At approximately 7:16 this morning local time, 911 calls started being received over a shooting incident at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. According to reports on Fox News, two individuals are dead – a staff member, and the shooter – the shooter apparently turned the weapon on himself. Others were injured, and transported to the hospital, according to a press conference statement by Lieutenant Chad Hawkins of the Sparks Nevada Police Department. Officers received information on the incident from both staff and students. Officers are starting a slow and methodical search of the school, going into investigative mode. The school and scene are secure. This is a developing story.
Update: Family of the teacher slain today at Sparks Middle School identified him as Michael Landsberry, a math teacher with over ten years experience as a teacher. The Reno Gazette Journal reports:
It came as no surprise to Michael Landsberry’s family that the Sparks Middle School math teacher is being called a hero for trying to get a student to put his gun down before being shot and killed.
“To hear he was trying to protect those kids, that he stepped up and tried to stop the situation, doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Chanda Landsberry, who is married to Michael’s brother younger brother, Reggie. “He could have ducked and hid, but he didn’t. That’s not who he is.”
“He was trained to help.”
A former Marine, the 45-year-old Landsberry was also a member of the Nevada Army National Guard.
Tom Robinson, deputy chief with the Reno Police Department told reporters at a news conference: “in my estimation, he is a hero. We do know he was trying to intervene.”
Tom Foley, the Speaker of the House from 1989 to 1995, died today at age 84. First elected to the House in 1964, Foley defeated Republican incumbent Walt Horan to begin a thirty year career on the Hill representing Washington’s 5th Congressional District. He was defeated in 1994, and reportedly then President Bill Clinton attributed the loss to Foley’s support of the Assault Weapon ban of that year. His leadership career on the Hill started in 1975 when he was named Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. In 1981 he became the House Majority Whip, then House Majority Leader in 1987. Foley picked up the Speaker’s gavel in 1989, and remained two heartbeats away from the presidency until 1995.
Born in Spokane, Washington in 1929, he was a 1951 graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, where he also received his law degree in 1957. Foley ended his legal career in 1964 to run for Congress. While he ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, he faced Horan, an 11-term incumbent in the general election. After his defeat in 1994, Clinton appointed him as U.S. Ambassador to Japan in 1997, where he served until 2001. He returned to legal practice after his appointment, until retiring in 2008. In 1995, the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service was established at Washington State University, Pullman. Their website features a simple statement from Foley, that summarizes his thoughts on public service:
“In a cynical age, I still believe that we must summon people to a vision of public service. For, in the end, this ethic determines more than anything else whether we will have citizens and leaders of honor, judgment, wisdom, and heart. These are the qualities this institute will nurture and advance, helping this nation become what it has always been destined to be, the best hope of a free people to live in an open and just society.”
After his retirement in 2008, Foley had been in fragile health due to hip and knee replacements, and Bell’s palsy. At the time of his death, he had been in hospice care for Aspiration Pneumonia.
Down on your luck? Need some cash? Considering hitting the streets to beg? Well, after you’ve donned an appropriate outfit – ripped, soiled, and smelling like it hasn’t been washed in months – you’d better make sure to drop by city hall to get a free permit to panhandle. Don’t forget to bring your photo ID, because you’ll need that, too!
No, this isn’t a joke. Middle Township in New Jersey is going to require paperwork for “aggressive panhandlers.” Now, if you’re not planning on being aggressive, apparently you can still panhandle on the streets, without fear of being picked up by the police, or getting fined. It’s up to the police to determine exactly which is “aggressive” and “non-aggressive” in this situation.
Needless to say, this new law is at least a little confusing to residents – probably to panhandlers as well. If a panhandler is being too aggressive, it would be assumed that would at least merit a charge of disorderly conduct, if not some form of assault. That means the police already have the ability to put a stop to “aggressive panhandling” on the streets, and didn’t really need a new law, or the attached permit paperwork to accomplish ensuring the safety of the public-at-large. But this is New Jersey – bastion of liberal politicking, and over-regulation, right?
