to making the threat, he also “thumped” the woman in the left rib-cage area with the brass knuckles, the report states.

According to police, Lasarte said of the brass knuckles, “I brought those things to this country like 30 years ago from Peru, I didn’t know they were illegal here.”

As he was being arrested, the report states, Lasarte said repeatedly, “You gotta be kidding me, you’re really taking me in for this?”

Riley could not say on Sunday how long Lasarte has taught at BU.

He is facing charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and carrying a dangerous weapon, police said.

According to a biography posted on a BU website, Lasarte specializes in Spanish American literature and culture and is working on a book titled “Pirates and Prostitutes: Illicit Commerce in Seventeenth-Century Peru.”

He was recently invited to become a member of the Peruvian Academy of Language, according to his biography.

New Jersey Custodian Liked Catholic Girls

"NJ school custodian accused of hiding spy cameras" by Geoff Mulvihill  |  Associated Press, November 29, 2012

A southern New Jersey high school custodian was arrested Wednesday and accused of using eight small cameras hidden around the school to secretly film students and teachers, including in places where students change clothes.

Authorities said John Martin of Wenonah, N.J., had hours of footage from the cameras and kept a large cache of screenshots on his cellphone. They said some of the images showed nudity.

Martin, 41, resigned last week as chief custodian at Gloucester Catholic High School in Gloucester City, near Philadelphia, after he was first interviewed by authorities.

The Camden County prosecutor’s office said he’d worked there for 18 years and was in charge of the school’s video surveillance system.

Martin turned himself in on Wednesday and was released on on the condition that he not go near the school or any of its students or staff members.


Ecuador's Election

"Ecuador leader headed to easy re-election" Associated Press, February 18, 2013

QUITO, Ecuador — Rafael Correa was easily elected to a third term as Ecuador’s president Sunday, topping his nearest challenger by nearly 40 percentage points, according to an exit poll and partial results.

Correa, a dynamic but polemical leftist economist, has raised living standards for the lower classes and widened their social safety net but has been criticized as intolerant of dissent.

Translation: he's not a U.S. favorite.

His top opponent out of a field of eight candidates was former Banco de Guayaquil executive president Guillermo Lasso. The exit poll by the company Cedatos-Gallup showed Correa beating Lasso 61 percent to 20 percent.

Lasso conceded shortly after polls closed.

A beaming Correa appeared on state TV hugging jubilant supporters at the Carondelet presidential palace less than an hour after polls closed. He addressed a cheering crowd from its balcony.

‘‘This victory is yours. It belongs to our families, to our wife, to our friends, our neighbors, the entire nation,’’ Correa said.

The 48-year-old president has brought uncharacteristic political stability to this oil-exporting nation of 14.6 million people that cycled through seven presidents in the decade before he first took office in 2007.

He won reelection in 2009 after voters approved a constitutional rewrite that mandated a new ballot, and he would be legally barred from running again after a victory Sunday.


Related: U.S. Makes Its Move in South America 

Also seeEcuador Ejects CIA Coup Attempt

Bottled Up by University of Vermont

"At University of Vermont, no admission for bottled water" by Brian MacQuarrie  |  Globe Staff, February 15, 2013

BURLINGTON, Vt. — On the University of Vermont campus, where nature seems to beckon from everywhere, bottled water has been unceremoniously lumped with the likes of sugar-laced Twinkies.

It’s not that water is bad for us; it’s that water bottles, from manufacture to disposal, are bad for the environment, activists say.

Beginning Jan. 1, plain bottled water cannot be purchased or served on this 460-acre campus. Not in the dining halls, cafes, or vending machines. Not at sporting events. Not even at catered meals for visiting scholars.

UVM is the first public university in New England to enact such a ban. Students are quickly becoming better ­acquainted with the school’s 215 drinking fountains, where water from Lake Champlain is piped free to thirsty students and into personal, reusable bottles dangling from thousands of backpacks.

I don't trust any water, but I often wonder how much the chlorine is hiring bacteria, drugs, and such from the public well. 

