Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Consumers can learn to spot ripoffs with a few easy tricks

By Randy Mac

November 28, 2016

With the holiday shopping season officially underway, the Los Angeles Police Department and agents from U.S. Homeland Security have teamed up to help people spot counterfeit goods.

The increasing tendency for people to shop for items online has increased the possibility that they might get scammed, said Joseph Mecias, special agent in charge for Homeland Security in Los Angeles.

"Sometimes you get hyperlinked to websites that say 'the real Oakley' or 'the real NFL,'" Mecias said, adding that consumers should be weary of websites that list items significantly cheaper than multiple other websites.

When it comes to electronics, counterfeits could cause safety hazards such as fires, said John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories.

Here are some of the tips people should follow to make sure the items they buy are genuine:

• If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

• Buy from retailers you know and trust and go directly to their websites.

• Manufacturers of quality products want to be noticed; if a product does not have the manufacturer's name, it could indicate a fake.

• Look out for misspellings on the product's packaging or instruction manual.

• With electronics, an overly flexible wire could mean there is not enough copper in the wire to handle the voltage, which could cause overheating and lead to a fire.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is” is the best advice. If you go to a store or go on the internet to buy a high-dollar brand item at 40 or 50 percent off, that item is probably not the genuine article.


By Bob Walsh

Now that the final vote tally is completed its official. There is a Democrat-Socialist supermajority in both houses of the legislature and all of the constitutional officers are also Democrat-Socialists. This means the psycho wingnuts in the formerly great state of California can run thru virtually any piece of legislation they see fit and the governor is likely to sign it. This will, without a doubt, see California moving even further to the left (if that is possible).

Count on seeing less freedom for honest, law-abiding citizens and more freedom, including freedom from being arrested or imprisoned, for criminals. Don't forget higher taxes on top of it all, and less accountability of our political ruling class. If this keeps up the whole state will end up looking like Chicago or Detroit only with nicer scenery.

Firm, long-term one party control is bad no matter which party has that control. Power does tend to corrupt.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Texas has seen the most fatalities this year with 18 officers shot dead

Fox News | November 24, 2016

A total of 60 law enforcement officers have died in firearms-related incidents in 2016, marking a 67 percent increase since 2015, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported.

Citing a preliminary report from January 1 through November 23, the organization said that Texas has seen the most fatalities this year with 18. So far, 130 officers have died nationwide.

The worst single attack was in July, when a black military veteran killed five white officers at a protest in Dallas — the deadliest day for American law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. Ten days later, a former Marine killed three Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officers.

San Antonio Detective Benjamin Marconi was the 60th officer shot to death this year, compared with 41 in all of 2015, and the 20th to die in an ambush-style attack, compared with eight last year, Craig W. Floyd, president of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said.

An ambush-style attack does not necessarily involve someone lying in wait for police officers; it's any shooting designed to catch police off guard and put them at a disadvantage, Floyd said.

"There usually is an element of surprise and concealment involved," he said, and it's unprovoked.

Police have been killed while writing reports, like Marconi was, or eating in restaurants. They've responded to 911 calls, only to have people shoot them as they get out of their cars. And in the Dallas shooting, they were targeted by someone in a building.

"In all the cases, the officers were essentially assassinated before they had any contact with the suspect or placed that suspect in jeopardy," said Nick Breul, the Memorial Fund's director of officer safety and wellness.

This year's targeted killings are the most since 1995, Floyd said. In fact, Marconi's was the fourth targeted slaying of an officer this month: On Nov. 2, two Iowa officers were killed in separate but related attacks. And on Nov. 10, a Pennsylvania officer was targeted as he responded to a domestic disturbance.

The attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge came amid protests over the shootings of black men by white officers, and were carried out by black gunmen — but race is not always a motivating factor, Floyd said.

In fact, he said, white men are responsible for most police slayings, and the majority of people shot and killed by police are white.

Some officers have been killed by people who identify with the so-called sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents believe they're immune to most state and federal laws, including paying taxes and getting driver's licenses. Gavin Long, the Baton Rouge shooter, had filed documents last year declaring himself sovereign.

The man who shot and killed the two Iowa officers earlier this month as they sat in their patrol cars had a history of contacts with police, including a recent confrontation with officers at a high school football game.

Others have been mentally ill.

"So much dialogue has centered around race relations, but there is a hatred in this country right now that's just gotten out of control," Floyd said. "There is a lack of respect for government in general, and the most visible and vulnerable symbol of government in America is patrolling our streets in marked cars."


By Bob Walsh

Abdul Razsak Ali_Artan, whose age has been variously said to be either 19 or 20, was a permanent resident alien from Somalia and was attending classes, or at least enrolled in classes, at Ohio State University. This morning a fire alarm went off in one of the campus buildings sending a large number of students out onto the sidewalks. At that time Artan drove his vehicle into the crowd, injuring a number of people. He then leapt out of his vehicle and started hacking at people with a butcher knife. As it happens a University P D officer was nearby checking for a gas leak. He responded and terminally rehabilitated the goat fucker.

It is unknown whether or not the fire alarm was just a suspicious coincidence or if Artan had a cohort who sent the targets his way.

If this had happened in CA or NY they would probably be investigating the cop for being an Islamophobe and looking to prosecute him for a hate crime. Seeing as how most of the people in Ohio are not morons that probably won't happen.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Goat fucker? Shit Bob, now you’re going to be called Islamophobic. Sheep fucker might have been a less insensitive term to use.

Since Abdul was a Muslim, pig fucker would not have applied here. Pig fucker would be appropriate for some people in the Bay Area and other parts of California, and in Arkansas and West Virginia.


Jailhouse snitches are the most inherently unreliable witnesses, yet they are often testifying in the most high-stakes trials

By Meagan Flynn | Houston Press | November 28, 2016

Houston defense attorney Randy Schaffer says the only solid evidence Harris County prosecutors had against his client in his 2002 capital murder trial was that he admitted to being present when his drug dealer was killed.

But then a jailhouse witness named Karl Jones took the stand, and he told the jury that, yes, actually, David Holford had confessed to committing the murder while they were sitting in the privacy of a holdover cell. Holford was convicted.

Jailhouse snitches are always a red flag to Schaffer, who says in his 40-plus years of experience he has never once encountered jailhouse witness testimony used ethically in a capital case. There’s a certain irony about these jailhouse snitches: They are the most inherently unreliable witnesses, yet they are often testifying in the most high-stakes trials. Their testimony is generally only necessary when most other evidence against defendants is weak — yet those are also the cases in which a wrongful conviction is most likely.

And so when Schaffer encounters them in a capital case like Holford’s, he digs. To start, Schaffer found Jones had only agreed to testify against Holford if prosecutors could offer him something in return. In this case, prosecutors told him they could write a nice letter to the parole board if he cooperated — the hallmark of a jailhouse informant case, Schaffer says.

Next, Schaffer was able to dig up the prosecutors’ written summary of their first conversation with Jones—and it turns out Jones had told them a different story than the one he told in court. Schaffer says he originally told prosecutors Holford confessed while they were linked on a chain of prisoners, chaperoned by deputies as they walked through the underground tunnel leading from the courthouse to the jail. Schaffer now alleges that prosecutors coached Jones into changing his story so it would be more believable to a jury, then buried any documentation of the first conversation and kept it from Holford’s defense counsel. When Schaffer asked for the recording of the initial conversation with Jones, Schaffer said he was told the recording didn’t exist because Jones wouldn’t let prosecutors record it. “Since when is the DA's office allowing a prison inmate to tell them what to do?” he said.

Schaffer is set to go to court Monday to ask a judge to force prosecutors to turn over all of their notes on Jones. It is the second time this month Schaffer has gone after Harris County prosectors for allegedly eliciting false testimony from a jailhouse snitch, then rewarding them with favors in return — a problem Schaffer described as an “epidemic” in the state of Texas and one requiring sweeping reform in the Legislature this session. (Harris County District Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff McShan said prosecutors were not comfortable commenting until after January 1, which is when new DA Kim Ogg takes office.)

Just a couple weeks ago, a Fort Bend County judge found that a Harris County prosecutor had lied to the jury and defense team about backroom deals she had made with three jailhouse witnesses, and had knowingly elicited false testimony from them that contributed to a capital murder conviction. Schaffer had described the prosecutor’s actions as “shameful.” But added that this was just one example of a common tool used — and abused — by prosecutors.

“This is a speck of sand on the beach of criminal cases,” Schaffer told us after succeeding in the Fort Bend case. “The larger story is the systemic misuse of so-called jailhouse witnesses by prosecutors across the state to fill in holes in cases that they otherwise might not be able to win. It's a true disgrace. It's a culture of dishonesty that has fostered in prosecutors' offices across the state.”

* * *

There’s an old saying that Innocence Project of Texas Executive Director Mike Ware likes to apply to jailhouse snitches, and the chances that they are telling the truth. It goes: “Even a blind hog finds an acorn every once in a while," he said. "I guess every once in a while a snitch is telling the truth.”

Even if the defendant is most certainly guilty, Ware says theoretically it's likely that the inmate's story about that time his buddy confessed over mashed potatoes is a lie. What Ware is most concerned about, however, is the prospect of jailhouse informants contributing to wrongful convictions. And perhaps there is no case more chilling than that of Cameron Todd Willingham.

The jailhouse snitch who met Willingham in the Navarro County Jail was the first one to testify in his capital murder trial. He had told the jury that Willingham confessed to setting the fire in his home that killed his three young daughters, a crime for which Willlingham was convicted and put to death — and for which he is now believed to be innocent.

