Archive for Crime

Baltimore Ravin’

My brother was fond of ending debates by saying “Opinions are like a**holes: everybody’s got one.” I always hated that line, but now I see his point.

In fact, I now see how opinions and a**holes are almost indistinguishable:

For a long time, our domestic affairs, or at least the portion of them most explicitly tied to race, have resembled a nightmare doomed to be repeated until the underlying conflict is resolved. President Obama addressed that recurrence in a press conference at the White House last Tuesday, when he spoke about the death of Freddie Gray and what has euphemistically been called the “unrest” in Baltimore:

Since Ferguson, and the task force that we put together, we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals—primarily African American, often poor—in ways that have raised troubling questions. And it comes up, it seems like, once a week now, or once every couple of weeks. . . . What I’d say is this has been a slow-rolling crisis. This has been going on for a long time. This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.

Who’s pretending it’s new? He’s been president for more than six years, and issues of race have never been worse. So much for “task forces”. (Maybe he should have tried a “discussion group” he’s so fond of at those “summits” he keeps holding.)

And I wouldn’t cite Ferguson as an example of police brutality if I were you, sir.

But his is not the a-hole/opinion I find most repellant:

Police departments point to the high rates of crime and violence that prevailed in previous years, and argue that aggressive police tactics to reduce them are therefore a hallmark of civic concern, not signs of callous disregard. The former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who is a potential Presidential contender, echoed that sentiment after last Monday night’s riot in Baltimore. As the city’s mayor from 1999 to 2007, he had introduced zero-tolerance policing, and he told CNN that it was likely responsible for a thousand Baltimoreans being alive, rather than dead, as victims of homicide. Violent-crime and homicide rates in the city did decline, but the numbers today reveal a profane truth. Last year in Baltimore, there were two hundred and eleven homicides; a hundred and eighty-nine of the victims were black males. Those numbers are categorical: Baltimore doesn’t have a homicide problem; it has a black-male-death problem.

BY HOMICIDE!

Black males in Baltimore are not dying of mesothelioma or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. I just did the math (since the author couldn’t or wouldn’t): 89.5% of all homicide victims were black men. And I would wager that those homicides were committed by a similarly high percentage of black men.

That’s not a “slow-rolling crisis”; that’s a Himalayan avalanche of a crisis. Am I just being silly, or do black lives matter (to coin a phrase)?

It must be time to change the subject:

Talk to people in Baltimore—or Ferguson or Staten Island—and invariably you hear criticism of the police not as the police but as a symbol of an entire web of failed social policies, on education, employment, health, and housing. The real question is not one of police tactics: whether the use of body cameras can reduce civilian complaints or whether police-brutality cases should be handled by independent prosecutors. The real question is what life in an American city should be. The issues extend far beyond the parameters of race, but race is the narrative most easily seized upon. (It’s worth noting our tendency to think of declining, mostly white Rust Belt cities elegiacally, and of largely black ones moralistically.)

This would be when I toss the New Yorker across my dentist’s waiting room (followed by an apology to the old lady whose eye I nearly took out). Who goes around talking “elegiacally” about declining Rust Belt cities—or “moralistically” about declining black cities? Aren’t they largely one and the same? Detroit is 80% black, Cleveland 53% black. Pittsburgh? Milwaukee? Stop me before I wax elegiac about the decline of Buffalo.

Where I would agree with the author is on the manifest, provable, incontrovertible “failed social policies, on education, employment, health, and housing”. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Fifty years of the stuff and look where we are.

Again, however, it’s the citation of Ferguson and Staten Island I find troubling. Bull-rushing a cop (after trying to steal his weapon) and resisting arrest (however trivial the crime) are not “symbols” of anything but self-destructive behavior. So, I suppose, is burning down the very neighborhood you live in. But I don’t think that’s what the author meant.

To come to any understanding of what happened in Baltimore, from Freddie Gray’s arrest to the last arson ember dying out, we need to gather and consider all the facts. From the mayor’s overt encouragement to “destroy”, to the match-lighting of outside agitators, to the genuine grievances of the community, to the future of a city whose failure is now known to all. Not least to the actions or inactions of the six cops.