“I’m fine with it being totally banned,” said Jordan Hurley, 22, a senior from Billerica, Mass. “I just feel like it’s better for the Earth and for everyone. Why should they make water a commodity when it’s free?”

But not everyone on campus sees the ban of bottled water — and its petroleum-linked plastic containers — in overarching, save-the-planet terms. 

(Blog editor saddens at how inculcated and indoctrinated are  the poor kids)

Water, after all, is considered healthier than a soft drink. To Erica Spiegel, the university’s waste and recycling manager, “it’s less about banning this product and more about publicly available water supplies.”

All around this campus, the fifth-oldest in New England, a stream of students makes its way to metal oases that once were called bubblers but now bear the dry, bureaucratic label of “water bottle refill stations.”

Where students and faculty once needed to bend if they wanted a mouthful of tap ­water, they now can press thermos-­size containers under a retrofitted, gooseneck spigot.

“Why are we trucking it in from somewhere else?” asked Gioia Thompson, director of the university’s Office of Sustainability. “There was just this feeling: Why are we doing this? It makes no sense.”

But even Thompson, whose job revolves around green ­issues, was puzzled when students took on bottled water about five years ago. “A key question was, why water and not everything else in plastic,” Thompson said. “You’re going to take away the healthiest ­option.”

The move to ban bottled ­water is growing nationally, propelled by concerns about the use of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport the plastic containers....

That's bull. We have so many industries dependent on trucking, which was the way the lords and masters wanted it. That's why rail was neglected, and why globali$m was encouraged..

The Town of Concord, Mass., prohibited its sale in what is believed to be a municipal first in the United States.

See: Sunday Globe Special: Concord Thirst Has Been Slaked 

As long as it isn't shit water.

At the University of ­Vermont, students lobbied admin­istrators but also had to work against the interests of Coca-Cola....

Coke has provided bottled water under an exclusive, 10-year contract that ended in 2012. In exchange for “pouring rights,” Coca-Cola funneled $500,000 a year to the university for programs ranging from student aid to academics to athletics....

Ungrateful kids!

Being inconvenienced also stoked skepticism among wary students: “What if I forget my water bottle? What if the water stations don’t work,” Ilana Copel, 21, a senior from Yorktown, N.Y., and co- president of the environmental group Vermont Students Toward Environmental Protection, recalled....

Then I guess you will have to wait a bit.

The ban, however, comes with a cost....

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! They never tell you that up front when they are gleefully pushing the guilt trip to advance the agenda!



Not good words for a report, or so my college writing instructor told us.


European Nukes Need Repair

"Study finds that almost all nuclear reactors in Europe need repairs" by James Kanter  |  New York Times, October 04, 2012

BRUSSELS — Practically all of the more than 130 active nuclear reactors in the European Union need safety improvements, repairs, or upgrades, at a cost up to $32 billion, according to a draft copy of a European Commission report scheduled to be released Thursday.

The scale of the problems detailed in the report, as well as the size of the expected repair bill, may amplify public concerns about the safety of nuclear power on the part of Europeans, who are already deeply divided over the technology and whose governments still zealously guard control over energy policy at the national level.

The European Commission undertook the safety review of its nuclear plants after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which led to the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Part of the assessment was the performance of ‘‘stress tests,’’ which are meant to assess how a nuclear facility would fare in various kinds of failures and crises. National specialists conducted the stress tests in conjunction with the commission’s advisory group on nuclear safety. The tests identified the need for ‘‘hundreds of technical upgrade measures,’’ the draft says.

The two biggest previous civilian nuclear accidents — at Three Mile Island outside Harrisburg, Pa., in 1979, and at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986 — were followed by similar scrutiny, and agreements were reached on extensive new safety measures. But the draft report notes that ‘‘even today, decades later, the implementation of those measures is still pending’’ in some EU countries.