Over the last decade, the forensic fire science used to convict Willingham in the trial has been largely discredited as junk science, and the jailhouse snitch himself, Johnny Webb, has admitted that Willingham never confessed anything to him. Instead, Webb had just wanted a sweet deal on his own punishment in exchange for helping out the prosecutors. As chronicled by The Marshall Project, when the prosecutor asked whether Webb had been promised anything in exchange for his testimony, Webb said, “No, sir.”

“As a matter of fact, I told you there is nothing I can do for you,” the prosecutor responded.

That prosecutor, Jim Jackson, had in fact single-handedly reduced Webb's aggravated robbery from first-degree to second-degree without a deadly weapon, and later campaigned for his early release from prison after Webb served less than six years.

This now-infamous case went to trial almost 25 years ago, yet Ware says bribed jailhouse witnesses giving false testimony for personal gain is still a rampant problem in every criminal court in the state and possibly the country. The National Registry of Exonerations has identified 138 cases in which testimony from jailhouse informants has led to the conviction of an innocent person who was later exonerated.

“It’s a real problem,” Ware said, “and the kinds of cases it happens in are heavily weighted toward the most serious crimes.” Of the 138 confirmed wrongful convictions, the vast majority of cases are murder cases, and 27 defendants received death sentences.

Ware is currently working to vacate the conviction of a Bell County man named George Powell, whom Ware says was wrongfully convicted of an aggravated robbery in 2009 and sentenced to 28 years in prison largely thanks to a jailhouse informant. Ware says the snitch has now recanted his testimony, and the Texas Forensic Science Commission has discredited as junk science the surveillance video analysis the prosecution's expert witness used to describe the robber’s height. Like most jailhouse-witness cases, Ware said the other evidence was simply not strong enough against Powell.

“If it's a high-profile case with weak evidence, then they need that jailhouse informant,” Ware said. “The demand for an incentivized jailhouse informant goes way up, and the [the inmates] are not unaware of that. These are people who make deadly weapons out of toothbrushes, who make bootleg whisky out of potato skins. They understand how to fabricate a complete lie, and then create value by selling it to a willing buyer — which is the prosecutor.”

* * *

If it were up to Schaffer and Ware, the law would bar offering any benefits to jailhouse snitches in exchange for testimony. It would require all jailhouse witnesses to take a polygraph before ever taking the stand. And it would make it a crime for prosecutors to knowingly elicit false testimony and allow their penitentiary informants to lie to a jury.

But restricting prosecutors’ use of jailhouse witnesses would be an uphill climb in the Legislature, Schaffer said. And that’s because prosecutors maintain hefty influence at the Capitol, he said.

Besides, the reason prosecutors value jailhouse informants’ testimony is clear: What about cases in which prosecutors are near certain the defendant committed the crime, but are concerned that without a confession a jury will not be convinced — and then a murderer will walk free?

That scenario may always spring to legislators’ minds, Ware said — but it shouldn’t rule out commonsense reforms that would prevent careless prosecutors from soliciting false testimony from untrustworthy criminals. Ware, who is also an advisory member of the Tim Cole Exoneration Review Commission, said the commission will be petitioning the Legislature to require district attorneys to at least adopt a written policy like Tarrant County’s to safeguard against lying jailhouse snitches.

Tarrant County appears to be the only county in the state to have such a policy. Effective in June, it says prosecutors should first make the jailhouse witness submit to a polygraph test. Then, prosecutors will need to disclose to the defense anything that could “conceivably be interpreted as a benefit or consideration; a written summary or transcript of the informant's testimony; the informant's criminal history, mental health history and any gang affiliation; any benefits the informant received in the past for testifying; and everything about his current criminal case. The judge will get the dossier, too.

While Schaffer said it would be ideal if every county in the state adopted it, he said the only way to eradicate the problem of prosecutors rewarding prisoners for testifying for their own personal gain is to start criminally charging prosecutors who knowingly engage in the misconduct.

In Schaffer’s Fort Bend case earlier this month, Schaffer called for perjury charges to be filed against the prosecutor who lied about three deals she made with jailhouse snitches, then admitted to knowing some parts of one witness’s story were false. In reality, though, Schaffer said he doesn’t think anything will happen to her.

“They’re allowed to keep doing it, when case after case after case, it’s determined the witness testified falsely,” he said. “I’ve been slack at going after prosecutors. I’ve been willing to settle with my client getting a new trial. But I’m done doing that now.”

Monday, November 28, 2016


By Lyndsay Winkley | The San Diego Union-Tribune | November 23, 2016

San Diego’s first transgender police officer was kept out of an event at the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest last week because she was wearing her uniform.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event to honor those who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence, was held Nov. 17 at the facility on Centre Street.

Officer Christine Garcia, who publicly transitioned last year, helped plan the event and was part of the police department security detail that watched over a commemorative march down University Avenue.

After the march, when Garcia tried to enter the event as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, she was asked to leave because her police uniform could upset others in attendance.

When leaders at the center learned what had happened they directly apologized to Garcia and San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

“We do not wish to ever make any community member feel unwelcome at The Center – these officers are valued members of our community,” said Delores Jacobs, CEO of the center, in a statement.

Jacobs said the occurrence was a regrettable misunderstanding of the center’s already existing policy of inclusion, which seeks to acknowledge the concerns that members of the community may have without excluding others. Leaders have reviewed the policy with its staff since the event.

“While we need to support those that are uncomfortable and honor their reactions to valid and understandable difficult previous experiences, we also need to explain that… our LGBTQ San Diego police liaisons are a valued part of our community,” Jacobs wrote.

Longtime LGBTQ activist, City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez, said the incident was an outrage.

“Any officer, be they gay or straight, should be welcomed into our community center in uniform,” he said. “They protect our community and neighborhoods and make San Diego a better place.”

Murray-Ramirez said relations between the LGBTQ community and the police department have vastly improved over the last several decades, in part because of the work done by community liaisons such as Garcia.

“They've really reached out to the community,” he said of the department. “They've gotten to know the community. There are always rotten apples, but on a whole we have progressed greatly. And we're very appreciative of them and that progress.”

The police department said Garcia would not be available to comment for this story.

Police Lt. Scott Wahl, a department spokesman, praised Garcia’s work in the LGBTQ community, noting she had recently been awarded by several organizations.

“The San Diego Police Department enjoys having a great relationship with the LGBTQ community,” he wrote in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our partnership in keeping our community safe.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Does officer ‘Christine’ still have a dick, and if so what bathroom does that cop use?

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Sessions would set the agenda on who faces the full might of the federal government, including—if some Trump supporters get their way—Hillary Clinton

By Eli Hager, Alysia Santo and Simone Weichselbaum

VICE News | November 22, 2016

Under Senator Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican reported to be President-elect Donald Trump's choice for attorney general, the Justice Department—like much of the federal government—is poised to undergo a radical shift. The great majority of criminal prosecutions take place at the state level: About 211,000 people are locked up in federal prisons, compared with 1.3 million in state prisons, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. But Sessions would set the agenda on who faces the full might of the federal government, including—if some Trump supporters get their way—Hillary Clinton.

Trump himself can quickly eliminate criminal justice changes put into place by executive order, such as banning solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prison or directing federal agencies not to ask about criminal backgrounds in job applications. Here's a look at what Sessions, a former US attorney and state attorney general in Alabama, could change at one of the nation's most powerful agencies:

Police oversight

President Obama's Justice Department has made liberal use of its powers to investigate law enforcement agencies accused of a "pattern or practice" of violating civil rights. The Obama DOJ began 23 investigations and entered 11 consent decrees mandating reforms in Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland, and other cities, far more than presidents Clinton or George W. Bush. In the introduction to a 2008 paper published by the Alabama Policy Institute, Sessions condemned such interventions as an abuse of federal authority. "Consent decrees have a profound effect on our legal system as they constitute an end run around the democratic process," he wrote. One caveat: Recent high-profile shootings by police may make it harder to dismiss the idea of oversight. Robert N. Driscoll, deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division under George W. Bush, predicted the Justice Department will keep police reform alive, especially in an age where social media amplifies the concerns about racial disparities in policing. "There will be the same political pressure to open a 'pattern or practice' [investigation], " Driscoll said.


The attorney general guides US attorneys—the top federal prosecutors appointed by the president—toward stricter or more lenient sentences through so-called charging memos. While individual US attorneys have some discretion, "it is a philosophy you try to live up to because it's your boss," said Kevin Ring, a longtime Republican aide who is now vice president at Families Against Mandatory Minimums. Former attorney general Eric Holder advised against piling up charges for low-level drug offenders and seeking maximum sentences, a policy Sessions is unlikely to continue. Sessions was a longtime supporter of eliminating sentencing discrepancies between crack and cocaine offenders, but he helped block broader drug sentencing reform in the Senate this year despite wide bipartisan support, saying it would release "violent felons" into the street. DOJ's Office of Legislative Affairs can have significant influence on criminal justice measures in Congress, and Justice has a seat on the US Sentencing Commission, which researches and develops guidelines on appropriate punishments.

Private prisons

In August, DOJ announced that its corrections subsidiary, the Bureau of Prisons, would phase out the use of private, for-profit prisons, after an inspector-general report found lapses in safety, security, and oversight. Trump told Chris Matthews in June, "I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons. It seems to work a lot better." In October, Geo Group, one of the largest private prison corporations, hired two former Sessions aides to lobby in favor of outsourcing federal corrections to private contractors, according to Politico Influence.


