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"Community Matters"
is on the air !!!
LACP.org is grassroots. We're unaffiliated with any other group, organization or cause, and have no particular political point of view. We do co-operate with many government offices, law enforcement groups and other non-profit efforts, & frequently offer up our expressed opinions of the issues of the day. We also allow and insist on opinions from different perspectives and walks of life.
Forum Articles - 2010
LA Community Policing

Below you'll find the many "Main Articles" from the
LACP website this year, listed by the month
they appeared with a brief description of what's
inside. Scroll down to find them.
Click here for other year's articles:
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010,
2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch Dec

Daily News
Here are recent
daily digests:

Weekly Daily News Digests - the LA Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file LAPD officers, presents a weekday digest of local news, which often includes the union's opinion and perspective.

Frequent topics include:

Local Law Enforcement

Curent Crime Stories

California Prisons

Homeland Security Issues

Immigration / Border

LA City Government

State Budget Crisis

California Politics

Pensions & Benefits

Changes in the Law

and much more ..
A personal thank you to US Attorney (and my friend) André Birotte Dec

by Bill Murray,
Grateful and
willing to serve
My letter thanking the US Attorney, André Birotte, my good friend
- by Bill Murray - NAACC / LACP
- December 16, 2010

I was so impressed and appreciative of the announcement I received from Thom Mrozek -- United States Attorney's Office, Central District of California (Los Angeles) -- written on behalf of his boss, and my good friend, US Attorney André Birotte, that I wrote them the letter inside.

In it you'll see my offer to speak publicly and in any place in the country to bring attention to the cause of childhood sexual abuse, kidnapped and missing kids, human trafficking and child pornography (I have personal experience with all these things, and have recovered from them).
International "Lost Boy" Child Porn Ring Dismantled - UPDATED Dec

Dept of Justice
Central District
of CA
Five of 16 Defendants Charged in United States Have Now Pleaded Guilty for Roles in ‘Lost Boy' Child Pornography Ring - by Thom Mrozek - United States Attorney's Office - Central District of California (Los Angeles) - December 15, 2010

LOS ANGELES – A Georgia man pleaded guilty yesterday to transporting child pornography using a secret Internet bulletin board that allowed approximately three dozen members to trade thousands of images and videos of child pornography depicting young boys in sexually explicit situations.

Yesterday's guilty plea is the result of an international investigation into the “Lost Boy” online bulletin board. Federal authorities, working in conjunction with a coalition of international law enforcement agencies, shut down the Lost Boy bulletin board approximately two years ago.

“The Lost Boy bulletin board allowed members to access pornographic images of hundreds of boys who were victimized for sexual purposes,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The investigation by officials here in the United States, working in conjunction with their law enforcement counterparts around the globe, shut down an international child pornography ring and will hopefully bring some justice to the numerous victims. As a result of this investigation, authorities also discovered individuals who abused children, made their own child pornography and shared their disturbing product with others on the Internet.”
Where's the "shared sacrifice" here? Dec

Xavier Becerra
his email to
is included
inside this
We Can Do Better Than This - OPINION - by Bill Murray - NAACC / LACP - December 17, 2010

This is in response to an email I got from my Congressman in Los Angeles, Representative Xavier Becerra (D, CA-31), who voted against the Tax Relief bill that passed around midnight Thursday, by a count of 277 to 148.

LA Community Policing does not take political stands or positions, but does make comments on issues that are important to the American public and way of life.

I do agree with the central premise in what Congressman Becerra says here -- that we can do better if everyone in America was ready to sacrifice -- although unlike him I'd want the "poor" and middle-class to sacrifice, too, by being willing (and perhaps even required) to give something back for their subsidies and assistance.

The Tax Relief package is essentially a second stimulus bill and isn't tied in any way to deficit reduction.  In fact, the legislation is paid for entirely by raising future unspecified taxes, and adds $858 billion to the national debt.

Below you'll find the comments I got from my congressman.

Elsewhere on the web site today, I've posted the story of Dennis Ferguson, a man from South Carolina who took it upon himself send a check to the State of California by way of "repaying with interest" the assistance he'd received years before, four months' worth of unemployment benefits, money that had helped him keep his head above water during a difficult time in his life.

The original "debt" was $1,100 .. and the "reimbursement" check was for $10,000.

Now THAT's in the true spirit of America!
Prosecutors seek other possible victims of accused child molester Dec

Omar Guzman
first molestred
a 5 year old in
1995 but is
finally being
brought to
justice now
Orange County, CA, man molested neighbor girls and friends of his young daughter - by Shan Li - December 17, 2010

Investigators sought the public's help Friday in identifying other potential victims of a Mission Viejo man charged with molesting three young girls.

Omar Alirio Guzman, 43, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of  nine felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and one felony count of aggravated assault on a child under 14.

He also faces additional sentencing enhancements for substantial sexual conduct against a child and committing a sexual offense against multiple victims, a spokesman for the Orange County district attorney's office said Friday in a statement.

Guzman allegedly met the first victim, then 5 years old, in 1995 when he was working as a house cleaner at the girl's Dove Canyon home. He is accused of sexually assaulted her multiple times while working in her family's home, the spokesman said.

The case was investigated, but the district attorney's office decided not to press charges then, said Dan Salcedo, an investigator with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

More than a decade later, in February 2009, Guzman allegedly became acquainted with two girls, aged 9 and 10, when they visited his daughter at their Mission Viejo home, Salcedo said.
13-year-old with pellet gun wounded by LAPD officer - UPDATES Dec

Beretta 92F
its virtually
to quickly
handguns such
as this from
a replica
or a toy,
in the dark

the replica
Cops respond immediately with a community meeting held the following night - by Martha Groves - Los Angeles Times - December 17, 2010

A Los Angeles police officer shot and wounded a 13-year-old boy who was carrying what turned out to be a pellet gun in the Glassell Park area.

Police said late Friday that the incident occurred about 7:50 p.m. Thursday when two LAPD officers on  routine patrol in the 3000 block of North Verdugo Road saw three pedestrians in the middle of the street and stopped to investigate. The three people ran, with one ending up behind a van.

The officers got out of their patrol car, and one of them, Officer Victor Abarca, shined a flashlight on the person behind the van and ordered him to surrender. Based on the person's 5-foot-7, 200-pound frame, Abarca assumed that he was a young adult male.

Police said the subject refused to comply and instead produced what was later found to be a fake Beretta 92F handgun. Abarca fired his gun, striking the subject.
Deputies led on wild chase that includes crashes, carjacking, kidnapping Dec

Incident began
with suspect
stabbing his
mother, forcing
her out of car
Incident began with suspect stabbing his mother, forcing her out of car - by Martha Groves - Los Angeles Times - December 17, 2010

A 30-year-old Chatsworth man was in custody Friday night in Santa Clarita after a dramatic string of crimes involving a stabbing, an assault, a carjacking, a kidnapping, another auto theft, multiple car crashes and resisting arrest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Authorities said the chain of events started about 5:50 p.m. when Aaron Clay Tanner allegedly stabbed his mother multiple times and pushed her out of their car on the 14 Freeway at the interchange with the 5 Freeway, near Mission Hills.

Tanner then drove north on the 14 and exited at the Newhall Avenue off-ramp in Newhall, authorities said. At the bottom of the off-ramp, he reportedly crashed into another vehicle in a park-and-ride lot. About 6 p.m., a witness called the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station to report the hit-and-run.

Deputies soon arrived and a woman told them that she had been assaulted and that her PT Cruiser had been carjacked, with her 4-year-old son inside.

A deputy spotted the PT Cruiser about four miles away, where the suspect had crashed it near Carl Boyer Avenue and Golden Valley Road in Canyon Country. The suspect had rear-ended another vehicle and then backed into a tree, disabling the PT Cruiser.

As the deputy hurried to help the child, the suspect got out of the car, circled around and stole the deputy's car, the Sheriff's Department said. The deputy immediately alerted other patrol deputies and a nearby Sheriff's Department helicopter.
South Carolina man repays California for its assistance in 1964 - UPDATED Dec

Dennis Ferguson
received about
$1,100 in 1964
and repaid $10,000 to CA
in Nov, 2010
Dennis R. Ferguson wrote a check for $10,000 to the state treasury in November, in thanks for unemployment aid that allowed him to retrain for a new career in computers. The money will be spent on schools. - Los Angeles Times -
December 17, 2010

California's budget crisis has eased a bit, thanks to a South Carolina man grateful to the state for helping him 46 years ago.

Dennis R. Ferguson wrote a check for $10,000 to the state treasury Nov. 23 as "repayment for what California did for me" when he was laid off from his aerospace engineering job in 1964.

Ferguson, a 74-year-old retired computer programmer who lives in the Atlantic coastal community of Fripp Island, S.C., said the four months' worth of unemployment benefits he collected after losing his job with Douglas Aircraft allowed him to re-train for a new career in computers.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said Ferguson's money will be spent on schools, as required by state law.

That's appropriate, Lockyer said, "because there's a lesson to be learned here about what it means to have a sense of shared sacrifice and commitment to the common good."
Grim Sleeper suspect's photos of women released - UPDATED Dec

"Grim Sleeper"
Lonnie Franklin
160 pictures of
women found
in his posession
need to be
LAPD seeks the public's aid in identifying about 160 women whose images were found on the property of accused serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr. - by Andrew Blankstein and Joel Rubin - Los Angeles Times - December 17, 2010

In July, when Los Angeles police arrested Lonnie Franklin Jr., the suspected Grim Sleeper serial killer, they scoured his South L.A. property for evidence. Among the unsettling discoveries was a cache of about 1,000 photographs and hundreds of hours of home video showing women, many of them partly or fully nude and striking sexually graphic poses.

It was an eerie find in a case involving a man who is thought to have sexually assaulted his victims before or after killing them. Police also cannot account for large swaths of Franklin's life, including a 14-year gap between his alleged killings, during which investigators suspect he killed other women.

Detectives set out to identify the women on the film and tape, knowing that some could be additional homicide victims.

There were several photos of each woman, and police whittled the collection down to 180 images. They believe that about 20 of the pictures show women also captured in the other photographs.

(NOTE: link to pictures inside)
Vatican Shielded Dublin Priest Until He Raped Boy in Pub Dec

Vatican is said
to have shielded
a Dublin priest
who raped
and molested
hundreds of
boys and girls
from 1978 to
Raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls while serving as a priest in Dublin from 1978 to 1996 - by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - December 17, 2010

DUBLIN (AP) — The Vatican tried to stop church leaders here from defrocking a particularly dangerous pedophile priest and relented only after he raped a boy in a restroom at a pub, according to an investigation released Friday.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said he fully accepted the findings of the latest chapter in Ireland's investigation into child abuse by priests in Dublin who were shielded from the law by Catholic leaders.

Archbishop Martin called the priest, Tony Walsh, an “extremely devious man” who should never have been ordained.

A state-ordered investigation into cover-ups by the Dublin Archdiocese reported last year that church officials had shielded scores of priests from criminal investigation over several decades and did not report any crimes to the police until the mid-1990s.

A chapter dealing with Mr. Walsh was censored from the original report because he was still facing a criminal trial at the time. It was published Friday, after Mr. Walsh's conviction on Dec. 6 for raping three boys over a five-year period three decades ago. He got a 12-year prison term.

The investigators concluded that Mr. Walsh raped and molested hundreds of boys and girls while serving as a priest in Dublin from 1978 to 1996. They described him as “probably the most notorious child sexual abuser” of the 46 cases they investigated.
More than 12,000 killed in Mexican drug war this year Dec

Mexican police - prime targets
in their / our
war on drugs
The overall death toll in the 4-year-old war is said to be 30,196, but it could be higher. A top official says recent operations against cartels have weakened them. - by Ken Ellingwood - Los Angeles Times - December 16, 2010

Reporting from Mexico City

More than 12,000 people have died this year in Mexico's drug war, officials said Thursday, making it the deadliest year since President Felipe Calderon launched a government crackdown against traffickers in 2006.

The federal attorney general's office said 12,456 people were killed through Nov. 30.

The overall death toll since the launch of the drug war stands at 30,196, according to figures given to reporters during a year-end breakfast session with Atty. Gen. Arturo Chavez Chavez.

But that figure appeared to underestimate the toll. Federal officials announced in August that 28,228 had been killed in the war, meaning the death rate would have to have slowed considerably since then. But there has been no sign of easing violence as cartels have remained locked in fierce turf battles that have most contributed to the rising toll.

Estimates by Mexican intelligence put the death count at about 32,000.
DHS Sec. Napolitano confirms gang killed border agent in battle Dec

U.S. Border
Patrol agent
Brian Terry was
fatally shot
north of the
border near
Congress has authorized funding for an additional 1,000 border patrol agents, who are being hired and trained. Many will eventually be deployed in the Tucson area. - by Daniel González and Dan Nowicki - The Arizona Republic

An elite Border Patrol squad was pursuing a gang that preyed on drug smugglers when agent Brian Terry was shot and killed Tuesday night in a remote canyon near Rio Rico, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday.

"They were seeking to apprehend what's called a 'rip crew,' which is a name given to a crew that it is organized to seek to rip off people who are drug mules or traversing the border illegally," she said during a meeting with The Arizona Republic's editorial board. "That's why they were in that area."

Her comments were the first official confirmation that Terry and other members of the Border Patrol's specially trained tactical unit known as BORTAC were pursuing bandits the night the 40-year-old agent was killed in a gunbattle, which occurred in a remote canyon near Rio Rico.

Four suspects, including one who was wounded in the shootout, are in custody. A fifth suspect is at large.
Man killed by Long Beach police was holding a water nozzle - UPDATED Dec

responded to
a 911 call of a
man holding a
Douglas Zerby, 35, was shot and killed by officers responding to a 911 call of an intoxicated man holding a 'six-shooter' Sunday in the Belmont Shore neighborhood. - by Nardine Saad - Los Angeles Times - December 14, 2010

The 35-year-old Long Beach man killed in an officer-involved shooting Sunday was holding a pistol-grip water nozzle, not a gun, Long Beach police officials said Monday.

Two officers responded to a 911 call at 4:40 p.m. Sunday from a neighbor reporting an intoxicated man holding a "six-shooter" in the 5300 block of East Ocean Boulevard in the upscale Belmont Shore neighborhood.

"The officers had a position of cover and were observing the suspect while other officers were en route," said Sgt. Dina Zapalski, a spokeswoman for the Long Beach Police Department.

Zapalski said Douglas Zerby had been sitting on a stoop playing with what appeared to be a weapon and pointing it at objects as if it were a gun. He extended his arms and pointed in the direction of an officer. Police said they did not have time to make their presence known or to tell Zerby to drop the weapon before opening fire because they believed he was a threat.
Woman Sentenced in Columbus, Ohio, in Human Trafficking Conspiracy Dec

"The FBI is
committed to
protecting all
regardless of
from slave
"The FBI is committed to protecting all persons, regardless of nationality, from slave trafficking" - from Department of Justice / FBI - December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON - Maria Terechina, a national of the Russian Federation, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, for her role in a human trafficking conspiracy involving guestworkers who worked in hotels as housekeepers and laundry workers.

Terechina was sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $250,000 in restitution to her victims.  After her release from prison, Terechina will be on federal supervised release for three years.

During her guilty plea hearing in April, Terechina admitted that she engaged in the harboring and transporting of dozens of illegal aliens from Russia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, and other Eastern European nations.  The guestworkers who labored for Terechina worked in various hotels in and around Columbus. Terechina admitted that she agreed to hold some of the workers' passports and immigration documents in order to prevent them from leaving their employment. Terechina also admitted that she defrauded the United States of approximately $185,000 in taxes.

“The defendant participated in a scheme that created a condition of modern-day slavery, using intimidation to deprive the workers of their freedom for her own financial gain,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
Pot smoking makes a comeback among teenagers Dec

Pot smoking
more popular
among teens
More high school seniors report using marijuana than smoking cigarettes in the last 30 days, a government survey finds. The U.S. drug czar blames Prop. 19 and similar measures. - by Melissa Healy - Los Angeles Times - December 15, 2010

After nearly a decade in decline, marijuana is making a strong comeback among teens, with more high school seniors reporting that they had recently smoked pot than cigarettes, according to a government survey issued Tuesday.

This year, 21.4% of high school seniors said they had used marijuana in the last 30 days, while 19.2% reported smoking cigarettes in the same time period, according to the annual "Monitoring the Future" survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It was the first time since 1981 that pot surpassed tobacco in that age group.

The remarkable crossover is a victory for public health campaigns aimed at stamping out cigarette smoking among teens. But the federal office that tracks illicit drug use said it was driven by an uptick in youth marijuana use that is broad-based and likely to continue, with even eighth-graders reporting softer attitudes about the risk of smoking pot.

The Obama administration's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, blamed state medical marijuana measures like California's Proposition 19 for making pot seem less dangerous to younger Americans.
Emergency Management and Response Dec

and Response
weekly info
Information Sharing and Analysis Center - December 16, 2010

NOTE: This INFOGRAM will be distributed weekly to provide members of the Emergency Services Sector with information concerning the protection of their critical infrastructures.  For further information, contact the Emergency Management and Response- Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) at (301) 447-1325 or by e-mail at:

Critical Infrastructure Protection Month
(Sources: White House and Department of Homeland Security)

Carbon Monoxide: “The Silent Killer”
(Source: Safety Online)

Making Policing More Affordable
(Source: National Institute of Justice)

2009 Fire Estimate Summary
(Source: U.S. Fire Administration)

DHS and the FBI encourage recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and/or the FBI. The DHS National Operation Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9685 or by e-mail at NOC.Fusion@dhs.gov
Baca's done it again, and this one's a doozy Dec

Los Angeles
County Sheriff
Lee Baca
Ordering deputies not to talk to the LA Times is just the latest in a series of missteps by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. - by Steve Lopez - Los Angeles Times - December 15, 2010

In conversations with Lee Baca, you sometimes find yourself wondering, "OK, is this guy a sheriff or a shaman?"

He's different. Spiritual. More of a social worker than any other cop I know, and he and I have served together more than once on panels involving mental health matters.

All that's to the good, I'd say, although you're never quite sure where Baca's next globe-trekking retreat will take him or whether he'll return in sandals and robes.

But holy Jehoshaphat, when it comes to running a department, it's been one screw-up after another at the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

The latest head-smacker involves an e-mail from one of Baca's captains ordering deputies not to speak to the L.A. Times. As my colleague Robert Faturechi reported Tuesday, the captain's directive came just a few days after the paper ran Faturechi's story on the fact that Baca had launched a criminal investigation in Beverly Hills — which has its own presumably competent Police Department — on behalf of a political donor.
Cops call in FBI as serial killer case develops on Long Island - UPDATED Dec

It's unlikely
that any of
the discovered
bodies is that
of missing
Shannon Gilbert
But none of four bodies on beach is Shannon Gilbert - by John Lauinger - New York Daily News - December 15, 2010

Cops who feared a serial killer has turned a Long Island beach into a dumping ground Tuesday called in the FBI for help.

The New York City medical examiner is also helping Suffolk County police identify the four decomposing corpses a cadaver dog discovered in Oak Beach, L.I.

Cops were looking for clues to the fate of prostitute Shannon Gilbert when they discovered the remains on Saturday and Monday.

An early analysis suggests none is Gilbert - who vanished in May after a sex romp in a gated community in Oak Beach.

"Preliminarily, it doesn't look like it is her," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told the Daily News yesterday.

The bodies - at least two are women - were found on a narrow island off Long Island's South Shore, between Gilgo Beach and Cedar Beach.
Plan to assign LAPD officers to jails OK'd Dec

officers will
work at LA's
new jail
83 LAPD officers to work as jailers - by Rick Orlov - LA Daily News - December 13, 2010

Hoping to get the new Metropolitan Detention Center up and running by the end of January, a city panel signed off Monday on a plan to reassign 83 LAPD officers to work as jailers.

While LAPD brass and city officials oppose the idea of pulling officers off the streets to work as jailers, they say it's the only option because a hiring freeze has made it impossible to fill vacancies with civilian employees.

"Other options are even worse," said City Councilman Greig Smith, an LAPD reserve officer who chairs the Public Safety Committee.

The committee signed off on the LAPD plan that would take new police officers off the streets to work in the jail for six-month periods.
Video Captures Man Confronting School Board Before Shooting Dec

The gunman
killed himself
The gunman eventually killed himself - by Anahad O'Conner - New York Times - December 15, 2010

WMBB Video of an armed man in Florida taking over a school board meeting and firing shots. (Note: the shots fired in this portion of the video did not injure anyone. The gunman was later killed by police officers.)

With news cameras rolling, a 56-year-old gunman entered a school board meeting in Florida on Tuesday and took several members of the board hostage, then fatally shot himself during a shootout with a security guard.

The episode was captured on video and broadcast on WMBB.com News 13 in Panama City, which ran several clips of the incident, including one in which the gunman fires a shot at a board member.
One extended clip shows the man, identified as Clay A. Duke, calmly walk up to a podium at the front of the room with a pistol after painting a mysterious red encircled “V” on the wall.
Couple accused of dismembering man in LA hotel could face death penalty Dec

Edward Garcia
Jr., 36, & his
wife, Melissa
Hope Garcia, 25,
are from PA
Said to have of chopping up "good Samaritan" - by Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - December 13, 2010

A couple charged in connection with the killing and dismembering of a man at a downtown Los Angeles hotel could face the death penalty.

The couple made their first court appearance on Monday. They were charged with murder with special circumstance allegations that could bring the death penalty. Prosecutors will make a decision on the death provision at a later point.

The arrests of Edward Garcia Jr., 36, and his wife, Melissa Hope Garcia, 25, were made Friday by the U.S. marshal's service and the Los Angeles Police Department at a location on La Brea Avenue near Hawthorn Avenue in Hollywood.

A maid at the Continental Hotel discovered Herbert Tracy White's severed limbs stuffed in a backpack on the morning of Nov. 29. The rest of the 49-year-old victim's body was found wrapped in a blanket under a bed in the hotel room.

The suspects, who are from Pennsylvania, had been renting the $40-a-night room.
Arlington man charged with terror threat Dec

Talked of his
intentions to
bomb metro
transit system
on Facebook
Talked of his intentions on Facebook - by Maria Glod - Washington Post - December 15, 2010

A 25-year-old Arlington County man was arrested after threatening on his Facebook page to use explosives in the Washington area, writing that he could put pipe bombs on Metro cars or in Georgetown at rush hour, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Virginia.

Court papers do not indicate that Awais Younis, also known as Mohhanme Khan and Sundullah Ghilzai, ever acted on the threats. He has been charged with communicating threats via interstate communications.

In conversations with another Facebook user, Younis described how to build a pipe bomb and indicated what type of shrapnel would cause the most damage. He talked about putting bombs on the third and fifth cars of a Metro train, which he said held the largest number of passengers. In one posting, he said, "Christmas trees were going to go boom."

Younis's case is the second in recent days in which Facebook has pointed authorities toward suspects in terrorism investigations. Federal authorities cited the popular social networking site in the case against a Baltimore man accused of plotting to blow up a military recruiting center. Authorities said they learned of Antonio Martinez's radical leanings on Facebook, joined his plot and supplied him with a fake car bomb that he tried to detonate last week.
LAPD Program at Birmingham High School Helps Kids in Jeopardy Dec

program is
for 11- to 17-
year-old kids
and their
Police officers and community leaders help at-risk youth get back on track. - by Erica Andrews - Encino Patch - December 14, 2010

In a time of government and corporate downsizing, many are looking to local organizations to bolster community spirit and alleviate problems in society. One group that has been uniquely active in this regard is the LAPD West Valley Division's Jeopardy Program, which was launched this spring.

The Jeopardy Program offered at Birmingham High School is a gang prevention and intervention program for 11- to 17-year-old kids and their parents.

Though the local group doesn't quantify its success, it hosted a holiday party last week for the students and families to celebrate their accomplishments.

"The way I look at it as a policemen, is directing traffic," said President of the West Valley Jeopardy Foundation Michael Sirota. "We're at the end of the street and you have a kid come along and the kid is in trouble and he's trying to decide if he should go to gangs, go to crime or go to school. And the police officer directs him in the right direction."
Put the Labels Aside. Do What's Best for America. Dec

THE NO LABELS approach - www.NoLabels.org - December 13, 2010

We are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are united in the belief that we do not have to give up our labels, merely put them aside to do what's best for America.

Hyper-partisanship is one of the greatest domestic challenges our nation faces. It divides America and derails our ability to solve our shared challenges.  Rather than focusing on solving problems, hyper-partisans use labels to demonize their opponents, enforce orthodoxy within their own ranks, and marginalize sensible compromises.

Putting aside our labels can offer a hopeful alternative, grounded in an approach that brings people together to develop practical solutions to common problems.  That doesn't mean that we forget about our differences.  It does mean that we regard those with whom we disagree as legitimate voices in the dialogue of democracy, as citizens who might have a piece of the answer to tough questions.

In this spirit, No Labels will bring together leading thinkers from the left, right, and all points in between.  We will work to break down false divisions and lift up the common ground on which we can build solutions.
Gang moms and dads sent to parenting classes Dec

"Now more
than ever,
parents need
a guide."
"A lot of parents do not know how to handle teenagers." - Associated Press - December 12, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's a Saturday morning and a half-dozen adults are sitting in a high school classroom, staring at grim photos of sickly drug addicts and hearing about the deadly consequences of gang crime. They'd rather not be here, but a judge made them come.

The moms and dads were ordered to attend the class under a new California law giving judges the option of sending parents for training when their kids are convicted of gang crimes for the first time.

Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, the lawmaker behind the Parent Accountability Act, said it is the first state law to give judges the power to order parents of gang members to school, though other court-mandated classes exist at the local level.

"A lot of parents do not know how to handle teenagers," Mendoza said. "Now more than ever, parents need a guide."
Attorney General defends legality of FBI stings against Muslim groups Dec

"I make no
apologies for
how the FBI
agents handled
their work,"
Holder said.
"I make no apologies for how the FBI agents handled their work," Holder said. - by Jerry Markon - Washington Post - December 11, 2010

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. struck back against criticism that the FBI has targeted Muslims in a series of undercover stings, telling a Muslim group Friday night that those who allege government entrapment "simply do not have their facts straight."

In one of his most pointed and personal responses to allegations that government anti-terrorism tactics are overly aggressive, Holder strongly defended the FBI agents he said are fighting a wave of terrorist plots. Without their efforts, he said in a speech in San Francisco, "government simply could not meet its most critical responsibility of protecting American lives."

Wading into the most controversial recent case, Holder backed the FBI's investigation of an Oregon man charged with trying to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. FBI technicians had supplied the device, leading some Muslims and civil libertarians to question whether agents went too far by training the man for terrorism.
Crisis Response Team - Now Recruiting Dec

Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security & Public Safety

Crisis Response Team (CRT) members are community volunteers who respond to traumatic incidents at the request of the Los Angeles Police and Los Angeles Fire Departments. CRT volunteers provide immediate on-scene crisis intervention, attend to survival & comfort needs, act as a liaison between the victim & emergency personnel and give referrals to victims & their families affected by a death, a serious injury, a violent crime or other traumatic incidents.

These incidents include homicides, suicides, serious traffic accidents, natural deaths and multi-casualty incidents.

The CRT program is managed by the Mayor's Office of Homeland Security & Public Safety in collaboration with the City's Fire & Police Departments.

JANUARY 18, 2011 – MARCH 3, 2011
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

LOCATION: Grace E. Simons Lodge
(near Dodger Stadium)
One small town's battle for tolerance Dec

"You can't just
bury Grandma
in the backyard
under the picnic
"Change is happening, but it's going to take time for the town to heal." - by Helen O'Neill - The Associated Press - December 13, 2010

SIDNEY CENTER, N.Y. -- On a crisp November day in 2009, the cemetery on the hill received its first guest - a 28-year-old stonemason killed in a car accident two days earlier.

Solemnly his Sufi Muslim brethren buried him beneath a vibrant green headstone - the color of the Osmanli Naksibendi Hakkani order, which runs a 50-acre farm and mosque here. They prayed for him to rest in peace.

But that was not to be.

Instead of peace, the burial ignited a war - one that would erupt nine months later, hurling Sidney into the national spotlight, bitterly dividing some residents while transforming others who say things will never be the same.

It began quietly enough last summer, after a second burial in the cemetery. At the height of a national debate about a mosque near ground zero, the town Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to investigate the Sufi graves on Wheat Hill Road.
San Francisco shopper helps capture fugitive, kidnap victim - UPDATED Dec

Kidnap victim,
Brittany Mae
Smith, 12, was
found in San
Kidnapping had occurred 3,000 miles away in Virginia - by Jaxon Van Derbeken - San Francisco Chronicle - December 11, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO -- A relieved Virginia police chief extended an emotional thank-you from across the country to a San Francisco woman who spotted a fugitive sought in a slaying and kidnapping as she shopped at a Safeway in the Outer Richmond on Friday afternoon.

"We're so thankful to her - for a person to be that observant, 3,000 miles away, is almost incredible," Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder said about the unidentified shopper who recognized Jeffrey Scott Easley, 32, from a TV report and called police, leading to his arrest and the recovery of 12-year-old Brittany Mae Smith.

Roanoke authorities had feared the worst Monday when they found the child's mother, Tina Smith, 41, slain in her home near Salem, Va.

"It's an amazing ending to a story, and we were so concerned about what would be the outcome," said Teresa Hamilton Hall, a Roanoke County police spokeswoman.
Man freed in Ohio following 23 years on the run Dec

Please notice
the blindfold
"It was a prison without bars," he told the judge. - by Kimball Perry - Victoria Advocate - December 11, 2010

CINCINNATI (AP) - David Ingram was a ghost to the government for more than two decades.

He didn't have a driver's license or Social Security number. He didn't pay taxes and worked off the books in construction in Texas. He was suspicious of everyone. He made others drive so police wouldn't ask him for his driver's license and he stayed away from all trouble.

Ingram needed to take that approach. He was a convicted drug dealer who ran instead of serving a prison sentence of five to 25 years imposed in 1988 by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Norbert Nadel.

"You were on the lam for (almost) 23 years," Nadel told Ingram at a Thursday court hearing.

Ingram was caught in March after he applied for a Texas driver's license.

"Your (criminal) record was clean for 23 years," Nadel said.
Give Wisely This Holiday Season Dec

LAPD Police
LAPD Police Commission says:
-- Give Wisely This Year --

Los Angeles
: ‘Tis the season when charities approach Angelenos with donation appeals. While selecting one charity over another is always difficult, the lagging economy means the selection is more difficult than ever. There are more charities and less money to donate to them.

The Charitable Services Section of the Los Angeles Police Commission advises Angelenos to do their homework-- Give, but Give Wisely. In Los Angeles, certain tools can make it easier to research charities.

Research should include identifying the nonprofits' services and the proportion of donations they apply to administrative costs. Avoid becoming a victim of charitable fraud and take the following steps (see suggestions inside).
Australian anti-DUI short film / PSA Dec

This is easily
one of the best
pieces I've seen
on the subject
of drunk driving
video inside
VERY GRAPHIC VIDEO - from Bill Murray - sent to me by one of my cousins, Matt Murray, a retired NYPD cop

This is a great Aussie ad campaign!

It has helped the country dramatically reduce alcohol and drug related automobile deaths.

This is perhaps one of the most intense pieces that I've ever seen and its very well made.

I think that Australia should be complemented on having the guts to "tell it like it is" and get this campaign out to all of its licensed drivers and to air it on TV.

It's very moving and very life like, and has a very strong impact.

Please. Pass it along to all of your friends.
Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch Dec

Daily News
Here are recent
daily digests:

Weekly Daily News Digests - the LA Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file LAPD officers, presents a weekday digest of local news, which often includes the union's opinion and perspective.

Frequent topics include:

Local Law Enforcement

Curent Crime Stories

California Prisons

Homeland Security Issues

Immigration / Border

LA City Government

State Budget Crisis

California Politics

Pensions & Benefits

Changes in the Law

and much more ..
Elizabeth Smart's abductor found guilty of kidnapping, rape - UPDATED Dec

The Jury had
no problem
deciding to
reject an
insanity plea
video inside
A federal jury in Salt Lake City rejects an insanity defense and convicts self-proclaimed prophet Brian David Mitchell of kidnapping and repeatedly raping Elizabeth Smart, then 14. He could face up to life in prison. - by Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times - December 10, 2010

Eight years ago she was a symbol of stolen innocence, snatched from her bedroom at age 14, chained up and raped for nine months before being rescued.

On Friday, Elizabeth Smart, now 23, symbolized something else in a federal courtroom in Salt Lake City — resilience.
She watched a jury convict her kidnapper, the culmination of a long legal battle that featured Smart's calm, methodical testimony about the unspeakable things that Brian David Mitchell did to her during her captivity.

"The beginning and end of this story is … a woman with extraordinary courage and extraordinary determination," Acting U.S. Atty. Carlie Christensen told reporters after the verdict was read. Smart recounted her travails, Christensen said, "with a candor and clarity and a truthfulness that I think moved all of us. She is a remarkable young woman."
The Social Media Amber Alert: A Personal Story Dec

Joe Sjoberg has been missing
since the end of November
Family uses every resource it can think of to find / return Joe - The Atlantic - December 9, 2010

At the end of November, Joe Sjoberg went missing. He was last seen by his roommate on Monday, November 29, in Madison, Wisconsin, where the two shared a home. A graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota known for his extroversion and warm, welcoming personality, his disappearance was a shock to those who knew him. Distraught, Joe's family filed a missing persons report, and a case was opened with the Madison Police Department. But while the Madison Police conducted their investigation in the usual manner, Joe's family and friends refused to wait by the phone for news.

The family started a Facebook group entitled "HELP JOE SJOBERG MISSING." The Facebook page has since become a home base for a Web-wide mobilization effort, a call to arms to find Joe and bring him home safely to his parents and friends. But Joe's brothers, Robert and Patrick, didn't stop there, pushing a flyer with Joe's face and standardized message onto Facebook, Twitter, and social news forums throughout the Web.
Another woman claims to have seen 3 missing Michigan brothers in Ohio Dec

The three
video inside
Woman the boys were with was described as older, haggard, and tired looking - CRIME EXAMINER - December 11, 2010

Another person has come forward claiming she spotted 3 missing Michigan brothers in Ohio. Earlier this week, another woman said she saw the Skelton boys on November 28 in a Sandusky, Ohio, donut shop.

This time, the alleged witness says she saw Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5 , at a Bowling Green flea market just one day before an Amber Alert was issued for the boys.

Just like the first woman who claims to have seen the brothers, she said she did not contact authorities right away because she didn't know the boys were missing.

Additionally, the description of the woman seen with the three young males at the flea market matches that of the woman at the donut shop -- older, haggard, and tired looking.
Sometimes, crime is just random Dec
OPINION - - by Susan Estrich - The Washington Examiner - December 10, 2010

For weeks now, speculation has been rampant about who killed well-liked publicist to the stars Ronni Chasen and why.

A blonde in a black Mercedes found shot multiple times in her car on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills on her way home from a movie premiere.

A 60-something veteran who was in her fourth decade of walking clients down the red carpet, as she had been doing earlier that night.


A spurned lover? An angry client? No.

A crime wave of black men in Beverly Hills (a theory that had to be officially denied because it got so much attention)? No.

A professional hit by a trained sniper? No, or at least not necessarily.

Police have concluded that in all likelihood it was a crazy man, a longtime petty criminal desperate for money, a botched robbery by a guy on a bicycle -- his only means of transportation.
Body of missing Alabama girl believed to be found Dec

Police say John
Joseph DeBlase
gave authorities
general info on
where bodies of
his children
might be found
Father gave authorities general info on where bodies might be - by the CNN Wire Staff - December 11, 2010

(CNN) -- Alabama police said Saturday that they believe they found the remains of the second of two siblings who allegedly suffered abuse at the hands of their father and his girlfriend.

Searchers near Citronelle, about 50 miles north of Mobile, found skeletal remains believed to belong to Natalie DeBlase, 4, whose father is accused of killing the girl and her brother Jonathan Chase DeBlase, 3, said Mobile Police Maj. Kara Rose.

Authorities on Wednesday found what they suspect are the brother's remains near Vancleave, Mississippi.

The father gave authorities general information on where the bodies might be found in the past week, Rose said.

The discovery of the remains believed to be Natalie DeBlase's was made in a densely wooded area around 9 a.m. Saturday.
Crime Prevention More Than A Holiday Activity Dec
Tips to keep
yourself and
your property
safe during
and after the
holiday season
Crime Prevention More Than A Holiday Activity - from the National Crime Prevention Council

With the holidays rapidly approaching, our thoughts turn to buying, giving and receiving gifts, visiting friends and family, and sharing delightful culinary experiences.  However, there are others whose thoughts are occupied with unattended electronic/appliance-filled houses or apartments, distracted shoppers with extra cash in a purse or wallet, or the next “con job” in the name of Christmas charity.

Statistics show that crime usually increases during and after the holiday season and the reason is very simple.

More people with more cash, gifts, gift cards, etc. are “out and about” which presents more opportunities for the criminal looking for an easy “score.” Of course, the happy shopper is rushing around, stressed out, absent-mindedly looking for last-minute gifts, and trying to get everything done in preparation for the holidays and holiday festivities.

The happy shopper is not thinking about the person in the store or parking lot that has followed you and knows exactly where you keep your cash, what gift you may have just purchased, or where you parked your car.
Corruption sweep in Mexico's Michoacan unravels in the courts Dec

Few Mexican
will step
forward as
They're afraid
of reprisals.
An examination of the sealed case file shows prosecutors relied on evidence that didn't hold up under judicial scrutiny and on three anonymous paid informants whose testimony was largely hearsay. - by Ken Ellingwood and Tracy Wilkinson - Los Angeles Times - December 12, 2010

Reporting from Mexico City and Morelia, Mexico

When 35 mayors, prosecutors, police chiefs and other officials in the state of Michoacan were hauled into jail and accused of taking bribes from a cartel last year, it looked as if the federal government was finally attacking the political collusion that has long nurtured the drug gangs.

But instead of heralding a bold new front in Mexican President Felipe Calderon's 4-year-old drug war, the case has turned out to be an embarrassing example of how that offensive is failing.

More than a year later, the prosecution is in ruins.

Judges ruled that the evidence was too flimsy, and all but one of the suspects has been freed. Many have returned to their old jobs, accusing the government of a politically motivated witch hunt during an election season.
Homeless advocates march in Venice, CA Dec

David Busch,
who is himself
homeless, joins
in Saturday's
march in Venice
Activists allege police are unfairly targeting people who live in RVs and on the street. - by Martha Groves and Mike Anton, Los Angeles Times - December 12, 2010

Beating a drum and carrying signs reading "RVs Save Lives" and "Terror Is Having No Home," about two dozen homeless people and their advocates marched in Venice on Saturday to protest what they say is an unwarranted crackdown on the homeless in the funky but gentrifying beach town.

"It's just a continuation of the pressure to move the poor of Venice out of town — long-term residents who don't fit the desires of the new population that's moving in," said Pete White of the Los Angeles Community Action Network.

Activists allege that police have been targeting people living in recreational vehicles or on the streets for citation and arrest.

Over the last two months, an additional 21 officers have been stationed in neighborhoods near Venice Beach, tripling the number of officers assigned to combat what Pacific Division Capt. Jon Peters described as "significant increases" in crime.

Peters said that although officers have impounded vehicles because of leaking sewage, expired registrations or other violations, "RVs are such a small part of what we're doing down there."
LAPD chief sees progress in analyzing DNA evidence Dec

At one time
over 6,000
DNA samples
were waiting
to be tested
Since 2008, the department has aggressively pushed to test DNA samples collected from incidents of rape and sexual assault. On Friday, Chief Charlie Beck was honored by the California Forensic Science Institute for his efforts. - by Joel Rubin - Los Angeles Times - December 11, 2010

The Los Angeles Police Department this week announced that it has made considerable progress in analyzing DNA evidence from thousands of rapes and sexual assaults that had been left untested. Police officials acknowledged, however, the department has more work to do to resolve the DNA backlog.

Police Chief Charlie Beck was honored Friday by the California Forensic Science Institute for his efforts on the issue. Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, who, as attorney general, orchestrated the use of new DNA testing in a serial killer case this year, and two others were also honored.

In late 2008, former Police Chief William Bratton, under pressure from victim advocate groups, tasked Beck with getting a handle on thousands of pieces of DNA evidence that had languished in police storage freezers for years.
La Familia cartel leader believed killed in Michoacan violence Dec

South of
the border
cops hide their
faces so as to
conceal their
Mexican authorities believe Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, a.k.a. 'El Mas Loco,' died in the fighting that raged between drug traffickers and federal troops this week. - by Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times - December 11, 2010

Reporting from Mexico City

Mexican authorities said Friday that they believe a top leader of the violent La Familia cartel was killed during two days of pitched fighting in the home state of President Felipe Calderon.

In violence that erupted Wednesday afternoon and raged until early Friday, federal forces deployed in the western state of Michoacan battled scores of gunmen from La Familia who torched vehicles and barricaded roads in a dozen cities.

At least 11 people were confirmed killed, including five federal police officers and an 8-month-old.

Government security spokesman Alejandro Poire said officials had received information that La Familia founder Nazario Moreno Gonzalez — a.k.a. "El Mas Loco" (the craziest) — was killed in the shooting.
Judge issues injunction against L.A.'s medical marijuana law Dec

Decision leaves
the city with
limited power
to control
pot stores.
The ruling finds the law's provision outlawing all dispensaries except those that registered under the moratorium unconstitutional. It leaves the city with little power to control pot shops. City officials vow to quickly address the concerns. - by John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times - December 11, 2010

A judge handed Los Angeles a setback in its faltering drive to limit the number of medical marijuana dispensaries, granting a preliminary injunction on Friday that bars the city from enforcing key provisions in its controversial six-month-old ordinance.

The decision, issued by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, leaves the city with limited power to control pot stores, which opened by the hundreds, angering neighborhood activists when city officials failed to enforce a 2007 moratorium.

Near the end of his 40-page ruling, Mohr acknowledged "there is a good chance that a large number of collectives could open once this injunction takes effect," but said his order was warranted because the dispensaries that sued the city are highly likely to prevail in a trial.
WikiLeaks backlash: The first global cyber war has begun, claim hackers Dec

behind bars
As Julian Assange is held in solitary confinement at Wandsworth prison, the anonymous community of hacktivists takes to the cyber battlefields - by Mark Townsend, Paul Harris in New York, Alex Duval Smith in Johannesburg, Dan Sabbagh, Josh Halliday - The Guardian - December 11, 2010

He is one of the newest recruits to Operation Payback. In a London bedroom, the 24-year-old computer hacker is preparing his weaponry for this week's battles in an evolving cyberwar. He is a self-styled defender of free speech, his weapon a laptop and his enemy the US corporations responsible for attacking the website WikiLeaks.

He had seen the flyers that began springing up on the web in mid-September. In chatrooms, on discussion boards and inboxes from Manchester to New York to Sydney the grinning face of a Guy Fawkes mask had appeared with a call to arms. Across the world a battalion of hackers was being summoned.

"Greetings, fellow anons," it said beneath the headline Operation Payback. Alongside were a series of software programs dubbed "our weapons of choice" and a stark message: people needed to show their "hatred".

Like most international conflicts, last week's internet war began over a relatively modest squabble, escalating in days into a global fight.
Bill to help some illegal immigrants passed House. Doomed in Senate? Dec

"Dream Act"
offers a path to
citizenship for
youth brought
here by their
"Dream Act" offers a path to citizenship for foreign-born youth brought here by their parents - by Julie Hirschfeld Davis - Mercury News - Associated Press - December 9, 2010

WASHINGTON -- The House passed legislation Wednesday to give hundreds of thousands of foreign-born youngsters brought to the country illegally a shot at legal status, a fleeting victory for an effort that appears doomed in the Senate.

The so-called Dream Act, which passed the House 216-198, has been viewed by Hispanic activists and immigrant advocates as a downpayment on what they had hoped would be broader action by President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress to give the nation's 10 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants a chance to gain legal status.

Critics railed against the measure, calling it a backdoor grant of amnesty that would encourage more foreigners to sneak into the United States in hopes of being legalized eventually.
Elizabeth Edwards' funeral to take place amid possible protests Dec

Mourners &
gather to
the life of
video inside
Mourners gather to commemorate the life of Elizabeth Edwards - by the CNN Wire Staff - (additional VIDEO on site) -
December 11, 2010

(CNN) -- As mourners gather to commemorate the life of Elizabeth Edwards on Saturday afternoon, picketers from a Kansas-based church -- along with counter-protesters -- could change the mood outside the funeral.

Edwards, the estranged wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, died Tuesday after a lenghty battle with breast cancer. She was 61.

Representatives for the Edwards family confirmed that the service will be held at the Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, where the Edwards family worshiped. The funeral will be open to the public.

A representative for Brown-Wynne Funeral Homes said the funeral will take place at 1 p.m.

Edwards will then be buried at Raleigh's Historic Oakwood Cemetery, according to office manager Sharon Freed. Earlier this week, Freed told CNN about the proximity of the burial to Edwards' son Wade, who was buried at the cemetery after dying in a 1996 car crash.
Some San Diego city workers, retirees could face big pension bill Dec
At issue is the purchase of service credits at reduced rates - by Craig Gustafson - Sign On San Diego - December 9, 2010

About 2,200 current and retired San Diego city workers find themselves in a financial bind because of a seven-year-old decision they made to pad their pensions through a special program that allowed them to buy additional years of service that they never actually worked.

Now each of those workers — including roughly 500 who have already retired and live on fixed incomes — may be forced to accept significantly reduced pensions or pay a lump sum of as much as $50,000 to keep their current pension.

An appeals court ruled in June that pension officials illegally allowed those workers to buy extra years in 2003 at a rate far below what they knew the program cost. The pension board delayed implementation of a new higher rate for nearly three months and workers proceeded to spend $144 million on extra years valued at $227 million.

That decision, which the court ruled the board had no authority to make, coupled with subsequent overpayments to pensioners, left taxpayers on the hook for an unfunded liability of $100 million, a portion of the city's overall $2.1 billion pension deficit. The court ordered the pension system to fix the error and prohibited it from charging the city for the mistake.
Baltimore man arrested in foiled terrorism plot Dec

This Facebook
image shows
also known as
A 21-year-old U.S. citizen who called himself Muhammad Hussain, according to U.S. officials, allegedly tried to blow up a military recruitment center with a fake car bomb built by the FBI. - by Bob Drogin and Richard Serrano - Los Angeles Times - December 9, 2010

Reporting from Washington -- A 21-year-old Baltimore construction worker, who drew federal scrutiny after he boasted on Facebook about his devotion to violent jihad, was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly tried to blow up a U.S. military recruitment center with a dummy car bomb built by the FBI.

The dramatic take-down is the second FBI sting since Thanksgiving against an alleged homegrown terrorist trying to detonate a powerful car bomb. It raised fresh concerns about how English-speaking extremists from Al Qaeda and its allies are increasingly able to recruit Americans willing to commit mass violence.
LA slaying victim's kind nature may have cost him his life - UPDATED Dec

Herbert White's
family tried to
console each
other at the
Newton Area
police station
Police are looking for a York, Pa., couple in connection with the death of Herbert Tracy White, whose body was found dismembered in a hotel room near skid row on Nov. 29. - by Nardine Saad - Los Angeles Times - December 9, 2010

During Herbert Tracy White's 15 years of sobriety, he liked to reach out and help others who were battling alcoholism. The holidays, his brother said, were White's "busy season."

His brother and other family members said they believe it was White's desire to help other alcoholics that cost him his life at a skid row hotel late last month.

On what would have been White's 50th birthday, his family gathered with police Wednesday to ask for the public's help in catching his suspected killers.

A maid at the Continental Hotel discovered White's severed limbs stuffed in a backpack on the morning of Nov. 29. The rest of his body was found wrapped in a blanket under a bed in the hotel room.
WikiLeaks dispute sparks cyber wars Dec

The lawyer
representing 2
women who
have accused
founder Julian
Assange of
sexual assault
said hackers
had attacked
his firm's
website and
e-mail service
A group called Anonymous temporarily disables the websites of Visa and MasterCard after they said they would no longer handle donations to WikiLeaks. A rival 'patriotic' hacker, the Jester, fights back. - by Brian Bennett - Los Angeles Times - December 8, 2010

Reporting from Washington

A worldwide dispute over WikiLeaks' release of classified information raged online Wednesday like a tale from a comic book: The Jester battled a hacker network calling itself Anonymous that claimed responsibility for taking down the websites of several major corporations.

Anonymous took credit for disabling the main websites for MasterCard and Visa, among several attacks launched against companies that in recent days announced they would no longer handle donations to WikiLeaks.

Cyber attacks also were reported against an attorney representing two Swedish women who have accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual assault, as well as on PostFinance, the financial arm of the Swiss postal system that closed Assange's account after accusing him of providing false information. Amazon and PayPal also have been targeted.
Emergency Management and Response Dec

and Response
weekly info
Information Sharing and Analysis Center - December 9, 2010

NOTE: This INFOGRAM will be distributed weekly to provide members of the Emergency Services Sector with information concerning the protection of their critical infrastructures.  For further information, contact the Emergency Management and Response- Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) at (301) 447-1325 or by e-mail at:

First Responder Flu Vaccination
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Holiday Scams
(Source: FBI)

Examining Success and Failures in Detecting U.S. Terrorist Plots
(Source: Institute for Homeland Security Solutions)

National Fire Academy Resident Classes
(Source: U.S. Fire Administration)

DHS and the FBI encourage recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and/or the FBI. The DHS National Operation Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9685 or by e-mail at NOC.Fusion@dhs.gov
California got lethal injection drug from Britain Dec

Several states,
CA among them,
ran short on
one of three
drugs used
in the lethal
injection process,
Corrections officials, compelled by an ACLU public records request, disclose the source of their new supply of sodium thiopental, the first drug in a three-injection sequence used for executions. - by Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times - December 8, 2010

Corrections officials disclosed Tuesday that they have imported a large quantity of the key drug used in lethal-injection executions and are awaiting approval of the British-made product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation last month paid a British distributor $36,415 for 521 grams of sodium thiopental made by Archimedes Pharma, said department spokeswoman Terry Thornton.

Prison officials also acquired 12 grams of the drug at no cost from the Arizona Department of Corrections on Sept. 30, Thornton said.
In the Wild, a Big Threat to Rangers: Humans Dec

Rangers: "The
human animal,
not the wild
variety, is the
one to watch
out for."
Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh MY !! -- But people are a worse threat - by Kirk Johnson - New York Times - December 8, 2010

GOLDEN, Colo. — As a game warden for the state of Colorado, Todd Schmidt has a workplace that office drudges the world over might fantasize about: the staggering beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

But underneath his shirt, day in and day out, he also wears a reminder of the dangers: a bulletproof vest.

“Keeps you warm, too,” Mr. Schmidt said, patting his chest on a recent cold morning at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, about an hour west of Denver, as the snowcapped peaks of the Continental Divide shimmered in the distance.

Two recent shootings of wildlife officers — one killed in Pennsylvania while confronting an illegal hunter, the other seriously wounded after a traffic stop in southern Utah — have highlighted what rangers and wildlife managers say is an increasingly unavoidable fact. As more and more people live in proximity to forests, parks and other wild-land playgrounds, the human animal, not the wild variety, is the one to watch out for.
Officials Struggle to Unravel Tale of 5 Children Being Raised in Secrecy Dec

The police say a couple raised five children in squalor and out
public view for for years in one room of this home in York, Penn. The
family, which included 2 adults and 5 kids, age 2 to 13, lived
in squalor, without electricity or running water or even a toilet.
Family lived in squalor, without electricity or running water or even a toilet- by Katharine Q. Seelye - New York Times - December 8, 2010

YORK, Pa. — Louann E. Bowers ran away from home when she was 16. Now 33, she spent most of the intervening years in hiding. She raised five children in secrecy, living so far off the grid that her parents had her declared dead.

Those children, who range in age from 2 to 13, have no birth certificates, the police say, and they never went to school or got vaccines. The family lived in squalor for perhaps as long as 13 years, most of the time without electricity or running water or even a toilet.

Ms. Bowers gave birth again last week, 15 weeks prematurely. But this baby was born in a known location: in Ms. Bowers's cellblock in the York County Prison.

Ms. Bowers and Sinhue Johnson, who is in his mid-40s and is the father of the children, are in prison on charges of endangering the children's welfare. A legal conference is expected in February or March, when the case could either be settled or sent to trial.
Operation Broken Trust - FBI Dec

231 cases in
the operation
involved more
than 120,000
victims who
lost more than
$8 billion
Historic Investment Fraud Sweep - from FBI - December 7, 2010

Today, the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force announced the conclusion of Operation Broken Trust, the largest investment fraud sweep ever conducted in the U.S.

The 231 cases in the operation involved more than 120,000 victims who lost more than $8 billion.

Operation Broken Trust—which included both criminal and civil enforcement actions that occurred from August 16 through December 1, 2010—was unveiled during a Washington, D.C. press conference attended by representatives of the agencies that make up the task force, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry.

The goal of the operation was two-fold:

...1) To root out and expose massive investment fraud scams across the nation; and

...2) To alert the public about many phony investment scams. (See sidebar inside for the FBI's prevention tips.)
Raves to continue in Los Angeles but with safety guidelines Dec

The LA
has been
the scene
of recent
10 new rules will now apply - Beverly Hills Courier - December 8, 2010

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today approved 10 safety guidelines meant to make electronic music festivals, or raves, safer.

The guidelines are just that -- not law -- and the board plans to send letters to promoters, sponsors and venue operators, urging them to adopt the measures.

The commission that controls the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the adjacent Sports Arena agreed last week to abide by the recommendations.

The guidelines, developed by a task force of public health and safety officials working with police and promoters, include:

-- requiring rave-goers to be at least 18;

-- giving wristbands to anyone 21 or older, so that concession workers can tell who is old enough to drink alcohol;

-- instituting "cool-off" breaks during the show;

-- closing all raves by 2 a.m.
Here's The Deal - from Vice President Joe Biden Dec

from Vice
Joe Biden
video inside
Here's The Deal - from Vice President Joe Biden - December 10, 2010

Earlier this week, President Obama laid out a framework for a compromise with Congress that ensures that middle-class families don't get a tax increase, extends unemployment benefits for folks who are looking for work, and gives our economy a shot in the arm.

Like anything in Washington these days, there are a lot of opinions about this flying around.  But it's always important to start with the facts.  To help you understand exactly what is in this framework Austan Goolsbee, one of the President's chief economic advisors, took some time to break it down (see inside).
Ronni Chasen killing appears solved Dec

Ronni Chasen
was shot
while driving
her Mercedes-
Benz along
Sunset Blvd in
Beverly Hills
after a film
remiere on
Nov. 16
Beverly Hills police believe the publicist was shot in a bungled holdup by a desperate ex-con acting alone. - by Andrew Blankstein and Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times - December 9, 2010

After three weeks of frenzied speculation about hired killers, gang initiations and Russian mobsters, Beverly Hills police said Wednesday that the shooting death of veteran movie publicist Ronni Chasen probably was a botched robbery by a small-time ex-convict who had grown desperate for money.

Harold Martin Smith, a 43-year-old unemployed laborer with a rap sheet stretching back to the early 1990s, committed suicide last week as detectives attempted to question him about Chasen's killing.

"We believe that Mr. Smith acted alone. We don't believe it was a professional hit," Police Chief Dave Snowden told a crowded news conference.