Among the vulnerabilities identified in the report, the commission found that at four reactors in Finland and Sweden, if the cooling systems failed or all electric power was lost, the operators would have less than an hour to restore safety functions before catastrophic damage was done. The report says that 10 reactors in countries including Spain, France, and the Czech Republic lack adequate equipment to detect earthquakes.

Most of the upgrades called for in the report involve making European nuclear plants better able to withstand earthquakes, flooding, and the loss of primary cooling — the factors that combined to devastating effect at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.


RelatedChernobyl unaffected by roof collapse

Boston Globe Beginning to Bud

Spring must finally be here. 

"Maine wary of budworm outbreak" by Glenn Adams  |  Associated Press, February 12, 2013

AUGUSTA, Maine — Three decades ago, an insidious pest called the spruce budworm wreaked devastation on Maine’s forests, defoliating millions of acres of the state’s abundant fir and spruce trees until they were dry sticks.

The infestation, which began reaching its worst stages in the late 1970s, prompted a small-scale air war, first with chemicals sprayed from aircraft and later with biological insecticides. At last, by the later 1980s, the budworms went away.

But experts now say the bugs may soon descend upon Maine again....

After a small wave of budworms came and went in the 1950s and ’60s, taking some trees with it, the state was hit by a tsunami of the pests in the 1970s and ’80s. The invasion was taken very seriously by paper companies that owned vast blocks of forests.

That prompted an all-out attack on the budworms, with aircraft laden with chemical insecticides dispatched for much of the day from outposts in northern and eastern Maine to treat an area the size of Connecticut.

The massive operation also touched off howls of protest from residents of those remote regions, who were concerned about the health and environmental effects of the spray program.


Canary in the Blog Post

We will see how many hits it draws:

"A lifeboat from a British-operated cruise ship fell upside down into the sea at port in Spain’s Canary Islands during a safety drill, killing five crew members and injuring three others Sunday, officials said. Three of the dead were Indonesian men, one was a Filipino man and another was a man from Ghana, authorities said....


College Kids Pitching Paint

Painting service gives collegians chance to run show

German Minister Plagiarized Resignation Notice

"German minister accused of plagiarism" by David Rising  |  Associated Press, February 07, 2013

BERLIN — Germany’s education minister said Wednesday that she would not resign after a university found she had plagiarized parts of her thesis but would instead fight the ruling — a major embarrassment for the government in an election year.

Annette Schavan, 57, is a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the second minister in her Cabinet to lose a doctorate because of plagiarism. Former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg resigned in 2011 after it emerged he copied large parts of his thesis.

Duesseldorf’s Heinrich Heine University voted Tuesday to remove Schavan’s doctorate after a thorough review of her 1980 thesis undertaken after an anonymous blogger raised plagiarism allegations.

On an official trip to South Africa, Schavan, who has always denied the allegations, said she would fight the ruling.

‘‘I will not accept the University of Duesseldorf’s decision and I will take legal action against it,’’ she said in Johannesburg.

Merkel’s spokesman said the chancellor had been in contact with Schavan and ‘‘has the fullest confidence in her.’’

But the university’s decision prompted calls from opposition politicians for Schavan’s resignation because her ministry is responsible for education and science.

‘‘She needs to step down because she can no longer be regarded as a role model and is harming science,’’ said Andrea Nahles, the general secretary of the opposition Social Democrats.


"Plagiarism scandal hits education chief

BERLIN — Germany’s education minister resigned Saturday after a university decided to withdraw her doctorate, finding that she plagiarized parts of her thesis — an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government as it prepares for elections this year. Merkel said she accepted with regrets the resignation of Annette Schavan, education and research minister since 2005 (AP)."

Smith-Cofield's Corruption

"Audit details turmoil at Somerville nonprofit" by Matt Byrne  |  Globe Correspondent, November 05, 2012

The former director of the agency that provides Head Start for preschoolers in Somerville and Cambridge freely used the agency’s credit card for personal expenses, racking up more than 100 personal charges in a single year, according to an independent audit that apparently cost Kimberly Smith-Cofield her job.