Sen. John McCain appeared on Fox News this morning, and apparently decided it was a good idea to compare Syrian rebels crying out “Allahu Akbar” after hitting a Syrian jet with an anti-aircraft missile to Christians calling out “Thank God” after doing the same.
Bradley Manning, the source of documents leaked to WikiLeaks, was sentenced today to 35 years in prison. Additionally, he was demoted, and given a dishonorable discharge. As a result of his conviction on charges of theft, fraud, and espionage last month, the maximum sentence Manning could have received was 90 years.
The judge in the case, Army Col. Denise Lind, announced the sentence in a military courtroom in Fort Meade, Md.
Prosecutors urged the judge to sentence Manning to 60 years as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to leak secret documents.
“He betrayed the United States, and for that betrayal, he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in confinement,” Capt. Joe Morrow had said during the sentencing hearing.
Manning’s defense had urged the military to sentence Manning, who served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, to no more than 25 years in prison.
Manning leaked secret documents, which included battlefield reports and State Department cables, to WikiLeaks, which posted them on the Internet.
The U.S. government said his actions jeopardized U.S. interests and exposed informants and sources to danger. Manning’s defense painted him as a misguided idealist who opposed the war in Iraq.
“He had pure intentions at the time that he committed his offenses,” defense attorney David Coombs said during the sentencing hearing. “At that time, Pfc. Manning really, truly, genuinely believed that this information could make a difference.”
In spite of WikiLeaks contending that this sentence is a kind of victory considering, Manning still received the longest sentence ever given for his crimes.
Manning may be able to seek parole after serving one third of his sentence, and has already spent three years in jail since he was first identified as the source of the WikiLeaks releases. He was also credited with serving 112 days of his sentence after Judge Lind ruled that he was improperly treated during his detainment at a facility in Quantico, Virginia. That mistreatment included being kept in solitary confinement, forced to sleep naked nightly. Thanks to those possible shortenings of his prison term, WikiLeaks’ Twitter feed called Wednesday’s outcome a “significant strategic victory,” pointing out that he may be eligible for release in less than 9 years.
Even so, Manning’s sentence is far longer than any other Espionage Act prison term for releasing information to the media in U.S. history. “I don’t think there’s ever been a sentence remotely like this for a leak to the press,” says Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. “This is the longest sentence by far.”
As for what effect this case will have on the future of members of the military revealing information to the press or organizations like WikiLeaks, only time will tell. It is also likely that the debate over whether Manning himself was actually a traitor, or a whistle-blower will continue, perhaps for years to come. And another issue that will need to be addressed is how the military and intelligence agencies can make the information they manage more secure. While prosecutors in this case were hoping for the court to make an example of Manning, the fact remains that the military needs to re-assess the protocols it uses to protect information, from the manner in which they perform background checks of personnel, to work assignment and job descriptions. Manning was a very low-ranking member of the military. Whether or not people on that level should be left with the ability to take information from military servers in the first place needs to be addressed.
Walmart didn’t do as well as expected, so that has caused several other retail outlets to drop their sales and earnings expectations for the upcoming quarter. The result has been at least a little nervousness on Wall Street, and a less-than-rosy view of the U.S. economic recovery.
“There is a certain segment of the population that is faring well in this economy and have seen their net worth rise sharply with stock and housing market gains,” said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics. “Then there is the much larger segment of Americans that are working in low-wage jobs, part-time jobs, that are struggling to make ends meet and are living paycheck to paycheck. They are not spending beyond necessities.”
In a call with reporters Thursday, Walmart’s chief financial officer, Charles M. Holley Jr., said there was “a general reluctance of customers to spend on discretionary items right now.”
With the holiday shopping season on the horizon, the big question for retailers apparently will be “what do people consider ‘discretionary’ and what do they consider ‘necessities’ as far as holiday purchases are concerned?”
In an internal email sent to department supervisors Friday, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers said the weapon’s disappearance was “embarrassing” and urged supervisors “to turn over EVERY rock to find this missing rifle.”
