Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Inmates of the Clark County jail in Jefferson made their own drugs, stashed weapons all over the jail and engaged in rampant gay prostitution

By Ollie Gillman | Daily Mail | May 28, 2016

Homemade drugs, violent attacks over food and rampant gay prostitution have been exposed at one of America's toughest jails after seven people went in undercover as prisoners.

The brave civilians posed as inmates for a documentary as they spent two months behind bars alongside dangerous thugs and drug dealers at Clark County Jail in Jefferson, Indiana.

The volunteers were sent in with fake identities and were treated like prisoners for the full two months, with none of the inmates and hardly any of the jail's staff knowing they were not convicts.

The undercover prisoners discovered that drug use was huge inside the jail.

With illegal substances harder to get hold of, the inmates had taken to making their own homemade highs, including one called 'crack stick'.

They would make the drug by crushing an e-cigarette filter, wrapping it in coffee-soaked toilet paper and smoking it, Business Insider reported.

DIY drugs were not enough for the convicts, with narcotics also smuggled in from outside the jail.

Low-risk prisoners were allowed to help with tasks like food preparation, but the documentary discovered that they were using this as a way of getting drugs into cells.

Trusted inmates would hide drugs inside the food trays and smuggle them into the women's section of Clark County Jail.

Other items hidden all over the correctional facility included blades made from any items prisoners could get their hands on.

This included a plastic toothbrush sharpened to make a dangerous weapon and a metal shank that was found stashed inside a lighting fixture.

More contraband discovered in the prison block included cell phones. Armed guards had to raid sections of the facility to find a phone on one occasion after fears it was being used to organize attacks on inmates.

The undercover prisoners also found that convicts would get into the most trivial of fights, with one violent row breaking out after a man failed to give another his hash brown as promised.

'It's not really fighting over hash browns. It's fighting over a guy not keeping his word,' one of the show's volunteers said.

Another of the seven posing as prisoners said they could tell a fight was about to start when inmates started 'lacing up' their sneakers.

They revealed that violent prisoners preferred not to wear their jail-issued sandals when brawling as they would slip.

Gay prostitution was rife in the male section of the jail, with one inmate offering himself to others in exchange for items from the commissary.

Prisoners had other ways of getting hold of goods from the commissary too. One new inmate was pressured into buying luxury items, such as beef jerky, for a tougher

Even one of the volunteers was targeted during her two-month imprisonment. An inmate who was higher up the food chain stole the woman's sandals from her feet, leaving her confused as to whether she should stand up for herself and risk a beating, or allow it but risk being regarded as easy prey.

One of the volunteer inmates, a Marine called Zac, told the News and Tribune that he met a fellow serviceman behind bars on drug charges.

'I mean whether it's PTSD or chemical dependency - whatever it was that caused Brian to go down the path he went as opposed to the path that I chose in my life - it's a tough situation,' Zac said.

'But at the same time, he still signed a contract with his life on the line, so that brotherhood still exists there.'

There was also suffering on the cell, with one female inmate trying to kill themselves by leaping from a second-floor railing.

Prisoners were given one hour a day of recreation time, in which they were taken into an enclosed room, where they could socialize and exercise.

One of the volunteers ended up in solitary confinement for breaking a jail rule.

The harsh conditions saw the man, called Robert, held in a tiny cell for half of his time in the facility. He was held in the cramped room for 23 hours a day.

Cameras were set up all around the jail for the A&E documentary series 60 Days In, with the prison's 500 inmates told filming was taking place - but not why.

Sheriff Jamey Noel told Entertainment Weekly that the prisoners soon forgot about the cameras and did not know they were locked up with seven people from the outside world.

He said the volunteers were given 'certain code words and different gestures' they could do if they felt they were in danger.

Prison staff would then rush in and take them to another part of the jail - something Noel says happened a few times.

The Sheriff allowed the filming so he could learn where the prison is going wrong, and one inmate has since been charged with drugs offenses after smuggling illegal substances into the jail.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What those volunteers found is quite common in many of America’s jails and prisons. With the exception of a super-max, inmates are the ones who actually run prisons, and they do it by the law of the jungle.


“Don’t roofie someone on our watch!”

By Hilary Hanson | The Huffington Post | May 29, 2016

People of the internet are celebrating a tale of three women who allegedly headed off an apparent rape attempt, according to a viral Facebook post by one of the women.

Sonia Ulrich wrote that she and two other women — Monica Kenyon and Marla Saltzer — were at the Santa Monica, California restaurant FIG Thursday night when Kenyon witnessed a man placing a suspicious-looking substance in his date’s drink while she was in the bathroom.

Ulrich says followed the woman into the bathroom and told her what they saw. While she expected to hear that the man and woman recently met, she was shaken to learn the man was one of the woman’s “best friends.”

The women alerted the management, which led to restaurant security reviewing footage that caught him in the act, the post says. Ulrich described the eerie feeling while Fig employees stalled before police showed up:

The poor woman had to sit through 40 more minutes, sitting across from “one of her best friends” knowing that he was trying to drug her. Marla noticed him several times chinking his glass to hers to get her to drink. She played it cool. Mostly, I believed, just stunned. The staff wanted to jump in and dump the glass, dump him, do something! I was going through fantasies of walking up and demanding he drink the tainted glass of wine. Eventually, they finished up dinner. There was a delay getting their bill “The computer is down” is what the waiter kept saying to him. Then, in walks Santa Monica PD. They say “Come with us” and he doesn’t protest. Doesn’t ask why. Doesn’t seem surprised.

It ended up being a good thing that the staff didn’t dump the glass, since police took it away to use as evidence, according to Ulrich.

But one of the most moving — and disturbing — parts of the story was how many other people in the restaurant thanked the women, having been close to sexual assault themselves:

From every table In our section, from through out the restaurant, people came by to thank us for taking action.

“It happened to my sister...I’m glad I was there to take her home.”

“It happened to my roommate at a producer’s party. He’s still messed up from it.”

“It happened to me. At a backyard barbecue.”

“It happened to me. At a bar I worked at.”

“Some Heroes don’t wear capes. Thank you. It happened to me. Thank you.”

“Fuck yeah you guys! You fuckin rock!”

At least 10 stories of being personally affected [by] someone like this. Something like this. Those were only the ones who knew what went down. I am sure there were tons more stories through out the restaurant and the hotel.

Santa Monica Police Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez confirmed to The Huffington Post that they arrested 24-year-old Michael Hsu on charges of intent to commit rape and drugging with the intent to commit rape. He is being held on $1 million bail, and his arraignment is on Tuesday, Rodriguez said.

He said that three witnesses reported seeing the man put an unidentified substance in a woman’s drink.

“We appreciate those witnesses came forward,” Rodriguez said. “It could have prevented a serious crime from taking place.”

A woman who answered the phone at Fig said she was not allowed to comment on the Facebook post. But earlier on Saturday, a woman at Fig told Jezebel that everything in the post was true.

People can be weirdly hesitant about intervening in a potential assault — partially because they misunderstand rape.

“Sexual assaults and rapes are often not considered ‘real rapes’ by victims, friends, family, or the criminal justice system unless they involved force, violence, and were committed by a stranger with a weapon,” criminal justice professor Sarah Nicks told HuffPost last year. “So when a bystander is aware of a sexual assault, they may not see it as a problem or an emergency, due to the social norms of their group and setting. They may look around for cues to see if others define it as an emergency, and seeing none, do nothing.”

That’s part of the reason why many colleges are increasingly focused on bystander intervention as a means of preventing rape. But in the meantime, know that stepping in if you see something suspicious can really make a huge difference.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Stepping in if you see something suspicious can really make a huge difference.” Yup, and it can also get your ass shot dead.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Interstate 10 is a band formed by two American soldiers who are currently serving in Afghanistan.

First Lt. Andrew Yacovone and First Lt. Justin Wright filmed this video as “a tribute to the soldiers who died during the fight for our country.”

Because the two lieutenants are based more than 300 miles apart in Afghanistan they had to use Skype to get everything finished before the Memorial Day weekend.


Shootout with AR-15s and the SWAT response leaves two dead, six wounded including two cops, a police helicopter with five bullet holes and a gas station on fire

BarkGrowlBite | May 30, 2016

Talk about the shootout at the OK Corral, well how about what happened Sunday morning in Houston. It makes the OK Corral shooting look like a Memorial Day picnic.

It seems as though two Rambo idiots armed with AR-15s decided to go on a shooting spree. The movie-like event started around 10:15 a.m. in a residential neighborhood of west Houston. The pair fired at passing cars, narrowly missing the drivers. A stray bullet killed a man peering out a window. Other stray bullets sat a nearby gas station on fire.

When the first cop cars arrived, the Rambos fired on them. The windshield of one cop car was riddled with 10 bullet holes and its hood had at least three bullet holes. The officers in that car were very lucky not to be hit. A police helicopter arrived and was promptly hit by five bullets. The officers in the whirlybird also escaped injury.

Then the HPD SWAT team arrived and put an end to the nonsense, killing one of the Rambos and critically wounding the other.

The shootout lasted past 1 p.m. By the time it was all over, three civilian bystanders and two cops had been wounded. The officers were not seriously injured.

Bob Walsh often wrote about the frequent shootings in his hometown of Stockton, California. I’ll bet that Stockton never saw anything approaching that wild west shootout in wild west Houston.