Snowden said preliminary ballistics tests showed the handgun that Smith used to shoot himself in the head in the lobby of a Hollywood apartment building was the same weapon that killed Chasen on Nov. 16 as she drove her Mercedes-Benz sedan along Sunset Boulevard after a film premiere.
Brittany Mae Smith Update: Police "Not Sure" Dec

Brittany Mae Smith, 14 yr-old
Thought to be in
the company of
an older man
Police "Not Sure" if Missing Girl Went Willingly with Jeffrey Scott Easley - from CBS and ABC News - December 8, 2010

(Video inside) - Police in Roanoke County have released an image taken at a Walmart in Salem, Va. which they say shows missing girl Brittany Mae Smith and the man suspected in her disappearance.

But police don't know if the 12-year-old went with the man willingly.

When asked if Brittany was abducted during a press conference Tuesday, Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder answered that they feel confident that she is with Jeffrey Scott Easley.

"We believe that she's with him, and we're not exactly sure about the situation," Lavinder said.

Brittany is believed to be with the 32-year-old Easley, a friend of Brittany's mother, whom the woman met online.

The image was recorded Friday night between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m., according to police.
Car crashes, not gunshots, biggest threat to officers Dec

Nationwide in
2010 as of
last week:
70 officers
have died
in crashes,
54 by gunfire
Nationwide in 2010 as of last week: 70 officers have died in crashes, 54 by gunfire - by Michael Dresser - The Baltimore Sun - December 5, 2010

When we think about police dying in the line of duty, we tend to flash to a thought of a criminal maliciously gunning down an officer.

But a more common fate for law enforcement officers is to be killed in a vehicle collision.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, as of last week there had been 70 officers killed nationwide in vehicle incidents compared with 54 killed by gunfire in 2010. Crash fatalities among officers were up 49 percent over the same period in 2009. The majority are killed in crashes involving a single moving vehicle.

The Baltimore Police Department has lost two of its own to such crashes in recent months. In September, Officer James E. Fowler III died when his Chevy truck went off a road in central Pennsylvania while on his way to a police training course at Penn State University. Less than a month later, Officer Thomas Portz Jr. was killed when his patrol car ran into a fire engine parked on U.S. 40 while responding to a call.
Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch Dec

Daily News
Here are recent
daily digests:

Weekly Daily News Digests - the LA Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file LAPD officers, presents a weekday digest of local news, which often includes the union's opinion and perspective.

Frequent topics include:

Local Law Enforcement

Curent Crime Stories

California Prisons

Homeland Security Issues

Immigration / Border

LA City Government

State Budget Crisis

California Politics

Pensions & Benefits

Changes in the Law

and much more ..
LA's Skid Row Injunction Moves Forward Dec

LA's skid row is
notorious for
drug offences
this injunction
names 80
Judge Orders LAPD to Enforce Drug Dealer Crackdown - by Ryan Vaillancourt - LA Downtown News - December 3, 2010

In April, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich took an unprecedented step when he announced his office would seek an injunction to ban known Skid Row drug dealers from stepping foot in the neighborhood. Nearly seven months later, the proposal is law.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Superior Court Judge Theresa Sanchez-Gordon issued an order to enforce the proposed injunction on 23 defendants, all of whom have multiple convictions for drug crimes that took place in Skid Row. The injunction names 80 individuals, but also covers any person with a proven affiliation with the Grape Street Crips. The policy allows the city attorney's office to add up to 300 additional defendants if more people meet the multiple conviction criteria. Sanchez-Gordon has opted to roll out the policy in waves, targeting the first 23 named defendants at first, instead of all at once.
In CA - Getting cellphones out of inmates' hands Dec
EDITORIAL - A legislative stalemate on the issue has contributed to California prisoners' illegal possession of at least 8,500 cellphones this year. - Los Angeles Times - December 7, 2010

How in the world did Charles Manson get hold of a cellphone? Apparently the same way thousands of other inmates have. Cellphones, it turns out, are ubiquitous in California's correctional facilities. Guards have confiscated 8,575 of them this year, according to the California Department of Corrections, up from 1,400 in 2007. Manson is perhaps the best-known inmate to flout the rules, but the easy access to the outside world, unmonitored by officials, is a serious problem that extends well beyond one infamous criminal. Hard-core gang leaders have been found directing drug deals, intimidating witnesses and planning escapes from their jail cells. Stiffer penalties are clearly in order for what is a genuine threat to public safety, not an infraction.

For one brief moment last summer, Democrats and Republicans united and made smuggling phones to inmates a misdemeanor punishable by fines of $5,000 to $15,000. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, vetoed the bill on the grounds that it did not go far enough. The practice should be a felony, he insisted, not a violation of less import than sneaking a prisoner a beer.

Now the gridlock that so infuriates voters has returned. Democrats are resisting measures that would increase the prison population — such as creating new categories of felonies — on the grounds that federal judges have ordered the state to reduce the population by more than 40,000 inmates. The number of prisoners per facility can't be reduced, however, because Republicans balk at building more prisons. So it's a stalemate on the cellphone issue for the moment.
Biased Policing at LAPD Dec

More and more
of LAPD's cops
"look like"
the community
they serve
.. and
this is
Perspectives on racial / social / sexual profiling - by LAPD and LAPPL - December 7, 2010

Los Angeles: The Office of the Inspector General has issued a public report on Biased Policing investigations conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department's Internal Affairs Group (IAG), Professional Standards Bureau. The report focuses on ten biased policing investigations initiated from 2008-2010, conducted by the Department's Constitutional Policing Unit.

It is the Department's goal to not only improve the quality of the investigative process but also to reduce the number of biased policing complaints. The ultimate goal would be to have none.  The Department agrees with the Inspector General's assessment that the Department and the OIG are committed to enhancing the quality of biased policing investigations. Constitutional policing is my top priority

So far this year, LAPD officers have had over three million contacts with the public, which has resulted in approximately 200 biased policing complaints.
Murderer, and model prisoner Dec
EDITORIAL - Sara Kruzan's case shows why juveniles should not be sentenced to life without parole. - Los Angeles Times - December 8, 2010

Sara Kruzan was 16 when she lured her former pimp into a motel room, shot and killed him and took his money. The terrible crime was committed in Riverside County by a girl who had been sexually molested and physically abused since her earliest days, raised by an addicted mother, gang-raped at 13 and at the same age sent into the streets to make a living as a prostitute by the man she would eventually kill.

But teenagers change. Today, at 32, Kruzan is a model prisoner in the honor dorm at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla. In January, she will receive her associate's degree from the nearby community college. She has volunteered for dozens of rehabilitation programs and won awards for her participation and attitude.

She also serves as an important reminder of why sentencing juvenile offenders to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is backward and counterproductive. Science and society have learned more in recent years about the still-immature and rapidly developing brains of adolescents.

Kruzan murdered in 1994. Since then, society also has learned more about human trafficking and the effects of long-term abuse and psychological imprisonment. If she were being sentenced today, it's far less likely that she would receive such a draconian prison term. Even at the time, an evaluation by the California Youth Authority noted her unusual tractability, her remorse and her willingness and desire for an education. The CYA felt that she should have been prosecuted as a juvenile rather than as an adult, which would have put her into a rehabilitation program from which she could have been freed by age 25 — seven years ago.
Explosive-laden CA home to be destroyed - UPDATED Dec

ATF officers
trying to
figure out
what to do
Too risky to remove the huge cache of explosives - Associated Press - December 6, 2010

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (AP) — Neighbors gasped when authorities showed them photos of the inside of the Southern California ranch-style home: Crates of grenades, mason jars of white, explosive powder and jugs of volatile chemicals that are normally the domain of suicide bombers.

Prosecutors say Serbian-born George Jakubec quietly packed the home with the largest amount of homemade explosives ever found in one location in the U.S. and was running a virtual bomb-making factory in his suburban neighborhood. How the alleged bank robber obtained the chemicals and what he planned to do with them remain mysteries.

Now authorities face the risky task of getting rid of the explosives. The property is so dangerous and volatile that that they have no choice but to burn the home to the ground this week in a highly controlled operation involving dozens of firefighters, scientists and hazardous material and pollution experts.
Legal Challenge to the Death Penalty Begins in Texas Dec

In at least 12
cases since
1973, people
on death row
in the state
of Texas
have been
In at least 12 cases since 1973, people on death row in Texas have been exonerated - by James C. McKinley - New York Times - December 7, 2010

HOUSTON — The death penalty went on trial Monday in Texas, a state where more prisoners are executed every year than in any other and where exonerations of people on death row occur with surprising regularity.

Lawyers for John E. Green Jr., who stands accused of murdering a woman in front of her children, are arguing that the death penalty as carried out in Texas violates the Constitution because there is a high risk innocent people will be executed.

The hearing stems from a routine argument defense lawyers make in most death penalty cases. Judges rarely grant the motion, however, because the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the death penalty as outside of the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

But Judge Kevin Fine, a Democrat elected last year, shocked many Texans by giving the argument serious consideration.
Criminal's letters leave San Diego woman in fear Dec

Woman in
San Diego is
being stalked
through the
mail by a
patient at
Patton State
A patient at Patton State Hospital has been sending unwanted correspondence, and administrators say privacy rights and other laws keep them from doing much about it. - by Tony Perry - Los Angeles Times - December 6, 2010

Reporting from San Diego - Sent from Patton State Hospital by a patient with a criminal history of violence and psychiatric problems, the letter had an affectionate opening — "Dearest Suzanne" — and ended with a promise "to see you and be reunited as two common people soon."

The woman who received the unwanted letter and a phone call in September from a man she's never met appealed to officials at Patton for help. Instead she was told that the hospital in San Bernardino could not even confirm that the letter writer was a patient there.

Suzanne — who would speak only on condition that her last name not be used in this article — believes that the hospital, part of a state agency, is more concerned with safeguarding the privacy rights of a convicted felon than in protecting, or even warning, a member of the public.
Soft spot in aircraft security Dec

cargo in
the hold poses
a huge risk
Unscreened cargo, like that loaded in the belly of planes, can be exploited by terrorists - by Mary Wisniewski - Chicago Sun Times - December 6, 2010

While grandparents traveling for the holidays are getting airport patdowns, there's another security threat hiding in airplane storage compartments -- unscreened cargo.

Along with the cargo that goes in and out of the country on UPS or FedEx planes, cargo is also carried in the bellies of passenger jets. It's a way for airlines to make extra money.

It's also potentially a way to blow up planes. As October's Yemen bomb plot showed, terrorists don't have to personally get onto planes to try to wreak havoc. One of the two bombs disguised as printer ink cartridges and addressed to Chicago synagogues made it aboard passenger planes in the Middle East before being detected. One bomb was wired for remote detonation via cell phone.

"This is a huge concern," said Mary F. Schiavo, aviation attorney and former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation. "The attackers don't have to die with the plane, which leaves for the terrorists a much bigger group of co-conspirators."
Extreme Makeover: Criminal Court Edition Dec

Daily "removal" of accused's tattoos ordered by court
Daily "removal" of accused's tattoos ordered by court - by John Sshwartz - New York Times - December 6, 2010

CLEARWATER, Fla. — When John Ditullio goes on trial on Monday, jurors will not see the large swastika tattooed on his neck. Or the crude insult tattooed on the other side of his neck. Or any of the other markings he has acquired since being jailed on charges related to a double stabbing that wounded a woman and killed a teenager in 2006.

Mr. Ditullio's lawyer successfully argued that the tattoos could be distracting or prejudicial to the jurors, who under the law are supposed to consider only the facts presented to them. The case shows some of the challenges lawyers face when trying to get clients ready for trial — whether that means hitting the consignment shop for decent clothes for an impoverished client or telling wealthy clients to leave the bling at home.

“It's easier to give someone who looks like you a fair shake,” said Bjorn E. Brunvand, Mr. Ditullio's lawyer.

The court approved the judicial equivalent of an extreme makeover, paying $125 a day for the services of a cosmetologist to cover up the tattoos that Mr. Ditullio has gotten since his arrest.
The Crime of Punishment Dec
EDITORIAL - The Crime of Punishment - New York Times - December 6, 2010

In 2005, when a federal court took a snapshot of California's prisons, one inmate was dying each week because the state failed to provide adequate health care. Adequate does not mean state-of-the-art, or even tolerable. It means care meeting “the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities,” in the Supreme Court's words, so inmates do not die from rampant staph infections or commit suicide at nearly twice the national average.

These and other horrors have been documented in California's prisons for two decades, and last week they were before the Supreme Court in Schwarzenegger v. Plata. It is the most important case in years about prison conditions. The justices should uphold the lower court's remedy for addressing the horrors.

Four years ago, when the number of inmates in California reached more than 160,000, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a “state of emergency.” The state's prisons, he said, are places “of extreme peril.”

Last year, under a federal law focusing on prison conditions, the lower court found that overcrowding was the “primary cause” of gruesome inadequacies in medical and mental health care. The court concluded that the only relief under the law “capable of remedying these constitutional deficiencies” is a “prison release order.”
High court ruling on Arizona act could shape immigration law Dec

Is there a
conflict with
the federal
authority to
The 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act cracks down on employers who hire illegal workers, but the Obama administration says it conflicts with the federal government's authority to enforce immigration laws. - by David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau - December 6, 2010

Reporting from Washington - President Obama once favored a "crackdown on employers" who hired illegal immigrants, and as a candidate called for "much tougher enforcement standards" for companies that employed illegal workers.

But this week, Obama's top courtroom lawyer will join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in urging the Supreme Court to strike down an Arizona law that goes after employers who hire illegal workers. The administration also seeks to void a part of the state's law that tells employers they must check the federal government's E-Verify database to make sure their new hires are authorized to work in the United States.

The move sets the stage for a high court ruling on the most disputed issue in immigration law: Can states and cities enforce their own laws against illegal immigrants, or must they wait for federal authorities to act?

The administration found itself in an awkward spot in part because the Legal Arizona Workers Act was signed into law in 2007 by then- Gov. Janet Napolitano. She said it would impose the "business death penalty" on employers caught a second time hiring illegal workers, and blamed "the flow of illegal immigration into our state … [on] the constant demand of some employers for cheap, undocumented labor."
As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up Dec

Kids can be
hard on each
other, and
parents need
to help them
get through
the growing
process both
on the school
yard and
Kids can be hard on each other, and parents need to help them get through the growing process - by Jan Hoffman - New York Times - December 5, 2010

Ninth grade was supposed to be a fresh start for Marie's son: new school, new children. Yet by last October, he had become withdrawn. Marie prodded. And prodded again. Finally, he told her.

“The kids say I'm saying all these nasty things about them on Facebook,” he said. “They don't believe me when I tell them I'm not on Facebook.”

But apparently, he was.

Marie, a medical technologist and single mother who lives in Newburyport, Mass., searched Facebook. There she found what seemed to be her son's page: his name, a photo of him grinning while running — and, on his public wall, sneering comments about teenagers he scarcely knew.

Someone had forged his identity online and was bullying others in his name.

Students began to shun him. Furious and frightened, Marie contacted school officials. After expressing their concern, they told her they could do nothing. It was an off-campus matter.

But Marie was determined to find out who was making her son miserable and to get them to stop. In choosing that course, she would become a target herself. When she and her son learned who was behind the scheme, they would both feel the sharp sting of betrayal. Undeterred, she would insist that the culprits be punished.

It is difficult enough to support one's child through a siege of schoolyard bullying. But the lawlessness of the Internet, its potential for casual, breathtaking cruelty, and its capacity to cloak a bully's identity all present slippery new challenges to this transitional generation of analog parents.
14-Year-Old Alleged Hitman "El Ponchis" Arrested in Mexico Dec

A 14-year-old
Mexican boy
says he's
participated in
4 "executions"
He was captured while trying to cross the border with his 16-year-old sister. They wanted to go visit mom in San Diego. - CBS News - December 4, 2010

CUERNAVACA, Mexico (CBS/AP) -- A 14 year-old U.S. citizen suspected of being a hired hitman for a Mexican drug cartel was arrested today as he attempted to board a plane to travel back to the United States from Mexico.

Edgar Jimenez, nicknamed "El Ponchis" worked for the South Pacific Cartel since he was 11, according army officials who apprehended him.

Jimenez was captured with his 16-year -old sister who told reporters they planned to cross the border to San Diego, California to see their mother.

"I participated in four executions, but I did it drugged and under threat that if I didn't, they would kill me," the boy told reporters calmly when he was handed over to the federal prosecutor Friday morning, showing no remorse.

"El Ponchis" made grisly headlines in Mexico when reports of murders he allegedly committed surfaced.

The Mexican daily paper La Razon reported in November that he was allegedly paid $3,000 for each murder.

The attorney general for Morelos state said the two would turned over to state authorities, who handle crimes committed by minors in Mexico.
Protecting Online Privacy Dec

"Opting Out"
might become
a choice
while you're
EDITORIAL - New York Times - December 5, 2010

The Federal Trade Commission has come up with timely recommendations to protect privacy online.

For years, data trackers have collected information about people's activities as they surf the Web, packaging it into profiles to sell to advertisers. The practice itself is not what is at issue, but rather the way it is done. Many trackers don't disclose it. Others put complex, pro forma disclosures in obscure places on Web sites. Few consumers read them. Most don't understand how much information they are sharing about their online lives.

Internet companies and advertisers insist that industry self-regulation is enough to protect consumers. But companies' many lapses — one site that allowed parents to monitor their children online, for example, sold information about the kids' activities to marketers — suggest it is time for regulators to set minimum standards that every company must follow.

The F.T.C. sets three recommendations to improve the protection of consumer privacy, starting with more transparency, including standard, simple and clear privacy disclosures to let people know who is doing what with the data about their online activities.

It recommends that companies include privacy protection in their operational goals. And most important, the F.T.C. insists that consumers be given a clear, simple option to opt out of online data tracking altogether — along the lines of the do-not-call registry — perhaps through a “do not track” button on Web browsers.
Knocking Down the Kingpins in the Drug Wars Dec

Border Patrol
officers face a
daunting task
as they try
to stop the
flow of drugs
Recent high-profile arrests of drug cartel leaders in Mexico give reason for optimism. But drugs continue to flow across the border into the U.S. - EDITORIAL - Los Angeles Times - December 5, 2010

Mexico's law enforcement agencies have been on a roll, rounding up formerly invincible leaders of vicious drug cartels in a series of high-profile arrests. In August, federal police arrested U.S.-born kingpin Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as "La Barbie," who headed a gang battling for control of a drug cartel in a region south of Mexico City.

Late last month, the police also arrested Valdez' successor, who happened to be his father-in-law.

Then, in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, they captured Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, the leader of the Aztecas, a gang of thugs and assassins affiliated with the Juarez cartel.

Gallegos, according to the police, confessed to taking part in 80% of the city's 6,500 drug-related homicides, as well as atrocities that included the massacre of 15 teenagers at a party in July and the fatal shooting in March of U.S. consular staffer Lesley A. Enriquez, her husband and another man.

Each arrest weakens the culture of impunity, and authorities say they hope Gallegos' capture will cripple the Aztecas and return some measure of calm to Ciudad Juarez, now one of the bloodiest battlegrounds in President Felipe Calderon's drug war.

The arrests are certainly a positive development, and could lead to a reduction of violence. But fluctuations in the homicide rate alone are not a reliable metric for progress. When violence rises, the Calderon administration attributes the increase to its unprecedented challenge to drug traffickers. When it falls, the administration attributes the reduction to stepped-up law enforcement efforts.
Mother's Call Led to Rescue of 10 Children From Smugglers in Phoenix Dec

threatened to
rape and kill
three girls if
their mother
did not pay
more money
Smugglers threatened to rape and kill three girls if their mother did not pay more money for their entry into the United States - by Marc Lacey - New York Times - December 5, 2010

PHOENIX — It could have been mistaken for a day care center, with so many children of all ages inside. But the authorities said that the crowded house in a working-class neighborhood here was really a drop point for a human-smuggling operation and that the 10 children, ages 2 to 17, were illegal immigrants being held for ransom.

The mother of three of the girls — a Salvadoran women who is living legally in Northern California — alerted the authorities to the operation late last week when she told the F.B.I. that smugglers had threatened to rape and kill her daughters if she did not pay $10,000. The girls are ages 12, 14 and 15.

The police in Phoenix found the house, on South Seventh Street, and raided it on Thursday night. They found what has become an all too common sight in Phoenix: a large group of migrants being held against their will.

This time, though, most of those inside were crying babies and scared teenagers from Mexico and Central America, all but one of them unaccompanied by an adult.

They had been fed and did not appear to have been hurt, the authorities said. But the smugglers had refused to release them, even though their families had paid thousands of dollars to get them into the United States, until more money was handed over.

“We haven't seen anything like this before,” said Capt. Fred Zumbo, who leads the Arizona Department of Public Safety's illegal immigration task force. “Imagine what these children went through.”
For Boy Scouts, trails can lead to danger Dec

Boy Scouts
of America
Their motto is:
"Be Prepared"

In the last five years, 32 Scouts and Scout leaders have died in various outdoor activities. Adult leaders, often inexperienced, can miscalculate risks and difficulties. - by Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times - December 5, 2010

The Yosemite Falls Trail leads dramatically to the top of North America's highest waterfall. Park rangers and veteran hikers know it as strenuous and a potentially dangerous hike in the winter.

Its steep switchbacks rising 2,700 vertical feet were a big challenge for Luis Alberto Ramirez Jr., a 12-year-old from Modesto who had joined the Boy Scouts months earlier and was on his first big outing with his troop.

Until that day, Feb. 16, 2008, Luis had never set foot in the mountains.

The 11 boys and four adults started at 8:30 a.m. Just one mile from the trail head, most of the troop was already exhausted and decided to turn back.

The scoutmaster pressed ahead with five boys, including Luis. Three hours later the troop was waist-deep in snow. The boys were cold and their feet soaked. Luis was tired, his seventh-grade hiking partner said later.

The group turned back, and soon spread out along the trail, leaving some boys on their own. They began taking dangerous shortcuts between switchbacks. After stepping off the trail, Luis lost his footing and slid out of control over an edge. He plunged 300 feet to his death.

The account of the accident comes from a park investigation, which took statements from the scoutmaster and the other boys.

"They told me they were going to the forest," Marta Anguiano, Luis' mother, recalled in an interview.

"They never told me what they were doing was dangerous," said Anguiano, a field laborer in Modesto.
FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" Dec

There are 56
FBI Local Field
Offices around
the country.
To find the
office nearest
you, click on
the map
through the
link inside.
FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" Program - Frequently Asked Questions

The following contains current and historical information for internal and external distribution. This information is based on FBI records and is updated by the Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit, Office of Public Affairs.

The FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list has been in existence since March 14, 1950. A reporter for the International News Service (the predecessor to United Press International) asked the Bureau for the names and descriptions of the "toughest guys" the Bureau would like to capture. The resulting story generated so much publicity and had so much appeal that late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover implemented the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" program. The first person to be placed on the list was Thomas James Holden, wanted for the murder of his wife, her brother, and her stepbrother.

Since its inception, 494 fugitives have been on the "Top Ten" list, and 463 have been apprehended or located. Some interesting facts about the program are:
  • 152 fugitives have been captured/located as a result of citizen cooperation.
  • Two fugitives were apprehended as a result of visitors on an FBI tour.
  • The shortest amount of time spent on the "Top Ten" list was two hours, by Billy Austin Bryant in 1969.
  • The longest amount of time spent on the “Top Ten” list is over 26 years by Victor Manuel Gerena.
  • Nine fugitives were arrested prior to publication and release, but are still considered as officially on the list.
  • The oldest person to be placed on the list was 69-year-old James J. Bulger, who was added in August of 1999.
This program relies heavily on the assistance of citizens and the media. Publicity from coast to coast and around the world is important. Public-spirited television programming, such as FOX network's America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back, provides nationwide publicity.
Brawl in Rose Bowl parking lot sends two to hospital, three to jail Dec

The Rose Bowl
in Pasadena
is home to
may popular
sporting, civic
and social
The drunken melee before the annual USC-UCLA football game leaves two men hospitalized with stab wounds and three people in jail on suspicion of attempted murder, authorities say. - by Alan Zarembo and Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times - December 5, 2010

A drunken brawl in a Rose Bowl parking lot before the USC- UCLA football game Saturday sent two men to the hospital with stab wounds and three people to jail, one of them on suspicion of attempted murder, authorities said.

The fight started about 4:30 p.m. in parking lot 1 on the north side of the Rose Bowl, where dozens of people had been tailgating and drinking since 6:30 a.m. in advance of the game that evening.

Police called to the scene found 50 to 75 people fighting, said Cmdr. Darryl Qualls of the Pasadena Police Department. It took more than 15 minutes to break up the brawl, resulting in minor injuries to two officers, Qualls said.

"It was just people and punches being thrown," said Martin Keeley, 32, who said he was a friend of one of the stabbing victims, whom he identified as 24-year-old Vimal Patel.

Patel was stabbed eight times in the back and was in the intensive care unit at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Keeley said. Joshua Dirling, 27, was stabbed in the cheek, according to his twin brother Matthew. Hospital officials did not provide information Saturday about the conditions of the men.

Witnesses said the fight broke out after a group of tailgaters — including Patel, a student at Cal State Fullerton — threw a football that accidentally hit a black Mercedes-Benz belonging to another group of fans who also had been partying for hours.
A chaplain's ultimate sacrifice for God and country Dec

Dale Goetz's
helmet & dog
tags at a
service in
A cross
substitites for
a weapon.
Capt. Dale Goetz is the first chaplain killed in combat since the Vietnam War. Recalling the night before what would be his final mission in Afghanistan, his wife says, 'It was like he knew he wasn't coming back.' - by David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times - December 2, 2010

Reporting from Colorado Springs, Colo.

When Christy Goetz's husband, Dale, told her at the outset of the war in Iraq that he wanted to join the Army to become a chaplain, she rebelled.

"I told him: 'You're not going over there and getting killed,' " Christy Goetz recalled. "I mean, he's my honey. I love him. I don't want anything to happen to him."

Dale Goetz, a Baptist minister, signed up anyway in January 2004. Before long he was Chaplain Goetz, ministering to troops in Iraq later that year and the next. He volunteered for a second combat tour last summer, in Afghanistan.

"I prayed on it and realized that this is what God wants him to do," Christy Goetz recalled. "Who am I to stand in God's way?"

She knew what every chaplain's wife knows: They may carry holy books instead of rifles, but they're still soldiers, and they still tread in harm's way.

On Aug. 30, a chaplain and another soldier knocked on the door of the tan split-level Dale and Christy bought here last year — the first house they had ever owned.

Capt. Dale Goetz was dead at 43, the first chaplain killed in combat since the Vietnam War.
Home invasion murder case called a 'prosecutor's nightmare' Dec

John Wesley
He had 2 prior
convictions for
robbery when
arrested and
charged three times this
year for theft.
In each case,
he was allowed
to be free
on bail. He's
now charged
with four
recent home
- invasion
Official says the D.A.'s office could have done a better job on three-strikes bail but says the policy won't be reviewed. - by Jack Leonard and Richard Winton, Times Staff Writers - December 4, 2010

A top Los Angeles County district attorney's official said prosecutors could have done a better job determining the bail of a suspected thief who, while out of custody, allegedly killed four people in a series of home invasion robberies.

Asst. Dist. Atty. Jacquelyn Lacey described the case as a "prosecutor's nightmare" and said her office planned to encourage prosecutors to follow the court's recommended bail for defendants unless there is a good reason to allow them to stay free. Lacey said the office would also send a notice to city police departments asking them to review suspects' criminal records before setting bail.

Her comments came after The Times reported on the case of John Wesley Ewell, who had two prior convictions for robbery when he was arrested and charged three times this year with theft.

Ewell's recommended bail would have been more than $100,000. But he was allowed to remain free on $20,000 bail in each of the three theft cases.

"We feel terrible every time someone who was before the court system takes a life," Lacey said in an interview Thursday. "It cuts us to our core because that's what we do. We are involved in holding people accountable for their crimes."

After each of his three arrests this year, Ewell was released on bail from city jails. Prosecutors then filed criminal charges and requested that the court set a higher bail. But in at least two of the cases, the assigned deputy district attorney said during court hearings that he had no objection to Ewell's remaining out of custody.
Secretive X-37B robot space plane returns to Earth Dec

The X-37B space
plane in some
ways resembles
the space
shuttle, but it
carries no
humans and its
exact mission
is shrouded in
Unmanned Air Force craft was on mission for seven months - by Tariq Malik - MSNBC - December 3, 2010

After seven months in space, the U.S. Air Force's secretive X-37B unmanned space plane returned to Earth on Friday to wrap up a debut flight shrouded in secrecy.

The robotic X-37B space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to end its maiden voyage. The space plane, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle 1, glided back to Earth over the Pacific Ocean before landing at the revamped Vandenberg runway at about 1:16 a.m. PT Dec. 3.

"Today's landing culminates a successful mission based on close teamwork between the 30th Space Wing, Boeing and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office," said Lt. Col. Troy Giese, X-37B program manager from the AFRCO, which oversaw the mission. "We are very pleased that the program completed all the on-orbit objectives for the first mission."

In all, the X-37B space plane spent more than 220 days in orbit. Air Force officials said earlier this week that the X-37B could land anytime between Friday and Monday.

The Air Force has kept the exact nature and cost of the X-37B's secretive mission a closely guarded secret, but some analysts and skywatchers have speculated that the spacecraft served as an unmanned orbital spy platform.

The Air Force launched the robot space plane atop an equally unmanned Atlas 5 rocket on April 22. (see the article about the launch included inside)
Charles Manson had a cellphone? CA prisons fight inmate cellphones Dec

Charles Manson
is now 76 years old and will
likely never be
released from prison in CA.
He was fould to have a mobile phone in his cell.
video inside
Contraband cellphones are burgeoning among prisoners, giving them the ability to arrange crimes on the outside. Even Charles Manson was caught with one. But it's not illegal for state prisoners to possess the devices. - by Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times - December 3, 2010

Reporting from Sacramento

Contraband cellphones are becoming so prevalent in California prisons that guards can't keep them out of the hands of the most notorious and violent inmates: Even Charles Manson, orchestrator of one of the most notorious killing rampages in U.S. history, was caught with an LG flip phone under his prison mattress.

Manson made calls and sent text messages to people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia before officers discovered the phone, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections.

Asked whether Manson had used the device to direct anyone to commit a crime or to leave a threatening message, Thornton said, "I don't know, but it's troubling that he had a cellphone since he's a person who got other people to murder on his behalf."

Although officials say inmates use smuggled cellphones for all manner of criminal activity, including running drug rings from behind bars, intimidating witnesses and planning escapes, it is not a crime to possess one in a California prison.

In August, President Obama signed a bill banning cellphones from federal prisons and making it a crime, punishable by up to a year in jail, to smuggle one in. That law does not apply to state institutions.

The proliferation of cellphones in California prisons has been exponential in recent years, authorities say. Guards found 1,400 in 2007, when the department began to keep records of confiscations. The number jumped to 6,995 in 2009 and stands at 8,675 so far this year.
Columbus pediatrician pleads guilty to possessing child pornography Dec

ICE is fighting
for "the
innocence of
the innocent"
ICE is fighting for "the innocence of the innocent" - from ICE - December 2, 2010

Columbus, Ohio - A 58-year-old former Columbus-area pediatrician pleaded guilty in federal court today to one count of possession of child pornography following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Philip T. Nowicki, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography after investigators found that he used a computer at the Columbus hospital where he worked to subscribe to an illegal international child porn website that gave him access to thousands of images and videos of child pornography.

"Every time an image of child pornography is viewed, an innocent child is exploited," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Ohio and Michigan. "ICE and our partners will continue the fight against those who steal the innocence of the innocent."

At the plea hearing, an HSI agent testified that agents investigating an illegal international child porn website identified Nowicki as a subscriber to the website. In June 2006, agents searched a computer in his office and found that he had subscribed to the website from that computer and also that he had used the computer to access child pornography videos with an external media device such as a thumb drive.

Agents executed a search warrant at his Canal Winchester, Ohio, home in October 2006 and seized a personal computer that a forensic analysis found contained approximately 120 images of child pornography in temporary internet files.

Nowicki's credit card records show that he paid $79.99 a month for four consecutive months in 2005 and 2006 to subscribe to the website.

Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. Judge Sargus will set a date for sentencing.

Following the execution of the search warrants, the hospital terminated his employment. Nowicki moved to Webster, Mass., where he currently lives.
Michael D. Antonovich: County "mayor" Dec

LA County
(1 of 5)
Michael D.
The longtime supervisor discusses L.A. County's troubled child welfare system, providing assistance to the poor and children of illegal immigrants and his advocacy of pet adoption. - by Patt Morrison - Los Angeles Times - December 4, 2010

If he is elected in 2012, as he has been the last eight times he's run, Michael D. Antonovich will have spent 36 years on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors before he terms out in 2016.

He and his four fellow supervisors each represent more people than some U.S. senators do, and their policies may have a more direct impact on their constituents' daily lives.

Antonovich stepped into public office on the Los Angeles Community College Board in 1969, then to the Assembly and back to his native turf on the county board. He ran twice statewide — for lieutenant governor and the U.S. Senate — and both times lost in the primaries to more moderate candidates.

He's been known to mail out packs of clippings that include, among the health news and 5th District doings, an observation about Antonio Villaraigosa's "Marxist" law alma mater (the unaccredited Peoples College of Law) and religious reading recommendations.

Yet the conservative Republican supervisor's list of his proudest accomplishments seems like classic programs of moderate politics and wide reach: reopening the Olive View hospital, which was leveled in the Sylmar quake; building a new courthouse in the Antelope Valley; working to extend foster care to age 21, and to continue the Gold Line deeper into the San Gabriel Valley.

Oh, and finding homes for all of those homeless pets he brings to the board meetings.
Pope Sought in Past to Punish Errant Priests Dec

The Vatican
In 1988, then
Cardinal Joseph
petitioned the
Pontiff for
“a swifter and
procedure for
priests “found
guilty of grave
and scandalous
In 1988, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger petitioned the Pontiff - by Rachel Donadio - New York Times - December 2, 2010

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI pushed for “more rapid and simplified” procedures to punish errant priests as far back as 1988, when he was the Vatican's chief doctrinal officer, but his request was not met, according to documents released by the Vatican on Wednesday.

At the height of the sexual abuse crisis last spring, Benedict's defenders said he had long argued for disciplining priests who had been found guilty of grave misconduct, while other Vatican officials advocated more lenience. The new documentation is the most comprehensive made public to date supporting those claims.

It comes amid new reports in the German media questioning the pope's record as archbishop of Munich when a known pedophile priest was transferred to his diocese.

The new documentation, released online Wednesday by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, appeared to defend the pope against claims that as head of the Vatican's doctrinal office he was part of a culture of inaction and delay that failed to swiftly discipline priests who had abused minors.

The article cited in particular a 1988 letter that the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, sent to the Vatican calling for “a swifter and simplified” procedure for disciplining priests “found guilty of grave and scandalous conduct.”
Has this union lost its way? - the Los Angeles Police Protective League Dec
OPINION - Under consultant Don Novey's direction, the Los Angeles Police Protective League has become far more assertive in state and local politics — with decidedly mixed results. - by Tim Rutten - Los Angeles Times - December 4, 2010

Historically, the political influence of the Los Angeles Police Protective League — the union representing the city's rank-and-file officers — has been a force in local affairs more often assumed in conversation than evident at the polls.

Under its current leaders, however, the league has become far more assertive — with decidedly mixed, often confused, results, many of them flowing from the hiring of a high-priced political consultant who has unsuccessfully attempted to make the union a force in statewide politics. The consultant is Don Novey, a storied figure in California politics who, as president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn., turned the prison guards union into Sacramento's most potent lobby. Under Novey's leadership, the union cemented a lucrative alliance with Indian gaming interests, backed a series of winning gubernatorial candidates and negotiated lucrative increases in wages and benefits. It also threw its money behind a laundry list of tough-on-crime measures, including the three-strikes initiative (for which it provided the seed money) that enlarged the prison population, increasing the need for dues-paying prison guards.

Since stepping down as the guards' labor leader, Novey has gone into the political consulting business. This year, the Los Angeles officers' union will pay him $245,850 for his services, though he has little experience in local politics, where the league has its most vital interests. If you want to do the math, the league is paying its consultant $20,487 a month or, according to Novey himself, $2,048 an hour. (His former union is suing him, alleging that his outside work violates an agreement to provide consulting services to it. In a recent deposition, Novey told the union's attorney that he spends about 10 hours a week on his contract with the Protective League. You can see a videotaped excerpt on YouTube at "thedarksideofdon.")

Nice work if you can get it. But what did the league receive in return?
Skelton boys' father fights extradition; Lucas Co. judge sets $3M bond Dec

- the three
an anonymous
donor offered
a $10,000
reward for the
return of the
boys or the
recovery of
their bodies
Three brothers are still missing - hope is fading of finding them safe - by Ignazio Messina and Mark Reiter - The Toledo Blade - December 2, 2010

MORENCI, Mich. -- Hundreds of volunteers fought bitter cold and growing frustration Wednesday during another day of searching miles of farmland and wooded areas for three young brothers now presumed by many to be dead.

At the same time, their father, John Skelton, was ordered held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $3 million bond as he fought extradition to Michigan, where he faces charges of child-abduction.

Even after five days of searching, and six days since Andrew, 9, Alexander, 7, and Tanner, 5, Skelton were last seen on Thanksgiving Day, some volunteers refused to give up hope.

"Everyone keeps quiet and hopes for the best," Luke Yager of Somerset, Mich., said after trudging through hip-high water along a Fulton County road.

Bill Foster, a family friend of the Skeltons who has baby-sat the three boys, said he would not give up hope.

"They go to school with my youngest daughter and we watched Alex while Tanner was being born -- so it's rough, but we are here for as long as it takes and we are not going to quit," he said. "It's a very personal search for me."

An anonymous donor Wednesday offered a $10,000 reward for the return of the boys or the recovery of their bodies.
$10,000 rewards offered in two separate killings Dec


Long Beach Police seek info - Los Angeles Times - December 2, 2010

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of gunmen in two separate killings in Long Beach.

Officials announced Tuesday that they are investigating the shooting deaths of Heather Broadus, a 27-year-old black woman from La Mirada, and Eduardo Rodriguez, a 14-year-old Latino from Long Beach.

Broadus' body was found by a passerby Aug. 30 about 6:30 a.m. in the 300 block of East 56th Street. The person called 911 and Long Beach Fire Department officials found her body in a parkway. She had been shot more than once in the torso and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

Based on preliminary information, police believe Broadus was shot at some point the previous night. The motive for the shooting remains unknown.

Three months later, Eduardo Rodriguez was fatally shot at his home in the 1600 block of East 53rd Street. On Nov. 17, Eduardo was playing video games inside his house about 9 p.m. when someone knocked on the door. Officials said when Eduardo answered, a person began shooting through the metal security screen and the boy was hit several times.

Authorities were called and Eduardo was taken to a hospital where he died a short time later.

A motive for the shooting remains unclear, but investigators believe the gunman intended to target an adult relative of Eduardo's who formerly lived at the house and has gang ties.
Suspect in Chasen's death kills himself Dec

Ronnie Chasen
was killed on
a street in
Beverly Hills
video inside
Under surveillance in the publicist's death, he pulls out a gun as police approach him in his apartment building in Hollywood. - by Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times - December 2, 2010

A man described as a suspect in the slaying of veteran Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen fatally shot himself at a Hollywood apartment house Wednesday evening as Beverly Hills police were serving a search warrant there.

The shooting occurred about 6 p.m. at the Harvey Apartments on Santa Monica Boulevard.

It was not immediately clear if police suspected the man of shooting Chasen or of being an accomplice, but four law enforcement sources told The Times that detectives considered him a suspect.

The sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the investigation was ongoing, said detectives received information suggesting the man would be in his apartment Wednesday evening. He had been under surveillance for some time, they said.

When police officers approached the man in the lobby of the apartment building, he backed up and refused their orders to raise his hands. He pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head, the sources said. He died at the scene.

The identity of the man, who was believed to be in his 40s, was not released. Residents at the apartment building said they knew him only as Harold.
Detecting and Characterizing Terrorist Activity - a REPORT Dec

Clues in the
report that
are meant to help law
are also
relevant to the
community and
should be considered
Clues meant for law enforcement also relevant to the community - Department of Homeland Security - December 2, 2010

The Emergency Management and Response—Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) recently received the research brief, “Building on Clues: Methods to Help State and Local Law Enforcement Detect and Characterize Terrorist Activity" (PDF, 199 KB), published by the Institute for Homeland Security Solutions (IHSS).

The Institute is a research consortium established to conduct applied research in the social and behavioral sciences to address a wide range of homeland security challenges. The consortium focuses on developing near-term solutions to practical, real world problems including an understanding and analysis of homeland security threats.

This particular research concentrates on describing methods for finding and analyzing information indicating potential terrorist activity. Within this context, the paper addresses the following two central challenges:

How to find initial “clues” or “cues” indicative of potential terrorist activity.

How to collect additional information to determine whether an attack really is being planned and, if so, how to characterize the plot.

The EMR-ISAC acknowledges the focus of the research is on the role of state and local law enforcement agencies in terrorism prevention; however, the information presented is also relevant to federal agencies tasked with protecting American citizens and critical infrastructure.


INSIDE: see a sample of the info that might be helpful for the community in the report
Putting Public Safety First Dec

Charlie Beck
LAPD Chief
Police union disagrees with Dept plans - from Charlie Beck - Chief of Police, LA Police Department - December 1, 2010

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and members of the LA City Council got it right when they first approved a trash fee hike to grow the LAPD, and then allow the Department to continue to hire to attrition.  Despite difficult economic times, our city leaders are putting public safety first.

Now, the Police Protective League wants the city to temporarily halt the hiring of new police officers, and allow the LAPD to use the 2 million in savings, to hire civilians.  It's a bad idea.  The continued hiring of police officers is the lifeblood of this organization.  Without it, the safety of the people of Los Angeles is at risk.  For the past nine years, the LAPD has generated significant crime declines that has not only made our city safer, but has improved community police relations.  The reason we have been able to reduce crime is because we have enough cops to do it.

During the rest of this fiscal year, the LAPD will save the city 40-million dollars by not paying officers cash overtime, and 10-million on civilian furloughs.  The two million the city would save by not hiring anymore officers through the rest of this fiscal year won't make enough of a difference.  Bottom line, the LAPD can't keep the city safe without continued hiring to attrition, and if you stop hiring, it will cost more in the long run.

It currently takes an average of one year for an applicant to get through the hiring process to be certified to enter the LAPD Academy.  It takes another six months to complete it.  That's a year and a half from the time an individual applies, to the time when they can actually serve as a police officer.  If we stop hiring now, it could take several years to recruit a new pool of applicants to be able to hire a full-size academy class on a regular basis.
LAPD-ATF Indictment of Nine on Federal Weapons Charges Dec

35 guns were
taken off the
streets in the
recent arrests
many were
assault type
A series of firearms transactions in which guns – including machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and assault rifles – were sold to undercover operatives - from LAPD - December 2, 2010

LOS ANGELES: Federal and local authorities this morning arrested five defendants who were named by a federal grand jury in a 19-count indictment that alleges illegal firearms sales and drug trafficking offenses.

Two of the nine defendants named in the indictment were already in state custody, and authorities continue to search for one fugitive. An investigation is continuing into the identity of the ninth defendant named in the indictment.

The indictment, which was returned on September 28, outlines a series of firearms transactions in which guns – including machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and assault rifles – were sold to undercover operatives from April 2009 through June 2010.

During this morning's operation, ATF agents and LAPD officers seized 12 firearms, including seven handguns and one machine gun, and at least five pounds of marijuana. With this morning's seizures, this investigation has resulted in a total of 35 firearms being taken off the streets.

In addition to the defendants arrested in the federal case, authorities this morning arrested five suspects who are expected to be prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. "One of ATF's strategies for preventing violent crime is to disrupt and dismantle underground firearms trafficking pipelines and take down those responsible for supplying violent offenders with crime guns," said John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Los Angeles Field Division. "This investigation shows that ATF is at the frontline in combating violent crime through partnerships with fellow law enforcement agencies. ATF will continue to seek out and eradicate those threatening the safety of our communities."
Presidential Proclamation--Critical Infrastructure Protection Month Dec

The President
Dec 2010 as
A PROCLAMATION - from President Barak Obama - White House - December 1, 2010

During Critical Infrastructure Protection Month, we highlight the vast network of systems and structures that sustain the vigor and vitality of our Nation.  Critical infrastructure includes the assets, networks, and functions    both physical and virtual    essential to the security, economic welfare, public health, and safety of the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security leads an unprecedented national partnership dedicated to the security and resilience of our critical infrastructure.  The National Infrastructure Protection Plan integrates a multitude of diverse stakeholders, Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal governments; private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators; first responders; and the public, to identify and protect our infrastructure from hazards or attack.  These critical infrastructure partnerships continue to build their information-sharing capacity and develop actions that strengthen our Nation's preparedness, response capabilities, and recovery resources.

My Administration is committed to delivering the necessary information, tools, and resources to areas where critical infrastructure exists in order to maintain and enhance its security and resilience.  I have proposed a bold plan for renewing and expanding our Nation's infrastructure, including its critical infrastructure, in the coming years.
Interpol puts WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on most-wanted list Dec

John Assange
is founder of
WikiLeaks &
for security
leaks, but he's
wanted for
video inside
Responsible security for security leaks, but wanted for sex-crimes- by the CNN Wire Staff - CNN.com - December 1, 2010

Interpol has put WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on its most-wanted list at the request of a Swedish court looking into alleged sex crimes from this year.

The Stockholm Criminal Court issued an international arrest warrant for Assange two weeks ago on probable cause, saying he is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force in August incidents.

Sweden asked Interpol, the international police organization, to post a "Red Notice" after a judge approved a motion to bring him into custody.

The "Red Notice" is not an international arrest warrant. It is an advisory and request, issued to 188 member countries "to assist the national police forces in identifying or locating those persons with a view to their arrest and extradition," according to Interpol.

The Swedish court ordered Assange, 39, formally arrested in his absence, which requires Swedish authorities anywhere in the world to detain Assange if they come across him. Sweden's director of prosecutions, Marianne Ny, had requested the arrest-in-absence.

Assange faces five counts that appear related to two incidents, according to the request Ny filed with the court.
Pay It Foward Day - Dec 1st - on Facebook Dec

Pay It Forward
Day had nearly
when I joined
the event.
be a Pay It
Forward Day?"
- Bill Murray
A social networking "event" on Facebook - by Bill Murray - NAACC & LACP - December 1, 2010

Okay .. I admit it .. I'm a sucker ..

I have no idea who the creator, David Del Mondo, is (apparently he's a student at UCSC, University of California Santa Cruz, where my lovely daughter, Ashlee, happens to be a 20-year-old Junior) .. but it doesn't really matter.

I'm a sucker for stuff like this, and have succumbed to a friend's Facebook invitation to "attend" the second annual Pay It Forward Day, a social networking "event."

Now I may be a sucker, but I'm no fool. This was an easy decision. Notice I've strategically placed some quotation marks around a couple of the words in that last sentence.

To "attend" simply means making a promise to do something special today (something of my own choosing, and almost anything at all will count). And I get to do it when no one's going to be checking up on me.

By "event" they mean "EVERYWHERE" .. or ANYWHERE .. which is easy enough, too.

But I was pleased to discover that 485,959 folks would be "attending" (more quotes .. read that "participating"), and that was early in the morning.

NOTE: YOUR invitation is inside !!!
Missing Boys' Father Charged With Kidnapping Dec

COP: "We do
not anticipate
a positive outcome here."
video inside
COP: "We do not anticipate a positive outcome here." - by David Lohr - AOL News - December 1, 2010

(Nov. 30) -- The father of three missing Michigan boys was charged today with kidnapping, and police said they fear the worst for the youngsters.

"This afternoon, John Skelton was released from the mental health facility and immediately placed into custody by agents from the Toledo office of the FBI," Morenci, Mich., Police Chief Larry Weeks said at a news conference today.

Skelton, 39, has been charged in Lenawee County, Mich., with three counts of parental kidnapping. He is being held in the Lucas County Jail in Ohio pending extradition, Weeks said.

Skelton was arrested in Ohio because that is where the mental health facility where he was being held is located, the Detroit Free Press said.

The arrest came hours after police said Skelton had given investigators information that made them fear the search for his missing sons -- 5-year-old Tanner, 7-year-old Alexander and 9-year-old Andrew Skelton -- would not have a happy ending.

"Based on the information that we have, we do not anticipate a positive outcome here," Weeks said at an earlier news conference.
LAFD Debuts 'LAFDmobile' Smartphone Application Dec

LA Fire
invites you to
join it in the
21st century
LA Fire Department invites you to join it in the 21st century - by Brian Humphrey - LA Fire Department - December 1, 2010

The Los Angeles Fire Department is pleased to unveil LAFDmobile , a free application for iPhone and Android smartphones.

Created and funded as a proof-of-concept by a veteran firefighter to support the " LAFD Everywhere " initiative, LAFDmobile is designed to put timely and authoritative information into the hands of mobile Angelenos.

Though the free application works only on two platforms at this time, there are plans to include other popular devices.
Simply scan the
image here with
your smartphone
"QR Code Reader" to
automatically install

See how inside.
Convenient and easy to use, LAFDmobile consolidates many of the Los Angeles Fire Department's existing on-line offerings into a single mobile dashboard.

To install the LAFDmobile application on your iPhone or Android device, simply enter the URL (web address) below into your smartphone's existing browser:

Wis. High School Student Who Held Class Hostage Dies Dec

Samuel Hengel
Principal - "I
was unaware
of any
with this
video inside
Principal - "I was unaware of any problems with this particular student." - by Lauren Frayer and David Lohr - AOL News - December 1, 2010

(Nov. 30) -- A 15-year-old Wisconsin boy who held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage for nearly six hours before shooting himself died today of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Samuel Hengel, a sophomore at Marinette High School in northeastern Wisconsin, died at 10:44 a.m. at a hospital in Green Bay, Marinette Police Chief Jeff Skorik told reporters. An autopsy will be conducted, Skorik said.

Police said Hengel was the only person hurt in the hostage drama. All the captives were freed Monday night, as SWAT teams stormed the classroom after shots rang out around 8 p.m

Mystery swirls around the boy's possible motives.

"[The case is] still under investigation," Skorik said. "We have learned nothing more as far as the reasoning behind this."

Hengel had no record of previous trouble with police. Marinette High School Principal Corry Lambie described him as a good student. "I was unaware of any problems with this particular student."

Investigators are still trying to determine where Hengel obtained the two firearms, a .22-caliber and a 9-mm semiautomatic, that he took into the sixth-period class.
Nigerian National Gets 14 Years in $2.7 million International Lottery Scam Dec

Dept of Justice
Central District of CA A
Nigerian used
phone calls,
letters and emails - pled
guilty to one
count of mail
Used phone calls, letters and emails - pled guilty to one count of mail fraud - by Thom Mrozek - United States Attorney's Office - Central District of California (Los Angeles) - December 1, 2010

LOS ANGELES – A Nigerian man who was involved in running several bogus lottery companies out of London, England has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for bilking mainly elderly victims out of more than $2.7 million with promises of huge winnings in international lotteries.

Emmanuel I. Onwuzulike, who also used the name “Tony Moore,” 53, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer. In addition to the 168-month prison term, Judge Fischer ordered Onwuzulike to pay full restitution to his victims across the United States.

Onwuzulike pleaded guilty in July to one count of mail fraud. In court, prosecutors argued that he was part of an organization that bilked approximately 52 victims – most of whom were elderly – out of $2,729,942. From 2004 through 2006, Onwuzulike helped operate companies with names like Euromillones Loteria International and EU Anti-Terrorism Commission. The Metropolitan Police Service in London executed a search warrant in August 2006, obtaining evidence about the bogus lottery businesses from Onwuzulike's residence and vehicle.
Beck and Baca, and "Law and Order in the Southland" Dec

to Attend
FREE EVENT - by Elaine Cha - 89.3 KPCC Radio - Southern California Public Radio - December 1, 2010

Los Angeles 's 4,060 square miles, home to 10,441,100 people, is also a stage for 400 different known gangs. Keeping law and order under such circumstances, and trying to do so amidst dwindling budgets and increasing demands at the city and county levels, is a complicated balancing act.

On Wednesday, December 8 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at The Crawford Family Forum, 89.3 KPCC's Patt Morrison will host a live taping of her regular “Ask the Chief”: except this time, LA County Sheriff Lee Baca will join the conversation about what's goin' on in Los Angeles… and you'll get the chance to ask your own questions, either at the event or by or sending them to us.

December 8th will be a packed night: Come early to meet the four-legged members of the LAPD's K-9 unit – Find out about special programs like Lock It, Hide It, Keep It; iWATCH, Team Sheriff Racing, and the Sheriff's special Soapbox Derby – Hear "The Bricks," the L.A. multicultural group of youth that delivers its message to at-risk youth through rock, hip-hop, and soul music.

ADMISSION is FREE, but RSVPs are required.

Follow the link inside to secure your seat OR request multiple seats by email or phone. And as it's the holidays, bring an unwrapped toy or book to donate to families in need. Make a child happy!
Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch Dec

Daily News
Here are recent
daily digests:

Weekly Daily News Digests - the LA Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file LAPD officers, presents a weekday digest of local news, which often includes the union's opinion and perspective.

Frequent topics include:

Local Law Enforcement

Curent Crime Stories

California Prisons

Homeland Security Issues

Immigration / Border

LA City Government

State Budget Crisis

California Politics

Pensions & Benefits

Changes in the Law

and much more ..
Celebrating Secession Without the Slaves Nov

The Civil War
was fought to
decide if the
Union would be
preserved, but
States Rights,
especially those
about American
slavery (mostly
in the South)
was one of the
biggest, and
most divisive,
150th anniversary of the four-year Civil War conflict gets under way - by Katherine Q. Seelye - New York Times - November 30, 2010

ATLANTA — The Civil War, the most wrenching and bloody episode in American history, may not seem like much of a cause for celebration, especially in the South.

And yet, as the 150th anniversary of the four-year conflict gets under way, some groups in the old Confederacy are planning at least a certain amount of hoopla, chiefly around the glory days of secession, when 11 states declared their sovereignty under a banner of states' rights and broke from the union.

And yet, as the 150th anniversary of the four-year conflict gets under way, some groups in the old Confederacy are planning at least a certain amount of hoopla, chiefly around the glory days of secession, when 11 states declared their sovereignty under a banner of states' rights and broke from the union.

The events include a “secession ball” in the former slave port of Charleston (“a joyous night of music, dancing, food and drink,” says the invitation), which will be replicated on a smaller scale in other cities. A parade is being planned in Montgomery, Ala., along with a mock swearing-in of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy.

In addition, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and some of its local chapters are preparing various television commercials that they hope to show next year. “All we wanted was to be left alone to govern ourselves,” says one ad from the group's Georgia Division.
In Chicago a 19-year-old burglar killed cops to hide theft Nov

Chicago police
officer and
Michael Flisk
was shot
over the last
six months
five cops have
been killed in
Paroled of armed robbery conviction in mid September, the accused had tried to steal a car - by Kim Janssen and Michael Sneed - Chicago Sun Times - November 30, 2010

Free on parole, convicted armed robber Timothy Herring Jr. was determined not to go back to prison.

