In which I consider cursing like a deranged woman, and punching the lights out of a moron

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I’m resisting my baser urges to do so, but it ain’t easy.

Read this CBS/AP story, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way I do:

(CBS/ AP) A grand jury has indicted an Ohio woman accused of providing marijuana to her 2-year-old daughter and using her cell phone to record the child smoking the drug.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said Wednesday that 21-year-old Jessica Gamble of Springfield Township in suburban Cincinnati was indicted on child endangering and other charges.

The video shows the child handling and puffing on a marijuana cigarette.

Investigators say Gamble gave the girl the marijuana at their home sometime in August and that a person they haven’t identified gave a copy of the video to the state family services agency.

Prosecutors say that, at one point, Gamble could be heard on the tape coaching her daughter.

“What’s quite disconcerting,” Deters remarked at a news conference, “is she’s (the girl) handling this as if she’s done something like this before.

Here’s the video:

What the &#@% is wrong w/ people?? x(

Update: Here’s another idiot I’d love to slug!

Cartel city: terror in Torreón

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I’ll grant that subject line sounds like it should be the title for a roleplaying game adventure or the next Grand Theft Auto release, but, sadly, it’s all too true. In the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Rory Carroll reports on the nightmare that has become life in this northern Mexican city. Once a center of transportation, manufacturing, commerce, Torreón and its surrounding area by the 1990s was a prosperous place. But now, after several years of war among the drug cartels, it is a city in which prisoners are released from jail by the warden to massacre innocent party-goers:

For a country in the throes of a war that has claimed 28,000 lives in four years it is perhaps little surprise that a transport hub such as Torreón, intersection for cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines, is grim. Murders among the population of 550,000 average three per day. Two massacres in city bars preceded the attack on the Italia Inn party, a bloodbath made worse by the fact the victims had no connection to drug trafficking.

The atrocity’s apparent motive was a display of strength by the Sinaloa cartel in its battle to oust a rival group, the Zetas, from Torreón. “It’s a turf war, and they’ll kill anyone,” says Carlos Bibiano Villa, Torreón’s police chief. The day after the attack, the Zetas, keen to show they still controlled the city, left four human heads with a note saying the massacre’s perpetrators had been punished. Decapitation, once unheard of in Mexico, has become routine.

What came next, however, was new. The Zetas, after killing the four probably random and innocent unfortunates, really did investigate the massacre. The result was a harrowing video uploaded on YouTube. Rodolfo Nájera, bruised, swollen and stripped, gazed into the camera with a confession. The 35-year-old kidnapped policeman, flanked by masked gunmen, must have guessed how the video would end. Asked by an off-camera interrogator about the Italia Inn massacre, Nájera said the killers were Sinaloa members allowed out of prison for nocturnal hits. Guards lent them guns and vehicles. “Who let them out?” barked the voice. “The director,” replied the doomed man. The video ends minutes later with a shot to the head.

The entire article is one paragraph after another of eye-popping facts and vignettes that one would think could only happen in a movie, but are part of everyday life in Torreón. Here’s just one: the entire police force of 1,200 was fired and replaced for corruption. As the mayor says,

“The police relaxed their ethics and discipline and just gave in. In the end they weren’t working for them (the cartels). They were them.”

Carroll briefly discusses possible solutions, ranging from the libertarian “legalize drugs” to “let one cartel win.” The former strikes me as a pie-in-the-sky academic solution that would do nothing to end cartel violence; they’d fight over the legal trade as much as the illegal commerce. On the other hand, allowing one or the other gang to win in the hope of regaining peace seems to be the definition of a dying republic, one that admits the gangs are the real sovereign power.

It may not be a genuine failed state yet, but Mexico seems to be coming awfully close.

Read the whole thing.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Weapons of Mass Deception: State-run NC media continues their quest to destroy state SBI

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About a month ago, I wrote a lengthy piece on how our “state-run” media here (liberal sister papers Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer) in North Carolina were trying to do their best to sabotage the work of the State Bureau of Investigation by falsely accusing and insinuating via a series of biased “investigations” – some based on an independent audit/review of the SBI’s serology unit that was much less “scathing” than reported – that the SBI routinely and deliberately withholds lab evidence that could be favorable to the defense.  As a result of that misread independent review, the systemic efforts of both Observer papers, and the continued crusade by “innocence” groups here in NC to keep the unofficial death penalty moratorium in place using any means necessary, state legislators are now in full tilt boogie mode to “right” these “wrongs” via demands for a top down review of all SBI lab units and calls for a new accrediting agency for the SBI.

An article published today in both the CO and RNO talks excitedly about the possibility of a change in the SBI’s accrediting agency, and includes a recap of “why” this has become “necessary” in the first place – and yet they still can’t get it right (bolded emphasis added by me):

RALEIGH State legislators on Thursday attacked the credibility of a laboratory accreditation group that gave the State Bureau of Investigation its seal of approval during years in which blood analysts withheld critical test results.

Leaders suggested that the SBI shop for a new accreditation group to replace the national ASCLD-LAB. Such pressure could sever the close relationship between the SBI and ASCLD-LAB, which has been headed since 1995 by one of the SBI’s own, Ralph Keaton. Keaton went to ASCLD-LAB after capping a 30-year career at the bureau.

On Thursday, legislators attempted to spread some blame to ASCLD-LAB for problems at the SBI.

“Does ASCLD have skin in this game?” asked Sen. Ed Jones, a Democrat from northeastern North Carolina and co-chairman of a committee to address issues at the SBI. “What’s their liability in this?”