If he wants to go on about “failed social policies”, please include me out. It’s important, but irrelevant to this case. And, as I wrote earlier, not particularly useful to his argument.

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Rove’s List

Remembering the Obama years

At last Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, President Obama declared he was determined to “make the most of every moment” left in office, saying he had been working on a “bucket list” that included executive action on immigration and climate regulation. Aware that his critics believe he’s often acted lawlessly, Mr. Obama joked that the title for his list rhymes with “bucket.”

Regardless of what items Mr. Obama checks off, he will leave to his successor a staggering array of domestic problems, some he ignored and many he made worse.

Slow economic growth will be at the top of the list of problems. The pattern of American history has been that the more severe the recession, the stronger the recovery. Until now. In Mr. Obama’s recovery, average annual growth has been the slowest since the U.S. began compiling reliable economic statistics near the 20th century’s beginning—a feeble 2.9%. This year is off to an even slower start, with GDP growing 0.2% in the first three months.

The number of jobs also will be on that list. It took from June 2009 to April 2014—nearly five full years—to get back to having the same number of people working as when the recession began in December 2007. That’s a longer period of time to return to the starting point than in any recession in U.S. history. Meantime, roughly 14.7 million people came of age without a job available. The last time the job participation rate was this low was 1978. A third of Americans between 18 and 31 last year were living with their parents, the highest percentage in at least four decades.

The quality of jobs available will be another topic on that list. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 4.5 million Americans were working part time for economic reasons in December 2007, meaning they could not find full-time work. Last month the number was 6.6 million—a 46% increase. More part-time workers are getting fewer than 30 hours a week, in part probably because of ObamaCare.

Then there is the size of Americans’ paychecks. Inflation-adjusted median household income has dropped, from $54,059 in 2009 to $51,939 in 2013 (the latest year available), the only time this has happened during an economic recovery. The president who harps on inequality as a “defining issue of our time” has demonstrated that the middle class fares badly under progressive economic policies.

Mr. Obama will also leave behind a difficult economic climate in which to start a business. According to a recent Brookings Institution study, every year of his presidency more American businesses have died—closed, merged or gone bankrupt—than have been created.

The national debt has risen to 74.1% today from 40.8% the month he took office. This is the largest increase in a six-year period since World War II. The Congressional Budget Office says that within 25 years the public debt will exceed 100% of GDP unless Washington changes its policies.

The ballooning debt reflects the administration’s—and the Democratic Party’s—deficit spending. Mr. Obama compliments himself on reducing the deficit to 2.8% of GDP in fiscal year 2014, down from 8.7%, 8.5%, 6.8%, and 4.1% in the proceeding fiscal years. But 2.8% only matches the average deficit for the last 50 years, and the decline is attributable in large part to Republicans’ controlling the House since the 2010 midterms and slowing spending.

There’s more at the link. My take, for what its worth: The American public voted for this twice. And certain segments of American society – see Baltimore – have voted for this for decades. The only remaining question is whether or not these voters are now at critical mass, meaning that the entire country will become Baltimore. Baltimore isn’t about race, guys, it is about living in La-la-land and refusing to do what is necessary to improve your life. It is about expecting others to do it for you. It is about being so bored sitting around watching paint peel that you turn to mind-numbing drugs and/or alcohol. It is about needing money to support that habit, and, lacking job skills, taking what you need. Don’t get me wrong: Baltimore, our inner-city problems began with race. The white people, by and large, absolutely refused to let the black people participate in society – not at work, not in church, and especially not in the schools. But the remedy, which was badly needed, hasn’t panned out. I think it is because along with the necessary funding and integration laws, the message was defective. The culture allowed the sense of victimhood to replace a sense of agency, of belief in one’s own competence. Large parts of the money went to convincing people that they couldn’t ever make it on their own, that the deck was stacked against them.