As the audit was being finalized, Smith-Cofield abruptly resigned as executive director of the Community Action Agency of Somerville in June, followed closely by the agency’s finance director and later four members of the board. Agency officials declined to release or even describe the audit findings, calling them confidential.

But a copy of the audit filed with the attorney general shows that Smith-Cofield frequently used the agency’s credit card for unspecified personal purchases, despite repeated warnings from agency officials to stop. The audit describes Smith-Cofield’s personal purchases as “misappropriation of agency funds,” though it does not disclose the amount. The audit also suggests Smith-Cofield repaid the money.

Now, the state and federal agencies that provide nearly all of the agency’s $5.5 million budget are calling for better ­financial controls, and the state Department of Housing and Community Development has launched its own audit of the agency, which Smith-Cofield had run since 2009.

“We’re stewards of public money here,” said Arthur Jemison, deputy undersecretary of Housing and Community Development. “The things that we saw in the audit concerned us a great deal. It goes to our mission, which is we’ve got to make sure families take advantage of the services, and the public dollars that go to support that are being spent efficiently.”

If the state’s audit uncovers more problems, Jemison said, the Community Action Agency could face penalties, including the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in state-distributed grant money.

“We’ve got a wide range of options and everything is on the table,” said Jemison, whose department is in charge of distributing the federal grants.

Reached by phone Sunday, Smith-Cofield, who said her last name is now Simmons, declined to comment. “I have nothing to add to the story,” she said.

Disclosure of the findings by independent auditor James A. George of Boston pierces a wall of silence that has surrounded the Community Action Agency since Smith-Cofield left on June 30 after a little more than three years on the job.

According to documents the agency filed with the IRS, Smith-Cofield was paid $85,442 in 2009, the latest year for which information is available. Officials would not disclose Smith-Cofield’s most recent salary.

Other agency leaders have given varied reasons for remaining silent. Suzanne Bremer, the board chairman who resigned Oct. 2, along with three other board members, said she could not comment because she had made a deal as part of Smith-Cofield’s resignation.

“I have signed a nondisclosure agreement with the former executive director,” said Bremer in a phone interview.

The current board president, Sonja Darai, also declined to talk about the problems on Smith-Cofield’s watch. Instead, she issued a statement that acknowledged the difficulties and pledged to continue to improve internal financial controls.

The Community Action Agency of Somerville “has made great strides to improve its operations which support its critical mission of providing Head Start education to 355 children in Somerville and Cambridge and assisting those in the community who are the most in need,” Darai wrote.

Last year, most of the agency’s $5.5 million budget was drawn from federal block grants. The lion’s share — $4.4 million in state and federal money — paid for Head Start, and $417,540 paid for an advocacy program to help prevent homelessness and help low­income residents obtain benefits.

Though demand for the agency’s services remains high — more than 13,000 Somerville residents live in poverty, the highest percentage since 1993 — questions have swirled around the agency’s leadership since 2010, when a state review found weaknesses in basic financial management. A federal review of Head Start this spring also found deficiencies in accounting practices.

Since June, an accounting firm, Glivinski & Associates, has been handling accounting and finances, part of a larger effort to improve management, which included the development of written ethics and ­conflict-of-interest policies.

But the findings in George’s 29-page annual audit show just how serious the problems had become. Agency officials in addition to Smith-Cofield were making purchases on the agency’s credit card without providing receipts, and the internal review of expenses was so lax that George said agency officials might not detect misuse of funds.

“Credit card transactions are unable to be substantiated,” according to the audit, describing the failing as a “material weakness,” the accounting term for a serious problem.

The audit did not specify what personal expenses were incurred with the credit cards.

Since the audit, the board has clamped down on credit card use, disciplining employees who abuse the privilege.

In August, Jeffrey Karon, the director of administration and finance, resigned, though he insists he did nothing wrong. “I was the scapegoat in the whole thing,” he said in an interview. “I have nothing to hide.”

Karon declined to offer specifics, on the advice of his attorney.