So when the 19-year-old sneaked back Friday to the scene of a burglary he'd committed hours earlier and overheard veteran police officer and evidence technician Michael Flisk say “I've got a good fingerprint,” he acted in the coldest of blood, law enforcement sources said.

Armed with a handgun and wearing an electronic tracking bracelet on his ankle, Herring crept up on Flisk and former CHA police officer Stephen Peters in the alley on the 8100 block of South Burnham and shot both men dead, it's alleged.

Prosecutors charged him with the first degree murder of both men Monday, marking the end of a 72-hour round-the-clock effort to find justice for Peters and Flisk, the fifth Chicago cop murdered this year.

Flisk's fellow officers “worked non-stop, even in the face of extreme grief,” Supt. Jody Weis said as he announced the charges against Herring and an alleged accomplice, Timothy Willis, who's charged with unlawful use of a weapon and is accused of helping Herring cover up the murders.

“All of Chicago owes them a debt of gratitude as they helped get a killer off the streets,” Weis said.
Long Beach man sentenced to life in prison for torturing, killing friend in 1988 Nov

Paul Gentile
Smith - killed a
friend in 1988
DNA testing
20 years later
solved the case
Another cold case resolved over 20 years later by DNA testing - by Robert Faturechi - Los Angeles Times - November 29, 2010

A Long Beach man was sentenced to life in prison Monday after being convicted of torturing and killing his friend more than two decades ago.

At his sentencing, Paul Gentile Smith, 50, also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a jailhouse attempt to hire an undercover investigator to assault the lead detective in his murder case and a witness, prosecutors said.

The charges against Smith come from a 1988 cold case, in which 29-year-old Robert Haugen's body was found nearly decapitated in his burning Sunset Beach apartment.

The homicide case remained cold until 2009, when DNA that Smith submitted after an unrelated arrest in Nevada was matched to blood left behind in Haugen's apartment, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Smith, who was a longtime high school friend of the victim, was charged with murder and sent back to Orange County.

During his trial, Smith denied killing his friend. He said his blood was found inside the victim's apartment because he had been buying drugs from the man the night before the slaying and had nicked himself with a small knife while cutting marijuana, district attorney officials said in a statement.
California to ship more prisoners out of state Nov

San Quentin
State Prison
is so packed
with prisoners
that some
inmates must
be housed in
the facility's
The prisons remain woefully crowded: there are 8,200 inmates in "nontraditional" beds such as the gymnasium at San Quentin State Prison - by Marisa Lagos - San Francisco Chronicle - November 30, 2010

California, under pressure to reduce the number of inmates in its crowded prisons, has steadily increased the number of convicts it sends to private institutions outside the state since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger began the program in 2006.

The latest deal will ship another 5,800 inmates to private prisons across state lines, bringing the total to more than 15,000. The transfers will begin in May under a contract that runs through June 2013 - nearly halfway through the term of Gov.-elect Jerry Brown.

California has a prison population of about 164,000 people, but its corrections facilities are only equipped to house around 100,000. The state is under court order to reduce the inmate population by 40,000 though state officials are challenging the order, and the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case today.

Critics of moving prisoners to out-of-state facilities say it does little to relieve the underlying problems that have caused crowded conditions and questioned the timing of the new, no-bid contracts with two private companies. One of the companies houses nearly 10,000 California prisoners.

"This is the governor doing what he wants to in the last minutes of his administration," said state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. "It is a way he can, on his watch, knock another 5,000 from the official numbers."
Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt Nov
OPINION - Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt - by Julis Zhou - New York Times - November 30, 2010

Palo Alto, Calif. - There you are, peacefully reading an article or watching a video on the Internet. You finish, find it thought-provoking, and scroll down to the comments section to see what other people thought. And there, lurking among dozens of well-intentioned opinions, is a troll.

“How much longer is the media going to milk this beyond tired story?” “These guys are frauds.” “Your idiocy is disturbing.” “We're just trying to make the world a better place one brainwashed, ignorant idiot at a time.” These are the trollish comments, all from anonymous sources, that you could have found after reading a CNN article on the rescue of the Chilean miners.

Trolling, defined as the act of posting inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums, is a problem as old as the Internet itself, although its roots go much farther back. Even in the fourth century B.C., Plato touched upon the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of Gyges.

That mythical ring gave its owner the power of invisibility, and Plato observed that even a habitually just man who possessed such a ring would become a thief, knowing that he couldn't be caught. Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions we would all behave unjustly.

This certainly seems to be true for the anonymous trolls today. After Alexis Pilkington, a 17-year-old Long Island girl, committed suicide earlier this year, trolls descended on her online tribute page to post pictures of nooses, references to hangings and other hateful comments. A better-known example involves Nicole Catsouras, an 18-year-old who died in a car crash in California in 2006. Photographs of her badly disfigured body were posted on the Internet, where anonymous trolls set up fake tribute pages and in some cases e-mailed the photos to her parents with subject lines like “Hey, Daddy, I'm still alive.”

Psychological research has proven again and again that anonymity increases unethical behavior. Road rage bubbles up in the relative anonymity of one's car. And in the online world, which can offer total anonymity, the effect is even more pronounced. People — even ordinary, good people — often change their behavior in radical ways. There's even a term for it: the online disinhibition effect.
Mexican Drug Gang Leader Confesses to Killings Nov

Federal police
arrested Arturo
leader of
the criminal
‘Los Aztecas'
in Mexico
The violence in Juárez has claimed more than 2,000 lives this year - by Elisabeth Malkin - New York Times - November 29, 2010

MEXICO CITY — A notorious drug gang leader has been captured and has confessed to ordering most killings in the battle-scarred border city of Ciudad Juárez since August 2009, including the drive-by shootings of a United States consular employee and her husband, Mexico's federal police said Sunday.

Arturo Gallegos Castrellón, 32, leader of the gang Los Aztecas, was arrested along with two other gang leaders in a Juárez neighborhood on Saturday, said Luis Cárdenas Palomino, chief of the regional security division of the federal police.

Mr. Cárdenas said Mr. Gallegos claimed to have ordered 80 percent of the killings in the last 15 months. “He is in charge of the whole organization of Los Aztecas in Ciudad Juárez,” Mr. Cárdenas told reporters at a news conference in Mexico City. “All the instructions for the murders committed in Ciudad Juárez pass through him.”

The arrest marked a public-relations victory for the Mexican government as it takes aim at the top leaders of Mexico's brutal drug cartels, but it offered no guarantee to weary Juárez residents that the violence that has claimed more than 2,000 lives in the city this year would diminish.

Los Aztecas are a cross-border gang that carries out enforcement activities for the Juárez drug cartel, which has been fighting the Sinaloa cartel for control over the city, according to Mexican officials.
Broken Beyond Repair Nov
OPINION - Broken Beyond Repair - by Bob Herbert - New York Times - November 30, 2010

You can only hope that you will be as sharp and intellectually focused as former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens when you're 90 years old.

In a provocative essay in The New York Review of Books, the former justice, who once supported the death penalty, offers some welcome insight into why he now opposes this ultimate criminal sanction and believes it to be unconstitutional.

As Adam Liptak noted in The Times on Sunday, Justice Stevens had once thought the death penalty could be administered rationally and fairly but has come to the conclusion “that personnel changes on the court, coupled with ‘regrettable judicial activism,' had created a system of capital punishment that is shot through with racism, skewed toward conviction, infected with politics and tinged with hysteria.”

The egregious problems identified by Justice Stevens (and other prominent Americans who have changed their minds in recent years about capital punishment) have always been the case. The awful evidence has always been right there for all to see, but mostly it has been ignored. The death penalty in the United States has never been anything but an abomination — a grotesque, uncivilized, overwhelmingly racist affront to the very idea of justice.

Police and prosecutorial misconduct have been rampant, with evidence of innocence deliberately withheld from defendants being prominent among the abuses. Juries have systematically been shaped — rigged — to heighten the chances of conviction, and thus imposition of the ultimate punishment.

Prosecutors and judges in death penalty cases have been overwhelmingly white and male and their behavior has often — not always, but shockingly often — been unfair, bigoted and cruel. The Death Penalty Information Center has reams of meticulously documented horror stories.

Innocents have undoubtedly been executed. Executions have been upheld in cases in which defense lawyers slept through crucial proceedings. Alcoholic, drug-addicted and incompetent lawyers — as well as lawyers who had been suspended or otherwise disciplined for misconduct — have been assigned to indigent defendants. And it has always been the case that the death penalty machinery is fired up far more often when the victims are white.
Mixed portraits of Oregon terrorism suspect Nov

The Salman Al-
Farisi Islamic
Center was
by fire,
believed to be
deliberately set
Classmates of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, accused of trying to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting, describe a typical teen. Fire ravages an Islamic center in Corvallis, Ore. - by Bob Drogin and April Choi, Los Angeles Times - November 29, 2010

Reporting from Washington and Portland, Ore.

Friends called him "Mo," and one remembered him as the class clown. He drank beer, followed the Portland Trail Blazers and liked hip-hop music. He sometimes worshipped at a local Muslim center but wasn't devout.

And for a high school physics project, he told the class how to operate a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud — the 19-year-old Somali American accused of trying to explode a powerful car bomb amid throngs of people at a holiday ceremony Friday night in downtown Portland, Ore. — appears a mix of typical teenager and aspiring jihadist, according to former classmates, neighbors and court documents.

Authorities said the bomb was a deliberate dud supplied by the FBI, and no one was injured. Federal agents arrested Mohamud on the spot. He is scheduled to be in federal court Monday on a charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

In a possible reaction to the purported bomb plot, federal officials said an arson fire early Sunday ravaged part of a two-story Islamic center in Corvallis, Ore., that Mohamud occasionally attended.
Oregon Muslims fear backlash Nov

Reacting over a
pile of burnt
debris pulled
from a local
mosque where
an alleged
arsonist set a
fire in the early
morning hours
Fire set at Islamic center where bomb-plot suspect worshipped - by Jonathan Cooper and Nigel Durara - Chicago Sun Times - Associated Press - November 29, 2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Someone set fire to an Islamic center on Sunday, two days after a man who worshipped there was accused of trying to blow up a van full of explosives during Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Other Muslims fear it could be the first volley of misplaced retribution.

The charges against Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali-born 19-year-old who was caught in a federal sting operation, are testing tolerance in a state that has been largely accepting of Muslims.

The fire at the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis was reported at 2:15 a.m., and evidence at the scene led authorities believe it was set intentionally, said Carla Pusateri, a fire prevention officer for the Corvallis Fire Department.

Authorities don't know who started the blaze or exactly why, but they believe the center was targeted because Mohamud occasionally worshipped there.

"We have made it quite clear that the FBI will not tolerate any kind of retribution or attack on the Muslim community," said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon.

Mohamud was being held on charges of plotting to carry out a terror attack Friday on a crowd of thousands at Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square. He is scheduled to appear in court today.
Somali-born American teen held in Oregon car-bomb plot - UPDATED Nov

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19
charged with
attempted use
of a weapon
of mass
thought the
agents he was
dealing with
were other
people bent
on terrorism
After dialing a cell phone that he thought would detonate a van laden with explosives in downtown Portland. The van was parked near a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony. - from the Associated Press - November 26, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. — Undercover agents in a sting operation arrested a Somali-born teenager just as he tried blowing up a van full of what he believed were explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony, federal authorities said.

The bomb was a fake supplied by the agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested at 5:40 p.m. local time Friday just after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would set off the blast but instead brought federal agents and police swooping down on him.

Yelling "Allahu Akbar!" -- Arabic for "God is great!" -- Mohamud tried to kick agents and police after he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors.

"The threat was very real," said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. "Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale."
California prison overcrowding case heads to Supreme Court Nov

CA state
prison at
San Luis
The state is appealing a 2009 federal judicial order to reduce the prison population by more than 40,000 in two years. Lawyers for 18 other states are backing the appeal. - by David G. Savage and Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times - November 29, 2010

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles

The suicide rate in California's overcrowded prisons is nearly twice the national average, and one inmate dies every eight days from inadequate medical care.

These are just two indicators cited in the 15-year legal battle over whether the state's prisons are failing to provide humane medical care for the 165,000 inmates.

On Tuesday, the problems of California's prisons will move to a national stage when the Supreme Court hears the state's challenge to an extraordinary court order that would require the prison population to be reduced by about 25% in two years. That could mean releasing or transferring more than 40,000 inmates, state lawyers say.

The case is not just of interest to California.

Lawyers for 18 other states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia, joined in support of California's appeal, saying they feared a ruling upholding the prison release order could trigger similar moves across the nation. "Real world experience" suggests that releasing a large number of inmates would "inevitably place innocent citizens at much greater risk," they said.
Three Missing Michigan Boys Feared To Be In Danger - UPDATES Nov

Three Skelton
brothers, Tanner,
5, Alexander, 7,
and Andrew, 9,
were given by
their father to a
woman who he
met over the
Young brothers were left in the care of a woman their dad had met on the Internet - by The Associated Press - National Public Radio - November 28, 2010

MORENCI, Mich. - Police were searching Sunday for three young brothers who haven't been seen since their father tried to hang himself, and investigators unraveling the man's strange story fear the boys are in grave danger.

At the heart of the investigation is a perplexing account by the father, 39-year-old John Skelton, who told investigators he'd left the boys in the care of a woman with whom he had an online relationship. Yet by late Saturday, officers had no luck finding the woman.

Skelton was being treated at a hospital in Ohio for "mental health issues" on Saturday, one day after he tried to kill himself, said Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks. Morenci is about 75 miles southwest of Detroit and just north of the Ohio state line.

Skelton told investigators Friday that he didn't want the boys in his house when he committed suicide, so he asked a woman named Joann Taylor to take them to their mother, who is separated from Skelton. Weeks said Saturday that officers haven't been able to confirm that Taylor exists.
A Woman. A Prostitute. A Slave. Nov

In New York
there's a non
profit effort
that's called
It's dedicated
to helping girls
caught up in
the sex trade
video inside
A Woman. A Prostitute. A Slave. - OPINION - by Nicholas D. Kristof - New York Times - November 28, 2010

Americans tend to associate “modern slavery” with illiterate girls in India or Cambodia. Yet there I was the other day, interviewing a college graduate who says she spent three years terrorized by pimps in a brothel in Midtown Manhattan.

Those who think that commercial sex in this country is invariably voluntary — and especially men who pay for sex — should listen to her story. The men buying her services all mistakenly assumed that she was working of her own volition, she says.

Yumi Li (a nickname) grew up in a Korean area of northeastern China. After university, she became an accountant, but, restless and ambitious, she yearned to go abroad.

So she accepted an offer from a female jobs agent to be smuggled to New York and take up a job using her accounting skills and paying $5,000 a month. Yumi's relatives had to sign documents pledging their homes as collateral if she did not pay back the $50,000 smugglers' fee from her earnings.

Yumi set off for America with a fake South Korean passport. On arrival in New York, however, Yumi was ordered to work in a brothel.

“When they first mentioned prostitution, I thought I would go crazy,” Yumi told me. “I was thinking, ‘how can this happen to someone like me who is college-educated?' ” Her voice trailed off, and she added: “I wanted to die.”
Wait times drop for cellphone 911 calls in California Nov

calling 9-1-1
on a cell
phone is no
longer so

After years of call centers not being able to keep up with emergency calls from wireless phones, the number of such calls not getting through fell to just 5% so far this year. - by Rich Connell, Los Angeles Times - November 28, 2010

Millions of California cellphone users are no longer getting busy messages, experiencing unconnected calls or being put on hold for extended periods when they dial 911.

The number of wireless emergency calls reaching busy operators or failing to go through for various reasons dropped from 4.9 million or 42% of calls in 2007 to just 470,000 or 5% so far this year, according to the state's Public Safety Communications Division. The improvement came even as cellphone 911 call volumes continued growing steadily.

In addition, the California Highway Patrol, by far the largest recipient of emergency cellphone calls, has significantly reduced the time that callers wait for someone to answer.

The new data represent a turnaround for a system that struggled for years to adapt as wireless devices rapidly proliferated, becoming the public's primary link to police and fire rescuers.

When mobile phones were relatively rare, bulky contraptions installed chiefly in cars, all 911 wireless calls were sent to the CHP. By the late 1990s, as smaller, cheaper cellphones became ubiquitous, CHP call centers were being overwhelmed.

Callers often had to wait several minutes to reach an operator, only to then be quizzed and transferred to the nearest public safety dispatch center. The delays added crucial minutes to emergency response times.
Death has cast a long shadow over Hollywood Nov

The body
of actress
Thelma Todd
was discovered
in Dec 1935 in
a garage in
Publicist Ronni Chasen's slaying in Beverly Hills is the latest in a string of deaths that date to at least 1922, when director William Desmond Taylor was found fatally shot in his bachelor pad near 4th and Alvarado streets. - by Steve Harvey - Los Angeles Times - November 28, 2010

Several days after Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen was found shot to death in her Mercedes-Benz, a friend voiced the hope to KNBC-TV news that the case wouldn't turn into "another Black Dahlia."

The friend was referring to the 1947 slaying of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, which has never been solved.

Of course, mysterious deaths with links to Hollywood date to at least 1922, when debonair director William Desmond Taylor was found slain in his fashionable bachelor pad near the corner of 4th and Alvarado streets.

Taylor's valet cried out the news that morning and an actress neighbor quickly notified the director's acquaintances, including those in the habit of writing love letters.

By the time officers arrived, author Sidney Kirkpatrick wrote in The Times, there "appeared to be a party at Taylor's bungalow: Paramount actors, actresses and executives rummaging through bedroom drawers and closets, a butler washing dishes and an unnamed extra walking out the front door with a case of bootleg gin.
Dust-up with picketing tenants puts L.A. housing authority chief in spotlight Nov

Rudolf Montiel
- paranoid &
Some say the
director of the
LA Housing
Authority is
a brilliant
Rudy Montiel has flown mostly under the radar in his six years on the job, but since deputies broke up a protest at his home, divergent pictures of his management style have emerged. - by Jessica Garrison and David Zahniser - Los Angeles Times - November 28, 2010

Rudolf Montiel holds one of the biggest government jobs in Los Angeles, running a $1-billion-a-year agency responsible for sheltering more than 60,000 of the city's neediest families.

He is also one of the city's best-paid officials, with a compensation package of about $450,000 a year, including 10 weeks of vacation.

But despite his power and perks, in his six-year tenure Montiel has mostly flown beneath the radar — until a dust-up this month over a move to evict nine public housing tenants who picketed with others outside his Rancho Cucamonga home.

The eviction effort infuriated City Council members, who took to their microphones and rained down nasty sound bites on Montiel — calling him "Big Brother," "childlike" and manipulative — while angry tenants upset over city policies roared their approval.
Ex-Justice Explains Changed Death Penalty Stance Nov

At 90, Justice
Stevens is intent
on speaking his
mind on issues
that may have
been off limits
while he was
on the court
At 90, Justice Stevens is intent on speaking his mind on issues that may have been off limits while he was on the court - by Adam Liptak - New York Times - November 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — In 1976, just six months after he joined the Supreme Court, Justice John Paul Stevens voted to reinstate capital punishment after a four-year moratorium. With the right procedures, he wrote, it is possible to ensure “evenhanded, rational and consistent imposition of death sentences under law.”

In 2008, two years before he announced his retirement, Justice Stevens reversed course and in a concurrence said that he now believed the death penalty to be unconstitutional.

But the reason for that change of heart, after more than three decades on the court and some 1,100 executions, has in many ways remained a mystery, and now Justice Stevens has provided an explanation.

In a detailed, candid and critical essay to be published this week in The New York Review of Books, he wrote that personnel changes on the court, coupled with “regrettable judicial activism,” had created a system of capital punishment that is shot through with racism, skewed toward conviction, infected with politics and tinged with hysteria.

The essay is remarkable in itself. But it is also a sign that at 90, Justice Stevens is intent on speaking his mind on issues that may have been off limits while he was on the court.
Eddie Zhao is on their side -- PI helps Chinese immigrants Nov

Eddie Zhao,
Private Investigator
Helps new
track down
swindlers who
prey on a
that fears
calling the
Himself the victim of a con that led him to America, the private investigator helps Chinese immigrants to the San Gabriel Valley who fall prey to the swindlers in their midst. - by Ching-Ching Ni, Los Angeles Times - November 27, 2010

A laundromat operator hands over her life savings to a company supposedly building Rose Parade floats. A married welder falls for a beautiful woman, who beats him up because he won't give her $60,000. An old lady is left empty-handed after she pays $100,000 for a chest of gold nuggets she's told have been unearthed on a construction site.

In the insular Chinese world of the San Gabriel Valley, swindlers find easy prey in the steady flow of new immigrants, vulnerable to the predators lurking in their midst.

The victims don't speak English. They have no clue how to navigate the American legal system. So instead of calling the police for help, many turn to Eddie Zhao, private eye.

Zhao knows the cons. He also knows what it is to be conned. It was a con, after all, that led him to America.
Threats against Obama: Michael Stephen Bowden is just the latest Nov

Michael Stephen
Bowden, a
former NYC
policeman, was
arrested earlier
this month.
He told a nurse
at a VA clinic
that he was
thinking of
killing the
Nearly 1 in 10 US presidents have been assassinated or wounded in office. The Secret Service has made more than a dozen arrests in the past two years for threats against Obama. Retiree Michael Stephen Bowden is the latest. - by Patrik Jonsson - The Christian Science Monitor -
November 26, 2010

The arrest of former New York City cop Michael Stephen Bowden for telling a Secret Service agent he'd like to put President Obama up against a wall and shoot him underscores the daily threat matrix for a job that is much more dangerous than, say, the harrowing experience of Bering Sea fishermen as dramatized on the popular TV show "The Deadliest Catch."

Nearly 1 in 10 presidents have been assassinated or shot while in office (the last being Ronald Reagan, in 1981), with another 11 escaping assassination attempts unscathed.

The Secret Service has been particularly busy chasing down threats to Mr. Obama, who faced a barrage of death threats and at least one credible assassination plot while a presidential candidate and since taking office in January 2009.

Last summer, author Ron Kessler wrote that Obama was receiving 30 death threats a day. Other reports state that federal agents had seen a 400-fold increase in threats from President George W. Bush's last year in office. Secret Service head Mark Sullivan later pushed back at that assertion, saying "threats are not up" in the Obama era.
"Antenas" - A Safe Haven in Cartoon Confidants - OPINION Nov

DULAS - one of
the "Antenas
por los Ninos"
Talking about
abuse to Dulas,
instead of
an adult, is
for some
"Antenas" can reach kids where adults can't - OPINION - by David Bornstein - New York Times - November 22, 2010

For months, psychologists struggled to reach the eight year old boy in the burn unit of the Pediatric Hospital of Tacubaya, in Mexico City. He had been discovered in the basement of a house, tied to a water tank after being burned along the backs of both legs with a clothes iron by his uncle and aunt, who were later arrested. Every time an adult tried to talk about his abuse, the boy would turn away and repeat, “No, no, no, no.” One day, a therapist said to a colleague, “Nothing is working. Let's try Dulas.”

Dulas is a computer-generated character created by Julia Borbolla, a Mexican child psychologist. It is one of several “emotional agents” Borbolla has invented that are being recognized in Mexico City as capable of gaining rare access into the inner lives of children. Dulas, like all of these characters, comes from a planet called Antenopolis and knows nothing about life on earth, not even what a mother or father is. He looks like a pointy-headed M&M with big eyes and radio antennas. He is red, the color children associate with burns, and wears bunny rabbit slippers because he remains in a hospital – so children can count on his companionship.
The 'Vanity Fair' of Al Qaeda Nov

colorful, slick
and published
in English
An offshoot group in Yemen is producing Inspire magazine, an online propaganda periodical with color photos and interviews with celebrity jihadists. Experts say the target audience appears to be disaffected Muslims in the English-speaking world. - by Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times - November 26, 2010

Reporting from Washington - As provocative headlines go, the editors of Inspire magazine chose a doozy for their inaugural issue last summer.

"Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," it promised. The author of the crude how-to guide was identified only as "The AQ Chef." That's AQ as in Al Qaeda.

The terrorist network long has exploited gory YouTube videos, fiery Facebook pages, hate-filled chat rooms, and other incendiary Internet websites to radicalize recruits and gloat over mass murder.

Now the media wing of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an offshoot group based in Yemen, is producing an online propaganda periodical that gives pop culture a lethal twist. Color photos and glitzy graphics flank interviews of celebrity jihadists and reader-friendly stories, such as "What to Expect in Jihad," complete with a packing list.
Lack of funding builds death row logjam Nov

The average
wait for State
death penalty
in CA is
10 to 12 years
Convicted killers have a hard time finding lawyers to handle their final appeals, which can be both expensive and gut-wrenching. - by Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times - November 27, 2010

Thirteen years ago, Edward Patrick Morgan asked the California Supreme Court for a lawyer to investigate and challenge his 1996 death sentence for a murder in Orange County. The court has yet to find Morgan an attorney.

The inability of the state to recruit lawyers for post-conviction challenges, or habeas corpus petitions, has caused a major bottleneck in the state's criminal justice system. Nearly half of those condemned to die in California are awaiting appointment of counsel for these challenges.

This "critical shortage," as the state high court describes it, has persisted for years, despite lawyer gluts. The average wait for these attorneys is 10 to 12 years.

Criminal defense lawyers attribute the scarcity to inadequate state funding, the emotional toll of representing a client facing execution and the likelihood that the California Supreme Court will uphold a capital conviction.
The DNA non-redemption - OPINION Nov
Test results came too late to save Claude Jones from Texas' death chamber - EDITORIAL - Los Angeles Times - November 27, 2010

In 1990, a Texas jury convicted Claude Jones, a career criminal, of murdering Allen Hilzendager.

Jones and another ex-convict, Danny Dixon, had stopped their truck at Hilzendager's liquor store in Point Blank, Texas. One of the men got out, entered the store and shot Hilzendager. Jones blamed Dixon and Dixon blamed Jones, but Jones was eventually convicted of pulling the trigger on the basis of one person's testimony (subsequently recanted) and on one piece of physical evidence: a strand of hair found inside the store and identified as Jones' by a crime lab expert.

That hair tipped the balance between life and death, because Texas law requires corroborating physical evidence in a capital case. Dixon is serving a life sentence; Jones was put to death in 2000.

This month, however, a DNA test determined that the hair did not belong to Jones after all; it belonged to the victim. With no physical evidence, there is now no legal basis for Jones' death sentence.

Some may argue that this miscarriage of justice was an aberration. But Texas' rapid pace of executions, coupled with its abysmal standards for effective representation for defendants, have long made the likelihood of wrongful executions exceedingly high. The state offers a prime example of why the death penalty, which requires 100% accuracy, is so difficult to mete out fairly.
Federal officials find another drug-smuggling tunnel Nov

Over 20 tons
of marijuana
were seized
in the over 800 foot tunnel
the second
such discovery
in a month
Second such discovery in less than a month - Los Angeles Times - ASSOCIATED PRESS - November 25, 2010

(AP) U.S. authorities on Thursday found a sophisticated tunnel used to smuggle drugs between Mexico and San Diego, the second such discovery in the region in less than a month.

The half-mile passage runs from a residence in Tijuana to a warehouse in San Diego's Otay Mesa area, the San Diego Tunnel Task Force said in a statement.

Federal border patrol, drug enforcement, immigration and customs enforcement agents in the task force arrested several suspects and seized an undetermined amount of marijuana in a tractor-trailer on U.S. soil, the statement said.

The statement said authorities believed more marijuana was being stored in the tunnel. Agents were working with the Mexican military on the investigation.

Officials said they would release more details Friday afternoon. (see article included inside)
Search Halted for Missing Student Jenni-Lyn Watson, 20 - UPDATES Nov

Body found -
accused of
Watson, 20,
missing for a
week in the
Syracuse area
video inside
With Few Leads, Investigation Approaches One-Week Milestone - by Russell Goldman - November 25, 2010

Police halted the ground search Thanksgiving Day for a young New York woman who went missing almost a week ago, after coming from college for the holiday break.

Over the course of the past two days, D'Eredita said, search teams have covered more than 600 acres, focusing on a swath of land where Watson was believed to have been last, according to cell phone records.

Police are asking local residents to call with any tips, regarding anything that might seem out of the ordinary, or information pertaining to a dark colored pickup truck last seen near Watson's home.

Some 600 students attended a vigil Wednesday night at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., for the pretty and popular ballet dancer.

Neighbors said it was not like the young woman to be out of touch with her family for so long.
Home of alleged bomb maker in Escondido too dangerous to enter Nov

ATF agents
in Escondido
consider how to
most safely
approach the
bomb maker's
UPDATED - House came to the attention of authorities when a gardener was hurt in an explosion - by Tony Perry in San Diego - Los Angeles Times - November 25, 2010

The house in Escondido in northern San Diego County where large quanities of bomb-making materials have been found remains too dangerous for explosive experts to enter, the County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday.

The resident, George Jakubec, 54, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Serbia, remains in jail, charged with possession of explosive devices, possession of bomb-making materials, bank robbery and burglary.

Jakubec has pleaded not guilty, with bail set at $5 million. Prosecutors said he is an unemployed software consultant.

The house came to the attention of authorities when a gardener was hurt in an explosion.

On Sunday, the Sheriff's Department bomb squad entered the house, retreating after seizing evidence that included homemade grenades. On Wednesday, the squad reentered the house, finding it "extremely cluttered, making movement and observation extremely difficult."
Twins' Suicide Pact and the Columbine Connection Nov

Kristin Hermeler
took her own
life last week
in Colorado.
She was 29.
See what she
wrote about
the Columbine
Bullied as teens, the tragedy of nearby sensational high school massacre never left them - by Robert Mackey, REUTERS - November 22, 2010

Twin sisters from Australia, who complained of bullying as teenagers, might have chosen to shoot themselves at a gun range outside Denver last week because of its proximity to Columbine High School, site of the 1999 massacre that became a global news event.

Last Monday, Kristin Hermeler committed suicide while her twin, Candice, shot herself but survived, at the Family Shooting Center at Cherry Creek State Park, less than 20 miles from Columbine.

The connection to the rampage emerged on Saturday, when a Denver television station reported that the sisters had contacted a classmate of the two gunmen who embarked on the deadly rampage in the months after the shootings.
Anti-Bullying Program Uses Music for Healing Nov

Its well known
that kids
respond well
to music,
an effective
and powerful
"Operation Respect" Supplies Free Teacher Resources to Stop Bullying - from MJ Goyings: Late last night, I heard an interview with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.  They've embarked on a campaign to stop bullying and they sang the song "Don't Laugh At Me" to get the message across.  The links for the song are included below. - by Michael Jung - October 16, 2009

In the 1960s, Peter Yarrow, Noel “Paul” Stookey, and Mary Travers inspired millions in the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War protests with songs such as “We Shall Overcome” and “Blowin' in the Wind,” through their band Peter, Paul & Mary.

Today, Yarrow is using music for healing and inspiring educators and students who face a growing bullying problem not only in the United States but also in other countries around the world. Through Operation Respect, a nonprofit bullying solutions program Yarrow helped found, thousands of schools are learning techniques for how to stop bullying – aided by music provided by Yarrow and other artists.
Undocumented UCLA law grad is in a legal bind Nov

Luis Perez, 29,
UCLA law school
graduate and
illegal alien
he's taken to
the slogan
and Unafraid."
His family crossed the border illegally when he was an 8-year-old, but he has done everything right since then. Will his adopted country now do right by him? - by Hector Tobar - November 26, 2010

Ever since he was 8 years old, Luis Perez has dedicated his life to becoming an American.

In grade school, days after his arrival from Mexico, he studied hard to master English — it quickly displaced Spanish as his dominant language.

As a teenager he woke up every morning at 5:30 a.m. for a long bus trip across the San Fernando Valley, away from a neighborhood with a bad gang problem, to a high school where being a studious young man didn't make him a social outcast.

When he eventually made it to college, it was the U.S. Constitution that grabbed hold of him, especially the Bill of Rights. And this year, his study of American institutions culminated with his graduation from UCLA School of Law.

Today, at age 29, Luis Perez has the right to call himself a juris doctor. But he can't yet call himself an American. In fact, because he's an undocumented immigrant, it will take an act of Congress to change that. But that hasn't stopped him from trying.
America's Funniest Airport Screening Videos Nov

Searching a
three year old?
Feel safe now?
Junk touching!
video inside
Funny or ridiculous? - from MJ Goyings: This article is entitled America's Funniest Airport Screening videos ... but I'd say it should be the most "ridiculous" instead of funny.  There are 4 videos on the site.  The third is the now infamous "Don't touch my junk."  It's 12 minutes long and essentially an "audio" (not a video) because the camera is pointed at a wall. - by Robery Mackey - New York Times - November 24, 2010

Just in time for the holidays, a new genre of home movie is sweeping the nation, or at least YouTube: the bizarre security checkpoint pat-down video. Fueled by hysteria over new screening techniques at America's airports, an informal competition seems to have started, the aim of which is to film the funniest, or most outrageous, or most outrageously funny example of over-reach, or under-reach, by an employee of the Transportation Security Administration.

The genre has taken a couple of years to evolve — as this clip, sardonically titled “I Feel Safe Now” that shows a young girl being subjected to intensive screening in 2007, illustrates. (see 4 videos inside)
Serial killers largely prey on women Nov

Women make
up 70% of the
victims of serial
killers - FBI
FBI data reveal female victims make up 70 percent of total - by Thoman Hargrove - Chicago Sun Times - November 23, 2010

America's serial killers prey on women -- to an extent only hinted at by Hollywood films and best-selling novels.

According to never-before-released FBI data, women accounted for 70 percent of the 1,398 known victims of serial killers since 1985. By comparison, women represented only 22 percent of total homicide victims.

The FBI's Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP), based in Quantico, Va., released the data at the request of Scripps Howard News Service.

FBI agent Mark Hilts, head of the bureau's Behavioral Analysis Unit No. 2 that profiles serial killers, said a large number of serial killers act with a sexual motive.

''Sex can be a motivation, but it's a motivation in conjunction with anger, power, control,'' Hilts said. ''Most serial killers derive satisfaction from the act of killing, and that's what differentiates them'' from those who kill to help commit or conceal another crime.
Thanks - Giving Nov
Thanks - Giving .. celebrate, and serve
- from Bill Murray - 10 things to do

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, let's remember that the holiday's name is a compound word - Thanks and Giving. Please take these few moments to consider my ideas for enhancing the celebration of Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season ahead.

First, each of us has much to be thankful for - our lives, families, friendships, and work. While there is no perfection in life, let's admit that the glass is more than half full for most of us most of the time. Thanking those whom we love, admire, depend upon, and have work relationships with is an important, but too infrequent an activity. Find the chance to say “Thank You” more than a few times in the next few weeks.

As for "Giving", please consider sharing these ten thoughts with your family members, friends and colleagues:

See what I recommend inside ..
Giving Thanks and Giving Back Nov

Giving Thanks
Giving Back
ALSO: read
a message
from the
The White House - Michelle Obama - First Lady of the United States - November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to come together with family and friends to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.  It's also an important time to be thankful for our men and women in uniform and their families who risk everything so that we can be safe and free.  And we must also remember those in our community who are in need of our help and support -- especially during these tough economic times.

In our family, we have a tradition:  Every year on the day before Thanksgiving, we take some time as a family to help out people in our community who are in need.  Today, we're handing out turkeys, stuffing, pumpkin pies and all the Thanksgiving fixings with our friends and family at Martha's Table, a local non-profit organization.

This Thanksgiving, I encourage all Americans to find a way to give back -- and maybe even start a family tradition of your own.  Whether you volunteer at a local soup kitchen, visit the elderly at a nursing home or reach out to a neighbor or friend who comes from a military family, there are plenty of ways to get involved in your community.

If you're not sure how to get started, visit:

Southern California charities seek help for the holidays Nov

Many are in
need this
Holiday Season
If you can't
give money,
please consider
giving your
time and/or
your talents
Many agencies are asking for the public's help as they face a surge in need and a drop-off in donations. - November 25, 2010

On a day of plenty, there are still many in need.

As the nation attempts to recover from recession, many remain out of work, or are struggling to get by on part-time jobs. In Los Angeles County alone, more than 1.56 million residents lived below the poverty level last year, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

"You think there's signs of a turnaround, but there's no sign of a turnaround here," said the Rev. Andy Bales, who heads the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles' skid row. "There's a lot of people barely making it."

At the same time, contributions to charitable organizations are dropping as donors become stretched.

Many families will be sitting down to a chicken dinner this Thanksgiving because food pantries decided they could help more people by forgoing the traditional turkeys.
Orange Alert? Government May Scrap Color-Coded Terror Warnings Nov

Less Colorful
video inside
Homeland Security Terrorism Alert System Outdated? - by Tom Diemer - AOL News - Associated Press - November 25, 2010

Did you know we are on "orange" alert? That's right -- though the high-risk warning is only for air travelers. The country as a whole is only at "yellow" -- significant risk of attack.

But all of that may change soon.

The color-coded alert system, instituted by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks, has long been derided by critics as too vague -- or worse, as a scare tactic. But the Obama administration may soon scrap it, the Associated Press reports, replacing the system with something more descriptive but not as, uh, colorful.
CAIR Updates Travel Advisory for Holiday Weekend Nov

- America's
largest Muslim
civil liberties
and advocacy
Your rights, your responsibilities - by CAIR-LA - America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization - November 24, 2010

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- CAIR today issued an updated travel advisory for those concerned about new airport security measures involving full-body scanners and more invasive pat-downs.


Earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began phasing in full-body Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) scanners in airports as a primary screening method. In February, CAIR supported a statement by a prominent group of Muslim scholars that the full-body scanners violate religious and privacy rights.

In late October, the TSA revised its standard pat-down procedure, particularly for those opting out of the AIT scanner, to allow a much more intrusive manual search of passengers' bodies by TSA officers.

See what CAIR recommends ..
Volunteer Opportunities with City's Crisis Response Team (CRT) Nov

LA City's
Mayor calls on Angelenos to serve their neighborhoods in times of crisis - by Jeffrey Zimerman - City of LA - Crisis Response Team Manager - November 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today announced volunteer opportunities for individuals living or working in the City of Los Angeles to become a member of the City's Crisis Response Team (CRT). The program is particularly in need of volunteers with bilingual capabilities in Spanish and Korean.

"Our City's Crisis Response Team is a vital asset to our emergency first responders," said Mayor Villaraigosa. “I urge Angelenos to get involved and assist in their neighborhoods in times of crisis.”

The Crisis Response Team is composed of community volunteers that respond to traumatic incidents at the request of the Los Angeles Police and Los Angeles Fire Departments. The volunteers provide immediate, on-scene crisis intervention, attend to survival and comfort needs, act as a liaison between the victim and emergency personnel, and provide referrals to victims and their families affected by a death, a serious injury, a violent crime or other traumatic incidents. These incidents include homicides, suicides, serious traffic accidents, natural deaths and multi-casualty incidents.

“The Mayor's Crisis Response Team is a vital, greatly appreciated asset to both the community and the Los Angeles Police Department,” said Chief Charlie Beck. “Team members, whose selfless time and efforts are completely voluntary, provide added dimension and value to our relationships with crime victims and really make a difference in the lives they touch.”
California group pursues illegal immigrant crackdown law Nov

Both sides are
awaiting a
decision from
the U.S. 9th
Circuit Court of
Appeals on the
lower court's
Modeled on Arizona's law - by Abby Sewell - Los Angeles Times - November 23, 2010

Proponents of a California initiative modeled after Arizona's controversial immigration law may begin gathering signatures to place the measure on the ballot in 2012, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced Tuesday.

The measure would require state and local law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of anyone they lawfully stop and "reasonably" suspect may be in the country illegally.

It would also make it a crime for illegal immigrants to seek work while concealing their legal status and for employers to “intentionally or negligently” hire them.

Initiative proponent Michael Erickson would need to collect signatures from 433,971 registered voters by April 21, 2011, in order to qualify it for the ballot. If it is validated, the measure could be placed before voters in February or June of 2012.

The Obama administration challenged Arizona's law in court, arguing that SB 1070 usurped the federal government's sole authority to regulate immigration. A federal judge blocked key portions of the law in July just before it was slated to take effect.

Both sides are awaiting a decision from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on the lower court's ruling.
Smishing and Vishing Nov

& Vishing
(and other
similar scams)
are a reminder
that cyber
crimes aren't
just for the

And Other Cyber Scams to Watch Out For This Holiday - from FBI - November 24, 2010

You receive a text message or an automated phone call on your cell phone saying there's a problem with your bank account. You're given a phone number to call or a website to log into and asked to provide personal identifiable information—like a bank account number, PIN, or credit card number—to fix the problem.

But beware:  It could be a “smishing” or “vishing” scam…and criminals on the other end of the phone or website could be attempting to collect your personal information in order to help themselves to your money. While most cyber scams target your computer, smishing and vishing scams target your mobile phone, and they're becoming a growing threat as a growing number of Americans own mobile phones. (Vishing scams also target land-line phones.)

“Smishing”—a combination of SMS texting and phishing—and “Vishing”—voice and phishing—are two of the scams the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is warning consumers about as we head into the holiday shopping season. These scams are also a reminder that cyber crimes aren't just for computers anymore.
LAFD - News & Information Digest Nov

Los Angeles
Fire Dept
News & Info
News & Information Digest - LA Fire Department - by Brian Humphrey - LAFD Spokesman - November 24, 2010

Dear Friend of the LAFD,

Periodically, we share a digest of *non-incident* articles from the Los Angeles Fire Department blog.

five quick home, and possibly life-saving, reminders

two recent articles of interest from the LAFD blog

two November incidents we'll never forget

ALSO: be among the first to download the LAFD Smartphone Application !!
Prevent Forest Fires this Thanksgiving Nov

US Fire
Prevent Forest Fires this Thanksgiving - from FEMA - by US Fire Administration - November 23, 2010

WASHINGTON - As our nation comes together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its United States Fire Administration (USFA) would like to remind all residents to Put a Freeze on all Fires.

According to data from the USFA, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries and $21 million in property loss each year.  The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking.  In addition, these fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 p.m.  And unfortunately, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings.

"Disasters can happen any time, any where, but some emergencies at home can be avoided by taking a few simple steps for safety," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  "And don't forget this holiday season, while gathered around the table with family and friends, is a great time to talk about your family emergency plan, and what you would do in the case of a disaster."
ICE takes down Puerto Rican drug lord Nov

and Customs
Dismantles largest drug trafficking organization in the Caribbean - by DHS - ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement - November 23, 2010

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested this morning Jose Figueroa-Agosto, 46, the leader of the largest drug trafficking organization in the Caribbean, and 12 other members of his organization.

The defendants were charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to import narcotics into the United States, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and money laundering.  The indictment also seeks to forfeit the proceeds obtained as a result of such offenses, up to an amount of one $100 million.

According to the indictment, from 2005, the defendants conspired to import multi kilogram quantities of cocaine into Puerto Rico from places outside of the United States, mainly the Dominican Republic, all for significant financial gain and profit.  The defendants also conspired to possess with intent to distribute the multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine in Puerto Rico.  Co-conspirators assumed various roles within the drug trafficking organization in order to further the object of the conspiracy, including but not limited to leaders, transporters, and facilitators.
Expansion of the "If You See Something, Say Something" Campaign Nov

If You See

a simple and
program to
engage the
public to identify
and report
indicators of
crime and
other threats
from Dept of Homeland Security - November 22, 2010

Trenton, N.J. - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Senator Frank Lautenberg today joined New Jersey State Police Deputy Superintendent of Homeland Security Lt. Col. Jerome Hatfield to announce the state-wide expansion of DHS' national "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign across New Jersey - raising public awareness and strengthening security throughout the state as the busy holiday season commences.

"Homeland security begins with hometown security, and everyone has a role to play in keeping our country safe and secure," said Secretary Napolitano. "Expanding the 'If You See Something, Say Something' campaign across New Jersey will help ensure citizens know how to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper law enforcement authorities."
Get the Word Out Nov
Go Ahead
get the word out ..
GovDelivery is the leading proactive public communication solution. From the largest government agencies to the smallest communities, government uses GovDelivery to reach more people and automate communication across many channels. Cities, counties, transit authorities, state agencies, federal and UK government send over 200 million messages to the public every month through GovDelivery.
Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch Nov

Daily News
Here are recent
daily digests:

Weekly Daily News Digests - the LA Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file LAPD officers, presents a weekday digest of local news, which often includes the union's opinion and perspective

Frequent topics include:

Local Law Enforcement

Curent Crime Stories

California Prisons

Homeland Security Issues

Immigration / Border

LA City Government

State Budget Crisis

California Politics

Pensions & Benefits

Changes in the Law

and much more ..
Vatican Preparing New Guidelines to Deal With Sexual Abuse Nov

The Vatican
appear to be
one of the
most decisive
taken to tackle
sexual abuse
Protecting children, cooperating with authorities & careful selection of priests - by Rachel Donadio - New York Times - November 20, 2010

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican announced on Friday that it was preparing a new set of guidelines to help bishops offer a “coordinated and efficient” response to sexual abuse, one that emphasizes protecting children, cooperating with civil authorities and careful selection of future priests.

The Vatican did not reveal details of the guidelines or when they would be published, but they appear to be one of the most decisive remedial measures it has taken to tackle a sexual abuse crisis that roared back last spring, challenging its moral authority and underscoring widespread confusion about its own rules for handling abuse.

Cardinal William J. Levada , the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is responsible for disciplining abusive priests, announced the guidelines at a meeting of more than 200 cardinals at the Vatican on Friday. The cardinals had been summoned by Pope Benedict XVI to discuss key issues facing the church on the eve of his elevating new cardinals on Saturday.

In the past, Cardinal Levada, the highest ranking American in the Vatican hierarchy and a former archbishop of San Francisco, has praised the so-called Dallas Charter adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002, which offers guidelines on reporting abuse and raising awareness.
Veteran South L.A. gang worker forced out after pocketing cash Nov

Many ex-gang
members staff
the anti-gang
agencies in the
LA area and
are paid with
public funds.
Others work
for non-profit
Resigned from agency and will no longer work the streets - by Scott Gold - Los Angeles Times - November 19, 2010

A veteran South Los Angeles gang intervention worker has been forced to resign from his agency and will no longer work the streets on behalf of City Hall after he was caught manipulating time cards, officials said Friday.

Harry Warren, who bounced in and out of jail as a young man, had been a high-profile intervention worker and youth counselor for 20 years.

He was forced to resign recently from Chapter Two, his nonprofit agency, after being confronted with evidence of financial impropriety, several officials confirmed.

“I am disappointed in Harry's conduct,” said Chapter Two founder Jerald Cavitt, also a veteran intervention worker. “I wish he would have stayed on the straight and narrow.”

Warren could not be reached for comment.

Chapter Two is an important player in the city's gang prevention efforts; the agency contracts to provide intervention services in a troubled and deeply impoverished neighborhood bisected by Florence Avenue and the 110 Freeway.

Through that contract, Warren has acted on the city's behalf, tending to at-risk youths, controlling street gossip and working to interrupt cycles of retaliatory violence.
TSA - Holiday Travel Tips Nov

TSA - Holiday
Travel Tips
Be prepared
for security ..
before you
leave home
Be prepared for security .. before you leave home - from TSA

Every holiday travel season, TSA prepares its workforce of 50,000 Transportation Security Officers to ensure we provide a smooth holiday travel experience for travelers. Since this is during the busiest travel time of the year, TSA wants to remind passengers of the security procedures in place and help travelers be prepared for security, before they leave home.

The ‘Why's' Behind Security - TSA strives to inform the traveling public about the ‘Why's' behind security. The goal is to improve security by compelling airline passengers to be better prepared for the security processes, thereby resulting in less frustration and a safer and more positive experience. Learn the ‘Why's' behind TSA's security procedures.

Advanced Imaging Technology - TSA has deployed hundreds of advanced imaging technology units to airports across the country to keep the traveling public safe. Learn more about their safety, privacy, and how the technologies work.

Secure Flight Secure - Flight requires airlines to collect a passenger's full name (as it appears on their government-issued ID), date of birth, gender and Redress Number (if applicable). By providing complete information, passengers can significantly decrease the likelihood of watch list misidentification. Learn more about Secure Flight and what it means this holiday travel season.
Reflections on My First Year as Chief of Police at LAPD - (see Crime Report) Nov

LAPD Chief
of Police
Charlie Beck
by Charlie Beck - November 22, 2010

One year ago I was sworn in as the 56th Chief of Police in Los Angeles.  Much has happened in this short period of time.

Overseeing the third largest police department in the United States, managing roughly 10,000 sworn officers and 3,000 civilian employees, in a city comprised of 473 square miles, over 4 million people and an annual budget exceeding a billion dollars is a daunting task.

Amidst much change, the mission of the LAPD remains the same - to safeguard the lives and property of the people, to reduce the incidence and fear of crime, to enhance public safety and improve the quality of life for the diverse communities we serve.
C17 Med Evac mission Nov

Special crews
and staff fly
these missions
of mercy
C17 Medical Evacuation

Factual video on the C-17 Aero medical mission. This is a video on medevacing wounded service members from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

If only the American people really understood, what the military does for this country and how we are structured to do it all.

It is well worth watching. I encourage all to pass to many so they can see the care given our wounded troops.
DHS - Emergency Communications Partnerships Nov

Can we talk?
importance of
across all
disciplines and
levels of
DHS - Emergency Communications Partnerships

The programs and activities of the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) reflect a stakeholder-driven approach to achieving nationwide improvements to emergency communications capabilities. OEC's activities serve emergency response providers at the state, local, tribal, and territorial levels; federal agencies; and international partners (Canada and Mexico).

OEC stakeholders played a central role in the development of the National Emergency Communications Plan and its ongoing implementation. Further, OEC is assisting States in implementing their Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans; delivering technical assistance and training to responders; coordinating policies for emergency communications grants; and increasing the sharing of systems and capabilities among jurisdictions and disciplines.
Holiday Reminder from LAPD - Lock It, Hide It, Keep It Nov

Don't Let the
Grinches Steal
Your Holiday
Don't Let the Grinches Steal Your Holiday Spirit - A Holiday Reminder - from LAPD - November 23, 2010

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department held a news conference today to remind people that the holidays are a busy time for everyone, thieves included. The message was reemphasized by LAPD  Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, Operations-Valley Bureau.  “Everyone can help avoid being a victim of an auto-related property crime by remembering to Lock It, Hide It and Keep It,” he said.

Burglary thefts from motor vehicles and grand theft auto crimes continue to be the San Fernando Valley's number one preventable crime.  The Lock It, Hide It, Keep It campaign was launched on Aug. 3, 2010, in response to increasing property crime rates.

Lock It:    Remember to always lock your vehicle.

Hide It:     If you have to leave valuables in your vehicle, hide them from plain sight.

Keep It:    As a positive reminder, remember that personal responsibility and prevention can safeguard your valuables from theft.
The Great Game Imposter Nov

The great
Afghan con
- British had
spent a year
developing the
fake Taliban
leader as a
OPINION - by Maureen Dowd - New York Times - November 24, 2010

And we wonder why we haven't found Osama bin Laden.

Though we're pouring billions into intelligence in Afghanistan, we can't even tell the difference between a no-name faker and a senior member of the Taliban. The tragedy of Afghanistan has descended into farce. In the sort of scene that would have entertained millions if Billy Wilder had made a movie of Kipling's “Kim,” it turns out that Afghan and NATO leaders have been negotiating for months with an imposter pretending to be a top Taliban commander — even as Gen. David Petraeus was assuring reporters that there were promising overtures to President Hamid Karzai from the Taliban about ending the war.

Those familiar with the greatest Afghan con yet say that the British had spent a year developing the fake Taliban leader as a source and, despite a heated debate and C.I.A. skepticism, General Petraeus was buying into it. The West was putting planes and assets at the poseur's disposal, and paying him a sum in the low six figures.

“It's funny but not funny because the consequences are so staggering,” said a Western diplomat. “Put it this way: It was not well handled.
Slaying suspect Stephanie Lazarus: Ex LAPD officer duped into talking Nov

LAPD homicide
duped their
colleague into
talking about
the case
video inside

An investigator one minute, and under interrogation the next - A transcript of Det. Stephanie Lazarus' interrogation shows that LAPD colleagues used a ruse to get her to discuss a 1986 killing in which she was a suspect. Lazarus admitted to having confronted the victim but denied killing her. 'This is insane,' Lazarus said when arrested. - by Joel Rubin and Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - ovember 23, 2010

Stephanie Lazarus, the Los Angeles police detective charged in the 1986 murder of an ex-boyfriend's wife, admitted to investigators the morning of her arrest that she had confronted the victim on multiple occasions, but denied having a role in the killing, according to the transcript of her interrogation.

The interview transcript, which became public during a hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, offers a detailed account of how LAPD homicide detectives duped their unsuspecting colleague into talking about the case, and of Lazarus' disbelief and panic as she realized she was the target of the investigation.

"You're accusing me of this? Is that what you're -- is that what you're saying?" Lazarus asked near the end of the roughly hourlong interview last year, after one of the detectives alluded to evidence that implicated her in the killing.
Suspect in Seal Beach nursing home killing charged with murder Nov

Charles Laird
shot his wife
88 year-old
could get a
50 year
Roy Charles Laird, 88, could be sentenced to 50 years in the shooting death of his wife of nearly 70 years, Clara, 86. The case shines a spotlight on the growing public debate about the appropriate response to such tragedies. - by Tony Barboza and Alan Zarembo - Los Angeles Times - November 24, 2010

When 88-year-old Roy Charles Laird was arrested Sunday on suspicion of killing his 86-year-old wife, Clara, at her nursing home in Seal Beach, the assumption was that he was trying to end her misery.

The couple's daughter called the single gunshot wound to the head a "mercy killing."

But on Tuesday, prosecutors had another word for it: murder.

The Orange County district attorney's office Tuesday charged Laird with one felony count of murder and a sentencing enhancement for the fatal use of a firearm. The offense carries a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison — the rest of his life if he's convicted.
Behind The Scenes With John Walsh Nov

John Walsh
sex trafficking
in the United
States in this
week's edition
of "Behind
The Scenes"
video inside
American Sex Trafficking - features the story of Natasha, a Northern California teen, kidnapped and forced into sex slavery - read of her escape and recovery - by John Walsh - "America's Most Wanted" - TV show - November 20, 2010

When we last saw you, America's Most Wanted was showing you the horrors of sex trafficking around the world. This week, we're highlighting the country where the worst child sex trafficking exists: the United States.

"It's kind of the ugly underbelly of American society that I don't think we've dealt with," host John Walsh says. "You know everybody says it happens next door, it happens in Asia -- yeah it does … but our garbage also operates here."

We had the special opportunity to speak with a brave and powerful woman who was abducted when she was 19 years old and forced into the sex trafficking industry -- Natasha. She was threatened by her captors that if she didn't do as they said, they would hurt her family.

Thankfully, she got out alive, and on Saturday night, she'll share her story and what she's doing now to help other girls and women who are in that situation now.
"Playground" -- a film about child sex slavery in the United States Nov

Libby Spears
wrote and
the powerful
exposes sex
slavery in
video inside
Interview with the director, Libby Spears - by Alexandra Lerman

EDITOR'S NOTE: "America's Most Wanted" host, John Walsh, enlisted the aid of a woman, Libby Spears, to make a mini-documentary for his show.  She had already done a documentary that was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009.  Here's the info on that

While it is not an easy film to watch, Playground is a must see.