Department spokesman Steve Whitmore could not immediately say when the gun was misplaced but noted that the department has been suspended by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services from receiving excess federal property because of the mishap.
“I can’t emphasize enough what a big deal it is when we lose an assault weapon, especially one entrusted to us through” the OES, the email said.
“It’s wrong. It’s embarrassing,” Whitmore told The Times on Tuesday. “How could this have happened? Honestly, we don’t know.”
For whatever reason, because of where the weapon came from, the department apparently did not keep close tabs on the location of it. This situation is causing the department to re-examine their weapons handling procedures, and more importantly, documentation of the location of weapons in their possession.
According to a recent report, Colorado has been seeing a marked increase in the amount of illegal marijuana trafficking within the state, and exports to outside of it. The statistics cited do not include the time period since the legalization of marijuana for adult use. KDVR reports:
The most common destinations for the marijuana were Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Texas.
The size of the seizures also increased. From 2005 to 2008, the total average number of pounds seized was 2,220. From 2009 to 2012, it increased to 3,937.
Most of the marijuana came from Denver, Boulder and El Paso counties, the report found.
The report also found an increased number of people trying to mail marijuana through the U.S. Postal Service. In 2010, the Postal Service seized 15 packages with marijuana headed out of state. In 2012, they seized 158.
The report is compiled from voluntary reporting of marijuana seizures by law enforcement. One of the common arguments for legalization is a decrease in illegal trafficking. Since much of the illegal trafficking in Colorado is associated with exporting the drug out of the state, these statistics do not necessarily disprove the contentions of pro-legalization activists. The states where the marijuana was being sent have not legalized the drug, so they still have a viable black market for it.
Ariel Castro, the man that held three women captive for a decade, was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance for parole. The sentencing procedure included the judge reading off hundreds of charges, as Castro sat in silence. Before that, the defendant made a statement, that implied that the women he had kept in his house by chaining them down, had actually consented to the treatment they had received. As part of the sentencing process, the judge did require that Castro affirm that he could not profit from anything to do with his crimes – and pointed out that the victims could benefit.
Of the three women, only one stood to speak with a victim’s impact statement. The other two were represented by family members. Michelle Knight, after getting hugs of support from others in the gallery, made her way to stand in front of the judge, her back to Castro, to make her statement about what her life had been like for the past 11 years. See her act of courage here:
While normally George Zimmerman could expect to have his weapon returned to him by authorities by the end of the month, that probably will not happen because the FBI has requested that Sanford, FL authorities maintain custody of all evidence from the trial. Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated at an NAACP rally that he would look into the possibility of a Federal Civil Rights case against Zimmerman.
The FBI has asked authorities in Sanford, Fla. to not give George Zimmerman back his gun after he was cleared of all charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a Department of Justice official tells Fox News.
The report may serve as further confirmation the Justice Department is taking seriously its investigation into whether or not to pursue a federal civil rights case against Zimmerman, after Attorney General Eric Holder said in an address Tuesday to the NAACP that his department would “consider all available information” before deciding whether to move forward.
DOJ officials may be able to consider testimonies or evidence that had not been presented at trial, because they have made an open request to the public for more information on Zimmerman, particularly anything that could indicate that his actions on the night Trayvon Martin died were racially motivated. Reportedly, some supporters of Zimmerman decided to send emails in response to this public request, suggesting that the DOJ drop the investigation, because it had already been shown in court that there apparently was no racial motivation.
As reported by the Daily Mail, David Letterman and Bill Maher weighed in on the case, and the idea of Zimmerman getting his weapon back:
Comedian and HBO host Bill Maher drew boos from audience members on Tuesday during a taping of The Late Show With David Letterman, by saying that ‘the Florida state law is that he can get his gun back. I say that if he gets a gun, Casey Anthony gets a baby.’
Anthony was acquitted in 2011, also in Florida, of killing her two-year-old daughter in 2008.