As a senator and Trump advisor, Sessions has been right in tune with the president-elect on the need to secure the borders, limit legal immigration, and expel many, if not all, undocumented immigrants. Enforcement is divided between the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice. The DOJ's Executive Office for Immigration Review administers the nation's immigration courts, appoints the judges who preside there, and oversees appeals of deportation orders. DOJ decides whether to bring criminal charges against those here illegally. Justice also could also use the threat of withholding federal money to pressure the 300 so-called sanctuary cities that have refused to assist in the identification and pursuit of the undocumented.

Local grants

The Justice Department doesn't control state criminal justice policy, but it does have a multibillion dollar piggy bank to influence local initiatives. The agency's Office of Justice Programs has more than $2 billion to fund programs on a wide range of issues, from forensics to domestic violence to body cameras for police. The priorities could shift under Sessions more toward law enforcement and away from measures intended to prevent crime or rehabilitate prisoners, said one former high-ranking Justice Department official who worked under former president George W. Bush. "The attorney general can impact where DOJ money goes around research, pilot programs, all those things," the official said.

Punishing leakers/whistleblowers

The Obama administration has taken a hard line against government employees who reveal classified information to journalists, and has occasionally tried to force journalists to reveal their sources. The DOJ has stopped short of prosecuting journalists for publishing sensitive information, resisting calls from conservatives to invoke the Espionage Act against news organizations. Where Sessions would draw that line is unclear. During a 2013 Senate debate on a so-called federal shield law (giving journalists the protections already operative in most states), Sessions was an outspoken opponent, declaring, "This legislation, in effect, says we are going to create a legal mechanism to protect anyone who is going to call himself a newsperson." One leading press lawyer described Sessions as "obstructionist as possible" to the bill's passage. Sessions has not been an enthusiast for expanding government openness—but neither is the Obama DOJ.

War on drugs

Sessions vigorously prosecuted drug crimes as a prosecutor, and has bemoaned what he believed was a lack of attention to the issue by the Obama administration. "The prison population is declining at a rapid rate.... And at the same time, the drug use is surging and death are occurring [sic]. And on my opinion, it's going to get worse," Sessions said in March in response to news that Obama's DOJ was prosecuting fewer but "more serious" drug cases. It is unclear how a Justice Department under Sessions would handle prosecutions in the growing number of states that have legalized marijuana, which the federal government still classifies as a dangerous Schedule 1 drug.

Public defenders and bail

The Justice Department has traditionally left indigent defense up to the states, but the Obama administration, especially in its second term, has weighed in far more aggressively, often by filing "statements of interest" in local cases involving the right to counsel. The briefs have been effective in convincing judges to rule in favor of defendants who had been denied a lawyer. But the practice has been highly unpopular with prosecutors and municipal attorneys, who feel attacked. Barry J. Pollack, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said the new administration could bow out of such efforts or, "worst-case scenario, start defending these places that have failed to provide counsel to the poor." Sessions took aim this year at the "agenda" that a public defender and civil rights attorney would bring to a judicial appointment, but also expressed support for federal defenders hurt by a 2013 budget sequester. DOJ has also submitted briefs in support of lawsuits challenging money in the bail system.

"I would assume they won't get involved in any more of these bail cases, but that remains to be seen," said Jeff Clayton, policy director for the American Bail Coalition, a trade group for insurance companies that underwrite bail.

This article was originally published by the Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that covers the US criminal justice system.

EDITOR’S Note: Sounds like the right guy for the job!


By Bob Walsh

Back in the prehistoric days (before the internet and cell phones) the people of Great Britain had a ship built, the Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock. That vessel is now over 50 years old and is suffering from the maladies of wooden sailing ships, rot and beetles.

Over the next 2 ½ years the people at the Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut will do a complete overhaul of the 106 foot long vessel. The project will cost about $7.5 million. So far over $7 million has been raised. They want to get about $12 million total, in order to have a fully funded maintenance program once the work is complete. The ship will have to be about 50% rebuilt.

They estimate that about 25 million people have boarded this ship to get some modest feel for what it must have been like on board for the settlers.

They expect to have her ready to sail by 2019, a full year ahead of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World.


By Jeremy Kohler | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | November 25, 2016

My oldest son is three months from turning 16 and getting his drivers license. But I was the one daydreaming about a new ride.

On an unseasonably warm day recently, I thought to myself: It would be so nice to drive a Jeep with the top off. Just like I did when I graduated college and landed my first job.

Idea: Maybe he could drive my car and I could get myself a used Wrangler.

I searched the St. Louis Craigslist and … wow. Someone was selling a 2000 Wrangler, brilliant yellow, with custom black fenders. The description said it had low miles, mostly highway. New tires and brakes. A new water pump and coil pack. Runs great. Looked mint.

Price: $2,000.

I was filled with longing.

I texted a reply to the seller’s number, which had a 314 area code. “Does it have ac?”

I looked it up on Kelley Blue Book, a car value guide: The Wrangler’s value was $10,000. I could flip it and make a couple thousand at least. Or I could drive that Jeep forever, up mountains, over sandy beaches. Who cares about the air conditioner? I needed that Jeep.

“I will come buy it right now,” I texted.

The reply: “I posted the 2000 yellow jeep for my sister.” The text included a gmail address for the sister, Megan Warren.

I emailed Megan to say I wanted the Jeep. Just needed an address. The reply I got was exciting — 45 more yellow Jeep pictures — but also very sad. Megan said it was her son’s Jeep. He had just died and she just wanted to get rid of it. How sad. But it explained the low price.

For her safety, though, she wanted to make the sale through eBay Motors, if that was OK.

My first thought was, that makes sense.

Then the investigative reporter in me kicked in. I googled the text of her email. It came up in warnings from Craigslist and eBay .

The victim sends an electronic payment, but never gets the car.

You probably saw that coming before I did.

My neighbor’s daughter just turned 16, and we’ve been talking for almost a year about how we were going to look for good deals at police auctions or on Craigslist. We had the same budget: under $3,000.

The other day, she had a 2017 Buick in the garage. Turned out they decided to lease.

I told her I might be headed in the same direction, and told her about the yellow Jeep of my dreams.

She laughed.

The same thing had happened to her that week — twice. People selling nice cars within our price range. Whose loved ones had just died. And who wanted to go through eBay.

We were the perfect suckers — parents of new drivers willing to suspend disbelief in the quest for a deal.

“The worst part is, I still go back to the email to look at pictures of the Jeep,” I confessed.

can spot the scam pretty easily now. It is all over Craigslist. It’s not obvious unless you know what you’re looking for. The car is well described, including minor problems that were fixed. The number is local. The posting has just the right amount of typos to feel authentic. Too many and it’s clear the posting came from Russia, or Nigeria.

The first clue — really the only clue — is the price. The car is listed at a great price but not an impossible one.

I respond to ads now just to mess with the scammer. “Interested in the BMW,” I texted to a number in the 636 area code. “Call me.”

The reply came about two hours later. The scammer knew not to appear too eager at first. Keep me thinking about the car.

“Hi, the 2005 BMW X5 xDrive it’s still available,” the scammer texted. “If you want more pics and details please provide me your email address.”

I did, and got 21 pictures of the vehicle from someone named “Angela Weston.”

Now she was in a hurry. “I am selling it at this final price of $2,500 because my husband died 1 month ago and it brings me bad memories and that’s the reason I want to sell it a.s.a.p. I want to use Amazon services for the safety of both of us so if you’re interested in purchasing this vehicle.”

I responded: “Hi — I am actually a journalist. I’m curious about these scams and who is behind them. Would you consider an interview with me over email? I’m curious about how this works.”

I added, “It might be interesting for you also to tell your story.” But “Angie” doubled down. “As I have told you in my previous email, my husband died recently. I had to move out and now I am living with my parents in Lawrence, KS. At the moment they are the only ones I can rely on. The car is at the shipping company, sealed and ready for the shipping. … If you are interested in knowing more info about how it works, I can ask Amazon to send you an email with more information on how to purchase it.”

But I still wondered: How does the scammer use eBay or Amazon to get the money?

Alas, Christina Nieto knows the answer.

The St. Louis woman wanted to buy herself a car with her tax refund in February. She responded to an ad for a 2008 Honda Accord with 126,000 miles. The price was $2,000. (Kelley Blue Book says the car would be worth more like $5,000.)

“Corporal Maria Dickson” explained in an email: “I am selling this vehicle because I am in the military and my unit will be sent back to Afghanistan. I don’t want it get old in my garage. The price is low because I need to sell it before February 12th.”

Made sense to Nieto. Plus, an email from eBay said the transaction was guaranteed.

Later on, though, she realized the email was from A fake email address.

“She wouldn’t listen to me,” said her aunt, Vernita Molina.

“Maria” asked Nieto to send the money to Rodolfo Franco, an agent from eBay who was handling the transaction.

Franco’s address on the MoneyGram receipt was listed as Rogers Avenue in Poteau, Okla. I looked the street up on Google Streetview: a dusty alley in a small town.

I reversed the address and called the number. It was a state of Oklahoma work-placement office. The woman who took my call had never heard of Rodolfo Franco. But someone picked up the money. Probably at a supermarket or convenience store. Maybe even in Poteau. Moneygram knows where and when. Was there surveillance video?

