Friday, September 18, 2009

Thieves Break into FBI Agent’s Indianapolis Home and Steal Weapons

By Allan Lengel
Here’s one burglary that will probably get a little more attention from law enforcement than most.

The Indianapolis police reported that thieves broke into an FBI agent’s home on the city’s northwest side Thursday morning and stole a submachine gun, a semiautomatic rifle, .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and two sets of body armor, according to the Associated Press.The news agency reported that the agent, a member of the SWATT team, had stored the weapons in a chained lockbox.

The AP reported the agents home was among at least 12 homes, garages and vehicles that were broken into.

Fed Judge Won’t Dismiss Murder Charges in Mobster Gotti Trial Set to Begin Monday

Let the high drama begin. Trial starts Monday for mobster John Gotti Jr., who by all accounts, was not nearly as sharp as his old man. The judge ruled against him on dropping some charges, but is going to let a statement be read in court saying that Gotti was involved in three other trials that resulted in mistrials.

John Gotti Jr./youtube

John A. Gotti, son of the late mob boss, lost out Thursday on an attempt to get two murder charges dismissed from his upcoming federal trial slated to begin on Monday.

Manhattan federal Judge Kevin Castel denied a motion by Gotti to get two drug-related murder charges, as well as a drug conspiracy charge, cut out of the racketeering trial indictment.

Gotti, of Oyster Bay Cove, had argued through his attorneys that the two drug-related charges contained allegations of crimes that took place in Queens, and thus couldn’t be tried in Manhattan federal court. The slayings involved the deaths of George Grosso and Bruce Gotterup in Queens.

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Suit Alleges Trusted Blacks Drew Minorities to High-Rate Loans

Wells Fargo Hired Tavis Smiley as Headliner for Seminars Targeting African Americans

As the housing market began booming in mid-2000, Wells Fargo & Co. teamed up with prominent African American commentator and PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley and financial author Kelvin Boston, the host of “Moneywise,” a multicultural financial affairs show, to host something called “Wealth Building” seminars in black neighborhoods.

Smiley was the keynote speaker, and the big draw, according to Boston and Keith Corbett, executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending, who attended two of the seminars. Smiley would charge up the audience — and rattle the Wells Fargo executives in attendance — by launching into a story about how he hated banks, and how they used to refuse to lend him money for his real estate projects in Compton, Calif., and elsewhere. After Hurricane Katrina, Smiley also emphasized the importance of building assets and wealth, saying those who had done so were able to leave New Orleans, while people with nothing had to stay behind, Boston said.

The Full Story

Black patients less likely to survive heart attacks in hospital: study

Black patients who have heart attacks in a hospital are significantly less likely to survive than white patients, according to a study published Tuesday.

Researchers examined the cases of 10,011 patients who went into cardiac arrest at 274 US hospitals associated with the National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, a program which aims to improve survival rates.

They found that black patients had a 27 percent lower chance of surviving to discharge than white patients.

"These unadjusted survival differences by race were, in large part, attributable to black patients being more likely to receive treatment at hospitals with worse outcomes," the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded.

Most of the 1,883 black patients were concentrated in hospitals with the lowest overall rates of survival to discharge.

Black patients were more likely to be admitted to a hospital with more than 500 beds and in which they were placed in units that were not monitored.

They were also more likely to be sicker at the time of cardiac arrest.

But even when researchers adjusted the data to account for differences in patient characteristics and hospital care levels, black patients were still 10 percent less likely to survive.

"Strategies to eliminate racial disparities in survival are not likely to succeed unless they improve resuscitation survival and the quality of postresuscitation care in hospitals that are poor performers and in which black patients are more likely to receive care," wrote lead author Paul Chan of Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Missouri.

Kanye West Leads BET Hip-Hop Awards Nominees

The collective universe (current and former presidents included) may still be hard at work condemning Kanye West’s actions at this past Sunday’s VMA Awards, but someone still loves him.

The divisive hip-hop star leads the pack of BET Hip Hop Award nominees this week with nine — including Best Live Performer, Lyricist of the Year, CD of the Year, and MVP of the year, as well as People’s Champ (a.k.a. Viewers Choice).

Ice Cube will be honored as this year’s “I Am Hip-Hop” Icon Award recipient, and the late DJ AM garners a nod for for DJ of the Year. Two new categories have also been added: “Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style)” and “Best Hip-Hop Blog Site.”

