Monday, November 15, 2010

NY Girl Paralyzed by Shot from Police Gun

NY Girl Paralyzed by Shot from Police Gun

Kamesha Williams was celebrating her 16th birthday in May, when her world came crashing down around her - thanks to a gunshot from a New York police officer's gun, according to a lawsuit filed against the city.
Williams was sitting with a couple of her teenage friends at their Brooklyn home, when one of the teens, Evan Bryant, started playing around with a gun that belonged to his father, a NY police department officer, according to the suit reported in the New York Post.

The gun went off, and a bullet tore in to the side of Williams, who fell down after trying to raise to her feet.
Williams discovered she was paralyzed the next day at a local hospital.

The gun wasn't discovered and Bryant pleaded guilty to weapons possession and is serving nine years in prison.
He hasn't revealed his father's identity.

The bullet has expelled itself from Williams' body and lawyers are awaiting ballistics tests to identify the gun and its owner.

This case raises some questions about her suit. If I were her attorney, I would be troubled that the shooter refuses to identify who owned the gun. Maybe Bryant's father is a New York cop. But that doesn't mean the gun belonged to the father.

I can understand why Williams is looking to sue the city because they have deep pockets. And if you can show that the officer didn't secure his gun properly, the city could be on the hook for millions. But that does not mean the city is responsible.

You can't help but feel sorry for Williams. Not only has she lost the ability to walk, but she and her family face years of costly rehabilitation in their future.

Thus far, the only person responsible for this tragic accident is Bryant. And he is sitting in prison.
It is a tragic waste of potential all the way around.

By Paul Shepard

Ireland Shows No Time for Half Measures


By Bill Wilson
In Greek mythology, Cassandra was granted the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but because she refused to be his consort, the god punished her by making it so that nobody would believe her predictions.
Today, it appears that credit rating agencies have contracted a Cassandra syndrome. They have warned profligate nations, like Greece, Ireland, and the U.S., until they are blue in the face that they are spending too much. That their national debts are unsustainable. That unless drastic actions are taken to rein in unsustainable spending, dire consequences will follow.

Alas, the governments are not listening. They do not believe the Cassandra agencies.

Ireland is a perfect example where half measures have made little difference in the nation’s fiscal outlook. Despite receiving praise when budget cuts were proposed over a year ago, the Irish government has largely not followed through with them. Its recent credit rating downgrade by S&P directly reflects the less-than-adequate cuts that have been made.

At the time, Ireland complained that S&P’s downgrade had used an “extreme estimate” to calculate the size of its bank bailout. But, since then, Ireland has had to revise upward its estimate for recapitalizing Anglo-Irish Bank, now at €50 billion, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
This open-ended commitment amounts to bank losses being poured atop public debt. Fine Gael estimates that the bank bailouts in Ireland will eventually double the national debt. It is likely that the nation’s debt will continue to grow to over 100 percent of GDP before the decade ends.

The budget situation overall has not improved much. After its budget peaked at €56.082 billion gross expenditures in 2008, Ireland has only cut down to a proposed €54.940 billion in 2010. It foresees keeping that level of spending indefinitely.

The nation’s public pension system is largely considered to be one of its greatest accrued liabilities, at over €129 billion. But the only reforms to the public pension system thus far put forth in the 2010 budget are token ones: raising the retirement age to 66 from 65; and imposing a maximum retirement age of 70; pensions will be derived from a career average instead of final salary; and they’re considering using their Consumer Price Index to calculate post-retirement increases.

The effect has been negligible. Ireland, despite all of its rhetoric of reforming the broken pension system, remains committed to a defined benefit scheme — even for new entrants. Overall, it has only cut about €1.2 billion from the budget, but its deficit is €13.718 billion. It foresees higher deficits until 2012.

Even then, the government only expects the deficit to drop because it thinks the economy will recover and revenues will rise, not because spending would be cut. In fact, overall spending won’t be cut significantly in any upcoming budgets.

Overall, Ireland’s debt has risen from a 25 percent share of GDP at the end of 2007 to 64.5 percent of its GDP at the end of 2009 at €75.2 billion.

All told, because it has done little more than freeze spending, and on top of that committed to a tremendous bank bailout, Ireland is still facing a worsening Greece-like crisis. Unfortunately, Ireland has not managed to substantially reduce its debt-and-deficit-to-GDP ratios.

This should be instructive across the pond here in Washington.
Get full story here.