Shortly after the verdict was read, death threats started hitting Twitter, and Zimmerman’s brother – Robert Zimmerman, Jr. – has contended since the verdict was read that his brother may be free, but will have to watch over his shoulder for the rest of his life.
The City of Detroit is bankrupt. Conservatives have been pointing out the problem with municipalities of all sizes continuing to spend beyond their means, and now Detroit has become the largest city to date to officially apply for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protections in Federal Court. As reported in the Wall Street Journal:
The Chapter 9 case filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan came after Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager, failed to reach agreements with enough of the bondholders, pension funds and other creditors to restructure Detroit’s debt outside of court. The final decision rested with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who had appointed Mr. Orr as Detroit’s overseer in March.
It was expected that the city would report long-term liabilities close to $20 billion. The city’s assets were less clear, but Mr. Orr had called the city functionally insolvent and recently missed a payment to the city’s pension system of nearly $40 million.
Detroit has been in a state of decline for many years, primarily due to residents and businesses moving out of the city – migration to the suburbs. To make up for shortfalls in revenue, the city has been borrowing not only for day-to-day operational expenses, but also to meet pension and health care obligations for retirees. The latter has been an issue for many cities and municipalities nationwide, as the “Baby Boomer” generation continues to reach retirement age. As for Detroit, the city’s population has been dropping since an all-time high in 1950 of around 2 million residents. Today, the population of approximately 700,000 is after a 26% drop between the years 2000 and 2011.
Call it “fundamental transformation.” Call it a “coup d’etat” (like one of the architects of opposition to the “evil empire” under Ronald Reagan). Call it a “revolution from above.” But don’t call it American.
The e-scandals or revelations about the NSA tapping the meta-data of Verizon, T-mobile, AT&T and Sprint and data-mining major Internet companies only confirm what we all knew about the U.S. government: All this spy stuff is not for “them,” it’s for “us.” Indeed, as Forbes reports, the Verizon order specifically targeted Americans, not foreigners.
Furthermore, the explosive report about Project PRISM and the nine major Internet companies involved shows not only that top U.S. intelligence officers lied repeatedly about surveillance on millions of Americans, but it belies that the everyday behavior of citizens was being analyzed.
This hearkens back to the words of Maxine Waters, the rambling socialist “liberal” that she is, who bragged about a data-mining operation run by the Obama campaign that would blow people’s minds:
“The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” Representative Maxine Waters told former CNN contributor Roland Martin. “That’s going to be very, very powerful. That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that.”
Maxine continued to give the game away. “They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it. And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”
The important point is that there is nothing ideologically that restrains a “progressive” from using and abusing the American government to achieve narrow political ends. Alinsky taught precisely that way of utilizing instruments of power; and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both disciples of that master radical tactician.
The agencies of the DOJ, DHS, EPA, IRS, HHS, and NSA are seen by the radicals who comprise this government as mere appendages of their progressive machine; and as such, they are being custom-designed to control Americans and squelch political dissent. The Obama administration has gone after whistleblowers to an extent unseen before in American history. It has rewarded known liars and gone after ordinary, law-abiding citizens.
When progressives balk at the notion that they had anything to do with fabricating these totalitarian vestiges being thrown open before a dumb-founded public, it behooves us to remind them that they tailor-made them. It wasn’t George W. Bush or Barack Obama who foisted them upon an unwitting public, it was the artists and the entertainers, the professors and the schoolteachers, the lawyers and the judges, the unions and the activists, who made the notion of a government that controls the people mainstream.
Progressives can scapegoat Bush and deflect responsibility onto others, apologize to future generations and condescend to us that it is all for our own good, point the fingers at conservatives or launch irrelevant epithets like ‘racist’ and ‘sexist,’ or smear those who disagree with them and call them out for their delusions. But the fact remains that a big, all-powerful state has always been the progressives’ modus operandi.
