Archive for November 4th, 2010
Straight from Fox News: “A coalition of Mexican mayors has asked the United States to stop deporting illegal immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes in the U.S. to Mexican border cities, saying the deportations are contributing to Mexican border violence.
The request was made at a recent San Diego conference in which the mayors of four Mexican border cities and one U.S. mayor, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, gathered to discuss cross-border issues.
Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes blamed U.S. deportation policy for contributing to his city’s violence, saying that of the 80,000 people deported to Juarez in the past three years, 28,000 had U.S. criminal records — including 7,000 convicted rapists and 2,000 convicted murderers.
Those criminal deportees, he said, have contributed to the violence in Juarez, which has reported more than 2,200 murders this year. Reyes and the other Mexican mayors said that when the U.S. deports criminals back to Mexico, it should fly them to their hometowns, not just bus them to the border.
But critics in America say the Mexican lawmakers are simply trying to pass the buck to the U.S. and its taxpayers. They say the Mexicans should take responsibility for their criminals, who are putting both Mexican and American lives in danger.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement transports a majority of Mexican criminal aliens back to Mexico on buses. Since they’re often held in U.S. detention centers near the border prior to deportation, busing them to Mexican border cities is much less expensive than flying them to the interior of the country.
Those convicted of crimes in the U.S. are required first to fulfill “any sentence imposed by the U.S. courts,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice told FoxNews.com.
She said all of the deportees are then inspected by Mexican immigration authorities when they arrive in Mexico, and if they are wanted for crimes in Mexico, they are also met by representatives from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office.
But if they don’t have charges pending against them in Mexico, they are free men and women once they cross the border regardless of what they have done in the U.S.
Despite that, ICE says it recognizes the threat posed by Mexico’s cartel-related crime and has been working closely with Mexican authorities to address it.
“Earlier this year, ICE suspended the removal of Mexican nationals with criminal records to Ciudad Juarez,” Kice said. “…In addition to dedicating unprecedented manpower, technology and infrastructure resources to the border, ICE has also collaborated with Mexico to adapt its removal procedures in response to safety considerations.”
And while criminal aliens continue to be repatriated to Mexico at other locations along the border, Kice said, “those removals are coordinated closely with Mexican authorities and advance notification is provided prior to the return of convicted violent offenders.”
Juan Hernandez, founder of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas and former director of Mexico’s Presidential Office for Mexicans, says he’s spoken to the border city mayors, and they don’t believe the U.S. is doing enough.
“Mexico believes that individuals who commit crimes in the United States should be prosecuted in the United States and not sent to Mexico to continue their performing of crimes,” he told FoxNews.com.
Critics of the Mexican lawmakers say the U.S. is prosecuting the criminals in question, and if Mexico wants to keep them out of its border towns, then it should be up to Mexico to lock them up or transport them elsewhere.
“It’s almost perverse that foreign officials would blame us for sending their criminals back to their country. Sovereignty entails responsibility. This country needs to take responsibility for its own criminals, and other countries — Mexico included — need to take responsibility for their own criminals and deal with them,” Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told FoxNews.com.
But Hernandez, a dual citizen of both the U.S. and Mexico, says the U.S. can’t wash its hands of this issue.
“The border will never totally be shut down because we don’t want that to happen in the United States. Mexico is our second most important trading partner, there are close to one million people crossing legally every day between Mexico and the United States,” Hernandez told FoxNews.com. “So we can be strict to the letter of the law and say these criminals are Mexico’s problem, but it’s not just their problem because it will come back to haunt the United States.”
Melhman says in some cases it may be worth spending the extra time and money to fly criminals to the Mexican interior to lower the risk of them coming back over the border. But that decision, he says, needs to be made because it’s deemed to be in the best interest of the U.S., not because of pressure from Mexico.
“Every day, American citizens are victimized by illegal alien criminals because, for political reasons, our government refuses to enforce immigration laws,” he said. “…We need to put resources into protecting our own interests and making sure violence doesn’t spread across our border.”