UPDATE: Apparently there was only one Rambo and he was Army veteran Dionisio Garza III, 25, who served in Afghanistan. Garza, originally from San Bernardino, California, may have been suffering from PTSD.


U.S. District Judge Frederic Block refuses to send woman cocaine smuggler to prison, puts her on probation instead

By Benjamin Weiser | The New York Times | May 25, 2016

A federal judge in Brooklyn, in an extraordinary opinion issued on Wednesday that calls for courts to pay closer attention to how felony convictions affect people’s lives, sentenced a woman in a drug case to probation rather than prison, saying the collateral consequences she would face as a felon were punishment enough.

The judge, Frederic Block of Federal District Court, said such consequences served “no useful function other than to further punish criminal defendants after they have completed their court-imposed sentences.”

The judge noted that there were nearly 50,000 federal and state statutes and regulations that imposed penalties on felons.

Those penalties — denial of government benefits, ineligibility for public housing, suspension of student loans, revocation or suspension of driver’s licenses — can have devastating effects, he wrote, adding that they may be “particularly disruptive to an ex-convict’s efforts at rehabilitation and reintegration into society.”

The issue of collateral consequences has been considered by other courts, but Judge Block’s 42-page opinion, with his call for reform, appears to be one of the most detailed examinations yet.

Judge Block’s sentencing opinion was issued in the case of Chevelle Nesbeth, who was arrested last year at Kennedy International Airport after a search of her luggage turned up 600 grams of cocaine, court records show.

In the opinion, the judge said he considered her crimes to be serious and called her criminal conduct “inexcusable.” But he also listed an array of consequences that she would quite likely face as a result of her felony drug convictions, like being ineligible for grants, loans and work assistance for two years, the duration of her college career.

He noted that the inability to obtain housing and employment stemming from a conviction often results in “further disastrous consequences, such as losing child custody or going homeless,” and leads to many ex-convicts’ “becoming recidivists and restarting the criminal cycle.”

The judge’s ruling does not create a binding legal precedent for other courts, but it is likely to contribute to the national debate about the criminal justice system.

Gabriel J. Chin, a professor at the University of California, Davis, School of Law, called the opinion “groundbreaking.”

“This is by some distance the most careful and thorough judicial examination” of collateral consequences in sentencing, said Professor Chin, who has written on the subject and whose work the judge cited in the opinion.

“It’s going to generate debate on a critical issue in the criminal justice system — the ability of people convicted of crimes to get on with their lives,” he said.

Ms. Nesbeth had claimed that she was given the suitcases by friends and was unaware they contained drugs. A jury was unpersuaded, convicting her of importation of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, the judge wrote. She faced a sentence of 33 to 41 months under the advisory guidelines.

But in a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Block sentenced Ms. Nesbeth to one year of probation, to include six months of home confinement and 100 hours of community service, and said he would elaborate on his reasoning in the full opinion.

Amanda L. David, a federal public defender representing Ms. Nesbeth, said of the ruling, “It’s refreshing, really, to see a judge considering the ramifications that a lot of people don’t even know about, much less consider, when they think about a person being sentenced.” But even with the probationary sentence, Ms. David said, it was disheartening that there “are all these doors that are closed to her based on her conviction.”

The United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn declined to comment. But in a memo to the judge before sentencing, the office said the collateral consequences of Ms. Nesbeth’s convictions were necessary given her “serious criminal conduct.” Such restrictions, the office added, were “meant to promote public safety, by limiting an individual’s access to certain jobs or sensitive areas,” and “to ensure that government resources are being spent on those who obey the law.”

In the opinion, Judge Block quoted from the work of the legal scholar Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”

“Today a criminal freed from prison has scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a freed slave or a black person living ‘free’ in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow,” she wrote in one section quoted by Judge Block.

The judge noted that Ms. Nesbeth, who was 20 at the time of her conviction and lived with her mother in New Haven, had been enrolled in college and was also working as a nail technician to help support herself.

Daniel C. Richman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches criminal law at Columbia, added that “however laudable it is for the judge to highlight this problem, his decision can’t solve it, even for this defendant.”

“As the judge himself has made clear,” Professor Richman added, “the source of the problem is outside of his control, all these different statutes.”

Indeed, Judge Block, who has served for more than two decades on the federal bench, said that while judges should consider such consequences at sentencing, it was for Congress and state legislatures “to determine whether the plethora of post-sentence punishments imposed upon felons is truly warranted, and to take a hard look at whether they do the country more harm than good.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Those who smuggle drugs and commit serious crimes know that getting caught usually means prison time. I would suggest that, rather than placing them on probation, authorities should put up billboards all over high crime neighborhoods and along well-traveled roadways prominently describing the collateral consequences of felony convictions. If that doesn’t deter people from committing felonies, they deserve to be imprisoned, the collateral consequences thereof notwithstanding.


Susy Laborin got caught at the Nogales border crossing with one pound of meth stuffed in a burrito

The Smoking Gun | May 24, 2016

An Arizona woman tried to smuggle a methamphetamine-stuffed burrito into the U.S. from Mexico, but was thwarted when federal agents sniffed out her scheme, investigators report.

As detailed in a U.S. District Court complaint, Susy Laborin, 23, sought to enter the U.S. Saturday afternoon via a pedestrian gate at the border crossing in Nogales, Arizona.

Laborin, seen above, was “carrying a plastic bag containing burritos,” according to the complaint. But when a Customs and Border Protection officer examined the grub, the investigator discovered a bag of meth “concealed in the shape of a burrito.”

The meth, which weighed about a pound, is valued at more than $3000, CBP officials said.

Laborin, the complaint notes, admitted that she knew the burrito was stuffed with meth and said that she “was supposed to be paid $500 to transport the drugs via shuttle from Nogales to Tuscon where she would deliver them to an unknown third party.”

Laborin, a Nogales resident, was charged with narcotics possession. A federal magistrate yesterday ordered her detained pending trial on the felony charge.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s too bad for poor Suzy that she will not be appearing bedore U.S. District Judge Frederic Block in Brooklyn. Judge Block would have put her on probation instead of sending her to prison because he is troubled by the collateral consequences of a felony conviction.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


Students say their activism work doesn’t leave them with enough time for course work

By Becca Stanek | The Week | May 2016

Students at Oberlin College are asking the school to put academics on the back burner so they can better turn their attention to activism. More than 1,300 students at the Midwestern liberal arts college have now signed a petition asking that the college get rid of any grade below a C for the semester, and some students are requesting alternatives to the standard written midterm examination, such as a conversation with a professor in lieu of an essay.

The students say that between their activism work and their heavy course load, finding success within the usual grading parameters is increasingly difficult. "A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting," Megan Bautista, a co-liaison in Oberlin's student government, said, referring to the protests surrounding the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a police officer in 2014. "But we needed to organize on campus as well — it wasn't sustainable to keep driving 40 minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically."

The student activists' request doesn't come without precedence: In the 1970s, Oberlin adjusted its grading to accommodate student activists protesting the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings, The New Yorker reports. But current students contend that same luxury was not granted to them even though the recent Rice protests were over a police shooting that took place just 30 miles east of campus.

"You know, we're paying for a service. We're paying for our attendance here. We need to be able to get what we need in a way that we can actually consume it," student Zakiya Acey told The New Yorker. "Because I'm dealing with having been arrested on campus, or having to deal with the things that my family are going through because of larger systems — having to deal with all of that, I can't produce the work that they want me to do. But I understand the material, and I can give it to you in different ways."

EDITOR’S NOTE: What’s next? Abolish finals and any grades below B? Compared to colleges and universities in China, Japan and European countries, American academia is becoming a joke. I can foresee degrees being printed on toilet paper because that’s all they’re going to be worth, especially if President Obama and Hillary Clinton get their way by providing everyone in America with a college education.

Apparently, Oberlin students believe that activism is more important than studying. I wonder where they got that? Me thinks I smell some Marxist profs lurking in the background.

And what do they mean by ‘activism work’? All you have to do is look at the college-age participants in the Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump demonstrations and you have the answer.

The Oberlin students remind me of my old days on the faculty of College of the Mainland where the Marxists controlled the administration for more than 30 years. They would never give their students any grade below C. The Marxist profs and their fellow travelers on the faculty believed Ds and – God forbid – Fs were punitive grades.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


After a scathing criticism by the IG for her use of a private server and email address, Hillary said the report was insignificant and “nothing has changed.”

BarkGrowlBite | May 28, 2016

Hillary Clinton waited more than 24 hours before responding to a scathing criticism by the State Department’s Inspector General which accused her of breaking the department’s rules in her use of a private server and email address.

The IG report said Clinton did not have permission to use a private server and had she asked, her request would have been denied. The IG was also harshly critical of her because she took 22 months to turn over her emails to the department after she resigned as Secretary of State.

“At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report said.

Clinton said the report was insignificant and complained that it was made without her input even though she and her aides refused to be interviewed by the State Department’s watchdog agency.

Hillary told reporters that she had been questioned by the Benghazi committee for 11 hours and had posted information about the emails on her website. She suggested that was all that was necessary because “nothing has changed.”

Clinton cherry-picked one part of the report to come up with a lame excuse. Ignoring the IG’s scathing criticism, she said: “This report makes clear that personal email use was the practice for other secretaries of state. It's the same story. Just like previous secretaries of state, I used a personal email. Many people did. It was not at all unprecedented. I have turned over all my emails. No one else can say that.”