Actually, I’m being too negative. The entire country won’t become Baltimore. Instead there will be an ever-widening, impassable divide between competent adults and folks who have chosen … whatever you wish to call it. You know the images of polar bears floating away on small ice floes, the kind the environmentalists use to terrify us all? Let’s mentally borrow the image. The country breaks apart into islands. The islands drift farther and farther apart. (Let’s drop the ice, let’s imagine warm islands with good beaches). Some islands have jobs, good schools, grocery stores, street lights, that kind of thing. Others have just about nothing. As the islands drift apart, those left on remaining mainland (aka the middle-class) will get to decide – quickly – which future they want. They will swim or canoe or glide to the island they choose.

The era when communities worked together to help everyone in need is slipping away, or perhaps already gone. We don’t live together; we don’t raise our kids together; we don’t share the same values. We can soberly tell our friends at the dog park or the coffee shop that we just feel terrible about this, but reality is that we can’t change it.

– Aggie

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Is This an Indictment or a Rally?

BTL’s nose tells him there’s something to the charges against the Baltimore cops and the death of Freddy Gray. This stands in stark contrast to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner when his proboscis told BTL that the tales of police brutality lacked the whiff of truth.

But even so, what is this?

MOSBY: To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for “no justice, no peace.” Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man. To those that are angry, hurt, or have their own experiences of injustice at the hands of police officers, I urge you to channel the energy peacefully as we prosecute this case. I’ve heard your calls for no justice, no peace. However, your peace is sincerely needed.

Last, but certainly not least, to the youth of this city. I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment. This is your moment. Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause, and, as young people, our time is now.

Cause?

This is a criminal case—and hardly a slam-dunk one—not a “cause”. And hardly one unique to “young people”. Or “now”.

Based on available evidence, the cops have to answer for something. Maybe not the encyclopedia of charges Mosby has thrown at them, but something. But that encyclopedia and the language she uses suggest that justice is the last thing on her mind. Placating the mob is.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The city has proven itself completely incapable of keeping order; someone had to try. Charges can be dropped or amended, but buildings can’t be un-burned down. That’s why she’s savaging the reputations of these cops (justifiably, perhaps) directly to “young people”.

Looks like the “young people” are favorably disposed:

The more “mature”, as well:

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Keeping the Peace By Having a Piece

I’m not saying this story isn’t disgusting. It is:

Hungry, homeless young boys in the Central African Republic were forced by French soldiers to perform sex acts on them in return for food or money, the director of an advocacy group said Thursday, citing a confidential United Nations report on alleged abuses.

Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World, told CNN the report detailed testimonies from six children interviewed last year by staff from the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The children give harrowing accounts of their own experiences and abuses they had witnessed, and they recounted the experiences of friends of theirs, she said. “There are a few cases where a boy describes the sodomizing of a friend by soldiers who are threatening to beat him if he tells anyone about what they are doing,” Donovan said.

The allegations concern French soldiers deployed to the Central African Republic as peacekeepers.

The abuses were allegedly committed against a dozen children at a displaced persons’ camp at M’Poko International Airport in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, between December 2013 and June 2014.

Who hasn’t had sex in the back of a CAR?

Sorry, that was terrible. I’m going to heck.

But don’t act all shocked and amazed: this is what UN peacekeepers do.

Crikey, it’s got its own Wikipedia page. The UN commissioned its own study of the problem in 1996, and you know how slow the UN is to respond to criticism.

The Central African Republic is just going to have to line up behind (the jokes write themselves) Cambodia, Mozambique, Bosnia, Kosovo, Congo, Mali, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Haiti, and Sudan. Give or take.

If this blog has any role too play (a honking big if), it is to strip away fraudulent facades, to fracture fairy tales. From the Security Council to UNICEF, the UN is a criminal conspiracy. And the whole world has a sore bottom from its abuse.

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Baltimore: A Wholly-Owned Democrat Subsidiary

Behind Detroit, Chicago, etc., etc.:

A few weeks ago, there was an election in Ferguson, Mo., the result of which was to treble the number of African Americans on that unhappy suburb’s city council. This was greeted in some corners with optimism — now, at last, the city’s black residents would have a chance to see to securing their own interests. This optimism flies in the face of evidence near — St. Louis — and far — Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco . . .

St. Louis has not had a Republican mayor since the 1940s, and in its most recent elections for the board of aldermen there was no Republican in the majority of the contests; the city is overwhelmingly Democratic, effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department. Baltimore has seen two Republicans sit in the mayor’s office since the 1920s — and none since the 1960s. Like St. Louis, it is effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department. Philadelphia has not elected a Republican mayor since 1948. The last Republican to be elected mayor of Detroit was congratulated on his victory by President Eisenhower. Atlanta, a city so corrupt that its public schools are organized as a criminal conspiracy against its children, last had a Republican mayor in the 19th century. Its municipal elections are officially nonpartisan, but the last Republican to run in Atlanta’s 13th congressional district did not manage to secure even 30 percent of the vote; Atlanta is effectively a single-party political monopoly from its schools to its police department.

American cities are by and large Democratic-party monopolies, monopolies generally dominated by the so-called progressive wing of the party. The results have been catastrophic, and not only in poor black cities such as Baltimore and Detroit.

But most marked there. If Detroit has lost almost two-thirds of its population in the last 65 years (a percentage point a year), Baltimore is its little brother. It has lost a third of its population, from 950,000 in 1950 to just over 620,000 today, and from 6th largest city to 26th. We blame the decline of the auto industry for Detroit (well, some do), but what’s Baltimore’s excuse? Democrats. Up and down the country, east and west, Democrat fingerprints are all over the crime scenes.

No Republican, and certainly no conservative, has left so much as a thumbprint on the public institutions of Baltimore in a generation. Baltimore’s police department is, like Detroit’s economy and Atlanta’s schools, the product of the progressive wing of the Democratic party enabled in no small part by black identity politics. This is entirely a left-wing project, and a Democratic-party project.

When will the Left be held to account for the brutality in Baltimore — brutality for which it bears a measure of responsibility on both sides? There aren’t any Republicans out there cheering on the looters, and there aren’t any Republicans exercising real political power over the police or other municipal institutions in Baltimore. Community-organizer — a wretched term — Adam Jackson declared that in Baltimore “the Democrats and the Republicans have both failed.” Really? Which Republicans? Ulysses S. Grant? Unless I’m reading the charts wrong, the Baltimore city council is 100 percent Democratic.

I’m not a Republican because I don’t want to belong to any group that would have someone like me as a member. But I am a conservative (converted). More and more I come to appreciate the wisdom of Margaret Thatcher: the facts of life are conservative.

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CVS Stands for Charred, Visibly Smoldering

“Hands up, don’t shoot!”

“We can’t breathe!”

“Black lives matter!”

“Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL embers, not just the red ones
Pour until hissing sound stops
Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers
Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch!”

Hundreds of people gathered at a West Baltimore corner Tuesday where a CVS pharmacy stood empty and charred from Monday’s riots. In a building next door, a dozen senior citizens watched the news and wondered where they would now buy their groceries and prescriptions.

Violence and looting closed the store on Pennsylvania Avenue and another on West Franklin Street. CVS Health Corp. closed three area stores on Tuesday because of damage and safety concerns for employees.

The 62 residents of the Penn North Plaza senior living facility rely on the CVS next door for prescription drugs, snacks, toiletries and other groceries. The nearest actual supermarket is at least six blocks away, too far for many Penn North residents.

The walk’ll do them good. Maybe set up a bucket brigade. Line up the 62 codgers along the route and hand the money (Medicare cards more likely) and the Pringles up and down the line like buying a hot dog at the ballgame. “Who ordered the rash ointment?!”

I could be a community organizer!

Tara Griffin, 50 years old, stood outside the hollowed-out Pennsylvania Avenue CVS Tuesday afternoon as hundreds of people gathered to protest or pick up debris. She posed a common question: Why?

“Why would you run something down in our neighborhood that we depend on?” she asked. “It only makes it worse for us. They using the [Freddy Gray’s] death to do something they always wanted to do.”