Asked whether ICE planned to make any changes to its deportation policy since the conference, Kice simply said, “While ICE has suspended criminal alien removals to Cuidad Juarez, criminal aliens continue to be repatriated to Mexico at other locations along the border and to the interior of the country.”"
Gore leaves car idling for one hour during speech; Opts for Swedish government jet over public transportation
Straight from the Climate Depot: “Al Gore — He did it again.
Recently, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore toured again. Or maybe he does that all the time. This time, he turned up in Gothenburg (Sweden) for the usual alarmist talk. In advance, all distinguished guests were politely advised to – if possible – use any form of public transportation to go to the event, in order to minimize CO2 emissions.
Intriguingly, the Master of World Climate himself arrived in a rental car (with or without driver is unclear), from the airport, and subsequently left the engine running for the entire lecture. That is to say, about one hour. Incidentally, local legislation prohibits – for very good environmental reasons, i e pollution – any car engine running on empty for more than 60 seconds. Fines are severe. As far as I know, he was not fined.
It starts to form a pattern.
After the ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo, it is customary that the laureate is invited to the Swedish capital Stockholm, for a cordial visit. The train ride, supposedly the environmental choice according to Mr. Gore, is approximately four hours. However, he opted for the cosier ride with one of the Swedish government aircrafts. As these can, according to the rules, only be used when a cabinet member is on board – and as the Swedish government after a short ceremonial visit – offered to fly him to Frankfurt (Germany) for his flight to the US, you can calculate both the manpower and the fuel used for this grand tour against man’s destruction of the planet.
Stupidity and hypocrisy – as well as vanity – are, like it or not common human traits. I admit to some of them occasionally, but I don’t demand taxpayers to finance my stupid talks at dinner (yes, I love doing that). Here’s the deal Mr Gore: get out of my way, and I will keep out of yours.”
Straight from Fox News: “An Oregon man has settled a federal lawsuit over what he says was his First Amendment right to express himself by giving the finger to sheriff’s deputies.
The Oregonian reports Robert Ekas settled the suit for $4,000.
In his lawsuit, Ekas said that in July 2007, he flipped off a Clackamas County deputy while driving, and the deputy gave him tickets for illegal lane change and improper display of license plates. Ekas was acquitted on the citations. A month later, he gave the finger to another deputy, who detained him but wrote no tickets.
Ekas alleged he was being harassed.
A story earlier this year in the Portland newspaper
brought Ekas national media attention, including an appearance on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report.”
County officials say it was cheaper to settle the case than to proceed with defending the suit.”
Straight from the Debka File: “A missile fired from an American warship in the Mediterranean hit the car in which Muhammad Jamal A-Namnam, 27, was driving in the heart of Gaza City Wednesday, Nov. 3 and killed him, debkafile’s exclusive counter-terror sources report. Namnam was an operational commander of the Army of Islam, Al-Qaeda’s Palestinian cell in the Gaza Strip. He was on a mission on behalf of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – AQAP to plan, organize and execute the next wave of terrorist attacks on US targets after last week’s air package bomb plot.
According to our sources, the Palestinian cell members were planning to infiltrate northern Sinai from the Gaza strip over the coming weekend and strike American personnel serving with the Multinational Force and Observers Organization – MFO, which is under American command and is stationed at North Camp, El Gorah, 37 kilometers southeast of El-Arish.
In a coordinated operation, Al Qaeda fighters hiding up in the mountains of central Sinai were to have attacked US Marines and Air Force troops stationed at the South Camp in Naama Bay, Sharm el Sheikh.
The twin attacks were scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 7, or the following day.
Our sources say that, just as US-Saudi intelligence cooperation led to the interception of package bombs from Yemen last week, so too US intelligence-sharing with Egypt and Israel foiled a major Al-Qaeda terrorist attack on American personnel in Sinai. Egyptian intelligence picked up on Namnam’s scouting forays of US forces and discovered him caching weapons and explosives ready for the Al Qaeda strike force’s arrival from Gaza.