Nieto said she called the St. Louis police and was told they would not take a report. She said it was the same with MoneyGram.

I left messages with a representative from MoneyGram, who did not respond.

I hope someone helps Nieto get her money back.

“This is a very serious problem for society right now,” said Yi Yang, director of the cybersecurity program at Fontbonne University.

Scammers and phishers work with impunity. The fraudulent ads almost never work. They pop up and disappear too frequently. The scammers create phone numbers and email addresses, and use proxy servers to hide their locations.

Every once in a while they catch someone. The Better Business Bureau says another woman lost $5,000 last year in the scam.

Every Craigslist posting has a link at the bottom to language that warns users to buy only from someone local, in person, and not with an electronic transaction. And Craigslist removes ads as soon as fraud is detected.

Yang said she thought authorities should run more sting operations to try to identify and ensnare scammers.

I responded to an ad for a pretty red 2006 BMW X5 on Friday and got an email with pictures (and a sob story: another dead husband) right away.

Then I went back to the St. Louis ad and found Craigslist had removed it.

I texted back: “Do you have one in blue?”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although P. T. Barnum never actually said it, there's a sucker born every minute.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Billionaire founder of the Corona beer brewery makes EVERYONE in the Spanish village where he grew up a MILLIONAIRE in his will

By Chris Summers and Hannah Al-Othman | Daily Mail | November 24, 2016

All 80 residents of the sleepy Spanish village of Cerezales del Condado have just become millionaires.

But their good fortune is not the result of winning El Gordo (The Fat One), Spain's national lottery. It is simply because the tiny hamlet was the birthplace of Antonino Fernández.

Mr Fernández emigrated to Mexico in 1949, when he was 32, and went on to become the CEO of Grupo Modelo, the brewery company who make Corona beer.

He died in August this year, aged 99, and was by then a billionaire.

Under his eccentric will, £169m was left to the residents of Cerezales, the village in Leon province where he was born and raised, with each villager inheriting roughly £2m ($2,490,500).

Fernández was born on December 13, 1917 into grinding poverty and grew up the eleventh of 13 children.

At the age of 14 Fernández had to leave school because his parents could not afford the fees.

After the Spanish Civil War moved to the town of Leon in Northern Spain, where he married his wife Cinia González Díez.

In 1949, his wife's uncle, who owned Grupo Modelo, invited the couple to move to Mexico, where Fernández began working for the brewery, as a warehouse employee.

He worked his way up through the ranks, and by 1971 he had risen to CEO and he helped make Corona not only Mexico's most popular beer but also a huge export phenomenon, including in his native Spain where it is sold under the Coronita brand.

Corona Extra is the second most imported bottled beer in the United States, with annual sales of $693million (£556million).

Maximino Sanchez, who owns the only bar in the village, which is stocked full of Mexican beers, told the Diario de León newspaper: 'We never had any pesete (money) before. I don't know, what we would have done without Antonino.'

Fernández was a well-known philanthropist who never forgot his motherland and was honoured by the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos, for his charitable deeds, including his work with disabled young people.

He also set up the 'Cerezales Antonino y Cinia' Foundation in his hometown in 2009, to support rural initiatives in the area.

But it was only after his death that it was clear to the people of Cerezales how much he loved his birthplace.

The village is also getting a brand new cultural centre, paid for out of his inheritance and a local non-profit foundation with 300 employees will also benefit.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appeared in many TV news reports and newspapers throughout the world, but it may not be true. Here is a report from the Independent:

'It’s simply not true, unfortunately,' said one resident of the town. But the hamlet does owe a huge debt to Mr Fernandez

By Andrew Griffin | Independent | November 25, 2016

The founder of Corona didn't actually make everyone in his hometown a millionaire. But that doesn't mean that they're not very grateful.

This week, a story flew around the internet that Antonino Fernandez, the billionaire founder of the brewery who died this year, had left €2 million to every person in his home village. The story was reported by many major UK news organisations, including The Independent, the BBC and the Press Association, as well as internationally – but it wasn't strictly true.

People in the village said the story got "completely out of hand", and that they're not actually millionaires. They haven't received any money directly from Mr Fernandez, they said.

But Mr Fernandez did leave a huge amount of money with his hometown, and has paid for everything from cultural institutions to churches. And he did leave money to his family in Spain, who visit the village every year and help to keep its economy going.

“It’s simply not true, unfortunately,” said Lucia Alaejos from the Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, a cultural centre that was founded in the village with the benefit of money from the foundations.

"It seems someone got the wrong end of the stick and the story has just grown and grown," she told the Local Spain. "It’s got completely out of hand.”

Rather than it going to people in the village, Mr Fernandez, who had no children of his own, actually left a huge part of his fortune to the descendents of his siblings. As one child of 13, the Corona founder had a large number of nieces and nephews, and so did help to make a large number of them rich.

“Many of them still visit for some months each summer, so it is great for the village and keeps it alive,” Ms Alaejos told the Local. “But the villagers won’t be sharing in that inheritance directly.”


By Bob Walsh

Antonino Fernandez came from the village of Cerezales del Condado (current population 80)in Spain. He was born there in 1917 and went to Mexico to make his fortune. He did. He founded the Cornoa brewery and became very wealthy indeed. He cashed out his chips in August at age 99. And he wanted to do something nice for the people of his village.

He left $210million dollars to the villagers. That works out to about $2.5 million each.

He was one of 13 children. He had to drop out of school at age 14 because his parents couldn't afford to keep him in school. He moved to Mexico shorty after WWII and eventually became the head of Grupo Modelo and made tons of money.

Sounds like he must have been a basically nice guy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob alerted me that according to Fox News, the story is a hoax.


Stepmother says the time she spent helping her partner rape his two young children was the 'best of her life'

By AAP and Nelson Groom | Daily Mail | November 25, 2016

A stepmother who helped her husband violently rape his young children has described that period as 'the best time in her life', a court has heard.

The woman, who cannot be named, took part as her husband sexually abused his two children, locked them in cages, tied them to trees and slammed their fingers in doors at their remote property north of Port Augusta, in South Australia.

In sentencing submissions in the SA District Court on Friday the woman's lawyer made reference to the woman's comments that the offending period 'was the best time in her life'.

But the lawyer says the comment was made sarcastically to a psychologist as a way of dealing with the difficult subject.

'That was said or meant in a sarcastic manner,' said.

'It's obviously not the most appropriate way to address such questions but (she) seems to deal with stress and difficulties in perhaps an unusual way by making a joke or trying to laugh things off.'

She was found guilty of false imprisonment while her husband was found guilty of multiple rape and assault offences over the horrific abuse.

However, Judge Sophie David said the comments showed a lack of remorse.

'There has been no acceptance of her conduct, and in my view there is very little scope for leniency,' Judge David said.

'I can't have any confidence in any prospects of rehabilitation or suggestion of remorse, particularly in light of what she has said. Sarcastic or not.'

The court previously heard the children, a boy and a girl, had suffered devastating and lasting consequences as a result of their treatment.

Prosecutor Amelia Cairney said the stepmother needed to be jailed for the safety of the community.

The pair, who cannot be named, will be sentenced on December 6.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Be sure to catch the song at the end. It's priceless.


The president-elect believes his son-in-law Jared Kushner can make peace between Israel and the Palestinians

BarkGrowlBite | November 25, 2016

The euphoria of his victory over Hillary Clinton must have left Donald Trump in a stoner-like dream world. He actually believes that because his son-in-law is Jewish, Jared Kushner can make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump needs to get off his high and get real on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump met Tuesday with publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and journalists from the newsroom and opinion staff at The New York Times. During that meeting he said he was thinking about making his son-in-law a special envoy charged with brokering peace in the Middle East.

Here is an excerpt from the Times’ report on that meeting:

Mr. Trump said that Mr. Kushner, who is an observant Jew, “could be very helpful” in reconciling the longstanding dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“I would love to be able to be the one that made peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” Mr. Trump said, adding that Mr. Kushner “would be very good at it” and that “he knows the region.”

“A lot of people tell me, really great people tell me, that it’s impossible — you can’t do it,” Mr. Trump added. “I disagree. I think you can make peace.”

“I have reason to believe I can do it,” he added.

Yeah, right. President Bill Clinton was sure he had made peace between the Israelis and Palestinians after the Oslo Agreement was reached only to see Yassa Arafat break the accord. President Obama made peace between Israel and the Palestinians one of his top priorities, sending Secretary of State John Kerry flopping from place to place in the Middle East in a fruitless effort at reaching an agreement between the two parties.

And now Trump thinks he can achieve a peace the Palestinians really don’t want. If Kushner gets appointed as a special envoy, the Israelis can expect him to lean over backwards for the Palestinians so as to avoid any appearance that he might be favoring Israel because he is Jewish.

If he gets off his stoner-like high, Trump will realize that, rather than peace, what the Palestinians really want is to obliterate the Jewish state. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly vowed – in Arabic – “there will be only one state from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea and that will be a Palestinian state.” Other PLO and Fatah leaders have made the same vow over and over again. Of course in English, Abbas and the other lying bastards say they favor a two-state solution.

Instead of wasting his time and the resources of the United States on pursuing a futile peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians – with or without Jared Kushner – Trump should look to other foreign affairs solutions.

During the campaign, Trump promised Jewish groups he would move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu, Trump promised that his administration would “finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” The Europeans and the U.S. have thus far refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel for fear of pissing off the oil-rich Arabs and the rest of the Muslim world.