Ridiculous Earmarks

Video by Frank McCaffrey
ALG Editor’s Note: As ALG News has previously reported, Senate Republicans will be voting on a two-year moratorium on earmarks. In the following featured video, we take a look at some of the more ridiculous spending proposals Congress has implemented:

Freshmen Republicans Should Maintain Independence, Challenge Bureaucratic Power Grabs


By Kevin Mooney
Attention incoming House and Senate Republicans.

You are well positioned deep inside enemy territory to operate as constitutional insurgents. This means you are not part of the club and must remain separate and distinct from your party’s leadership in order to remain effective.

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell deserve the loyalty and respect of their newly elected members. Both leaders operated effectively and shrewdly against a far-left administration that has significant majorities in both houses of congress. Irresponsible, intrusive, costly legislative items were fought, and a few defeated, thanks to their principled stand.

But it is important to remember that a fair amount of daylight exists between the Republican leadership and tea party activists who are committed to the ideals of the founding period. The November 2nd vote was more of a rebuke to the Democrats and Team Obama than it was an endorsement of Republican majorities. In many respects, the tea party movement began as a rejoinder to big government Republicans who walked away from the 1994 revolution. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has the right perspective here.

Although the media portrayed the government shutdowns in the 1990s as a victory of President Clinton, Republican majorities were re-elected in consecutive elections for the first time since the 1920s, Gingrich has observed. The party’s conservative base was energized back then because it saw the shutdown as evidence Republicans were serious about controlling spending, he has explained to listeners at various speaking engagements.

Unlike their 1994 predecessors, the 2011 class of freshmen benefit can benefit the fresh experience of previous Republican majorities. Their initial curbs on spending that helped balance the budget and the successful push for welfare reform stand out as historical achievements. But after this initial success, too many GOP lawmakers became smitten with Washington, D.C. There is no sure way to resist the onset of Potomac fever, but freshman Republicans should reach out to party members who have offered up serious, detailed anti-spending plans. The Republican Study Committee in the House is a good place to start. It has been a reliable incubator for small government initiatives that operates beyond the orbit of the party leadership.
Get full story here.

The Bush Presidency Revisionism Is Out of Control

Boys Cupcake Stand Shut Down By Councilman

by Bert on November 15, 2010

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: Cupcakes created by Arden Wohl for the Miu Miu celebration of Fashion's Night Out at Miu Miu Boutique on September 10, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Miu Miu)
NEW CASTLE — Two 13-years-old boys got a cruel reminder of how Uncle Sam wants what’s coming to him after the Cupcake Stand they set up was closed down by a New Castle Councilman, Michael Wolfensohn.

Wolfensohn called the cops on the kids who were only trying to make extra money for the holidays. The police arrived and shut the teens down for operating without a license.

“I am shocked and sad for the boys. It was such a great idea, and they worked hard at it,” said the boy’s mother. “But then some Town Board member decided to get on his high horse and wreck their dreams.”
The little entrepreneurs made a cool $120 their first day in business then spent half of that on a new cart and more products to stock their stand, however, the second day, the boys got a taste of America’s heartless bureaucracy, after cops rolled in and pulled the plug on their sweet money making idea.

“The police officer was extremely pleasant. He said he was sorry to have to do this, but that he was following up on a report filed over the phone by a Town Board member,” said the boy’s mom.

Boxing mop-up: Manny Pacquiao cuts Antonio Margarito down to size

Fire Quinito rounds up all the must-read links from the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito fight so you could have more time pondering if PNoy made the right choice breaking up with Shalani and dating Liz Uy.

Scott Christ, Bad Left Hook: "We're witnessing something truly special. The NBA can keep LeBron James. Manny Pacquiao is at this point the most amazing athlete in all of sports. I stand by that statement."

Dan Rafael, "Margarito was massive compared to him, making Pacquiao's performance that much more impressive. Margarito was 150 pounds officially, but rehydrated to 165 on fight night. And besides outweighing the little guy by 17 pounds, Margarito also held a 6-inch reach advantage and 4½-inch height advantage."

Tim Starks, The Queensberry Rules: "Antonio Margarito was anywhere from a 6-1 to 4-1 underdog, and he lost almost every single round on the scorecards. But that doesn't take away from the exquisite execution of the expected execution. For Pacquiao's first fight, he weighed 106 pounds, and that was reportedly with stones in his pockets. He weighed 148 pounds Saturday. Margarito weighed 165. Differentials in weight like that have happened before and the smaller man has won, but it's still remarkable for a junior flyweight-to-welterweight to beat up a super middleweight as badly as Pacquiao beat up Margarito."