Its subject is the sexual exploitation of children; a topic many of us view as a foreign problem taking place in the developing world.

Throughout the film director Libby Spears shows us a world that is hardly recognizable. It is a world where children are sexually abused from an unthinkably early age, mothers sell their daughters for sex in order to pay for drugs, men who do not see anything wrong in having sex with an eleven-year-old schoolgirls still wearing their uniforms and 14-year-olds talking about sex as a transaction.

Unfortunately this is the world we live in.

Playground opens our eyes to the extent of the problem: the US has a thriving child sex industry and simultaneously influences the global demand and growth of sex trafficking.

The film is filled with harrowing statistics, and interviews with children, police officers, social workers and sometimes pimps and sexual predators themselves.
The "Playground" Documentary and more on Child Trafficking -- VIDEOS Nov

"Playground" was produced by
George Clooney,
it addresses
the sickening
issue of child
sex slavery
here in the
United States
video inside
The "Playground" Documentary .. the child sex trade in America - by John Burger - AbolitionistJB

Everyone I talk to about modern slavery agrees it's atrocious. Then they ask, "What can I do?"

BE A VOICE. Spread awareness by sharing these posts and videos with others. Collectively we can reach thousands of people.

Creating awareness and making this an issue in the public mind WILL lead to CHANGE.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Will you accept my invitation? Will you be a voice?

See several more Child Trafficking videos inside
Thai human trafficking victims reunite with familiesThai human trafficking victims reunite with families Nov

More than
2000 victims
of Beverly Hills
firm have
been found
another 500
may be
As their case against a Beverly Hills labor contracting firm looms, the future of a program to help them acclimate to American life is in doubt. - by Teresa Watanabe - Los Angeles Times - November 19, 2010

Recalling the last time he saw his family, he most remembers the tears shed as he left for what he thought would be a chance to earn more than 25 times his Thai income by picking apples in Washington.

This week, he and his family shed more tears—but this time with joy as they reunited in Los Angeles for the first time in six years after his predawn escape in what authorities call the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history.

"This is the most wonderful moment of my life," the Thai worker said as he hugged his wife and two daughters at the Los Angeles International Airport reunion.

The 42-year-old worker, who asked to be known as Don to avoid possible retaliation, is one of about 400 plaintiffs in the federal case against Global Horizons Inc., a Beverly Hills labor contracting firm. Global President Mordechai Orian, an Israeli national, and six associates were indicted in September by a federal grand jury in Honolulu on charges of conspiracy to coerce labor.

Don, for instance, said he was promised monthly earnings of about $2,600. But when he arrived in Washington in July 2004, he said, there was barely any work and he was not paid for at least a month. His passport was confiscated and a guard kept watch over him and about 20 other men, he said.
Detonator at Namibian Airport Was a Test Device Nov

Bomb sent
to Germany
to be fake
built by a
Bomb maker was a Californian (see article inside) - by Michael Slackman and Victor Homola - New York Times - November 20, 2010

BERLIN — Germany's interior minister said Friday that a laptop case rigged with wires, a clock and a detonator found at a Namibian airport was really a mock bomb built in the United States to test airport security.

The minister, Thomas de Maizière, said it was “highly unlikely” that a German security agency had planted the case as part of a drill, and an angry Namibian official said no one from Namibia, Germany or the United States had been involved in conducting an authorized test.

“It will be determined who deposited it,” said Lt. Gen. Sebastian Ndeitunga of Namibia's national police. “The governments of the U.S., Germany and Namibia were not aware of the parcel.”

The discovery that the device was made in California by a security firm — and was not a bomb designed to destroy a passenger plane — was a welcome relief at a time when many European nations and the United States have said there is a serious danger of a terrorist attack from Islamist extremists.

But the announcement also raised a troubling concern: On Friday, two days after the parcel was discovered, the authorities on three continents said they were at a loss to explain how a mock bomb got mixed in with passenger luggage for a flight to Munich, or even whom it belonged to.

Mr. de Maizière could not even rule out for certain that a German agency was not behind the episode. “I consider that highly unlikely, but that is one of the things we are looking into,” he said.
State court issues temporary stay on ruling that blocks part of Jessica's Law Nov
Under law, sex offenders would have nowhere they could legally reside in areas like Los Angeles - by Ruben Vives - Los Angeles Times - November 18, 2010

A California appeals court Thursday ordered a temporary stay on a ruling by a Los Angeles County judge that blocked a major provision of Jessica's Law, which restricts how close sex offenders can live to schools or parks.

Los Angeles County Judge Peter Espinoza's ruling on Nov. 1 said that the measure was unconstitutional and that it left sex offenders in some areas with the choice of being homeless or going to jail because the law restricts them from living in large swaths of cities such as Los Angeles.

Following the ruling, the state Department of Corrections ordered parole agents to immediately suspend the portion of the law prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school, park or play area. Additionally, parole agents were told to use global-positioning systems to track the movement of offenders and to continue enforcing local ordinances governing offenders.

Proposition 83, approved by state voters in 2006 and informally known as Jessica's Law, imposes strict residency requirements on sex offenders, including rules forbidding them from residing near locations where children gather.

Before the law passed, those residency requirements were imposed only on offenders whose victims were children.
Killing rats in Mumbai, a job to die for Nov

Killing rats
in Mumbai
is a job
to die for
count your
Even as India's economy booms, overflowing with opportunities for engineers and programmers, the poor barely scrape by. And a job as a city rat catcher means security, more precious than wealth. - by Erika Kinetz, Associated Press - November 20, 2010

Reporting from Mumbai - Sabid Ali Sheikh stands on a prairie of trash — onion skins, excrement, animal bones — slowly rotting its way back into an earth riddled with rat burrows. Sometimes the ground gives way under his feet.

It is after midnight, and Sheikh is after the rats. He listens for them. He tries to catch their red eyes in the sweep of his flashlight. Some rat killers say they can smell them in the dark.

Sheikh, 23, is a night rat killer, one of 44 employed by the city of Mumbai to wage its long, losing war against vermin.

Barely taller than the killing stick he uses, Sheikh is dressed in elaborately embroidered jeans and a crisp shirt, who thinks himself lucky to have even this dirty work. When he goes home, he will scrub his body down with soap.

Sheikh's father is also a rat catcher. His brothers sell vegetables from a cart and wish they could be rat catchers too. If he ever has children, he hopes they sit in an office from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

But given what modern India has to offer the Sheikh family, the children may well end up standing precisely where Sheikh stands now: ankle-deep in the soft earth of a stinking dump, wearing old flip-flops.
Getting Touchy at the Airport - OPINION Nov
OPINION - Getting Touchy at the Airport - by Tobin Harshaw - November 20, 2010

Ah, Thanksgiving is almost upon us. We can look forward to a full belly, good wine, bad football and the worst travel day of the year. And in 2010, apparently, it will be the worst travel day in the history of mankind: “In the three weeks since the Transportation Security Administration began more aggressive pat-downs of passengers at airport security checkpoints, traveler complaints have poured in,” reports The Times's Susan Stellin. “Some offer graphic accounts of genital contact, others tell of agents gawking or making inappropriate comments, and many express a general sense of powerlessness and humiliation …It remains to be seen whether travelers approve of the pat-downs, especially as millions more people experience them for the first time during the holiday travel season.”

Travelers are furious with the T.S.A. But are we safer in the air?

But we're an innovative people — if we're worried about inappropriate contact, we can find a technological alternative that makes everybody happy, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

There are plenty of horror stories (and one full-fledged martyr); they tend to get repetitive, although some stand out for their excellent documentation and others actually achieve humor. Piilots' unions are not pleased, some politicians want the T.S.A. removed from the scene, Ron Paul thinks there oughta be a law and some airports are even trying to opt out. (At least somebody's having a laugh.)
To protect the children - OPINION Nov
Replacing the Dept of Children and Family Services director won't be enough to resolve the deep-seated problems at LA County's foster care agency - EDITORIAL - Los Angeles Times - November 21, 2010

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is easing out Trish Ploehn from her post as director of the Department of Children and Family Services. That's a welcome development. Ploehn has too often confused the morale of her employees with the well-being of the children her agency exists to protect. She has resisted public inquiry into shocking deaths, and she has withheld information from those entitled to examine it. For months, she has treated allegations of sloppy social work with tragic consequences as a public relations matter rather than a danger to children. She should go.

Ploehn does have her strengths. A 30-year veteran of the department, she is by all accounts a devoted county employee who has worked hard at her job and who cares deeply about DCFS' mission, even if she does not always execute it well. Her failings are not for want of trying. As such, her impending departure raises questions about the agency's direction going forward. Does it need a broad overhaul, as some suggest, or will a new general manager be enough?

The answer falls somewhere in between. To begin with, the department is not starved for resources. DCFS has an annual budget of $1.8 billion and a staff of more than 7,000. A decade ago, fewer than 3,000 social workers managed about 50,000 foster children. Since then, the number of social workers has increased to about 3,900, while the number of children in the system has declined to about 32,000. (Of those, 18,900 are in foster homes.) And yet, over that same period, even by DCFS' calculations, the number of children who have died as a result of abuse or neglect has remained steady, at about 20 a year, a discouraging trend that suggests an agency that, if not in crisis, is not making headway toward fulfilling its most fundamental responsibility.
Daily Local & Regional NewsWatch Nov

Daily News
Here are recent
daily digests:

Weekly Daily News Digests - the LA Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file LAPD officers, presents a weekday digest of local news, which often includes the union's opinion and perspective

Frequent topics include:

Local Law Enforcement

Curent Crime Stories

California Prisons

Homeland Security Issues

Immigration / Border

LA City Government

State Budget Crisis

California Politics

Pensions & Benefits

Changes in the Law

and much more ..
5 Charged in Scheme to Transport Prostitutes to Work in Brothels Nov

VA and Wash,
DC, girls were
packaged for use
in Maryland
Investigation took months -- all five defendants are illegal aliens - from ICE - November 17, 2010

BALTIMORE - Five men were charged in a criminal complaint and nine search warrants were executed yesterday in connection with a scheme to transport individuals from Virginia and Washington, D.C., to engage in prostitution in Annapolis and Easton, Md.

The criminal complaint was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Chief Michael Pristoop of the Annapolis Police Department.

"This investigation is an excellent example of federal and local law enforcement working cooperatively to dismantle a criminal organization that used violence to ensure that their organization continued to profit from the exploitation of women," said Winter. "HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute criminals who profit through the exploitation of others."

"These arrests and search warrants are the result of many months of hard work. We are grateful to our federal partners from whom we received invaluable assistance. Human trafficking, prostitution and associated violence are intolerable in any community. Yesterday, our partnership made Annapolis even safer," said Pristoop.
Charlie Beck celebrates his first year as LAPD's top cop - with positive reviews Nov

LAPD Chief
Charlie Beck
has a lot to
smile about
after his first
year at the
An LAPD top be proud of - by Rick Orlov - LA Daily News - November 17, 2010

With crime continuing to drop and no major scandals on his watch, Police Chief Charlie Beck celebrated his first year leading the Los Angeles Police Department on Wednesday with mostly positive reviews.

Beck was confirmed as the department's chief on Nov. 17, 2009, with big shoes to fill as he succeeded Chief Bill Bratton, who had won praise for lowering crime to record levels and skillfully navigating the city's tough political climate.

Crime has continued to drop under Beck, despite cuts to the department's budget and the weak economy. He has also managed to steer clear of getting mired in any major controversies so far, though he has been tested dealing with community protests, police shootings and a Lakers fan riot.

In a ceremony at the new Police Administration Building where Beck was surrounded by his command staff, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the chief for his willingness to embrace change and support constitutional policing.

"It's hard to believe that just one year ago, I made one of the most important announcements of my administration," Villaraigosa said. "I knew the right man to lead the LAPD was Charlie Beck."

"I think what distinguishes Charlie Beck is his whole life, all he wanted to be was a cop. He was boots on the ground. And, I think because of that, the men and women of this police department rallied around him."
ICE busts human trafficking ring, saving 2 young girls from lives as sex slaves Nov

Learn more:
ICE's role in
fighting human
and DHS
program - the
"Blue Campaign
Hidden In
Plain Sight

Perpetrator sentenced to 50 years in prison - from ICE - November 15, 2010

Soledad was an easy mark for Juan Mendez and his girlfriend Christina Andres Perfecto to ensnare into their sex trafficking ring. Thirteen-year-old Soledad lived in poverty with her family in a small rural town in Mexico. The family eked out a living on $300 a year and did without running water or electricity. Soledad yearned for a better life. When Perfecto traveled to Mexico, she regaled the impressionable girl with promises of riches that awaited Soledad if she traveled back to America with her. Perfecto promised Soledad a job in Mendez's restaurant.

Soledad had no reason to doubt Perfecto. Perfecto, who had once lived in the same village as Soledad, had escaped the same impoverished conditions and by all accounts was living the good life in America. The proof of Perfecto's success was the huge sums of money Perfecto had sent back to her family in Mexico. With Soledad convinced, Pefecto persuaded Soledad's parents to allow her to bring their daughter to the U.S. Perfecto said that Soledad would get a good education in America. With parental blessings, Perfecto then smuggled Soledad across the border.

On their arrival in Nashville, Tenn., Soledad discovered that she had been duped. No restaurant and no school awaited her. Perfecto's boyfriend, however, Mendez, was all too real. He had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his newly-delivered prey.
Police Investigate Slaying of Hollywood Publicist Nov

Ronnie Chasen
- represented
the late actress
Natalie Wood,
director John
and actor
Beverly Hills cops on the case, but there are few leads - by David Lohr - AOL News - November 17, 2010

Police in Beverly Hills, Calif., are looking for surveillance video and checking computer and phone records as they try to determine who killed Ronni Chasen, a prominent publicist who was gunned down as she drove on Sunset Boulevard.

Chasen, 64, was found inside her black Mercedes-Benz E-350 at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, after the luxury vehicle crashed into a light pole near the intersection of Whittier and Sunset Boulevard, in a posh western part of Los Angeles County.

According to The Associated Press, Chasen was struggling to breathe and was bleeding from her nose and chest.

What was initially thought to be a traffic accident quickly turned into a criminal investigation when responding officers discovered Chasen had been shot five times. The publicist was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, police said.

Nahid Schekarchian, who lives in an apartment near the crash site, told the AP she heard several shots fired before she saw the wrecked Mercedes-Benz.

"I heard the 'Boom! Boom! Boom!' of gunshots, ran up to the window, and there was the back of the car," Schekarchian said.
CA Woman Gets More Than Three Years in Prison for Human Trafficking Charge Nov

The FBI's
Anonymous calls
are welcome
Daughter, Son-in-Law Sentenced on Immigration Charges - from FBI - November 17, 2010

WASHINGTON—Fang Ping Ding was sentenced in federal court late yesterday to 37 months in prison for confiscating the passport, visa and other documents of a woman from the People's Republic of China in order to maintain control over the victim and force her to work as an unpaid, live-in domestic servant. During the same hearing, Ding's daughter, Wei Wei Liang, and her son-in-law, Bo Shen, were sentenced to home confinement and probationary sentences, respectively, on related immigration charges of harboring the victim, who entered and remained in the United States illegally, in their Fremont, Calif., home. The court also ordered that the defendants jointly pay the victim $83,866.61 and that Liang and Shen also forfeit $346,000 to the government.

The defendants pleaded guilty on Nov. 1, 2010. Ding admitted that she forced the victim to work without pay by physically abusing her, threatening to falsely report her to law enforcement and maintaining control of her visa and passport. Ding began recruiting the victim in China in December 2007, and eventually brought the victim to the United States in April 2008. All three defendants admitted to harboring the victim in their Fremont home until April 2009. The victim provided cooking, cleaning and child care services. Ding gave the victim's identity documents to Liang, who kept the documents locked in a bedroom. Ding and Liang also admitted to telling the victim that she needed to remain inside the house because she was an illegal alien. The sentences were handed down by U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong in the Northern District of California.

“The defendants deprived the victim of her freedom through physical abuse and psychological intimidation for their own financial benefit,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Their conduct created a condition of modern-day slavery for the victim within the walls of their home. The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously prosecuting cases of human trafficking.”
Huntington Beach might post DUI arrests on Facebook Nov

The Local
no longer
carries info
about DUI
arrests. So
should the
city use
City officials are looking for a new way to keep the information in front of the public as a deterrent, now that the local newspaper has stopped publishing it. - by Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times - November 18, 2010

Huntington Beach is considering a new tactic in its crusade against drunk driving: public shaming on Facebook.

The city's Police Department is looking into posting the names of suspected drunk drivers on Facebook, said Lt. Russell Reinhart.

Councilman Devin Dwyer asked police Monday during a City Council meeting if they would be willing to post the names of people arrested for drunk driving on the city's Facebook page, because the local newspaper has stopped publishing the listings.

"I didn't think public shaming for driving under the influence was such a bad idea," Dwyer said. "I would use any tool necessary to bring down the numbers of drunk drivers."
Facing Scrutiny, Officials Defend Airport Pat Downs Nov

US officials are
defending new
procedures at
the nation's
airports that
some travelers
complain are
overly invasive
and intimate
Take your pick - screenings vs pat downs - by Ashley Parker - New York Times - November 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — The official subject of the hearing Tuesday was screening air cargo. But senators seemed equally interested in hearing about a new procedure for airline passengers that involves a full-body pat down.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut and chairman of the homeland security committee, asked John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration, to explain why he believed the new pat-down procedures were “justified.”

Mr. Pistole said that while “reasonable people can disagree as to what that proper balance or blend is between privacy and security safety,” he believed that “everybody who gets on a flight wants to be reassured that everybody else around them has been properly screened.”

Aviation and travel news has been dominated recently by discussion of the method, which allows screeners to use the front of their hands to touch passengers' inner thighs, buttocks and breasts. The pat down is required for passengers who opt out of passing through a full-body scanner, officially known as Advanced Imaging Technology machines. More than 300 of the scanners are in use at airports nationwide.

Mr. Leiberman called the pat downs “awkward” and “unusual,” but ultimately defended them, saying that had Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is accused of boarding a Detroit-bound flight with an explosive device sewn into his underwear, been successful, “Congress and I daresay the public would have been demanding not just the body imaging equipment but pat downs.”
DNA hit links death row inmate to Riverside County cold case Nov

DNA clears
yet another
cold case
Alfred Prieto
has now been
linked to nine
murders and
four sexual
including the
1992 murder
and rape of 15
year-old girl
for whom he
was given a
death sentence
CA death row serial killer responsible for two more murders - by Corina Knoll - Los Angeles Times - November 16, 2010

Authorities using DNA evidence have linked a 44-year-old convicted murderer and rapist on death row to a 1990 double homicide in Riverside County.

Alfredo Rolando Prieto, who is already on California's death row and who recently received the death penalty for a murder in Virginia, was linked to the slayings of Stacey Siegrist, 19, and Anthony Gianuzzi, 21, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday.

On May 5, 1990, a jogger discovered the victims' bodies along a dirt power line access road west of the intersection of Canal and Alta streets in Rubidoux. The two were dating and had not been seen for nearly two days. Both had been shot once in the side of their heads and once in the back of their necks. Siegrist had also been sexually assaulted.

Earlier this year, Riverside County's cold case unit submitted evidence from the crime scene to a private laboratory. On Oct. 4, the lab linked the DNA to Prieto. The department said it delayed notifying the public to ensure Virginia jurists were not influenced during the penalty phase of Prieto's trial there.

Prieto has been linked to nine murders and four sexual assaults, including the 1992 murder and rape of 15-year-old Yvette Woodruff of Ontario, the crimes for which he was sentenced to death. He is appealing his California death sentence.
Securing the Border: Challenges for the U.S. and Mexico Nov

Securing the
border between
the US and
Mexico faces
huge challenges
here's a three
part video
look at the
video inside
A look at the problem in three parts - from STRATFORvideo - STRATFOR - Global Intelligence - November 17, 2010


STRATFOR's global team of intelligence professionals provides an audience of decision-makers and sophisticated news consumers in the U.S. and around the world with unique insights into political, economic, and military developments.

The company uses human intelligence and other sources combined with powerful analysis based on geopolitics to produce penetrating explanations of world events.

This independent, non-ideological content enables users not only to better understand international events, but also to reduce risks and identify opportunities in every region of the globe.

The company delivers content daily on its Web site, in videos, e-mails and books, and an iPhone app. STRATFOR delivers critical intelligence and perspective through:
  • Situation Reports: Snapshots of global breaking news
  • Analysis: Daily reports that assess key world events and their significance
  • Quarterly & Annual Forecasts: Rigorous predictions of what will happen next
  • Multimedia: Engaging videos and information-rich interactive maps
  • Intelligence Guidance: Internal memos that guide STRATFOR staff in their intelligence-gathering operations in the immediate days ahead
DNA tests reveal mother of babies whose remains were found in old trunk Nov

Photo of nurse
Janet M. Barrie,
who owned the
trunk that
contained the
remains of
two babies
Los Angeles authorities now know the two infants belonged to nurse Janet M. Barrie. But the identity of the children's father and why their bodies were kept for decades in a steamer trunk are mysteries. - by Kate Linthicum - Los Angeles Times - November 16, 2010

After months of detective work, police have solved one of the mysteries surrounding the mummified remains of two babies discovered in the basement of a Westlake apartment building.

DNA tests prove that the dead infants, who were found in a steamer trunk wrapped in newspaper from the 1930s, were the children of the trunk's owner, Janet M. Barrie.

The new evidence — coupled with a preliminary autopsy that found no signs of trauma — has led police to close the case that, since the discovery last August, has captivated mystery-lovers and armchair detectives around the world. But, police said, there will always be unanswered questions.

Among them: Who was the babies' father? And why did Barrie, who died in 1994, keep the bodies tucked among her possessions for so many years?

The babies' bodies were found by two women cleaning the basement of an apartment building near MacArthur Park. When they came upon the old trunk, they broke its lock with a screwdriver. Inside was a trove of antique books and clothing — and two leather doctor's satchels, each holding a small body.
Lasting Effects of Male Sexual Abuse - a special 2-part Oprah Nov
"When abuse
destroys the
man, it destroys
everything in
their lives,
including their
Oprah says
"It's really
important to
know that it's
possible to
heal & recover completely and
fully," says Dr.
Howard Fradkin
200 sexually abused men are Oprah's special guests - The Oprah Winfrey Show - November 12, 2010

On November 5, 2010, Oprah, Tyler Perry and 200 male audience members made television history when they stood together to say they were sexually abused as children. Now, the significant others and family members of these courageous men are joining the conversation.

"When abuse destroys the man, it destroys everything in their lives, including their relationships," Oprah says. "Sexual abuse—I know this for sure—plants the seeds of inferiority and worthlessness, and then that inferiority and worthlessness shapes the way you start to think about yourself and the way you act and act out. That's why we're here today: to release some of that."

In an informal poll taken before the show, 80 percent of the male sexual abuse survivors in the Oprah Show audience said they struggle with intimacy.

"It's really important to know that it's absolutely possible to heal and recover completely and fully," says Dr. Howard Fradkin, a psychologist who has dedicated his career to helping male survivors. "It takes a lot of time. It impacts everybody in your life because you don't want to talk. You don't want to share. You don't want to trust that anyone will honor the very things that you've had to keep inside for so long."

Read their stories

Get expert help

Take advantage of the "Resource Center"
Sex addiction rehab a thriving industry Nov

The for-profit
field is booming,
thanks largely
to Tiger Woods
and other
whose public
visits to rehab
have moved sex
addiction, a
diagnosis not
recognized by
the medical
into the
Celebrity sex scandals have helped fuel mainstream demand for treatment of sex addiction, though it has yet to be officially acknowledged as a disorder and is not under government regulation. - by Harriet Ryan - Los Angeles Times - November 15, 2010

When she hung out her shingle as a sex addiction therapist in 1997, Alexandra Katehakis had only a handful of colleagues.

"There were five people in this field and we all knew each other," she said.

These days, Katehakis, a licensed marriage and family therapist, has hundreds of competitors and has grown her Los Angeles solo practice into the Center for Healthy Sex, "a full-blown organization" with a team of counselors, an intensive outpatient program, a range of therapy groups, an expansive website and training for other therapists.

Celebrities have been the greatest evangelists for treatment. "My practice wouldn't exist without them," Katehakis said.

The for-profit field is booming, thanks largely to Tiger Woods and other celebrities whose public visits to rehab have moved sex addiction, a controversial diagnosis not recognized by the medical establishment, into the mainstream and led a growing number of Americans to conclude that they — or in many cases, their spouses — needed treatment.
Missing Ohio Girl Found Alive, Bound; No Word on 3 Others Nov

Sarah Maynard, 13,
who disappeared
along with her
brother, mother
and a family
friend, was found
on Sunday in the
basement of a
man's home
UPDATES INCLUDED - by Doug Whiteman - Associated Press - AOL News - November 14, 2010

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (Nov. 14) -- A 13-year-old girl missing for days was found bound and gagged but alive in a basement Sunday, and authorities hoped a man charged with kidnapping her might lead them to her mother, brother and another woman who disappeared with her.

Matthew J. Hoffman, 30, was arrested at his Mount Vernon home, where Sarah Maynard was found, Knox County Sheriff David Barber said. He said the girl was hospitalized in good condition but would give no details and did not say if she had been sexually abused.

Barber did not say what led investigators to Hoffman's home, which is about 10 miles from the home of Sarah's family, but he said Hoffman's mother and stepfather own a house within walking distance of Sarah's, and that Hoffman listed it as a second address.

Barber said authorities hoped Hoffman would give them information leading to Sarah's mother, Tina Herrmann, her 10-year-old brother, Kody, and Herrmann's 41-year-old friend Stephanie Sprang.
Columbia Sportswear's Gert Boyle Foils Robbery Attempt Nov

Gert Boyle
"One Tough Mother"
The 86-year-old chairwoman of Columbia, known as "One Tough Mother" - by Lauren Drell - AOL Busines News - November 14, 2010

Gert Boyle has long been known as "One Tough Mother." After foiling an armed robbery and kidnapping attempt at her home, the chairwoman of Columbia Sportswear now has another story to back it up.

The 86-year-old Boyle reportedly pulled into her driveway in West Linn, Ore., on Wednesday when a man posing as a delivery man approached her, pulled out a gun and ordered her inside the house. Boyle had to turn off the alarm to enter, and while doing so, tripped a silent panic button that alerted local police of the intrusion.

Local police arrived to find Boyle's hands bound, while the robber had escaped and fled toward a ravine.

Hours later at a nearby McDonald's, an officer saw a man with a scratched face trying to clean himself. Police eventually booked the man, who identified himself as Nestor G. Caballero, on charges of burglary, robbery and kidnapping.

Sgt. Neil Hennelly said Boyle noticed that the burglar was wearing a rival North Face jacket and asked her how she was doing after the incident. Ever the dedicated entrepreneur, Boyle reportedly responded, "I was doing fine until that jacket walked through the door."

The alleged burglar perhaps should have known not to mess with Boyle, who took over Columbia in 1970 after her husband died of a heart attack. (The company was founded by Boyle's parents, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, in 1938.) For years, Columbia's ad campaign depicted Boyle testing products on her son Tim in extreme situations while she flexed her biceps, which were tattooed with the words "Born to Nag."
Police recruits screened for digital dirt on Facebook, etc. Nov

"If you post
on Facebook
it should be
something you
wouldn't mind
seeing in the
Some background investigations include requests for text message and e-mail logs - by Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY - November 12, 2010

Law enforcement agencies are digging deep into the social media accounts of applicants, requesting that candidates sign waivers allowing investigators access to their Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter and other personal spaces.

Some agencies are demanding that applicants provide private passwords, Internet pseudonyms, text messages and e-mail logs as part of an expanding vetting process for public safety jobs.

More than a third of police agencies review applicants' social media activity during background checks, according to the first report on agencies' social media use by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the largest group of police executives. The report out last month surveyed 728 agencies.

"As more and more people join these networks, their activities on these sites become an intrinsic part of any background check we do," said Laurel, Md., Police Chief David Crawford.

Privacy advocates say some background investigations, including requests for text message and e-mail logs, may go too far.
Gene Epstein: Saving America One Job at a Time and Busting the Recession Nov

Gene Epstein, Philadelphia philanthropist
busting the recession
one job at
a time
video inside
Philadelphia Philanthropist Busting the Recession - by Lisa Johnson Mandell - AOL News - November 10, 2010

A lot of people talk about the recession, but very few people ever do anything about it. Meet Gene Epstein, a 71-year-old retired Philadelphia philanthropist who is earmarking a quarter of a million dollars to donate $1,000 to charity for each unemployed person hired, and he says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here's how his Hire Just One program works: The first 250 businesses that sign on to employ just one additional person from the unemployed ranks for a minimum of six months will have a $1,000 donation made to one of many important charities. These national charities fund job retraining programs, wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan, homeless shelters, and more. "In the end, you win, charities win, and most of all, the nation wins," Epstein says.

He's spoken very persuasively about his program to Katie Couric, Dianne Sawyer, Huffington Post and AOL. "The United States has 5,700,000 small businesses with multiple employees," he says enthusiastically. "If just 10 percent of those businesses were to hire just one employee, the nation's unemployment numbers would drop significantly, consumer confidence would go up, and consumers would then start to make purchases again. Our entire economy would begin to turn around."

"Forget about the money, hiring new employees right now just makes good business sense," Epstein explains, noting that about 20 percent of American small businesses are in trouble right now, but about 80 percent are eking out a profit, and they'll make more money by hiring than by trimming.
LAPD officer resigns after being accused of tapping database on killer's behalf Nov

Some recent
LAPD Police
Academy graduates,
rookies for
their first year
Rookie cop tried to help a girlfriend's brother, a gang member and convicted murderer - by Joel Rubin and Jessica Porter - Los Angeles Times - November 14, 2010

A rookie Los Angeles police officer has resigned amid allegations he illegally tapped into a law enforcement computer on behalf of a gang member who was recently convicted of murder.

The officer, Gabriel Morales, 25, was seeking information on two key witnesses who testified at the gang member's murder trial, according to court records. Morales had been dating the gang member's sister for several years.

The law enforcement database that police say Morales accessed contains a wide array of personal information on people, including home addresses. Authorities said he made printouts of the information he found.

The allegations against Morales underscore the predicament of police officers when they feel forced to choose between their oath to uphold the law and their allegiance to friends and family, Los Angeles Police Department officials said.
Bishop Kicanas Not Fit to Lead - UPDATED Nov
documenting the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church

American bishops
will elect a new
president of the
US Conference of
Catholic Bishops
Bishop Gerald
Kicanas of Tucson
is not worthy to
hold the post
American Catholic Bishops due to pick new president at US Conference - OPINION - by Anne Barrett Doyle - The Monitor - November 16, 2010

Today, American bishops will elect a new president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The widely predicted winner, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, is not worthy to hold the post, and this Monitor addresses why.

Since 2006 – and as recently as last Friday -- Bishop Kicanas has failed to account honestly for his role in one of the most catastrophic abuse cases in recent years.

In 1992, when Kicanas was head of the Chicago archdiocese's Mundelein Seminary, seminary officials were made aware of three allegations of sexual misconduct by priest candidate Daniel McCormack. Two incidents involved adults, and one was an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Kicanas and his staff could have reported McCormack to the police and, at the very least, blocked his ordination, which didn't occur until two years later. But they didn't.

The seminary's enabling of McCormack was revealed in 2006, in an audit forced on the archdiocese by its disastrous handling of the priest. McCormack today is an admitted and convicted serial pedophile with 23 reported child victims, some as young as eight.  Kicanas has refused to concede any mistakes or wrong-doing in his case.
Former graffiti painters find an outlet for their art: Gangsters need not apply Nov

Ricardo Guerrero, founder of the Graff Lab
There is only
one rule:
No gangsters.
The Graff Lab, founded by artist/musician Ricardo Guerrero in the Pico-Union neighborhood, aims to transform street taggers into skilled artists. - by Rick Rojas - Los Angeles Times - November 14, 2010

The afternoon sun sears Louie Mesa as he stands on cracked pavement in a black ball cap, black T-shirt and dark jeans. The sweat on his brow doesn't seem to bother him. He's savoring his canvas.

The battered wall in front of him may be a hodgepodge of bright colors and scattered patterns from taggers past, but on this slate Mesa sees a dream.

He's been in this spot for hours, arriving at 9:30 a.m. after a restless night, painting from memory a piece of art that has been sketching itself out in his mind for days. He's illustrated his name with block letters and filled it in with silver paint and airy patterns.

Mesa said it was his third visit to the Graff Lab in the Pico-Union neighborhood, a weekend program that aims to transform street taggers into skilled artists. The Graff Lab offers space on walls that wrap around the office complex of the Pico Union Housing Corp. There is only one rule: No gangsters.
LA Federal Grand Jury Indicts 14 for Shipping 100s of Pounds of Cocaine Nov

Ring allegedly
used private jets
to send drugs
East and return
proceeds to LA

Ring Allegedly Used Private Jets to Send Drugs East and Return Proceeds to LA

from Thom Mrozek , Public Affairs Officer

United States Attorney's Office
Central District of California (Los Angeles)

November 16, 2010

LOS ANGELES – Capping a seven-month investigation into an operation that allegedly used chartered jets to ship hundreds of pounds of cocaine to Baltimore in recent weeks, a federal grand jury today indicted 14 defendants on drug trafficking and money laundering charges that could send the defendants to prison for the rest of their lives.

Operation “Snow Bird,” which was conducted by a task force of federal and local law enforcement authorities, focused on a Hollywood-based drug trafficking ring that allegedly purchased large quantities of cocaine, arranged for the narcotics to be flown on private jets from the Los Angeles area to Baltimore, oversaw distribution of the cocaine in the Baltimore area, and flew suitcases full of cash back to Los Angeles.
"Food Justice" -- a playbook for the future of food Nov

A look at
global food
inequities in
food access,
farm worker
rights .. more
A global look at food - by Lori Kozlowski - Los Angeles Times - November 15, 2010

The Los Angeles riots in 1992 spurred a group of UCLA students and professor Robert Gottlieb to survey residents in low-income areas of the city. The result surprised them; at the top of the list of what residents said they needed most was: Food.

“It was sort of an epiphany for me,” Gottlieb said.

“Food Justice” (The MIT Press, 2010) by Gottlieb and his co-author, Anupama Joshi, is a look at global food production, inequities in food access, farm worker rights, sustainability and food's overall impact on the environment.

Both historical lesson and guide for those looking to get involved in their own communities, the book is written in two parts -- the first is a deep dive into where the American and global food network has been, including a look at the decline of the small family farm in the last century; the second part is a playbook, with examples of what efforts groups throughout the nation are currently making.

While offering a framework for those new to the farm-to-table concept, the book also explains why food remains central to human rights campaigns. It spells out why food has become political.
Shades of the 'old' LAPD - OPINION Nov
Shades of the 'old' LAPD - The department can't ignore racial profiling, even it's by only a few officers. - EDITORIAL - Los Angeles Times - November 16, 2010

The U.S. Justice Department's stern warning to the Los Angeles Police Department that its system for investigating complaints of racial profiling is inadequate should stir the Police Commission to action. There is too much history in this city for even isolated incidents of profiling to go unpunished, and the Justice Department has identified troubling instances of perfunctory investigations into serious allegations of abuse.

As the commission moves to demand swift and tough review of those complaints, however, it should note that the department has traveled many miles toward addressing these concerns. Today's LAPD is a far cry from that of the early 1990s, when some officers openly boasted of hostility toward minorities. As those with long memories will recall, it was common for LAPD officers responding to domestic disturbances involving black or Latino families to refer to them as "NHI," the chilling shorthand for "No Humans Involved." And Chief Daryl F. Gates was infamous for his observation that African Americans responded differently than "normal people" to being choked with a police baton.

Today, the department has a chief who has properly deplored such behavior and a rank-and-file notably more diverse than at any time in the LAPD's history. Indeed, of the 9,931 officers on the department's payroll as of last month, about one-third are white (and 710 of those are women). Latinos constitute the largest number of officers in the department, just as Latinos compose the largest segment of the city itself.
Tell Us What You Think - White House Nov

Take the
short survey
to help The
White House
its online
Learn how to
get daily info directly from
the Executive
The White House - November 17, 2010

Do You have 5 Minutes to Help Us Out?

As a subscriber to the White House email list, we want to know what you think about our emails and the White House online program in general, so we put together a short survey. Can you take a few minutes to let us know what you think?

Your survey responses are completely anonymous and not tied to your email address. White House staff will only use responses to this survey to help improve our email program and online program.

Did You Know?

Here are some other cool things on WhiteHouse.gov that you may not know about:

White House White Board

West Wing Week

Inside the White House

and much more ..
200 Extra LAPD Officers Deployed At Sports Arena Raves: You're Paying Nov

Last summer's
Electric Daisy
Carnival at
the Los Angeles
You're paying - by Dennis Romero - LA Weeky - November 10, 2010

Raves attract crime. That much is clear. So do football games, rock concerts and even some family fairs. But at last summer's Electric Daisy Carnival at the Los Angeles Coliseum, about 60 drug-related arrests were made, and more than 200 medical emergencies were reported.

In response, an extra 200 officers have been deployed to two recent raves at the nearby Sports Arena. So who's paying? You are.

"We're hoping if we showed a much larger presence with uniformed and non-uniformed officers, that we would discourage some of the blatant drug use," LAPD Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon tells the Weekly.

Gannon, in charge of the department's South Bureau, says maybe the events' promoters should pay, since they're the ones raking in the dough and attracting the ecstasy users to these publicly run venues.

"When I do that, rather than penalize the communities,the promoters should make some consideration," he said.

Promoters already foot the bill for some off-duty cops who patrol the inside of the venues, but all the outside policing is done on your dime.

In any case, Gannon says, the department has an obligation to police the parties and keep the public safe.

How much are 200 extra cops worth? By our rough calculations, using the $2.8 million it cost the city to deploy 3,200 officers to the Michael Jackson Memorial concert in June, 2009, about $400,000. Correction: City senior administrative analyst Matthew Crawford helped us with the numbers here. He noted that the Memorial deployment involved expensive overtime. For a normal, 10-hour shift of 200 extra, average-paid officers at a Sports Arena or Coliseum event, it would cost taxpayers about $92,000, he said.
ICE captures international fugitive residing in Central Florida Nov

European man
was previously
convicted and
sentenced in
Belgium for
raping two
children, ages
11 and 12
Wanted for rape of a 12-year-old child and extortion - from Immigration and Customs Enforcement - DHS - November 12, 2010

OCALA, Fla. - Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents and officers arrested a Belgian man in Ocala who is wanted in his home country for child rape and extortion.

ICE, assisted by the Marion County Sheriff's Office, administratively arrested Andy Vertoont, 31, a native of Belgium, at his Ocala place of employment for being in violation of U.S. immigration law.

Vertoont remains in ICE custody pending his removal to Belgium, where he is wanted on an arrest warrant for the June 2009 rape of a 12 year-old-boy in Belgium. He had been arrested in Belgium and conditionally released prior to his trial. Shortly thereafter, he fled to the United States to avoid prosecution in Belgium.

He is further accused of extorting 12,000 Euros (approximately $17,000 in U.S. currency) from an individual in Belgium, where he allegedly threatened to physically harm the individual if he did not pay the money.

Vertoont was previously arrested, convicted and sentenced in Belgium in 2001 for raping two children, ages 11 and 12.

"Criminals who think that they can use the United States as a safe haven are sorely mistaken," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Tampa, Fla.

"ICE is committed to ensuring the integrity of our nation's immigration system. As such, it is one of our top priorities to locate foreign fugitives hiding in the United States and turn them over to our foreign law enforcement partners to face justice in their native countries."
LA County child services chief may be ousted Nov

A series of errors
in the agency's
oversight of
abused children
LA County officials plan to replace Trish Ploehn after a series of errors in the agency's oversight of abused children- by Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times - November 12, 2010

Los Angeles County officials are planning to replace the embattled chief of the Department of Children and Family Services, according to high-level officials familiar with the matter, moving to address the problems of an agency they have declared to be in crisis.

Trish Ploehn, who has headed the department for four years, will probably be reassigned elsewhere in the county, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified because the move concerned a personnel decision that had not been made public. They said William T Fujioka, the county's chief executive, was expected to appoint an interim director to allow for a search for a permanent replacement.

As problems mounted, the Board of Supervisors increasingly criticized Ploehn's performance, and her relationship with some members privately frayed. In recent months, she hired an attorney to write a letter alleging that they had created a hostile work environment for her, according to a source familiar with the matter.

News that Ploehn's departure may be imminent came as top county leaders have acknowledged that the department is in crisis, with a massive backlog of open investigations into child-abuse allegations and a history of mistakes in the oversight of abused and neglected children that sometimes contributed to their injuries or deaths.

Ploehn, 56, joined the department in 1979 and has worked in most of the key sections, including as a youth counselor, adoption specialist and emancipation services worker. In 2003, she became deputy director, and in 2006, she became the first director to be selected from inside the department. She earned about $260,000 last year, making her among the top 200 highest paid county officials.

With 170,000 child abuse hotline calls a year, and 7,300 employees, running the department is one of the most difficult management tasks in local government.
IRS Sits on Data Pointing to Missing Children Nov

IRS Records show that the
government has data that could help track down thousands of missing children in the US
Government has data that could help track down thousands of missing children in the US - by David Kocieniewski - New York Times - November 13, 2010

For parents of missing children, any scrap of information that could lead to an abductor is precious.

Three years into an excruciating search for her abducted son, Susan Lau got such a tip. Her estranged husband, who had absconded with their 9-year-old from Brooklyn, had apparently filed a tax return claiming the boy as an exemption.

Investigators moved quickly to seek the address where his tax refund had been mailed. But the Internal Revenue Service was not forthcoming.

“They just basically said forget about it,” said Julianne Sylva, a child abduction investigator who is now deputy district attorney in Santa Clara County, Calif.

The government, which by its own admission has data that could be helpful in tracking down the thousands of missing children in the United States, says that taxpayer privacy laws severely restrict the release of information from tax returns. “We will do whatever we can within the confines of the law to make it easier for law enforcement to find abducted children,” said Michelle Eldridge, an I.R.S. spokeswoman.

The privacy laws, enacted a generation ago to prevent Watergate-era abuses of confidential taxpayer information, have specific exceptions allowing the I.R.S. to turn over information in child support cases and to help federal agencies determine whether an applicant qualifies for income-based federal benefits.

But because of guidelines in the handling of criminal cases, there are several obstacles for parents and investigators pursuing a child abductor — even when the taxpayer in question is a fugitive and the subject of a felony warrant.
12 killings last week in L.A. County, including two in Downey Nov

total is 536 but
by this time last
year, 644 people
had been killed
in the county
inside: see the
LA Times
Homicide Report
Downey had not experienced a killing since August - Los Angeles Times - November 12, 2010

Coroner's officials reported 12 killings in Los Angeles County between Nov. 1 and Sunday night, bringing the year-to-date total to 536, according to data collected for The Times' Homicide Report database.

By this time last year, 644 people had been killed in the county, with 762 killed in 2008 and 826 in 2007.

Two homicides took place in Downey, which had not experienced a killing since August.

In the early morning of Nov. 3, officers were dispatched to a home in the 9300 block of Gainford Street after getting a report of a possible prowler and "shots heard," according to a Downey Police Department news release.

When authorities arrived, family members said two intruders were inside. Police entered the house and found Hermilio Franco, 53, dead inside his home. According to coroner's records, Franco had been shot in his left arm and torso.

A wounded man, believed to be a suspect, was also discovered in the house by police, who took him into custody. He was taken to a hospital in serious condition from a gunshot wound, according to authorities.

Lt. Phil Rego said investigators are not releasing the assailant's name because the investigation remains open. Authorities are searching for another man who witnesses said was wearing dark clothing and last seen fleeing the residence on foot.
from ICE - Top Stories Nov
United States
and Customs
ICE's top 5 news stories for the week ending Nov. 12, 2010

Mexican murder suspect captured in northern California returned to Mexico

North Texas man pleads guilty to receiving child pornography

4 Illinois counties to benefit from ICE strategy to use biometrics to identify and remove aliens convicted of crime

29 charged with sex trafficking juveniles

South Texas man sentenced to 17.5 years for trafficking tons of marijuana

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and the second largest investigative agency in the federal government. Created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, ICE now has more than 20,000 employees in more than 400 offices in the United States and 46 foreign countries.

ICE's primary mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration. The agency has an annual budget of more than $5.7 billion dollars, primarily devoted to its two principal operating components - Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
8 alleged San Fernando Valley gang leaders indicted by grand jury Nov

Los Angeles is
faced with a
very serious
gang problem
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) partners with LAPD - Los Angeles Times - November 12, 2010

A grand jury indictment was unsealed Friday against eight alleged leaders of the Canoga Park Alabama street gang, who face conspiracy and extortion charges that could send them to prison for life.

The defendants are identified in an 11-count state grand jury indictment unsealed by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Schnegg after a joint Los Angeles Police Department-federal probe of one of the San Fernando Valley's most notorious gangs.

Six of the alleged gang members were arrested Nov. 4 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the LAPD, while two defendants were already in custody on unrelated charges.

Prosecutors said the indictment is the culmination of a nearly two-year multi-agency investigation focusing on the Canoga Park Alabama gang's suspected involvement in extortion.

The indictment alleges that between Oct. 1, 2009, and Oct. 31 of this year, the defendants demanded and collected so-called street "taxes" from narcotics dealers in return for allowing those dealers to operate on the gang's turf.

Because the offenses allegedly were committed with the intention of benefiting a criminal street gang, prosecutors in the Los Angeles County district attorney's office are seeking a "gang enhancement," making the defendants subject to a maximum penalty of life in prison if they are convicted.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk J. Albanese said Canoga Park Alabama has been involved in violent and hate-based crimes in the San Fernando Valley for many years.

"As a result of their criminal activity, the community has lived in fear for far too long," he said. "The hate-based criminal activities that have become a staple for this gang will never be tolerated. These arrests will mark the beginning of the end for this violent criminal street gang."
Los Angeles Has A New Serial Murderer On The Loose Nov

Breaking news
from well-known
crime reporter
Christime Pelisek,
The Daily Beast
----------------- "Someone may
definitely still
be out there."
Authorities Connect Three Victims Killed Within 20-Year Span - by Dennis Romero - LA Weekly - November 13, 2010

Leave it to Christine Pelisek, the killer reporter who used work at the Weekly, to uncover a new serial murderer who's on-the-loose in Southern California.

From her new base at the Daily Beast (see her full story below), Pelisek reports that at least three far-flung murders -- two in Los Angeles County and one in Riverside County -- have been connected and that investigators have cracked open cold-case files to see if other victims could be attached to this 20-year spree.

Authorities indicate that DNA has linked the three killings - in South L.A., Pomona, and Riverside. The victims were all said to have histories of prostitution.

The first body, that of 25-year-old Sonia Smith, was found in South L.A. in 1980. The bodies of Vanessa Williams and Christy Fields were found in Pomona and Riverside County, respectively, in 2000.

What the 20-year-gap, and did he kill again?

The LAPD investigator Lou Rivera tells Pelisek:
"Who knows why he has laid low. We won't know until we catch up with the dude and say 'where have you been?'...He could have been locked up, or found Jesus."
Justice Department - LAPD needs a stronger stance against racial profiling Nov

at LAPD?
Chief Beck says the findings are out of date. The department remains under federal oversight on the bias issue. - by Joel Rubin - Los Angeles Times - November 14, 2010

The U.S. Department of Justice has warned the Los Angeles Police Department that its investigations into racial profiling by officers are inadequate and that some cops still tolerate the practice.

As evidence of the ongoing problem, Justice officials pointed to two LAPD officers who were unknowingly recorded during a conversation with a supervisor being dismissive of racial profiling complaints.

"So, what?" one said, when told that other officers had been accused of stopping a motorist because of his race. The second officer is heard twice saying that he "couldn't do [his] job without racially profiling."

The Justice Department's concerns, which were conveyed in a recent letter obtained by The Times, are a setback for the LAPD, which remains under federal oversight on the issue. In order to rid itself of the federal scrutiny — which police officials have increasingly come to resent — the LAPD must assuage the Justice Department's concerns.
A 'rookie' looks back on a full life Nov

Arnett Harsfield,
92 year-old
As a firefighter, soldier, attorney and professor, Arnett Hartsfield has transcended the racism that once stunned him.- by Bob Pool - Los Angeles Times - November 14, 2010

For 70 years Arnett Hartsfield has been called a rookie.

And for most of that time, the truth behind the nickname haunted him.

He was the 80th black man to join the Los Angeles Fire Department when he signed up in 1940.

At the time he was a UCLA student aiming for an engineering career who needed the job to support his new wife.

But when he reported for duty and was sent to an all-black fire house downtown, he couldn't believe what he was getting into.

"That hit me so hard. I wasn't used to being segregated. My family had moved here from Seattle, where we didn't have colored neighbors. My family was integrated — the only grandfather I ever saw was an Irishman from Belfast," said Hartsfield, now 92.

At Station 30 at the corner of Central Avenue and 14th Street, he sized up his co-workers.

"I was going to UCLA and I looked down on these men. I was thinking they've never even heard of the general quadratic equation. I was thinking I'll be their officer in a few years."

It didn't take Hartsfield long to discover he was wrong about a few things. First of all, he wasn't likely to be promoted any time soon.
U.S. effort to slow flow of guns into Mexico failing Nov

Review finds
federal program
fails to adequately
trace US guns
in Mexico
An inspector general's review finds that a once-praised federal program is too narrowly focused, fails to share information with law enforcement agencies and does not adequately trace U.S. guns in Mexico. - by Richard A. Serrano, Tribune Washington Bureau - November 10, 2010

Reporting from Washington

A much-touted federal effort to keep U.S. firearms out of the Mexican drug wars is unwieldy, mismanaged and fraught with "significant weaknesses" that could doom gun smuggling enforcement on the border to failure, an internal Justice Department review concluded Tuesday.

Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives focus only on small gun sales and do not share information with law enforcement officials on both sides of the border, the review said. Even the cornerstone effort of tracing U.S. guns in Mexico too often comes up short because of missing data and the lack of U.S. training for Mexican police, it found.

The investigation by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine is the first to find systemic problems in a once highly praised project, and it mirrors concerns of many on the border that weapons from the U.S. are helping the violence spiral out of control.
Dead Baby Found in Trash Can, Teen Mom Questioned Nov

No one need
throw away
a baby in LA
video inside
The 18-year-old mother was in custody at a local hospital - by KTLA - November 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES ( KTLA) -- An 18-year-old woman is being questioned by police after her newborn baby was found dead inside a trash can.

The baby boy's body was found around 7 p.m. Monday inside a wastebasket at a home in the 4500 block of Simpson Avenue, officials said.

The woman gave birth last Friday, according to LAPD Lt. John Romero.

Officers were called to investigate after the woman received treatment at a local hospital without a baby, Romero said.

The woman, whose name was not immediately released, remained hospitalized Tuesday and had not been arrested.

An autopsy was scheduled to determine how the baby died.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For several years the LA Fire Department (and the State of California) have sponsored programs to allow new mothers a safe way to hand over a baby they don't want or can't keep. See video tape from 2006 that explains the "Baby Safe" program.
States quietly scramble to find execution drug Nov

sodium thiopental
where art thou?
Around the country, sodium thiopental is hard to come by these days - by Joshua Emerson Smith - CaliforniaWatch.org - November 12, 2010

Sodium thiopental, the anesthetizing agent used in the nation's three-drug lethal injection cocktail, is hard to come by these days.

Attorney General Jerry Brown recently disclosed that the state has enough for just four executions. Death penalty opponents want to know where it came from, but prison officials aren't saying, citing ongoing litigation over whether the state's method of executing death row inmates is cruel and unusual.

California's problem of finding enough of the lethal drug – seven inmates are nearing their execution dates – is being mirrored throughout the nation as other death penalty states look for the dwindling supply of the drug:

Oklahoma - borrowed from Arkansas
Ohio - enough for one exectution
Kentucky - teo executions delayed
Tennessee - recently got a dose
Arizona - may have some from England

A UK-based manufacturer has been exporting the drug, used in lethal injection.

Back in California, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel granted a stay of execution for convicted rapist-murderer Albert Greenwood Brown in September. It would have been the state's first execution in almost five years.
Relative of man killed by deputy recounts the shooting Nov

claim a
gun "just
after the
“It's amazing this gun just appears out of nowhere when a sheriff's shooting occurs.” - by Robert Faturechi - Los Angeles Times -
November 9, 2010

Family and friends of a man killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy gathered Tuesday afternoon near the site of the fatal shooting.

George Richmond, 33, said he was standing with a group of about a dozen people, including his 21-year-old cousin Robert Lewis Thomas, when deputies arrived.  One deputy shouted at the group, which Richmond said was huddled on the residential street in Willowbrook.
Richmond said his cousin was lightly frisked by one deputy, and as he was walking away another deputy tried to grab him.

Thomas ran, with the deputy close behind, Richmond said, and soon after the two were out of sight between two houses, several shots were fired.

Richmond said he didn't believe his cousin was armed, but was not certain.

“I can't say for sure,” he said.

Sheriff's Lt. David Dolson said Thomas was a local gang member. Thomas, who did not fire his weapon, was pronounced dead at a hospital, he said.

Another cousin described Thomas as happy and ambitious, most recently employed as a security guard at a hardware store.
Confusion Over Program to Spot Illegal Immigrants Nov

Under Secure Communities,
the fingerprints
of everyone
booked into a
local or county
jail will automatically
be sent to the Department of Homeland Security and compared
with prints in
the agency's databasese
Under Secure Communities, the fingerprints of everyone booked into a local or county jail will automatically be sent to the Department of Homeland Security and compared with prints in the agency's databases - by Kirk Semple -
New York Times - November 10, 2010

In 2008, the Bush administration announced an ambitious new program to help federal officials detain and deport illegal immigrants held on criminal charges by using fingerprints collected by local police departments.

But two years later, as the program is being put into effect state by state, confusion abounds in New York and elsewhere, among officials and immigrant advocates alike, about how it works and whether local participation is required.

Several counties around the nation have voted to opt out of the program, called Secure Communities, because of concerns that it could ensnare immigrants who have committed low-level offenses or chill crime-fighting cooperation between immigrants and the police.

As recently as last week, the spokesman for New York State's criminal justice agency maintained that the program was optional for local governments. But federal officials now say that participation was never voluntary. The program, they say, will be up and running nationwide by 2013.

The confusion appears to be largely the fault of federal immigration officials, who in recent months have issued vaguely worded or seemingly contradictory statements about the program.

“The Department of Homeland Security has done a horrible job of, one, explaining the policy; two, explaining the implementation process; and three, explaining the local jurisdictional role,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, who has urged the state not to join the program. “It doesn't inspire confidence.”
Federal marshal's description of fatal shooting conflicts with video footage Nov

A police officer
stands guard in
an alley behind
Melrose Ave,
scene of the
fatal shooting
video inside
Surveillance video and witnesses' accounts call into question his claims - by Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times - November 9, 2010

Matthew Itkowitz, an off-duty deputy U.S. marshal, was being beaten and threatened with a gun in an alley off Melrose Avenue when, in fear for his life, he managed to draw his own weapon and fatally shoot his attacker.

At least, that's the story Itkowitz told Los Angeles police.