The policy wonks at the State Department adamantly oppose moving the embassy to Jerusalem. President George W. Bush made the same promise but wilted under pressure from the State Department. And President Obama, in his attempt at a love affair with the Muslim world, never made any such promise.

I expect Trump to keep his promise about moving the embassy. It’s a promise he can easily keep. But will he keep it? I’m not holding my breath because, as usual, the State Department will insist that the embassy remains in Tel Aviv.

If Trump, like Obama before him, prioritizes an attempt to achieve that unachievable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he won’t be able to move the embassy while his Secretary of State or Jared Kushner are kept flopping around the Middle East in endless negotiations throughout his administration.


By Bob Walsh

Corey Powell, 29, was a denizen of Oakland, CA. He is also a stupid, clumsy bastard.

Powell was out on parole and ducking an outstanding warrant back on September 1, 2015, while he was grabbing a smoke on the platform of a BART station. Bad idea doing blatant illegal stuff if you are trying to hide from the cops.

Two cops jacked him about the smoking. He gave them a fake name, then told cops he will kill himself if they attempted to take him into custody. Real smart move there. A scuffle ensured and Powell shot himself with the handgun he was carrying illegally in the waistband of his pants.

Powell has just been sentenced to eight years as a guest of the state for three felonies and two misdemeanors. Maybe during that time he can find a hamster and get the state to pay for a brain transplant between him and the cute little creature. It would probably boost his I.Q. by about 50%. Probably won't make him any more lovable, but sometimes that's life in the fast lane.


There’s a case to be made for routine election audits—but not for spreading unsubstantiated claims or speculation about the outcome of an election.

By Clare Foran | The Atlantic | November 23, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump is assembling a team of advisors and cabinet officials, but calls for Hillary Clinton to demand a recount of the presidential election results have not subsided.

A New York Magazine article published on Tuesday added to that furor when it declared: “Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump,” asserting that the group of individuals in question “believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.”

The report has subsequently fueled speculation on social media that the vote count might have been compromised—despite the fact that the report itself emphasized that “the group has not found proof of hacking or manipulation”—as well as demands for a recount. “Please challenge the vote, Hillary. Something is not right here,” one Twitter user implored. “The most frightening thing that could happen is if we turn a blind eye and act like something isn’t completely wrong,” another user ominously tweeted.

It’s not surprising that voters desperate to stop Trump from becoming the next president could be convinced that the election was rigged. Cyber security experts have expressed confidence that Russia directed the hacks of emails from the Democratic National Committee that were subsequently published by WikiLeaks. In October, the Obama administration publicly announced that “disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like and WikiLeaks … are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” and added that “these thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

Meanwhile, Clinton’s lead in the popular vote continues to grow, and recently surpassed more than two million votes, contributing to a sense among Clinton supporters that Trump’s victory is unfair and does not reflect the will of the people.

But there’s no conclusive evidence that hacking was used to manipulate the electoral vote count. That point is made in the New York report and in a follow-up Medium Post by J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan cited in the initial report. Halderman writes: “Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked.” (Halderman also takes issue with the New York report, asserting that it “incorrectly describes the reasons manually checking ballots is an essential security safeguard.”)

Halderman goes on to argue that recounting ballots would allow for a determination as to whether there was a cyberattack, and help ensure voter confidence in the election outcome. Here’s an excerpt from his Medium post:

The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence—paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts.” [...]

Examining the physical evidence in these states — even if it finds nothing amiss — will help allay doubt and give voters justified confidence that the results are accurate. It will also set a precedent for routinely examining paper ballots, which will provide an important deterrent against cyberattacks on future elections. Recounting the ballots now can only lead to strengthened electoral integrity, but the window for candidates to act is closing fast.

Over at Vox, Timothy Lee makes a similar argument for routine vote audits: “If election officials audit the results of every election, then the decision to audit a particular election won’t give credence to conspiracy theorists, and it will bolster rather than undermine public confidence.” He goes on to add: “By requesting a recount this year, Clinton would help to set a precedent that integrity should be a routine part of the election process.”

But setting aside the case for vote auditing as a general safeguard, there are important reasons to resist indulging in baseless speculation about election outcomes.

Dartmouth College Political scientist Brendan Nyhan has written about the dangers of unsubstantiated claims that elections are rigged. “Ultimately, democracies depend on losers’ acceptance of the legitimacy of the political process,” he wrote in an August 2016 post for The New York Times. “That’s why the norm of accepting election outcomes among defeated presidential candidates is so important.”

It seems unlikely that Clinton herself would call for a recount. She has already conceded the election. In her concession speech, she urged voters to accept that “Donald Trump is going to be our president.” She went on to say that “we owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” adding: “Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.”

But that won’t put a stop to clamor for a recount. On Wednesday, Green Party 2016 presidential candidate Jill Stein announced a fundraising drive to call for vote recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

It’s an unlikely prospect, but it represents all the hope left among those who can’t stand the thought of Donald Trump in the White House.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hillary’s lead over Trump in the popular vote has now surpassed 2.5 million. And the recount campaign by the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein raised $3.7 million on Wednesday, the day she started her campaign. So far, Stein has raised more than enough money to pay the recount filing fees in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.


Indiana mother accused of injecting feces into son’s IV during cancer treatments

By Shannon Houser | Fox 59 | November 23, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indiana mother is accused of injecting feces into her son’s IV bag while he was undergoing cancer treatments at Riley Hospital for Children.

Tiffany Alberts, 41, of Wolcott, Indiana, is charged with six counts of aggravated battery and one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury.

According to court documents, officers were called to Riley Hospital to investigate possible child abuse on November 17.

Alberts’15-year-old son was being treated for cancer, and he had several unexplainable infections that were delaying treatment. Staff placed video surveillance in his room, and the video showed Alberts injecting an unknown substance into his IV bag with a syringe several times, court documents say

Staff told police that Alberts’ son received his first round of chemotherapy for leukemia in September and went home. But several days later he returned to the hospital because he had a fever and diarrhea and was vomiting. The staff said his symptoms haven’t improved. He’s required several surgeries to changes his central venous line due to concern for infection, and he spent 18 days in the ICU.

Doctors also told authorities that the boy tested positive for blood cultures with organisms that are normally found in stool, and experts say there is no medical reason to explain the ongoing blood infection.

Investigators questioned Alberts, and at first, she said she injected water into her son’s IV bag to “flush the line” because the “medicine that was given to him burned.” However, she later confessed that she injected fecal matter into the bag on multiple occasions. She says she did it to get her son moved to another unit at Riley that had better treatment.

Court documents say the boy’s health improved once Alberts was removed from the hospital room. They say their biggest concern is they may have missed their window to keep his leukemia in remission.

Doctors also say the boy could have died from any one of the episodes of septic shock, and he still could die from his leukemia due to the prolonged delay in therapy.

Sandy Runkle with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana said while cases like these are rare, when dealing with child maltreatment, there's generally a spectrum of factors for why the abuse happened. Runkle said everyone has a responsibility to pay close attention to a child's health, whether their a family member or friend.

"Just keeping an eye out if you’re a family member that’s concerned, or a friend, or a physician," Runkle said.

Many parents may not have resources to help take care of their children dealing with medical problems, Runkle said.


Any school employee who does not do this would face mandatory disciplinary action

By Dianna Wray | Houston Press | November 22, 2016

If a kid is growing up in Texas grappling with the realities of being gay or transgender, what he or she really needs right then is to be forcibly outed to his or her parents, according to at least one conservative state senator. Luckily, there may soon be an actual law on the books requiring teachers and other school district employees to out students to their parents.


Konni Burton, a Tea Party Republican state senator from Fort Worth, has just filed a real winner of a piece of legislation, Senate Bill 242, which would force school employees to disclose the sexual and/or gender orientation of students to their parents. Any employee who does not do this would face mandatory disciplinary action.

Burton filed the bill in response to Fort Worth ISD's attempt to change school district guidelines to protect trans students. Under Fort Worth's new rules, a school employee would only be able to reveal a student's orientation to parents after getting permission from the student. However, after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pressured the district to back off on the guidelines, Fort Worth ISD gave in and dropped the proposal.

So now it seems Burton is trying to make any further attempts to keep a student's sexual or gender orientation private illegal. Burton says she views these measures as key to a child's “physical, mental, emotional health, and more,” she explained in a statement issued just before she filed the bill. "We found these provisions in desperate need of clarity and expansion,"

Burton stated. "No parent in Texas should ever have to fight for the basic right to matter in their child’s life again."

In her mind, thus, she would actually be protecting the rights of both students and parents, since this measure of forcing any employee students choose to confide in at school to then break that confidence by telling the student's parents is intended to ultimately help the child. We just have to wonder — in a world where Mike Pence,a guy who believes in conversion therapy, is about to become vice president of the United States — what kind of "help" Burton intends.

After all, do parents really have a "right to know" in all circumstances? Parents who accept and support their child's identity can be a huge asset to help a student cope with some of the challenges of being an LGBT kid, as the Centers for Disease Control points out. But some parents decide they can't let their child live in their house, or life at home becomes so strained and toxic the child may run away. (Hence why it's more common for LGBTQ teens to be homeless compared to their straight counterparts.)

As Steven Rudner, chairman of the board for Equality Texas, noted, if a student can tell a teacher but can't tell his or her parent, there's probably a reason the parent isn't in the loop. "Until kids are not kicked out of their house for being gay or transgender, and until kids are not being beaten by parents for being gay or transgender, we owe it to kids to protect them," Rudner stated in a release issued Monday.