I thought the police were the problem. “No justice, no peace!”

No peace, no groceries:

She said many residents are too fearful to venture too far. “They’re scared to come out in the front. It’s so drug-infested out here. I hope they rebuild it.”

They will, eventually:

CVS spokeswoman Carolyn Castel said the company is “formulating our rebuilding plans” for the two heavily damaged stores. In addition to the five outlets that were closed earlier Tuesday, she said the company shut at least another six stores Tuesday evening due to safety concerns for employees and customers.

Fear not, there are three CVS locations in Bethesda. Of course, 38 miles is a lot farther than six blocks.

I kid, of course, but if you can’t laugh at the misery of poor old people unable to shop for food or fill their prescriptions, well, the rioters will have won.

I won’t call them th*gs:

A Baltimore city councilman has lashed out furiously against an CNN anchor who called rioters ‘thugs.’

‘Just call them n*****s,’ Carl Stoke wryly told CNN’s Erin Bernett live on air.

Who has more verboten words, Hillary Clinton or a Baltimore city councilman?

And who you callin’ n****r, n****r?

President Barack Obama broke his silence this afternoon on the riots that devoured Baltimore last night and led to more than 200 arrests, shaming looters and saying they should be treated as ‘criminals’ and ‘thugs.’

As Jesse Jackson noted, “Obama is always talking down to black people”. We won’t repeat (this time) Jackson’s own prescription for that malady.

The mayor says the thu—…thumb-suckers need “space to destroy”; the police, either by order or being outmanned, allow the destroying to take place; curfews and the National Guard are employed at least 24 hours too late. What are we left to conclude? Government will not protect you. Government will cut you loose to the mercy of the storm-toss’d seas of riot and chaos. Government will expect the private insurance companies covering CVS and the contractors building the senior home to pick up the bill. And pass the price along. That’s the American way.

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If You Want Something Done Riot

Do it yourself:

On Monday, WND said that Malik Zulu Shabazz, the former head of the New Black Panther Party and current head of Black Lawyers for Justice, is seen as one of the leaders spearheading the riots in Baltimore. Aaron Klein cited the New York Times, the Associated Press, the New York Daily News, CBS and other local media outlets. According to Klein, all of the outlets named Shabazz as a leader of the chaotic protests, but only mentioned his affiliation with the Black Lawyers for Justice.

“One of the protest’s organizers, Malik Shabazz, the president of Black Lawyers for Justice, said the crowd exceeded their expectations, adding that protesters’ anger is not surprising,” the AP said. “There, Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based group that called for the demonstration and advertised it on social media, told the crowd that he would release them in an hour, adding: ‘Shut it down if you want to! Shut it down!’” the New York Times added.

“CBS Local featured a photo of Shabazz leading protest chants in Baltimore yesterday, with a caption that identified the radical simply as ‘Attorney Malik Shabazz,'” Klein said. CBS also said Shabazz “has demanded the arrest of six officers involved in the arrest of (Freddie) Gray, who died Sunday a week after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody.”

None of the reports, Klein said, mentioned his former affiliation with the militant group. A simple Google search, he added, would reveal his past.

Last year, for example, Shabazz called for rebellion if Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting death of Michael Brown. In 2012, he said the New Black Panthers needs to kill in self defense.

Shabazz also played a role in the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and a video reportedly showed him leading death chants against Wilson.

Something like this:

For someone who claims to keep the peace, he has a funny way of showing it:

In a video posted Wednesday at Breitbart.com, Malik Zulu Shabazz, the former national leader of the radical New Black Panther Party, said that 2015 is the year that the organization will build up an army to prepare for conflict with police. Part of that effort includes going to the gun range, he said, warning that police officers could very well be killed in the months ahead.

“And Mister Malcolm X, he consistently teaches us self defense,” he said on this week’s episode of “Black Power Radio,” the official broadcast of the New Black Panther Party. “The most honorable Elijah Muhammad continuously teaches us self defense. The honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey teaches us self defense, and we know, our leader and our teacher the honorable Khalid Abdul Muhammad teaches us self defense.”