Will Kanye’s current mea culpa tour be sufficiently wrapped up for him to attend the show, slated for October 10 in Atlanta? When reached for comment, a BET spokeswoman said, “Most guests start confirming next week or the first week in October, so we wouldn’t really know yet. But we would love to have him there!”

What do you think, Music Mixers — a nice opportunity for ‘Ye to make nice, or better that he stay away and focus on “taking the time off and just analyze” his recent behavior? What do you think of the other nominations?

See the full list after the jump:

"Inmate Will Testify About Failed Execution"

The title of this post is the headline of this article from the New York Times concerning one of the ways in which Ohio's botched execution attempt has created some interesting legal action in on-going lethal injection litigation. Here are the details:
Two days after the execution of a convicted rapist-murderer was halted when technicians were unable to inject him with lethal drugs, a federal judge ordered Thursday that the inmate be deposed for a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Ohio’s lethal injection procedure.

The deposition for the inmate, Romell Broom, is set for Monday, a day before he is scheduled to be executed. His lawyers said they planned to file appeals in state and federal courts on Friday seeking to cancel or at least postpone his execution....

On Thursday, federal public defenders argued before the judge, Gregory L. Frost of Federal District Court in Columbus, Ohio, that evidence supporting their case against lethal injection would be irretrievably lost if they were not able to interview Mr. Broom before his death.

“He has relevant evidence that needs to be preserved,” said David C. Stebbins, an assistant federal public defender in Columbus. “Mr. Broom has, of course, the most relevant testimony of what exactly they did to him and the amount of pain he was put in.” The deposition is for a case in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

“The core of the complaint,” Mr. Stebbins said, “is that there are insufficient protections built into the Ohio procedures that guarantee it will be a painless execution, that the protocols are not sufficient to guard against mistakes and that they don’t cover all issues like in Mr. Broom’s case.”

As detailed in this Columbus Dispatch article, headlined "Second-try execution is 'cruel,' suit to say," Broom's lawyers will be filing their 1983 suit seeking to block his "re-execution." It is my understanding that this suit will be considered a related case to the on-going Ohio lethal injection lawsuit, which means that US District Judge Gregory Frost would get this case and make an initial ruling — perhaps as early as today? — about whether a stay is needed to consider the merits of Broom's new Eighth Amendment arguments.

What Did the Press Do Over Summer Vacation?

By Richard A. Lee

Now that Labor Day has passed, the kids are back at school writing essays about how they spent their summer vacations. But why let the kids have all the fun? Why not take a look at what the New Jersey media did over the summer as they covered the 2009 race for Governor?

To do so, I conducted a rather unscientific survey using the Access World News database, which contains the full text content of more than 3,000 newspapers, including the dailies that cover the Garden State. I compiled a list of some of the top issues in the state and ran a series of searches for New Jersey newspaper stories that included those topics as well as the name of one of the major party gubernatorial candidates.

The results showed that corruption and health care were the two topics mentioned most frequently in stories about the Governor’s campaign. Over the past three months the words “Jon Corzine” and “corruption” appeared 257 times in the state’s daily newspapers; “Jon Corzine” and “health” appeared 256 times. For Chris Christie, the top two topics were the same, but there was a much wider gap between them. Christie’s name could be found in 254 articles that contained the word “corruption” and 161 with the word “health”.

No real surprises here. New Jersey made national headlines in July when over 40 people, including elected officials, community leaders and members of the clergy, were arrested on corruption charges. Nor is it surprising that “corruption” would be a more frequently mentioned topic in stories including Christie. The GOP candidate served as U.S. Attorney in New Jersey for seven years and built his reputation by cracking down on political corruption. As for health care, it has been the top story in the nation for seven of the last eight weeks, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Next on the list was “education” with that word appearing in 173 stories that mentioned Corzine and 131 that included Christie. Property taxes, which generally poll as the top issue in the state, were just the fourth most often-mentioned topic in this summer’s news reports on the Governor’s race. A total of 103 stories contained “Jon Corzine” and “property tax”, 93 had Christie’s name and the term.

At the bottom of the list were “environment” (78 for Corzine, 57 for Christie) and “pension” (74 for Corzine, 54 for Christie). Ironically, these are two issues that will have a long-term impact on New Jersey’s future. In addition to choosing a Governor this November, New Jersey voters will decide if the state should bond for $400 million to preserve open space. And this is one of a myriad of critical environmental issues on the horizon. Meanwhile, the fiscal condition of the state’s public pension system is perhaps the most daunting long-term economic challenge confronting New Jersey.

