Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drug raids targeting Mexican cartel nab 300-plus

WASHINGTON — In the largest single strike at Mexican drug operations in the U.S., federal officials on Thursday announced the arrests of more than 300 people in raids across the country aimed at the newest and most violent cartel.

La Familia has earned a reputation for dominating the methamphetamine trade and displaying graphic violence, including beheadings. U.S. officials said the cartel, based in the state of Michoacan, in southwestern Mexico, has a vast network pumping drugs throughout the United States, specializing in methamphetamine.

The arrests took place in 38 cities, from Boston to Seattle and Tampa, Fla., to St. Paul, Minn., in 19 states.

Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to keep hitting La Familia and the cartels responsible for a wave of bloodshed in Mexico. He said the U.S. would attack them at all levels, from the leadership to their supply chains reaching far into the United States.

"To the extent that they do grow back, we have to work with our Mexican counterparts to cut off the heads of these snakes, to get at the heads of the cartels, indict them, try them, if they're in Mexico, extradite them to the United States," Holder said at a news conference.

The Full Story

Phillies advance to second World Series in two years

Those sumbitches from Philly are headed back to the World Series for what will most likely be dubbed the "I-95 Series". We have to be honest, for as much as we wanted to see someone knock off the Phillies (anyone) they definitely look to be the only team to be a match for the mighty Yankees, and no one else is really even close after that.
We'd like to add--what the hell has gotten into Jayson Werth? Someone want to wake this prick up and let him know that he's a garbage role-player? We'll say this, the guy had a great season and he's becoming an icon to Philly fans. Our girlfriend wouldn't even admit that he's ugly. What is the world coming to? If he played for the Seattle Mariners he wouldn't even be noteworthy. But because he's a Phillies player, he's going to get recognition all over the MLB world. And he's doing his best to make us look like fools for ever calling him a scrub. We'll say it now, this was your dream season Jayson Werth, you'll never replicate it. Enjoy it while it lasts, scumbag. You are reason alone to root for the Yankees.

Megan Williams Says She Lied About West Virginia Rape and Torture Case

It hurts my heart to learn that Megan Williams lied about the torture she experienced at the hands of seven hillbillies from West Virginia. This blog took up her cause in a major way two years ago.

Villagers will recall that Williams told authorities in 2007 that she had been beaten, raped, forced to eat animal feces and taunted with racial slurs for days. She was supported in the process by her mom ... who has since passed away.

Seven white men and women were convicted in the case, and most are serving long prison terms.

We learned this week from Williams' attorney that his client fabricated the story to get back at a boyfriend who had beaten her up.
The attorney, Byron Potts, said that Williams came forward because she no longer wants to live a lie. I guess Megan wanted to get out in front of the story in light of the backlash coming down on Balloon Boy's family for his hoax.

Potts encouraged West Virginia authorities to re-evaluate the case. Prosecutors in West Virginia have dismissed Williams' new claim, and lawyers for the defendants aren't discussing their plans.
This story is depressing for me. What are your thoughts?

Is A Nuclear Deal Possible With Iran?

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, discusses the ongoing talks in Vienna with France, Russia, the U.S. and the IAEA. He says his nation is willing to send fissile material abroad to be processed for medical purposes back in Iran. (Samuel Kubani / AFP/Getty Images / October 21, 2009)

Iran Keeps Obama Waiting on Nuclear Deal -- Time Magazine

President Barack Obama will know by Friday whether he got the deal on Iranian nuclear material on which he has staked his engagement strategy. A third day of talks in Vienna ended inconclusively Wednesday, with the Iranian delegation requiring consultations with their government back in Tehran before signing off on a detailed plan to ship three-quarters of its current stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia for conversion into harmless reactor fuel. The parties to the deal have been given until Friday to report back, although reports from Vienna suggested that Tehran was pushing back against some of the terms being set for the deal by the U.S. and its partners — specifically over the timetable and scale of Iran's uranium delivery to Russia.

Read more ....

Missing Fla. girl's body found in Ga. landfill

Searchers found the body of Somer Thompson, 7, a missing Florida girl, in a Georgia landfill that sits just across the state line. The girl had disappeared Monday while walking home from school. She had gotten into a fight with some other kids, became upset and headed off on her own. This happened in the Jacksonville area. Authorities are already questioning registered sex offenders in the area.

U.S. Cutting Pay for Bailed Out Company Executives

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

According to reports, executives from bailed out companies Citigroup, Bank of America, GM, Chrysler, GMAC, Chrysler Financial and AIG are going to see major pay cuts this year, which will be enforced by the president’s “pay czar,” Kenneth R. Feinberg. WaPo:

NEW YORK — The Obama administration plans to order companies that have received exceptionally large amounts of bailout money from the government to slash compensation for their highest-paid executives by about half on average, according to people familiar with the long-awaited decision.

The administration will also curtail many corporate perks, including the use of corporate jets for personal travel, chauffeured drivers and country club fee reimbursement, people familiar with the matter have said. Individual perks worth more than $25,000 have received particular scrutiny.