What really happened that night in the Fairfax district is less clear-cut. Witnesses' accounts of what happened before the shooting vary. But footage from a surveillance camera, which has never [before] been made public, calls into question the deputy marshal's claim of self-defense. A copy of the tape was reviewed by The Times. (see below)

The footage of the March 5, 2008, encounter, coupled with other evidence from the scene, raises a disturbing possibility: that a drunk cop fatally shot a man in the back to settle a score.

Whether prosecutors see it that way is another matter.

Videotape shows disputed fatal
shooting by U.S. marshal in 2008

Watch the
Pledge to Give Away Fortunes Stirs Debate Nov
Enter here:
The Giving Pledge was organized by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett - by Stephanie Strom - New York Times - November 11, 2010

Without a doubt, the biggest event in philanthropy this year was the Giving Pledge, a commitment by 40 of the wealthiest Americans to give away at least half of their fortunes, about $600 billion.

The goals of the pledge, which was organized by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren E. Buffett, were to stimulate discussion about philanthropy among the ultrawealthy and unleash a wave of me-tooism among others that would bring about “the Second Great Wave of Philanthropy,” in the words of Sean Stannard-Stockton, a blogger and philanthropic consultant.

Now, about three months later, the pledge has not yet visibly inspired new major gifts or attracted additional signatures — Mr. Buffett said he expected more soon — but has surely created discussion and debate, about the wealthy, their giving and what it says about our society.

Indeed, the Giving Pledge and the attention it has attracted come at a time of economic weakness, high unemployment, raging political debates about whether to extend tax cuts or allow them to expire, the seemingly uncontrollable cost of health care — and the increasing income gap between the signatories and a vast majority of Americans.
State of CA has enough sodium thiopental to execute four on death row Nov

outside the
Federal Building
in Los Angeles
Seven California
death row
residents have
exhausted all
Corrections Department won't say where the lethal-injection drug came from, and that may mean its use is forbidden. - by Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer - November 8, 2010

In a padlocked refrigerator behind San Quentin State Prison's death chamber, 12 grams of scarce sodium thiopental is available to carry out up to four executions.

How the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation acquired the drug is both a mystery and an apparent impediment to its use.

Legal analysts and human rights advocates contend that the state must have gotten the drug from a foreign producer because all stocks made by Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill., have expired, or will soon expire, and the drug's sole U.S. manufacturer can't make more, reportedly because of a raw-material supply issue.

In a legal filing to a federal judge reviewing the state's new lethal injection procedures, the office of Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown disclosed last month that it had obtained 12 grams of sodium thiopental with a 2014 expiration date.

Asked where the state found the drug, corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said: "I'm not at liberty to say."

The state's previous supply of sodium thiopental, which Hospira manufactures as Pentothal, expired at the end of September.

The exceeded shelf life was among the reasons U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel called off the scheduled Sept. 30 execution of rapist-murderer Albert Greenwood Brown, which would have been the first death sentence carried out in this state in nearly five years.
Former Parole Agent: Dept of Corrections Dysfunctional and Broken Nov

Retired parole
officer says
Dept of
A history of precedent setting lawsuits and out of court settlements - by Caroline Aguirre - (Caroline Aguirre is a retired parole agent. She served more than two decades with the California Department of Corrections.) - CityWatch - November 9, 2010

With the arrest of Phillip Garrido in August 2009, the entire nation learned how broken the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) had become.

Investigative findings by California State Inspector General David Shaw and the State Attorney's General' office concluded that a number of parole agents over a period of nine years had failed to do their jobs properly surrounding the parole supervision of Phillip Garrido. Garrido has been charged with the kidnapping and rape of Jaycee Dugard whom he held  hostage for 19 years.  For the last 10 years of Dugard's captivity, parole agents had made contact with Jaycee and her 2 minor children in the home and never followed up with an investigation.  A $20 million dollars settlement was paid to Dugard.

Several other civil law suits have been filed naming the CDCR as defendants surrounding the Dugard case.

After the arrest of Phillip Garrido, top Administrators of the CDCR and the Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) Matthew Cate,  Scott Kernan and Robert Ambroselli openly stated to numerous news media outlets  that  parole agents had done such a good job.
CA man who says he was molested hopes to turn beating case against priest Nov

Man is accused
of luring priest
to a retirement
home and
beating him
bloody in front
of horrified
Man is accused of luring priest to a retirement home and beating him bloody in front of horrified witnesses - by Gillian Flaccus and Terence Chea - Associated Press - November 13, 2010

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Will Lynch is looking for justice in an unusual way. Charged with savagely beating the priest he says molested him as a child, he plans to try to use his trial to publicly shame the Rev. Jerold Lindner in court and call attention to clergy abuse.

Law experts say he faces an uphill battle. But priest abuse victims are cheering him on and offering to donate to his defense fund. Several dozen supporters marched and waved signs Friday outside the Northern California courthouse where he was arraigned on an assault charge.

"Somebody needs to be a face for this abuse and I'm prepared to put myself on the line," Lynch told The Associated Press in the first interview since his arrest last month. "There's nothing they can take from me that they haven't already taken."

Lynch is accused of luring Lindner to the lobby of a retirement home in May and beating him bloody in front of horrified witnesses.

The 43-year-old has said he will plead not guilty, but he did not enter a plea during a brief hearing Friday before Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Jerome S. Nadler. Another hearing is set for next month.

Outside court, supporters marched in a circle and waved signs that read "Help Free Willy" and showed a childhood portrait of Lynch next to a photo of the priest.

Lynch accuses the 65-year-old Jesuit priest of sexually abusing him and his younger brother in 1975 during weekend camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The boys, 7 and 4 at the time, were raped and forced to have oral sex with each other while Lindner watched, Lynch said.

Lindner has repeatedly denied abusing anyone and has never been criminally charged. He hung up Wednesday when the AP called him for comment.
Surviving Parents Coalition Nov

Ride For
video inside
"Ride For Their Lives" - by MJ Goyings, LACP / NAACC - November 8, 2010

The Surviving Parents Colaition was established by a group of parents who have gone through every parent's worst nightmare .. they each have a child who was a victim of (predatory) abduction or sexual abuse. Many have experienced the loss of a child through criminal violence.

As their website says, "We honor our children by creating awareness and improving laws for child protection and safety.

Many of us started our activism alone but together we are empowered to create a comprehensive approach to stop predatory crimes nationwide.

Through our legislative efforts we aim to significantly improve public awareness about prevention as well as legislative progress, facilitate hands-on safety education in schools for children through young adults and promote best practices for law enforcement and communities in responding to predatory crimes.

We welcome you to join the SPC, hopefully not as a Surviving Parent, but as a Friend and Family member who wants to help us protect all of our children."

The SPC has two (2) types of members: Parent Members and Friends & Family Members. No more than one (1) membership may be held by any one person.

Parent Members are surviving parents of a child who was a victim of (predatory) abduction or sexual abuse. Parent Members have voting rights for the Board of Directors and are the driving force behind the SPC's legislative initiatives.

Friends & Family Members are either family members of a child who was a victim of abduction (and/or) sexual abuse; or a person who is impassioned by the purpose of the organization and is eagerly willing to support the organization's purpose. Survivors are more than welcome to join the group and have a special place in our advocacy efforts.
Dozens are arrested in raid at downtown hostess club Nov

At hostess
clubs patrons
pay women
for their time &
81 women, and seven men face a mix of charges - by Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - November 8, 2010

Nearly 90 people, most of them women, have been arrested on suspicion of prostitution, lewd conduct, gambling and the use of counterfeit identification at a downtown hostess club, Los Angeles police said Monday.

Nearly three dozen officers, led by the LAPD's Central Division vice unit, participated in the operation at Club 907 at 9th and Hill streets Friday night. They reportedly found 400 people in a space with a permitted capacity of 250.

The LAPD regulates such clubs, and the bust grew out of a routine check of business conditions two months ago, Lt. Paul Vernon said.

At the time, the officers found dozens of female dancers employed by the club with false identification for purposes of employment and found evidence that most were engaging in prostitution, Vernon said.

"They found so many violations in this routine check, they realized the problem must go much deeper," Vernon said. "They investigated and ultimately obtained the search warrant that was served Friday and resulted in the arrests."

The club charges $30 per hour, with discounts on certain days of the week. The hostess clubs, which are permitted by the Los Angeles Police Commission, are prohibited from serving alcohol and do not allow nudity or other adult entertainment.

As at most hostess clubs, patrons at Club 907 pay the women for time and companionship, which can include talking, buying nonalcoholic drinks or dancing, Vernon said.
Emergency Management and Response Nov

and Response
weekly info
Information Sharing and Analysis Center - November 11, 2010

NOTE: This INFOGRAM will be distributed weekly to provide members of the Emergency Services Sector with information concerning the protection of their critical infrastructures.  For further information, contact the Emergency Management and Response- Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) at (301) 447-1325 or by e-mail at emr-isac@dhs.gov.

Focus on Preparedness
(Source: FEMA)

Electric Vehicle Safety
(Source: FireRescue 1)

Guide to Homeland Security
(Sources: Homeland Security Today and the National Governors Association)

Fire Safety Aspects of Green Construction
(Source: National Association of State Fire Marshals)

DHS and the FBI encourage recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and/or the FBI. The DHS National Operation Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9685 or by e-mail at: NOC.Fusion@dhs.gov
Immigration rights group says LAPD violated policy in vice raid on 'hostess club' Nov
Special Order 40 prohibits LAPD officers from initiating contact with someone solely to determine whether they are in the country legally - by Abby Sewell and Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - November 11, 2010

Los Angeles police are defending their handling of a raid at a downtown hostess club -- an operation that resulted in dozens of arrests of illegal immigrant workers -- after an advocacy group charged that the vice operation violated Special Order 40, a policy governing how officers interact with immigrants.

Advocates from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said the LAPD officers violated that policy in arresting 81 women and seven men Friday at the 907 Club on Hill Street. The advocacy group said most of those arrested were "honest, hard-working immigrants" who might themselves have been victims of abuse.

"The LAPD has acted rashly by arresting those it claims to protect and in the process endanger the delicate balance between local policing and immigration enforcement," CHIRLA director Angelica Salas said in a statement.

Special Order 40 prohibits LAPD officers from initiating contact with someone solely to determine whether they are in the country legally. But in a statement released Wednesday, the LAPD said the four-month probe was only related to alleged criminal conduct and was not an immigration investigation.

"It is strictly an investigation into labor code violations, human trafficking concerns, prostitution, possession of fraudulent California identification cards, gambling and violation of a conditional use permit," the department said.

Club 907, like similar "hostess club" establishments, is regulated by the Los Angeles Police Commission. Patrons pay women who work at the clubs for time and companionship that includes talking, buying non-alcoholic drinks or dancing. The club charges $30 per hour, with discounts on certain days of the week.
Police believe remains to be those of missing N.C. girl Nov

10 year old
Zahra Baker has been missing
since Oct. 9
video inside
Now testing bones to verify it's Zarah Baker, 10 yrs old - from MSNBC - November 12, 2010

HICKORY, N.C. — Hickory police plan to hold a news briefing in which investigators will announce that remains found the day before are in fact that of a missing 10-year-old North Carolina girl, a source told a TV station Friday.

Hickory police scheduled a press conference for 4 p.m. PT, but did not release further details, according to NBC affiliate WCNC TV.

Zahra Baker has been missing since Oct. 9. Authorities think she is dead.

A source close to the investigation told the NBC News affiliate that human remains were found by search teams on Wednesday. Earlier on, officers recovered her artificial left leg and were also testing a bone to see if it belonged to her.

Zahra lost her leg to bone cancer. She also used hearing aids.

Zahra's stepmother, Elisa Baker, has been charged with obstruction of justice. Police say she admitted writing a bogus ransom note found after a fire was reported in the family's backyard the day Zahra was reported missing.

Zahra's biological mother said through tears last Friday that she believes her daughter is dead.

Emily Dietrich said she has little hope of seeing Zahra alive again.

"I don't feel it," she told Australia's Seven Network in her first interview since the girl's disappearance. "I reckon that mothers just have this bond with their children."

Zahra's father, Adam Baker, reported her missing Oct. 9.
Improving port safety, business - OPINION Nov

Los Angeles
asking for
more help
Port of LA one of the world's busiest waterways - OPINION - by Paul M. Weber - Los Angeles Police Protective League - November 8, 2010

As one of the world's busiest waterways, the bustling Port of Los Angeles and the areas surrounding it present a major crime-fighting challenge for both the independent harbor police force and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officers must provide protection 24/7 to businesses located on the port's 7,500 acres, to ships plying its more than 43 miles of waterfront and to the 1.2 million passengers who embark on cruises from there each year.

To be more effective, our officers need help.

An obscure amendment set to be considered by the Los Angeles City Council this week would provide the LAPD and the Port Police with more resources to keep the port more secure, to help businesses based there better prevent crime and to protect residents in nearby neighborhoods.

LAPD officers support the expansion of the Community Redevelopment Agency project, which would focus on the Los Angeles Harbor and Wilmington Park area and add port property acreage to its territory.

If approved, the addition of these properties would increase the size of the redevelopment area to make it eligible for millions of dollars in additional federal aid. These dollars could be used to rehabilitate port properties, which would make the region more attractive for business owners and residents, and thus discourage crime.

The LAPD and the Port Police are proud of a long tradition of working together to protect the Harbor Area, where they have historically responded to a number of community concerns, including visiting homeless encampments and cracking down on excessive speeding.
Panel: California should end sex-offender housing ban Nov

Jessica's Law
also requires that
a sex offender's
every movement
be tracked
by GPS
Jessica's Law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of a school or park - by Don Thompson - Associated Press - November 11, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A law enforcement panel is recommending that California voters repeal the residency restrictions for sex offenders they approved four years ago because too many are listed as transient, making them more difficult to monitor.

Jessica's Law, passed by 70 percent of California voters in 2006, prohibits released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

The residency restriction means there are few places the offenders can legally live in many communities. That forces many of them to move frequently, making it difficult for agents to track their whereabouts.

The 17-page report says 2,100 offenders have become transient since voters approved the law. More than a third of paroled offenders are now transient, a 750 percent increase since the law took effect.

"Homeless sex offenders put the public at risk. These offenders are unstable and more difficult to supervise," the draft says.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press, was being prepared for review by the governor's office before its official release, corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Thursday.

It says sex offenders move frequently and have more trouble finding and keeping jobs. The panel says some residency restrictions should remain for high-risk child molesters, and parole agents should have discretion to restrict where others can live.
Riverside police officer is shot to death - UPDATE Nov

Photo of the
suspect was
taken by a
video camera
inside the
officer's car
Did two tours in Iraq before returning to his hometown and his "dream job" - by Phil Willon and Stephen Ceasar - Los Angeles Times - November 9, 2010 - Reporting from Riverside and Los Angeles

Ryan Bonaminio walked into Ramona High School as a shy, greenhorn freshman and left as a Marine Corps ROTC platoon leader, charging head-on into the U.S. Army and two tours in Iraq before returning to his hometown and his dream job.

But his career as a Riverside police officer was cut short.

Bonaminio, who would have celebrated his 28th birthday Thanksgiving Day, was shot and killed Sunday night next to a dark roadside by an unidentified suspect who remains at large.

"He was a good kid. It's a big loss to this community, especially when you're talking about someone who went into harm's way in a combat zone, then came home to protect your city and gets killed in his own backyard,'' said Sgt. Maj. Henry David Jr., his ROTC instructor. "It's pretty tough to deal with.''

Bonaminio, a four-year police officer, was on routine patrol about 9:45 p.m. when, with lights and siren on, he tried to pull over a stolen semi-truck believed to be involved in an earlier hit-and-run accident near the 60 Freeway. The driver of the trailerless cab sped down Market Street before pulling over in front of Riverside's Fairmount Park and running down a grassy field.

Shortly afterward, Bonaminio pulled over and ran after the suspect. Residents in nearby homes heard gunfire.
Targeting an American - OPINION Nov
Anwar Awlaki's hatred of the U.S. is clear. But can the government legally assassinate him? - EDITORIAL - Los Angeles Times - November 10, 2010

Anyone who is still not sure whether Anwar Awlaki is a bitter, fulminating, implacable enemy of the United States should check out the video posted online Monday. In it, the U.S.-born radical Islamic cleric urges his followers to kill Americans even when there is no religious fatwa in place calling on them to do so.

"Don't consult with anybody in killing the Americans," Awlaki says. "Fighting the devil doesn't require consultation or prayers seeking divine guidance."

Not only is he repugnant, but he's dangerous too, according to U.S. officials. Born in New Mexico but now hiding in Yemen, Awlaki is believed to be an increasingly important leader of the organization Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and is said to have played an "operational" role in several terrorist plots, including the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit last year.

We have no reason to doubt the government's assertions. But the question facing Americans today is not whether Awlaki is a bad guy — it is how far the United States government is entitled to go in its efforts to stop him.

Indeed, on the same day the Awlaki video went public, U.S. officials were appearing in federal court in Washington to defend the widely reported decision to put Awlaki's name on a "targeted killings" list. By most accounts, that list authorizes the CIA or the military to track down Awlaki and kill him at any time without any judicial review, despite the fact that he is an American citizen apparently residing far outside of a war zone.
LA Council members call for study of police deployment Nov

Los Angeles
City Hall
More LAPD officers are doing work of civilians as budgets are cut, report says - by Rick Orlov - LA Daily News - November 9, 2010

With more police officers doing civilian office work instead of patrolling the streets, Los Angeles City Council members Tuesday asked for a study of the Police Department's personnel deployment.

Councilman Bill Rosendahl called for the report saying he was "tired of trying to explain to people why we have able-bodied officers, who have been specially trained, doing the work a civilian could do at much less cost.

"We need to have our officers out on the streets, not cleaning up some office," Rosendahl said, citing a report that 154 officers are doing the work of 120 civilians on a rotating basis.

The report said 28 of the officers are on temporary light duty, 33 are on permanent light duty and the remaining 93 are performing a variety of clerical duties rather than doing other police work. Also, 90 other officers will be assigned as jailers when the new downtown jail opens in the next month or two.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who campaigned five years ago with a goal of a 10,000-officer police force, has kept the department at 9,963 officers for the past two years, with the city only hiring officers to replace those who leave.

Aides said he would not comment on the City Council request.
Jailers accused of 'softening up' inmates Nov

Guards use
stun guns to
in Franklin
County, Ohio,
according to
the Dept of
Ohio guards said to be using stun guns to guarantee compliance- by Chuck Martinez-Brandon - Crescent News - November 5, 2010

COLUMBUS (AP) -- Jailers in a central Ohio county regularly use stun guns to "soften up" inmates who pose no threat and often use the guns on inmates who are disabled, pregnant or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the Justice Department said in a federal complaint.

Franklin County jailers also use the guns to shock naked and restrained prisoners and to punish inmates for routine rule violations, according to the motion filed Wednesday in an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit.

The complaint said jailers regularly put stun guns in a "drive stun" mode designed to cause continuous pain to someone resisting an officer.

"In case after case, deputies tase people, often in the drive stun mode to cause pain, when the person was greatly outnumbered by a team of deputies who were easily able to physically overpower and control the individual," the complaint said.

In other cases, jailers are accused of using the guns "to 'soften up' detainees and regularly applying tasers to individuals who do not pose any threat of violence or harm to themselves or others," according to the complaint.
Cops: men sold pot from disabled woman's Ohio home Nov

Held a 52 year
old woman in
her own home
- used it to
sell drugs
Four now face kidnapping and drug trafficking charges - ASSOCIATED PRESS - The Toledo Blade - November 6, 2010

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- Police say four men have been charged with kidnapping and drug trafficking after they allegedly forced their way into a disabled woman's apartment in Toledo and held her hostage while they sold pot out of her home.

The Blade in Toledo reports the 52-year-old woman with cognitive disabilities escaped from her captors Thursday after she convinced them that she needed to go to a meeting.

She told police that the men threatened her life, though they didn't use weapons.

"The question is 'How did they do this?' And the answer is, 'Fear,'" Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre said. "They completely took advantage of this woman."

Authorities say the men took over the apartment after a group of people knocked on the door and forced their way inside.

As many as eight people stayed at the apartment and charges against more suspects are possible, The Blade reported.

Police found the men hiding out in the apartment on Thursday - about a week after they took over the home - along with nine bags of marijuana stashed under a sofa there.
202 years for one defendant in Masonic Lodge killings Nov

Izac McCloud
Sentenced to
the maximum
Sentenced to the maximum term - Los Angeles Times - November 9, 2010

Izac McCloud, a 19-year-old black man, was convicted last month of two counts of second-degree murder and 46 counts of assault. On Oct. 7, McCloud was sentenced to the maximum term of 202 years to life in state prison, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Officials said that McCloud and co-defendant Jonzel Stringer, a 22-year-old black man, were among a group of more than 400 people who attended a birthday party at the Lakewood Masonic Lodge on Jan. 19, 2008.

Stringer got into a fight inside the lodge, came outside, and told McCloud to shoot. Standing outside a window, McCloud fired a handgun 10 times at partygoers inside, the prosecution alleged.

In the midst of the gunfire, Dennis Moses, a 17-year-old black man, and Breon Taylor, a 15-year-old black girl, were hit. The two were taken to a local hospital where they died the next day, authorities said. Another teenager was shot but did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Stringer was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and 46 counts of attempted murder on Sept. 21. He is expected to be sentenced Nov. 16.
Operations targets child prostitution Nov

Here are
several stories
of Federal Depts (FBI and ICE) helping local law enforcement to stop child abuse / trafficking
Several stories of Federal help stopping child abuse / trafficking - Chicago Sun Times - Assocoated Press - ICE - FBI - November 2010


Over the past 72 hours, the FBI, its local and state law enforcement partners, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) concluded Operation Cross Country V, a three-day national enforcement action as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. The operation included enforcement actions in 40 cities across 34 FBI divisions around the country and led to the recovery of 69 children who were being victimized through prostitution. Additionally, nearly 885 others, including 99 pimps, were arrested on state and local charges.

“Child prostitution continues to be a significant problem in our country, as evidenced by the number of children rescued through the continued efforts of our crimes against children task forces,” said Shawn Henry, executive assistant director of the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. “There is no work more important than protecting America's children and freeing them from the cycle of victimization. Through our strategic partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies, we are able to make a difference.”

Task Force operations usually begin as local actions, targeting such places as truck stops, casinos, street “tracks,” and Internet websites, based on intelligence gathered by officers working in their respective jurisdictions. Initial arrests are often violations of local and state laws relating to prostitution or solicitation. Information gleaned from those arrested often uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. FBI agents further develop this information in partnership with U.S. Attorney's Offices and the U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and file federal charges where appropriate.

To date, the 39 Innocence Lost Task Forces and Working Groups have recovered over 1,200 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 625 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including multiple 25-years-to-life sentences and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.
"Brazen" Masked Robbers Caught on Tape Nov

video inside
The robbery was captured on surveillance video - NBCLosAngeles.com - November 8, 2010

Police Monday released video footage of a Halloween-masked bandit and two others sought for committing a "brazen robbery" at a downtown resale business in which customers and employees alike were targeted.

The robbery, which was captured on surveillance video, occurred Oct. 29 at 4:10 p.m. at California Liquidator, 664 S. Santa Fe Ave.

"This was such a brazen robbery," said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division detectives. "Thankfully, no one was hurt this time."

The robbery crew -- the other two were wearing dark-colored hoodies -- burst into the downtown resale business and took more than $6,000 in cash, he said.

"The videotape clearly shows how the suspects shoved their guns into the faces of frightened customers and employees," Vernon said. "One customer, a woman, was actually kicked in the shoulder while she lay on the floor, even though she was obeying their commands."

Vernon said the suspects escaped in a white or silver Toyota Camry.

"Typically, suspects will share information or brag about their exploits," he said. "We'd like anyone with information to come forward and help us identify them."
Dismembered bodies, warped minds Nov

"People are
losing the ability
to be shocked,
and when you
lose the capacity
for shock, it
creates an
opening for
worse things."
video inside
The extreme violence produced by the drug war - by Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times - November 8, 2010

Reporting from Mexico City

Pablo Szmulewicz, a Mexico City artist, remembers the pitch from the newspaper hawker who held a front page with chopped-up human bodies.

"He told me: 'Buy it — it's a good story,'" Szmulewicz said, recalling the encounter that took place three months ago in the central state of Morelos. "I'm saying, 'But … these are people .'"

Szmulewicz knew he had found a terrible inspiration. When he got home, he downloaded death-scene images from the Internet and went to work.

The result is a series of paintings depicting discarded bodies, bound and blindfolded and lying in heaps; rows of severed heads, arrayed on shelves and eerily lifelike, are based on photos of real victims, bruises and all.

The 55-year-old painter has no idea where he will exhibit his new work, a departure from his favored themes, such as migration. But he hopes to challenge what he sees as a growing societal callousness to the carnage that is Mexico's drug war.

"People are losing the ability to be shocked, and when you lose the capacity for shock, it creates an opening for worse things," Szmulewicz said. "The reality is so harsh, so heartbreaking, that people look the other way to survive."

Bodies are dangled headless from highway overpasses. Heads turn up in ice chests and trash bags. Corpses are found marked by torture wounds and taunting, hand-scrawled messages. Body parts, rearranged for humiliating effect, are left for all to see.

Mexicans have watched the carnage — at first with horror and disbelief, but increasingly with a stunned fatigue as drug-trafficking gangs try to one-up rivals or scare authorities with new heights of savagery.
Los Angeles Has Safest 'Big City Neighborhood' In America Nov
Area is safer than 98% of all city neighborhoods in the country - by Anna Almendrala - Huffington Post - November 8, 2010

Living in Los Angeles, we seem to be bombarded daily with news of the latest tragic crime.

That's why it's a pleasant surprise to see that according to NeighborhoodScout's data, one neighborhood in Los Angeles is actually the #1 "safest big city neighborhood" in the United States, which means that the area is safer than 98% of all city neighborhoods in the country.

This honor goes to the Cahuenga Boulevard neighborhood, (zip codes 90068, 91604 and 91608), where your chances of becoming a victim of crime are just 1 in 1,042. When the entire city of Los Angeles is taken into account, chances of becoming a crime victim increase to 1 in 28.

NeighborhoodScout also revealed the safest neighborhoods in the top 29 American cities, including three others in California: Del Mar Heights in San Diego, Balboa Terrace in San Francisco, and Country Club in San Jose.

NeighborhoodScout used Location Inc. to analyze stats on stolen vehicles, violent crime, and property crime. Here's how they compiled the data: "Location, Inc. begins by collecting data from all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies in America, and uses a relational database to assign reported crimes from each agency to the city or town where the agency has law enforcement responsibility, and hence where the crimes occurred."
"No Kid Hungry" Campaign Nov

Jeff Bridges

video inside
Learn About the Campaign - with Jeff Bridges - Spokesperson - November 2010

Take "The Pledge"

"I believe that no child in America should go hungry. By pledging today, I add my voice to the national movement of people committed to ending childhood hunger in America by 2015.

I pledge to do more than I ever thought I could to help children gain access to the healthy food they need to grow and thrive.

I will help make the invisible hunger visible for my neighbors, my family, and our local, state, and national leaders.

By uniting my voice with thousands of others, I believe that we can make No Kid Hungry a reality."

Our nation has the food and programs in place to end childhood hunger, but consider what we are up against: The stigmas and embarrassment that surround hunger, the challenges presented by access to healthy food, and the struggle to connect children with the resources they need to thrive.

For 25 years, Share Our Strength has been confronting hunger head-on to break down these barriers. Together, with your support, we can put an end to childhood hunger. Will you join us in the No Kid Hungry campaign?
Prison a revolving door in California? Nov

In California
the recidivism
rate is among
the nation's
of convicts
return to crime
within three
video inside
More than two-thirds of convicts return to crime within three years- by John North - KABC-TV News -
November 5, 2010

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Some disturbing new information on just how many parolees in California are returning to a life of crime, and then back to prison: It's become a revolving door for many inmates.

Most inmates have been to prison before according to a new state report. More than two-thirds of convicts return to crime within three years. It's called recidivism. In California the recidivism rate is among the nation's highest.

Turn them loose and they return to prison in astonishing numbers. One-hundred-thousand inmates are released each year from California prisons. Even a small drop in recidivism means thousands of crimes not committed.

"There are groups that don't recidivate as high as you might expect. People who have serious offenses don't always recidivate as far as often as people who have relatively minor ones," said Dr. Steven Chapman, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The prisons are filled predominately with men. But women who make up one-tenth of all parolees are 15 percent less likely to return to prison than men.

Nearly 75 percent of ex-convicts who commit new crimes do it within a year of their release. The older an ex-convict gets the less likely he or she will commit another crime.
Ex-Canadian policeman admits guilt in PA sex sting Nov

Mt Pleasant's Veterans Park
- the Gazebo
at night
Thought he was meeting a 14 year-old girl - by Tribune-Review - November 4, 2010

A former Canadian police officer has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he drove more than 500 miles to Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, with the intention of having sex with a person he believed was a 14-year-old girl.

Paul Maher, 59, of Richmond, Ontario, pleaded guilty last week to traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and coercion and enticement.

Maher, who served as an Ottawa police officer from 1974-88, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $500,000 fine, U.S. Attorney David Hickton said last week.

Federal prosecutors said Maher was communicating online with an undercover officer from the Mt. Pleasant police department whom he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

Authorities arrested Maher in New York in June 2008 after he made the trip to Mt. Pleasant, but didn't follow through with an arranged meeting, prosecutors said.

For his Pennsylvania trip, Maher described an intention to bring a web camera to the supposed minor so he could take sexually explicit photos of her, according to authorities.
Cop revives lifeless boy: "You're doing this like it's your own child" Nov
Chicago Police
officer Thomas Norberg was
called into
action to
perform CPR
on 2-year-old
Sergio Martinez
Real, pictured
here with his
Maribel Real
Applies CPR after frantic mom flags him down - by Stefano Esposito and Rosemary Sobol - Chicago Sun Times - November 6, 2010

As Chicago Police Officer Thomas Norberg patrolled Albany Park on Thursday afternoon, a car came up behind him, with lights flashing, horn blaring.

"My baby is not breathing! Help me! Help me!" screamed a frantic mother sitting in the back seat of the car on West Montrose.

Norberg pulled over and peered into the back seat, where a 2-year-old boy lay lifeless.

"I'll be the first to admit, when I saw the boy slumped to the side with his eyes rolled back, I actually didn't think he was alive," Norberg, 46, recalled Friday morning.

The toddler might not be today but for Norberg's quick thinking and CPR training.

With the child's frantic parents hovering nearby, Norberg pulled the boy out of the car and gently laid him on a blanket on the ground. About 20 spectators had gathered, Norberg learned later.

"I guessed maybe his airway might be clogged," said Norberg, a policeman for 15 years. "So I rolled him onto his side, keeping his head elevated, and I was tapping his back. ... I started doing two-finger light compressions."

Norberg said he lost track of time. "You're not really thinking, you're not looking," he said. "I've got two kids. I'm thinking, 'This could be my kid.' You're doing this like it's your own child -- because he's just an innocent little child."

At some point, the child came back to life.
Terror Plot Foiled Nov

Fountain Place
is a 60-story
in downtown
Dallas, Texas
The building was
the planned
target for a
truck bomb like
that used in
Oklahoma City
Inside the Smadi Case - from FBI - November 5, 2010

Hosam Smadi will be spending the next 24 years in prison for trying to blow up a Dallas skyscraper in 2009. His recent sentencing brings to a close a successful FBI operation—one that potentially saved many lives—and it also illustrates the threat posed by lone offenders.

Smadi, at the time a 19-year-old Jordanian citizen living in Texas, came to our attention in January 2009 through his pro-violence writing on a radical Islamic website.

“What made Smadi's postings stand out from the other rhetoric was that he was saying, ‘I want to act.' That's what really got our attention,” Petrowski added. “Smadi wanted to imitate 9/11 and bring down a skyscraper and kill thousands of people. And he was already in the country. He said he just needed the tools—essentially he was online asking for someone to help him build a bomb.”

Although he espoused loyalty to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, Smadi was not affiliated with any group or other would-be terrorists. With the help of the Internet, he had become radicalized on his own.

Smadi entered the U.S. legally but overstayed his visa. “Based on that expired visa, law enforcement could have immediately arrested and deported him,” Petrowski said, “and that would have been the easiest thing to do.”

But it would not have been the right thing to do—because after conferring with the experts in our Behavioral Analysis Unit, it became clear that Smadi was not making empty threats.
Veterans Day - Nov 11th Nov

Our War Dogs
and Their
Handlers on
Veterans Day
- K-9 Wall of
Honor -
A day to honor American veterans of all wars - from www.History.com

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

The Great War & Armistice Day

Though the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, November 11 remained in the public imagination as the date that marked the end of the Great War. In November 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The day's observation included parades and public gatherings, as well as a brief pause in business activities at 11 a.m. On November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Congress had declared the day a legal federal holiday in honor of all those who participated in the war. On the same day, unidentified soldiers were laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in London and at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Veteran's Day Videos Nov

I Fought
For You
video inside
I Fought For You - Veteran's Day videos - from SermonSpice.com

Sermonspice is the world's largest library of downloadable Church videos for Church leaders to engage their congregations.

Veteran's Day Honor 2010

This Veterans Day honor those in your congregation both past and present who have faithfully served their country. Accompanied by a beautiful orchestral soundtrack and narrated with emphasis on the honor they deserve for their sacrifice, it concludes with a prompt to all veterans to stand up and be counted for what they have done.

Our mission is to facilitate filmmakers to hone their craft and provide valuable media to pastors and church workers.

Our vision is to impact the kingon of God through media so that you can give your message some motion!

The Sermonspice community of filmmakers and customers come from almost every country in the world. Tens of thousands of videos are on Sermonspice and those videos are shot and produced all over the globe.
The Final Inspection - a poem Nov
The Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true?'

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

Author Unknown~

It's the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the Press. It's the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of Speech. It's the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It's the Military who salutes The flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by The flag.

If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the Military, please pass this on and pray for our men and women who have served and are currently serving our country and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
In San Diego - Marine recommended for Medal of Honor for Afghanistan bravery Nov

Medal of Honor
America's highest military medal seldom awarded in recent conflicts - by Tony Perry - Los Angeles Times - November 6, 2010

San Diego -- A Marine has been recommended for the Medal of Honor for actions in combat in Afghanistan, Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos told reporters Saturday in San Diego.

Amos said the recommendation, which must be reviewed by the secretary of the Navy, secretary of defense, and President Obama, was made by his predecessor, Gen. James Conway.

Amos, who succeeded Conway two weeks ago, said that the recommendation was made after a thorough investigation that filled a binder and detailed the Marine's bravery. "I read it cover-to-cover," he said. "It watered my eyes."

The issue of why so few Medals of Honor have been bestowed for Iraq and Afghanistan has generated considerable controversy. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine), who served as a Marine officer in both wars, has requested an explanation from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about the small number of Medals of Honor.

The Marine Corps, despite heavy fighting in Iraq's Anbar province and now in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, has had only one Medal of Honor recipient: Cpl.  Jason Dunham, who was mortally wounded while shielding other Marines from a grenade blast near the Syrian border in 2004.
Veterans Day 2010: A Call to Service Nov

united in our
desire to serve
with & alongside
the military
Mission Serve - November 11th

As our nation enters its tenth year of war, we have never been more united in our desire to serve with and alongside the military community – our servicemembers, veterans, and military families. And yet, despite our best efforts, too many Americans still do not know how they – as individuals – can help.

Mission Serve is undertaking several key activities to address this challenge and make it easier for citizens to serve alongside and on behalf of our military communities.

These activities include:
  1. Volunteer-Opportunity Posting Campaign :  Leveraging our network to call through to thousands of non-profit affiliates, military installations, and veterans' service organizations in order to locate – and to post online – service projects that benefit and engage military communities. FIND A LOCAL OPPORTUNITY OR EVENT.
  2. Serve and Celebrate :  To highlight this initiative, Mission Serve is coordinating more than 20 coast-to-coast signature service projects with leaders from across America that will celebrate and honor our military communities on November 11.
  3. Do-it-yourself “Serve and Celebrate” toolkits will be posted online so that all individuals can volunteer on behalf of our military communities. GET A TOOLKIT.
About ServiceNation: Mission Serve

Mission Serve, led by Director and Operation Enduring Freedom-veteran Ross Cohen, is the ServiceNation coalition's civilian-military initiative, connecting the civilian and military communities through a broad array of service and volunteer partnerships designed to address the challenges of our nation and our military communities.

The initiative has two strategic goals:
  1. To engage civilians, active duty and retired military personnel, and military families in service to meet the many critical needs of our nation and, in particular, the needs of the military community (service members, veterans, and their families).
  2. To better integrate our nation's military community into service alongside the civilian community.
Operation Gratitude - in Van Nuys Nov

A California
non profit
group can
help you
thank our
combat troops
.. with care
video inside
Sending care packages to the troops - by MJ Goyings, LACP / NAACC - November 8, 2010

I came across this site through an article in our local paper.  Basically, it was created for sending care packages to the troops. What a great way for you to celebrate Veteran's Day.


Tens of thousands of American Service Members are deployed in hostile and remote regions of the world, including the Middle East, Afghanistan, and on ships throughout international waters. The physical conditions they must endure are difficult and they may be separated from loved ones for long periods of time.

Operation Gratitude seeks to lift morale and put smiles on faces by sending care packages addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed in harm's way.** Operation Gratitude care packages contain food, hygiene products, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation, all wrapped with good wishes of love and support.

Through Collection Drives, Letter Writing Campaigns and Donations of funds for shipping expenses, Operation Gratitude provides civilians anywhere in America a way to express their respect and appreciation to the men and women of the U.S. Military in an active, hands-on manner.

Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, funded entirely by private donations. For safety and security, the assembling of all packages occurs at the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California.
Coroner's official criticizes Sheriff's Department for moving remains Nov

- an autopsy
was unable to
determine her
cause of death
Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says he was 'very clear' in telling detectives not to move the skeleton before coroner's investigators arrived. A sheriff's official says that with nightfall approaching, detectives feared animals might get to the remains. - by Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times - November 7, 2010

A Los Angeles County coroner's official criticized sheriff's deputies for removing the remains of Mitrice Richardson from a rugged ravine without permission, saying the deputies' actions may have violated the law and undermined the thoroughness of the coroner's investigation.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said he was "very clear" with sheriff's officials and could not think of another case in which a police agency had moved entire skeletal remains without coroner's approval.

A sheriff's spokesman acknowledged that deputies removed Richardson's body from the scene without the coroner's permission, but said they did so because detectives were concerned that it was getting dark and that animals might destroy the remains.

The 24-year-old Richardson drew national media attention in September 2009 when she disappeared after being released from the sheriff's Lost Hills/Malibu station about midnight, without her car, purse or cellphone. Nearly 11 months after her disappearance, her remains were spotted in a remote Malibu Canyon ravine.
Terrorists BEEware Nov

may end up
being efficient
and inexpensive
allies in the war
on terror .. as
well as in the
war on cancer
and other
video inside
Honeybees might sniff you out ! - by MSNBC Coorespondent Alex Witt - Dr. Reese Halter - Cal Lutheran University, San Diego -
November 6, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: An amazing technology is becoming available for the first time in the war against terror -- the use of trained honeybees to detect explosives, drugs and other chemical substances.

I first heard this story Saturday morning on MSNBC News and was so impressed by the interview done by reporter Alex Witt that I tracked her guest down, Dr. Reese Halter, the author of the newspaper article (see below) and book mentioned (link provided below).

The incredible break-thru use of bees to smell and alert a handler to harmful substances (similar to that of sniffer dogs but far less expensive and more accurate) is a terrific example of thinking outside the box.

I hope you enjoy and appreciate the story.



AW: It could be the newest tool in fighting terrorism. Bees? Well, a new article in the British paper the Telegraph says honey bees can be trained to sniff any chemical from explosives to narcotics, and the article says bees could soon be deployed in war zones and airports. Let's get the details now from the author of that article, Reese Halter, Conservation Biologist at Cal Lutheran University, who's also the author of "The Incomparable Honey Bee." So, let's bring it, okay? I'm very curious about this story, Reese. There's a practical application here? Is this for real?

Dr. Halter: Absolutely, Alex. It's so cool because the bees are going to foil the terrorists and the drug lords and they're going to protect us by sniffing these scents from their antennae. There are 3,000 sensory organs.
Former BART officer gets 2 years in killing - protestors riot Nov

Oakland demonstrators
aggressive, breaking
windows and
throwing things
at police
A peaceful protest in Oakland over the sentence given in the shooting of black man by a white officer turned aggressive - by Jack Leonard, Abby Sewell and Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times - November 6, 2010

Reporting from Los Angeles and Oakland

A former police officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting of an unarmed man on an Oakland train station platform was sentenced Friday to two years in prison, sparking outrage from relatives and supporters of the victim who denounced the punishment as too lenient.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry said evidence in the racially charged case showed that the shooting was an accident caused when Johannes Mehserle mistakenly reached for a firearm instead of an electric Taser weapon he meant to use.

As Perry spoke, the victim's mother rushed from the courtroom with other relatives and supporters. "Nothing, he got nothing!" she told reporters after she exited.

The sentencing followed a tearful apology from Mehserle, who, handcuffed to a waist chain over his orange jail scrubs, insisted that the shooting was unintentional.

"I want to say how deeply sorry I am," said Mehserle, 28. "Nothing I could ever say or do could heal the wound I created."
Suspect Named, Kidnapping Charges Filed Nov

Thomas Sanders
-- missing his
upper teeth &
has only two
lower teeth
-- has a tattoo
on his chest
and a scar on
his abdomen
-- description:
5'8", 200 or
more pounds,
brown eyes
Louisiana suspect seen in Las Vegas - from FBI - November 4, 2010

Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Kelly, United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, Western District of Louisiana, and David W. Welker, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Division of the FBI, announce the following:

On the evening of Oct. 8, 2010, human skeletal remains were found in a wooded area north of Harrisonburg, La. The remains were found by hunters who reported it to the Catahoula Parish Sheriff's Office.

Since then, numerous investigative agencies, including the Louisiana State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the Office of Louisiana Attorney General, the LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) and law enforcement throughout the country have been involved in the case.

On Oct. 26, 2010, the remains were positively identified, based primarily on dental records, as being Lexis Kaye Roberts, age 12, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lexis was last seen with her mother, Suellen Roberts, and Thomas Sanders, traveling in a silver 2001 Kia Spectra sedan with Nevada license plate 153UCR.

Today the FBI announces that a federal kidnapping warrant was obtained in the Western District of Louisiana charging Thomas Steven Sanders with the abduction of Lexis Roberts.
Emergency Management and Response Nov

and Response
weekly info
Information Sharing and Analysis Center - November 4, 2010

NOTE: This INFOGRAM will be distributed weekly to provide members of the Emergency Services Sector with information concerning the protection of their critical infrastructures.  For further information, contact the Emergency Management and Response- Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) at (301) 447-1325 or by e-mail at emr-isac@dhs.gov.

PETN Update
(Sources: CBSNews.com / GlobalSecurity.org)

2010 Risk Lexicon
(Source: Department of Homeland Security)

Suspicious Packages
(Sources: New York Times and NC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response)

Preparedness and Response to a Mass Casualty Event
(Source: Department of Health and Human Services)

DHS and the FBI encourage recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and/or the FBI. The DHS National Operation Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9685 or by e-mail at: NOC.Fusion@dhs.gov
"Every Parent's Nightmare" - a special TV program on HeadLineNews Nov

"Every Parent's Nightmare"
airs this
Thurs and
Friday at
7pm EST
4pm PAC
on HLN
parents of
murdered and
An investigative TV program on HeadLineNews - by Jane Velez-Mitchell - CNN HeadLineNews - November 2010

Features parents of murdered / missing children

It's the show every parent must see! Jane Velez-Mitchell brings you the personal, heartbreaking stories of five parents whose daughters were taken from them. They've turned their unbearable grief into action by protecting our country's kids! Tune in to this two-part special investigation, "Every Parent's Nightmare," this Thursday and Friday at 7pm EST / 4pm PAC on HLN!

These devastated families have a life-saving agenda. They want police officers to get DNA samples from anyone arrested for a violent felony. They want to see the Adam Walsh Act, which was passed in 2006, get the money it needs to establish an effective national sex offender registry. They want the government to focus more on child exploitation cases. They also want our nation's school system to teach kids how to protect themselves as part of the regular curriculum.

These activist parents say people should consider one fact: If kids are taught to run in the opposite direction when approached by a stranger, that action alone increases the child's survivability rate by 50 percent. They have other useful facts and tips that they've been shouting from the rooftops.
Killer of San Diego teens: 'I am the most dangerous type of sexual predator' Nov

John Albert
-- describes
himself as
"the most
type of sexual
Interviewed for CBS's "48 hours" - airs Sat - Los Angeles Times - November 5, 2010

"I am the type that needs to be locked up forever," John Albert Gardner III, 31, told CBS News in an interview to be broadcast Saturday on "48 Hours".

Gardner pleaded guilty in April to strangling King during a rape attempt and stabbing Dubois during a rape attempt.

He also admitted attacking another female jogger, who escaped.

In the CBS interview, Gardner describes in detail his encounter with Dubois.

"I passed her driving down the street. And that's the first time I saw her. I pulled up next to her with the windows down on the car. I had the knife out and visible. And told her that I also had a gun. And to get in the car or it was going to be a lot worse," according to an excerpt released by CBS News.

"She actually looked at me in kinda shock and disbelief. And asked me if I was kidding. And I raised my voice and yelled, 'No, get the 'F' in the car.' I drove to the remote area. On driving I put the music on. She wanted to hear music so that she could pretend she wasn't there."

The plea bargain was meant to spare him from the death penalty. Under the agreement, Gardner will be returned to prison for life without the possibility of parole.
Web of Victims - FBI Nov

Victims might
never have
known their
hacker was listening and watching
A Chilling Case of ‘Sextortion' - from FBI - November 2, 2010

The hacker knew every move the unsuspecting victim made. He controlled her computer webcam and microphone. He could see her in her bedroom, hear her conversations, knew every keystroke she made online. And he threatened to expose her secrets unless she bowed to his demands.

It may sound like the plot for a scary teen movie, but it actually happened, and there wasn't just one victim—there were more than 200, and dozens of them were adolescent girls.

Unlike many computer intrusions, where a hacker uses malicious software to steal identities or financial information, this case was primarily about spying and extortion—or as our Los Angeles cyber squad more aptly termed it, “sextortion."

The hacker, a 31-year-old California man who was arrested in June after a two-year investigation, used malicious code to infect and control the computers of his victims. Then he searched for explicit pictures from their computers, downloaded them, and used the images in an attempt to extort more pictures and videos from them.

“What's so frightening about this case was how easily the victims' computers were compromised,” said Special Agent Jeff Kirkpatrick, one of our Los Angeles cyber investigators who worked the case.
Suspect in multiple slayings had article about 'Grim Sleeper' in his car Nov

John Wesley
Police don't
know why he
saved a July
story on
“Grim Sleeper”
Deputies don't know why John Wesley Ewell, accused of killing four, kept an account of Lonnie Franklin's arrest in July - by Richard Winton - Los Angeles Times - November 6, 2010

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies found a copy of a newspaper announcing the arrest of the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer suspect in the car of a Harbor Gateway handyman charged with killing four people during three home-invasion robberies.

The newspaper is one of the clues detectives are studying in the case of John Wesley Ewell.

"It was really the only paper we found inside his car," Det. Peter Hecht said. "The subject is certainly telling."

Lonnie Franklin, accused of being the Grim Sleeper, was arrested July 7 on suspicion of at least 10 murders since 1985 across South L.A.

The killings with which Ewell is charged began Sept. 24 with the death of an 80-year-old man and include the death of a woman who lives on the same block as Ewell and the strangulation of a couple inside their Hawthorne home.
Body of student missing for 9 years is found in Santa Clarita Nov

Lynsie Ekelund
was missing
for nearly
a decade
Placentia police arrest Christopher McAmis, who confessed - by Sam Allen, Nicole Santa Cruz and Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times - November 5, 2010

After nearly a decade of steadfast denials, three interrogations and two inconclusive polygraph tests, the man who last saw 20-year-old Lynsie Ekelund alive led detectives to a tree-dotted Santa Clarita hillside last week and indicated where to start digging. He had done a construction job there, police said, and it was where he had buried her.

Tearing into the hillside with a backhoe Wednesday, investigators unearthed a blue sneaker. They got on their knees and continued searching with small shovels and handheld buckets. Under several feet of dirt, they found bones.

Christopher McAmis, 31, an unemployed construction worker with a young family, had long maintained that he dropped the Fullerton College student off near her suburban northern Orange County home on the morning of Feb. 17, 2001, after she joined him on a trip to San Diego.

But Ekelund, a hazel-eyed journalism student who lived with her mother in Placentia and was partially paralyzed from a childhood car accident, was not seen again.

With her disabilities, family members thought it unlikely that she would run away and be able to survive on her own. She didn't drive, and had little money with her.
Part of California's Jessica's Law ruled unconstitutional - UPDATED Nov

Supporters of
Jessica's Law
in 2006
How close can sex offenders live to parks or schools? - by Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times - November 5, 2010

California corrections officials this week stopped enforcing portions of Jessica's Law in Los Angeles County after a judge ruled that the 2006 statute restricting how close sex offenders can live to parks or schools is unconstitutional.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza concluded that the controversial measure left sex offenders in some areas with the choice of being homeless or going to jail because the law restricts them from living in large swaths of some cities such as Los Angeles.

He issued the 10-page ruling Monday after four registered sex offenders petitioned the court. He noted that the court has received about 650 habeas corpus petitions raising similar legal issues, and that hundreds more were being prepared.

In his opinion, Espinoza cited comments by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck that Jessica's Law restrictions had resulted in "a marked increase of homeless/transient [sex offender] registrants."

In 2007, there were 30 sex offenders on active parole in Los Angeles. By this September, that number had jumped to 259, Beck said. Most of the new cases were filed in the last six months.
LA Coliseum Commission rescinds rave moratorium Nov

Rick Caruso:
“I think it's
It's not a
legal issue;
 it's morally
Move called 'underhanded' by board member Rick Caruso - November 3, 2010

In a surprise move, L.A. Coliseum Commission members Wednesday overturned a moratorium on raves put in place after the drug overdose death of a 15-year-old girl who attended an event held at the public facility earlier this year.

Coliseum General Manager Pat Lynch said commissioners acted after receiving an update Wednesday about raves held Aug. 21 and Oct. 23 at the Sports Arena, which is also overseen by the commission. Both were scheduled before the moratorium was enacted June 30, within 24 hours of the teenager's death.

Lynch said commissioners were satisfied with measures that included hiring doctors and nurses to work at the rave site, enforcing an age limit of 18 and ending events at 2 a.m. He said the medical staff on site had reduced the number of transports to nearby hospitals.

“Our commissioners said we've established some fantastic parameters, so if these preventative measures work and other events have gone off well, then we can lift the moratorium,” Lynch said.

But some public officials and a commissioner expressed surprise and dismay at the vote, particularly because they said they were not notified that any action on the moratorium would take place at the Wednesday commission meeting.
Keith Olbermann of MSNBC Suspended Over Donations - UPDATE Nov

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC
for making
The clash between objectivity and opinion in television journalism- by Brian Stelter and Bill Carter - New York Times - November 6, 2010

Keith Olbermann, the leading liberal voice on American television in the age of Obama, was suspended Friday after his employer, MSNBC, discovered he made campaign contributions to three Democrats last month.

The indefinite suspension was a stark display of the clash between objectivity and opinion in television journalism. While Mr. Olbermann is anchor of what is essentially the “Democratic Nightly News,” the decision affirmed that he was being held to the same standards as other employees of MSNBC and its parent, NBC News, both of which answer to NBC Universal. Most journalistic outlets discourage or directly prohibit campaign contributions by employees.

Mr. Olbermann's contributions came to light in an article by Politico on Friday morning. He said he had donated $2,400 to the campaigns of Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and Attorney General Jack Conway of Kentucky, who lost his Senate race to Rand Paul.
Man charged in four killings was known as kind, helpful neighbor Nov

Among the
victims were
Turnage and his wife Robyn,
found dead
in their
Residents shocked at who was behind a string of burglaries and murders - by Ching-Ching Ni and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times - November 4, 2010

On Hoover Street in Harbor Gateway, John Wesley Ewell was the guy neighbors turned to when they needed something fixed in their house.

"He's a real nice guy. The kind of guy who would give the shirt off his back," said neighbor Sheila Spinks, who said Ewell recently fixed a light sensor for her. "He didn't want money for it."

So when Denice Roberts was killed inside her home on the block last month, Ewell was the last person anyone suspected.

But L.A. County prosecutors charged 53-year-old Ewell with killing Roberts and three other people in a series of home robberies over the last month.

Authorities allege that Ewell cased neighborhoods in Hawthorne and Harbor Gateway, pretending to be a utility worker to gain entry to homes.

Surveillance tape shows a man carrying a briefcase being let into one of the homes.

Spinks said she and other neighbors can't believe Ewell is responsible. "Everyone is very surprised. His wife is devastated. It is a shock to everybody that knows him. He likes to talk to kids, tell them to stay out of trouble, stay on the right path," she said. "This seems way out of his character."
San Diego-to-Tijuana drug tunnel uncovered; 25 tons of pot seized Nov

long tunnel
linked drug
warehouses in
San Diego
and Tijuana
Lighted, ventilated passageway 4 feet high and 1,800 feet long - by Richard Marosi, Los Angeles Times - November 4, 2010

San Diego - Federal authorities discovered a tunnel linking drug warehouses in San Diego and Tijuana that led to the seizure of more than 25 tons of marijuana, one of the largest-ever drug seizures in San Diego, officials said.

The 1,800-foot transnational passageway — roughly equivalent to six football fields in length — isn't the longest or the most sophisticated ever built, but it is one of the few instances in which authorities were able to seize drugs on both sides of the border.

The scale of the operation pointed to the work of a major Mexican drug cartel, authorities said, and comes two weeks after Mexican authorities discovered a record 134 tons of marijuana in an industrial area near Tijuana.

Officials don't know if there is a connection between the two events, but called this week's discovery another significant blow against organized crime groups.

Authorities estimated the drugs' worth at more than $20 million.

"I can promise you there are some very unhappy people in the cartel," said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which leads the multi-agency San Diego Tunnel Task Force.
Attorney General lauds HSI special agents for work on terrorism task force Nov
Stopped attack on New York City subway system last year - from DOJ / DHS / FBI / ICE

On Oct. 27, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents Jason Cassidy, Travis McFarren and Robert Marten were awarded the Attorney General's Exceptional Service Award-the highest Department of Justice award-for their exemplary efforts in Operation High Rise.

In September 2009, just days prior to the 9/11 anniversary date, intelligence analysts discovered from a monitored e-mail account that al-Qaeda trained operatives in Denver and New York were plotting to detonate explosives in the New York City subway system on or about Sept. 11.

With a terrorist attack imminent, JTTF special agents from Denver and New York worked nonstop knowing that every minute that passed was closer to the possible detonation of a ticking bomb. An interagency flourish of surveillance, emergency wiretap requests, warrants, interviews and undercover actions ensued in an effort to identify and locate the individual behind the incriminating e-mail messages. Investigators identified the mastermind of the plot, Najibullah Zazi, a cab driver of Afghani decent who worked at the Denver International Airport.