As I indicated at the outset, this was less than a scientific survey. The methodology has some obvious flaws. For example, an article that describes “a festive environment” at a campaign rally would be included among the totals of stories mentioning the word “environment”, regardless of whether the rally was on environmental issues or some other matter. Nevertheless, the numbers do provide some indication of the subjects that were in the news this summer. Those numbers become more interesting when a few additional search terms are added to the equation.

For example, over the summer, Chris Christie’s driving record became a news item when news organizations reported details of motor vehicle incidents involving the GOP candidate. The Access World News database showed that there were 149 stories in the state’s daily newspapers over the past three months that contained the words “Chris Christie” and “ticket”. That’s more than the number of stories that included Christie’s name and “education”, “property tax”, “environment” or “pension”.

For added measure, I searched for “Chris Christie” and “Michele Brown”, the former First Assistant U.S. Attorney who became the focus of news reports because Christie lent her $46,000 and failed to report the loan on financial disclosure and tax forms. Brown’s name appeared in 73 news stories. While this was considerably less than the number of articles on critical topics such as health care and political corruption, there actually were more stories on Chris Christie and Michele Brown than there were on Christie and the environment or the pension system.

Determining the issues that are most important for the public to know is a subjective process. Indeed, the appropriateness of driving records and personal loans as campaign issues and news topics has been – and will continue to be – fiercely debated with legitimate arguments on both sides of the issue. The more perplexing question, however, involves determining the news media’s role and responsibility.

An informed citizenry is an essential component of self-government systems, such as our nation’s democracy. Political economists consider it the news media’s role to ensure that the citizens in democratic societies are informed. As journalist and author Ben Bagdikian explained in The New Media Monopoly, it is essential for the news media in a democratic society “to provide the balance that best serves rational decision making among the public at large.”

But sociologist Herbert Gans raises an interesting question about the media’s responsibility in democracy. Even if the media performs its role admirably and presents the complete picture, what guarantee is there that citizens will listen? “Merely supplying them with information does not make them into informed citizens,” Gans wrote in Democracy and the News.

To ensure that citizens do digest the material the media provides, Gans suggests an additional responsibility for journalists, namely incorporating motivational, rhetorical and educational techniques into their work. That’s all well and good for a scholarly discussion, but in the real world, the news industry is hemorrhaging. News organizations are struggling just to survive and continue doing what they have been doing. Now is not the opportune time to take on new responsibilities, even if they are critical to our democratic system of governance.

The result is more responsibility for all of us. It is too easy to dismiss things and say, “The candidates aren’t talking about the issues that concern me” or “The press only cares about sensationalism and scandals so they sell more papers or attract more viewers.” The truth is we live in a world in which news and information is more accessible than ever. We all learned the name of the South Carolina congressman who disrupted President Obama’s speech on health care, but how many of us have taken the time to educate ourselves on the substantive issues involved in health care reform?

This year in New Jersey, not only are we choosing a Governor, we are charting a course for the future of our state. Clearly, this is a decision we should make in an informed and educated manner – and no one is going to spoon-feed us the information we need. To make intelligent, informed decisions, we need to become intelligent, informed voters. That means obtaining as much information as possible – from as many different and divergent sources as possible – before making up our mind on an issue or a candidate. Think about it. We all go through a process like this when we buy a house, a car or a computer. Surely, we should do the same when it comes time to select our next Governor.

Who knows? Maybe if we start doing this, candidates will spend more time discussing the issues and we will see more news reports focused on topics such as property taxes, education and the environment instead of driving tickets and personal loans.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey. A former journalist and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies.

Hofstra Student Could Face Criminal Charges for Rape Allegations

Hofstra University freshman Danmell Ndonye could face criminal charges after lying to police about being tied up and gang raped in a dormitory bathroom during a fraternity party.
Ndonye's allegations led to the arrest of four men whose names and pictures were widely circulated following her accusations.

Investigators said that a video of the sexual encounter shows Ndonye consenting to the sex romp. Ndonye later recanted her allegations of rape, confessing to police that she had made up the charges because she had been afraid to tell her boyfriend about the illicit bathroom encounter.

Ndonye has been suspended from school pending a disciplinary hearing, said Hofstra spokeswoman Melissa Connolly.

The spokeswoman also said that a suspension against Rondell Bedward — the only Hofstra student among the five men implicated — had been lifted.

The attorney for another of the accused men, 20-year-old Kevin Taveras, said that the video of the sexual encounter confirms reports that the victim was not forcibly attacked.