Burton's bill is thorough too. If a school district employee doesn't reveal sexual or gender identity of a student to the student's parents, the person would be subject to discipline. And the excuse that an educator was honoring a promise to keep the information secret would not be acceptable if this bill becomes law. The legislation is clear:

"A request by a child to an employee of a school district to conceal or withhold information or general knowledge concerning the child from the child's parent is not a defense to any disciplinary action taken against the employee."

It doesn't stop there. Texas school districts would also be banned from adopting or enforcing "any rule that conflicts" with SB 242. So even school districts that do not approve of the legislation will be stuck following it.

First the state blocked a federal order to allow trans students to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, and now this. It's already hard enough to be trans or gay in a Texas high school, and for some reason state lawmakers seem intent on making it even more difficult.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have mixed feelings about Burton’s bill and maybe it’s not really the right thing to do. But when it comes to transgender use of school bathrooms, I am unequivocal! If the student has a dick, that student uses the boys’ bathroom, and if the student does not have a dick, that student uses the girls’ bathroom.

Thursday, November 24, 2016



By Bob Walsh

1) Hillary Clinton will never be President.

2) Barack Obama will soon not be President.

Everything else is gravy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And to all our readers, whether you are a Democrat , Republican, liberal or conservative, have a very happy Thanksgiving!


Trump has decided not to seek any further investigations into Hillary’s email or Clinton Foundation shenanigans because she has suffered enough

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump referred to Clinton as “Crooked Hillary.” A slogan heard at every one of his rallies was “Lock her up.” During the second debate, Trump squarely faced Hillary and said:

“I didn’t think I’d say this and I’m going to say it and I hate to say it. … If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.”

That was then and this is now. In an interview with The New York Times, Trump was asked if he intended to pursue criminal charges against Hillary. He replied:

“It’s not something I feel very strongly about. I don’t want to hurt the Clintons … I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways. I think it would be very divisive for the country.”

So it looks like despite his campaign pledges, Trump has given Hillary a free ‘keep out of jail’ pass. Because hubby Bill was governor of Arkansas at the time, she avoided facing criminal charges over the Whitewater land scandal. And now she will not be prosecuted for having classified materials on her private email server.

Whether Hillary should be locked up or not is up to a jury to decide, but it looks like no jury will ever hear any criminal charges against her.

Like hubby Bill, Hillary will now be free to make millions of dollars giving speeches here and abroad. And some of those speeches will be highly critical of Trump administration policies. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Donald.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


This explosion of an e-cigarette in the pocket of a clerk at a wine shop in New York's Grand Central tunnel happened Wednesday. He suffered some burns on his hand and leg. If that doesn't get him to quit smoking, nothing will.


With a $500,000 contribution from death penalty abolitionist George Soros, uber-liberal Kim Ogg has won the election as Houston’s district attorney

BarkGrowlBite | November 23, 2016

Houston is not only getting an anti-gun nut and pro-sanctuary city police chief, but far worse, it is getting an uber-liberal district attorney who will all but abolish the death penalty in Harris County.

Reuters recently referred to Harris County as “the buckle on the ‘execution belt’ for sending more people to the death chamber than any other nationwide. “ The article reported changes were coming and quoted soon to be district attorney Kim Ogg as saying:

“Under an Ogg administration, you will see very few death penalty prosecutions.”

Ogg received a $500,000 contribution for her campaign from radical left-wing billionaire George Soros. Soros opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and has spent a ton of money on efforts to abolish capital punishment. He is also one of the largest contributors of funding for the legalization of marijuana.

Despite arguments to the contrary, the death penalty does act as a deterrent to premeditated murders and murders committed during burglaries and robberies. The problem is that those sentenced to death linger on death rows for decades, leading murderers to believe that if they’re caught they will die of old age before being put to sleep by the state like a pet dog.

When I was a law enforcement officer back in the 1950s and 60s, convicted murderers could expect to sit down in an electric chair or gas chamber within a couple of years after they were sentenced to death. During those years we used to bust a lot of armed robbers who committed robberies while using unloaded guns. When asked why they used unloaded gun s, the reply almost every time went something like this:

“If I carry a loaded gun I might shoot someone in a moment of panic and I don’t want to get topped.”

“Topped” is con lingo for executed.

Being known as the “execution capital of the world” is nothing for Texas to be ashamed about and if Harris County is the buckle on the nation’s “execution belt,” that is something to brag about. Unfortunately, Kim Ogg will make sure that the buckle is broken.

I predict that the only time Ogg will seek the death penalty is for cop killers, and then only because if she failed to do so, her reelection chances would be nil even if Soros gave her campaign $5,000,000.


By Bob Walsh

Jessica Golian, 29, was a special needs teacher at PS84 in New York City. She got thumped by the mother of a student when she reported suspected child neglect and is now suing the school for failing to protect her.

Ms. Golian made her report in June of last year. She told authorities that the two children of Jennifer DeJesus showed up at school reeking of marijuana smoke. The teacher was assured that her name would remain confidential even though the complaint itself was public record. It should be pointed out that the teacher was required by law to report suspected abuse. She also asserts that she told the authorities that she was fearful as the mother was known to be violent and lived in the same general neighborhood as Ms. Golian.

Some several months later, as the city Administrator for Child Services was pursuing their investigation, Ms. DeJesus attacked Ms. Golian as Ms. Golian was leaving work. DeJesus copped to misdemeanor battery and got three years probation and was served a protection order. Ms. Gollian got a "safety transfer" but says, thru her lawyer, that she is still fearful as her attacker essentially got a freebie and she no longer feels safe.

So she is suing. She has filed against the school, the ACS, the individual case worker who took her complaint and Ms. DeJesus.


By Bob Walsh

A group of separatists has filed for a state ballot proposition for 2018. This ballot proposal would remove from the state constitution the clause that asserts that California is an inseparable part of the union. Assuming the Yes California Independence Campaign is effective the question will appear on the November 2018 ballot leading to a vote on the question itself in the spring of 2019.

Constitutional scholars currently believe that no state can secede without the permission of the congress and 38 states. No one is bettering that is going to happen, but then again very few people were betting that Trump would win either. There are already 13,000 volunteers signed up to gather signatures.

In addition the group asserts that, if they get 55% of the vote, they can, and will, apply to the United Nations by way of the Treaty on Self-Determination and apply for the U. N. to recognize California as a nation-state at that time, regardless of the action or lack of action of the congress and state legislatures.

If this happens the conservative separate separatists who want to split off the state of Jefferson from the rest of California may get some momentum as well. That notion has been kicking around more-or-less seriously since the 1940s. They were going for a 2020 ballot initiative but may now piggyback on the CalExit folks. Unfortunately I doubt that San Joaquin County would go with Jefferson and would likely stay with the communist-socialist People's Republic of California. Damn shame.

This will be fun to watch.


Officials say one-third of officers shot to death on the job this year were purposely targeted by their assailant

By Tammy Webber | Associated Press | November 21, 2016

CHICAGO — The shootings of police officers in Texas and Missouri on Sunday were the latest in what law enforcement officials say is an alarming spike in ambush-style attacks.

One-third of police officers shot to death on the job this year were purposely targeted by their assailant, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The San Antonio detective was writing a traffic ticket in his squad car Sunday morning outside police headquarters when he was shot to death. A St. Louis police sergeant who was shot twice in the face Sunday evening while he sat in traffic in a marked police vehicle is expected to survive.

Police officers were also shot and injured during traffic stops in Sanibel, Florida, and Gladstone, Missouri, on Sunday night, but authorities have not suggested those were targeted attacks.

"Officers are at tremendous and growing risk; they're being targeted because of the uniform they wear and the job they do," said Craig W. Floyd, president of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Growing concern

San Antonio Detective Benjamin Marconi was the 60th officer shot to death this year, compared to 41 in all of 2015, and the 20th to die in an ambush-style attack, compared to eight last year, Floyd said.

This year's targeted killings are the most since 1995, Floyd said. In fact, Marconi's was the fourth targeted slaying of an officer this month: On Nov. 2, two Iowa officers were killed in separate but related attacks. And on Nov. 10, a Pennsylvania officer was targeted as he responded to a domestic disturbance.

The worst single attack was in July, when a black military veteran killed five white officers at a protest in Dallas — the deadliest day for American law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. Ten days later, a former Marine killed three Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officers.

"It is unusual, alarming and a real problem," Floyd said, adding that 44 officers have been killed in targeted attacks in the past three years.

Element of surprise

An ambush-style attack does not necessarily involve someone lying in wait for police officers; it's any shooting designed to catch police off-guard and put them at a disadvantage, Floyd said.

"There usually is an element of surprise and concealment involved," he said, and it's unprovoked.

Police have been killed while writing reports, like Marconi was, or eating in restaurants. They've responded to 911 calls, only to have people shoot them as they get out of their cars. And in the Dallas shooting, they were targeted by someone in a building.

"In all the cases, the officers were essentially assassinated before they had any contact with the suspect or placed that suspect in jeopardy," said Nick Breul, the Memorial Fund's director of officer safety and wellness.

Race not the biggest factor

The attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge came amid protests over the shootings of black men by white officers, and were carried out by black gunmen — but race is not always a motivating factor, Floyd said.

In fact, he said, white men are responsible for most police slayings, and the majority of people shot and killed by poIice are white.