I’m surprised she didn’t claim that the IG report was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

For those of you whose hopes have suddenly been revived that crooked Hillary will yet be indicted, I say get real! It ain’t about to happen under the Obama administration.


A man in India left his camel tied up in the heat all day and when he returned, one thoroughly pissed-off camel bit his head off

BarkGrowlBite | May 28, 2016

Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes? Nope. Revenge of the Killer Camel? Yes!

The Times of India reports that Urjaram of Mangta village in Rajasthan's Barmer district left his camel with its legs tied up all day in the heat Saturday while he entertained guests at his house. That night it suddenly occurred to him that he had left his camel tied up all day. When he went to check on the animal, one pissed-off camel retaliated by biting Urjaram’s head off.

The times reports that “The animal lifted him by the neck and threw him on to the ground, chewed the body and severed the head.” About 25 villagers struggled for 6 hours to calm the animal down.

Camels can be downright mean animals. They spit at people and bite. So don’t lose your head around a pissed-off camel.

Friday, May 27, 2016



Peeing in the street, loitering, littering, noise and drinking alcohol out of a paper bagged bottle will be classified as civil matters rather than criminal offenses

BarkGrowlBite | May 27, 2016

With 39 out of the 51 members voting in favor, the New York City Council sent Mayor Bill de Blasio a series of measures decriminalizing peeing in the streets, loitering, littering, noise, drinking alcohol out of a paper bagged bottle and other quality of life offenses.

The decriminalized offenses are quite common in inner city minority neighborhoods.

De Blasio said he will sign the measures into law. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton supports the changes because cops will retain the authority to choose between issuing criminal and civil summonses.

Instead of being jailed and burdened with a criminal record, the civil offenders will be given the choice of paying fines or doing community service work.

Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) said that “Criminalizing minor offenses leads to minorities getting criminal records that restrict their 'access to financial aid and higher education. These essential elements of a decent life... can be easily blighted by the lingering stigma of a criminal record.”

A New York Daily News editorial summed it up this way: Offenders get breaks. The NYPD gets new hassles and city government gets hefty new quasi-judicial bureaucratic duties. Progressive New York at its finest.

And The Wall Street Journal says: There you have the perfect progressive definition of personal responsibility: I had no choice but to relieve myself on the sidewalk. As we learned in the 1960s and 1970s, making the city safer for small offenders will eventually make it less safe for everyone else.


Albuquerque anti-Trump protesters waved Mexican flags and pelted the police and their horses with rocks and bottles

BarkGrowlBite | May 27, 2016

Donald Trump held arally Tuesday evening inside the Albuquerque Convention center. Before he arrived, a crowd of more than 100 protesters had gathered with signs reading that Trump does not belong in New Mexico and other anti-Trump slogans. A number of the protesters were waving Mexican flags.

As the evening wore on the crowd swelled to over a thousand and became unruly. A full-blown riot broke out during which the police and their horses were pelted with rocks and bottles. The rioteers damaged police cars, set fires and broke the windows in the convention center. Many in the crowd chanted “Fuck the police!”

Several cops were injured by the rocks and bottles. Although the police were out in force, they made only one arrest. Only one arrest?

Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis reacted to the rioting by expressing his disgust on Facebook:

The violence that we’re seeing this evening is absolutely unacceptable and is not the fault of Donald Trump, his campaign, or the attendees at the rally this evening. It is directly the result of so called public interest groups, such as ProgressNM and the Southwest Organizing Project, fomenting hate.

These organizations this evening devolved from community action groups to hate groups by every usual measure. This was not a protest – it was a riot that was the result of a mob trying to cause damage and injury to public property and innocent citizens exercising their constitutional right to peaceably assemble.

Today represents a dark day for the First Amendment in the city of Albuquerque.

Very well said Councilor Lewis!

I did a little checking on ProgressNM and the Southwest Organizing Project. ProgressNM is funded largely by none other than far-left billionaire George Soros and proclaims, “We’re here for just one reason: to speak up for New Mexico’s progressive majority.”

The Southwest Organizing Project is an equally-far-left group. “The SouthWest Organizing Project was founded in 1980 by young activists of color to empower communities in the SouthWest to realize racial and gender equality and social and economic justice.” That sure sounds like SWOP was thought up by some Marxist university professors.

I’ve watched several videos of the protesters and noticed that a number of them waved Mexican flags. I did not observe any American flags.

I strongly support the right of aggrieved people to protest peaceably. If they’re going to wave flags, it should be the American flag, not the flags of a foreign nation.

To those Albuquerque demonstrators who were waving those Mexican flags, I say take those flags to Mexico and stay there!


“We've been accused of having institutional biases and racist undertones. Come on, this is San Francisco, are you kidding me?”

By Max Cherney | VICE News | May 23, 2016

The police killing of a 27-year-old black woman in San Francisco on Thursday may have been something of a tipping point for local law enforcement. Generating national headlines, the woman's death while fleeing cops—she was suspected of driving a stolen car, which crashed shortly after police began pursuit—was promptly followed by Mayor Edwin Lee asking for for Police Chief Greg Suhr's resignation.

The chief called it quits that same day.

The roughly 2,000-strong SFPD has killed three people since December, including one homeless man. So it only figures that, like some other big-city police departments in America, it's facing intense scrutiny from the media and the Justice Department. Not that San Francisco cops haven't found ways to stick out from the pack: racist and homophobic text messages from 14 officers surfaced amid a federal criminal trial last year, and they've continued to plague police-community relations after four more officers were recently implicated in the exchanges.

So if Suhr's resignation was a bloodstained victory for activists and protesters who have been calling for his ouster for months, it's unclear what effect removing the top cop will have on the department and its officers. For an inside view, VICE got on the horn with an SFPD officer who has 20 years of experience, including undercover narcotics work and posts in some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. He spoke with us on the condition of anonymity because, like most American cops, he is not an authorized spokesman for his department.

VICE: Chief Greg Suhr resigned after the mayor asked him to. What's going on there, and what are regular cops saying about it?

SFPD Officer: The rank and file are not pleased, particularly with the circumstances in which the chief was asked to resign. He was well-liked. He was honorable. I think everybody recognizes that this is a political move by the mayor because he was getting pressure from a small segment of the community and city officials. It's unfortunate.

But the chief knew, as well as every single cop, that soon after the shooting Thursday we were going to have protests and the potential for riots. And the chief could have said, "No, I'm not resigning," which is what a lot of cops said they wanted him to do. But he doesn't fight it. He is an honorable man. He realizes that if he falls on this sword, he is going to help the city move forward. Plus, he's going to be taking care of all the cops out there in riot gear, getting hit with anything from insults to beer bottles, and maybe worse. So he fell on the sword.

It's an amazing world when the actions of officers on the street directly affect whether or not the chief of police stays employed. People are holding him responsible for split second decisions being made by other people, of which he has zero control in that moment. But yet he is the one who people look to to blame or hold responsible. It's frustrating.

The phase "cop's cop" has been tossed around in a few news stories to describe the chief. What does that mean, exactly, in 2016?
He has our respect. He took an unusual path to be the chief of police. In many cases chiefs, and particularly in other law enforcement agencies, have been groomed from the beginning. They didn't get tough assignments and work in tough neighborhoods. They did administrative assignments: in the rear with the gear kind of gigs.

No, Suhr is a working cop, and was for thirty years. He started out as a patrol officer, and he worked his way up. And when he was chief, he had an open door policy that any cop on the street go in and say, "Hey chief, can you explain to me why this is this way?" Many chiefs in the past were elusive, hands off, and insulated by a number of other administrative officers. And if you're going to be Monday morning quarterbacked (after an officer-involved shooting), you want to be judged by somebody who's walked in the same shoes you're walking in.

When it comes to officer-involved shootings and the national attention they receive, are San Francisco cops afraid the climate may get even worse?
I think there's a deep concern. I mean, more than ever we understand that every single thing that we do is subject to a ton of media attention and public scrutiny, particularly when it comes to officer-involved shootings. But I think that we don't feel like we get a fair shake from the media. In general, the media places undue responsibility on law enforcement, which completely ignores the person, the crook, who is committing these crimes. I don't understand that. We don't pick a name out of a hat and decide that today we're going to make contact with a certain person and transform the situation completely upside down where ultimately it ends with somebody dying. That's not what the police do. If someone does something and that brings them into contact with the police, it's in their interest to comply. Comply when contacted.

It's also often portrayed in a way as if this is something that's happening every single day and that this is the status quo. It's not. In San Francisco, we're dealing with individuals with mental illnesses hundreds of times per day. Officers make contact with thousands of other citizens of all races. And, yeah, sometimes it doesn't go the way that anybody wants it to go—worst case: an officer-involved shooting. But the vast majority of the time it does not get to that level.

What about the racist text messages and claims that there's a culture of racism in the SFPD?
I don't believe, nor have I seen, anything that made me think that there is a culture of racism within this police department. On any given day, your coworkers come from all kinds of different ethnic backgrounds. These are the people that you work with, and in a job like being a police officer in San Francisco, these are the people you count on to have your back. These are your friends.

I will acknowledge that sometimes conversations can be wide open. It's like how players talk shit to one another when they're on their field. There is absolutely trash talk, and it's a culture that I would call gallows humor. It's humor much more harsh—because of the nature of the job— than I think mainstream individuals could necessarily understand. But we've been accused of having institutional biases and racist undertones. Come on, this is San Francisco, are you kidding me? Who has time for that?