Three former employees told the Globe that the departure of Smith-Cofield, Karon, and the board members ended a long, unhappy period at the agency’s Union Square offices, describing managers who clung to outdated and inefficient practices and an executive director who was frequently absent and seemingly disengaged.

“You could cut the tension in the air,” said Claudia Arrecis, 33, a former housing and benefits case manager who worked for the agency until January 2011. “There was never an appropriate communication of anything. One day things were done one way, and the next day they would change it. We just kind of had to wing it, and the people who paid the price . . . were the clients.”

Somerville’s mayor, Joseph A. Curtatone, expressed deep concern for the future of the agency, but said he felt the board of directors had taken the necessary steps when they were presented with the issues. Curtatone said he supports an ordinance pending before the Somerville Board of Aldermen that would require nonprofits that receive city money, including the Community Action Agency, to abide by the city’s conflict-of-interest and ethics disclosure rules.

“We are the watchdogs entrusted with public tax dollars, either directly or indirectly,” Curtatone said. “We have a certain responsibility to be transparent and alleviate any concerns of any conflicts.”

Now, the board is interviewing finalists recommended by an independent executive search firm for an interim director who will oversee the Community Action Agency while a nationwide search is conducted for a permanent leader.

But the woman who has been acting director since Smith-Cofield’s departure already is facing controversy for the way she runs the community advocacy program. A former employee last month filed a discrimination complaint against Melissa McWhinney, while another alleged that she disregards the same management issues the state Department of Housing and Community Development is investigating.

Daniel Dessin, a housing and benefits advocate fired last month, said McWhinney forced him out of the agency because of his race, sex, and ties to the employee union, where he was a vocal negotiator during protracted contract talks that ended in June. The complaint is pending with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

A second former benefits advocate, Gleisson Araujo, 40, said in an interview that McWhinney sharply criticized him when he attempted to raise serious organizational and federal reporting problems inside the advocacy department. Frustrated at the inaction, he resigned in 2011.

McWhinney, along with agency attorney John Carey, declined to comment on the personnel issues, citing privacy rules.

“I’m relieved to have left that place,” said Araujo, who said the only thing he misses are the people he used to help. “It’s a shame you have public money being wasted and misused.”


And after dark:

Somerville club cancels New Year’s party after fight

A Somerville nightspot has canceled its New Year’s Eve ­party under pressure from city officials after a fight involving as many as a dozen women broke out early Friday morning, triggering a major response from Somerville, State, and Medford police, city officials said.

In a statement, Mayor ­Joseph A. Curtatone said that he has marshaled the city’s enforcement agencies into taking a close look at Club Night Games, in the Holiday Inn on Washington Street.

Breakfast in the morningHistoric Somerville diner being sold

PTA Pffft!

"PTA sues rival group based in Mass. over ads, trademark" by Michael Tarm  |  Associated Press, September 27, 2012

CHICAGO — The nonprofit PTA sued a for-profit rival Wednesday, accusing it of denigrating the established group in a bid to siphon off members.

The National Parent Teacher Association, an iconic group that has been part of America’s cultural backdrop for more than a century but whose membership is in decline, filed its lawsuit in US District Court in Chicago.

The PTA — with primary offices in Alexandria, Va., and Chicago — boasted 12 million members during its heyday in the ’60s but has seen its ranks dwindle to less than half that. The defendant, Massachusetts-based PTO Today, has set itself up as an alternative to the group.

The 15-page lawsuit names School Family Media Inc., the parent company of PTO Today, accusing it of trademark infringement, false advertising,and deceptive trade practices, among other allegations....

The PTA, founded in 1897 as the National Congress of Mothers, has a network of state and local affiliates; it contends it is influential in the corridors of power and is a collective national voice on key educational issues....


Throwing This Post in the Dumpster

Suspicious fire displaces 5 families in Lowell

Deputy Fire Chief Michael Donnelly said “at least a half-dozen” dumpster fires had broken out in the area over the past six months. He said authorities expect to interview “a person of interest” in the case on Monday.