An exhaustive review of databases pinpointed two of Zazi's associates who were located in New York City. Further investigation, combined with in-depth analysis of information supplied by foreign and interagency partners, revealed that Zazi and his associates posed the most serious terrorist threat to our nation since September 11, 2001. In fact, Zazi and his New York co-conspirators had been planning their deadly strike against Americans ever since their return from a trip to Pakistan in 2008, where they attended an al-Qaeda training camp.
Domestic violence: a global problem, not a religious one - OPINION Nov
OPINION - Citing women's safety, two states may ban Sharia law. But according to a U.N. report, violence against women cuts across nationalities and faiths. - by John L. Esposito and Sheila B. Lalwani - October 31, 2010

An Oct. 28 LA Times editorial hit the nail on the head by noting that the United Nations' newly released report, "The World's Women," makes a disturbing point: Violence against women remains a stubborn problem around the world.

The reminder is timely. Voters in Oklahoma and Louisiana will decide Tuesday on ballot initiatives that would prevent Sharia law from entering the court systems; protecting women's rights is cited as a reason, because Islamic law is believed to sanction such violence. It remains to be seen what voters will decide on Tuesday, but connecting violence against women to any religion sidesteps the real issue and primary causes of violence against women, allowing this pressing global health issue to escape the scrutiny and response it merits.

Violence against women cuts across nationalities, races and religions. The United Nations report provides a comprehensive study on girls and women; it underscores the connection between advancement and education, noting that women who go to school are more likely to lead successful and healthy lives to the benefit of society. Conversely, girls and women who are less educated or illiterate are more vulnerable.

Examples abound. In India several years ago, a woman sought the services of a social welfare organization in New Delhi because her husband was abusing her (one of the writers of this piece, Sheila B. Lalwani, handled her case). She knew her spouse was treating her wrongly, but she was also painfully aware that she had no money or support from her family. She came into the center to learn more about her legal rights and options. She was Hindu, and after counseling her, the caseworkers assisted Muslim and Sikh women who needed help. Few abused women actually pursue divorces; they often return to their husbands, and, in many cases, the women are beaten to death.
$75,000 reward to find Halloween killers of 5-year-old - UPDATED Nov

As is true in
many parts
of LA, this
is an active
gang area
with many
The neighborhood is an active gang area with many rivalries - by Richard Winton and Stephen Ceasar - Los Angeles Times - November 2, 2010

The Los Angeles City Council will be asked Tuesday to approve a $75,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers of a 5-year-old in the backyard of a South L.A. home as he prepared to trick-or-treat.

“This is a crime against this family and a crime against this entire community,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who is proposing the award.

Aaron Shannon Jr. died about 10 p.m. Monday after being declared brain-dead at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said his grandfather William Shannon.

An autopsy was pending and should be performed in the next few days, said Lt. Cheryl MacWillie, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Aaron had run into the backyard of the home in the 1000 block of East 84th Street to show off his Spider-Man Halloween costume to his grandfather and uncle when two young men, who police say were gang members, began shooting from the alley.
Is It Worth It? -- Montreal graffiti writers mourn train deaths Nov

Three teens
in Montreal
were killed
while applying
graffiti to
train yards
Montreal graffiti writers mourn train deaths - from LAPD - by CBC News - November 1, 2010

Police haven't released the names of the three teens killed by a Via Rail passenger train on Sunday morning, but people in Montreal's graffiti community say they knew them and are mourning the deaths.

A video paying tribute to one of the dead graffiti artists has been posted on YouTube.

He went by the name Jays and the two-minute video shows some of his graffiti tags, much of them in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood.

The teenagers, aged 17, 18 and 19, had jumped over a concrete wall to spray-paint graffiti under the west side of the Turcot interchange, said Const. Annie Lemieux.

"This is a pretty dangerous spot for hearing trains because you don't hear them coming as well as you should," she said. "It's possible they didn't hear the train coming fast enough to move off the tracks, so that's what investigators will be trying to understand."

Two other young men who were with the victims were not injured but were treated for shock. At first, police said they could face charges of trespassing and mischief, but the force now says no charges will be laid.

Sterling Downey, a graffiti artist and founder of the Montreal graffiti festival, said he was surprised when he heard about the accident, but only because the teens were experienced.

"If you frequent railyards you know that Via Rail trains are the most dangerous things. So even in a case of five people painting you'd hope that maybe one person would be a lookout."
LA County jury awards $4 million to former LAPD officer Nov

Jurors said
the officer
was fired in
retaliation for
against the
department in
a labor dispute
Jurors concluded the officer was fired in retaliation for testifying against the department in a labor dispute. The verdict stems from one of several similar lawsuits thousands of disgruntled officers are pursuing against the LAPD. - by Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times - November 3, 2010

A Los Angeles County jury Tuesday awarded a former Los Angeles police officer nearly $4 million in his case against the LAPD, concluding the officer was fired in retaliation for testifying against the department in a labor dispute.

The verdict, which stems from one of several similar lawsuits that thousands of disgruntled LAPD officers are pursuing against the department, underscores a long-running, internal rift between LAPD cops and the department's command staff that could ultimately cost the city millions of dollars more.

In January 2008, Richard Romney was an 18-year veteran of the LAPD, having spent his career as a rank-and-file patrol cop. That month, he testified in a federal lawsuit that another officer had brought against the LAPD. In that case, the officer accused the department of skirting the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that, in part, sets rules on when officers must be compensated for overtime work.

Romney testified that the high volume of calls for help during a typical patrol shift in South L.A. meant that he often did not take the 45-minute meal break officers are allotted. Instead of asking to be paid for this extra work, however, Romney said he followed what he described as an "unwritten policy" in the department that effectively barred officers from requesting pay for less than an hour of overtime work.
Concerns About the Safety of Cargo Nov

Recent close
call with
described as
"a game
Recent package bombs described as "a game changer" - by Lark Gould - AOL News / Travel - November 3, 2010

As details emerge about the recent terrorist plot originating in Yemen to send explosives in a U.S.-bound UPS airline cargo container, officials at Homeland Security agencies are scurrying to make sure policies in place are worthy of the new playing field.

"It's definitely a game-changer," said one Transportation Security Administration executive who asked not to be identified. "We're not sure what new policies will come from this but there are plenty of people talking at this moment."

Whether it's the averted Christmas Day disaster that involved an undetonated device in a passenger's underwear last year, an undetonated car bomb in Times Square, or the recent placement of explosives inside boxes containing printer cartridges -- which may have detonated without Saudi Arabian intelligence information -- the threats are real and the consequences inevitable says Fran Townsend, former chair of the Homeland Security Council and now a partner at Baker Botts LLP.

"In some ways we're a victim of our own success," said Townsend at a recent forum at the Aspen Institute. "We haven't seen a major attack in the United States since 9-11. It's not a matter of scaring people, but it's a matter of emphasizing that the threat continues to be real."
87-year-old immigrant and first-time US voter: 'I love this country very much' Nov

It was the first
time the 87-
year-old great-
of 11 had
voted in the US
"I love this
country very
It was the first time the 87-year-old great-grandmother of 11 had voted in the United States - Los Angeles Times - November 2, 2010

Reginalda Rodriguez filled out her ballot with painstaking care, using her practice booklet as a guide -- no on Prop. 19, Jerry Brown for governor, and on through every measure and candidate.

It was the first time the 87-year-old great-grandmother of 11 had voted in the United States. She lived the first 65 years of her life in El Salvador. In 1989, she came to live with her son in Los Angeles to escape the civil war in her country. She worked as a nanny until the age of 83.

In May 2008, she finally became a U.S. citizen. When Rodriguez arrived at the Baldwin Hills Recreation Center polling place Tuesday afternoon, the workers were unable to find her name on the rolls.
Undiscouraged, she cast her provisional ballot. On the way out, she hugged the workers or shook their hands. "I feel very satisfied, because I have so much esteem for this country," Rodriguez said in Spanish. "I love this country very much."

There was no single proposition or race that drew her. Rodriguez said she simply wanted to vote in the country where she is now a citizen.

Rodriguez is the type of voter who immigrant rights group have been courting in a year when many Latinos were expected to stay home, disappointed by the failure of the Obama administration to push comprehensive immigration reform.
Al-Qaida insider gave tip on mail-bomb plot Nov

Saudi Arabia
has worked
to infiltrate
terror group
YEMEN | Saudi Arabia has worked to infiltrate terror group - by Ahmed al-Haj and Hamza Hendawi - Chicago Sun Times - November 2, 2010

SAN'A, Yemen -- Information that helped thwart the plot of U.S.-bound mail bombs wired to explode on cargo planes came from an al-Qaida insider who was secreted out of Yemen after surrendering to Saudi authorities, Yemeni security officials said Monday.

The tip reflects how Saudi Arabia has worked aggressively for years to infiltrate al-Qaida in Yemen, the unruly, impoverished nation on its southern doorstep in the Arabian Peninsula.

The tip came from Jabir al-Fayfi, a Saudi who was held for years at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007. Soon after, he fled Saudi Arabia and joined the al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen until he turned himself in to Saudi authorities in late September.

Yemeni security officials said they believe al-Fayfi may have been a double agent, planted by Saudi Arabia in Yemen among al-Qaida militants in the Arabian Peninsula to uncover their plots. The officials said that after his return to the kingdom, he told authorities al-Qaida was planning to send bomb-laden packages.

Saudi Arabia has been recruiting informants in the terrorist network and also has been paying Yemeni tribal chiefs -- and even gives cash to figures in the Yemeni military -- to gain their loyalty.
LAPD urges the public to remain vigilant against terrorism Nov
(877) A-THREAT
between the
LAPD and the
is "one of the
key linchpins in
keeping the
Outreach program features two-way communication between the LAPD and the community "one of the key linchpins in keeping the communities safe" - by City News Service - Beverly Hills Courier - November 1, 2010

The Los Angeles Police Department today urged Southlanders to remain vigilant about passing on possible terrorist-related information to authorities.

The plea was made in the wake of last week's discovery of packages containing explosive materials that were shipped from Yemen and addressed to religious sites in Chicago.

Security was beefed up at airports across the country, and security officials at Los Angeles International Airport convened an emergency meeting on Friday morning. The suspicious packages shipped via UPS and FedEx were found Thursday night in England and Dubai, addressed to synagogues or Jewish centers in Chicago.

LAPD Cmdr. Blake Chow, assistant commanding officer of the Counterterrorism and Special Operations Bureau, said the LAPD has community outreach programs in place in the Jewish and Muslim communities, and is able to quickly communicate with key people and groups.

"Our outreach program -- the two-way communication between the LAPD and the community -- is one of the key linchpins in keeping the communities safe," Chow said.
In Air Cargo Business, It's Speed vs. Screening Nov

The Obama administration
is expected to
measures to
tighten the
screening of
air cargo.
System Creates a Weak Link in Security - by Barry Meier and Eric Lipton - New York Times - November 2, 2010

It is an essential lubricant of the global economy — the multibillion-dollar air cargo industry, which every day carries millions of express packages of every shape and size around the world, parcels that can include things as diverse as an electronic component and a human body part.

But the discovery last week that terrorists had used United Parcel Service and FedEx to ship two explosive devices has set off a debate over what can be done to improve cargo security without damaging a business built on getting packages anywhere, quickly and cheaply.

The Obama administration is expected to announce measures soon to tighten the screening of air cargo, an area long viewed by experts as a weak link in post-9/11 security procedures. But several transportation experts say that placing a 100 percent screening requirement on cargo carriers — like the one that now exists for cargo placed on passenger airlines — would cause the system of express air delivery to grind to a halt.

Those experts note that most shipments carried by air — about 80 percent — come from frequent customers who have longstanding relationships and security programs in place. The greatest risks, they say, involve “one-off” packages by random customers, like the recent explosive-laden shipments from Yemen headed to Chicago that initially eluded detection.
Court supports some parts of Arizona's immigration law and reject others Nov

Arizona may
require police
to investigate
a person's immigration
status if there is
reasonable cause
to suspect that
person had
a crime
Arizona may require police to investigate a person's immigration status - by Maura Dolan in San Francisco - Los Angeles Times - November 1, 2010

A federal appeals court that is reviewing Arizona's tough new immigration law appeared inclined Monday to permit the state to require police to investigate the immigration status of people they have legally stopped but also seemed ready to reject more punitive provisions giving the state enforcement powers.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, meeting in San Francisco, appeared likely to rule that Arizona may require police in certain situations to investigate a person's immigration status if there is reasonable cause to suspect that person had committed a crime.

But the panel also seemed to agree with a lower court ruling that other provisions of Arizona's law were "preempted" by the federal government's sole authority to regulate immigration.

The court appeared likely to reject provisions that would make it a state crime for a person to not carry immigration papers and that allows for criminal punishment of illegal immigrants who seek work in Arizona.

“This is going to be a mixed verdict,” predicted UC Hastings Law Professor David I. Levine, noting that the law may ultimately be rendered meaningless.
How to Keep Terrorism Grounded - Disaster Averted Nov
An OPINION and an EDITORIAL - New York Times - by Stephen R. Heifetz - November 2, 2010

Washington - LAST week our country averted a disaster. Good work by American and foreign intelligence officials pinpointed explosives hidden in packages shipped in Yemen and bound on airplanes for the United States. But we cannot rely on getting such timely, accurate intelligence — it often is simply unavailable — and the episode highlighted a number of problems with our system for screening inbound air cargo.

The Department of Homeland Security has established very good “risk rating” systems to prevent dangerous goods from entering the country. The problem is that these systems are used only for cargo on ships, not for that arriving by air.

For oceangoing cargo, importers and shippers are required to provide substantial data on every container: the country of origin, the location where the container was packed, the seller, the buyer, where on the ship the container is stored and so forth.

The Department of Homeland Security, through its Customs and Border Protection agency, uses this data to generate a risk rating, and any package with a high rating gets substantial additional scrutiny. Sometimes this includes a physical search by foreign security personnel under the guidance of American officials, and in all cases it occurs before the ship even leaves the foreign port. Any package from trouble-ridden Yemen would be seen as a risk and likely would be a target for additional scrutiny.

So why is there no similar system in place for air cargo? There are two parts to the answer: one has to do with Congress and the other with the Department of Homeland Security.
L.A. City Council continues acquiring Tasers from Arizona despite boycott Nov

Non-lethal tazers
of various types
are used all over
the country
Non-lethal tazers of various types are used all over the country - by City News Service - Beverly Hills Courier - November 1, 2010

The Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee voted today to continue acquiring Tasers from a Scottsdale-based company, despite an ongoing economic boycott of Arizona.

In the motion -- which was approved without discussion -- Councilman Greig Smith wrote that Taser International Inc. should be exempted from the economic boycott because various local public safety agencies need its stun guns and no other company can provide the service satisfactorily.

"The Los Angeles Police Department, Airport Police, Harbor Police and General Services Office of Public Safety deploy these high-voltage devices to their sworn personnel," Smith said.

"No other company provides Taser-compatible dart cartridges and related equipment, nor maintenance and repair of devices manufactured by this company," he said. "Current warranties would be invalidated should the city attempt to contract with another vendor for maintenance services."
The war the election forgot Nov

Veda Olechny's
husband, 1st Sgt
Patrick Olechny,
is on his 4th tour
of combat duty.
War sets the rhythm for military spouses like Veda Olechny. But for just about everyone else, it's easy to ignore, and in this turbulent election season there is little mention of Afghanistan or Iraq. - by Faye Fiore and Mark Z. Barabak - November 2, 2010

It's easy to tell 1st Sgt. Patrick Olechny is away. The freezer is stocked with single-serving dinners. The TV is off and, at nearly 8 p.m., the living room is dark.

Olechny is at war in Afghanistan, on his fourth tour of combat duty. His wife, Veda, is waiting for his return — in time for Thanksgiving, she prays each night.

War sets the rhythm for military families like theirs: Home by 9, in case he beeps on Skype. Cellphone charged, in case he calls. No point buying pot roast; she can't finish it herself.

But for just about everyone else, the war is easy to ignore. In this turbulent election season — amid the talk of "tea parties" and the economy and President Obama's approval rating and the fight to control Congress and bailouts and deficits and fear and anger — there is little mention of Afghanistan or Iraq.
Police: Dad purposely drove into LA home; 2 dead Nov

Neighbor grieves
after hearing
of the incident
Girlfriend, baby killed when man plows into house - by Stephen Ceasar and Robert Faturechi - Los Angeles Times - November 2, 2010

Police say Eduardo Villarreal, 21, intentionally drove into the Boyle Heights house on Halloween. His girlfriend, 19, was killed instantly and their 10-day-old daughter later died at a hospital.

A family gathering in Boyle Heights on Halloween ended in tragedy when a man plowed his Cadillac Escalade through a home, killing his girlfriend and their newborn baby, police said.

Villarreal allegedly jumped a curb and drove through a chain-link fence and into the home. His girlfriend, who was on the other side of the stucco wall, was killed instantly.

Their 10-day-old daughter was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

A third person at the home was injured in the crash, which occurred just before midnight.

Police said Villarreal intentionally drove into the house, and they arrested him at the scene on suspicion of murder, said Los Angeles Police Officer Bruce Borihanh.
Bomb Plot Shows Key Role Played by Intelligence Nov

The bombs were cleverly hidden in printer cartridges
like this one
The bombs were cleverly hidden in printer cartridges - by Mark Mazetti, Robert F. Worth and Eric Lipton - New York Times - November 1, 2010

In the middle of last week, a woman who claimed her name was Hanan al-Samawi, a 22-year-old engineering student, walked into the U.P.S. office in the upscale Hadda neighborhood of Sana, Yemen's sprawling capital city. She displayed a photocopied identification card, and dropped off a bomb hidden inside a printer cartridge with a Chicago address listed as the package's destination. A few blocks away, another package concealing a homemade bomb was dropped off at a FedEx office, also seemingly headed to Chicago.

Within days, the two packages had advanced through four countries in at least four different airplanes — two of them carrying passengers — before they were identified in Britain and Dubai after an 11th-hour tip from Saudi Arabia's intelligence service set off an international terrorism alert and a frantic hunt.

The foiling of the plot was a significant success in an era of well-publicized intelligence breakdowns and miscommunications.
Justice in slow motion - OPINION Nov

There have been
13 executions
in Calif since
the death
penalty was
reinstated 33
years ago.
During that
time, the death
row population
has ballooned
to 713.
22 years later, cop-killer convict is still on death row at San Quentin State Prison - OPINION - by Arnold Friedman - Los Angeles Times - October 31, 2010

On Oct. 31, 1985, Los Angeles Police Det. Thomas C. Williams was shot to death while picking up his 6-year-old son from church school. The 42-year-old had just come from the San Fernando courthouse, where the trial of a robbery suspect he'd apprehended would end the next day.

In the split second before Williams was struck by eight shots from a fully automatic assault pistol, he ordered his son Ryan to duck. By immediately complying, the boy was spared. His father died instantly. In addition to his son, Williams left behind a 17-year-old daughter, Susan, and his wife, Norma.

The killing was proclaimed an assassination by then-Police Chief Daryl Gates, and Daniel Steven Jenkins, the defendant in the robbery case, was charged with Williams' murder.

Tom Williams and I were fraternity brothers at Cal State Northridge in the days when it was known as San Fernando Valley State College. Years later, when I was a Daily News reporter covering crime, I was careful not to trade on our friendship.
As violent crime drops, gang ranks swell 25% Nov

Across the
country, gangs
have grown
to about 1
Across the country, gangs have grown to about 1 million members - by Kevin Johnson - USA TODAY - November 1, 2010

Gang membership, a traditional trigger for violent crime, is rising even as murder and other violent crime have declined substantially in much of the USA.

Across the country, gangs have grown to about 1 million members, according to the federal government's most recent count in 2009, and law enforcement officials say that number is increasing.

The 25% jump in the membership ranks from 2005, recorded by the National Gang Threat Assessment, defies the steep decline in violent crime. That has sunk to its lowest levels since 1973, according to a National Criminal Victimization Survey released last month by the Justice Department.

Violent crime declined to 17.1 incidents per 1,000 people in 2009, down from 19.3 incidents in 2008, the report says.

"With gangs usually comes a lot of violence; we're looking at this very closely," says John Moore, director of the National Gang Center, an arm of the Justice Department. He says national surveys of gang membership continue to show growth.
Crime falls 40% in neighborhoods with Summer Night Lights program Nov

The Summer
Night Lights
operated at
24 sites this
past summer
and may be
The program offers recreation, mentoring, counseling and food in troubled L.A. neighborhoods until midnight. It operated at 24 sites this year and may be expanded. - by Scott Gold - Los Angeles Times - November 1, 2010

Serious gang-related crime has tumbled 40% over the last three years in the troubled neighborhoods surrounding the sites of Summer Night Lights, Los Angeles' park program designed to curb violence, newly assembled police data show.

This was the third summer that City Hall has run Summer Night Lights, offering recreational activities, mentoring and counseling programs, meals and other services at parks and public housing complexes.

Launched in the summer of 2008, Summer Night Lights expanded to 24 sites this year. Hours at each site were extended until midnight four days a week in the effort to provide safe, healthful activities in the hours when most violent crime occurs.
Sorry State of Gun Control - EDITORIAL Nov
EDITORIAL - Chicago Sun Times - November 1, 2010

As a new Congress looms, we suggest lawmakers travel to Washington by way of West Virginia and an obscure federal building called the National Tracing Center. There they can see workers laboring through unmanageably high backlogs of handwritten paper records submitted by the nation's gun dealers. This is Congress's handiwork — at the behest of the gun lobby and to the detriment of public safety.

Each year the center receives 300,000 inquiries from police officers' trying to track weapons from tens of thousands of gun deaths. But it is prohibited, by law, from collecting gun ownership records through a modern computerized database. Instead, paper prevails in assorted scraps. Workers huddle over desks with tape and magnifying glass, while crime marches on.

The center's plight was described in a Washington Post report detailing the insidious roadblocks and lethal damage wrought by bipartisan pandering to the gun lobby. Congress's failure is also clear in the underfinancing and short staffing at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Beleaguered enforcement agents must monitor 115,000 firearms dealers with 600 agents — the same number as three decades ago.

Gun dealers can go as long as eight years between visits from inspectors. Meanwhile, the criminal minority of dealers who repeatedly claim “lost” and “stolen” inventory — less than 2 percent of retailers — are rarely shut down since lawbreakers are allowed to “sell” their businesses to family members.
Cruel and Usual Punishment: Nov

Nonie Darwish
The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law - November 1, 2010

In her latest book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, author Nonie Darwish paints a chilling description of what lies ahead for Western civilizations that continue down the road of political correctness and appeasement as Islamic (Shariah) law creeps its way into free societies across the globe.

Darwish, who was born in Cairo, and moved as a child to Gaza with her family, was raised Muslim – her father founding Palestinian fedayeen units which launched terrorist raids across Israel's southern border.

When Nonie was only eight, her father was assassinated by the IDF, after which he was recognized as a shahid, or martyr for Islam. Darwish immigrated to the United States in 1978.

Islamic Law and the ensuing threats to Western civilization are subjects Darwish discusses with a passion and knowledge borne only of one who grew up within it can have. Having left Islam as an adult and having converted to Christianity, she has shared her experiences in Islam with her first book, Now They Call Me Infidel. Now with her second book she explains in layman's terms the meaning of Shariah law and the implications that face those who embrace it. Nonie Darwish visited with FamilySecurityMatters.org to discuss the book. 
Halloween Safety - Keeping Your Children (and Pets) Safe Oct

help your kids
& pets enjoy
Its up to you to help your kids and pets enjoy the day's events - CBS News - October 2010

Halloween is a great time of year and a fun holiday for children, but as always when it comes to children having fun there is always going to be dangers. With a heightened sense of fun and excitement also comes a lack of concentration and responsibility on the child's part. There are always rumors going around that tend to get parents over protective of their children at Halloween, it is important to be practical and use common sense when it comes to Halloween safety for your child.

Very small children should always be accompanied by an adult when trick or treating at Halloween and older children that insist on going without you by their side should go around in small groups. Small groups are less vulnerable to any would be attacks from strangers. We spend the majority of our children's life teaching them not to accept sweets off strangers then one time of the year we encourage it (go figure).
No Pardon President - OPINIONS Oct

So far, President Obama hasn't approved a single request for a pardon or commutation of a sentence. That's a disappointment. - OPINION - Los Angeles Times - October 30, 2010

Just as a president is entitled to pardon anyone convicted or accused of a crime, he is free to dismiss any petitions for clemency without offering an explanation. Indeed, he can choose never to issue any pardons or commutations of sentences at all. Still, it's disappointing that President Obama so far hasn't approved even one request for a pardon or other form of clemency.

It's not that there is a shortage of claimants. Earlier this month, Obama formally denied 605 petitions for commutation of sentences and 71 pardon requests. It's hard to believe that none of those was deserving of approval.

In the public mind, the president's authority to grant clemency tends to be associated with high-profile and politically motivated grants of clemency, such as President Gerald R. Ford's pardon of Richard M. Nixon for Watergate crimes, President Clinton's scandalous pardon of the fugitive financier Marc Rich or President George W. Bush's commutation of the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Glendale DMV gets new look, no staff Oct

DMV renovated
their Glendale
office & then
closed their
State can't afford to reopen office closed for renovation - by C.J. Lin - LA Daily News - October 29, 2010

After spending $900,000 to renovate the DMV office in Glendale, state officials say they can't afford to staff it – a twist on the hurry-up-and-wait process that characterizes most DMV experiences.

The Department of Motor Vehicles closed the office on Aug. 20 so workers could install new flooring, wiring, heating and ventilation systems, and furniture in the 49-year-old building. The 51 workers who processed some 1,200 customers daily were reassigned.

The work progressed and the office was scheduled to reopen in November, before a high number of retirements and the state budget crisis forced officials to postpone its debut indefinitely.

"Because of the hiring freeze that's going on right now, we're really short-staffed," DMV spokeswoman Jan Mendoza said. "We thought, 'Since it's closed anyway, we can keep it closed until we can (and then) maybe something happens."'
Hollywood doctors may back off using aliases for stars Oct

Anna Nicole
Smith - her
and lawyer-
convicted of
using false
names on
her drug
Anna Nichole Smith's psychiatrist & lawyer-boyfriend were convicted of using false names on her drug prescriptions - by Linda Deutsch - Associated Press - Washington Examiner - October 30, 2010

LOS ANGELES — In hospitals, medical offices and pharmacies, Anna Nicole Smith was routinely registered under pseudonyms to protect her privacy.

But in the wake of the convictions of her psychiatrist and lawyer-boyfriend for using false names on her drug prescriptions, the Hollywood medical community awoke to the realization Friday that the practice might be off limits and some doctors could avoid treating celebrity clients rather than risk criminal charges.

"This is a shocker," criminal defense attorney Harland Braun, who has represented celebrities and doctors, said of Thursday's verdicts.

He said the convictions of Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and Howard K. Stern for obtaining drug prescriptions for Smith under false names contradicts common practice.
Response to Concerns about Jail Staffing Oct

LAPD's Chief
Charlie Beck
Response to Concerns about Jail Staffing - from LAPD - October 29, 2010

Los Angeles: Today, a coalition of Los Angeles Police Department detention officers and their representatives held a news conference to publicize concerns about a plan to use sworn officers to augment the staffing of the new Metropolitan Detention Center.

Staffing shortages in the Detention officer ranks have prevented the opening of the MDC, which has been certified for occupancy since late 2009.  Despite a concerted effort to increase jail staffing, unprecedented budgetary constraints continue to prevent the hiring and training of new detention officers.  Attrition, early retirement incentives, and mandatory furloughs have reduced the detention officer staffing to critically low levels.  Jail staffing has been discussed in the public sessions of the Board of Police Commissioners and the Public Safety Committee of the Los Angeles City Council.  The issue has also been the topic of discussion between the LAPD and the involved employee unions.  All efforts to gain a detention-officer exemption for hiring freezes and mandatory furloughs have failed to win necessary support.  These realities, combined with the fact that the modern design of the MDC is more labor intensive than the old cell-block style jail, necessitated an executive decision by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
Vandals Target Grieving Mom in Eagle Rock Oct

Believes being a
Board Member
has made her
a gang target
Read all about
"Crime Stoppers"
video inside
Anna Del Rio believes a violent gang is wrongfully targeting her - by Cheryl Getuiz - KTLA News - October 29, 2010

LOS ANGELES, Calif. ( KTLA) -- An Eagle Rock woman whose daughter was murdered more than a decade ago has been targeted by vandals who spray-painted a threatening message on her garage door.

Anna Del Rio, who works for Crime Stoppers, awoke Thursday to find "AVE 543" and "187" sprawled across her garage doors along with a profane word.

"187" is the police code for murder.

Del Rio believes she's being targeted by a violent neighborhood gang because of her work with Crime Stoppers. She thinks the gang members have mistaken her for a police informant.

Del Rio's 20-year-old daughter was shot and killed in Los Angeles in 1999.
Man's stolen wheelchair accessible van found -- but he's asked for tow fee Oct
Gracious "good Samaritan" businesswoman donates the $290 - by Victoria Johnson - Chicago Sun Times - October 29, 2010

Harvey Police notified a Park Forest man Wednesday that his stolen wheelchair accessible van had been recovered. The catch: He had to have nearly $300 to get his vehicle from a tow lot.

"I have to come up with the $265 cash to get it out," said Randy Iliff, who uses a wheelchair. "And then I have to pay $25 to Harvey."

But on Thursday, Harvey police told Ilff he had a donor -- Cindy Krause, owner of Elite Elevator Systems in Tinley Park.

Krause had learned about Iliff from earlier news reports that his van was stolen last week from the Richton Park Metra station.

After it was stolen, Iliff had to ride his wheelchair -- which he says tops out at about 8 mph -- to travel the approximately two miles to the train station each day so he could get to his job at an Illinois Department of Human Services office. Total travel time to the station: About 25 minutes each way, he said.

"I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me,' " Krause said. "So it just caught my attention, and I wanted to help this guy get his van back."
Volunteers take in children, help them survive in new land Oct

A group of
Haitian children
who receive
with food &
Children are severely traumatized by the time they get to these agencies - by Gerardo Reyes and Jacqueline Charles - Miami Herald - October 28, 2010

OUANAMINTHE, Haiti -- Sister Nidia Victoria Zuluaga walks down the halls of the old house in the heart of town as she tries to help yet another child abandoned by smugglers.

Sitting in a corner is Wilson Cyne, 12, a Haitian boy who was sneaked into the Dominican Republic and abandoned in the marketplace by his brother-in-law, who also happens to be a smuggler. In the kitchen, the nun speaks Creole to an 18-year-old Haitian girl abandoned by a trafficker when he realized she was about to give birth. Now, the girl and her baby live in the house.

Yet amid all the despair, caregivers like Zuluaga and others in both countries have become lifelines for these children, where they receive medical and psychiatric care, nutrition, schooling and some even scholarships to attend school.

"If we don't do it, very few -- or nobody -- can do it,'' the nun told El Nuevo Herald and Miami Herald reporters during a recent visit. "It's like this every day.''
LA's Crime Fighting Females Oct

The LAPD and CHP both have hundreds of female officers on the force
VIDEO: What it takes to be a weapon wielding woman of the law - by Megan Henderson - KTLA News - October 28, 2010

LOS ANGELES -- Being a cop in Los Angeles is a dangerous job dominated by men.

While the dangers are apparent, many women, such as LAPD officer Heidi Stoecklein, seek out a career in law enforcement.

Stoecklein -- who is stationed at the Olympic Division -- says "death is a huge danger, in this, and that's what we have to always keep in mind when we're out there to keep ourselves safe, our partners safe," but adds, "its a wonderful rewarding career, and I want twenty more years of this."

CHP Officer Kerri Rivas concurs and says being in the academy is no different whether you're a male or female. However, once out in the field, there are challenges females face that their male counterparts don't have to deal with.

For example, Rivas says, "you get those few people that try to give you a lot of compliments and you're so pretty and here's my card but as a highway patrol officer you have to be very professional you know you just deny their requests and say have a good day, here's your ticket."
The FBI Versus the Klan Oct

KKK rally
in Florida
- burning
a cross
A story in three parts - from FBI

Part 1: Let the Investigations Begin

Ninety-five years ago this month—in February 1915—the D.W. Griffith movie later titled The Birth of a Nation premiered in a Los Angeles theater. Though considered progressive in its technique and style, the film had a decidedly backwards plot that glorified a short-lived, post-Civil War white supremacist group called the Ku Klux Klan. The movie’s broad release in March provoked riots and even bloodshed nationwide.

Part 2: Trouble in the 1920s

The Roaring Twenties were a heady time, full of innovation and exploration—from the novelty of “talking pictures” to the utility of mass-produced Model Ts...from the distinct jazz sounds of Duke Ellington to the calculated social rebellion of the “flappers”...from the pioneering flights of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart to the pioneering prose of F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner.

Part 3: Standing Tall in Mississippi

As the civil rights movement began to take shape in the 1950s, its important work was often met with opposition—and more significantly, with violence—by the increasingly resurgent white supremacists groups of the KKK.
Slain officer mourned in San Diego Oct

- 17 years in
San Diego law
Family of dead suspect offers condolences - by Debbi Baker, Kristina Davis, and Pauline Repard - SignOnSanDiego.com - October 28, 2010

SAN DIEGO — A veteran San Diego police officer was mortally wounded in a gun battle Wednesday night that sparked a seven-hour SWAT standoff at a Skyline apartment and ended with the discovery of two bodies surrounded by firearms in a bedroom.

Officer Christopher A. Wilson, a 50-year-old father of two, was kept alive long enough at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest for his family to say goodbye early Thursday.

Wilson, a patrol and field training officer, served his entire 17-year career in southeastern San Diego.

“He was popular, funny, extremely bright and a consummate professional,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who choked back tears at a Thursday morning news conference. “It was routine for other officers to pay him the compliment by calling him ‘good cover' .. you always knew he had your back.”
Woman beats 11 men as Army's best Oct

Sgt. Sherri Gallagher, 26
"It's an honor.
Nothing is
better than
being a soldier"
Named Army's "Best Warrior" - Chicago Sun Times - October 30, 2010

For the first time, a female has been named the Army's best soldier.

Sgt. Sherri Gallagher, 26, one of the top long-range rifle shooters in the country, beat out 11 men for the honor in a "Best Warrior" competition.

Events in this year's competition included hand-to-hand combat, urban orienteering, detainee operations, casualty evaluation, weapons and night firing. Each competitor led a squad through simulated battle operations that included engaging insurgents, tending wounded soldiers on the battlefield, and a stress shoot while moving under enemy fire.

"It's an honor. Nothing is better than being a soldier," said Gallagher, who fired her first weapon at 5 years old. As a child growing up in Prescott, Ariz. she participated in shooting competitions with her parents, both renowned shooters.

Gallagher, a marksmanship instructor, says her next goals are winning a gold medal in marksmanship at the Olympics and deploying with her unit to Afghanistan.
Cargo plane bombs were wired to explode Oct

Bombs on
cargo planes
had traveled
on 2 passenger
jets to reach
their U.S.

In Yemen, a woman is arrested in connection with the two parcels bound for the US
The two bombs concealed in U.S.-bound packages found on cargo planes in Britain and the United Arab Emirates were wired to explode, at least one via a cellphone detonator, and were powerful enough to bring down an aircraft, U.S. and British officials said Saturday.

A fractured Yemen frustrates US efforts to weaken Al Qaeda there
U.S. efforts to weaken the Al Qaeda branch in Yemen have collided with that nation's political reality as President Ali Abdullah Saleh needs foreign support to defeat militants but cannot appear to appease Western interests in a country where distrust of America runs deep.

US steps up screening as debate flares about cargo security
U.S. officials dramatically increased the screening of incoming air cargo after the interception Friday of two explosive devices believed to have originated in Yemen, as a renewed debate emerged over how many resources federal officials and private companies should devote to such screening.
Doctor Arrested on Federal Drug Trafficking Charges Oct
Dispensed Narcotics without Examining ‘Patients' - Department of Justice - October 25, 2010

(LOS ANGELES) - A physician who practices at clinics in Downey and the Westlake District was arrested this afternoon on federal narcotics charges that allege he conspired with two employees to distribute powerful and addictive painkillers to “patients” he did not examine and who simply paid cash for prescriptions.

Nazar Al Bussam, 71, of Newport Coast, was arrested without incident at his Downey clinic by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Also arrested this afternoon were two of Al Bussam's employees, who are charged along with the doctor in a criminal complaint. Rosemary Mendoza, 75, of West Covina, and James Park, 72, of Corona, were taken into custody at the Westlake clinic without incident.

“In 2009, more than 7 million Americans abused prescription drugs, and prescription drug abuse continues to rise at alarming rates,” said Timothy J. Landrum, DEA Special Agent in Charge. “Some of these dangerous drugs are obtained from doctors prescribing drugs for no medical purpose.”
ER doctor gets five years for child pornography charges Oct
Report child exploitation and abuse - from ICE - October 27, 2010

DETROIT - A traveling emergency room doctor, whose last listed address was in Michigan, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

David Thorson, 38, was arrested by HSI special agents in February at Detroit Metro Airport after a secondary inspection revealed hundreds of images and videos of suspected child pornography in his possession. According to the investigation, Thorson consented to a search of his laptop which confirmed the content for HSI agents.

Thorson was sentenced to five years in federal prison followed by five supervised release.

"The possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Detroit. "The sentence in this case is reflective of the harm that is inflicted on the most vulnerable members of our society, our children. Hopefully, it will get the attention of and serve as a deterrent to anyone else considering engaging in such activity."
Ex-Terrorist Violated Release Terms Oct

Meskini, 42,
violated his
parole and
could get as
much as 100
more years
Convicted in an al-Qaeda plot to bomb LAX in 2001, tried to obtain an AK-47 in 2009 - by Patricia Hurtado - Bloomberg - October 28, 2010

Abdelghani Meskini, convicted in an al-Qaeda plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, violated terms of his release from prison by trying to obtain an AK-47 assault rifle and lying to authorities, a judge ruled.

U.S. prosecutors charged that Meskini, 42, an Algerian who pleaded guilty in 2001 to federal charges stemming from the foiled terrorist attack, slipped back into a life of crime after being sentenced to six years in prison. He took a job as a manager for a suburban Atlanta apartment complex in 2005.

During a two-day hearing beginning Oct. 13, prosecutors called witnesses that included an Atlanta hooker who said Meskini advised her how to place ads for her prostitution business and a man convicted of bank fraud who said he committed credit-card and identity theft with Meskini. U.S. District Judge John Keenan found that Meskini hadn't violated the terms of his release by associating with known criminals.
Human Trafficking News Oct

ICE agents
work to
fight against
in all parts of
the country
from ICE -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement - October 29, 1010

Boulder man pleads guilty in connection with a human trafficking prosecution for harboring illegal aliens and tax related charges

DENVER - A Boulder, Colo., restaurant owner from Thailand pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of harboring illegal aliens and one count of failing to pay taxes.

As part of the plea agreement, Opas Sinprasong, 52, of Boulder, Colo., will forfeit $766,000 and two residential properties. He also faces incarceration and restitution to compensate the victims of his crimes. Sinprasong also agreed to be deported to Thailand after he completes his prison sentence, if any is imposed by the judge.

Smuggler linked to Lancaster drop house pleads guilty to hostage-taking

LOS ANGELES - An undocumented Guatemalan national faces a maximum sentence of life in prison after pleading guilty to charges arising from his involvement in a human smuggling scheme linked to a drop house uncovered last year in Lancaster, Calif., where aliens were held against their will, denied food and assaulted.

Pedro Marcos-Marcos, 29, whose trial was slated to begin Tuesday morning, instead pleaded guilty to five felony counts - including two counts of hostage taking, two counts of harboring undocumented aliens and one count of conspiracy.
Homegirl Cafe helps gang members change their lives Oct

Homegirl Cafe waitress
Stephanie Lane
at 21, she and
her fellow
workers are
getting a chance
to start over
A chance to start over - Reuters - October 27, 2010

It was Stephanie Lane's first day on the job as a waitress at Homegirl Cafe and the last thing she wanted to do was wait on the police.

The restaurant, staffed by female gang members trying to leave their past behind, is part of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention program and one of the most successful in the United States.

Quitting a life of drug dealing, fighting and stealing cars on the streets of South Los Angeles, where she followed her father and mother into the Crips gang, was not easy. Lane faced the first of many tests when the police chief and top brass were growing impatient waiting for service in the cafe.

"No girls wanted to take their order," Lane said. "They're the reason all of us have been through what we've been through."

Lane glowered as she approached the table. She knew they'd be looking at her tattoos, sizing her up. She trained her eyes on her pad as she took their drink order. A hand suddenly grabbed her arm and the chief was looking at her.
FEMA Challenge: Find New Ways to Prepare for Disasters Oct
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate Joins Entertainers, Educators, Researches and Entrepreneurs at Conference - October 29, 2010

SAN DIEGO - Yesterday, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate took the stage at the 2010 TEDMED Conference in San Diego, Calif., to announce a new public challenge to come up with creative ideas on how we can prepare communities before disaster strikes.  Fugate posed the challenge to the audience as he discussed how responding to disasters takes an entire team, not just the U.S. government, and how we must plan for the entire community before disaster strikes.  Fugate, a former volunteer fire-fighter and emergency medical technician, drew parallels between treating a sick patient and responding to a community devastated by a disaster.  Although Fugate announced the new challenge at the TEDMED conference, FEMA is encouraging all members of the public to participate and submit their ideas by visiting: www.challenge.gov/fema
Nearly 90 LAPD officers to be reassigned from street patrol to jail duty Oct

The new
Center, a $74
million, 172,000
facility, has
not been used
for more than a
year because of
LAPD staffing
Citywide hiring freeze has prevented the hiring of more jailers - by Joel Rubin - Los Angeles Times - October 27, 2010

Nearly 90 Los Angeles police officers will be pulled off the streets and put to work running a new jail facility that has been unused for more than a year because of staffing shortages, according to a recent decision by LAPD officials.

The reassignments will allow the jail to open by early February and are the culmination of months of debate within the LAPD on how to solve an increasingly desperate pinch: The $74-million, 172,000-square-foot Metropolitan Detention Center requires far more people to operate than the dilapidated, aging structure it will replace.

A citywide hiring freeze has prevented the department from hiring more jailers and forced it to keep the gleaming structure shuttered since May 2009.

Under increasing pressure to close the old jail because of safety and health risks, police officials presented the City Council and Police Commission with a plan to free up some of the roughly 100 additional jailers needed to run the new facility by closing some small satellite jails in police stations. At the time, there was discussion of granting the LAPD a reprieve from the hiring freeze, but an exemption was never approved.

With the city's fiscal woes deepening, the department acted on its own and devised a plan to use officers as jailers, Assistant Chief Michel Moore said. The department still plans to shutter four of its small jails.
An Event to End Violence Against Women Oct

Violence is still
a significant barrier in many
women's lives
one in every
four women
violence during
her lifetime
and more than
20 million
women in the
US have been
victims of rape
The White House - by Valerie Jarrett - October 27, 2010

This afternoon, we marked Domestic Violence Awareness Month with the President and Vice President by highlighting the Obama Administration's unprecedented coordination and cooperation across the entire government to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence and enable survivors to break the cycle of abuse.

For almost 30 years, the month of October has been a time to renew our commitment to ending one of the most tragic and senseless crimes in this country. We were honored to be joined today by a diverse audience from big cities and small towns, from tribes, women's organizations, survivors, domestic violence and sexual assault advocates, fatherhood programs, law enforcement agencies, and faith communities, all joined by a common purpose- to end violence against women.

Violence is still a significant barrier in many women's lives, and the Obama Administration is committed to taking concrete action to end domestic violence in this country. One-in-every-four women experiences domestic violence during their lifetimes and more than 20 million women in the U.S. have been victims of rape.
Assault on transgender woman in Hollywood caught on tape Oct

In Hollywood -
video shows
the victim being
approached by
the suspects,
three women
and two men
Five suspects sought - by Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - October 27, 2010

Los Angeles police investigators are seeking five suspects in connection with an attack on a transgender woman in Hollywood that left the 25-year-old victim bloodied and battered with a broken jaw and cheek bone.

The victim had just left a bar near the intersection of La Brea and Melrose avenues in the wee hours of Oct. 1 when she was attacked by three women and two men.

According to witnesses, the attackers were beating and kicking the victim in the middle of the street, said Los Angeles Police Sgt. Mitzi Grasso. The victim was kicked in the face and was hit on the head with a bottle, leaving cuts on the victim's neck.

The victim, who lives in the San Fernando Valley, is 5'4" and 125 pounds. Police have not yet classified the attack as a hate crime but said the investigation was continuing, said Grasso, who called the attack "unusually vicious."
Deaths of Lakewood, Washington, officers sparks new police training initiative Oct

Since last
October 163
have been
killed in the
line of duty,
more than a
third of them
by gunfire
US Attorney General Eric Holder announces VALOR program - by John de Leon and Mike Carter - The Seattle Times - October 26, 2010

The tragedy of last year's murders of four Lakewood, Wahington, police officers is being cited by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in announcing a new Department of Justice initiative aimed at helping police survive violent encounters.

Holder announced the initiative, called VALOR, during an address Tuesday before the International Association of Chiefs of Police being held in Orlando, Fla. (see full article inside).

"Just weeks after we left last year's conference, many of you came together again - under different and devastating circumstances," Holder said in a prepared statement.

He noted that since last October 163 officers nationwide have been killed in the line of duty, more than a third of them by gunfire.

The VALOR initiative involves allocating $800,000 for the initial development of a nationwide training and technical assistance program to teach officers on how to anticipate and survive a violent encounters. In addition, officers will learn techniques for identifying concealed weapons and armed gunmen, and be trained for high-risk tactical situations that may involve active shooters or hostages. Officers will also learn techniques to confront specific threat groups, including domestic and international terrorists and other violent criminals and extremists.
LA's Mayor proposes moderate pension system changes for new city workers Oct

For the first
time, workers
would have to
contribute 2
percent of their
pay to cover
"The economic downturn has forced cities and states to make changes in their publicly funded pension systems." - by Rick Orlov - LA Daily News - October 27, 2010

With retirement costs threatening to further erode future city services in Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday proposed what he called moderate changes in the pension system for new municipal workers.

The plan comes a day after the City Council approved a measure for the March 8 ballot that would reduce pensions for new police officers and firefighters.

"The economic downturn has forced cities and states to make changes in their publicly funded pension systems," Villaraigosa said at a City Hall news conference. "The fact remains that Los Angeles cannot afford to continue down an unsustainable path."

The mayor's plan would raise the minimum retirement age from 55 to 62 - a concession to the City Council that protested his original proposal of 65.

Pensions would be capped at 75 percent of workers' average salary for the last three years of employment and cost-of-living adjustments would be reduced from 3 to 2 percent.
ICE launches revamped ICE.gov website Oct

ICE -- US Immigration &
-- is a part of
the DHS --
of Homeland
Linked now to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, too - from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security - October 27, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is pleased to announce the launch of its newly redesigned website: ICE.gov

The new website features the latest ICE news information and an enhanced media/image gallery. The new ICE.gov also includes in depth information about the ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the ICE Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).

"We need to communicate to the public about the outstanding work that the men and women of ICE are doing every day," said Brian P. Hale, assistant director of the ICE Office of Public Affairs. "The Web has proven to be an outstanding way to tell that story, and this new site will allow us to present ICE in a more informative, accessible and compelling way."
PA Mom Killed Her Babies, Kept Bones in Closet Oct

Michele Kalina
is charged
with criminal
homicide in
the deaths of
four infants
remains were
found hidden
in her closet
Killed the newborns to hide an extramarital affair - by Mara Gay - AOL Online - October 26, 2010

A Pennsylvania woman secretly gave birth to at least four babies, killed the newborns to hide an extramarital affair and hid their remains in a closet, authorities say.

Michele Kalina, 44, was charged with criminal homicide Monday after DNA tests showed that she was the mother of the four infants whose bodies were found in her Reading home over two months ago, Berks County District Attorney John Adams told reporters. At least three of the children, who were born alive, were fathered by Kalina's boyfriend. His name was not made public.

"Nobody knew she was pregnant," Adams said, according to the Reading Eagle. "I've been involved in the criminal justice system for 25 years, and this is the most bizarre thing I've heard."

Kalina, a nurse's aide, was arrested in August after the 19-year-old daughter she had with her husband alerted police to the dead babies. Adams said the daughter had ignored her mother's orders not to look in the closet and found the skeletal remains of some of the babies. One of the bodies was entombed in cement. In court papers, authorities said Kalina told them she "had been meaning to clean that closet."
Grass-roots immigration reform - OPINION Oct

The Dolores
Mission Church
in Boyle Heights
has provided
shelter for the
homeless and
immigrants for
over 20 years
Nearly half of California's likely voters have a favorable view of immigrants, including those without papers. - OPINION - by Tim Rutten - October 27, 2010

Fundamental change usually proceeds from the bottom up, which is why it often blindsides most politicians and much of the media.

For example, the "tea party"-style rage that is this election cycle's defining characteristic grows out of a broad, if inchoate, sense that the American economy no longer apportions prosperity or opportunity in anything close to an equitable fashion. As David Cay Johnston reported Monday, last year the 74 highest-paid Americans each earned an average of $519 million annually — or about $10 million a week. That was up from $92 million the year before. At the same time, every measure of ordinary Americans' pay — total, average and median — fell from the previous year. Adjusted for inflation, median pay was actually less than it was 10 years ago.

Marriage equality is another question on which change is pushing up from the grass roots, with polls showing that increasing numbers of Americans now regard it as a civil rights issue. That's overwhelmingly true among the young, no matter their region or background.

Something similar may be occurring when it comes to immigration reform. As a Times/USC poll reported Sunday, nearly half of California's likely voters have a favorable view of immigrants, including those without papers. Fully 59% said that undocumented immigrants who have lived and worked here for at least two years should be allowed to remain. That's particularly significant because California is home to more immigrants than any other state.
'Hiccup Girl' Murder Suspect Was Transient Oct

Jennifer Mee's
attorney says
he may use
a Turrets
Attorney says he may use a Turrets Syndrome defense - by David Lohr - AOL Online - October 26, 2010

Jennifer Mee, the Florida teenager who made national headlines in 2007 for unstoppable hiccups, was living a transient lifestyle prior to her arrest on a murder charge, an investigator said today.

"She didn't actually live on the street but was transient in nature because she tended to live in different motels or apartments and moved from one location to another," Maj. Mike Kovacsev of the St. Petersburg police told NBC's "Today" show.

Mee, 19, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Shannon Griffin. Two others, Laron Raiford, 20, and Lamont Newton, 22, were also arrested and charged in connection with the murder.

Known as " Hiccup Girl," Mee had hiccups that came 50 times a minute, causing her to miss school. She tried remedies including medication, hypnosis and acupuncture -- all without success -- until the hiccups went away after five weeks.
LAPD: 13-Year-Old Girl Missing - UPDATED Oct
Coraima Alfaro
- 13 yrs old
female Hispanic
with dark hair
that has a
reddish tone
-- she has
brown eyes,
is 5' 2” tall,
weighs 120
Possibly Bound for Detroit, Michigan - from LAPD - October 26, 2010

Oct 27 - She was found in good condition and reunited with her family.

Los Angeles:
The family of Coraima Alfaro and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) are asking for the public's help to locate Coraima who has been missing since Friday.

On Friday, October 22nd at around 7:30 a.m., Coraima was dropped off at Fulton Middle School, in the Van Nuys Area of Los Angeles.  Later in the afternoon when school let out, Coraima did not show up for her ride home with her mother.

Recently, Coraima has been upset regarding a possible boyfriend who may live in the Detroit, Michigan area.  She has also made comments to friends that she was trying to find a ride to a bus or train station so she could travel to Michigan to see her boyfriend.  At this point, the boyfriend has not yet been identified however, his first name may be “Angel.”
Massacre in Tijuana Recalls Worst Era Oct

Drug violence
in Mexico has
killed nearly
30,000 people
in the past
four years
Renewed concerns over drug violence in Mexico- by Randal C. Archibold - New York Times - October 26, 2010

MEXICO CITY — Thirteen people were killed at a drug rehabilitation clinic in Tijuana on Sunday night, a sign that the relative peace there celebrated recently by the president himself might be fracturing. The killings in Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, follow the deaths of 14 young people in Ciudad Juárez, next to El Paso, who were gunned down at a party on Friday night.

They also came one week after authorities in Tijuana seized and destroyed the largest load of marijuana in the country's history, and the police were investigating whether the killings were repercussions from a drug gang's lost haul.

The weekend of bloodshed renewed concerns over drug violence in the country, which has killed nearly 30,000 people in the past four years, mostly along drug trafficking routes on or near the border.

But the Tijuana killings raised a particular alarm because federal and local authorities have said that the city, where beheadings of police officers and other atrocities by drug gangs were common a couple of years ago, seemed to be turning a corner as a result of close cooperation among the military and the local police.
In Humboldt County, deputies' jobs can get hazy Oct

Robert Hamilton
of the Humboldt
County Sheriff's
Office patrols
Shelter Cove,
a rural hamlet
where pot
growers occupy
about half of
the nearly
600 houses.
The region is a paradise for pot growers and an exasperating limbo for almost everyone else. 'I wish they would totally ban it … or just make it totally legal,' says one rural deputy. - by Sam Quinones - Los Angeles Times - October 25, 2010

Reporting from Shelter Cove, Calif.

Fantasy often mixes with reality in the work life of Deputy Sheriff Robert Hamilton of Humboldt County, the center of California's marijuana outback.

It happened again a few months ago in the isolated coastal resort of Shelter Cove, where Hamilton lives and patrols. The deputy came upon nine young men tending a marijuana plantation.

They said they'd come from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington and Ohio. They'd rented a few apartments, then bought a half-acre of hillside. They clear-cut the land, put in "No Trespassing" signs and a couple of greenhouses, and terraced the rest of the property for farming.

They were raising 200 marijuana plants, each of which could produce 2 to 4 pounds of weed.
Pension measures grab California voters' interest Oct

up and down
the state face pension
Public services slashed in part to pay the skyrocketing costs of pension and health care benefits - by Heather Knight - San Francisco Chronicle - October 26, 2010

San Francisco voters aren't the only ones who will take up an incredibly contentious pension measure on election day. From the beach towns of Carlsbad and Pacific Grove to agricultural Bakersfield, from Redding up north to Riverside down south, Californians will decide about a dozen local pension initiatives - more than the state's voters have ever faced at once.

While San Francisco's Proposition B to require city employees to pay more for their pensions and health care benefits is getting the most attention, voters around the state are suddenly interested in what has long been considered an eye-glazing topic reserved for wonky budget analysts at City Hall.
Investigators Try To Make Sense of Shooting Oct

Christopher Cope
of Shreveport, Louisiana,
is the son of a retired local
police captain
Was it a random attack on a Louisiana police officer? - KTBS.com - October 26, 2010

Authorities investigating Sunday's fatal shooting of Shreveport, Louisiana, police Sgt. Tim Prunty believe they know what happened that night. What they don't know is why. Almost unanimously, investigators said the shooting makes no sense.

On Monday, the day after Prunty was killed outside a southside convenience store in an apparently random attack on a police officer, investigators continued looking into the life of his accused killer, 24-year-old Christopher Cope of Shreveport.