When I hear about text messages, the first thing you have to remember is these things are taken out of context. That gallows humor is a very hard thing to explain. But it's not institutional racism. Having said that, I have read some of the text messages that have been made public. Some of them, yeah, I thought they were extremely distasteful. And this is from a cop with twenty years of experience. So maybe there are some individuals, because I can't say across the board—I know it makes for a much better story in the media if you make it sound like we're all a bunch of racist cops. We're not. But the bottom line is that even if society doesn't or can't understand cop culture, we still shouldn't be talking to one another or about one another like that.

How have the (polarizing) changes in the city, in large part spurred by the tech boom in Silicon Valley, changed the crime picture in your neighborhoods?
It's had a subtle effect in the Tenderloin. You've got to remember that most of the drug dealers and drug users in the Tenderloin don't live in San Francisco, they commute there. So gentrification is happening and reducing crime in the Tenderloin, but it's slow. The places to buy drugs still move around like they always have: Pill Hill (a good place to score prescription drugs) used to be at Jones and Golden Gate. Now it's at Leavenworth and Golden Gate. I see some ebb and flow, but it's going to take a lot more gentrification to eliminate it. But just look at the Mission District. Huge gentrification effect. I remember Sixteenth Street and Valencia being a really rough place circa 1994, and now you go down there, and it's Whole Foods and Audis.

OK, I have to ask before you go: What do San Francisco cops think about Trump?
Yeah, he might be extreme, certainly by San Francisco standards. And no, I've never seen him talk to a San Francisco cop. But the more interesting thing is that we're concerned with is, if Donald Trump becomes president, he might put an end to sanctuary cities. We work in a sanctuary city. I think most cops believe that there are a lot of hard-working immigrants families in San Francisco, and sometimes they need the police. And we don't want them to be afraid of calling the police. But if San Francisco doesn't go along with the feds [and start enforcing national immigration policies], we're afraid that they will pull a lot of money; it's financial support not only for law enforcement but also for mental health and homelessness. That could be a big problem for San Francisco.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.


By Richard Winton and Howard Blume | Los Angeles Times | May 25, 2016

In a recent court hearing, one young man after another claimed that former Franklin High football coach Jaime Jimenez befriended them during summer practice before 9th grade, then sexually abused them.

But it’s not the allegations against Jimenez that are at the center of a lawsuit filed this month against the Los Angeles Unified School District. It’s about whether school officials once again missed — or ignored — warning signs about Jimenez that prolonged the alleged abuse.

The nation's second-largest school system has been plagued in recent years by a series of cases in which officials missed indications of teacher misconduct, and in some instances, continued to employ teachers who were under a cloud, or ignored or overlooked direct complaints.

The result is a trail of victimized students and massive payouts to victims and attorneys that have surpassed $300 million in just the last four years.

The district paid $40 million related to abuse at Telfair Elementary School after plaintiffs claimed the district overlooked earlier molestation allegations made against a teacher. The settlement was $58 million in the case of a George De La Torre Elementary School teacher, who faced numerous accusations of touching students that the district ignored. The biggest payout -- $200 million -- came after revelations that the district knew of complaints dating back to 1983 about a Miramonte Elementary School teacher accused of abusing numerous students in his classroom.

"Districts are not liable for criminal acts," said attorney Mary Jo McGrath, who has advised school districts and conducted investigations for them. "They are liable for what they did not do.”

LAUSD officials acknowledge past mistakes, but insist they have taken strong measures and now have some of the most extensive policies for preventing and uncovering abuse.

But a pattern has emerged: The district announces measures to make students safer, only to discover a new weakness in the system or to find that policies were not followed.

And predators keep surfacing.

Jimenez, 47, has pleaded not guilty to 32 felony counts for alleged wrongdoing stretching as far back as 2001.

Prosecutors say he actively pursued and abused boys from then until early 2015, when he was arrested. That was well after the district imposed a series of reforms in the wake of the Miramonte scandal.

Witnesses ranging in age from 16 to 27 testified in February that, over 14 years, Jimenez, a walk-on coach who assisted the full-time staff, gave them rides from practice, bought them gifts, regularly had students to his house to play computer games and to watch movies and football on TV. They frequently slept over; sometimes he plied them with alcohol, they said.

He allegedly ratcheted up sexual contact, moving from touching to masturbation and sodomy. A fixture in the Franklin community, Jimenez knew some of his alleged victims when they were in elementary school; one testified that the abuse began when he was 9.

The lawyer for some of the victims said it's hard to believe officials at the school didn't suspect something was going on with one of his clients.

"Teachers and administrators would see him coming and going in (Jimenez’s) car and they know that is against policy,” attorney Vince Finaldi said.

That theme, of missing warning signs, or of failing to take seriously when a parent or student complained about discomfort with a teacher, has surfaced repeatedly in recent years.

Complaints against former teacher De La Torre teacher Robert Pimentel spanned a decade.

His supervisor, former district Principal Irene Hinojosa, fielded concerns about Pimentel touching students in 2002, when she documented a conference with the teacher about touching and slapping girls' buttocks and touching their calves. The teacher admitted the conduct, with the excuse that he was on medication, which increased his sex hormones, according to the documents.

Three years later, Hinojosa received a search warrant from the Newport Beach police requesting “Mr. Pimentel’s employment and personnel files” because of an investigation into Pimentel's alleged abuse of a minor who was related to him.

It's not clear whether these early reports rose above Hinojosa, for whom Pimentel worked at two campuses.

In 2009, senior administrators learned of allegations through a report from social worker Holly Priebe-Diaz, who had talked to parents demonstrating against Hinojosa. Their concerns included Pimentel, who, the parents told her, "has been known to touch female students inappropriately...he caresses the girls.” One parent described his rubbing a girl’s back and “stroking her bra strap.”

Thirteen of the damage claims concerned actions Pimentel took after Priebe-Diaz's 2009 report and after the district imposed new internal rules designed to better detect abusive teachers.

Plaintiff attorneys said the district should have acted much sooner against Pimentel.

“They put policies in place. They say they are reforming and then it turns out administrators ignored all the reports,” said attorney John Manly, who has represented some of the abuse victims.

Pimentel was eventually convicted of child abuse and sentenced to 12 years in state prison.

Los Angeles is far from the only school system to grapple with allegations of molestation by teachers. Just last month, a jury ordered the Pomona Unified School District to pay $8 million to a former student who was molested repeatedly by a teacher, including once during a Disneyland visit.

But L.A. Unified's sheer size, and the outrageous nature of several high-profile cases, has kept the issue front and center for several years.

The district's most expensive abuse case involves Mark Berndt, a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School south of downtown L.A. The district has spent $200 million on claims made by students, and more cases are outstanding.

The size of settlements are also creeping upward. Those first Miramonte claims cost the district about $500,000 each in 2013. Later, similar cases crossed the million-dollar mark. Last week's payouts in the Pimentel case averaged about $3 million per student. The district last week also resolved suits related to former Telfair Elementary teacher Paul Chapel for about $30 million, bringing the total payouts in that case to nearly $40 million.

The largest payment to one victim was $6.9 million in 2012 to a boy repeatedly sexually abused by former Queen Anne Place Elementary teacher Forrest Stobbe.

"Because of these settlements, the injury caused by these criminals truly is an injury to all," said school board President Steve Zimmer. "But I’m not going to say the settlements are too much. There is no amount of money that can undo what was done. The No. 1 concern is the healing of children who were injured under our watch. The second is the activity of a tiny, tiny fraction of employees who were criminals masquerading as teachers."

District officials say every case is unique and that the circumstances determine the dollars, but the district's accumulated reputation and record may work against it — attorneys for victims routinely cite the district's past mistakes in court filings.

Other potentially costly cases are working their way through the legal pipeline, including that of Jimenez and former Franklin drama teacher Peter Gomez, who was convicted of sexually abusing two boys. Both victims sued the district, with one case settled and another settlement pending, according to court records.

Other active claims relate to former San Pedro High substitute science teacher Michelle Yeh, who last year pleaded no contest to unlawful sex and child molestation involving three boys.

Prosecutors declined to charge former El Sereno Elementary School teacher Armando Gonzalez, but at least three former students have sued the district, alleging he abused them between 2008 and 2010.

School officials said that many of the biggest settlements in recent years have come from allegations of abuse that occurred some time ago. They believe some of the reforms are showing results.

"These settlements involved cases that happened many years ago," general counsel David Holmquist said. "This is in our history and we’ve taken steps to correct the problems going forward. Students are much safer today than a decade ago.”

Officials cite updated, annual training for parents, students and employees, an increased police presence on campuses and a special investigations team.

The district credits this team with recently unearthing alleged abuse from at least 10 years ago, which led to the arrest last week of Asst. Principal William Webb, a case that already has launched another lawsuit.

"We welcome new ideas," Holmquist said. "If there were a reliable psychological test to screen new hires, we’d do that. If somebody has a good idea, bring it on."

In a recent deposition, an L.A. Unified manager testified that, over a seven-month period, the district pulled 40 employees from schools because of sexual misconduct allegations.

In 2014 and 2015, the district initiated the dismissal of teachers in 28 cases that involved alleged inappropriate physical conduct and 14 that involved alleged sexual contact with a minor. The vast majority resulted in the teacher's departure; a few are still in process.

