Saturday Afternoon News

Here's what's going on that I haven't had time to write about:

  • Janet Napolitano says we're going to be more involved in the war against the Mexican drug gangs. Coming soon:
    Ms. Napolitano indicated there would be more so-called outbound enforcement: checking people and vehicles leaving the U.S. to see if they are carrying contraband. She said those efforts wouldn't hamper the job of stopping illegal immigration into the U.S.

  • A television show in Guinea exposes the involvement of the country's higest officials in the cocaine trade. They confessed.
    As the people of Guinea sit transfixed before their TV sets, top government officials one after another are confessing to their role in a lucrative international cocaine trade.
  • Bernie Maddoff gets another shot at bond next week when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals holds a hearing on his appeal of the district court's denial. Here's his latest petition.

What stories are grabbing your attention today?

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    Update on Madoff's bail "excuse" (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by nycstray on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 05:14:47 PM EST
    Meantime, Madoff's attorneys are trying to get him out of jail before he is officially sentenced.

    Madoff's legal team is apparently contending that their client's financial mess is so complex that they really need to talk to him at the penthouse rather than in jail.


    lol!~ just heard this one while channel surfing.

    Salazar upsets "Greens" (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 05:44:52 PM EST

    Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision to stick with a controversial Bush administration move that took gray wolves off the endangered species list in most of the northern Rockies reflects the independent streak that has defined his career. But it has alienated key Obama administration allies, including environmentalists and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

    Salazar's March 6 decision surprised environmental leaders as well as some of the administration's traditional opponents, and it provoked a protest letter from 10 senior House Democrats as well as a literal howl of delight from Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R).

    While the White House declined to comment on Salazar's move, it has clearly caused a headache for the administration. Lawmakers have called senior Obama aides to question the decision, environmental groups have filed a Freedom of Information Act request to probe the decision-making process, and experts inside and outside the administration predict that the issue will end up in court.

    I'd be OK with this (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 07:03:30 PM EST
    since the population seems to be healthy, if there were a whopping big, huge fine attached to killing them.  The fear and hatred of wolves is just wildly out of proportion to the actual danger they pose to either people or livestock.

    But if taking them off the endangered list means these morons are free to go on killing sprees, they're going to have to put them back on in a couple of years.

    I've mentioned this before here, that there's a small group of yahoos in my area who have shooting parties every fall for the modest number of coyotes here, even though they cause little to no trouble. (And I say that having lost a beloved but incautious cat to one a couple of years ago.) Every time these goons manage to achieve a real massacre, the number of rabbits eating our vegetable gardens explodes and the dread woodchuck and racoon populations noticeably increase.

    It's just pointless and actually counterproductive.


    There is a large population of deer (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 07:13:09 PM EST
    in the Philly suburbs because all of the predators have been killed.

    The fact that a... (none / 0) (#11)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 07:56:03 PM EST
    ...5th generation Colorado rancher would be opposed to Federal protection of the gray wolf is neither shocking or unexpected.  

    Anyone who thinks that it is has little understanding of an age old Western issue or Secy Salazar himself.  


    Reagan Legacy (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 07:57:33 PM EST
    Twice in one day the damage done by Reagan.

    Rep. Grayson on ATSDR bogus reports regarding Vieques military testing ground:

    One of the biggest political disappointments of the moment to me is that more Democrats aren't making the case against Reagan and the legacy he inflicted on this country. It's a direct path from him to the trouble we're in today and nobody has yet explained that to the American people.

    Good for Grayson for boldly going where few Democrats have the guts to go.

    And Sara from Orincus, on her own struggle with chronic Lyme disease:

    As you can tell by now, this issue is a political and medical snake pit. But the thing that I've found most striking about it is that Lyme patients aren't the only ones caught in it. You can find almost identical battles raging -- with insurers and "official" medical groups lined up on one side, and persecuted heretic doctors and their grateful patients lined up on the other -- among the MS, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Gulf War syndrome communities. In fact, almost every chronic disease that's emerged or spread since the early 80s has ended up re-creating this exact split. You have to wonder: Why? What's going on here?

    A few perspicacious science journalists think they've got an answer. The problem, they say, started back in 1980, when Ronald Reagan changed the rules governing how scientists (and the entities they work for) profit from their work.


    Video link (none / 0) (#16)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 06:02:06 AM EST
    doesn't work

    Jeralyn: see Greenwald's (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 04:11:14 PM EST
    Sat. post on decriminalizing controlled substances.  

    So (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 04:32:29 PM EST
    What do you think about that?

    Oculus? (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 04:39:16 PM EST
    Fish Suit Going Swimmingly Well (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 05:00:01 PM EST
    CLEARWATER -- A local bait and tackle shop and the American Civil Liberties Union won an initial victory Friday in their federal lawsuit against the city of Clearwater over the shop's fish mural. But there's still a lot of litigation to go.