Globe Runoff

"New effort to curtail sewage in Boston; Deal to address leakage includes three makeovers" by Beth Daley  |  Globe Staff, August 27, 2012

A settlement reached in federal court promises an accelerated attack on pollution from the labyrinth of pipes under Boston and from pavement runoff, an effort designed to prevent raw sewage and other pollutants from reaching area waterways.

Pollution has remained an episodic problem — despite the $5.5 billion Boston Harbor cleanup — prompting beach closings and deterring those ready to dip their toes into the water. It is also a significant problem in fresh water, such as the Charles River, where storm runoff this year is contributing to blue-green algae blooms that can be a health risk to humans and animals.

The agreement, reached last week, comes two years after the Conservation Law Foundation and the US Environmental Protection Agency sued the Boston Water and Sewer Commission for not acting quickly enough to stop the pollution, largely from storm drains and illegal sewer pipe hookups....

Ratepayers will see increases as a result of the settlement....

One major problem is asphalt and concrete: The impermeable surfaces do not allow rainwater filled with pollution from city streets and sidewalks to seep into soil, which would allow toxins to naturally filter out. Instead, the pollution travels on a storm drain highway, reaching Boston Harbor and other waterways....


Also see: There Is Blood Under Boston's Streets

Why Not Ged Rid of this Wyoming Draft?

"A Montana man faces charges of kidnapping and assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Wyoming after police said he lured her into his car by saying he needed help finding a missing puppy, court records obtained Monday state."

Wyo. man kills 2, self; attack locks down school

A man wielding a sharp-edged weapon killed one person in a Casper neighborhood Friday before killing a male teacher and himself in front of students in a community college classroom, causing a campus-wide lockdown. Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh said the murder-suicide took place in a classroom with students present, but he did not know how many students or what the class topic was. The attacker wasn’t believed to be a Casper College student and it appeared he knew the victims, Walsh said."

Coast Guard Watching Canoe

Early word from the AmeriKan media is a terrorist is paddling upstream....

Coast Guard monitors man in canoe living in Boston Harbor

A man living in a canoe in the Boston Harbor has tied his canoe to a floating dock in the harbor and pitched a tent, but US Coast Guard Lieutenant Joe Klinker is not sure who owns the dock or if the man intends on using it as a sort of home base.

The Coast Guard is keeping an eye on the situation and deploying their usual patrols, he said. “This is what our guys do ­every day,” Klinker said. The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the man and support Boston police, he said.

Klinker said never in his career has he ever seen someone live in the harbor on a boat as small as the man’s canoe. “Living on a canoe in Boston in the winter is not a good idea,” he said.

RelatedWhat is a MSM Update Made Of?

Globe Profiles an Arsonist

Mass. in pursuit of an arsonist

Many of the fires have ­occurred at night, in secluded areas, and in unoccupied buildings, apparently set for excitement rather than revenge, profit, or to injure. An arsonist with such motivations, federal studies show, is typically a single white male with a criminal ­record and limited education."

"Middleborough man in arson case held without bail" by Brian Ballou  |  Globe Staff, February 08, 2013

BROCKTON — A resident of Middleborough charged with setting fire to a building in West Bridgewater was ordered held without bail Thursday, as author­ities continued to investigate whether he set fire to at least 24 other unoccupied or abandoned buildings south of Boston since September.

During a two-day dangerousness hearing in Brockton District Court to evaluate whether Mark Sargent and co-defendant Jean Marie Louis should be held without bail, prosecutors portrayed Sargent as being so focused on causing fiery destruction that he could not stop even when he knew ­officials were closing in on him.

Eric Drury, a Plymouth County prosecutor, said during the hearing that Sargent knew police suspected him in the ­arsons because they had questioned him twice before Jan. 30, the day he and Louis were arrested moments after the West Bridgewater arson....

Sargent, 45, lives with ­Louis’s mother, and the couple have a younger child. Louis lives at the same address....

Jennifer Sunderland, Louis’s attorney, said her client does not fit the profile of an arsonist.