So when the awesome force of the United States government comes untethered from its moorings, crashing through the countryside like a Leviathan unbound — don’t say you weren’t warned. There was ample warning all around the progressives; but in their haughty rush to foist their baseless utopia upon an unreceptive populace, they smashed the most prosperous, powerful, and just society known to man.
A nation that had rescued millions from tyranny and totalitarianism. One that had provided a port in the storm for the oppressed and the repressed. One that has stood as an exemplar to the world. And even now, in its crestfallen glory, it provides inspiration to billions around the world to lift themselves up from poverty and desperation to adopt free enterprise.
Just a few weeks ago, President Obama addressed young people at a college graduation ceremony. During his address, he downplayed all talk of impending “tyranny.” It was a signal foreshadowing that the scandals now being reported in the mainstream media were all but to be a temporary distraction and that soon everything would be “normalized.”
That is to say, politicians like himself would eventually come to be in control of every aspect of people’s lives and there would be nothing to worry about. In reality, the U.S. government is accruing power to become a de facto dictator over people’s lives, fortunes, and political opinions; and upon penalties like tax confiscation and medical denials, dissent could be smothered and the torch of freedom doused.
Anyone that has spent more than five minutes delving into the background of the progressive media’s appointed Messiah — the self-professed Marxist radical community organizer and “regular” attendee of the Jeremiah Wright school of America-hatred — a man so well-versed in the tactics of the leftist agitator Saul Alinsky that he was dubbed “the master” — current American president Barack Hussein Obama is wholly unsurprised by the borderline totalitarian trajectory of the nation.
As a student of Soviet history, a fluent speaker of Russian and a journalist who worked a short walk from Red Square in the old state press building of ITAR-TASS, I’ve always been impressed by the accounts of KGB defectors describing national politics in America. One such account is that of Yuri Bezmenov, who was a KGB propaganda specialist embedded in the Canadian press, who describes the open (i.e. non-clandestine) effort to ideologically subvert the United States:
The most fascinating thing about this interview is that there is no talk of grand conspiracies. No microphones in Coca-Cola bottles, no cloak-and-dagger exchanges of briefcases, no blowing up of bridges, and none of the “James Bond cliches” that animate the public imagination about espionage. What Bezmenov says is this:
“Ideological subversion is the process which is legitimate, overt and open. You can see it with your own eyes. All you have to do… all American mass media has to do… is to unplug their bananas from their ears, open up their eyes, and they can see it. There’s no mystery. There’s nothing to do with espionage. I know that espionage, intelligence gathering, looks more romantic. It sells more deodorants through their advertising, probably. That’s why your Hollywood producers are so crazy about James Bond type of thrillers.
But in reality, the main emphasis of the KGB is not in the area of intelligence at all. According to my opinion, and opinion of many defectors of my caliber, only about 15% of time, money and manpower is spent on espionage as such. The other 85% is a slow process, which we call either ideological subversion or “active measures,” aktivniye meripriyatiye in the language of the KGB, or psychological warfare.
What it basically means is to change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community and their country. It’s a great brainwashing process, which goes very slow, and it’s divided in four basic stages.
The first one being demoralization — it takes from 15 to 20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which it requires to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxism-Leninism ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students without being challenged or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism or American patriotism.
The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the 1960s, drop-outs or ‘half-baked intellectuals,’ are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated. They are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern.
You cannot change their mind. Even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people… the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To rid society of these people, you need another 15 to 20 years to educate a new generation of patriotically minded and commonsense people who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.”
During the last half of the previous decade, I attended an M.A. program in International Studies and then a PhD. program in Political Science, and I personally studied Marx & Marxism, Post-Soviet Russia, and also the intersection of civil liberties and the “war on terror.” I can say with certainty that the majority of professors on the faculty were one variant or another of Marxist; and tellingly, one professor claimed to be on the fence between Keynesianism and Marxist-Leninism. Far more common in academia than even the doctrinaire paleomarxist is the “neomarxist,” who believes in such things as “social justice” and spreading Marxist ideas through doubletalk and imbuing redistributionist values in the culture.