    After hearing arguments from the opposing sides last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Jenkins on Friday recommended an injunction preventing the city of Clearwater from levying any more fines on the Complete Angler for its mural while the case is in litigation.

    link via artlawblog

    Coca Leaves (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 05:28:03 PM EST
    Let me chew my coca leaves

    The president of Bolivia speaks. Coca leaves should indeed be excluded as a narcotic.

    I'm dying to try... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 08:23:20 AM EST
    chewing on some coca leaves...but our prohibition of cocaine makes them impossible to be got.  Bummer.

    Cocaine, otoh, is everywhere.  Makes so much sense, doesn't it?


    Northern Virginia has to be (none / 0) (#15)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 14, 2009 at 11:29:25 PM EST
    right up there in the top-10 of most over-developed-and poorly-planned areas on the East Coast.


    I'm involved in taking over the care of an elderly aunt, whose husband recently died.  She has been in a nursing home for almost a year, and now that her husband has died, we are in the process of closing down the house and preparing it for sale.

    Between navigating the path to getting appointed guardian and conservator, and now running to the bank to get the joint accounts changed and my name added as conservator, and getting the cable boxes returned (had I known that would involve the "Mixing Bowl" at Springfield, I would have gone to the Herndon office), and navigating an area with some of the worst road signage ever - I am bleary-eyed and just plain exhausted.  Was on the road by 7:00 am and got home about an hour ago.  Still buzzing from the road, but starting to wind down.

    We've been at this for weeks now - mostly on the weekends, and the more we do, the more it seems we still have left to do.  With my aunt being in a pretty-advanced stage of Alzheimer's, she cannot answer any of the questions we have, so we are feeling our way through much of the landscape.  We are unearthing a trove of family memorabilia - she was the keeper of a lot of material after my grandparents died - and since my father (her brother) and my uncle ( their brother) are deceased, it is all coming into our care.

    Time to go to bed, I think - the road-jangled nerves finally quieting down!

    Ooh! (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jbindc on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 11:12:12 AM EST
    The "Mixing Bowl" at Springfield is one of the worst!  I've lived here 2 years and still get confused when I go to the Springfield Mall (or worse, when I leave and try to driver back to Alexandria) - it's a nightmare.  My sympathies, Anne!

    I'm not a big fan of heights, (none / 0) (#20)
    by Anne on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 11:19:38 PM EST
    and seeing the interchange looming ahead gave me the willies...it turned out to be not so bad, but it just made me think that any area that required that much configuring was seriously over-developed.

    We had to go to the Cox Cable office in the Kingstown Towne Centre - if not for GPS, I would still be there, trying to figure out how to get back to Fairfax.  


    Detroit crime lab re-looks at 147 cases (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 11:26:17 AM EST
    At least 147 cases in Detroit's Police Crime Lab are being retested because they were mishandled. The Wayne County Prosecutor has taken the lead in asking that these first 147 cases be looked at and reviewed.

    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says her office has identified 147 cases of convicted and imprisoned people that will require the retesting of evidence as part of the investigation into the now-closed Detroit police crime lab -- unveiling the first of potentially thousands of cases that are at risk of unraveling because of mishandled evidence.

    "This is the tip of the iceberg," Worthy told the Free Press on Thursday, noting that in addition to the 147 cases identified by her office, defense attorneys have notified her office of 30 others that they believe relied on mishandled evidence.

    Those cases, and thousands of others, are taxing the Michigan State Police's capacity, which could translate into guilty people walking the streets, innocent people stuck behind bars and law-enforcement agencies hamstrung in fighting crime. Added to the caseload is the budgetary constraints under which the Prosecutor's Office and State Police must function.


    The case that broke the scandal and overwhelmed the labs involved Jarrhod Williams, 21, who withdrew two no-contest pleas last year stemming from a May 2007 double slaying in Detroit after faulty firearms evidence surfaced.

    Williams initially confessed and went to trial a year ago in the shooting deaths of Detroiters DeAngelo Savage, 33, and Tommy Haney, 38, when prosecutors offered to let him plead no contest to second-degree murder and serve 12 years in prison. But he insisted that his confession was coerced and that he was not responsible for the killings.

    A Detroit police report indicated all 42 spent shell casings at the scene came from the same gun. But Williams' attorney Marvin Barnett was skeptical of the evidence and hired former State Police firearms examiner David Balash to look things over. Balash discovered that the casings came from at least two weapons. State Police conducted its own tests and confirmed Balash's results.

    As a result, a new trial was granted in October. Worthy and former Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings ordered an audit of Detroit's crime lab. The audit found, among other findings, an error rate of 10% in 200 firearms cases it reviewed.