Archive for January 17th, 2011

Obama Scraps ‘Virtual Fence’ for Southern U.S. Border

January 17, 2011

From The Associated Press via of January 14, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration officially has ended a high-tech southern border fence boondoggle that cost taxpayers about $1 billion.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says proven technology will be used in the future. She says technology will be tailored to local terrain and population density.

 Napolitano said Friday there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to the country’s border security needs.

Congress ordered the high-tech fence in 2006 amid a clamor for more border security. The project yielded only 53 miles of protection.


Two Coyote Stories

January 17, 2011

 The  Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail; A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor’s dog, then bites the Governor.

 1.  The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie “Bambi” and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.

 2.  He calls  animal control .  Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.

 3.  He calls a veterinarian.  The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.

 4.  The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.

 5.  The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.

 6.  The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a “coyote awareness program” for residents of the area.

 7.  The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.

 8.  The Governor’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack..The State spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re:  the nature of coyotes.

 9. PETA protests the coyote’s relocation and files a $5 million suit against the State.

  In Wyoming:

 The Governor of Wyoming is jogging with his dog along a nature trail.  A

Coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.

 1. The Governor shoots the coyote with his State-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $0.50 on a .45 ACP  hollow point cartridge.

 2. The Buzzards eat the dead coyote.

 And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Wyoming is not.

Caught In The Cross Hairs, Magazines Put Tucson On The Cover

January 17, 2011

By Joe Pompeo /

The shadowy character pictured on the cover of Newsweek’s Jan. 24 issue, out Monday, looks like a comic book villain. Shrouded in an outsize American flag that smothers his body like a Snuggie, the menacing figure aims a pistol skyward, squeezing the trigger with his right hand. The accompanying headline, “American Assassins,” touts the latest entry in a long series of pieces seeking to explain the Jan. 8 shooting spree outside a Tucson, Ariz. supermarket that claimed six lives and left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critically injured.

“We thought that the deeper sickness in this population of assassins and what it says about some of the darker strings in the American story was worth touching on,” said Jonathan Alter, author of the piece. In his cover story, Alter contrasts the history of assassins abroad (religious and political extremists; organized criminals) with the history of those in America (emotionally tormented and socially isolated loners who suffer from mental illness; e.g. Jared Loughner). “When you’re a weekly, the basic problem is that everything’s been said, just not everybody’s said it, so we’re always in the market for a fresh angle and perspective.”

Indeed, daily papers, blogs, news websites and cable networks were on the front lines of this tragic story, which has captured the American media’s attention for the past nine days. Reporters descended on Tucson, churned out scoop after scoop to advance the overall narrative, even if only incrementally, and tracked down Loughner’s neighbors, friends, professors and former classmates. At the same time, the weeklies were busy preparing their long-view takes and presenting compelling images to package their more conceptual treatments of the subject. It’s a delicate balance — go too far and risk being accused of yellow journalism; play it too safe and risk being lost in the crowd.

“These types of stories present a big challenge to any editor,” said William Falk, editor-in-chief of The Week. “It’s a question of being appropriate within the context of something that’s very horrible. You want to get something that has the right tone.”

Take Loughner’s ubiquitous mugshot. The disturbing image, which shows the 22-year-old accused gunman bald and black-eyed with a crooked, remorseless smirk, proved to be nearly a textbook example of a powerful front-page newspaper photo. Whether it makes for a good magazine cover is another matter.

Newsweek, for one, didn’t consider using it. “I think everybody had seen that image,” said Alter. But that didn’t deter Newsweek’s rival, Time, whose first post-Tucson issue came out several days earlier.

“Time’s take turns Loughner into something of a movie villain, making the photo grainy in black and white, plus decorating his forehead with a graphic,” wrote Joe Coscarelli of The Village Voice. “It’s arresting, to be sure, but it’s also sensational.” (Of the various publications The Cutline approached for this story, Time was the only one that declined to comment.)

The Week, a digest of news and commentary whose latest issue came out Friday, also decided to forgo a cover image of Loughner’s haunting gaze. “It’s an incredibly newsworthy picture, but there’s so much madness and glee coming out of his face that it’s hard to look at it blown up in a big way,” said Falk. Falk also said he didn’t think the image was appropriate to go with the standard caricature illustration that almost always graces his magazine’s covers. “It’s too somber a story,” he said.

Instead, Falk opted to reference Sarah Palin’s controversial U.S. “target” map, on which red and white apparent gun sites (characterized by one Palin spokeswoman as “surveyor’s marks”) take aim at 20 key Democratic districts. The Week’s end product is a red-tinted photo — framed in an outline of the United States — of Congress members bowing their heads during a moment of silence. The image is seen as if through a rifle’s crosshairs. “We tried to put our emphasis on the debate,” said Falk of The Week’s coverage, and “the crosshairs were such a huge part of that debate.”