“He’s just an ordinary guy who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said....

Michael Peters, a State ­Police arson investigator returned to the witness stand Thursday to complete his testimony . He said a GPS tracking device on Sargent’s Subaru Outback indicated that it stopped at the West Bridgewater building before the fire broke out there.

The device also indicated that the vehicle drove by the building a total of eight times, both before and after the blaze.

Sargent was stopped in the area a short time after the fire was reported. Louis was in the passenger’s seat, and police said he reeked of gasoline.

Authorities had secured a warrant allowing them to use the GPS device. A Raynham ­police detective went to ­Sargent’s home in Middle­borough Dec. 22 and placed the device on his Toyota Highlander. Sargent, a wholesale car dealer, exchanged the Highlander for a Subaru Outback in early January, and authorities placed the GPS on the Subaru.

Jason Howard, who is representing Sargent, said authorities had no eyewitnesses or evidence linking his client to the Jan. 30 arson or any of the ­other cases.

Howard said of the GPS tracking: “It’s all beeps and dots on a map. I suggest it’s lazy. They’ve been beating their chests on how amazing this technology is. I suggest it’s lazy.”

Howard said that during the time that authorities surreptitiously tracked the Toyota Highlander and Subaru Outback, they did it only by looking at a computer, rather than actually following the vehicles.

After the hearing, Howard expressed disappointment with Campbell’s decision.

“I don’t feel to date that what’s been testified to during the hearing or what has been relayed to the media has been supported by sufficient or credible evidence,” he said. “I’m anxious to see what discovery the government will provide, ­because nothing has been provided so far.

“What he is accused of doesn’t fit the character of this gentleman,” Howard said, standing in front of a lectern and pointing at his client sitting several feet away.

“He trades on his reputation,” Howard said, referring to Sargent’s job as a wholesale car dealer.


Congressmen Take a Swim

"Swimming isn’t a scandal; refusing to raise the debt ceiling is" August 21, 2012

‘Freshman” is an odd term to describe new members of Congress who typically range in age from their 20s to their 60s. But it never seemed more apt than it did Sunday, when word got around that a group of GOP lawmakers, including numerous first-term House Republicans, had plunged into the Sea of Galilee in various states of undress last summer, prompting a furious scolding from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

The cavorters were among 30 lawmakers — some of whom brought family and staffers — on a junket sponsored by an AIPAC-related group. While the ostensible goal of the trip was to bring these already pro-Israel House members up to speed on the latest developments in the Middle East, the boozy rambunctiousness in the Sea of Galilee is hardly the stuff of a serious fact-finding mission. Politico helpfully provides a list of who dived in fully clothed, partially clothed, and, in one case, totally unclothed.

But let’s be clear: This is a trivial matter, and a report that the FBI stepped in to investigate only serves to raise unpleasant memories of Hoover-era snitching and blackmailing. Many of these same freshmen made a far worse display of callowness in Washington last year, when they threw the solvency of the nation into doubt by threatening to place the government in default. Their refusal to raise the debt ceiling, a move made necessary by the House’s own passage of an unbalanced budget, proved to be an effective way to show they were opposed to business as usual, without having to make any hard budgetary or tax decisions. It was, in every respect, juvenile. It pushed the political system to the brink, sent alarm bells ringing throughout the economy, and brought about a so-called “sequester” that will force deep, automatic cuts to the Defense Department at the end of the year, unless further action is taken.

Yet many of these representatives actually scored points with their Tea Party supporters for creating a budgetary tsunami. If those same supporters are now shocked by their representatives’ late-night dip into the Sea of Galilee, it’s just deserts. But those supporters should engage in some soul-searching of their own about what does and doesn’t constitute a scandal.


RelatedCongressman’s naked swim in Israel was not the target of FBI probe

Singapore Shipyard

"Eighty-nine workers were injured, some seriously, when an oil rig under construction tilted Monday at a Singapore shipyard, officials said. Singapore, a global financial center, is a major container port and a center for construction and repair of oil tankers and rigs."