“What am I saying? Right now it’s time to build up that army,” he added. “Right now it’s time for us to build up those corps, those troops. It’s time to get strong. It’s time for lifting weights and working out and going to the gun range and all of that.”

He also encouraged followers to do things that might “shock” their consciences. In 2015, he claimed, more people will “lose it” and kill police officers. A post at the Victory Girl’s blog, said Shabazz “sounds quite happy” about the prospects of officers being murdered.

“Sadly because America won’t do justice to black people more and more people are going to lose balance and go off, and so we’re going to have funerals. Mike Brown gonna have funerals,” Shabazz told his listeners. “All over the country, we’re having our funerals, but now they must put on their dress blues and have their funerals, too. It’s a helluva day in this hour.”

I’ve heard some remarkable comments in my rounds today. One person said of the riots: “We can’t judge.” (“Watch me,” I said in answer.) Another person said: “What goes around comes around.”

“Hands up, don’t shoot” was a lie. When Eric Garner said “I can’t breathe”, he could. The death of Freddie Gray (along with the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland) may prove to be far more incriminating of the police. But these riots are pure anarchy. If Baltimore has a black mayor and a black police chief (under a black President and a black Attorney general), and still has to be burned to the ground, you bet I’m judging.

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Journalistic Malfeasance

Q: What’s the secret of—

A: Timing

Q:—comedy?

BROCKTON — Take a drive down Main Street at sunset and it becomes clear why the city wants to revitalize its downtown. The street is poorly lit and there is little activity, save at a few businesses — a barber shop, a Dunkin’ Donuts, an auto parts shop. Corner stores attract crowds that hang out by the entrances, but many storefronts are dark.

Brockton appeared to be on the rise a decade ago, yet the city has continued to struggle, beset by a perception that it was in decline and hit hard by the loss of manufacturing and a devastating foreclosure crisis.

Now, though, Brockton appears to have new energy: More than $100 million is being invested downtown, and a new city administration is aggressively pursuing economic development opportunities, prompting renewed attention from the state.

City leaders and investors are hoping that this time, at last, the renaissance will be real.

“The biggest challenge we face is changing the perception of Brockton,” said Mayor Bill Carpenter, who took office in 2014.

That was from today’s Boston Glob.

So, alas, was this:

Three people were stabbed during a fight Wednesday night at a playground in Brockton, according to police.

Brockton police said the fight occured around 7 p.m. at the James Edgar playground on Dover Street They said they could not provide details on the incident or the condition of the victims.

Thank goodness for other news outlets:

One teenager is dead following a brawl in a Brockton park involving hundreds of people.

Three teenagers were stabbed on Wednesday during a brawl in Brockton. One teenager, stabbed five times, was flown to an area hospital and later died of his injuries.

About 100 teens engaged in the huge fight at Edgar Park at about 6:30 p.m.

Over 50 police officers responded to the park and police say they have a suspect in custody.

Fine. You be shirts, and we’ll be skins.

Good luck with that perception problem, Mr. Mayor.

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Hey, You Wanna Die?

This’ll get it done:

Lingzi Lu and MIT Officer Sean Collier “weren’t always just the victims of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” a prosecutor told teary-eyed jurors yesterday as the stories of those murdered in the marathon bombings continue to dominate the death penalty sentencing trial.

“She was a beautiful nerd,” Lu’s Rhode Island aunt Jinyan “Helen” Zhao testified about the Boston University graduate student.

Lu, 23, who’d been in the Hub only eight months when she was killed by the bomb blast in front of the Forum restaurant, “loved everything good in life,” Zhao said. “She told me, ‘I can’t wait to see how pretty Boston will be in the spring.’?”

Zhao said her niece, a product of the Chinese government’s one-family, one-child population-control policy, had an insatiable appetite for love stories and desserts — even devouring an entire pumpkin pie during her first Thanksgiving in the States.