Other publications adopted the same visual approach. “These crosshairs became almost immediately a potent symbol for what happened and this debate over how far is too far when it comes to political language,” said Taylor West, a spokeswoman for National Journal, whose current cover simply consists of red crosshairs over a black background. “This was a dramatic way to get at the urgency of the conversations inside the magazine.” They also made a cameo in The Stranger, a Seattle alt-weekly whose cover last week satirized Palin’s map. In The Stranger’s version, the locations of political assassinations and assassination attempts stand in for the Democrats who Palin’s political action committee was aiming to unseat last year. “Sarah Palin did not put a gun into Jared Lee Loughner’s hands … but Sarah Palin and her cronies have spent the past two years cranking crazies like Loughner up,” wrote Paul Constant in his accompanying piece. (To be fair, many agree that Loughner’s massacre shouldn’t be chalked up to anything more than a dangerously unstable mind.)

New York Press used the crosshairs — blown up over the headline, “Will the Real Sarah Palin Please Stand Up?” — to illustrate a cover story that took Palin to task for her “muted” response to the tragedy. “Being a small weekly publication in New York City, we have to shout to be heard above the rest, so when we are designing our covers we often try to make a big statement that can be seen on the street,” said editor-in-chief Jerry Portwood. (Tucson’s local alt-weeklies, for their part, both went with stock photos of their wounded congresswoman.)

Meanwhile, over at The Economist, it became clear last Monday “that our intention was to put this [story] on the cover,” said Edward McBride, the magazine’s Washington correspondent, who penned one of two lead features from this week’s issue. “America’s blame game,” reads the cover line. Below it is a cartoonish illustration of two fat politicians engaged in an angry face off, handguns protruding from their over sized mouths.

The concept, McBride explained, was two-pronged.

“On the one hand, we wanted to try to explain to people outside America some things they might find surprising,” he said. “I thought the lack of enthusiasm for stricter gun control measures is something that would be striking to outsiders.”

On the other hand, he noted, “We were trying to give our audience a sense of the political response, and the debate about what roll vitriolic political discourse played. We tried to make clear that we didn’t accept the argument that somehow, overheated political rhetoric had contributed to the massacre. We don’t see the role played by political discourse. We do see the role played by guns.”

Pima Co., AZ Sheriff Clarence Dupnik Is A Disgrace To All Who Are ‘Behind The Badge’ For The Right Reasons

January 17, 2011

By Michael Reagan /

When a would-be assassin shot my Dad, President Ronald Reagan, nobody questioned the fact that the shooter was certifiably nuts.

Authorities recognized that fact and put him in a mental institution as his obvious disturbed mental state demanded.

Now we have another attempted killing of a public official, Arizona’s widely admired Rep. Gabby Giffords, and just about everybody recognizes the fact that the shooter, one Jared Loughner, is crazy as a loon.

Moreover, the fact that Loughner is probably nutty as a fruitcake, and perhaps dangerously so, could not have escaped the attention of local law enforcement authorities such as Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who already had Loughner in his sights yet failed to do anything to prevent Loughner’s foreseeable killing spree.

Yet we don’t hear a word of repentance for his failure to foresee what transpired in Tucson last Saturday. Not a word, mainly because Sheriff Dupnik is too busy attacking Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives to turn his rhetoric loose on the shooter.

In Dupnik’s twisted logic, Loughner may be a murderer but somehow or other it’s all Rush’s fault for his unforgivable habit of calling a spade a spade and referring to liberals as being mentally disjointed, as the majority of them are.

This kind of ridiculous response to a tragedy is becoming what the French would call de riguer — the liberal’s order of the day when one of their failures to recognize reality results in people getting killed.

As my more plainspoken friends would put it, Dupnik shoulda seen it coming, and he’s now trying to obfuscate that fact by striking out at people who had not a single thing to do with Loughner’s deadly actions.

“All I can tell you is that teachers and fellow students were concerned about his bizarre behavior in class to the point where some of him (sic) were physically afraid of him,” Dupnik admitted to ABC News.

“He was acting in very weird fashion to the point where they had several incidents with him to the point where law enforcement at Pima College got involved and they decided to expel him. And they did.”

That should have alerted the Sheriff and compelled him to keep a close eye on the Loughner. Tragically, it didn’t, so the killer was free to slaughter some of the Sheriff’s constituents without interference from Dupnik.

The Sheriff is now busy trying to distract the public from recognizing his failure to protect his own member of Congress, a highly respected federal judge on his way home from daily Mass, and other innocent people from being attacked by a man he had to know was dangerous, especially when he was allowed to get within point-blank range of the congresswoman.

So in the strange world of Sheriff Dupnik, Rush Limbaugh’s use of his freedom of speech in warning against the destructive policies of liberalism is “irresponsible,” while his own poisoned rhetoric is permissible.

Incredibly, Dupnik has suggested that Uncle Sam put a gag on Americans by setting up a Goebbels-like “kind of commission” that would apparently “deal with civility and make recommendations on how to get it back.”