Cope is accused of driving up to a convenience store at Bert Kouns and Dean Road early Sunday and -- without saying a word -- opening fire on Prunty, a patrol sergeant who was on duty and was talking to the store clerk outside the store.
Mentally ill prisoners get a second chance Oct

Milton Conley
was applauded
in court recently
for following his
treatment plan
and believing
in himself
Mental health courts are operating in 29 California counties, helping offenders and reducing crime in their communities. - by Lee Romney - Los Angeles Times - October 25, 2010

Reporting from San Francisco — Milton Conley's mental illness has cost him — and society — more than he cares to tally.

An abusive father recruited Conley at age 9 into a life of what he calls "doing wrong things." A psychotic break in his 30s was followed by homelessness and four imprisonments, products of schizophrenia; addiction to crack cocaine and marijuana; and what Conley dolefully labels "being lonely."

The cycle is familiar: arrest, incarceration, release, descent into illness, re-arrest. But these days, Conley — earnest, with a flirtatious gleam and a tidy 1970s-style Afro — is living in a treatment program for substance abusers, meeting often with his caseworker and taking psychiatric medication.

The shift, hard and long in the making, comes thanks to San Francisco County's Behavioral Health Court, where a judge doles out weekly encouragement with occasional tough talk to keep clients engaged in comprehensive treatment.

"It's been a terrible life, but it's getting better, as long as I stay off drugs and alcohol and take my medication," Conley said recently as he waited for his weekly courtroom check-in.
Heros Cops - Americas Police Officers of the Year Oct

State Trooper
Matt Cochran
- Virginia -
HERO COPS - America's Police Officer of the Year - by Larry Smith - Parade Magazine - October 2010

Emily Bowman, a frail 72-year-old diabetic, was sleeping in her recliner at 4:30 a.m. onJan. 9 when a fire alarm sounded at Briarleigh Court, a 40-unit apartment complex for the elderly in Hillsville, Va. Instead of going out an exterior door that would have meant safety, the startled senior citizen opened an interior door and stepped into a burning, smoke-filled hallway.

Virginia State Trooper Matt Cochran,  28, was on patrol less than a minute away. He and two other police officers arrived at the scene even before firefighters. Together, they began banging on residents' doors. Then Cochran heard screams. What he did next has led PARADE and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to name him their 2010 Police Officer of the Year.

"I had a flashlight," Cochran recalls, "but it was absolutely worthless. The smoke was so thick you could feel it. One step in, and you couldn't see the doorway. My uniform was starting to melt." Crawling on his hands and knees, he made three attempts to reach the source of the cries. "I couldn't find her the first time. The second time I had to come out for air. The third time I bumped into her. Then I stood up and walked her out. There were three explosions from residents' oxygen tanks. The third one sounded like a bomb going off. It shook the whole building.
Immigrant vets face deportation despite service Oct

Rohan Coombs
- USMC -
Should an immigrant who serves in the armed forces be considered a U.S. national and protected from deportation? - by Juliana Barbassa - Associated Press - October 24, 2010

When Rohan Coombs joined the Marine Corps, he never thought one day he would be locked up in an immigration detention center and facing deportation from the country he had vowed to defend.

Coombs, 43, born in Jamaica, immigrated to the United States legally as a child with his family. He signed up to serve his adopted nation for six years -- first in Japan and the Philippines, then in the Persian Gulf during the first war with Iraq.

Up to 8,000 noncitizens enlist in the armed forces every year and serve alongside American troops. As of May 2010, there were 16,966 noncitizens on active duty. The military does not allow illegal immigrants to enlist.

If noncitizens die while serving, they are given citizenship and a military funeral. If they live and get in trouble with the law, as Coombs did -- he was court-martialed for possession of cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute -- they can get caught in the net of a 1996 immigration law that greatly expanded the list of crimes for which noncitizens can be deported.
Baca ordered criminal probe outside jurisdiction on behalf of political donor Oct

Beverly Hills business
Ezat Delijani
& Los Angeles
County Sheriff
Lee Baca
The Los Angeles County sheriff's investigation targeted a tenant who was embroiled in a rental dispute with Ezat Delijani, a longtime Baca supporter, a Times investigation has found.- by Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times - October 25, 2010

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca directed detectives to launch a criminal investigation outside his agency's jurisdiction on behalf of a well-connected supporter who has given the sheriff political contributions and expensive gifts, a Times investigation has found.

The sheriff's investigation targeted a tenant who was embroiled in a rental dispute with Ezat Delijani, a longtime Baca political donor. The sheriff assigned his detectives to the case after Beverly Hills police had concluded that Delijani's allegations did not amount to a crime.

In an interview, Baca downplayed his personal involvement in opening the probe last year. He said the Beverly Hills business magnate received no preferential treatment.

Sheriff's Department records, however, show that Baca sent a handwritten note to his then-chief of detectives requesting the investigation.
What the Internet Knows About You .. and 10 things you can do about it Oct

woman protests
Imagine that a company could use the Web to rate your health, your employability—even your dating appeal. Welcome to the credit score of the future. - by Jessica Bennett - Newsweek Magazine - October 22, 2010

Imagine you're an employer, looking to hire me for a job. You subscribe to a Web site that gives you background information, and this is what you find. Jessica Rose Bennett, 29, spends 30 hours a week on social-networking sites—while at work. She is an excessive drinker, a drug user, and sexually promiscuous. She swears a lot, and spends way beyond her means shopping online. Her writing ability? Superior. Cost to hire? Cheap.

In reality, only part of this is true: yes, I like a good bourbon. But drugs? That comes from my reporting projects—and one in particular that took me to a pot farm in California. The promiscuity? My boyfriend of five years would beg to differ on that, but I did once write a story about polyamory. I do spend hours on social-networking sites, but it's part of my job. And I'm not nearly as cheap to hire as the Web would have you believe. (Take note, future employers!)

The irony, of course, is that if this were a real job search, none of this would matter—I'd have already lost the job.
Records of sexual abuse by San Diego priests to be released Sunday Oct

Its been three
years since
the Church's
with 144 abuse
victims was
Its been three years since Church's settlement with 144 abuse victims was reached - Los Angeles Times - October 24, 2010

After a wait of three years, documents detailing the sexual abuse by San Diego Catholic priests that led to a $198.1-million settlement with victims are set to be released Sunday afternoon.

A San Diego County Superior Court judge late Friday ordered the release of the documents.

“These documents show how it happened,” said attorney Anthony De Marco, who represented victims. “They help give insight into how such travesty can occur on such a large scale … placing the institution above protecting children. … I think to ever remedy a problem, you have to understand it.”

In San Diego, as in other dioceses with abuse allegations, victims and their families alleged that even after they complained of the maltreatment, nothing was done, and in some cases, the priests were merely transferred.

The release of information is set for Sunday afternoon and will be posted online by the attorneys.
Once Banned, Dogs Reflect China's Rise Oct

Twenty years ago, there were hardly any pet dogs in Beijing
but now they're becoming popular
.. and a social penomenon
Twenty years ago, there were hardly any dogs in Beijing - by Michael Wines - New York Times - October 25, 2010

BEIJING — Xiangzi — "Lucky", in English — is aptly named. A trim Siberian husky, his owner, a sports marketer named Qiu Hong, pampers him with two daily walks, a brace of imported American toys and grooming tools, $300 worth of monthly food and treats and his own sofa in her high-rise apartment.

When city life becomes too blasé, Ms. Qiu loads Xiangzi in the car and takes him out for a run — on the trackless steppes of Inner Mongolia, seven hours north.

“It's a huge grassland. Very far, but very pretty,” she said. “He really likes to scare the sheep and make them run all over the place."

Metaphorically speaking, Xiangzi is not just a dog, but a social phenomenon, and a marker of how quickly this nation is hurling through its transformation from impoverished peasant to first-world citizen.
Sheriff's Department reverses internal affairs investigation policy Oct

The new move
will save money
and also let
officers know
where they
stand with the
Internal Affairs
Policies and
much quicker
Such probes will no longer be delayed until the district attorney's office has looked into complaints. - by Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times - October 24, 2010

The allegations were serious: A group of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escorted an inmate to a secluded spot in Men's Central Jail, beat him, pulled down his boxers and pepper-sprayed his anus and groin.

The Sheriff's Department waited to launch an internal affairs investigation until the Los Angeles County district attorney's office decided whether it was going to press criminal charges. After almost three years, prosecutors decided not to.

That decision opened the door to the internal affairs investigation, which is still going on. Since the incident, two of the accused deputies continue to be paid.

For the cash-strapped department, that means shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for employees who weren't working.

For years, the department had waited until criminal investigations into its employees were completed before launching the internal reviews to determine whether misconduct occurred.
New 'Ugly Meter' iPhone App Could Become Tool for Cyberbullies Oct

The 99-cent "Ugly Meter," now available at Apple.com, has been downloaded
more than 20,000 times. Some critics say the software could be used maliciously if in
the wrong hands.
Has been downloaded more than 20,000 times - by Joshua Rhett Miller - FoxNews.com - October 19, 2010

A new iPhone app called the "Ugly Meter" is just what cyberbullies -- including elementary school kids -- need to target easy marks, online security experts told FoxNews.com.

The 99-cent app, now available for iPhone users on Apple's iTunes Store, uses facial recognition software that measures symmetry and other features.

Downloaded more than 20,000 times and designed for users ages 9 and above, the app scans a snapshot and then submits a score of 1 to 10.

While the app's creators say they're just having some fun, some critics say the software can be malicious in the wrong hands. It's "right on the borderline" of appropriate and inappropriate, said Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Washington-based Family Online Safety Institute.
40 arrested, 16 hospitalized at large Halloween-themed rave Oct
"Monster Massive"
- one of three
planned raves
"Monster Massive" was one of three planned restricted raves recently permitted - Los Angeles Times - October 24, 2010

Sixteen people were hospitalized and 40 were arrested at a Halloween-themed rave at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, authorities said Sunday.

More than 12,000 people attended Monster Massive, a five-stage party that organizers called “America's Largest Halloween Dance Music Festival,” from 3 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday, fire officials said.

The condition of the seven people paramedics took to local hospitals was not immediately available, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott.

Most arrests were made on charges of narcotics possession and trespassing, according to the Los Angeles Police Department's Southwest Station.
What triggers the suicide bomber Oct
OPINION - Foreign occupation, not religious fervor, is the primary motivation behind this form of terrorism - by Robert Pape - Los Angeles Times - October 22, 2010

On Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with explosives into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Marines as they slept.

This dark chapter of American history was one of the country's first experiences with suicide attack since the Japanese kamikaze pilots during World War II.

The attack, combined with the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut that April and a sustained terrorism campaign waged by the group that came to be known as Hezbollah, was a major reason President Reagan ordered American forces to leave Lebanon in 1984.

The barracks bombing is perhaps the most well known attack in Lebanon during that period, but it was far from an isolated incident.

Hezbollah's campaign of suicide terrorism, mainly against American, French and Israeli military forces along with Western political targets, killed about 900 people.

And the attacks would serve as a major inspiration for future terrorist groups that adopted similar tactics, most notably Hamas, Al Qaeda and the Tamil Tigers.
Fatal car crashes involving teen drivers drop Oct

The number of
deaths nationally
linked to teen
driver accidents
fell from about
2,200 in 2004
to 1,400 in 2008
- Centers for
Disease Control
& Prevention
In CA a more than 50% drop in 5 years - by Tony Castro - LA Daily News - October 22, 2010

Fatal car crashes involving teen drivers in California dropped by more than half over five years in what officials are calling a welcome side effect of the recession.

The number of teen highway deaths in the state fell 54 percent from 145 in 2004 to 67 in 2008, according to a new federal report. That exceeds the national decline of about a third in the same period.

While the federal report credits the drop to tougher state limits on younger drivers, California officials also attribute the significant decline to the recession, noting that fatal car crashes have declined for all age groups.

"The economy certainly has something to do with it," said Chris Cochran, spokesman for the Governor's Office of Traffic Safety.

"People are driving fewer miles, and teens don't have as much money as adults so they're driving even less.

"In California, we also have tougher graduated driver laws. Those 16- and 17-year-olds are getting more instruction before they're allowed to drive, and – even then – with more restrictions.

"People are also buckling up their seat belts more. It's the whole gamut of traffic safety initiatives that are taking effect."
Emergency Management and Response Oct

and Response
weekly info
Information Sharing and Analysis Center - October 21 , 2010

NOTE: This INFOGRAM will be distributed weekly to provide members of the Emergency Services Sector with information concerning the protection of their critical infrastructures.  For further information, contact the Emergency Management and Response- Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) at (301) 447-1325 or by e-mail at emr-isac@dhs.gov.

2010-2011 Flu Season
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Dirty Bombs Update
(Sources: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and The National Academies)

Urban to Rural Evacuation Planning
(Sources: Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and Rural Health Research & Policy Centers)

2009 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officer LODDs
(Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation)

DHS and the FBI encourage recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and/or the FBI. The DHS National Operation Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9685 or by e-mail at: NOC.Fusion@dhs.gov
Facts, not furor, in LA County child deaths Oct
OPINION - Evidence, not emotion, must dictate how L.A. County handles the most vulnerable children under its care - by Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael D. Antonovich - Los Angeles Times - October 22, 2010

Few tragedies compare to the death of a child, and in Los Angeles County, too many children die at the hands of parents or caregivers.

But in Los Angeles there is an additional disgrace: the fueling of panic over child fatalities by government officials and the news media, who continue to operate in an environment clouded by incomplete and misunderstood facts.

Are child deaths related to the Department of Children and Family Services rising precipitously? What data do we have, and what is the context? What does the data really show about the policies of the DCFS? Answers to these questions are getting lost in the furor surrounding reports of child deaths in the news media and at Board of Supervisors meetings.

News reports and officials have done little so far to put the current level of fatalities in perspective. As we see it, these are some of the fundamental sources of confusion -- the term "child death" can mean too many things.
The aftershocks of crime Oct

There is often
a pattern of
in the wake of
an initial one
An idea borrowed from seismology may help to predict criminal activity - The Economist - October 21, 2010

LOS ANGELES is one of the most under-policed cities in America. With a mere 26 officers for every 10,000 residents (Chicago, by comparison, has 46), the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) needs all the help it can get.

That help may be at hand, with a modification of technology used to predict another type of threat that the city is prone to: the aftershocks from earthquakes. Big earthquakes are unpredictable. Once they have happened, however, they are usually followed by further tremors, and the pattern of these is tractable.

George Mohler, a mathematician at Santa Clara University, in California, thinks something similar is true of crimes.

There is often a pattern of “aftercrimes” in the wake of an initial one.
Retired LAPD cop knows the force inside and out Oct

After 30 years
as an LAPD cop
Connie Gordon
has something
very special: perspective
He has a surplus of something often lacking in the debate over police reform: perspective - by Hector Tobar - Los Angeles Times - October 21, 2010

Connie Gordon got off the beat and out of the LAPD years ago.

He lives well in retirement, with lots of time to play golf, and is blessed with the incalculable bounty of healthy children and grandchildren.

But twice a week he returns to a corner of South L.A. he knew well during his patrol days. He sits at a concrete picnic table in a park he'd prefer I didn't name, though I can tell you it's in the most dangerous neighborhood in L.A., according to a Times survey of crime data.

"Don't worry, Hector," Gordon told me over the phone before I headed out there. "I'll make sure nothing happens to you."
LAPD Mourning Officer Killed in Afghanistan Oct

Joshua Cullins
- a highly
Marine staff
sergeant and
LAPD officer
"Joshua was a highly respected Marine staff sergeant and LAPD officer" - NBC4 - Los Angeles - October 20, 1010

Los Angeles police Wednesday were mourning a 28-year-old Marine Corps bomb specialist killed in a roadside blast in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Cullins died Monday. He became the second LAPD officer killed this year with Marines in the war-torn province.

"Joshua was a highly respected Marine staff sergeant and LAPD officer who was honorably serving our country as a Marine reservist in Afghanistan when he was killed," Los Angeles Police Protective League President Paul Weber said Wednesday.

"This is a great loss for the LAPD and for everyone who knew him and witnesses his commitment to upholding his duty and honor as a police officer and a Marine. Our deepest condolences go out to his parents, family and friends."
FEMA: Prepare for the Worst and Consider the Entire Community Oct

Craig Fugate:
"What we really need to be doing is planning for disasters that go beyond our capabilities."
Must include children and people with disabilities when planning for disaster response and recovery - by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate - FEMA / DHS - October 20, 2010

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate today urged state emergency managers from across the country to incorporate the needs and capabilities of the entire community, including children and people with disabilities, when planning for disaster response and recovery.  In addition, Fugate also challenged participants to plan for worst case scenarios that go beyond the capabilities of government solutions, scenarios which he refers to as "Maximum of Maximums."

"Historically in emergency management we have only planned for what our capabilities can handle or only looked at what we can do to respond as government," said Fugate.  "But what we really need to be doing is planning for disasters that go beyond our capabilities.  That's why we have to look beyond our government-centric approach and see what outside resources we can bring to the table.  We need to better engage our volunteer and non-profit partners, work with the private sector, and most importantly involve the public.  And through all this planning we can't lose focus on the communities we serve. We have to remember: It's not about process, it's about the products; it's not about the incident, it's about the individual."
Court program helps women turn their lives around Oct

Women facing a
return to prison
for nonviolent
felonies plead
guilty and
enter treatment
Most are going
on to lead
crime-free lives.
Women facing a return to state prison for nonviolent felonies plead guilty and enter treatment instead. Most are going on to lead crime-free lives. - by Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times

October 19, 2010

Sprinting down the Hollywood Hills on a radiant April morning, a 35-year-old meth addict named Orange told herself in a moment of clarity: "This is it. You're done."

Fast approaching from behind was a furious homeowner who had caught her burglarizing his home. Somewhere in Long Beach, her parole officer was probably tapping his foot impatiently, waiting for her to show up.

She came up to the edge of a cliff with nowhere to run. Thirty feet below, rush-hour traffic zoomed by on Cahuenga Boulevard. She thought about her prior arrests and what another one — her 21st — would mean.

She jumped.
Man Gets 24 Years for Attempting to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction Oct
Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 20, agreed to plead guilty to attempted
use of a weapon of mass destruction, punishable by up
to life in prison,
but his plea agreement
was for no more
than 30 years
Used truck to deliver bomb to 60-story skyscraper in downtown Dallas - Department of Justice - October 2010

WASHINGTON — Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn to 24 years in prison for his attempted bombing of a downtown Dallas skyscraper in September 2009. Smadi, 20, pleaded guilty on May 26, 2010, to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

According to documents filed, on Sept. 24, 2009, Smadi knowingly took possession of a truck that contained a weapon of mass destruction, specifically a destructive device or bomb. The truck with the bomb inside was a vehicle borne improvised explosive device. Smadi believed that this was an active weapon of mass destruction, and while it was inert when Smadi took possession of it, it was a readily-convertible weapon of mass destruction.

Also according to documents filed, Smadi knowingly drove the truck containing the bomb to Fountain Place, a 60-story public office building located at 1445 Ross Avenue in Dallas, and parked it in the public parking garage under the building. After parking the truck, Smadi activated a timer connected to the device, locked the truck and walked away. Smadi walked out of the parking garage, crossed the street and got into a car with an undercover law enforcement agent. They drove a safe distance away and prepared to watch the explosion. Smadi, who believed the bomb would explode and cause extensive damage, used a cell phone to remotely activate the device.
Man wanted for 1980 LA murder caught in NY Oct

identified the
LA suspect who
was eventually
arrested in
Rochester NY
Fingerprints identified the suspect - from wire service reports - Daily Breeze - October 19, 2010

A man who allegedly killed a Los Angeles woman in 1980 was arrested in Rochester, N.Y., and has been returned to the Southland, where he was booked on suspicion of murder and held in the county jail on $1 million bond.

Albert McKee, 52, was arrested on Friday for allegedly attacking Ruth Roberts in her home on Nov. 28, 1980, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.

"During the assault, the suspect stole her purse, (and) left her with life-threatening injuries and unconscious," a police statement said.

Roberts died six days later from head injuries she suffered in the crime.

Earlier this month, detectives from the LAPD's Scientific Investigation Division analyzed fingerprints from some of the victim's stolen property, which was recovered a few days after the crime, police said.

"Through the fingerprint lifts, the suspect in this case was identified as Albert McKee," the statement said.

LAPD detectives went to Rochester, and they and Rochester police officers arrested McKee.
Mysterious Gunfire Shatters Windows at Pentagon Oct

Shots were also
fired at the
of the
Marine Corps
Five shots fired but no one is hurt in "random event" - by Sabrina Tavernise - New York Times - October 20, 2010

WASHINGTON — Shots were fired at the Pentagon early Tuesday, a spokesman said, causing minor damage to the building but no injuries.

A security guard heard what sounded like five gunshots shortly before 5 a.m., according to Chris Layman, a spokesman for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which guards the building. The shots damaged the outside of a south wall of the Pentagon, with shell fragments embedded in two windows, Mr. Layman said. The impact shattered the windows.

Investigators were trying to determine whether there was a connection between the Pentagon shooting and an incident in which shots were fired at the National Museum of the Marine Corps over the weekend.
$18 Million to Man Wrongly Imprisoned Oct

Alan Newton
in 2006, after
his release
from prison.

A jury awarded
him $18 million
from New York
City on Tuesday.

He's now
49 years old.
Spent over 20 years behind bars then four more waiting for this decision - by Anahad O'Connor - New York Times - October 19, 2010

A Bronx man who was imprisoned for more than two decades on a rape conviction before being cleared by DNA evidence was awarded $18.5 million by a jury on Tuesday.

The judgment, which came about four years after the man, Alan Newton, was released from prison, is one of the largest ever awarded to a wrongfully incarcerated person in New York City. Mr. Newton was convicted of rape, robbery and assault in 1985 — based largely on eyewitness testimony — and spent years fighting to have DNA evidence from the case located and tested after more advanced testing procedures became available.

A rape kit from the case was found in a Police Department warehouse in 2005 — about a decade after Mr. Newton and his lawyers had requested it — and subsequent testing showed that DNA collected from the victim did not match.
It Gets Better- an open letter from the First Lady Oct

Michelle Obama
First Lady of the
United States
Words of encouragement and hope for LGBT youth across our country - from Michelle Obama - First Lady of the United States - The White House - October 2010

Good morning,

As a mother, I can only imagine how devastating it would be to lose a child.  So I was shocked and saddened when I heard that several young people had taken their own lives recently after being bullied for being gay -- or because people thought they were gay.

No one should ever feel so hopeless or tormented that they take their own life. Bullying of any kind, for any reason, is unacceptable.  As adults, it's our responsibility to create a safe environment for our children. That includes setting an example of respect for one another -- no matter our differences.

That's why I'm writing to you today.  In the wake of these terrible tragedies, thousands of Americans have come together to share messages of encouragement and hope with LGBT youth across our country who might be having a hard time in school or in their communities.  And I wanted to share with you the video that Barack recorded to join his voice with all those who have told their own personal stories.
1968 Playboy playmate of the year charged with attempted murder Oct

Victoria Rathgeb
1968 Playmate
of the Year
is accused of
shooting her
Intentionally shot her husband of 20 years with a semiautomatic handgun - by Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - October 20, 2010

The 1968 Playboy playmate of the year has been charged with attempted murder after Los Angeles police said she shot her husband of 20 years this weekend during a dispute, authorities said Wednesday.

Victoria Rathgeb, 66, is due in court Nov. 1 to answer to the charge that she intentionally shot her husband with a semiautomatic handgun.

Rathgeb, being held in lieu of $1.5-million bail, was arrested Saturday after police said they responded to a reported shooting at an apartment in the 7000 block of Hawthorn Avenue in Hollywood.

Her husband, identified as Bruce Rathgeb, is in grave condition at a local hospital, according to LAPD Lt. Bob Binder.
K-9 Unit will Visit South Korea To Test and Evaluate the Jindo Dog Breed Oct

a 5-year-old
Jindo dog
one of
South Korea's
May add the breed to augment K-9 officer corps as police service dogs and/or gun detection dogs - from LAPD - October 20, 2010

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Metropolitan Division K-9 Unit is sending two K-9 trainers to South Korea to test and evaluate the possibility of the Jindo being integrated into the Department's K-9 Program.

This is an exciting endeavor for the LAPD.  Metropolitan Division is honored to be partnering with the Jindo Dog Promotion and Innovatioin Agency (JDPIA) in this first of its kind collaboration with a police agency within the United States.

The Jindo breed is an extremely intelligent, brave and loyal animal, and is even designated as one of South Korea's National Treasures, its 53rd.

A collective agreement was reached calling for two LAPD K-9 handlers to travel to Chonnam Province in South Korea to participate in a thorough evaluation and assessment of the breed.  While in South Korea, Department personnel will be permitted to test between 20-30 Jindo dogs ranging in age from three months to two years for their suitability to be police service dogs and/or gun detection dogs.
Feds indict 61 in multi-agency drug probe focusing on LA area gangs Oct

Gangs pose a
big problem in
Los Angeles
Operation “Red Rein” was a cooperative effort
Operation “Red Rein” targeted gangs' key meth and cocaine suppliers - from: Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer - United States Attorney's Office - Central District of California (Los Angeles) - October 21, 2010

More than 800 federal and local law enforcement officers fanned out across the Southland Thursday morning in a massive takedown capping a three-year, multi-agency investigation that targeted major methamphetamine and cocaine suppliers to some of the most violent street gangs based in Los Angeles, Long Beach and La Puente.

Early this afternoon, 40 of the suspects facing federal charges in the case were in custody, with 35 being arrested this morning and five of the defendants already in jail.

“This collaborative law enforcement action began as an investigation into drug trafficking in Wilmington and expanded into a case that charges members of 10 different street gangs,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “A federal grand jury has charged key players involved in the distribution of crack cocaine in Wilmington, large-scale methamphetamine dealers in La Puente, and gun traffickers.”
L.A.'s new fiscal reality - OPINION Oct

argue about
what is the
"new normal"
The city must begin pension reform, starting with a measure on the March ballot. - EDITORIAL - Los Angeles Times -
October 21, 2010

One of Richard Riordan's major goals as mayor was to enlarge the Los Angeles Police Department. Much of the city's future and quality of life depended on putting more officers on patrol to protect a growing city and to change the LAPD's tragic and costly tradition of confrontation. But recruiting was hard.

After state law boosted pension benefits for Highway Patrol officers and other state workers in 1999, cities up and down California decided to do the same for their public safety workers, offering "3% at 50" — retirement at age 50 with 3% (rather than the former 2%) of the final year's salary for every year worked, plus an annual cost of living increase, for life. Longer service could earn a retiree up to 90% of the last year's pay annually.

In June 2001, Los Angeles voters adopted Measure A to give such a pension increase to the city's police officers and firefighters. The stock market had tanked the previous year, but recovery had begun and reputable economists continued to argue that the Internet-based economy represented a "new normal" of infinitely foreseeable double-digit investment growth, or at least the 8% that most pension agencies were counting on.
NPR's overreaction to Juan Williams Oct
OPINION - NPR overreacted by firing news analyst Juan Williams after he admitted his own biases in the context of a cautionary statement but such comments have a place in public discussion of uncomfortable subjects - Los Angeles Times - October 22, 2010

It can be hard to determine when a public figure has said something so offensive that he or she should be fired. But this much should be obvious: There has to be room in our public discourse for an honest statement, civilly expressed, even if it is prejudicial. NPR overreacted by dumping news analyst Juan Williams after he expressed personal nervousness on Fox News about boarding planes with Muslims who wear religious clothing.

Williams' comments were no doubt hurtful to Muslims, and ignorant as well. But they were not a fiery fomenting of hatred or a harangue against all Muslims in this country. They were open admissions of his own biases that reflect our society's tendency, post-9/11, to categorize Muslims in unflattering ways.

To some extent, Williams was a victim of the same kind of out-of-context information-clipping as Shirley Sherrod, the African American official who was ousted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture this summer after a video excerpt of a speech made it sound as though she had discriminated against a white farmer who sought her help. The anecdote was actually part of a broader speech in which Sherrod denounced racial prejudice.
Woman drove with mummified remains in front seat of car for months Oct
Costa Mesa police say it appears she had befriended the transient woman for altruistic reasons - by Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - October 21, 2010

Costa Mesa police are investigating a bizarre case in which a woman drove around with a mummified body for months before authorities discovered the corpse while responding to a report of an illegally parked vehicle.

Det. Mike Cohen said they are trying to identify the remains of a Fountain Valley woman believed to be homeless and in her 50s or 60s. He said the dead woman may have had the first name of "Signe."

They also said they are continuing to question the woman who had befriended the transient and let her use her father's car for shelter before she died.

The death did not appear to be the result of foul play, and detectives are trying to figure out why the woman, in her 50s, chose to drive around with a foul-smelling corpse rather than make a report to authorities, Cohen said. He said it appears she had befriended the transient woman for altruistic reasons.

The date of the transient's death was uncertain, but authorities estimate that she could have been in the car from three to 10 months, Cohen said.
Defending Children initiative - Department of Justice Oct

of Justice
Protect - Heal - Thrive - Department of Justice - Office of Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. - October 2010

The Attorney General has launched the Defending Childhood initiative to address a national crisis: the exposure of America’s children to violence as victims and as witnesses.

Defending Childhood strives to harness resources from across the Department of Justice to:
  • Prevent children's exposure to violence;

  • Mitigate the negative impact of children's exposure to violence when it does occur, and;

  • Develop knowledge and spread awareness about children's exposure to violence.
Burbank Woman Sentenced to Five Years for Ponzi Scheme Oct

USAO is headed by
United States
André Birotte, Jr.
Caused More than $6.1 million in Losses - from: Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer - United States Attorney's Office - Central District of California (Los Angeles) - October 19, 2010

LOS ANGELES – A Burbank woman has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for running a Ponzi scheme that collected more than $10 million dollars from investors with bogus promises of 25 percent returns every 45 days.

Clelia Flores, 43, was sentenced late Monday by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow, who also ordered Flores to pay $6,123,063 in restitution to 169 people who were victimized by her scheme.

Flores pleaded guilty in May to two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Flores admitted that she induced investors to give money to her company, Maximum Return Investments, and several other companies under her control, by falsely promising to place their money in "guaranteed" bank programs and other investments.
Human Trafficking - ICE is the lead US law enforcement agency Oct

To report
instances of
suspected human
please contact
ICE at
ICE is the lead US law enforcement agency - October 2010

ICE is the lead U.S. law enforcement agency in the fight against human smuggling and human trafficking.

Human trafficking means recruiting, harboring, defrauding, coercing through the use of force or transporting a person for the purpose of involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery.

Sex trafficking, one common and particularly disturbing form of trafficking, occurs when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or when the person induced to perform such acts is less than 18 years old.

In its worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery.

Victims pay to be illegally transported into the United States only to find themselves in the thrall of the traffickers, who may force them into prostitution, forced labor and other forms of servitude to repay their debt. The victims, surrounded by an unfamiliar culture and language, and often lacking identity documents, find themselves trapped, fearing for their lives and those of their families.
Community Update on Officer-Involved Shooting Oct

October 7 LAPD
shooting is still
Shooting at the Imperial Courts Housing Development - from LAPD - October 19, 2010

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department has made available additional information regarding the recent officer-involved shooting at the Imperial Courts Housing Development.

The October 7, 2010 incident began when Southeast Area officers assigned to gang enforcement duties were patrolling the Imperial Courts Housing Development in full uniform and driving a marked police car.

The officers were on the grounds of the housing development near 114th Street and Grape Street when they encountered three known gang members, all of whom were on foot.  After seeing the officers, one of the men (James Davis) changed his direction and moved toward an unidentified female.  The officers stopped to investigate suspected gang activity and suspicious movements displayed by Davis.
Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, Toledo Ohio Oct

Dr. Celia
"Child Sex
What you
can do."
Dr. Celia Williamson | "Child Sex Trafficking: What you can do." - Dr. Celia Williamson - University of Toledo - September 30, 1010

This hour-long lecture video was done by Dr Celia Willaimson, a a professor at the University of Toledo who formed the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition.

The professor has been active in securing an FBI task force in Lucas County to address the issue of rescuing children from the sex trade in Toledo.  She also organized and co-chaired five national and international conferences on prostitution, sex work and human trafficking.

This lecture deals with the problem in Ohio, specifically Toledo, because it is considered a hub for teen sex trafficking.  The teens are "groomed" there then shipped out/sold to other parts of the country.
Death To Gang Members: The Feds' New Tactic Oct

Umana is the
first member
of the MS-13
gang to be
sentenced to
the federal
death penalty
First member of the MS-13 gang to be sentenced to death under
new Fed system was defiant from the beginning to the end
- by Carrie Johnson - NPR - October 18, 2010

Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana has an unfortunate claim on history. He is the first member of the MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang to be sentenced to death under the federal system of capital punishment, according to the Justice Department.

Prosecutors and FBI officials say the Umana investigation, which took them from North Carolina to California to El Salvador, is a model for how federal authorities will attack a growing gang threat that is leaching into smaller cities across America's heartland.

Umana is only 25. But over the course of his relatively short life, he allegedly killed five people in his role as a traveling evangelist for the MS-13 gang.
Top Canadian Commander Pleads Guilty to Murders Oct

Colonel David
Russell Williams
- his guilty
plea shocks
a nation
Col. David Russell Williams convicted on 88 charges, including rape and homicide - by Ian Austein - New York Times - October 19, 2010

BELLEVILLE, Ontario — In April, Canadians reacted with shock after a top Canadian military commander, who frequently piloted planes for top political figures and dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II, was charged with rape, murder and an extensive campaign of perverse home break-ins.

On Monday, gasps were intermixed with tears in a courtroom here as an audience heard details that made clear for the first time the scale and perversity of the crimes to which the military commander, Col. David Russell Williams, 47, pleaded guilty -- hundreds of underwear thefts, many from young girls, that escalated to the assault and murder of two women.

The unmasking of Colonel Williams as a sexual killer has been a blow for the Canadian Armed Forces. Until his arrest, he commanded Canada's largest air base, the logistical fulcrum for the country's military mission in Afghanistan.
LAPD officer arrested in alleged scheme to torch car, collect insurance Oct

Two first-year
LAPD officers
were caught
"scam of the
Second officer accused of cover-up - October 18, 2010

Two Los Angeles police officers were charged Monday with insurance fraud stemming from a case in which one of the cops allegedly torched his own car and the other helped cover up the crime, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced.

Anthony Robert Villanueva, 24, allegedly arranged to have his 2001 Lexus sedan taken to the desert and set on fire in April.

Villanueva then reported the car stolen to the LAPD and submitted a claim with his insurance company to be reimbursed, authorities alleged.

He was arrested Monday when he showed up for work, prosecutors said. He faces charges of fraud, arson and filing a false report.

The second officer, Ricardo Rebolledo, 27, wrote a false statement to Villanueva's insurance company, vouching for Villanueva and his alibi on the day of the fabricated theft, according to a statement released by the district attorney's office.
Feds: Sexual Svengali led moms to assault own kids Oct

Steven Demink convinced moms
to molest their
kids on camera
.. assaults that
were streamed
over the Net
Assaults were photographed or streamed over the Internet - by Robert Snell - The Detroit News - October 15, 2010

A Redford man accused of manipulating women in three states into sexually assaulting their children was ordered held behind bars today by a federal judge.

Steven Demink, 41, is facing three child pornography charges that could send him to prison for more than 30 years. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub ordered him temporarily detained after a federal prosecutor described Demink as a flight risk and a danger to children in the area and nationwide.

"He only needs Internet access and the power of his mind," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy said.

A federal prosecutor described Demink as a sexual Svengali who met women on websites devoted to single parents. Using the pseudonym Dalton St. Clair, he portrayed himself as a father of a 14-year-old daughter.

He convinced women in Idaho, New Hampshire and Florida to assault their children — assaults that were photographed or streamed over the Internet and viewed by Demink, according to Mulcahy.
LA's Mayor Villaraigosa introduces pension reform proposal Oct

The plan would
cut retirement
pay and hike
costs for new
police and
The plan, which would cut retirement pay and hike healthcare costs for new police and firefighting personnel, is aimed for the March ballot. - by Patrick J. McDonnell - Los Angeles Times - October 19, 2010

With Los Angeles facing a $320-million budget shortfall next year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa backed on Monday what he termed a "landmark proposal" to reform "out of control" pension costs and retiree health benefits for newly hired city police officers and firefighters.

"The days of unsustainable pensions are over," Villaraigosa declared at a City Hall press conference, accompanied by City Controller Wendy Greuel and Miguel Santana, the city administrative officer. "The era of free healthcare is over."

The mayor called the plan an essential step to ensuring the long-term fiscal health of a city that has suffered a bruising series of layoffs and service cuts in the wake of the nation's protracted economic downturn.
In the Line of Duty - 48 American Officers Made Ultimate Sacrifice in 2009 Oct
48 American Officers Made Ultimate Sacrifice in 2009 - FBI - October 18, 2010

An assistant police chief with 27 years of law enforcement experience was shot and killed on an Arkansas highway after stopping a suspected stolen vehicle.

A 30-year-old U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot multiple times while on patrol near San Diego.

A patrol officer in Pennsylvania awaiting backup was ambushed in his police cruiser after responding to a 9-1-1 call.

These three officers, who paid the ultimate price for their desire to serve and protect the public, are just three of the 48 law enforcement officers from around the nation who lost their lives in the line of duty during 2009.

You can read more about the sacrifices made by these brave men and women in the just-released Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2009, an annual reminder of the dangers of policing.
Recent high-profile assaults have raised concern about non-revocable paroles Oct
Officials are
question the
policy of NRP
parole) status
and nonviolent
offenders ..
because many
commit crimes
soon again
Many "nonserious and nonviolent" offenders, criminals again, cause pause - by Scott Johnson - Oakland Tribune - Oakland 18, 2010

OAKLAND -- Alexander Diaz, a 36-year-old Cuban national, was released from California's Delano State Prison in early February as a state-supervised parolee after serving four months of a 16-month sentence for grand theft. Five months later, Diaz went off the radar.

At some point, he traveled to Alameda County, where police said he stole a delivery van. They say Diaz was driving on the morning of Oct. 4 when the van slammed into Fremont police Officer Patrick Brower, pushing him and his motorcycle across two lanes of traffic into a light pole.

Brower suffered a compound fracture in one leg, but survived and was recovering at home last week after intensive surgery.

On Tuesday, Diaz appeared in Alameda Superior Court for a preliminary hearing on charges of attempted murder and auto theft. If he is convicted, Diaz could return to prison for a long time.
25 most dangerous neighborhoods in America Oct

W. Lake Street
tops the list
with a 1 in 4
chance of
becoming a
crime victim
Communities in Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Cleveland and Memphis appear more than once - Los Angeles Times - October 19, 2010

Chicago's West Lake Street tops the list, where there's a 1 in 4 chance of becoming a crime victim. Four communities in Atlanta, three in Las Vegas and two each in Chicago, Cleveland and Memphis are included in the top 25.

1. Chicago (W. Lake St.)
ZIP code: 60612
Chances of becoming a victim: 1 in 4
Predicted annual violent crimes: 297

2. Cleveland (Scovill Ave.)
ZIP code: 44104
Chances of becoming a victim: 1 in 6
Predicted annual violent crimes: 307

3. Las Vegas (Balzar Ave.)
ZIP code: 89106
Chances of becoming a victim: 1 in 7
Predicted annual violent crimes: 351
Group asks court to stop early release of inmates Oct

Group says
early release
program puts
criminals back
on the streets
Claims program puts dangerous criminals back on the streets - by Dana Littlefield - SignOnSanDiego.com - October 15, 2010

SAN DIEGO — Representatives from a crime victims advocacy group argued in court Friday that a new law allowing the release of some prison inmates before they complete their original sentences violates victims' constitutional rights.

Lawyers for Crime Victims United of California asked a judge to impose a preliminary injunction barring the state from continuing an “early release program,” which the group claims puts dangerous criminals back on the streets.

But state officials maintain that the law, which went into effect Jan. 25, targets only those inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses who complete specific programs. Criminals such as sex offenders and gang members would not be eligible.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager said he would rule on the preliminary injunction next week. He set a trial date for April 29 to consider whether to impose a permanent injunction.
‘Culture of Poverty' Makes a Comeback Oct

‘American Violet' - Director Tim Disney called his film
one where
“change begins, and change is possible, when individuals make choices and stand behind them.”
“We've finally reached the stage where people aren't afraid of being politically incorrect.” - by Patricia Cohen - New York Times - October 18, 2010

For more than 40 years, social scientists investigating the causes of poverty have tended to treat cultural explanations like Lord Voldemort: That Which Must Not Be Named.

The reticence was a legacy of the ugly battles that erupted after Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an assistant labor secretary in the Johnson administration, introduced the idea of a “culture of poverty” to the public in a startling 1965 report. Although Moynihan didn't coin the phrase (that distinction belongs to the anthropologist Oscar Lewis), his description of the urban black family as caught in an inescapable “tangle of pathology” of unmarried mothers and welfare dependency was seen as attributing self-perpetuating moral deficiencies to black people, as if blaming them for their own misfortune.

Moynihan's analysis never lost its appeal to conservative thinkers, whose arguments ultimately succeeded when President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it.” But in the overwhelmingly liberal ranks of academic sociology and anthropology the word “culture” became a live grenade, and the idea that attitudes and behavior patterns kept people poor was shunned.
Prison safety a concern Oct

California Mens
Colony in
San Luis Obispo
Some raise questions - by Neil Nisperos - Daily Bulletin - October 17, 2010

Violent incidents at state prisons in Norco and Chino as well as recent state budget cutbacks have resulted in concerns being expressed by residents, local officials and corrections officers about the safety at these facilities.

The state plans to cut $1.1 billion from its corrections agency, according to a report from the state Legislative Analyst's Office.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration is already considering cuts to corrections officer staffing as well as implementing a 12-hour workday for the officers in response to the shrinking budget.

Prison officials say the savings are necessary and, despite ongoing cuts, the level of security at state institutions will not be compromised.

"No matter how deep those cuts go, we will come up with a way, if necessary, to modify our operations to make sure we don't jeopardize public safety in any way," said Lt. Mark Hargrove, spokesman for the California Institution for Men in Chino.
Terrorist Advised Hookers After Prison Oct

His criminal conduct violates terms of his prison release, prosecutors say
Managed apartment complex and helped tenents with criminal activities - by Patricia Hurtado - Bloomberg News - October 18, 2010

Abdelghani Meskini, convicted after informing on a foiled al-Qaeda plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations, got into drugs and prostitution after prison, U.S. prosecutors said.

Meskini, 42, an Algerian who pleaded guilty in 2001 to charges stemming from the foiled attack, was sentenced to six years in prison after he testified against a co-conspirator, Mokhtar Haourari and another co-conspirator.

Prosecutors said at a two-day hearing beginning Oct. 13 that Meskini, who helped finance the terror plot through bank fraud, slipped back into a life of crime. He became a willing participant in drug dealing, prostitution and bank fraud after he was released from prison in 2005 and took a job as a manager for a suburban Atlanta apartment complex, the U.S. said.
LA's Sheriff's Department cuts backlog in testing rape kits Oct

Nearly 5,000 backlogged rape kits will now be tested - then
they'll be
entered and
compared to
National DNA
Once tested, authorities can search for matches through a national database - Los Angeles Times - October 16, 2010

Officials at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department have announced that they have completed counting and outsourcing nearly 5,000 backlogged rape kits that sparked controversy in 2008.

The kits still need to be tested and processed, but the Sheriff's Department is on track to meet that goal in June 2011, spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

“It's not only a good sign for the Sheriff's Department, it's a good sign for the county,” Whitmore said. “Everybody pitched in, and we're on track. It shows what can be accomplished when everyone says ‘Yes, we're going to do something.'”

Two years ago, when the number of untested kits was first disclosed, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors urged the Sheriff's Department to eliminate the backlog, and agreed to help pay for the tests through the county's general fund.

Since then, 4,763 kits have been sent out for testing at various labs, department officials announced earlier this month. Once tested, authorities can search for matches through a national database.
Missing girl's case highlights Department of Social Services issues Oct

Zahra Baker
In addition to
her hearing
problems, she
lost a leg to
bone cancer
Search for Hickory, NC, girl renews questions about child protection system - by Fred Clasen-Kelly and Lisa Hammersly - Charlotte Observer - October 17, 2010

Friends and family worried that 10-year-old Zahra Baker was in danger.

They saw bruises and a black eye. They questioned her parents. And they reported suspected abuse to the Department of Social Services.

Now, police believe the missing Hickory girl whose story has captured worldwide attention is dead. They are investigating her disappearance as a homicide and last week jailed her stepmother, who they say admitted writing a phony ransom note.

As the search for the girl entered its second week Saturday, people are left asking: Why didn't someone protect Zahra?

And the case raises fresh questions about North Carolina's long-troubled child protection system.

DSS officials in Caldwell and Catawba counties, where the Bakers most recently lived, say state law prohibits them from talking about any involvement they might have had with Zahra or her family. It's not clear how any abuse allegations might have been handled.
Shake Out !! - 2010 California ShakeOut is Thursday, 10/21 Oct

All Californians
should know as much as they
can about

Find out how
you can participate in
this year's CA
Learn how to survive
"the BIG one"
Are You Ready to ShakeOut?

With 37 million people living and working in California, a major earthquake could cause unprecedented devastation. What we do now, before a big earthquake, will determine what our lives will be like afterwards. With earthquakes an inevitable part of California's future, we must act quickly to ensure that disasters do not become catastrophes.

The Great California ShakeOut in October 2009 involved nearly 6.9 million Californians through a broad-based outreach program, media partnerships, and public advocacy by hundreds of partners. The drill will be held statewide annually on the third Thursday of October, and is organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance.  The 2010 Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill will be at 10:21 AM on October 21.

A key aspect of the ShakeOut is the integration of comprehensive science-based earthquake research and the lessons learned from decades of social science research about why people get prepared.  The result is a “teachable moment.” on par with having an actual earthquake (often followed by increased interest in getting ready for earthquakes). ShakeOut creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations, and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe, and to learn what plans need to be improved.
Rescuing Young Women From Traffickers' Hands Oct

Iana Matei
is Romania's
main advocate
for the victims
of trafficking
Country of Romania has been a center for the trade in young girls for decades - by Suzanne Daley - New York Times - October 16, 2010

CONSTANTA, Romania -- THE 15-year-old had been “trained” in prostitution in a nightclub in the southern Romanian city of Calarasi. Now, the sex traffickers were getting ready to sell her off to a Turkish brothel for $2,800.

Iana Matei, Romania's leading advocate for the victims of trafficking, had made contact with the girl and offered to wait outside the nightclub in her car, ready to take the teenager away if she could get out on the street for a cigarette break. But the girl had tried to escape before, and had been beaten severely. Ms. Matei was not sure she would have the courage to try again.

Until a few years ago, Ms. Matei's shelter here was the only one in Romania for victims of traffickers, though the country has been a center for the trade in young girls for decades. Too often, she said, Romanians see the young women as nothing more than prostitutes.
LAPD discusses some details of fatal Watts shooting Oct

Answering the
main question:
"Why was the
suspect shot in
the back?"
Officials take unusual step of publicly revealing facts of incident with the community - by Joel Rubin - LAPD's Southeast Area Police Station - Los Angeles Times - October 15, 2010

In an attempt to quell simmering anger and dispel persistent "misinformation" in a Watts housing project, Los Angeles Police Department officials Friday took the unusual step of publicly discussing some details about the fatal shooting of an armed man last week by an LAPD officer and acknowledged that witness accounts contradict the one provided by officers.

At a news conference Friday, LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon sought to answer the question of why the suspect was shot in the back. He said the officer who fired and his partner, who police did not identify, were several yards apart as they chased the man. When he turned to the right to point his gun at the other officer, he exposed his back to the officer who shot him, Gannon said.
FBI's Innocent Images National Initiative Oct

Reducing the
vulnerability of
children to acts
of sexual
and abuse which
are facilitated
through the use
of computers
Online Child Pornography/Child Sexual Exploitation Investigations - from FBI - October 2010

The Innocent Images National Initiative (IINI), a component of FBI's Cyber Crimes Program, is an intelligence driven, proactive, multi-agency investigative operation to combat the proliferation of child pornography/child sexual exploitation (CP/CSE) facilitated by an online computer. The IINI provides centralized coordination and analysis of case information that by its very nature is national and international in scope, requiring unprecedented coordination with state, local, and international governments and among FBI field offices and Legal Attachés.

Today, computer telecommunications have become one of the most prevalent techniques used by pedophiles to share illegal photographic images of minors and to lure children into illicit sexual relationships. The Internet has dramatically increased the access of the preferential sex offenders to the population they seek to victimize and provides them greater access to a community of people who validate their sexual preferences.

The mission of the IINI is to reduce the vulnerability of children to acts of sexual exploitation and abuse which are facilitated through the use of computers; to identify and rescue child victims; to investigate and prosecute sexual predators who use the Internet and other online services to sexually exploit children for personal or financial gain; and to strengthen the capabilities of federal, state, local, and international law enforcement through training programs and investigative assistance.
Police Officer Jeff Corbin Creates New Cop Television Series “Medal Of Valor” Oct

Jeff Corbin - Ventura Police Officer
Cop turned actor turns writer / producer - LA's The Place Magazine - October 2010

After realizing that he was an actual police officer auditioning for the role of a cop, casting director Ellen Lewis responded, “You know the scene, do what a cop would do in real life”.  “Stand back and let me show you how it's done!” Jeff Corbin recalls responding to Lewis.  It was drawing from his experiences as a police officer where Jeff's realism and credibility helped land him a featured role in Martin Scorsese's feature film, Casino.

Since that first experience working in the entertainment industry, Jeff has continued to work as a police officer, as well as an actor and police and military technical advisor on features, television and industrial projects such as CSI: NY , House, M.D ., Saving Grace , Dark Blue , and Race To Witch Mountain to name a few.

As a kid, Jeff grew up in an LAPD home regularly watching television shows and films written by former LAPD Sergeant Joseph Wambaugh such as Police Story, The New Centurions , The Onion Field , and The Blue Knight . “I was fascinated with Wambaugh's works and consider myself following in his footsteps”, Jeff admits.
WikiLeaks and 9/11: What if? Oct
Frustrated investigators might have chosen to leak information that their superiors bottled up, perhaps averting the terrorism attacks. - OPINION - by Coleen Rowley and Bogdan Dzakovic - Los Angeles Times - October 15, 2010

If WikiLeaks had been around in 2001, could the events of 9/11 have been prevented? The idea is worth considering.

The organization has drawn both high praise and searing criticism for its mission of publishing leaked documents without revealing their source, but we suspect the world hasn't yet fully seen its potential. Let us explain.

There were a lot of us in the run-up to Sept. 11 who had seen warning signs that something devastating might be in the planning stages. But we worked for ossified bureaucracies incapable of acting quickly and decisively. Lately, the two of us have been wondering how things might have been different if there had been a quick, confidential way to get information out.

One of us, Coleen Rowley, was a special agent/legal counsel at the FBI's Minneapolis division and worked closely with those who arrested would-be terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui on an immigration violation less than a month before the World Trade Center was destroyed.

Following up on a tip from flight school instructors who had become suspicious of the French Moroccan who claimed to want to fly a jet as an "ego boost," Special Agent Harry Samit and an INS colleague had detained Moussaoui. A foreign intelligence service promptly reported that he had connections with a foreign terrorist group, but FBI officials in Washington inexplicably turned down Samit's request for authority to search Moussaoui's laptop computer and personal effects.
New Credit Card-Use Parking Meters Raking In The Dough Oct

Newest parking
meters in Los
Angeles can take
a credit card
Already bringing in $250,000 a month - by Dennis Lovelace - myFOXla.com - October 14, 2010

Los Angeles - New parking meters that allow motorists to pay with a credit card may be turning into a cash cow for the city of Los Angeles.

The meters raked in $230,000 last month, far exceeding expectations, officials announced today.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the city's Department of Transportation had projected that the 10,000 Coin & Card parking meters installed over the last six months would generate $1-1.5 million in revenue each year.

However, in September alone -- before all of the new parking meters had been installed -- the system already generated upwards of a quarter-million dollars.

"Since we installed the first of these new meters in May, they immediately began earning their keep in the city of Los Angeles," Villaraigosa said. "By generating $230,000 in additional revenue in just one month, these meters are helping contribute to city finances while providing more reliable and convenient service to drivers."
Florida pastor wins car for canceling Quran burning Oct

A page from
the Quran
Seems this time
that everyone
may win
Plans to donate the car to an organization that helps abused Muslim women - Associated Press - Chicago Sun Times - October 15, 2010

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A New Jersey car dealer plans to keep his word after offering Florida pastor Terry Jones a new car if he promised to not burn a Quran.

Car dealer Brad Benson made the offer in one of his dealership's quirky radio ads, which focus more on current events than cars. But he was surprised when a representative for Jones called to collect the 2011 Hyundai Accent, which retails for $14,200.

"They said unless I was doing false advertising, they would like to arrange to pick up the car," Benson recalled. At first he thought it was a hoax, so Benson asked Jones to send in a copy of his driver's license. He did.

Jones, of Gainesville, Fla., never burned a Quran but told The Associated Press on Thursday that the offer of a car was not the reason, saying he learned about the offer a few weeks after Sept. 11.
LA's Santana Vows Saving Zoo Lets Los Angeles Be Model Entrepreneur Oct

Miguel Santana
said, “My entire
life I understood
the importance
of government
and also how
failed people.”
CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) is LA's highest-ranking non-elected official - by Christopher Palmeri - Bloomberg - October 11, 2010

The job of making Los Angeles run more like a business to cope with budget deficits that may exceed $500 million in four years belongs to the son of illegal Mexican immigrants who grew up poor in the city's suburbs.

Miguel Santana, 41, put himself through California's Whittier College and earned a graduate degree from Harvard University to become Los Angeles's city administrative officer, the highest-ranking non-elected official in the second-largest U.S. city. He oversees 116 employees and an $11 million budget. His $256,803 salary is $24,000 more than the mayor's.

Santana started work in August 2009, two months after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa named him the city's “lead financial steward.” Since then, Los Angeles cut jobs and raised health-plan contributions for some employees. Now Santana is seeking private companies to run municipal parking garages to save costs and is weighing the same for the city zoo and convention center.

“You can absolutely be entrepreneurial,” Santana said in an interview at downtown's City Hall East building, where his office walls hold paintings of local street scenes done as a hobby by a city employee. “It takes the political will to say, ‘We don't have to do the old model.'”
The Political Rumble Over Pension Costs Oct
Unfunded retirement benefits have become an election issue, and unions are fighting back - by Ben Elgin (San Francisco), Chad Terhune (Miami), Christopher Palmeri (Los Angeles) and Dunstan McNichol (Trenton, NJ) - Business Week - October 14, 2010

If anyone fits the profile of a San Francisco Democrat, it's Jeff Adachi. In 2004 the elected public defender volunteered to officiate at ceremonies of same-sex couples during the city's short-lived attempt to legalize gay marriage. This year, though he is running unopposed, he is drawing scorn from fellow Democrats for spearheading a ballot proposition that would force city workers to pay more of their growing pension and health-care costs. "How dare you take it off the backs of city workers," Leland Yee, a Democratic state senator from San Francisco, thundered into a microphone at an Oct. 5 protest rally.

Taxpayers face as much as $3 trillion in unfunded state workers' retirement liabilities, according to a study by the University of Rochester and Northwestern University. As pension costs soar, they're igniting political fights nationwide. Voters in nine California cities and counties will decide next month whether to curb benefits for current or retired police officers, firefighters, librarians, and janitors.