Israeli intelligence tracked Namnam’s movements in Gaza City. It is quite likely, said a high-ranking Western military source in the Middle East, Thursday, Nov. 4, that the Israelis pinpointed Namnam for targeting by the US ship-borne missile that killed him.
Hamas security sources in Gaza now suspect that Israel had its own reasons for permitting new cars to be imported to the Gaza Strip for the first time in two years, knowing that they would be commandeered for the personal use of the chiefs of armed organizations, including Namnam. They believe Israel planted tracking devices in those vehicles.
The Palestinian sources also say that the blast which killed the Army of Islam man was unusually powerful and reverberated through most of the enclave. Witnesses denied sighting Israeli UAVs or other aircraft over the skies of Gaza.
The Al Qaeda operative’s death by a US missile is the first American targeted assassination in the Gaza Strip against an Al Qaeda target. Up until now, US missions of this kind took place in Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.
debkafile’s military sources report that, even after the abrupt passing of Al Qaeda’s operational commander in the Gaza Strip, the two MFO camps in Sinai remain on high terror alert. The Al Qaeda cell or cells assigned to hit the South Camp in Sharm el Sheikh are still at large, the objects of a massive manhunt by Egyptian forces. It is also feared that Namnam’s own cells could split and sections head out to North Camp in northern Sinai to complete his mission.”
Straight from the New York Times: “Joseph G. Gavin Jr., who rode herd over the immensely complex design, construction and testing of the first vehicle to visit the moon — a task that included anticipating 400 different landing surfaces, from ice to boulders to dust to potholes — died on Saturday in Amherst, Mass. He was 90.
The cause was acute leukemia and pneumonia, his family said.
When President John F. Kennedy declared in 1961 that America would go to the moon by the end of the decade, the task seemed almost unbelievably daunting. But tens of thousands across America pitched in, and Mr. Gavin had one of the most important roles, as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
An M.I.T.-trained engineer who had worked on early jet aircraft engines during World War II, Mr. Gavin managed the 7,500-member team that made the Eagle, the clunky lunar module that settled on the lunar surface, in a spot called the Sea of Tranquillity, on July 20, 1969.
“Houston, Tranquillity Base here,” Neil A. Armstrong, the Apollo 11 commander, announced to mission control as half a billion people watched on television. “The Eagle has landed.”
As director of the lunar module program for the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Mr. Gavin had to make sure that the craft — a combination two-stage rocket and two-man spacecraft weighing 32,000 pounds — would land gently on the moon’s surface, then take off again on its own power to rejoin a larger spacecraft in lunar orbit.
The odd, bulbous module with spindly legs was called the world’s first true spacecraft because it could operate only in outer space.
The margins for error were so tiny that Commander Armstrong had only 20 seconds of fuel left after changing landing sites because of rocks. Mr. Gavin was “literally” holding his breath, he recalled.
An even more tense moment followed. If the blastoff from the moon’s surface failed — a critical step that could not be simulated in terrestrial tests — Commander Armstrong and Col. Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., the lunar module pilot, would be stranded forever. (The third member of the mission, Lt. Col. Michael Collins, was orbiting the moon in the command module Columbia.)
Everything worked, a happy occurrence that would be repeated with modules in five more missions. In all, Grumman built a dozen.
A memorable feat performed by the module came in April 1970, when it acted as a lifeboat after an oxygen tank exploded aboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft. The mission’s three astronauts returned to earth inside the module. All the while, Mr. Gavin and others were at mission control in Houston helping to guide the men to safety. NASA awarded Mr. Gavin its distinguished public service medal for his role in the crisis.
Mr. Gavin would go on to be president, chief operating officer and chairman of the executive committee of the Grumman Corporation. The company merged into the Northrop Corporation in 1994, forming the Northrop Grumman Corporation.
In his 39-year career with the company, Mr. Gavin oversaw enterprises as diverse as city buses and wings for the space shuttle. But it was his shepherding of the lunar module’s development — considered by many to have been the most challenging aspect of the moon voyage — that elevated him to prominence.
Grumman had begun pondering the possibility of a lunar-landing project in 1960 and assigned Mr. Gavin to a group doing preliminary work on a module. When Grumman got the contract in 1962, he was put in charge of a team that included Tom Kelly, the chief design engineer.