That question has reverberated in recent months, intensified by realizations that ASCLD-LAB is managed by three former SBI officials and is headquartered off Interstate 40 in Garner, less than 10 miles from the SBI’s main crime lab.

The SBI has been under fire in recent months. The (Raleigh) News & Observer last month published a series, “Agents’ Secrets,” that showed that some analysts have pushed past the bounds of accepted science to deliver answers pleasing to prosecutors. In August, two former FBI officials released an audit of the SBI’s blood analysis unit that identified more than 200 cases tainted by withheld test results. To blame: lax leadership, misleading policies and analysts largely left to their own devices to decide how to report blood tests.

Sigh.  Read what I wrote about this “scandal” last month.  What the NC MSM’s latest “reporting” on this “issue” doesn’t tell you is that in the most serious of the cases referenced in that audit (death penalty cases), either one or both of the following were present: A confession and/or  confirmed positive DNA match.  I only researched the most serious of the cases for the obvious reason: No one wants to see an innocent man or woman put to death, but in how many other non-DP cases referenced in that audit was the situation the same, where there was other evidence present, either circumstantial or DNA, and/or the defendant confessed?  I suspect that most, after careful review by attorneys for the state and for the convicted criminals, are the same.   Not only that, but let’s – again – take a look at just how few cases overall the independent auditors found to be questionable.  From my August piece:

Not only is the report extremely informative, but so is Appendix B, which lists the 230 cases in question.  I read both the report and Appendix B and came away with a heck of a lot more information that I ever did or will from the Observer.  For example, on page 9 of the report, the review results were listed.  Out of 15,419 lab files (from Jan. 1987 – Jan. 2003) containing one or more serology tests, 932 cases (6%) were identified that contained blood result language similar to the Taylor case.    From those 932 cases, 230 – 7 of which were death penalty cases – “contained at least one instance where the lab notes reflected that a positive presumptive test for the presence of blood was followed by a confirmatory test that yielded results that were ‘negative’, ‘inconclusive’, or ‘no result’, but did not include this information in the final report. This represents 1.49% of the serology files from 1987-2003.”

Got that? At issue were less than 2% of the nearly 15,500 lab files pulled for consideration. Yet we’re supposed to believe that the SBI was plagued with system-wide problems as a result of intentional malice towards the defendants? I don’t think so.

Also on page 9 and 10, the reviewers pointed out that of the 230 cases, 40 involved investigations where authorities either could not ID a suspect or no charges were filed.  An additional 20 cases were either dismissed or the defendants were found not guilty. To my knowledge, you will not find this information in a single media report.

Other things you should know are listed on pages 10 and 11, where they list the 4 cases each category fell in.  Category 4 was the most troubling – and all involved SBI agent Deaver (who – of all the agents named in the report – is the only one I have a real issue with), but only five cases were at play in that category, one of which was the death penalty case of Desmond Carter, which I talked about earlier.  And category 1, which involved 85 cases, should not have even been included in the report, in my opinion.  The footnotes on that page note that the even the reviewers had a “considerable debate” over whether or not to include this category. 

Yet the Observers don’t tell you any of this, do they?  Of course not.  Both liberal papers are driven by an anti-death penalty/”the criminal is the real victim” agenda and they report their “facts” accordingly in hopes that they can convince you of this, too.  They want you to think that because a tiny handful of cases allegedly had “evidence withheld” (when in fact in the most serious cases legitimate, damning evidence against the defendant was NOT withheld, as my report confirmed) that the entire SBI is not only corrupt but is also deliberately “unfair” to the defense.

Baloney.

But not only are the Observers gleeful about the possibility of “change” happening at the SBI, they also subtly slip into their reporting the fact that the current SBI accrediting agency is also the same agency that accredits the vast majority of other SBIs around the country – hinting around that top down reviews are needed in those states as well:

ASCLD-LAB, which accredits the vast majority of forensic crime labs in America, had granted accreditation to the SBI every five years starting in 1988. It offered no guidance and did not enforce requirements for specific language in reports. A team of auditors inspected the lab every five years, reviewing five cases for each analyst. SBI leaders selected the cases auditors reviewed.

As I said before, I have no issue with a thorough audit of all SBI lab departments just to be on the safe side, and my point is not to suggest that the NC SBI is perfect in how it conducts its operations.  My beef is with how state legislators – mostly Democrats, and the state-run media – mostly Democrats,  have overhyped and sensationalized their reporting about the SBI in a way that severely misleads the public into thinking that they can’t trust the criminal justice system in its pursuit of justice because “many innocents may be wrongly convicted” thanks to a state SBI who – if you listen to these legislators and media types – cares nothing about the concept of fairness when it comes to analyzing evidence.    The job of the media, in particular, is not to cater to a particular mindset based on the mindsets of those sitting in the newsrooms typing out their stories but instead to report honestly and objectively and let the reader come to their own conclusions.

I often hear people refer to liberal papers like the NYT, the WaPo, the Charlotte Observer, etc as “fishwrappers.”  I’m not so sure that’s fair to the dead fish, because these papers absolutely stink on their own, dead fish wrapped inside or not.   And at least with a dead fish waiting to be cooked and eaten, something good will eventually come of it.  The same cannot be said and will never be said for sneaky, agenda-driven liberal news outlets who have abdicated their responsibility to impartially inform and who instead are now in the business of agenda-driven mass deception.