No… America having once been a free society, all those who would have sought to weaken the U.S. would have to have done to undermine it, or even turn it into a vehicle for advancing their own political agenda, would be to embed self-defeating ideas in the minds of the intelligentsia and have them indoctrinate teachers, journalists, and artists, all the way down to schoolchildren, and as a new initiative would have it about “free” daycare, toddlers.
“Progressive” ideas would be taught in school K-12 and their antitheses of liberty and individual rights stripped from the curriculum. Government would become in the minds of the misled a means of equalizing wealth and achieving the needs of the poor. The indispensable concept is that government as an intermediary between civil and economic relations would be deemed necessary in order to protect people from each other and themselves.
Bezmenov’s ideas are not fanciful relics of the Red Scare fears that many Americans felt during the Reagan-era generation. The left-wing program he described — demoralization, destablization, crisis, and normalization — is specific and relevant. Does anyone doubt that the Obama administration’s goal is to capitalize on crisis as a way of furthering its agenda? Both Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel have explicitly used language advocating never letting a good crisis go to waste.
The way to get both progressives and “conservatives” to cede to this concept that government is needed as an intermediary between all human relations is to spread the notion that it is needed to control others. On the leftist side, the idea that economic justice demands redistribution and government intervention would become the norm.
On the right side, the fear that Muslims are everywhere and likely to blow up a shopping mall near you would become widespread; and thus, the matrix-like government sweep of information to protect us from the ubiquitous threat of Islam writ large could be accepted as a necessary evil. Never mind that there are hundreds of millions of Americans who want nothing to do with Islam culturally, and an easy solution is to keep people from terrorist states out of the country to begin with.
Like socialized medicine. Anticipating the looming disaster of Obamacare, whose privacy-destroying implications are only now being grasped, along with the dismantling of Americans’ right to self-determination, former President Ronald Reagan had this to say (worth quoting at length):
“Now back in 1927 an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said under the name of liberalism the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.
There are many ways in which our government has invaded the precincts of private citizens, the method of earning a living. Our government is in business to the extent over owning more than 19,000 businesses covering different lines of activity. This amounts to a fifth of the total industrial capacity of the United States.
But at the moment I’d like to talk about another way. Because this threat is with us and at the moment is more imminent.
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.
Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.”
The American people continue to reject socialized medicine, and so they protested against it in 2010. And as any reader of Saul Alinsky could have predicted, the government was turned against the protesters. The IRS’ tax exempt office acted as an instrument of political suppression and refused to authorize tea party, conservative and pro-Constitution groups in the manner it would rubberstamp progressive groups.
But why should we be surprised? Between 94% and 98% of the campaign contributions of the National Treasury Employees Union representing the IRS were given to Democrats in the last few national elections. Professors were major donors to the Obama campaign in the last election. The 90%-95% level of support given to Democrats by professors, teachers, artists, lawyers, bureaucrats and minorities is simply unnatural for a purportedly free society. It smacks of patron-client cronyism and a concerted program to select fellow-travelers for offices across the land.
It is highly disturbing to see political correctness seeping into the U.S. military. Todd Starnes reports that a soldier is being reprimanded for even reading Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. One can be sure if he were reading one of Barack Obama’s autobiographies, not a word would have been said to him.
But in one sense, one could understand why military brass who are sympathetic to the progressive agenda, having been educated in America’s universities, would be skittish about enlisted men reading such “reactionary” ideas as the ones animating the American Revolution of limited government, liberty and individual rights. Never mind that the entire military and the Commander-in-Chief swear loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. But “what difference does it make,” right?
The American people must not be fatigued by these scandals, and should see them for what they are: declarations that their government has been seized from them by a faction calling itself “progressive.” Unless something more serious than idle banter among the Washington political class is done, the government will only grow in its attacks upon the personal lives of Americans. The state will swell until it swallows society whole and the self-determination of the individual along with it.
Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as The Night Stalker and sentenced to die for his brutal murders in Los Angeles County, California in the early Eighties, has died of natural causes in a hospital. He was 53.
Ramirez, who in 1985 was found guilty of 14 murders, 5 attempted murders and six rapes, appears to have been unusually attractive to female admirers. One of those admirers included his wife, Doreen Lioy, who first saw him in a news story.
Feeling that he needed a friend, she commenced to write him a letter. He wrote back and she became his advocate to the press, insisting that Ramirez could not have done the things he was accused of. She reportedly wrote 75 letters to him before she met him. The meeting only deepened their connection, although Ramirez often disappointed her by allowing the visits of other enamored women.
Doreen sat through every day of the trial, decrying its unfairness to any journalist who would listen. She purchased clothing for Ramirez to wear and jealously watched the other women who showed up. Carlo reports that she thought she was the only one who truly loved him. But she wasn’t alone in that sentiment.
She was chosen as an alternate juror, but when Ramirez challenged one of the primary jurors and got him dismissed, Haden won a slot. She accepted it with visible excitement. On Valentine’s Day, she had sent Ramirez a cupcake with a message, “I love you,” on it. Ramirez apparently believed that she would not convict him.
He was wrong. She did vote to convict, but later met with him in jail. She told him that she loved him, and allowed him to meet her parents. But it was Doreen who won out in the end, marrying in 1996.
Ardently devoted to him, she visited him four times a week and was often among the first in the visiting line. She made it a point to pack breath mints, explaining: “So I can be able to kiss with confidence.”
When people pointed out the strangeness of her choice of spouses, she rolled her eyes.
Three padlocks meant to keep trespassers out of the greater Boston water supply in Framingham, Massachusetts were cut and a fourth was damaged, according to State Police. The incident comes just three weeks after 7 foreign nationals were arrested for trespassing at the Quabbin water reserve.
The Hultman Aqueduct carries drinking water to Boston and surrounding towns. Three access hatches about a half mile apart, with clearly visible “No Trespassing” signage, had their locks cut. A fourth lock was damaged but not fully cut. Officials are calling the latest incident “vandalism” with no connection to terrorist activity, though State Police have increased patrols in the area.
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority released a statement Monday saying, “MWRA’s real-time water quality monitoring shows no change in water quality nor any sign of contamination” at the aqueduct. A similar statement was made shortly after the trespassing arrests in May.
Information regarding the 7 individuals of Middle Eastern decent who were arrested just after midnight May 14th was characterized as “confidential” by a clerk at the East Hampshire District Court in Framingham. The names, charges, and court dates have not been released by authorities, but local news reports say the individuals live in 4 separate Boston suburbs and New York City. How the 7 came to be at the same location in the middle of the night to trespass on Quabbin Water Reserve property remains unclear. Requests for this data and more via a Freedom of Information Act Request, as well as multiple messages for Massachusetts State Police Chief Legal Counsel have not yet been returned.
Accused Colorado theater shooter, James Holmes was in court today to plead not guilty due to insanity. If found guilty, Holmes could face the death penalty for the deaths of 12 movie-goers at the Aurora theater. The 25-year-old is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder, arising from the rampage that left 12 dead, and dozens more wounded.
The judge, Carlos Samour Jr., had delayed ruling on whether to accept such an insanity plea until legal questions surrounding the matter were resolved.
Among those issues was a challenge to the state’s insanity-defense law by public defenders. They argued that a provision of the statute that requires a defendant mounting an insanity defense to submit to an examination by court-appointed psychiatrists is unconstitutional.
Compelling a defendant to divulge information that could be used against him at trial and at sentencing violates his right against self-incrimination, they argued. But Samour upheld the law last week, setting the stage for Tuesday’s hearing.
Holmes has been hospitalized twice while in custody – once for self-inflicted head injuries, and once when he was held in restraints in a psychiatric ward. He was ordered to stand trial in January, after it had been revealed in testimony by investigators that he had spent months preparing to commit mass murder by acquiring firearms and bomb making materials.