Some officers have been killed by people who identify with the so-called sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents believe they're immune to most state and federal laws, including paying taxes and getting driver's licenses. Gavin Long, the Baton Rouge shooter, had filed documents last year declaring himself sovereign.

The man who shot and killed the two Iowa officers earlier this month as they sat in their patrol cars had a history of contacts with police, including a recent confrontation with officers at a high school football game. Others have been mentally ill.

"So much dialogue has centered around race relations, but there is a hatred in this country right now that's just gotten out of control," Floyd said. "There is a lack of respect for government in general, and the most visible and vulnerable symbol of government in America is patrolling our streets in marked cars."

Trying to stay safe

Departments around the country are doing everything from pairing up officers to installing new technology on cruisers in an effort to keep officers safe.

Putting two officers in each squad car is more expensive and might mean that fewer calls can be handled at once, Floyd said. But he added that it's a good approach "if there is a greater sense of safety," even if officers aren't necessarily safer in pairs.

Other departments are installing sensors on squad cars that can alert officers when someone approaches.

Still, training is the best weapon, Floyd said. Officers are being reminded to practice "situational awareness," to expect the unexpected and to "never take any assignment for granted," he said.

"Every law enforcement officer is now keenly aware of being targeted," he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, Black Lives Matter rhetoric has made it ‘fashionable’ to kill cops. Because every law enforcement officer is now keenly aware of being targeted, cops will have a nervous trigger finger. And that will lead to more shootings of people by the police, especially blacks. No amount of training is going to change that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Four officers were shot Sunday because it has become ‘fashionable’ to kill cops

BarkGrowlBite | November 22, 2016

38 police officers were shot to death in all of 2015. So far this year 56 officers have been shot to death. Why the alarming 71 percent increase in police deaths by gunfire? I maintain that Black Lives Matter rhetoric has made it ‘fashionable’ to kill cops.

Less than six months ago, four officers in Dallas and three officers in Baton Rouge were assassinated. Four officers were shot nationwide on Sunday, one of them fatally and another wounded critically. Three of the shootings were ambushes that were obviously targeted assassinations.

San Antonio police officer Benjamin Marconi, 50, had pulled a traffic violator over in front of police headquarters late Sunday morning. Marconi apparently returned to his car to write up the citation. As he was sitting in the cop car, a car pulled up behind him. A black man got out of that car, went up to Marconi and shot the officer in the head. The 20-year veteran was rushed to a hospital but did not survive the head shot. On Monday afternoon a SAPD SWAT team arrested Otis Tyrone McKane for the ambush slaying of Marconi.

Another 20-year veteran officer was shot in St. Louis Sunday evening. The 46-year-old police sergeant was stopped in traffic when another car pulled up beside the cop car. An occupant of that car fired a volley of shots through the officer’s rolled-up window, striking him twice in the face. Although critically, wounded, he is expected to survive. The shooter, a black man suspected in a series of robberies and a murder, was subsequently shot to death in a shootout with the police.

Also on Sunday evening, a police officer on Florida’s Sanibel Island was shot during a routine traffic stop. As in the San Antonio shooting, Sanibel officer Jarred Ciccone was sitting in his car when another car drove by and an occupant fired a volley of shots, striking Ciccone in the shoulder. He was taken to a hospital and released after being treated for his wound. The shooter, a white man, was later wounded in the shoulder and back during a gunfight with cops. He got away, but later surrendered at his home.

Another officer was shot Sunday evening in Gladstone, Missouri, a northern suburb of Kansas City. Unlike the other shootings, this was not a targeted assassination. During a routine traffic stop, a passenger beat feet and was chased by cops from Gladstone and Kansas City. When they caught up to him, a struggle occurred during which the white man in his late teens pulled out a gun. During an exchange of shots he was killed and a Gladstone cop was wounded. The officer’s injury was not life threatening.

Hardly a day goes by now without some police officer getting shot somewhere in this country. Fortunately most of the shot officers survive, but 56 cops killed so far this year is a testament to how much more dangerous, especially lately so, policing has become since the Black Lives Matter movement got started.

Because of all these shootings, you can’t blame a cop for having a nervous trigger finger.


By Bob Walsh

OK, this is kind of a he said / she said, but fortunately there will be facts available.

Shade Swayzer was a guest of the county of Milwaukee and was knocked up. Very knocked up. Her lawyer alleges that she told jailers he water broke and that she was going into labor and the jailers (allegedly) laughed and walked away. She (again allegedly) went into labor about midnight and gave birth about 4 a.m. She (allegedly) received no medical attention at all until 6 a.m.

The baby was declared dead later in the day. Jail medical staff assert the baby was stillborn. Ms. Swayzer says the baby was born alive, cried appropriately and was breast-fed. That assertion will no doubt be important as my understanding is that a stillborn baby will not feed and will not therefore have breast milk or much of anything else in it's stomach.

Ms. Swayzer is, of course, suing. For $8.5 million. The sheriff says she never told staff she was going into labor.

This may turn out to be one of those questions that turns on one fact. It can I expect be clearly demonstrated whether or not the baby fed. If the baby did NOT feed, clearly Ms. Swayzer is lying about part of her story. One might therefore reasonably infer she is lying about much, or all, of her story. If, on the other hand, the baby did feed it greatly enhances her side of the issue. Also, there is the fact that the jail staff apparently KNEW she was pregnant and well along in the pregnancy.

Allowing her to deliver the baby in her cell with no medical assistance seems to be dereliction of duty.

Assuming Ms. Swayzer is correct she should get a major settlement and a couple of jailers should have their asses handed to them. If not, maybe not.

Monday, November 21, 2016



Those who claim Hillary was hurt by lies spread through the social media are grasping for a scapegoat

BarkGrowlBite | November 21, 2016

Most of my friends are highly educated professionals. The colleges they attended did not have nonsensical programs like African-American Studies and Gender Studies. Nor did they offer courses on Beyonce and Miley Cyrus. In other words, my friends received a true college education and are very intelligent. Most of them are also politically conservative.

Sadly, those friends forwarded me hundreds of emails concerning President Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as a few concerning Donald Trump. The emails concerning Obama and Hillary showed them in a very bad light. The problem is that almost all of them were false. I refer to those lies as ‘Malicious Internet Mischief.’

The lies about Obama were started by Obama-haters somewhere way back in the blogosphere, finally making their way to me through my friends. Likewise with lies about Hillary.

There were also lies about Trump, such as the one about the Pope announcing his support for Trump.

One of my friends, a former fellow officer who retired as a high-ranking officer with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, sent me dozens of malicious internet mischief messages about Obama. When I pointed out that those messages were false, many of them obviously false, that did not stop him from forwarding the lies to me. A few times he responded by saying, “Well maybe it’s not true, but it sounds good.”

I’ve also had a couple of Houstonians, one a successful real estate broker and the other a transportation executive, forward me similar emails. Unlike my former colleague, the real estate broker eventually asked me to ‘Snope’ the emails so that he would not forward the lies to his contacts.

What would make intelligent people forward obvious lies. It’s because that’s what they wanted to hear about two people - Obama and Hillary - they did not like.

OK, so why didn’t the lies on Facebook and other social media outlets help do Hillary in? It’s because they were preaching to the choir. Those who got those lies and passed then on and on and on were the ones who opposed Hillary and hated Obama.

Those lies certainly did not influence Hillary’s supporters. As I’ve said before, if Hillary had burned a baby alive on TV, her supporters would have voted for her anyway. And those who had not made up their mind probably recognized the lies for what they were.

First FBI Director James Comey was blamed for Hillary’s loss. Now Facebook is being blamed. Neither did Hillary in. Blaming Comey and Facebook is just grasping for scapegoats.

Hillary did Hillary in. Her history of borderline crimes and chronic lies made her more untrustworthy than Trump.

While Hillary won the popular vote by more than a million, she lost in the key battleground states. Because Obama was not on the ballot, many blacks who voted in 2008 and 2012 did not bother to vote in this year’s election. And although Latinos voted in record numbers, they constituted only a small number of the voters. in the key battleground states.

Had Hillary been trustworthy, she would have won by a landslide in both the popular vote and in the electoral college, lies on social media and burning a baby alive on TV notwithstanding.


By Bob Walsh

A federal judge has just given permission for a very interesting civil suit to proceed against the Hearts Stations Inc. a broadcast TV operation.

The plaintiff is Wendy Bell, a former on-the-air news person. Ms. Bell is white. She is accused to being "racially insensitive" which I guess is a cardinal sin in Pittsburg.

On March 9 there was a shooting. Five people and a fetus were injured at a cookout in a lower income area in a suburb of Pittsburg.
On March 21 Ms. Bell had this to say in a Facebook post. "You needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts. They are young black men, likely in their teens or in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They've grown up there. They know the police. They've been arrested."

M.s Bell was sacked nine days later after WTAE determined that he comments were in violation of their journalism and ethics standards. (I guess the organization is opposed to the truth.)

Bell filed the suit in June asserting that the station violated he rights when they sacked her. IN September the Hearst people attempted to have the suit dismissed. In a ruling made this past Friday the judge said she is entitled to proceed with discovery.