"It looks more like a porn movie," Victor Daly-Rivera said. "It showed just the opposite of what the allegations were. There was no tying up, there was no bruising, there was no screaming."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

DA: Revelation of video led NY college gang-rape accuser to recant; charges possible

DA: Word of video led NY rape accuser to recant

MINEOLA, N.Y. — A Hofstra University freshman who had claimed she was raped by five men in a dormitory bathroom changed her story after prosecutors confronted her with the revelation that a video of the encounter may have been recorded, a prosecutor said Thursday.

The recantation on Wednesday night led to the immediate release of four men, including one student at the Long Island college, who had been arrested on rape and other charges. Police had been seeking to arrest a fifth man when the charges were dropped.

The sex did occur in a bathroom but was consensual, a prosecutor said. Authorities could decide within weeks whether to charge the 18-year-old woman for making up the story.

The woman was identified as Danmell Ndonye of Manhattan by a law enforcement official with firsthand knowledge who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the name. A call to a Manhattan phone listing for a Ndonye was returned by a woman saying it was a wrong number.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Thursday that the woman, whom she would not identify, was interviewed Wednesday night by two senior prosecutors as a routine part of a follow-up investigation.

The woman first told police she was lured to the dormitory and raped early Sunday after her cell phone was stolen by a man she had met at a dance party, Rice said. She said she was bound with rope while the five men took turns sexually assaulting her in a men’s bathroom stall.

Almost immediately, Rice said, the woman’s story began to unravel with “significant inconsistencies,” but she declined to elaborate. “The turning point was when she was confronted with the fact that there may exist a video of some or all of the incident,” Rice said.

“Her actions and demeanor depict a very troubled young woman in need of much help,” the prosecutor said.

An attorney for one of the accused men, 20-year-old Kevin Taveras, said he was shown a copy of the cell phone video and said it confirmed reports that the woman was not attacked.

“It looks more like a porn movie,” Victor Daly-Rivera said. “It showed just the opposite of what the allegations were. There was no tying up, there was no bruising, there was no screaming.”

Ndonye has been suspended from school until a disciplinary hearing is held, a Hofstra spokeswoman said. Melissa Connolly also said a suspension against Rondell Bedward — the only Hofstra student among the five men implicated — had been lifted.

Two of the men who were released said outside the Nassau County jail on Wednesday night that said they had feared the possibility of serving 25 years to life for a felony rape conviction.

“It’s crazy; the system is supposed to prevent these things from happening,” Taveras said outside the jail late Wednesday.

“It’s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent,” he said. “Inside I thought I was going to do a bit for something I didn’t do.”

Bedward, 21, declined to comment after he was released.

On campus, students shook their heads at the latest twist in the case.

“It’s definitely a shock,” said Megan Michler, a junior from Penargyl, Pa. “I guess she completely lied about it and it’s not fair to the guys that were involved. Everyone was shaken up by the whole thing, and now we were shaken up for nothing.”

Hofstra, a private university of 12,600 students, played host to the final presidential debate of the 2008 election.

The rape report “just really gave the university a bad name,” said Dani Frank, a print journalism major from Easton, Conn. “I really wish there hadn’t been conclusions jumped to because it put the boys in a negative light, it put Hofstra in a negative light, and people will give her a lot less credibility in the future.”

Gov. signs 60 bills into law, creates state energy planning board

New York Gov. David Paterson signed 60 bills into law on Sept. 17, including new reporting requirements for hospitals and the creation of a state energy planning board.

He also vetoed 18 bills that would have cost the state $28 million over the next two years.

Among the bills Paterson signed is one creating a permanent state energy board that will assess the state’s needs in the areas of power generation, distribution and transmission. The 11-member board will have the power to write regulations governing the energy industry, issue subpoenas and recommend policies to Paterson and state legislators.

The board also will write a statewide energy plan by the end of 2012. It supersedes an existing board Paterson established a year ago.

Paterson also signed a bill requiring hospitals to publicly disclose the number of licensed and unlicensed nursing personnel providing patient care, and the methods they use to determine and adjust staffing levels. Hospitals had lobbied against the bill.

He also signed a bill requiring state agencies to publish contracting plans for hiring minority- and women-owned businesses, in an effort to ensure better oversight and accountability in that program.