The American people have every right to be upset about generous compensation packages for executives at financial firms that are being kept alive by subsidies and bailouts.

But their ire should be directed at the bailouts, because that is the policy that redistributes money from the average taxpayer and puts it in the pockets of incompetent executives. Unfortunately, rather than deal with the underlying problems of bailouts and intervention, some politicians want to impose controls on salaries. This might be a tolerable second-best (or probably fifth-best) outcome if the compensation limits only applied to companies mooching off the taxpayers, but some politicians want to use the financial crisis as an excuse to regulate compensation at firms that do not have their snouts in the public trough.

This would be a big mistake. So long as rich people make money using non-coercive means, politicians should butt out. It should not matter whether we are talking about Tiger Woods, Brad Pitt, or a corporate CEO. The market should determine compensation, not political deal making. Markets don’t produce perfect outcomes, to be sure, but political intervention invariably produces terrible outcomes.

I debate this further on CNBC:

Mistrial Declared in John Travolta Extortion Case

A Bahamian judge has declared a mistrial in the case of two people accused of trying to extort $25 million from John Travolta, citing suspected jury misconduct.

The surprising development took place after a local politician said in a speech played on radio and TV that former Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater was acquitted.

Bridgewater is one of two defendants in the case. There was no acquittal.

Parliament member Picewill Forbes told an audience that Bridgewater was "a free woman." Forbes later admitted misspeaking and no verdict has been issued.

Closing arguments concluded yesterday and the case went to the jury shortly afterward. But the judge threw out the case, suspicious of alleged misconduct.

The case will now be re-tried.

John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston in the Bahamas.

"The dilemma that we face is great," Senior Justice Anita Allen told the shocked court. "I am erring on the side of caution. Justice must be transparent."

Bridgewater and ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne pleaded not guilty allegedly trying to get Travolta and Kelly Preston to pay for their silence regarding so-called damning details related to their son Jett's death in January.

Travolta's attorney, Michael Ossi, said that his client will fully cooperate with future legal proceedings and testify in the Bahamas again if need be.

The first trial was marked by John's emotional testimony and by several amazing revelations about all the alleged wheeling and dealing going on.

The extortionists were supposedly caught on tape, too. They're going down, it's just a matter of whether it happens sooner rather than later.

“Politics Before Security”

Dick Cheney, Foreign Policy, National Security

Last night, Dick Cheney gave a speech at the Center for Security Policy in which he surveyed the Obama Administration’s short and dismal foreign record. He condemned the cancellation of the missile defense of Central Europe, strongly criticized what he referred to as “turning the guns on” US Intelligence officers, and called upon Barack Obama to stop dithering and keep his word on Afghanistan.

Every time I hear Dick Cheney speak, I regret that he was occupying the second position on the Republican ticket in 2000 and 2004 instead of the first.

Most anyone who is given responsibility in matters of national security quickly comes to appreciate the commitments and structures put in place by others who came before. You deploy a military force that was planned and funded by your predecessors. You inherit relationships with partners and obligations to allies that were first undertaken years and even generations earlier. With the authority you hold for a little while, you have great freedom of action. And whatever course you follow, the essential thing is always to keep commitments, and to leave no doubts about the credibility of your country’s word.

25:03 video

Lil Wayne pleads to attempted gun possession

The Grammy-winning rapper Lil Wayne pleaded guilty to attempted weapon possession on Thursday, and expects to receive a one-year jail sentence.

He previously had pleaded not guilty to illegal gun possession charges that carried at least 3 1/2 years in prison upon conviction.

Lil Wayne remains free on bail while awaiting his February sentencing. The somber-looking rapper did not speak as he left court.

Police said a gun was found on his tour bus in Manhattan in 2007.

The rapper, born Dwayne Carter, won last year's best rap solo performance Grammy for "A Milli." His albums include "Tha Carter," "Tha Carter II" and "Tha Carter III."

His trial had been due to start Jan. 20. The judge had been holding a hearing on a debated DNA profiling technique used to tie the rapper to the gun.

Lil Wayne, 27, also is scheduled for trial in Arizona on felony drug possession and weapons charges. He has pleaded not guilty in that case, which arose from a January 2008 arrest at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint.

In New York, he politely answered the judge's standard questions with "yes, Sir" and "no, Sir" as he entered his plea to second-degree attempted weapon possession, a felony.

He acknowledged he had a .40 caliber semi-automatic loaded gun on bus.

When the judge warned that he would not be able to withdraw the plea as some people try to do, the rapper said, "I'm not one of those people."

Prosecutors said small amounts of DNA found on the loaded weapon connected it to the platinum-selling artist. Defense lawyer Stacey Richman said the gun wasn't Lil Wayne's, and the testing technique was too problematic to prove otherwise.

Police pulled over Lil Wayne's tour bus in Columbus Circle on July 22, 2007. They said they had seen and smelled marijuana smoke wafting out the door before the bus left a concert venue minutes earlier.

Police said that as an officer approached, the rapper tossed away a Louis Vuitton bag containing a gun.

The defense disputed officers' basis for searching the bus and noted that more than a dozen other people were aboard.