Ron Borges, Boston Herald: "Pacquiao was in control from the first punch to the last, his hand speed making Margarito look like what he always has been - a ponderously resilient man whose chin was his greatest asset. Last night it was, however, his co-conspirator because it forced him to take punishment no man should have to endure."

Michael Rosenthal, The Ring: "Pacquiao landed two-, three-, four-punch combinations seemingly at will and avoided taking blows unless he purposely stepped into the path of danger, a pattern that left Margarito’s face a grotesque mess. His skin was bright red, his eyes were swollen shut and blood dripped from a deep cut under his right eye. It was exhilarating and gruesome at the same time. It was exhilarating because of the explosiveness and efficiency of Pacquiao’s work. I was in absolute awe at what I saw, a once-in-a-lifetime athlete whose ability is a true gift to boxing fans. It was gruesome because a brave man was being beaten to a pulp by the fast hands of a killer. Even those disgusted with Margarito’s role in the hand-wrap scandal had to feel sorry for him during the last few rounds of the fight, which should’ve been stopped to prevent further suffering."

Barry Horn, Dallas Morning News: "Unwilling to surrender under a 1,069-punch barrage, Margarito, 32, was complicit in his own destruction. Referee Laurance Cole said he began looking for a way to stop the bludgeoning in the 10th round, but Margarito continued in an attempt to battle back. When Cole administered an impromptu battlefield eye exam in the 11th, Margarito, his eye swollen almost shut, managed to make out the correct number of fingers. "

Paul Strauss, East Side Boxing: "Manny was gracious in victory and credited Margarito's courage. He expressed disbelief in how much punishment Margarito was able to absorb. He acknowledged having motioned to Referee Laurence Cole to stop the fight in the tenth and eleventh rounds, because Tony was a sitting duck. He also acknowledged that he lightened up in the twelfth and didn't go for the knockout."

Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times: "The marvelous Manny Pacquiao did it again. The 98-pound weakling kicked sand in the big guy's face. Yet another Paul Bunyan was chopped down, although this one, a tough and game Antonio Margarito, never allowed anyone to yell 'Timber.'"

ESPN Dallas: "Antonio Margarito, the Mexican super welterweight beaten badly by Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, suffered a fractured orbital bone to his face and was expected to stay in the hospital for observation through at least Sunday night, an executive with Margarito's promotions company said. Margarito, who lost in a lopsided, 12-round decision, was taken directly to the hospital via ambulance after the fight to have cuts to his face examined."

Bryan Armen Graham, Sports Illustrated: "There are so few mountains left to climb. But it's hard to imagine Pacquiao, at the height of his physical peak (and earning potential), would choose to walk away -- even though Roach and Pacquiao's mother have suggested just that. Just one name remains, hanging on the reddening horizon. Mayweather."

Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports: "Somewhere Floyd Mayweather had to be watching this beatdown. He had to be watching this incomparable talent defy all known properties of size and strength. And he had to feel reassured about his recent career decisions. For Mayweather, ducking Manny Pacquiao has never seemed so smart. If Mayweather has any brains – and for all his fool’s antics, he most certainly does – he’ll keep dodging the superfight the world wants. All the motivation he needs is to look at those busted-up cheeks of Antonio Margarito."

Report: Redskins Sign Donovan McNabb to $78 Million Contract

By Larry Brown

I don’t think I’ve seen a contract extension that has made less sense than the one reported by ESPN’s Michael Smith on Monday. Smith reports that the Washington Redskins have signed Donovan McNabb to a five-year $78 million extension with $40 million guaranteed. Apparently the deal could be worth up to $88 million based on incentives. That’s strong money for a quarterback who turns 34 years old in 10 days and who was benched in favor of Rex Grossman two weeks ago.

What makes the deal so surprising is the timing. $40 million guaranteed is a lot of money even for a quarterback of McNabb’s quality, and it probably would have made sense had it been agreed upon prior to the start of the season. But McNabb has been solid, not special through eight games with the Skins this year. Moreover, all indications were that Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan were “disenchanted” with Donovan. There were reports that Mike Shanahan was unhappy with McNabb’s practice efforts, conditioning, and understanding of the offense.

Given that the biggest event following McNabb’s head-scratching benching in favor of Rex Grossman was a monstrous contract extension, my sneaking suspicion regarding Shanahan’s motivation has been confirmed. I speculated all along that Mike was playing a mind game with Donovan, trying to motivate him to play his best the second half of the season. If you remember in 2008 McNabb was benched during an atrocious showing against the Ravens. His next game, he threw for four touchdowns in a 48-20 Thanksgiving night win over the Cardinals. There’s no doubt Shanahan is trying to get the same reaction from McNabb.