That’s apparently his view of what freedom of speech means — freedom to have it regulated by Big Brother. Yet he insists he has nothing against what he called “heated arguments.”

There’s one consolation for having to put up with the rants and ravings of possibly senile public officials, and that is the fact that this guy is an elected official and the public can dump him if he stands for re-election. At that time they will have an opportunity to replace him with a new sheriff more like his colleague, fellow Arizona lawman Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

U.S. Road Workers Forced to Duck For Cover After Gun Shots Are Fired Across Mexico Border

January 17, 2011

By Daily Mail Reporter /

Four U.S. road workers were shot at by at least one gunman using a high-powered rifle from across the Mexico border, sheriff officials have said.

A white pickup truck was seen fleeing the area on the Mexican side of the border in a ghost town near Fort Hancock, Texas.

The bullets struck private land along the unpaved Indian Hot Springs Road – around half a mile from the border fence.

The workers had been filling holes along the road caused by rainstorm damage.

Mike Doyle, chief deputy of the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s office, said the gunman may have opened fire at the workers to distract them or get them to flee the area.

He told the El Paso Times: ‘Maybe they were trying to get them outside this area.’

He added that officers and Texas Rangers were assuming the bullets had been fired from Mexico.

One of the workers reported hearing eight shots that ‘sounded like high-powered rifles’.

On the Mexican side, the nearest community is Banderas, but roads connect the area with Ojinaga, Presidio and even Juarez.

Drug cartels use the border area to traffic marijuana and cocaine between Chihuahua state and the U.S.

The U.S. government built narrowly spaced steel poles along the Rio Grande to fence off the border in that part of Texas, but small objects can fit between the poles.

Sheriff Arvin West added: ‘You can walk up and stick your gun through.

In El Paso, stray bullets from a drug-related gunfight hit the City Hall in June and a bullet hit a building at the University of Texas in August.

Tourist David Hartley is believed to have been shot dead by Mexican gunmen in October while jetskiing on Falcon Lake, a border area near Laredo, Texas.

Katherine Cesinger, a spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry, said: ‘If these reports are true, it is yet another incident of border violence and spillover.

‘It goes back for the need for the federal government to provide more resources to the border, which is certainly feeling the effects of escalating violence in Mexico.’

Mississippi Baby Sitter Chases Robber With Broom

January 17, 2011

Small Dog Got First Bite At Robber

From: The Clarion-Ledger,

BYRAM, Miss. — With the tiny dog he’d just kicked across the room yapping and snapping at him, a burglar grabbed a broom. A baby sitter grabbed it from him, then chased him out of the house.

 Hinds County, Miss., authorities have charged 39-year-old Cedric Romone Williams with burglary of an occupied dwelling and aggravated assault.

 Cindy Davis tells The Clarion-Ledger she had just arrived at work Wednesday when her employer called to say someone was in the back yard. Davis says the man kicked in a door and lunged for her purse – but Cinnamon, the family’s terrier mix, attacked and bit him.

 She says the man also tried to run her down in his truck. Williams was arrested after Davis gave deputies a description. It was not clear whether Williams had an attorney.

Union Co., NC Commissioner Looking For Way To Limit Pit Bull Ownership After 5-Year-Old Girl’s Mauling Death

January 17, 2011

From via The Shelby Star

WAXHAW — Three days after police said a pit bull fatally mauled 5-year-old Makayla Woodard and sent her great grandmother to an area hospital, one Union County commissioner wants to see the breed banned.

But state law prohibits any county from banning a specific breed. Still, Union County Commissioner Jon Thomas said he plans to research what they can do to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Thomas told WSOC over the phone, “you take away the risk, you take away the problem.”

But because he can’t ban the breed he wants to find a compromise. Right now, he is not sure what that will be.

Waxhaw police said Makayla Woodard was in her neighbor’s backyard on Rehobeth Road in Waxhaw when the dogs attacked. Her grandmother was badly hurt while trying to save the young girl. Officers eventually shot and killed both dogs.

Thomas said pit bulls are simply an aggressive breed. But Mike Davis, president of the National American Pit Bull Terrier Association, says otherwise.

He and his organization work with cities considering breed bans and encourage them to implement a dangerous dog law instead.

Davis said they worked with city councils in more than 10 cities in Michigan who were considering a ban.

He said the bottom line is that having a pit bull or any dog comes down to responsibility.

“Responsible ownership is the key in all of this. Training, education and ownership. It’s a privilege, not a right, and I keep repeating that to everybody. Nobody says we get the right to own a dog, it’s a privilege and you should be responsible for it, just like we are our kids,” Davis said.

Davis said a dangerous dog law would allow a panel to decide each incident on a case-by-case basis.

Both Davis and Thomas agree leash laws don’t work.

Waxhaw Town Manager Michael McLaurin told WSOC in an e-mail Saturday, they will have an animal control officer in place and trained in the next few months.