Across the school system, about 160 employees currently are suspended for a wide variety of possible transgressions while investigations and due process rules play out.

Statistics suggest that about 1% of teachers and other school employees across the country could be past, current or future abusers, said Terri Miller, president of Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation, which is based in Las Vegas.

L.A. Unified is far from alone in having mishandled cases, she said.

"It is a problem all over," Miller said.

L.A. teachers whose conduct led to sexual abuse payouts since 2012:

$200 million* -- Mark Berndt, Miramonte Elementary
$58 million -- Robert Pimentel, De La Torre Elementary
$40 million -- Paul Chapel, Telfair Elementary
$6.9 million -- Forrest Stobbe, Queen Anne Place Elementary
$320,000 -- Jason Leon, Portola Middle School

*includes legal fees

Thursday, May 26, 2016


After being berated by the Japanese prime minister, Obama did what he does best … apologize

BarkGrowlBite | May 26, 2016

Obama’s trip to Japan was marred Wednesday when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe berated the president for the rape-murder of a young Okinawa woman committed by a former U.S. Marine who worked at the U.S. Kadena Air Base. Abe said that he felt “profound resentment for this self-centered and despicable crime this case has shocked not just Okinawa but all of Japan.”

Obama then turned to the prime minister and did what he does best … going around the world apologizing for the U.S. The President expressed “his sincerest condolences and deepest regrets.”

President Obama doesn’t need to apologize to Japan for any murders committed by Americans. He should have just said something like, “Yes, I understand because there is profound resentment for the scores of Americans who have been killed and seriously injured by your Takata airbags, deaths and injuries that have shocked not just drivers but all of the United States.”

If any apology is called for, it’s the Japanese who should apologize for the horrendous atrocities committed by their troops before and during WW2.

Lest the Japanese forget, it was they who attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. And it was the U.S. that helped rebuild Japan after it surrendered in 1945. Also it was the U.S. that helped Japan become one of the world’s leading economic powers after the war.

Instead of apologizing, perhaps Obama should pull the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan out of that ungrateful country and let the Japanese fend for themselves against the military might of China.

Obama is scheduled to visit Hiroshima. He has said he will not apologize for the A-bombing of that now thriving metropolis. We shall see.


By Bob Walsh

There was a road rage incident along I-580 in Richmond early Sunday (05-22) evening. Shots were fired, but the cops will probably be able to identify the shooter without too much trouble.

These two numb-nuts got in some sort of a beef and started brake-checking each other. Finally the numb-nuts in the Volvo pulled up along-side and fired three rounds at the other numb-nuts.

The shooter then goosed it, took an off-ramp and smacked a light pole. He disentangled his Volvo and took off, leaving his front bumper with license plate wrapped around the pole.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016



CBS2 Investigation Uncovers Votes Being Cast From Grave Year After Year

By David Goldstein | CBS Los Angeles | May 23, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- A comparison of records by David Goldstein, investigative reporter for CBS2/KCAL9, has revealed hundreds of so-called dead voters in Southern California, a vast majority of them in Los Angeles County.

“He took a lot of time choosing his candidates,” said Annette Givans of her father, John Cenkner.

Cenkner died in Palmdale in 2003. Despite this, records show that he somehow voted from the grave in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

But he’s not the only one.

CBS2 compared millions of voting records from the California Secretary of State’s office with death records from the Social Security Administration and found hundreds of so-called dead voters.

Specifically, 265 in Southern California and a vast majority of them, 215, in Los Angeles County alone.

The numbers come from state records that show votes were cast in that person’s name after they died. In some cases, Goldstein discovered that they voted year after year.

Across all counties, Goldstein uncovered 32 dead voters who cast ballots in eight elections apiece, including a woman who died in 1988. Records show she somehow voted in 2014, 26 years after she passed away.

It remains unclear how the dead voters voted but 86 were registered Republicans, 146 were Democrats, including Cenkner.

“He’s a diehard Democrat, and I was thinking that if somebody was voting under his name, he’s probably rolling in his grave if they were voting Republican,” Givans said.

She said her dad always voted at the polls, only now records show someone else may be casting his vote.

“It just astounds me. I don’t understand how anybody can get away with that,” she said.

And then there’s Julita Abutin.

Records show she voted in Norwalk in 2014, 2012, 2010 and 2008 though she died in 2006.

Abutin’s daughter, Marivic, says it’s impossible that her mother voted.

But the Los Angeles County Registrar confirms they have signed vote-by-mail envelopes with her mother’s name for the 2014 and 2012 election, though she died 10 years ago.

Edward Carbajal Jr.’s father died in La Puente in 2001 but state records show a vote was cast in his father’s name in eight elections after he passed away.

It’s possible as a junior, election officials mistakenly attributed the vote to his father. There is no way to tell from CBS2’s data but he wonders why his dad is still registered.

“I mean, that should be something that everybody that’s involved with these types of things should know who’s alive and who isn’t,” he said.

The Los Angeles County Registrar told CBS2: “We remove 1200 to 2000 deceased records from the database per month.”

But the news station checked all of the dead voters from LA County on the Registrar’s website and found 212 of the 215 were still registered and eligible to vote in next month’s presidential primary election.

“It’s very troubling because it basically dilutes the voice of the lawful voter,” said Ellen Swensen with the “True the Vote,” a nationwide voter-rights group.

“What it does is every single vote that’s cast by a dead voter actually cancels out a vote of a lawful voter cause if they voted for one candidate and you voted let’s say for another, your vote got canceled out,” she said.

As Goldstein reports, it was all supposed to change after the hanging chads incident in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. Congress passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002, which mandated sweeping reforms, including a statewide voter registration system that would eliminate ineligible voters.

But California is the only state that’s still not compliant with the act. Secretary of State Alex Padilla hopes to have it compliant later this year.

“You’re not supposed to have dead people on the rolls,” said J. Christian Adams, who is with the Public Interest Legal Foundation.

“The problem is California has been the most derelict state in the country in implementing statewide databases that are required under federal law. They just blew it off for over a decade,” said Adams.

And in that decade and more, CBS2 found hundreds of votes on the state’s own database cast for people who have died, like Cenkner.

“It’s very said that people can just take somebody’s name and go out and vote for them,” said Givans.

Los Angeles County supervisors are expected to call for a full investigation Tuesday as a result of this story.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This goes on all over the country. Chicago is notorious for votes by the dead being cast. In the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, there are some counties in which more dead people vote than live ones.

It was subsequently uncovered that thousands of dead voters in Jim Wells County helped Lyndon Johnson overcame a 20,000-vote deficit to win the 1948 Democratic runoff primary for the U.S. Senate by 87 votes.

INDY 500: WHY 500 MILES?

BarkGrowlBite | May 25, 2016

Thanks to Jerry Doyle here is an excerpt about the origin of the Indianapolis 500 auto race from Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500 by Art Garner:

In the early 1900s, Indianapolis was competing with Detroit for supremacy in the nascent automobile industry. To bring attention to their city's new industry, civic leaders in Indianapolis started an auto race that became known as the Indianapolis 500:

"The idea behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway started in the early 1900s as a proving ground for the budding American auto industry. Detroit and Indianapolis were battling for the right to be called 'the Motor City' and Indy was the early leader, building more cars than its Michigan rival. However, Detroit had the advantage of being located on the Great Lakes, with a port to ship in raw materials and ship out vehicles, and Henry Ford was hard at work there, developing the assembly line. So a group of India¬napolis industry leaders figured a large testing facility was needed to help tip the balance in favor of their city.

"In late 1908, the group led by Carl Fisher, a partner in the Prest-O-Lite Company that manufactured headlamps, purchased more than 320 acres about 6 miles west of town on the corner of Georgetown Road and Craw¬fordsville Pike for the then-significant sum of $72,000. Fisher liked to dream big, and his dream for the proving ground was big: a 5-mile circle track. Only one problem -- the track wouldn't fit on the land purchased by the group. So Fisher dialed back his vision to a 3-mile outer oval with an infield road course. Combined, the track would total 5 miles in length.

"Even that proved too ambitious. A New York engineer was called in, and he eventually came up with a design stretching to each corner of the prop¬erty. It's sometimes referred to as an oval, though a rectangle is a more ac¬curate description -- a 2.5-mile rectangle with the corners rounded off. The two long straightaways are each five-eighths of a mile, while the two shorter straights are each an eighth of a mile long. The straights are connected by four quarter-mile turns, each turn with 9 degrees of banking. The track was only 45 feet wide at most places, occasionally flaring to 60 feet in width. The same basic design exists today.

"This design created an enormous infield area of more than 250 acres, capable of fitting such sporting venues as Churchill Downs, Wimbledon, the Roman Coliseum, Yankee Stadium, and the Rose Bowl all inside the track at the same time.

"Construction started as soon as the snows cleared in March 1909. ... Once it was completed, the owners decided to stage races at the track in an effort to help create awareness about the facility. At the time, auto rac¬ing in America was relegated to dirt tracks used primarily for horse rac¬ing, or cross-country events run on public roads. After the track served as the starting line for a balloon race, a motorcycle exhibition was planned. It immediately became apparent the surface was unsuitable for the skinny motorcycle tires, and the race was suspended soon after it started.