It was a tricky task. The module had to be light, to reduce energy consumption and battery size. Because there is no air resistance on the moon, reverse acceleration was needed to stop forward progress. Everything had to be tested and tested again: some 14,000 imperfections were corrected over almost a decade. And because there could no testing in actual lunar conditions, an extensive array of backup systems had to be installed while still minimizing weight.
Preparations for the moon landing were inherently uncertain. Imagined possibilities included a layer of dust more than 30 feet thick, a slippery surface like ice, and potholes.
“So we developed a computer program, based on tests of a quarter-scale model of the lunar module, and we ran the program through some 400 different landing conditions,” Mr. Gavin said in an interview with Technology Review, published by M.I.T., in 1994.
From an original estimate of $350 million, the module’s cost rose to $1.5 billion.
“If a project is truly innovative, you cannot possibly know its exact cost and exact schedule at the beginning,” Mr. Gavin told Technology Review. “And if you do know the exact cost and the exact schedule, chances are that the technology is obsolete.”
Joseph Gleason Gavin Jr. was born on Sept. 18, 1920, in Somerville, Mass. As a boy, he was enthralled by the imaginary exploits of Buck Rogers and the real ones of Charles A. Lindbergh. He once traveled for hours to see “Lucky Lindy” land at a small airfield in Vermont.
He earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was captain of the varsity crew. During World War II, he was a lieutenant in the Navy involved in the early work on jet aircraft propulsion. He joined Grumman in 1946 as a design engineer working on Navy fighters.
After his retirement in 1985, Mr. Gavin advised the federal government on energy policy and space matters and pursued charitable interests.
Mr. Gavin is survived by his wife of 67 years, the former Dorothy Grace Dunklee; his sons, Joseph III and Donald; and four grandchildren. A daughter, Tay Anne Gavin Erickson, died in 1998.
In remarks to an M.I.T. alumni publication, Mr. Gavin, a downhill skier until the age of 86, described the appeal of his work: “There’s a certain exuberance that comes from being out there on the edge of technology, where things are not certain, where there is some risk, and where you make something work.””
Straight from Cnet: “Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Minnesota woman who has been fighting the recording industry over 24 songs she illegally downloaded and shared online four years ago, has lost another round in court.
A jury in Minneapolis decided today that she was liable for $1.5 million in copyright infringement damages to Capitol Records, or $62,500 for each song she illegally shared in April 2006.
The Recording Industry Association of America–the trade group that represents the four major music labels–applauded the verdict.
“We are again thankful to the jury for its service in this matter and that they recognized the severity of the defendant’s misconduct,” the RIAA said in a statement. “Now with three jury decisions behind us along with a clear affirmation of Ms. Thomas-Rasset’s willful liability, it is our hope that she finally accepts responsibility for her actions.”
Thomas-Rasset is expected to appeal today’s judgment before Michael Davis, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, who had previously slashed the damage award in an earlier judgment against Thomas-Rasset.
“We intend to raise our constitutional challenge again before Judge Davis,” Kiwi Camara, an attorney representing Thomas-Rasset, said in a statement to CNET. “The fight continues.”
The trial is the third for Thomas-Rasset, who was originally accused of sharing 1,700 songs–enough to fill about 150 CDs. After one jury found her liable for copyright infringement in 2007 and ordered her to pay $222,000, the judge in the case later ruled that he erred in instructing the jury and called for a retrial. In the second trial, which took place in 2009, a jury found Thomas-Rasset liable for $1.92 million.
Thomas-Rasset subsequently asked the federal court for a new trial or a reduction in the amount of damages in July 2009.
But earlier this year, the judge found that amount to be “monstrous and shocking” and reduced the amount to $54,000. Following that, the RIAA informed Thomas-Rasset that it would accept $25,000–less than half of the court-reduced award–if she agreed to ask the judge to “vacate” his decision, which means removing his decision from the record. Thomas-Rasset rejected that offer almost immediately.”