In other actions, Paterson rejected 18 bills, including proposals to:

• require entities applying for or receiving state economic development grants to commit to first consider Ne York companies as primary suppliers for their work;

• open a state micro-business outreach center;

• better protect workers from retaliation from employers when the workers report illegal business activities.

No explanations were attached to the vetoes. In the past, Paterson has noted the state’s financial difficulties in rejecting legislation.

The state has a budget deficit of $2.1 billion.

Photo credit: Handout | A handout photo of Annie Le, a Yale University student who was reported missing and whose body was later discovered in the bas

.Fed Considers Limits on Bank Pay

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is preparing what would be the most sweeping rules yet to regulate the pay at banks across the country, people close to the discussion said on Friday.

The rules would apply not just to the pay and bonuses of top executives but also to traders, loan officers and other employees. But rather than focusing on the specific amount employees are paid, Fed officials will be scrutinizing whether the structure of compensation, like the use of bonuses based on the volume of loan origination, encourages excessive risk-taking.

The proposed rules were reported on Friday by The Wall Street Journal.

The rules are not expected to be ready for several weeks. But the central bank is expected to invoke its authority as a regulator monitoring the safety of the banking system and soundness of banks’ decisions.

The surprising move comes as both the Obama administration and the Congress, as well as governments in other industrialized countries, are pushing for restrictions on executive pay, which many experts have cited as a contributor to the reckless risk-taking and the financial crisis of the last two years.

The Treasury Department already has a team led by Kenneth Feinberg that is examining the pay packages at banks that received money under its $700 billion bailout program. Congress is pushing for broader regulations that would apply to all financial institutions.

Can we trust Dan Brown on the Freemasons?

The Lost Symbol, the new novel by Dan Brown, is about the pursuit of "ancient mysteries" hidden in Washington DC by the Freemasons. So does the book give an accurate portrayal of the fraternal group?

There were predictions that The Lost Symbol would antagonise the Freemasons in the same way that the Catholic Church was stung by The Da Vinci Code.

But far from attacking the Masons, his new work depicts them as benign and misunderstood.

The protagonist Robert Langdon, an expert in symbols, is trying to crack a series of cryptic clues related to Masonic secrets hidden in some of Washington's most famous buildings. At the start of the novel, he attempts to explode what he says are myths surrounding Freemasonry.

So how much of Dan Brown's portrayal of the Masons is accurate? We pick five points made in the novel and ask two experts to respond.

Dan Brown’s “Lost Symbol“ Breaks Sales Record

Written by: Diep Tran

Dan Brown’s newest novel, “The Lost Symbol,“ goes the way of “Harry Potter“ and “Twilight“ as it breaks the one-day sales record for adult fiction.

Hollywood must be seeing cash signs. The latest Dan Brown novel, “The Lost Symbol” broke the one-day sales record for adult fiction when it was released Tuesday.

The newest book in the Robert Langdon series sold over one million hardcopies upon its release in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. On, the book is considered the best selling first-day adult fiction book ever, and that includes pre-orders. The e-book version of the novel is outselling the hard version copies.

The book also broke the one-day adult fiction sales record for Barnes & Noble, Inc.

“The Lost Symbol” follows another adventure of Harvard professor, Robert Langdon as he tries to once again uncover a mystery using ancient symbols, this time in Washington D.C.

Brown is the best-selling author of “Angels and Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code,” both of which have been adapted into Hollywood blockbusters with Tom Hanks playing the role of the Langdon.

“Symbol” is already in talks to be adapted into a movie by Columbia Pictures.

Jay-Z defends 'passionate' Kanye

Rapper Jay-Z has defended "super passionate" Kanye West for his outburst at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards

West, 32, interrupted Taylor Swift's award speech to tell the crowd her award for best female video should have gone to Jay-Z's wife, Beyonce.

Speaking to Radio 1's Jo Whiley, Jay-Z said West's behaviour had been "rude" but added: "He didn't kill anybody".

West has since apologised to Swift, but President Barack Obama called him a "jackass" in an off-the-cuff comment.

Jay-Z did concede the incident had been "inappropriate at the time". But, as West's former mentor, he added: "He's just a super-passionate person".

The 39-year-old, who will support Coldplay at Wembley Stadium this weekend, said: "Of course it was rude because it was her moment but that's the way he really felt.

"I think it was rude but the way they're treating him... He's on the cover of every paper. He didn't kill anybody. No one got harmed."

Jay-Z and Kanye West recently teamed up on Jay-Z's new album The Blueprint 3.

Dueling 'racist' claims defuse once powerful word

Everybody's racist, it seems.