"A series of exhibition auto races the following weekend attracting the era's leading racers -- including Barney Oldfield, Louis Chevrolet, and Ray Harroun -- proved to be an even bigger disaster. Chevrolet nearly lost an eye when a flying stone broke through his goggles, and the races were marred by accidents and death, as one driver, two riding mechanics, and two spec¬tators were killed. The feature race was stopped before the finish, and as the slim crowd filed out, the future of the proving ground was very much in doubt.

"Comparisons to the Coliseum were not well received at this point. The Detroit News, highlighting the problems its rival city was having, editorial¬ized that the racing was 'more brutal than bull fighting, gladiatorial com¬bat or prize fighting.' To head off efforts to shut down the track, the owners decided to invest further in the facility and pave it, choosing bricks because they would last longer and provide better traction than concrete. It was a massive undertaking. More than 3.2 million paving bricks, each weighing 9.5 pounds, were laid at a cost of $165,000, more than twice the original investment. A 33-inch-high concrete wall was built around the outside of the track to protect spectators. It took just two months to complete, and the track has been known ever since as 'the Brickyard.' ...

"The promoters wanted an all-day affair, leaving just enough time for the fans to arrive at the track and return home in daylight. They figured 500 miles would last about seven hours and still provide the needed travel time, so the first 'Indianapolis 500-Mile Race' was set."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016



By Bob Walsh

U. S District Court Judges as a rule hate to be lied to. They especially hate to be lied to by lawyers. Judge Andrew Hannen got lied to four times by DOJ lawyers and he is not at all happy about it.

Hannen is hearing the case where several states are suing over Obama’s legally dubious administrative amnesty program. The feds have repeatedly told the judge (twice verbally, twice in writing) that there has been no action taken with regard to the President’s amnesty proposal.

In fact the feds have given reprieves of deportation to over 108,000 illegal aliens and granted them work permits in apparent violation of law. If this is allowed to run its course about five million illegal aliens would be granted executive amnesty from the law.

The judge is livid and has said so. He has apparently issued an order directing the four lawyers involved to go to ethics training classes. Judge Hannen could pursue the matter much farther if he chooses to and may yet do so depending on how things shake out.


Q: What is the difference between a lawyer and a liar?

A: The spelling.


Thanks to Jerry Doyle for this reminder.

Those fabulous Jewish Comedians. A few of you may be old enough to remember the old Jewish Catskill comics of Vaudeville days: Shecky Greene, Red Buttons, Totie Fields, Joey Bishop, Milton Berle, Jan Murray, Danny Kaye, Henny Youngman, Buddy Hackett, Sid Caesar, Groucho Marx, Jackie Mason, Lenny Bruce, George Burns, Allan Sherman, Jerry Lewis, Carl Reiner, Shelley Berman, Gene Wilder, George Jessel, Alan King, Mel Brooks, Phil Silvers, Jack Carter, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, and Jack Benny.

For most of them, there was not one single swear word in their comedy. Here are a few great ‘one liners’:

I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.

I've been in love with the same woman for 49 years! If my wife ever finds out, she'll kill me!

What are three words a woman never wants to hear when she's making love? "Honey, I'm home!"

Someone stole all my credit cards but I won't be reporting it. The thief spends less than my wife did.

We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

My wife and I went back to the hotel where we spent our wedding night. Only this time I stayed in the bathroom and cried.

My wife and I went to a hotel where we got a waterbed. My wife called it the Dead Sea.

She was at the beauty shop for two hours. That was only for the estimate. She got a mudpack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.

The Doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn't pay his bill so the doctor gave him another six months.

The Doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying, "Mrs. Cohen, your check came back." Mrs. Cohen answered, "So did my arthritis!"

Doctor: "You'll live to be 60!" Patient: "I am 60!" Doctor: "See! What did I tell you?"

Patient: "I have a ringing in my ears." Doctor: "Don't answer!"

A drunk was in front of a judge. The judge says, "You've been brought here for drinking." The drunk says "Okay, let's get started."

The Harvard School of Medicine did a study of why Jewish women like Chinese food so much. The study revealed that this is due to the fact that Won Ton spelled backward is Not Now .

Q: Why do Jewish mothers make great parole officers? A: They never let anyone finish a sentence!

A man called his mother in Florida, "Mom, how are you?" "Not too good," said the mother. "I've been very weak." The son said, "Why are you so weak?" She said, "Because I haven't eaten in 38 days." The son said, "That's terrible. Why haven't you eaten in 38 days?" The mother answered, "Because I didn't want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call."

A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he has a part in the play. She asks, "What part is it?" The boy says, "I play the part of the Jewish husband." The mother scowls and says, "Go back and tell the teacher you want a speaking part."

Q: What's the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother? A: Eventually, the Rottweiler will let go.

Q: Why are Jewish men circumcised? A: Because Jewish women don't like anything that isn't at least 20% off.


Opa-Locka has been nearly destroyed by poverty and corruption

by Francisco Alvarado | VICE News | May 18, 2016

Early last Wednesday evening, Timothy Holmes, a raspy-voiced city commissioner for Opa-Locka, Florida, was assuring about two dozen residents gathered in a village community center that their small municipal government was not under siege from all manner of bandits, crooks, and thieves.

"Don't believe everything that you read in the paper," Holmes said. "You got people out there who want to see Opa-Locka come down. Even in the city departments, we got people working against us to make Opa-Locka look bad. I am always here to do the right thing and the best thing for this community."

Earlier that day, local, state, and federal law enforcement officials raided a local flea market to gather evidence and arrest a bevy of suspects charged in a $13 million food-stamp scam. It was the second time in two months that law enforcement descended on a prominent Opa-Locka locale. Back in March, FBI agents raided city hall proper as part of a separate, ongoing criminal investigation, although no one has actually been arrested in that probe—at least not yet.

The food-stamp bust dealt another gut punch to a city already reeling from an onslaught of negative press involving allegations of unscrupulous politicians and bureaucrats shaking down business owners and city contractors, illegally pillaging city coffers for personal gain, and driving the city to the precipice of insolvency. The cascade of woes suggest that for all the rage seething across America in recent decades about the evils of big government in Washington, all it takes is a few local grifters to unleash chaos on a community.

In fact, some ethics experts suspect Opa-Locka is one the most corrupt cities in Florida history. In a state where the current governor pleaded the Fifth 75 times about his alleged role in one of the biggest healthcare-fraud schemes ever, that's really saying something.

"It's a small, poor city that has never had good government," Robert Jarvis, a legal ethics professor at Nova Southeastern University, told me. "Opa-Locka was formed in the 1920s, a time when there was a lot of swindling and phony land deals going on in Florida. When you add on top of it poverty, crime, and real urban ills, the chances of having a clean government are basically nonexistent."

Think New Jack City meets Casablanca.

A 4.2-square-mile city located just north of Miami, Opa-Locka was founded in 1926 by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss, who incorporated Middle Eastern designs into the city's early buildings and named streets after characters from Arabian Nights. In fact, the city boasts the largest collection of Moorish revival architecture in the Western hemisphere, including the original city hall on Ali Baba Avenue. Developers initially marketed Opa-Locka as an exclusively white, middle-class enclave, according to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel. But after desegregation, mirroring a nationwide trend, whites seemed to flee the place as African Americans moved in.

Today, Opa-Locka is a low-income, working-class community where about 65 percent of the 16,000 residents are black and roughly 45 percent earn an annual income below the poverty level.

The city's notoriety as a hotbed of corruption and intrigue be traced to a 1977 grand jury report decrying "a widespread pattern of blatant mismanagement of the city government and public funds entrusted to it, corruption and venal politics." The investigation led to the arrests and convictions of Opa-Locka's then-Mayor Candido Giardino and then-Commissioner Al Tresvant for bribery, conspiracy, and unauthorized compensation of official behavior. According to the report, Giardino and Candido received a $28,000 kickback in exchange for awarding the construction of the city's public works building to a politically connected company.

The grand jury also discovered a free-for-all inside the Opa-Locka Police Department, where three narcotics cops known as the "unholy trio" had "systematically engaged in illegal narcotics trafficking as a means of paying informants," including supplying "heroin to known addicts for the purpose of eliciting their cooperation," according to the report.

Cops formed cliques with city commissioners, who brazenly interfered with open investigations involving their cronies, the grand jury found. In addition, "new officers were deliberately trained and ordered to enforce the law against black citizens in a discriminatory fashion."

Nine years later, another public corruption probe nabbed Stephen Cuiffo, Opa-Locka's planning council chairman, accepting $4,000 in bribes from Joseph Lazar, the flea market's owner at the time. Cuiffo pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful compensation, though prosecutors dropped bribery charges against Lazar.

Back then, investigators also trained their sights on John Riley, then the mayor and accused—among other misdeeds—of pocketing a $5,000 bribe from Alberto San Pedro, a local businessman whom Miami media outlets dubbed the "Great Corrupter" after secret tape recordings of him name-dropping the politicians he allegedly paid off went public. San Pedro was convicted and sentenced to ten years on seven counts of drug trafficking and offering bribes, but Riley was never prosecuted. (He did lose his reelection bid, at least.)

South Florida cities like Opa-Locka end up enduring decades of unethical leadership due to a very transient and disengaged public, according to Jarvis. "You really don't have people watching what the politicians are doing," he said. "In the case of Opa-Locka, you have a very low-income demographic, and low-income people tend not to have good government or civic engagement at the top of their agendas."

Jarvis also added that scandals are genetically embedded in the local culture. "It's part of the DNA," he said. "Opa-Locka has problems endemic to all of south Florida."