Beyond November, the cost of government pensions could become one of the defining policy issues of the coming decade. Civil servants are trying to protect what they believe is a social contract with taxpayers, whose retirement benefits are often far less generous. (State and local governments paid $3.04 per hour toward each employee's retirement in 2007, according to U.S. Labor Dept. data. Private employers paid 92¢ per hour.) At the same time, elected officials and taxpayers are desperate to find reductions in state and local budgets without further cutbacks in services.
LAPD identifies suspect in 1994 slaying Oct

Rupert & Dorothy
Thompson on
their wedding
day in 1949.
Cold Case cops use DNA to link man jailed in Mississippi - by Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - October 13, 2010

Los Angeles police identified a man Wednesday who allegedly shot and killed a septuagenarian from Studio City two decades ago during a burglary gone bad.

Rupert Thompson, 73, was severely beaten in 1994 before he was shot by an intruder at his home on Aqua Vista Street. His wife, Dorothy, 70, survived a gunshot wound to the chest.

Detectives were unable to find a suspect but preserved physical crime scene evidence that would later prove crucial in identifying a suspect.

Investigator Steve Castro of the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Division began reexamining the Thompson murder case last year.

Items found at the crime scene, including what police described as "a foreign DNA genetic profile," were submitted for DNA analysis and uploaded into state and national databases.

That produced a "cold hit" on Kevin Bernard Smith, who was serving a sentence in Mississippi State Prison for an unrelated narcotics trafficking conviction.
Mexican Investigator of American's Killing Is Beheaded Oct

David Hartley
was reportedly
shot and killed
Sept 30 as he
jet skied with
his wife near the
Mexican side of
Falcon Lake.
His body is
still missing.
Official had given the names of two suspects in case to a reporter - by James C. McKinley Jr. - New York Times - October 14, 2010

HOUSTON — An investigation into a reported shooting of an American on a border reservoir took a bizarre turn this week when the Mexican police chief overseeing the search was murdered and his head was left in a suitcase outside a military base, the Zapata County Sheriff's Office said.

Mexican officials said it remained unclear on Wednesday whether the killing of Rolando Armando Flores Villegas, commander of the Tamaulipas State police in Ciudad Miguel Alemán, was related to the search for David M. Hartley, a manager with an oil well services company who, his wife reported, was fatally shot on Sept. 30 while touring Falcon Lake on a Jet Ski.

Just before his death, Commander Flores had given the names of two suspects in Mr. Hartley's case to a reporter at KRGV-TV in Brownsville, Tex., lending credence to the theory that the police commander's killing was related to the inquiry.
Fighting the bullies Oct
The recent suicides of five gay teenagers who were harassed were horrific, and highlight the need for stepped-up efforts to protect all children. - EDITORIAL - Los Angeles Times - October 14, 2010

In "Lord of the Flies," William Golding's famous allegory about a group of English schoolchildren stranded on a deserted island, the boys gradually begin to bully, hunt and even kill their weaker peers. In the book, however, it is the boys' isolation from civilization that causes standards of decency to be overwhelmed by primitive group think. The implication is that the students would not have lost their moral bearings if they had been at home in the suburbs, in their dormitories or in school classrooms.

If only that were so. The recent suicides of five gay teenagers who were isolated only metaphorically — by the abuse they suffered — demonstrate the flaw in that theory. Their tragic deaths have cast a light on the abuse and bullying suffered by many young gay students on a regular basis right here in the midst of society; a 2009 report from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that nine out of 10 lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual students say they are harassed during a given year.

Horrendous as that is, it is important to remember that gays are not the only young people being "bullied to death." The phenomenon is part of a broader problem. Fifteen-year-old Phoebe Prince of South Hadley, Mass., for instance, is one of several straight teens who have recently taken their own lives after being bullied on and off school grounds. Thirteen-year-old Hope Witsell of Florida, for example, hanged herself last year after a topless photo she sent to a boy was electronically "sexted" throughout her school.
High Court Weighs Death Row Inmate's DNA Query Oct

Texas law allows
DNA testing in
only some
circumstances -
is this a violation
of civil rights?
Does a Texas law that allows DNA testing in only some circumstances violate civil rights? - by Adam Liptak - New York Times - October 14, 2010

WASHINGTON — In the course of an hourlong argument at the Supreme Court on Wednesday about a death row inmate's quest to test DNA evidence, the justices asked neither of the questions that people without legal training might have thought crucial: Why won't Texas prosecutors consent to the testing? And could the results show that the inmate, Henry W. Skinner, is innocent of the triple murder that sent him to death row?

The justices focused instead on whether Mr. Skinner had located a path through a thicket of legal doctrines meant to limit postconviction challenges.
Cooperation helped track down suspect in killing of bride-to-be Oct

Omar Loera,
wanted in
LA homicide,
was arrested in
the Mexican
border town of
A tip from the community led officials to his location in Mexico - by Connie Llanos - LA Daily News - October 13, 2010

After an 81-day search that took authorities up and down the state and over the Mexican border, a man suspected of murdering a Valley Village bride-to-be was captured thanks largely to community help, police said Wednesday.

Omar Armando Loera, 34, was arrested Tuesday afternoon by Baja State Police with little resistance, according to authorities, and turned over to Los Angeles Police Department homicide detectives at the Calexico border at 9:30 p.m.

A known transient, Loera had been evading police since he was identified as the suspected killer of 34-year-old Cheree Osmanhodzic.
Survivors of Ft. Hood shootings testify Oct

Major Nidal Hasan
- accused of killing
13 people,
wounding 32
A victim shot five times is among a handful who testify at a hearing to determine whether Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 others at the Texas military base, will face court-martial. - by David Zucchino - Los Angeles Times -
October 14, 2010

Reporting from Ft. Hood, Texas - Just after lunch on Nov. 5, an Army psychiatrist inside the medical processing center at Ft. Hood did something that Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, the non-commissioned officer in charge at the center that day, said mystified him.

He said Maj. Nidal Hasan, the psychiatrist, suddenly stood up, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great" — and reached under his uniform top.

"I was wondering why he would say 'Allahu Akhbar.' " Lunsford recalled Wednesday at a hearing for Hasan, who is charged with killing 13 people and wounding 32 others that day.

As Lunsford struggled to make sense of what the psychiatrist was doing, he said, Hasan pulled out a handgun and opened fire on soldiers awaiting medical processing. A physician's assistant, Michael Grant Cahill, tried to smack Hasan with a chair, but Hasan shot him, Lunsford said.
Iraqis in America Oct

Lincoln residents since 1994, Mohammed and Zainab Al-Baaj
were among the first Iraquis to
settle here.
'We've Found Peace in This Land' - by Nina Burleigh - Parade Magazine - October 10, 2010

Like the pioneer families in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books, Iraqi refugees Naef and Suad and their seven children spent their initial winter on the Great Plains huddled indoors, suffering from shock and cabin fever. “The first time we saw snow, we were so excited, and the kids went outside and played,” their father recalls. “But after that we felt like prisoners in our own home. There was so much ice, we only went to the store once a week.”

But now his family, who arrived in Lincoln, Neb., 18 months ago, has adjusted to the climate and rhythms of American life. Weekdays, the four older children are on the school bus at 6:30 a.m. Naef and Suad spend their days studying English and doing volunteer work (a requirement for some government benefits). On weekends, the family goes to Pioneers Park and barbecues. The kids have even sampled the delights of Chuck E. Cheese on a few special occasions.
San Diego County seeks 50 sex offenders accused of violating parole Oct

Richard Wallace
SD Crime
pays up to
$1,000 for tips
San Diego Crime Stoppers offers $1,000 rewards for tips - by Tony Perry - Los Angeles Times - October 11, 2010

San Diego County law enforcement agencies are hunting for more than 50 sex offenders in the area who are in violation of various probation and parole regulations, officials said Monday.

Pictures and profiles of the sex offenders are available on the local web site www.sdcrimestoppers.com. Many of the offenders are in violation of a requirement that they register with police, authorities said.

Of particular interest, officials said, is 29-year-old Richard Wallace, pictured, whose crimes include sexual battery and who is accused of violating his parole.

San Diego Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information leading to a felony arrest. Tipsters can call (888) 580-8477.
Closing the Case on the Cole Oct
OPINION - by Ali H. Soufan - New York Times - October 12, 2010

Ten years ago, Qaeda terrorists blew a hole in the side of the Navy destroyer Cole in Yemen, killing 17 sailors. Yet the attack's mastermind still hasn't been prosecuted, and many of the men tried and imprisoned for the bombing are again free.

As Washington debates whether to increase aid to Yemen, it should first remember its duty to seek justice for those sailors — and to heed the broader national-security lessons from the attack.

As soon as the F.B.I. received news of the Oct. 12 bombing, I flew to Yemen with a team to investigate. The bodies of sailors draped in flags on a blood-stained deck, guarded by teary-eyed survivors, formed a heartbreaking image that motivated us during the following months.

Our investigation faced difficulties from the beginning. Yemen's weak central government's on-again, off-again relationship with extremists meant that Al Qaeda had influential sympathizers in positions of authority, as well as among powerful tribes in the country's vast desert. As a consequence, we regularly faced death threats, smokescreens and bureaucratic obstructions.
Tight budgets lead to more civilians used for policing Oct

Positions are
citizens into crime-scene
gatherers and
Transforming every-day citizens into crime-scene investigators, more - by Kevin Johnson - USA TODAY - October 11, 2010

Police agencies across the country are recruiting thousands of civilians for a growing number of duties previously performed by uniformed cops, in an unusual concession to local budget cuts.

The positions — some paid and others volunteer — are transforming every-day citizens into crime-scene investigators, evidence gatherers and photographers in what some analysts suggest is a striking new trend in American policing.

"It's all being driven by the economy and we should expect to see more of it," says University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, who analyzes law enforcement practices. "As budgets are squeezed, an increasing number of duties are going to be moved off officers' plates."

The chief opponents of the movement are police union leaders who believe cash-strapped agencies are lowering standards and undermining professionalism in the ranks.
Amid budget crisis, state balks at limiting checkpoint impounds Oct

five cars for
every one DUI
arrest at a
In CA tow companies generated an estimated $40 million from checkpoint impounds in 2009 - by Ryan Gabrielson - California Watch - October 12, 2010

For one night last week, the entire state budget became tangled in the complex legal and political issues surrounding sobriety checkpoints – and the financial strain they put on California's unlicensed drivers.

During final budget negotiations Thursday, state Sen. Gilbert Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, attempted to significantly limit law enforcement's ability to impound the vehicles of unlicensed – but, in most cases, sober – drivers who are stopped at DUI checkpoints.

An investigation by California Watch early this year found the state's local governments and tow companies generated an estimated $40 million from checkpoint impounds in 2009. Many of the unlicensed drivers who lose their cars at checkpoints are illegal immigrants.
Celebrating Columbus Day Oct

just the facts,
Mariner greatly underestimated the size of the earth - by Kat DeLong - October 11, 2010

Celebrated on the second Monday in October, Columbus Day marks the day in 1492 when Christopher Columbus set foot in the New World. Today, parades and parties in many cities and towns commemorate the holiday across the United States as well as Latin America and Europe.

Although it began as a celebration of the accomplishments of one man, Columbus Day has come to mean many things to many people. Italian Americans celebrate the history of their culture, Latin Americans celebrate their ancestors and Native Americans celebrate their people's resistance to invaders.

The history of Columbus' voyages and what has happened in the places he claimed for Spain has led to both celebration and protest in many parts of the world.
How to Be Happy Oct
Matthieu Ricard
- Buddist monk
"The Happiest
Man In The
The happiest man in the world? - by Justine van der Leun - AOL Health News

Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard claims you can practice your way to happiness, and he should know: After MRI scans showed that he experienced extreme levels of positive emotions and few negative ones, he became known as "the happiest man in the world."

Trained as a cell biologist in France, Ricard moved to the Himalayas in 1972 to study Buddhism. He's now a translator, a photographer and the Dalai Lama's French interpreter.

His books -- the proceeds of which go to 41 humanitarian projects in the remote Himalayas -- include "The Monk and the Philosopher" (a dialogue with his father, a famed philosopher), "Happiness: a Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill," and, most recently, "Why Meditate?" AOL Health spoke with Ricard about the cultivation of happiness, the benefits of altruism and how 30 silent minutes a day can change your life.
A Vanishing Journalistic Divide Oct
OPINION - by David Carr - New York Times - October 11, 2010

If you were going to pick an epicenter for mainstream media, The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz would not be a bad place to land. With his running scorecard on Beltway journalists, his interviews of other scorekeepers on his “Reliable Sources” show on CNN, and his ceaseless fascination with network news, Mr. Kurtz embodied the folkways of the traditional press.

Until last week, when he announced he was leaving his privileged perch to become the Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast, a two-year-old toddler of the new digital press conceived by Tina Brown and owned by IAC, run by Barry Diller. Mr. Kurtz's lane change evinced gasps reminiscent of when Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.

On the heels of decisions by Howard Fineman of Newsweek and Peter Goodman of The New York Times to go to The Huffington Post, it would seem like a bit of a tipping point.

The migration of old hands brought some hoots on the Web, as well as suggestions that the recent émigrés from the mainstream were making their way on the backs of early adopters. I'm not really feeling that.
Undocumented workers: essential but unwanted Oct
Undocumented workers are cast by the hysterical as enemies of the state, but they are essential to the U.S. economy. We use them for their labor but decry their presence. We're all complicit. - OPINION - by Gregory Rodriguez - New York Times - October 11, 2010

If Meg Whitman loses the gubernatorial race because her actions didn't jive with her words on illegal immigration, she could become a sacrificial lamb for the rest of us. Her sin is our sin. Because where illegal immigration is concerned, we are all hypocrites.

At the second gubernatorial debate held in Fresno two weekends ago, Democratic nominee Jerry Brown had a field day with Whitman's less than elegant response to the revelation that she had employed a maid, Nicandra Diaz Santillan, who was an illegal immigrant. When Diaz Santillan confessed that she was undocumented, Whitman fired her but stopped short of reporting her to immigration authorities. Brown's point was that Whitman's position — crack down on employers of illegal immigrants — didn't allow for any wiggle room. In one scathing exchange, Brown told Whitman, "You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions, but you don't take accountability."
Highest immigration enforcement numbers on record in fiscal year 2010 Oct
Secure Communities:
Identifying &
Aliens to
Keep our Communities
DHS/ICE credit "Secure Communities" program - October 2010

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed more illegal aliens than in any other period in the history of our nation. ICE removed more than 392,000 illegal aliens-half of them, more than 195,000-were convicted of crimes, including murder, sex offenses and drug violations.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton announced the record-breaking numbers at a news conference on Oct. 6, 2010 held at ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C.

"Since the beginning of this administration, we have fundamentally changed the federal government's approach to immigration enforcement," said Napolitano.
The Heart of LAPD Oct

The newest
LAPD officers
Hear the
Chief's speech
Chief Charlie Beck speaks at graduation ceremony for new officers - from Los Angeles Police Department - October 8, 2010

Through the rain, cold and thunder storms out came a bright warm sun just in time to welcome the new members of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Today, thirty eight new recruits marched across the grass in which the Chief referred to it as the heart of LAPD, the Los Angeles Police Academy field.

While the sun shined on their face, the new officers of class 4-10 listened carefully to the wise welcoming advice the Chief had to offer.

At graduations before addressing his new officers, Chief Beck has always thanked the friends and family in attendance for the support they have given to the officers during the intense pressure filled academy.

“You have entrusted in us the most precious thing in your life, and as Chief of Police, I can't thank you enough.”
High Cost of Crime - OPINION Oct
OPINION - What do you think? - by Charles M. Blow - Chicago Sun Times - October 9, 2010

When times get hard and talk turns to spending and budgets, there is one area that gets short shrift: the cost of crime and our enormous criminal justice system. For instance, how much do you think a single murder costs society? According to researchers at Iowa State University, it is a whopping $17.25 million.

Those researchers analyzed 2003 data from cases in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas and calculated the figure based on “victim costs, criminal justice system costs, lost productivity estimates for both the victim and the criminal, and estimates on the public's resulting willingness to pay to prevent future violence.” That willingness to prevent future violence includes collateral costs like expenditures for security measures, insurance and government welfare programs. It's hard to believe that they could calculate the collateral costs with any real degree of accuracy, but I understand the concept.

(They also calculated that each rape costs $448,532, each robbery $335,733, each aggravated assault $145,379 and each burglary $41,288.)
Former Duke student's sex life on Internet for all to see Oct

Karen Owen,
2010 Duke
"An education beyond the classroom: excelling in the realm of horizontal academics." - by Leah Friedman - Chicago Sun Times - October 9, 2010

Once again, an online joke meant for just a couple of friends has gone viral, bringing embarrassment and a host of new questions about Internet privacy.

In this day of YouTube, blogs and 24-hour news networks with 1,440 minutes of airtime to fill a day, it bears repeating: Proceed with caution.

Karen Owen, a 2010 Duke University graduate, created a 42-page PowerPoint presentation with the title "An education beyond the classroom: excelling in the realm of horizontal academics."
Don't Try Terrorists, Lock Them Up - OPINION Oct
OPINION - What do you think? - by Jack Goldsmith - New York Times - October 9, 2010

Cambridge, Mass. THE Obama administration wants to show that federal courts can handle trials of Guantánamo Bay detainees, and had therefore placed high hopes in the prosecution of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, accused in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in East Africa. On Wednesday a federal judge, Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court in Manhattan, made the government's case much harder when he excluded the testimony of the government's central witness because the government learned about the witness through interrogating Mr. Ghailani at a secret overseas prison run by the C.I.A.

Some, mostly liberals and civil libertarians, applauded the ruling, saying it showed that the rule of law is being restored. But many conservatives denounced it as proof that high-level terrorists cannot reliably be prosecuted in civilian courts and should instead be tried by military commissions.
Internet Safety 101 Oct
Safety 101
Every child
is just one
click away from online porn,
& pedophiles
Enough Is Enough - non profit - October 2010

Every child with unrestricted Internet access is just one click away from online pornography. Predators and pedophiles cleverly utilize the Internet to target vulnerable kids. Compelling testimonies reveal that no child is immune to the seductive tactics of a seasoned predator.

Learn about the risks and how to protect children from exposure .. about the evolving web, the mobile Internet, social networking, online gaming and cyber-bullying.

The Internet Safety 101 DVD teaching series and accompanying workbook are the cornerstone elements of a comprehensive program to educate, equip and empower parents, educators, and other caring adults to protect children from online dangers.
FEMA Reminds Americans That Readiness Must Continue All Year Long Oct

remind us that
disaster can
strike at any
Disaster, an act of nature or an act of terrorism, can strike at any time

As the seventh annual National Preparedness Month (NPM) comes to an end, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to remind citizens of the importance of emergency preparedness throughout the year.  NPM, sponsored by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, is held each September.  NPM encourages Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

DISASTER. It strikes anytime, anywhere. It takes many forms -- a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, a flood, a fire or a hazardous spill, an act of nature or an act of terrorism. It builds over days or weeks, or hits suddenly, without warning. Every year, millions of Americans face disaster, and its terrifying consequences.
Mayor Villaraigosa says city to target domestic violence Oct

LAPD responded
to more than
48,000 domestic
violence calls
last year
A lieutenant in each of the LAPD's 21 stations to be responsible for dealing with domestic violence cases - by Rick Orlov - LA Daily News - October 6, 2010

Citing his own childhood experience with domestic violence, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Wednesday a beefed-up effort by the LAPD to address the issue.

Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck said the LAPD will assign a lieutenant in each of the LAPD's 21 stations to be responsible for dealing with domestic violence cases. The department will also work with local organizations to provide assistance for victims.

"I know what it is like to be 4 or 5 and helpless when you see your mother being beaten," Villaraigosa said during a news conference. "I couldn't do anything to stop it then, although I did later."
FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists Oct

See the FBI list
and read aboiut
the numerous
terrorists they
are seeking
FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List

The alleged terrorists on this list have been indicted by sitting Federal Grand Juries in various jurisdictions in the United States for the crimes reflected on their wanted posters. Evidence was gathered and presented to the Grand Juries, which led to their being charged. The indictments currently listed on the posters allow them to be arrested and brought to justice. Future indictments may be handed down as various investigations proceed in connection to other terrorist incidents, for example, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

The Rewards for Justice program, administered by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offers rewards for information leading to the arrest of many of these terrorists.
Dramatic changes to California driver's licenses beef up security Oct

A sample
ID card with
added security
Cards will be among the most secure in the world - by Tony Bizjak - Sacramento Bee - October 6, 2010

State officials on Wednesday unveiled a dramatic new design for California driver's license cards, using technological advances they say put the state years ahead of counterfeiters.

The cards - issued beginning this week to new and renewing drivers - will be among the most secure in the world, said Matt Paulin, a chief deputy director with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

Notably, driver's licenses and identification cards will be printed vertically for anyone under age 21, making it easier for police, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to see at a glance.
LA gets more sex offenders Oct

identify &
locate sex
Use the
database and
map inside
the article
Restrictions also lead to rise in homelessness - by C.J. Lin - LA Daily News - October 5, 2010

Residency restrictions in neighboring cities have forced an influx of sex offenders into Los Angeles, where the difficulty in housing them has led to a spike in homeless parolees, police said Tuesday.

Of the 5,100 registered sex offenders living in Los Angeles, about 1,020 – or 20 percent – are on parole or probation and thus prohibited from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks where children gather, LAPD Detective Diane Webb told the Police Commission.

Because this prohibition limits the neighborhoods where sex offenders can live, parole agents frequently place them in apartments or facilities that have been converted to house multiple sex offenders, Webb said.

Clustering sex offenders does not increase recidivism rates and research has shown there is no relationship between where they live and whether they are likely to reoffend, Webb said.
Ending Violence Against Women Oct
The National
Violence Hotline


Anonymous &
Help 24/7
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month - from The White House - by Lynn Rosenthal - October 5, 2010

Last Friday, President Obama signed the proclamation of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Here at the White House, we've already started commemorating this important month, recognizing the remarkable work being done to address domestic violence and the distance we still must travel to end it.

On September 22, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden opened their home for a night dedicated to ending violence against women.  It was a night to mark the 16th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act and to recommit ourselves to ending sexual and domestic violence.  The event brought together groups from national organizations as well as groups of college students working on this issue on their campuses. Many students had the great opportunity to speak with the Vice President and Dr. Biden about what was going on in their lives and the lives of young people across the country.
Suspect in kidnapping and assault of 8-year-old girl had criminal record Oct
Gregorio Gonzalez
see how he was
caught by an
alert citizen
Previously arrested for possession of a sawed-off shotgun & for domestic violence & was on felony probation - by Diana Marcum - Los Angeles Times - October 6, 2010

Reporting from Fresno - A suspect was arrested in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of an 8-year-old Fresno girl, who managed to escape early Tuesday after a Good Samaritan driver recognized the suspect's pickup truck from media reports and cut it off, police said.

The suspect was identified as Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, of Fresno, police said. He had been previously arrested for possession of a sawed-off shotgun and for domestic violence, and was on felony probation.
Shahzad Gets Life Term for Times Square Bombing Attempt Oct

Faisal Shahzad
Times Square
Declares: ".. the war with Muslims has just begun. Consider me only a first droplet of the flood that will follow me.” - by Michael Wilson - New York Times - October 6, 2010

The defendant came to Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday ready to ladle out several minutes of anti-American justification for his act of terrorism in Times Square. But the judge, Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, best known of late for presiding over Martha Stewart's trial, came ready, too.

She repeatedly interrupted the defendant, Faisal Shahzad, to spar with him over his interpretation of the Koran, his invocation of a Muslim warrior in the Crusades and, above all, the relevance of any of it to the life sentence that hung over him like the dozen United States deputy marshals who guarded the prisoner in court.
LAPD: Fewer People In Los Angeles Want To Become Officers Oct

LAPD needs
officers of all
See what
it takes here:

Despite Good Pay And High Unemployment Elsewhere LAPD Recruitment Down - by Dennis Romero - LA Weekly - October 5, 2010

In this Great Recession, with unemployment in Los Angeles County at nearly 13 of every 100 people, you'd think that folks would be murdering each other to get at the head of the line for a gig as an LAPD officer. You'd be wrong.

For whatever reason -- bad press, a new chief, increased regulations on what they can and can't do -- the number of people applying to become part of L.A.'s finest decreased by 30 percent last year versus the year before, according to La Opinion.

Only 9,232 people applied for LAPD badges last year compared to 13,202 the year before. In both cases there are nearly enough applicants to replace the entire force.
FBI: Stripper, drugs, guns and judge don't mix Oct

Justice is blind - is it drugged, too?
Veteran jurist finds himself in a peculiar position - Chicago Sun Times - ASSOCIATED PRESS - October 6, 2010

ATLANTA -- A 67-year-old federal judge's wild relationship with a stripper started with a lap dance, prosecutors said, and quickly escalated into escapades of prostitution and gun-toting drug deals for cocaine and prescription pills.

Senior Judge Jack T. Camp, a veteran jurist who had achieved a status that allowed him a lighter caseload, now finds himself in a peculiar position, in front of one of his peers, and with lawyers combing through his decisions, wondering whether they have grounds to challenge them.

"I don't know whether the allegations are true or whether they infected the decision making, but it's incumbent upon me to raise these issues," said Gerry Weber, a civil rights attorney.
LAPD moves closer to predictive policing Oct

See the video
about predictive
policing at LAPD
from FOX News
inside article
Police in LA hope to pick up on criminal behavior patterns before they take hold - by PoliceOne Staff - October 4, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Finding effective ways to police the nation's second-largest city is a constant battle. In order to do so more effectively, the LAPD has turned to technology.

The department's CompStat unit is a place where cops study past crime data and use it to predict what may happen in the future.

“Information can lead you to make good decisions,” one member of the LAPD says. “It's shown in a business model every day. All we're doing is moving that to police work.”

Analyzing maps and information with scholars at UCLA, the LAPD hopes to pick up on criminal behavior patterns early on.
FBI -- Along highways, signs of hundreds of serial killings Oct
Carmen Purpura
missing from a truck stop
During the past four decades, at least 459 people may have died at the hands of highway serial killers, FBI statistics show.
In the past four decades, 459 deaths and 41 attempted murders are believed to be linked to serial killers who are using the nation's highways to find and dispose of their victims. - by Blake Morrison - USA TODAY - October 5, 2010

A passerby found the severed head on Feb. 10, wrapped in two plastic bags and stuffed inside a backpack in Barstow, Calif. Authorities still haven't identified the victim or her killer, but the circumstances point in a particular direction.

The teenage girl likely had been killed days earlier, Barstow police say. Her head lay a few hundred yards from a truck stop just off Interstate 15, not far from I-40. To authorities, the proximity to the truck stop and the interstates suggests that the slaying might have been the work of a distinctive type of criminal: a serial killer operating along the nation's highways.

During the past four decades, at least 459 people may have died at the hands of highway serial killers, FBI statistics show. Investigators do not know how many people may be responsible for the killings.
Report finds many prosecutors in California have committed misconduct Oct

707 cases were
discovered but
only 6 of the
were disciplined
A law school study discovers 707 cases in which state, U.S. and appellate courts found misconduct in opinions between 1997 and 2009. The authors criticize the State Bar for disciplining only 6 prosecutors. - by Jack Leonard - Los Angeles Times - October 5, 2010

Hundreds of prosecutors in California — including many in Los Angeles County — have committed misconduct with near impunity as authorities failed to either report or discipline them, according to a report released Monday.

The misconduct ranged from asking witnesses improper questions during trial to failing to turn over evidence that could help a defendant and presenting false evidence in court, according to the report, which was issued by an innocence project at the Santa Clara University School of Law.
DHS Launches “Stop. Think. Connect.” -- National Cybersecurity Campaign Oct

a key element of
President Obama's
2009 Cyberspace
Policy Review
National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign - by Department of Homeland Security - October 4, 2010

Seattle, Wash. - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today launched the “Stop. Think. Connect.” public cybersecurity awareness campaign—a national initiative that promotes simple steps the public can take to increase their safety and security online.

“We all share a responsibility to prevent cyber attacks and increase our nation's resilience to cyber threats,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. The “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign will help equip the public with simple information to keep themselves and their families safe and secure on the Internet.”

“Stop. Think. Connect.is a national public education campaign designed to increase public understanding of cyber threats and how individual citizens can develop safer cyber habits that will help make networks more secure.
199 LA County workers made at least $250,000 last year Oct

Working for local government is obviously worth
a pot of gold !
The list comprises mostly medical personnel and department heads, but also includes firefighters, the sheriff and district attorney. Thirty employees made more than $80,000 in overtime. - by Rong-Gong Lin II - Los Angeles Times - October 5, 2010

Nearly 200 Los Angeles County employees earned more than a quarter of a million dollars in 2009, according to a list of the county's top earners released late Monday in response to a Public Records Act request from The Times.

The highest earners list was dominated by physicians and other medical personnel, but also included county firefighters and a handful of top sheriff's employees. Some of the best-known names on the list belong to elected officials — although none of the five county supervisors, who make $178,789 a year, qualified.
Police training halts as agencies face budget cuts Oct

Members of law enforcement agencies conduct training exercises in Pecanland Mall in Monroe, Louisiana
Hundreds of police officers across the country are losing their jobs - by Kevin Johnson - USA TODAY

Even as hundreds of police officers across the country are losing their jobs, law enforcement officials say there is another disturbing casualty of the financial downturn: basic training.

Nearly 70% of police agencies cut back or eliminated training programs this year as part of local government budget reductions, according to a survey this fall of 608 agencies by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank.

The cuts include a wide range of programs, from ethics and basic legal training to instruction on the proper use of force.

Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, says the cuts are "alarming."
Woman arrested at US border with illegal immigrant in duffle bag Oct
Border Agents find 39-year-old man inside - Los Angeles Times - October 4, 2010

A Compton woman was apprehended at a U.S. border crossing in San Diego after she was caught trying to enter the country with an illegal immigrant inside a duffle bag in her SUV, federal authorities said Monday.

The 47-year-old woman, a U.S. citizen, was pulled over at the Otay Mesa checkpoint Friday and ordered to a secondary inspection area, the Department of Homeland Security said.

Officers conducting an inspection of the Chevy Blazer found a 39-year-old Mexican citizen stuffed inside a duffle bag
Deportation of criminals is up, feds say Oct

Of the 350,000
people deported
this year, more
than half of them
had criminal
At the same time, deportation numbers for those deemed noncriminals have declined - by Chelsea Phua and Miranda Simon - Sacramento Bee - October 5, 2010

More illegal immigrants with criminal convictions are being deported in recent years, driving up the number of people being removed from the United States, according to data from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

At the same time, deportation numbers for those deemed noncriminals have declined.

Of the 350,000 people deported this year, more than half had criminal convictions, a 55 percent increase since 2008, ICE data show.

By contrast, noncriminal deportations – which include voluntary returns – have dropped 30 percent.
LA is Owed More than a Half Billion Oct

LA City Hall
$541 million in
tickets & fees
Why Aren't We Collecting? - by Zach Behrens - LA List - October 4, 2010

Los Angeles has been dealing with a severe budget crisis this past year, forcing elected officials to make draconian cuts to the workforce and services. To name a few of the effects, libraries are now closed two days a week, employees across the board must take furloughs and the LAPD has had to make adjustments to how it deploys officers.

Part of the budget gap -- okay, a major part -- is what the city is owed in non-tax receivables, things such as unpaid parking tickets, ambulance billings and housing penalties.

When all totaled up, L.A. is missing out on $541.1 million.
Parolee Who Ambushed Philly Officer Could Face Death Oct

Rasheed Scrugs
accused of killing
police officer
Rasheed Scrugs, 35, is on the line. A parolee from West Philadelphia, he has a decade-long record of arrests for theft, robbery, and gun crimes - Police Magazine - October 4, 2010

Jury selection was scheduled to begin today in the trial of the parolee who ambushed and killed Philadelphia Police Officer John Pawlowski in early 2009, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The trial of Rasheed Scrugs, 35, is the fourth in 10 months covering one of the darkest periods in the Philadelphia PD, which lost seven officers on-duty in less than three years.

On Feb. 13 2009, Pawlowski was a five-year officer who initially responded to a 911 call from a taxi driver who said a man had threatened him. Scruggs allegedly ambushed the officer, firing a round that struck Pawlowski in the neck area just above his body armor. The officer got off one shot.

The district attorney is seeking the death penalty, which would be imposed if the verdict is first-degree murder.
Dad to ask other victims of pimp to come forward Oct
Teenaged daughter was found safe Oct. 2 after being missing for two months - Associated Press - October 3, 2010

The father of a 14-year-old girl who was kidnapped and forced into prostitution will hold a news conference to ask for other possible victims of a suspected pimp to come forward.

Peter Doesburg will address the media at 11 a.m. Monday at the Police Administration Building in downtown Los Angeles.

Police believe his daughter was abducted by people she knew.
Facing legalization measure, Schwarzenegger decriminalizes pot Oct

Proposition may have forced the governor's hand
Proposition on the ballot may have forced the governor's hand - by Josh Richman - Contra Costa Times - October 2, 2010

In November, Californians will have an opportunity to make marijuana legal. But a new state law is already doing everything but legalize it -- making possession of less than an ounce of pot no more serious than driving faster than the speed limit.

A bill signed Thursday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reduces the crime from a misdemeanor to an infraction, meaning that those caught smoking merely need to pay a $100 fine, won't have to appear in court and won't have a criminal record.
More cops moving to mobile strike teams Oct
department is
planning to expand
the citywide unit
Commander brought strategy from Iraq to Chicago - by Frank Main - Chicago Sun Times - October 5, 2010

Chicago Police Cmdr. James Roussell is obsessed with the number zero.

His goal is to have zero murders in neighborhoods where his Mobile Strike Force officers are assigned. Last month, no one was killed in the five police districts his officers "swarmed," Roussell said. And over the last three years, he said, homicides were down more than 98 percent in districts on the days he sent his cops there.

Police Supt. Jody Weis believes the Mobile Strike Force is key to Chicago's 4.5 percent drop in crime through September. That's why the department is planning to expand the citywide unit -- even though critics say the strategy has depleted the ranks of cops who patrol in beat cars.

"Do we need more beat cars? Absolutely," Roussell said recently at his Mobile Strike Force headquarters on the West Side. "But this is a big bang for the buck. . . . We're there to take some of the pressure off the beat cops."
Paparazzi face jail for chasing celebrities under new law Oct

Paparazzi in Malibu - stalking
clebrities on the beach
Stiff penalties for photographers who cross the line - by Patrick McGreevy and Andrew Blankstein - Los Angeles Times - October 1, 2010

Despite strong opposition from news organizations, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill cracking down on photographers who drive recklessly in pursuit of celebrities or block sidewalks and create the sense of "false imprisonment" for Hollywood glitterati.

The paparazzi bill, AB 2479 by Assemblywoman Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), imposes stiff penalties — including possible jail time — for photographers who cross the line.
Fight over claim in texting-while-driving crash Oct
Illinois State Trooper caused 2 deaths, now wants worker's comp - Chicago Sun Times - October 5, 2010

The mother of teenage daughters killed in a Downstate crash involving a state trooper who was sending an e-mail and talking on his phone while driving 126 mph is fighting his filing for worker's compensation.

Kim Schlau, whose daughters were killed in the 2007 crash on I-64 near O'Fallon, went on the "Today" show Monday to speak out on her attempt to change the worker's comp policy.

Now-former trooper Matt Mitchell filed a workers' compensation claim because of leg injuries suffered in the crash. He was heading to an accident scene when his cruiser crossed the median and hit a car head-on, killing Jessica and Kelli Uhl and injuring two of their friends.
A jumbled view of illegal immigrants Oct

Meg Whitman &
her ex-maid, an
illegal immigrant,
square off ..
along with the
rest of California
maybe its a
chance to
openly discuss
the issues
The Meg Whitman dustup is a metaphor for Californians' conflicting views on the issue- by Cathleen Decker, Los Angeles Times - October 2, 2010

With the tears of a housekeeper who claimed she was wronged by a candidate for governor, the issue of illegal immigration came roaring back into California's political landscape this week, like a blast of uncomfortable deja vu.

After two news conferences by Republican Meg Whitman and two by her former housekeeper's attorney, Gloria Allred, voters were left to sort through questions, some of which may be aired in a debate Saturday between the gubernatorial candidates:

Did Whitman do the right thing, or not, when she fired her housekeeper after being told the woman was an undocumented worker? Did she do the wrong thing, or not, by declining to alert immigration authorities?
Funeral protests could upend common view of free speech Oct

Signs at military funeral read "God Hates You,"
Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "You're Going to Hell"
As the Supreme Court starts a new term, justices will decided whether hurtful words aimed at the grieving families of dead U.S. troops are protected by the 1st Amendment. - by David G. Savage - Los Angeles Times, Washington Bureau - October 4, 2010

Reporting from Williamsburg, Va.

More than 500 mourners walked quietly through rows of flags and into a white chapel on a recent Saturday afternoon to honor a dead soldier.

But before entering the church parking lot, the mourners drove past an unusual demonstration. Scores of flag-waving bikers and students stood near the corner, surrounding three women holding brightly colored signs. They read: "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "God Hates Fags" and "You're Going to Hell."
Chief Beck's Promise Oct

LAPD Chief
Charlie Beck
LAPD's Chief pledges a thorough and open investigation into the fatal shooting of Manuel Jaminez - by Charlie Beck - October 1, 2010

Since Sunday, Sept. 5, when Rampart-area bicycle officers were involved in a shooting that claimed the life of Manuel Jaminez, there have been many inaccurate reports of what occurred. Getting to the facts of what happened that day is critically important, both for the LAPD and the community. But we have to be patient. A thorough and transparent investigation is necessary to build trust in the Police Department, and that will take time.

I will make it a priority, however, to keep the community informed about the process as we go, and we will be as transparent as possible in explaining how we investigate such an incident. I am also committed to providing as much detail as I am able to release about the facts of the investigation, and to providing a sense of understanding of the law and our department policy.
More States Allowing Guns in Bars Oct

Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia and Virginia enacted laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars -- 18 other states already allow them in restaurants that serve alcohol
Four states, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia and Virginia, recently enacted laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars -- 18 others allow weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol - by Malcon Gay - New York Times - October 4, 2010

NASHVILLE — Happy-hour beers were going for $5 at Past Perfect, a cavernous bar just off this city's strip of honky-tonks and tourist shops when Adam Ringenberg walked in with a loaded 9-millimeter pistol in the front pocket of his gray slacks.

Mr. Ringenberg, a technology consultant, is one of the state's nearly 300,000 handgun permit holders who have recently seen their rights greatly expanded by a new law — one of the nation's first — that allows them to carry loaded firearms into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

“If someone's sticking a gun in my face, I'm not relying on their charity to keep me alive,” said Mr. Ringenberg, 30, who said he carries the gun for personal protection when he is not at work.

Gun rights advocates like Mr. Ringenberg may applaud the new law, but many customers, waiters and restaurateurs here are dismayed by the decision.
LA Mayor, Fire Chief in Staff Flap Oct

15 firetrucks
will go back
into service
- but no
Mayor Villaraigosa sends LAFD assistants to front lines as Chief Peaks objects - by Rick Orlov - LA Daily News - September 30, 2010

Setting up a rare public conflict with his own fire chief, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday ordered 51 Los Angeles Fire Department assistants to the front lines during this wildfire season to temporarily end reduced staffing at stations.

The move would nearly return the Fire Department to full strength, after budget cuts had taken 15 firetrucks and nine ambulances out of commission last year to save $39 million. The firetrucks will be restored, but not the ambulances.

Villaraigosa said he was concerned the city can no longer afford to keep the staff assistants and other administrative personnel on the sidelines as the city enters the brush fire season.
LA County sheriff's detectives fill in on patrol shifts Oct

LA Sheriffs
respond to
budget crunch
by taking on
patrol duties
- but will
Up to eight hours of their work week can be spent on substitute duties to cut overtime, which forces them to drop their investigations and has resulted in a significant increase in unsolved crimes. - by Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times - October 1, 2010

Greg Taylor has risen to the rank of detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department — but on a recent afternoon the 12-year veteran was passing out parking tickets.

Like most of the department's sworn personnel, he's now being forced to drop his regular duties and devote several hours a month filling in on routine patrols and low-level administrative tasks.
U.S. Believes Bin Laden Involved in Europe Plot
Al Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden's photo appears over a video released Oct. 1
Counterterrorism Officials Think Al Qaeda Leader Has Role in Latest Multi-Pronged Terror Threat - CBS News - WASHINGTON - October 1, 2010

U.S. counterterrorism officials say they believe that senior al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are involved in the latest failed terror plot against European cities.

The multipronged scope of the emerging plan - which aimed to launch coordinated shooting sprees or attacks in Britain, France and Germany - is an al Qaeda hallmark. One U.S. intelligence official added, however, that the details of how the plan was directed or coordinated by the group's core leaders is not yet clear.
Crime reports across LA County

Los Angeles
Times, LAPD, &
LA Sheriff Dept
team up to
report crime
Using daily reports from the LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff's Dept, The Los Angeles Times is providing a comprehensive stream of data on serious crimes, tracking trends and offering alerts at the neighborhood level - by Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times - September 30, 2010

For car thieves working the streets of Los Angeles County, few stretches of pavement are more attractive than the two blocks of Alondra Boulevard that run from the 605 Freeway to Studebaker Road. At least 20 vehicles were stolen there in a recent six-month period.

Across town, a block of Wilcox Avenue just north of Hollywood Boulevard has been the scene of more than a dozen burglaries. And the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood, which typically sees three violent crimes a week, had a recent spike of nine assaults and robberies.
NYPD Prepares for Guerilla-Style Terror Attack
NYPD officer deployed as part of a rapid response team to train for terrorist attacks in the city
Since 9/11, the NYPD Has Posted Officers Overseas to Learn from Terrorist Attacks Like the One in Mumbai - by Terry McCarthy - CBS News - October 1, 2010

Counterterrorism officials think Osama bin Laden was involved in the latest terror plot that caused a lot of anxiety this week in Europe. Officials say that plot, which was disrupted at an early stage, was based on the commando-style attack on Mumbai, India, two years ago.

Since then, the New York City police department has revamped its anti-terrorist training to prevent that kind of attack from happening here.

The Mumbai attack - called "India's Sept. 11" - killed 172 people. Ten men armed with little more than automatic weapons and grenades terrorized an entire city for 60 hours.
FBI and LAPD join forces to solve more than two dozen homicide cases

With FBI help, LAPD arrests were quickly made in Minnesota, Arizona and Nevada
With agents, cash and equipment to spare, the FBI offered to help police stymied by lack of cash to pay detectives overtime - by Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times - September 30, 2010

For months, the budget crisis in Los Angeles has hamstrung and frustrated the city's homicide detectives. With no money to pay for the long hours of overtime they typically work, LAPD officials saw no choice but to force detectives to take time off from the job. Cases started taking longer to solve or going cold.

The LAPD's struggles weren't lost on Robert Clark, an FBI assistant special agent in charge of the bureau's anti-gang efforts in Los Angeles. Clark's concern grew as he watched the number of gang-related killings in the city's violent southern swatch spike in early summer. With agents, cash and equipment to spare, Clark approached LAPD officials with an unusual offer to help.
COPS Hiring Program Announcement

The Community
Oriented Policing
Services Office
(COPS) offers
grants to help
law enforcement
agencies to hire
more community
policing officers,
to acquire new
technologies and
equipment, to
hire civilians for
tasks, and to
approaches to
solving crime
Houston gets COPS funding award worth 50 officers - by Associate Atty Gen Tom Perrelli - Department of Justice - September 30, 2010

Today we are here talking about community policing – that's a term that is used a lot and captures much of what the Houston Police Department has done for decades, but is not often explained. It's an approach to policing that focuses on problem-solving and partnering with the community to address all aspects of crime.

And the Department of Justice's COPS program is dedicated to advancing community policing and is based on a simple recognition – there is almost nothing more effective in keeping the public safe than cops on the beat who have the equipment and resources they need.

I stand here today to tell you that this administration and this Attorney General stand behind you 100% and are doing everything we can to find the resources to help you continue to do your job.
LAPD shows off counterterrorism technology Oct

in the end your
best defense
is to keep your
eyes open for
anything that
seems odd or
But police emphasize that one of the best weapons against terrorism is keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior - by Miriam Hernandez - KABC-TV - September 30, 2010

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Police Department unveiled new counterterrorism equipment Thursday amid recent terrorist threats against cities in Europe.

The LAPD monitors terror incidents around the world and develops action plans and technology to prevent such scenarios from happening in Los Angeles.

"A ripple somewhere is a ripple everywhere. We feel the effects by lunchtime," said Deputy Chief Michael Downing. "The threat has become globalized, it is internationalized."

So the LAPD has developed counterterrorism measures like an explosive-sniffing K-9 unit that operates without a handler, or the futuristic-sounding "BAT CAT," a bomb assessment tactical counter assault tool worth $900,000. (see the video inside)
FEDS to drop charges against muslim man unfairly targeted by the FBI Oct

FEDS / FBI admit
they were wrong - dropping charges
Muslim Group Renews Calls for Probe into FBI's 'Coercive' Tactics - from CAIR-LA - October 1, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA -- The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) said today that federal prosecutors have applied to dismiss all charges against a Muslim man whose case has been the center of a debate over the FBI's use of agent provocateurs and informants in the American Muslim community.

Ahmad Niazi, a Tustin, Calif. man of Afghan origin, was arrested on immigration-related charges in 2009 after he helped report to law enforcement authorities an extremist who was seemingly planning terrorist attacks in the U.S. That extremist later turned out to be an FBI-paid agent provocateur, Craig Monteilh.
Cops in Big Cities Denied Federal Funds Oct

NYPD officers
on patrol in
Times Square
New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston all lose out - by Devin Barrett - Wall Street Journal - October 1, 2010

New York City will receive no money from a federal program to help cities hire more police officers, marking a second year in a row the Obama administration has denied such funds to the largest police force in the country. The Justice Department on Thursday announced $298 million in awards.

New York did apply for money but was again rejected based on a formula that gives out funds based on the crime rate, the city's fiscal health and community-policing activity.
Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Sept

The White House
The White House - Posted by Alaina Beverly - September 29, 2010

Yesterday, the White House Office of Urban Affairs hosted a live chat on the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (pdf file available inside) to support the transformation of distressed neighborhoods into neighborhoods of opportunity. Larkin Tackett, Department of Education; Luke Tate, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Thomas Abt, Department of Justice; and Richard Frank, Department of Health and Human Services; joined Derek Douglas, White House Domestic Policy Council.

They discussed one of the Obama Administration's signature place-based initiatives to support and revitalize distressed communities.
45% of red-light camera tickets in L.A. go unpaid Sept

Other types of unpaid citations typically must be paid before renewals are granted
Holds are not placed on driver's licenses and vehicle registrations - by Rich Connell - Los Angeles Times - September 2010

Some 45% of Los Angeles' red-light camera tickets are currently unpaid, partly because holds are not placed on driver's licenses and vehicle registrations for unsettled photo enforcement infractions, Los Angeles officials said Wednesday.

The disclosure came as City Controller Wendy Greuel issued an audit finding the photo enforcement program bypassed some of the city's most dangerous intersections and is costing the city more than $1 million a year to operate, despite fines and fees that can exceed $500.
Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump Sept

Tyler Clementi
is thought to have committed suicide days after he was secretly filmed
& broadcast
over the Net
Invasion of privacy or hate crime? - by Lisa W. Foderero - New York Times - September 30, 2010

It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

That night, the authorities say, the Rutgers University student who sent the message used a camera in his dormitory room to stream the roommate's intimate encounter live on the Internet.

And three days later, the roommate who had been surreptitiously broadcast — Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman and an accomplished violinist — jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in an apparent suicide.
Operation Predator: Targeting Child Pornography Offenders Sept

More than 4000 different IP addresses have been used to view, download, and /or distribute child pornography in New Mexico since January 2010
New Mexico - Department of Justice - PRESS RELEASE - September 29, 2010

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and New Mexico Attorney General Gary K. King announced today that during the past two weeks, federal, state, and local law enforcement affiliates of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed 22 search warrants as part of "Operation Predator." Operation Predator was aimed at identifying individuals throughout New Mexico involved in the distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography through peer-to-peer file sharing programs.

More than 4000 different IP addresses have been used to view, download, and/or distribute child pornography in New Mexico since January 2010. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies initiated Operation Predator in recognition of the need to combat this prevalent and constantly growing epidemic.
Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium Sept

Looking at
Cyber Bullying,
‘Sexting,' Piracy
and Adult
on the Internet
Law Enforcement Joins with Private Sector to Host Symposium that will Examine Cyber Bullying, "Sexting," Piracy and Adult Predators on the Internet - United States Attorney, DOJ - PRESS RELEASE - September 29, 2010

LOS ANGELES – A coalition of law enforcement agencies, child advocacy groups and private entities today are participating in the second annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium, a daylong seminar for more than 400 educators, parents and middle-school students being held at the Los Angeles Police Academy.

The Symposium will address a host of Internet-related security and safety issues, with panels conducting discussions on topics that include child exploitation, cyber bullying, “sexting” and piracy.
European Terror Plot Uncovered Sept
Eiffel Tower
in Paris among
the suspected
Britain and
Germany also
on alert
Officials have warned of an increased possibility in low-budget attacks that require relatively little planning - by Lauren Frayer - AOL News - September 29, 2010

(Sept. 29) -- Intelligence agencies have uncovered a sophisticated al-Qaida plot to kidnap and murder tourists at landmarks across Europe, allegedly modeled after the 2008 Mumbai siege that left nearly 200 people dead in hotels, cafes and a train station in India.

The plot has been thwarted by the CIA, which launched a recent barrage of drone strikes against Pakistani militants in the mountainous border region with Afghanistan, a senior U.S. intelligence official told Fox News.

So far European security officials haven't raised their national terror warning levels. The Eiffel Tower was briefly evacuated late Tuesday after someone called in a bomb threat from a telephone booth. Nothing was found, but it was the second such threat there in two weeks.
AK-47 Toting Felon Killed By LAPD in Shootout Near Downtown LA Sept
police have to
face more and
more assault
LAPD officers say the suspect opened fire on them with the deadly assault weapon - KTLA News - September 29, 2010

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- There was a deadly shooting Tuesday between LAPD officers and a felony suspect who allegedly opened fire on them with an AK-47 assault rifle.

The shooting happened late Tuesday afternoon in the 1600 block of Temple Ave, not far from Echo Park.
Continuous Chest Compression CPR Sept

Continuous Chest Compression CPR
Learning this new technique could save lives - September 2010 - University of Arizona, College of Medicine

Every three days, more Americans die from sudden cardiac arrest than the number who died in the 9-11 attacks. You can lessen this recurring loss by learning Continuous Chest Compression CPR, a hands-only CPR method that doubles a person's chance of surviving cardiac arrest. It's easy and does not require mouth-to-mouth contact, making it more likely bystanders will try to help, and it was developed at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

"This video is worth sharing," said Gordon A. Ewy, MD, director of the UA Sarver Heart Center and one of the research pioneers who developed this method.
Drug shortage prompts Calif. to suspend executions after Sept. 30 Sept

there's a
shortage of
thiopental, an
anesthetic used
in lethal
Oklahoma and Kentucky have already postponed executions - by Michael Winter - USA Today - September 27, 2010

California has become the latest state to announce it will temporarily halt executions because of a shortage of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic used in lethal injections.

Just last week a federal judge gave the state the go-ahead to resume lethal injections after five years because of problems with the execution process and the personnel involved. California is scheduled to execute Albert Greenwood Brown on Wednesday for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in 1980. Today, California Attorney General Jerry Brown's office told the Associated Press that executions would be suspended after Sept. 30 until a supply of the drug is available.
US Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet Sept

Officials are
preparing to
seek sweeping
new regulations
for the Internet
Using BlackBerry, iPhone, Facebook, Skype, more might all be effected - by Charlie Savage - New York Times - September 27, 2010

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype -- to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.
LA gets $155 million federal grant for communications Sept

today's modern
needs must be
met - this
money will help
Full system may take 5 years and $700 million to develop - by Troy Anderson - Daily Breeze - September 27, 2010

In an effort to improve communication among first-responders during fires, earthquakes and other disasters, Los Angeles area officials Monday announced the receipt of a $155 million federal grant to develop a regional radio system.

The system, which will take three to five years to develop and cost $700 million, will allow public safety officials to communicate on the same channels and radio frequencies.
Anger as a Private Company Takes Over Public Libraries Sept
Jane Hanson, at a Santa Clarita library, is opposed to an outsourcing plan.
Private company in Maryland has taken over libraries in California, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas - by David Streitfeld - New York Times - September 26, 2010

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — A private company in Maryland has taken over public libraries in ailing cities in California, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas, growing into the country's fifth-largest library system.

Now the company, Library Systems & Services, has been hired for the first time to run a system in a relatively healthy city, setting off an intense and often acrimonious debate about the role of outsourcing in a ravaged economy.
Schwarzenegger signs bills to aid search for missing children Sept

Gov. Arnold
Many other bills being considered in last week to act - by Patrick McGreevy - Los Angeles Times - September 24, 2010

Reporting from Sacramento-- Measures to improve the search for missing children, protect intoxicated minors who call 911 for help and expand betting on horseracing in California are among dozens of bills signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, he announced Friday.

With less than a week left to act on 765 pieces of legislation, the governor also vetoed 43 bills, including measures that would exempt many state workers from furloughs, regulate pet insurance and outlaw dormancy fees on gift cards.
How to Tilt an Election Through Redistricting Sept

Five ways
to play the
game with
Tricks of the Trade - by Michael Cooper - New York Times - September 26, 2010

It was a gerrymander too ambitious for its own good.

When Pennsylvania lost two seats in Congress to the booming Sun Belt in 2000, the Republicans who controlled state government redrew the map of Congressional districts to pack Republican voters into as many districts as possible.

At first, the strategy worked. In the next election, the state's delegation shifted to 12 Republicans and 7 Democrats, from 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Furious Democrats challenged the new map but the Supreme Court upheld it.
Los Angeles Times Story Threatens Safety of Key Witness Sept

Los Angeles Police
Protective League
OPINION - by LAPPL Board of Directors - September 28, 2010

“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.”

The Los Angeles Times would do well to consider that famous quotation of former United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in reviewing the paper's factually accurate and well-written coverage of the case involving the murder of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Juan Escalante by members of the violent Avenues street gang. (Driver in deputy's slaying provides details of attack in testimony, 9/23/10 -- see the full story inside).
Protests over police shooting resonate all the way to Guatemala Sept

Guatemala - in Central America
The remote, indigenous village of Xexac mourns and vows to fight over the death of Manuel Jaminez Xum, a day laborer shot in a confrontation with LAPD officers in Westlake this month. - by Esmeralda Bermudez - Los Angeles Times - Reporting from Caserio Xexac, Guatemala - September 26, 2010

It was just before 11 a.m. when Isabel Marroquin Tambriz once more began to cry. Her wails were so piercing they rose above the brass band. They traveled down the dirt paths of the village, which grew ever more crowded with mourners.

"Walijoq caewaj!" she yelled over and over in Quiche. Wake up, my love. Wake up, my love.

In a casket outside her cinder-block home lay the body of her husband, Manuel Jaminez Xum. He was dressed in a pinstripe three-piece suit, finer than anything he'd worn when he was alive.