Republican Rep. Joe Wilson? Racist, because he shouted "You lie!" at the first black president. Health care protesters, affirmative action supporters? Racist. And Barack Obama? He's the "Racist in Chief," wrote a leader of the recent conservative protest in Washington.

But if everybody's racist, is anyone?

The word is being sprayed in all directions, creating a hall of mirrors that is draining the scarlet R of its meaning and its power, turning it into more of a spitball than a stigma.

"It gets to the point where we don't have a word that we use to call people racist who actually are," said John McWhorter, who studies race and language at the conservative Manhattan Institute.

"The more abstract and the more abusive we get in the way we use the words, then the harder it is to talk about what we originally meant by those terms," said McWhorter.

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Bombs kill Canadian, US troops in Afghanistan

KABUL — A U.S. service member and a Canadian soldier died in separate roadside bomb explosions in southern Afghanistan, officials said Friday, announcing new deaths from a day that claimed the lives of a total of nine international troops.

The American and Canadian died Thursday, the same day a car bomber killed six Italian troops in a brazen attack in the heavily guarded capital of Kabul. A NATO soldier also died Thursday of wounds from an earlier attack.

The car bomb in Kabul killed 10 Afghan civilians as well as the Italians, leaving a crater 3 feet (one meter) deep and nearly twice as wide. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi called Friday for a "transition strategy" to allow the Afghan government to do more for its own security — and decrease the number of international troops in Afghanistan.

The Italian deaths were the country's greatest single loss in the war, but Berlusconi said his government remained committed to defending democracy in Afghanistan, "which is still very far from being a modern and civilized country."

At the bomb site in Kabul on Friday, Afghan men in traditional tunics peered into the blackened pit in the road — a major thoroughfare connecting the airport to the capital — and mourned the deaths of neighbors and relatives.

Ghulam Sakhi said the two storekeepers on each side of his carpentry workshop were among those killed in the fourth major attack in the capital in five weeks.

The resurgent Taliban has increased attacks sharply this year — the deadliest yet for the international forces in Afghanistan. The Islamist extremists run a shadow government in the south and their attacks have increased ahead of last month's presidential election and with the arrival of 21,000 more American troops.

U.S. military spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the American died when his patrol struck a bomb planted in the road. She did not provide his name.

Canadian Brig. Gen. Jonathan Vance said Pvt. Jonathan Couturier, 23, was killed as he returned from a mission to root out Taliban weapons caches in the southern province of Kandahar.

Bombs planted in and around roads are one of the main weapons used by the insurgents, now accounting for the majority of U.S. and NATO casualties.

This year has been the deadliest for American and NATO troops since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban for sheltering al-Qaida leaders who plotted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. Violence has been particularly harsh in the south, where thousands of U.S. troops have deployed to bolster the Canadian and British-led operations in the Taliban heartland.

The U.S. and NATO have a record number of troops in Afghanistan — nearly 100,000 in total — and the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is likely to soon request thousands more.

Government Takeover of Health Care Will Provide Taxpayer Funded Abortions

Dear Friend

There are a lot of questions about President Barack Obama's plans to take over your healthcare. President Obama said that no tax dollars would go to fund abortions under his plan. But that's just not accurate.

This legislation is being pushed by the biggest left-wing liberals in Congress and it would be naïve to think that Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups wouldn't be yelling and screaming if abortion up to and including the day of delivery isn't fully taxpayer-funded in this bill.

Here’s what they said in a recent action alert:
"Without genuine access to reproductive health care, a woman's right to choose is made meaningless. With Congress making decisions this very moment that will define the future of health care in America for a generation, we don't have a moment to waste."
Every taxpayer should be on guard against this insidious legislation because the President's plan, as well as Senator Baucus's plan, will force you the taxpayer to pay for abortions. Here's why:

All of these plans will be required to provide "free" abortions, and your premiums will pay for those "free" abortions. It might not be called a tax, but it's really the same thing.

The good news is that the American people and, yes, the people of New Jersey, oppose what the President and his left-wing allies are trying to do to our country and our health care system. Learn what you can do to help stop this plan. Please join me and our special guest Dr. Betsy McCaughey and others for our "Hands Off Our Health Care" conference and dinner at the Forsgate Country Club, Wednesday, September 23 at 7:00 pm.

This event will be an opportunity to learn the shocking details of what the President is proposing, what it will mean for you, and the myths supporters of this plan are putting forward. Together we will stop them.

Register Today!