Nearly forty years after the 1977 grand jury report, the faces at city hall have changed, but accusations of malfeasance remain. Consider Mayor Myra Taylor, the wife of a local pastor and mother of eight children who won her first seat on the Opa-Locka City Commission in 1996.

Eight years later, after she'd won the mayoralty, a federal grand jury indicted Taylor, her husband John Taylor, and her sister Elvira Smith for conspiracy to defraud the IRS, as well as making false statements to federal investigators. In 2005, the government dropped the conspiracy charges against the Taylors and Smith when they pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of filing a false income tax return. Taylor, who was removed from office by then-Governor Jeb Bush, served one year's probation along with her sibling, while her spouse got three-years probation. In 2008, though, she was reelected to the city commission, and two years after that got her old job back when she was reelected mayor.

The Taylors ran into trouble again in 2012 when Miami-Dade Police arrested the mayor's husband, sister, and son on fraud and fabricating evidence charges over an alleged scheme to cover up illegal contributions to her 2010 campaign. (The sister completed a pretrial intervention program, and the son got slapped with two years of probation.)

Now the local powerbroker is under federal scrutiny once more after she and her husband allegedly received a $150,000 kickback from a city contractor in exchange for supporting a sewer project, according to local media reports. At the commission meeting last Wednesday, an indignant Taylor accused journalists working for the Miami Herald and local television stations of spreading false rumors and innuendo.

"We have been vilified, fried, and dyed in the media," she told the assembly. "Even our own citizens are criticizing us and talking about us... that we are doing this and that, firing people, and stealing money with no real facts whatsoever."

When the meeting concluded, Taylor declined to speak with me about her past federal indictment and the current investigation. The mayor also did not return two subsequent phone messages seeking comment. But Opa-Locka residents in the audience that day were fed up with all the local drama.

"It's embarrassing to know that you have these elected officials that you voted for being investigated for corruption, racketeering charges, and kickback schemes," said Dwayne Manuel, 26-year-old law student who grew up in Opa-Locka but currently lives in neighboring Miami Gardens.

"When you take an elected position, you are not supposed to be in it to make money," he added. "Unfortunately, in their minds, this was a good way to make some extra cash. They should have resigned after the first FBI raid."

Natasha Ervin, a local caterer whose family moved to Opa-Locka in 1976, said she decided to buy her first home in the city 24 years later out of a profound sense of civic pride.

"It's sad to see [Opa-Locka] being torn down like this," she told me. "But I love my city. The only way to change things is for people to stand up."

Monday, May 23, 2016


A left-wing Supreme Court will reverse District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago to rule that the right to bear arms does not apply to individual citizens

BarkGrowlBite | May 23, 2016

Gun owners and gun-rights advocates celebrated the District of Columbia v. Heller decision in 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago in 2010, decisions in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects individual gun ownership.

In Heller, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

Justice Scalia has since passed away, leaving the Supreme Court evenly divided between liberal and conservative justices.

McDonald held that the right of an individual to "keep and bear arms" protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states.

Both Heller and McDonald were 5-4 decisions with the conservative justices voting for and the liberal justices voting against.

Celebrate yes, but for how long?

Let’s say that Hillary Clinton gets elected President, which is still likely to happen. If she wins by a substantial margin, not necessarily a landslide, she will drag a bunch of down-ballot Democrats with her. That would put the Democrats back in control of the Senate which has to confirm any Supreme Court nominees.

In addition to the now departed Justice Scalia, it is very probable that at least one more conservative justice will leave the Supreme Court. This means that Clinton will be able to replace two conservative justices with two left-wingers like Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan which will give the liberal justices a 6-3 majority.

With the liberals in control of the Supreme Court and the Democrats in control of the Senate, you can bet that Heller and McDonald will be revisited. When that happens, the Second Amendment will be shrunk.

By a 6-3 decision the Supreme Court will rule that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” applies only to people in the military and law enforcement, thus stripping away the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.

Now this does not mean that gun owners will have their firearms confiscated. But it does mean that the individual states, cities and counties will be able to enact the strictest of gun-control regulations, up to the confiscation of all privately held firearms.

Take California. The Democratic controlled state legislature has been on a gun-control rampage for some time now. It is not inconceivable that a Democratic legislature would go so far as to ban private gun ownership within the state of California. And San Francisco, that liberal bastion of perversion, would most likely ban gun ownership within the city. So would uber-liberal Berkeley.

Chicago would probably ban gun ownership and New York City would probably do the same.

On the other hand, Texas and the southern states will not ban private gun ownership and neither will the cities and counties within those states. Austin, the Berkeley of Texas, might be the lone exception.

Of course, those gun bans wherever they may be enacted will apply only to normal law abiding citizens, not to criminals, crackpots or Islamic terrorists. Criminals, crackpots and terrorists will hold onto their guns and continue running around shooting defenseless law abiding citizens to death.

Many police chiefs favor strict gun controls because they fear losing their jobs if they do not toe the political correctness line. However, most rank-and-file police officers do not favor punishing law abiding citizens for the deeds of criminals, crackpots and terrorists who are running around shooting cops and other people.

Those of us who are opposed to further gun controls better get down on our knees and pray every day between now and November that Hillary Clinton does not get elected President! Maybe the Good Lord will hear us and answer our prayers.


Charles Wade was charged April 25 with four counts of prostitution and three counts of human trafficking after a 17-year-old prostitute told police he was her “manager.”

By Ashley Jost | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | May 21, 2016

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland -- An out-of-town activist and member of the Black Lives Matter movement who was vocal during Ferguson protests was arrested and charged in Maryland with prostitution and human trafficking last month.

Charles Wade, a fashion stylist turned consultant, was charged April 25 with four counts of prostitution and three counts of human trafficking.

Wade, 33, is using social media to dispute the charges.

An undercover officer responded to an advertisement on a website often used for sex trafficking, and set up a meeting at a Howard Johnson Inn in College Park, Md., according to police. After he identified himself to a girl, 17, who met him, she told him Wade was her “manager,” according to the charging documents.

In a statement posted to Wade’s Twitter account, he says he was asked to temporarily house the girl, whom he believed to be 20. He redeemed his hotel reward points to get her a room. A few hours later, she was arrested.

“As the person who booked, paid for, checked in with government issued identification, I was also arrested as I was walking to store on about a half dozen charges related to her activities and arrest,” Wade said in his statement.

He posted his $25,000 bail two days after his arrest.

“This situation in no way should reflect on the movement or anyone else in the movement other than myself,” Wade said. “Ultimately, I had the final decision on moving forward with housing her and putting my name on the line. And ultimately, the embarrassment now caused and whatever consequences there may be are solely mine.”

Wade runs Operation Help or Hush, an organization created during the Ferguson protests focused on building an infrastructure of support for protests to continue, including raising money to feed and temporarily house protesters.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was obviously a bum bust designed by white cops to discredit Mr. Wade who was only helping out a 17-year-old BLM protester by temporarily housing her at a Howard Johnson Inn.


Always quick to best one another, Donald Trump claimed he was better at ice fishing than Crooked Hillary.

Hillary Clinton immediately tool up the challenge, chirping “Anything that jerk can do, I can do better.”

So, when the November election day was close at hand, the two presidential candidates agreed to a week-long ice fishing contest. Whoever caught the most fish at the end of the week would have something else to slam the other one with.

They agreed a remote frozen lake in northern Wisconsin would be the ideal place. No observers on the fishing grounds, but both candidates would need to have their catches verified and counted each evening at 5pm.

After Day 1, Trump returned with a total of 10 fish, Hillary came back with nothing.

Day 2 finished, and Trump caught another 15 fish, but Hillary once again came back with nothing.

That night, Hillary and her team decided that Trump had to be a “low-life, cheating son of a bitch.”

Instead of fishing on Day 3, Hillary and her close aide Huma Abedin were just going to follow Trump to spy on him and figure out how he was cheating.

Day 3 finished up and Trump had an incredible day, adding another 25 fish to his total.

That night, Hillary and Huma got the team got together for the report on how Donald was cheating. Huma said, “I’ve had experience with a cheating son of a bitch, but I’ll let Hillary tell you what we discovered.”

Hillary stood up and said, “You are not going to believe this, but that jerk is cutting holes in the ice.”


A circus owner runs an ad for a 'lion tamer wanted', and two people showed up.

One is a retired K-9 cop and the other is a gorgeous brunette with a drop-dead body in her mid-twenties.

The circus owner tells them, "I'm not going to sugar coat it. This is one ferocious lion. He ate my last tamer so you two had better be good or you're history. Here's your equipment -- a chair, a whip and a gun. Who wants to try out first?"

The gorgeous brunette says, "I'll go first." She walks past the chair, the whip and the gun and steps right into the cage. The lion starts to snarl and pant and begins to charge her. As he gets close, the gorgeous brunette throws open her coat revealing her beautiful, perfect naked body.

The lion stops dead in his tracks, sheepishly crawls up to her and starts licking her feet and ankles. He continues to lick and kiss every inch of her body for several minutes, then lays down and rests his head at her feet.

The circus owner's jaw is on the floor! He says, "That's amazing! I've never seen anything like that in my life!"

He then turns to the retired cop and asks, "Can you top that?"

The former K-9 cop replies, "Possibly . . . but you're gonna have to get that lion outta there first."