Her parents, still too stricken to travel here for the trial, made the gut-wrenching decision to bury their only child in the city she’d come to love, laying her to rest in a tiara and pink bridal gown with a music box and her favorite books. “I think they just felt she was part of Boston, part of the city, so the thing is she should be here,” Zhao said.

Jurors also heard yesterday from Joseph Rogers and Andrew Collier, the stepfather and younger brother, respectively, of Sean Collier, 27, who Tsarnaev and his older brother shot to death three days after the terror attack.

“I miss Sean. I miss everything about him,” said Andrew Collier, 27, a NASCAR machinist living in North Carolina. Sean, he said, was “a moral compass … right down to, ‘You can’t kill a bug, you have to put it outside.’ He was an amazing person.”

I suppose there’s some irony in that story being shared at a death penalty hearing. [Bleep] irony.

I opposed the death penalty as a liberal because, well, I was a liberal. I still oppose the death penalty as a conservative because, well, I was a liberal.

I suppose my best argument is also my weakest one: checking the power of the state. Once the criminal has been tried fairly and convicted, the state has already won. The murderer (or guilty party in some other capital crime) is already at the mercy of the state, never to see freedom again if the state so declares. State executions make me queasy. They are the default punishment of barbarian states like our friends, the Saudis, or Iran. That’s not my style.

But I have “evolved” on the issue, as Obama would say, to make exceptions. Does the convicted criminal still pose a threat? Has he killed or tried to kill while in prison? Will he? Even another murderer unfortunate to be locked up with our hypothetical sociopath does not deserve himself to be murdered just because we lacked the stomach to do what decency demanded of us.

And what about crimes so horrific that it is indecent to imagine the perpetrator alive? Timothy McVeigh of recent memory; Adolf Eichmann to name just one of the past. Not every murderer is a Mengele, but Mengele was. To argue for his life out of “justice” is perverse. (Mengele never met “justice” at all, having escaped to South America and having lived to age 67.)

Tsarnaev’s crimes, it seems to me, have to be judged in that light. Even though big brother, Speed Bump, was the ring-leader (if two sick brothers can form a ring), and he was the one who assassinated MIT police officer Sean Collier, it was only junior’s pressure cooker that actually took lives. He was the one standing so casually behind the Richard family before leaving his weapon of mass destruction to kill 8-year-old Martin and two others.

Is that a smile on his face? He should die just for that. Even if the Richard family disagrees. (As coaxed to by the Boston Globe, front page, above the fold, in large font.)

Much of my reconsideration of previously held beliefs has been tutored by writers I have come to admire—in this case, my rebbe Dennis Prager. His defense of the death penalty shows none of the tortured anguish I still betray. The issue is morally crystal clear in his mind. As I say, there’s much about Prager I admire.

I still oppose the death penalty, but with exceptions. I still support abortion, but with exceptions. My prejudice is toward life. That gets me through my qualms. Tsarnaev should die.

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List of Suckers Grows to All-Time High

Sorry guys, but if the huarache fits, wear it:

While the administration struggles to move forward with its plan to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, the list of foreigners trying to get into the United States legally has surged to 4.4 million, over 100,000 more than last year, according to the State Department.

Those on the list either have a family member who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder, sponsoring their entry, or an employer wants them.

The list grew by 100,085 over last year. And more than a quarter of them, 1,323,978, are Mexican.

[U]nlike illegals slipping over the border, many of those on the wait list have been there for up to 13 years or more as they go through the proper process to enter the country.

If you read about the cartels, as I do, you won’t be surprised that so many illegal Mexicans are hosing so many would-be legal Mexicans. Illegal immigration isn’t about immigration; it’s about illegality. Find me any other occasion where that’s worked out—for anyone but the illegals.

“[T]here is clearly no shortage of eligible immigrants being sponsored by family members and employers who are waiting many years for their opportunity to be admitted legally. Any move by the president to relax eligibility standards or grant benefits such as work permits, deferred action, or parole to illegal aliens is profoundly unfair and destructive to the integrity of the legal system because it gives illegal aliens preferential treatment over those applying through the legal process established by Congress,” she explained.