Khadafy Had a Crush on Condoleezza Rice

"Ambassador Christopher Stevens, 52, wanted to help Libya’s transition" by Anne Gearan  |  Washington Post, September 13, 2012

WASHINGTON — Friends said John Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador killed Tuesday in an attack in Benghazi, Libya, also had a wry sense of humor and a direct style of speaking that is unusual for many diplomats. Preparing then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for a meeting with Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, he alluded to Khadafy’s crush on Rice.

‘‘A self-styled intellectual and philosopher, he has been eagerly anticipating for several years the opportunity to share with you his views on global affairs,’’ Stevens wrote in an August 2008 diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.

Rice herself later recalled Khadafy’s interest in her as ‘‘creepy.’’


$$I and the Child

"Children’s disability program lags on reviews, report says; Report says revisions could yield savings" by Patricia Wen  |  Globe Staff, May 24, 2012

Federal officials overseeing a fast-growing $10 billion children’s disability program have failed to follow up on the progress of 400,000 beneficiaries with behavioral, learning, and mental disorders, allowing families to receive monthly cash benefits for years even if their children’s condition has improved, according to a draft report from the Government Accountability Office obtained by the Globe.

The report by the investigative branch of Congress estimated that the Social Security Administration, which runs the Supplemental Security Income program, might save $9 for every $1 it spends on disability reviews by determining that some children no longer qualify. Reviews are typically required once every three years for the 1.3 million children now receiving benefits, a record high.

Investigators also cited many instances of incomplete data or highly subjective factors being used to evaluate children with mental impairments, who now account for more than half of all cases. Though the program rejects half of all claims for disability payments, it has over the past decade seen a surge of awards in three categories - attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, speech delay, and autism spectrum disorders - particularly for young boys.

Treatment with psychotropic drugs, which alter mood and behavior, does not appear to play a pivotal role in awarding benefits, the report said, despite investigators’ findings that there is “a perception among some parents that medicating their child would result in an award of benefits.’’

In fact, children who were on such drugs were more likely to be denied than approved, sometimes because the psychiatric medications, particularly for ADHD, were viewed as improving their condition.

The report - scheduled for public release next month and subject to modifications based on input from Social Security officials, lawmakers, and others - was requested by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Senator Scott Brown and Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts, following a Globe series in 2010 called “ The Other Welfare.’’

The newspaper documented how, over the past decade, behavioral, learning, and mental disorders had come to dominate the caseload, and described how low-income parents face perverse incentives to have their children labeled as disabled - and maintain that designation - to qualify for benefits of up to $700 a month.

Some parents said they heard through word of mouth that a child had to be on psychotropic drugs, particularly for cases involving ADHD, to stand a chance of approval. Also, teenagers reported disincentives to get part-time work, because their income would be counted against their family’s financial eligibility for the program.

To qualify for SSI benefits, which average about $600 a month, a child must be deemed to have severe disabilities and impairments and reside in a household with income below poverty thresholds.

A Social Security Administration spokesman declined to comment on the report Wednesday, saying the agency prefers to wait until the final report is issued next month.

However, the report comes as advocates and reformers of the program are engaged in an emotional battle over its future.

Many disability, mental health, and antipoverty advocates argue that the SSI program is a lifeline for the nation’s most vulnerable families and that the increase in beneficiaries is largely related to a surge in diagnosis of mental impairments and to an increase in families plunging into poverty. They argue that, for the most part, the program is well run.

Critics, however, worry that the program has morphed into an alternative welfare system for children with hard-to-measure behavioral, mental, and learning disabilities and is vulnerable to abuse when the nation can least afford it.

The report raised questions about the sharp increase in children receiving benefits for speech and language delay, as early as their toddler years. Investigators said some speech specialists they consulted were surprised by this growth and wondered whether it had become a “provisional diagnosis for very young children’’ when something is concerning about the child but nobody can pinpoint the reason....  

So keep giving the kids drugs.


Related: The End of Riley