Sunday, May 22, 2016


'It started tickling me': Passenger recounts horror at meeting tarantula on Air Transat flight; Quebec woman thought she was hallucinating as tarantula climbed up her leg

By Elysha Enos | CBC News | May 20, 2016

Catherine Moreau was watching a movie on her iPad on a flight to Montreal when she felt what she thought was a wire brushing against her.

"I brushed [it] away and it started tickling me again. That's when I noticed the tarantula," Moreau told CBC News.

"I hit it to get it off me before it bit."

Now Moreau is asking Air Transat for a partial refund over her encounter with the spider.

The tarantula that climbed her leg was one of two on a Montreal-bound Air Transat flight from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on April 18, the airline and the union representing its flight attendants have confirmed.

Passengers screamed and stood on their seats after learning they shared the cabin with the eight-legged critters.

Julie Roberts, vice-president of Air Transat's flight attendant union, said flight attendants "did what they could to calm people down."

"They gave first aid to the person who said that a spider climbed [her] legs," she said. Flight attendants also asked passengers to put on their shoes and cover their ankles.

Calls for a refund

Moreau wants the four flight tickets for her family partially reimbursed by Air Transat. The incident left her scratched and her 11-year-old daughter suffering from shock, she said.

According to Moreau, after she brushed the spider off her leg, it hid under her daughter's luggage. Her husband came and grabbed it and asked for a bag from the cabin crew to hold the spider.

"It took a long time from when we screamed to get a bag to put it in," Moreau said.

That delay was only the beginning of her grievances with Air Transat.

Her daughter has been suffering from nightmares. In addition, Moreau was promised a report from Air Transat so she could identify the spider in case the scratches led to health issues. She never got the report.

She said she sent the airline a registered letter about her complaint, which they signed for a week ago, but still hasn't heard back.

She also claims she was stopped from taking a photograph of the spider that would have helped her identify the species.

While the tarantula that crawled up her leg remained in custody, the other spider continued to roam the plane before being recovered by a federal agent once the plane landed at Montreal's Trudeau Airport

According to Moreau, after she brushed the spider off her leg, it hid under her daughter's luggage. Her husband came and grabbed it and asked for a bag from the cabin crew to hold the spider.

"It took a long time from when we screamed to get a bag to put it in," Moreau said.

That delay was only the beginning of her grievances with Air Transat.

Her daughter has been suffering from nightmares. In addition, Moreau was promised a report from Air Transat so she could identify the spider in case the scratches led to health issues. She never got the report.

She said she sent the airline a registered letter about her complaint, which they signed for a week ago, but still hasn't heard back.

She also claims she was stopped from taking a photograph of the spider that would have helped her identify the species.

While the tarantula that crawled up her leg remained in custody, the other spider continued to roam the plane before being recovered by a federal agent once the plane landed at Montreal's Trudeau Airport

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shades of the movie, Snakes on a Plane.

Holy Shit! "The market for live tarantulas is very lucrative," I didn’t know that. While I was on patrol near Riverside, I found a hill that was crawling with tarantulas. Every so often I would stop by there to spend a few minutes – OK, I was fucking off – to play with the fuzzy critters. I even took one to an Elks Lodge meeting and dropped it in the collection hat when I got fined. (What happened when the guy collecting the fines … well that’s another story in itself.) Had I known those tarantulas were lucrative, I would have made a pot full of money.


By Meagann Flynn | Houston Press | May 20, 2016

On Wednesday, 22-year-old Maranda O'Donnell was driving to her mom's house to pick up her four-year-old daughter. Then she got pulled over, and she never made it there.

O'Donnell was hauled off to jail after being arrested for driving with an invalid license. She couldn't afford her bail amount set at $2,500, an amount set by a pre-determined bail schedule that did not consider O'Donnell's circumstances. O'Donnell had been living with a friend because she could not afford her own place. She obtained a job waiting tables about two weeks ago, but because she is sitting in jail, her attorneys say she fears that job won't be there for her when she gets out.

Yesterday, lawyers with the national organization Equal Justice Under Law filed a lawsuit on O'Donnell's behalf against Harris County, Sheriff Ron Hickman, and five bail-hearing magistrates. The lawsuit alleges that Harris County's use of a strict bail schedule is unconstitutional, given that magistrates rarely ever stray from it and therefore almost always fail to consider someone's ability to pay, as is required by law. The lawyers also asked a judge to immediately release O'Donnell and give her a proper bail hearing, one in which a judge actually considers her circumstances and whether she can afford the amount on the chart. They are asking the same for more than 500 people who they say are in the same position.

"Harris county has really perfected and, in a lot of ways, epitomized the efficient processing of human beings in and out of cages," Equal Justice Under Law attorney Elizabeth Rossi told the Houston Press. "Shining a light on a place like Harris County really highlights the pervasiveness of money bail and the thoughtlessness with which criminal injustice systems throughout this country keep people in jail cells just because they're poor."

In Harris County, 77 percent of the jail population are people who have yet to be convicted of crimes, who are in jail because they cannot afford to get out. A recent study by Gerald Wheeler, retired director of Harris County Pretrial Services and a doctoral researcher, found that 81 percent of people charged with misdemeanors will spend time in jail, and of those, a quarter of them can't afford bail costing $500 or less. Only 7 percent were released on a personal bond.

Rossi said that she and other attorneys sat in on bail hearings about 20 different times. She says those hearings only lasted about one minute, and that the magistrate never even gave defendants a chance to speak. Curiously, the attorneys note in the lawsuit that one magistrate even told someone that a bail hearing was "not the forum" for discussing his ability to pay bail. When another asked, "Can I say something?" the magistrate responded: “You can talk to me all you want, but it’s not going to change the outcome. I’m setting it according to the schedule."

Rossi said that, after watching enough of them, it was the "banality" of these hearings that struck her.

"Everybody who’s involved in that process, from the judge to the deputies, just looked at it as another routine doldrum chore they have to do," she said, "and no one is thinking about the individual standing in that red square, maybe in an orange jumpsuit who’s about to be told whether he’ll be released to his family or not based on whether he can pay an arbitrary dollar figure."

This is not the first time that Harris County has come under fire for practices that contribute to the county jail's longstanding overcrowding problem. Most recently, the Department of Justice concluded in a yearlong investigation in 2009 that jail conditions were bad enough to violate inmates' constitutional rights. It was a conclusion that echoed a federal lawsuit the county lost decades ago in 1972, when inmates claimed that the jail was so overcrowded that it led to inhumane conditions and treatment. After the county lost, Wheeler founded Harris County Pretrial Services, a department that would seek to provide pretrial supervision to people released on personal bonds, as opposed to keeping most of them in jail before their court date.

But it was a vision that simply never fully materialized. Judges instead were reluctant to the idea of letting defendants go home to their families before their court date, even if they were only accused of petty or non-violent crimes. Perhaps that's because of a bail bond industry that mounted a highly successful tough-on-crime campaign throughout the 1990s urging judges not to grant anyone that trust. As a result, Harris County developed a reputation for its unparalleled stinginess when it comes to issuing personal bonds that has persisted over the years.

In recent months, however, criminal justice officials have began signaling their openness to change. Administrative Judge Susan Brown said that judges have been uncomfortable with issuing personal bonds in the past because they don't trust the current risk assessment test, a point system that Harris County Pretrial Services uses to determine whether you should be released without having to pay a bondsman hundreds or thousands of dollars. So, she said, they're developing a new one. They've also hired seven more pretrial supervision officers, apparently to prepare to give more people personal bonds. In addition, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson told the Press last week that the judges have also finally approved a pilot program for providing all people defense attorneys at their bail hearings, so they have someone to argue before the magistrate why they deserve a more affordable bail. (A spokesperson for Anderson and also Sheriff Ron Hickman did not return a request for comment.)

That's something that may have mattered to Patrick Brown, a man accused of stealing a guitar, the most recent person to die in the Harris County Jail. A source with knowledge of the case told the Press that Harris County Pretrial Services had recommended Brown for a personal bond. Yet even though he had no violent criminal history, a judge for some reason still denied it, and Brown couldn't afford his $3,000 bail. Two men, one who had just posted bail and was on his way out of lockup, have been charged with beating Brown to death inside a holding cell later that night.

Since the start of 2015, Equal Justice Under Law has filed 17 lawsuits across the country, including this one, seeking to end the cash bail system. Where it has won, local jurisdictions—mostly mid-size cities such as Montgomery, Alabama, or Velda, Missouri—have been forced to upend their bail systems and entirely ditch their existing bail schedules, which were found to be unconstitutional.

The group has won eight cases so far, and hasn't yet lost a single one.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I believe that misdemeanants who are too poor to make bail should be released from jail on their promise to appear in court provided they are not likely to commit any more offenses.

I’ve also been critical of standard fines for traffic offenses. Let’s say a single mother of three who has a minimum wage job gets busted for going 15 miles over the speed limit and a man driving a Lamborghini gets busted for the same thing. Let’s say the standard fine is $150. That’s pocket change for the Lamborghini driver but devastating to that mother of three. I strongly feel that a judge should suspend all but a few dollars – say maybe $20 – of that mother’s fine. Unfortunately most judges say, “$150, next case.”

And forget community service. How’s a working mother of three going to find time for that?

Speaking of Lamborghinis, one passed me up the other night doing at least 70 on a freeway access road. I spotted it pulling into a golf driving range.