Two black men, Cheron Shelton, 29, and Robert Thomas, 27, have been charged in the murders. They are facing capital murder charges. Their lawyer says they didn't do it. I have a sneaking hunch that Ms. Bell was right in all aspects of her comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

In this case the truth made Wendy Bell free alright, free from her job.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Enforcement of minimum speed limits would be more effective at preventing accidents than enforcement of maximum speed limits

By Jay Wall | Big Jolly Politics | November 18, 2016

Car crashes in Houston increased 67% from 2011 to 2015, more than 26,000 crashes a year. Traffic delays have increased along with the rise in accidents. The delays have very real costs – 61 hours in delays, $1,490 in lost time, and 29 gallons of wasted fuel per auto per year, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. What’s the solution? The City of Houston has severe financial problems, so new roads, miles of trains, and other budget busters are not a realistic option. Realistic solutions should take advantage of the 80/20 rule to create efficient, budget friendly solutions.

Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, noted, among other things, that 20% of the peapods in his garden produced 80% of the peas. In business, it’s often heard that 20% of the salespeople produce 80% of the sales or 80% of the business comes from 20% of the clients. In Houston, 80% of the traffic problems come from 20% of the drivers – and we all know exactly who they are. The driver doing 15 miles an hour below the flow of traffic in a freeway passing lane; the driver lane jumping at an entrance ramp and coming to a complete stop to enter the ramp; and the slow driver who shouldn’t be on a freeway at all. Solving these three problems is not a budget buster. It may be a revenue enhancer.

One major factor in the rise in traffic accidents has been that even as more people have moved into Houston, the Houston Police Department has backed off traffic enforcement. In the same period from 2011 to 2015 while traffic accidents spiked 67%, traffic citations dropped 31%.

Obviously that drop wasn’t due to Houstonians becoming better drivers. While ticket revenue shouldn’t be a budget balancer, increased enforcement with increased fines is definitely not a budget buster.

Enforcement of minimum speed limits would be more effective at preventing accidents than increased enforcement of maximum speed limits, while also improving the flow of traffic.

Traffic moving 5 to 10 mph below the posted speed limit is more likely to cause an accident than traffic moving 5 to 10 mph above the posted speed limit. Traffic moving 15 mph below the posted speed limit (a typical minimum speed limit level) is approximately twice as likely to cause an accident as traffic moving 15 mph above the limit.

Lack of lane discipline makes the issue of dangerously slow drivers even worse. In a paper presented at the 50th annual Transportation Research Forum, Reinhard Clever, Ph.D. noted that cars being forced to zigzag around slower moving vehicles “almost equally distributed over all freeway lanes” may be the leading factor in rising fatality rates as speed limits are raised on freeways. A study in Michigan from 2007 found that posting “Keep Right Pass Left” signs did not affect driver behavior without enforcement. For a “keep right except to pass” policy to be effective, the public has to believe it will be enforced.

Anyone who has driven more than 10 miles on a Houston freeway during the workday has seen the lane jumpers, drivers who pass a long line of cars in the exit lane, come to a complete stop in the driving lane and muscle their way onto the exit. The stretch from Gulfon/Fournace road on the West Loop, north to the SW Freeway, is one such stretch. Another is the junction of 59 North and I-45 South. Name a freeway interchange in Houston and there is probably a similar situation. The HPD could enforce existing solid white lines at less than zero cost. Particular problem areas could be enhanced with longer lane change prohibitions.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Mobility Scorecard noted that “Getting more productivity out of the existing road and public transportation systems is vital to reducing congestion and improving travel time reliability.” This is never more true than today in a financially strapped, traffic weary Houston. I’ve suggested a few possible solutions and there are likely other improvements to be made. The common theme is targeting the 20% of drivers that cause 80% of the problems and aggressively enforcing the rules that slow traffic, causing accidents.


By Bob Walsh

Yup, it's official. Forcing elected officials to take a particular action that they are not required to take is damn near impossible.

Steve Michael is a lawyer in New Mexico. He filed a lawsuit about three months ago seeking to compel the United States Senate to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland, the man whom the God-King, Barack I, nominated to the Supreme Court.

U. S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, in a five-page opinion issued early this week, asserting that Michael had not demonstrated any individual harm and therefore had nothing coming. Michael has said he will continue to look at it.

I guess he has an adequate supply of dead horses and large sticks, so GO FOR IT. Waste your time and money, and have fun.


Harris County Prosecutor Lied About Deals With Jailhouse Snitches

By Meagan Flynn | Houston Press | November 11, 2016

A Fort Bend County judge has upheld complaints of prosecutorial misconduct against a Harris County prosecutor who lied to a jury in a capital murder trial about whether she had struck deals with three jailhouse snitches in exchange for their testimony.

After finding that a prison inmate's false testimony that prosecutor Elizabeth Shipley Exley knowingly allowed on the stand led to the conviction of Edward George McGregor, Judge James Shoemake has recommended McGregor receive habeas corpus relief and a new trial.

"For a prosecutor to make secret arrangements with witnesses, not disclose them to the defense and the jury, and elicit false testimony where the witnesses deny it, I find that to be just totally deplorable," said Randy Schaffer, McGregor's attorney. "It's basically saying we have the right to present false testimony and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."

McGregor was charged in the mid- and late-2000s with capital murders dating back to 1990 and 1994 in Fort Bend and Harris counties, respectively. Shipley Exley worked on the case in Fort Bend, given it was the first case to go to trial. According to the judge's findings, because DNA evidence wasn't strong enough to convict McGregor, Shipley Exley was in charge of getting three jailhouse witnesses on the stand. They testified that they overheard McGregor confess to the killings.

Turns out, all three witnesses received some nice perks thanks to prosecutor Shipley Exley's good word. Perhaps the most damning witness was a prison inmate named Delores Gable — because her entire story turned out to be a lie.

Gable, serving 90 years for soliciting to commit murder, testified that she was not given any benefits for testifying, but that she only wanted to clear her conscience because she was battling cancer. On the night of the murder 16 years earlier, she said she overheard McGregor confess about the murder to her husband, Brian Gable, while standing outside the victim's home; and she added that McGregor's father was also present. The problem: McGregor's father was actually in prison on the night of the murder, Delores Gable was never married to Brian Gable, her name is actually Delores Lee, she never had cancer, and she never lived at the residence she claimed she did, according to the judge's findings.

Shipley Exley testified in the habeas corpus hearing that she knew McGregor's father was in prison that night, but apparently let her witness lie on the stand anyway. She said she also knew McGregor's ex-fiancé was locked away with “Gable,” but never disclosed this in the trial.

Shipley Exley told Judge Shoemake that she did in fact tell Gable before the trial that “the most that I could possibly do is write a letter to the parole board explaining to them that she had cooperated.” Her reason for believing she didn't need to disclose that to the jury, the defense or even her Fort Bend co-counsel when she was asked if deals were made? “I didn't say specifically that I would do it; it wasn't a promise.”

But Shipley Exley did do it, and admitted that midway through the trial, Gable even sent her a note telling her what to write in the letter to the parole board. Five days after McGregor was convicted, largely thanks to Gable's testimony, Shipley Exley followed through on her non-promise and mailed the letter. Asked why she never mentioned the conversation she had with Gable during the trial, Shipley Exley said, “I think I forgot.”

Schaffer, McGregor's attorney, described Shipley Exley's actions as shameful. “They've got a witness who will crawl out of the penitentiary, say the story they want to hear — that she heard a confession 16 years ago that she's never told anybody about until now — and you're willing to accept that story and put it on as true without doing anything to check it out?” Schaffer said. “The whole thing was a sham, and [Shipley Exley] didn't even care.”

Then there are the two other jailhouse snitches who received massive reductions in punishment because of their contributions to this capital murder trial, courtesy of Shipley Exley.

Both men, Marvin Roy Paxton and Adam Osani, were awaiting trial in the Harris County Jail for an aggravated robbery and felony assault of a family member, respectively. Paxton testified that he and McGregor got in a fight in jail, and McGregor told him to shut his mouth or else he would kill him like he killed “those two bitches.” Osani backed up Paxton's tale on the stand, according to the findings.

And both men were given hefty rewards for saying it: Apparently at the direction of Shipley Exley, the prosecutor in Osani's case reduced his charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and released him on time served just days after McGregor's trial ended. Paxton's case was reduced from an aggravated robbery to just a robbery, and his plea deal from up to 45 years to just seven years, according to the habeas findings.

None of these benefits to the witnesses were disclosed to the jury or to the defense during McGregor's trial.

In fact, a DA's office investigator testified to Judge Shoemake that it was a common practice in Harris County to tell witnesses they couldn't "promise" anything — but "could" write a letter on their behalf, if they wanted. Schaffer said he has seen this dishonest "game" played dozens of times in Harris County courts.

“This is a speck of sand on the beach of criminal cases,” Schaffer said. “It's an important case, but it's just one case. There's a larger story here, and the larger story is the systemic misuse of so-called jailhouse witnesses by prosecutors across the state to fill in holes in cases that they otherwise might not be able to win. It's a true disgrace. It's a culture of dishonesty that has fostered in prosecutors' offices across the state.”

We reached out to Harris County District Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff McShan to ask whether District Attorney Devon Anderson would discipline Shipley Exley, and whether she would condemn the prosecutor's actions.

He didn't respond, and ignored our follow-up email.

Schaffer called for criminal charges to be filed against Shipley Exley for perjury, but said he would not be surprised if Anderson didn't even discipline the prosecutor at all.

Anderson will leave office January 1 and will be replaced by Kim Ogg, who beat her at the polls November 8.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Whenever a prosecutor gets caught lying, it makes the news, but it should be noted that defense lawyers lie to jurors too, and they do it most of the time.