The Left’s hypocrisy on this issue is overwhelming—even for Leftist hypocrisy. Where’s the fairness in 12 million law-breakers (multiple law-breakers, most or them) cutting in front of 4.4 million law-abiders? That there are so many more of them only makes the injustice worse.

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You Can Keep Chipotle, We’ll Stick With Good Old American Taco Bell

Down in the South Texas town of McAllen,
I dodged gunfire from a Mexican war:

Gunfights broke out and vehicles were set ablaze on Friday in one of Mexico’s biggest cities along the U.S. border, after security forces arrested a leader of one of the main drug gangs in the area.

Activity in parts of Reynosa, a city across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas, ground to a halt on Friday afternoon after vehicles were torched and shooting began, authorities said.

Earlier in the day, federal police and marines captured “El Gafe,” a leader of the Gulf Cartel, said a spokesman for police in Reynosa, a city of more than 600,000 people in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

A federal government security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified “El Gafe” as Jose Hugo Rodriguez Sanchez. The official had earlier named the cartel boss as Jose Tiburcio Hernandez Fuentes.

Later, he clarified that Hernandez was a different suspected gang member also captured. Three suspected assailants were killed, and two state police were injured, the Tamaulipas state government said in a statement.

The Reynosa police spokesman said two bystanders were apparently killed, but this was not confirmed. El Gafe was taken to Mexico City, he added. Reynosa has been one of the most violent cities in Mexico over the past year, racked by turf wars among the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, two drug gangs fighting for control of border smuggling routes and crime rackets.

“The city is completely out of control,” said Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, an opposition senator and former mayor of Reynosa.

At 600,000 residents, Reynosa is about the same size as Portland, Oregon. And it’s in the midst of a gang war. Heckuva country ya got down there! Why don’t you illegally ship us some of your illiterate drunk drivers? If there are any who aren’t already here.

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He Freed the Shivs

Give me your tired, your poor, your convicted sociopaths yearning to rape and murder:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldaña struggled to explain the reasons behind the Obama administration’s release of thousands of criminal immigrants when pressed by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) Tuesday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

In Fiscal Year 2014, ICE released 30,558 convicted criminal immigrants, convicted of 79,059 crimes, allowing them to walk free in the U.S.

“One-quarter of these 30,000 criminal aliens had been convicted of level one crimes, such as murder, rape, and sexual abuse of a minor. of those 30,000, only 8 percent were Zadvydas cases,” Smith said referring to the Supreme Court case that prevents the indefinite detention of certain immigrants.

“Thousands could have been deported. Why did you — why did the administration intentionally endanger the lives of innocent Americans by releasing thousands of criminal aliens into our neighborhoods?” he asked.

Saldaña responded that such releases are “an area of great concern for me.”

How big-hearted of her. But I’m inclined to be forgiving:

Oh, that’s Zoe Saldana. Who are we talking about again?

Off with her head:

“Why are you doing this to the American people?” Smith asked. “You know their recidivism rate is high. You know these individuals are going to be convicted of other crimes. Why are you doing the this to the American people?”

Saldaña reponded [sic], “If I may answer, sir. If I may complete my answer. What I am saying is again let’s make sure we’re comparing apples to apples. We’re talking about 55 percent of those having been ICE discretionary decisions. Which I think is the heart of your concern.”

Smith reiterated his question. Even with that concession, he said, there remain “thousands of people that should be deported, in my opinion, that are not being deported that are endangering innocent Americans. Again, why are you doing this?”

“You know the criminal justice system releases murderers, rapists, sexual assaulters every day when a federal judge decides, you know, this person does not present a flight risk or a safe — a danger to the community. That’s the same considerations the law and the regulations,” she said.

The Texas Republican, however, responded that with immigrants it remains up to the government’s discretion as to whether they remain.

“The law allows us to deport the individuals if you want to, director, you are not giving the American people a good answer,” Smith said. “I hope you will be come back with a better answer in the future.”

Her boss warned us he had a phone and a pen. He’s not afraid to use either. But we should be. Afraid. Very afraid.

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