May 21st, 2012
The Christian Science Monitor
Anniversaries of major disasters are often marked by sad remembrance of a great loss. Not so in Joplin, Mo., a town struck a year ago Tuesday by the deadliest tornado in the United States in more than a half century.
For the first anniversary, Joplin folks want to be remembered for how they responded to the giant twister, not what happened to them.
Certainly after the tornado hit last May 22, Joplin had plenty to respond to.
Swirling winds as high as 200 miles per hour cut a 13-mile path through the heart of the city, destroying 7,500 buildings, including the high school, and killing 161. Nearly a third of the city was gone.
For the anniversary events, the city wants to celebrate the unusual unity that people found in common tragedy. Like other places hit by natural disaster, Joplin discovered that its most valuable resource for rebuilding is its people working together and their spiritual bonds.
The city plans a “walk of unity” Tuesday along the path of the tornado. It also invited back the thousands of volunteers who descended on Joplin to help. President Obama will give the high school commencement speech. They will hold groundbreaking ceremonies for the building of four new schools.
This past Sunday, the city’s religious communities – Christian, Jewish, and Muslim – gathered in a ceremony to continue the strong feeling of responsibility for one another. Also, a few well-known actors, including Paul Giamatti, gave a reading of the book of Job.
This community spirit has supported the city’s rebuilding. Most of the 530 businesses hurt by the tornado have reopened. Permits have been issued for the rebuilding of two-thirds of the damaged or destroyed homes.
Joplin has replaced 20,000 felled trees, distributed free weather radios in case of another tornado, and is encouraging the construction of storm shelters. A local mental-health center provides help free of charge for those still coping with the aftermath.
The generosity from the outside was remarkable. Money from the United Arab Emirates bought every student in the high school a MacBook laptop. Singer Katy Perry provided financial support to the spring prom. The Joplin football team was allowed to use the stadium of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The city’s resiliency and comeback is just one model of how a community can recover after a major storm. New Orleans rebuilt its system of education after hurricane Katrina in 2005. The rural town of Greensburg, Kan., rebuilt itself as a “green” community after a devastating tornado in 2007.
The Joplin tornado has also pushed the National Weather Service to improve the country’s warning system. Alerts are better worded and smart-phone applications are now available to extend the reach of warning devices.
While much remains to be done in Joplin, the spirit of gratitude, hope, and listening has pervaded its recovery. City leaders were smart to take a bottom-up approach, relying heavily on private business and citizens to work together.
These sorts of “best practices” will serve other cities and towns hit by disasters – especially if they want to be known for how they respond.
May 21st, 2012
Conservative Refocus Notes: Remember, Fisker was one of Obama's projects for the stimulus, where we paid about $ 500 million, I think, for an auto manufacturer in another country to build some very pricey cars, overseas, that would stimulate our economy....we just didn't know it would be stimulation through home destruction and reconstruction, "silly we!"
U.S. safety regulators are investigating a fire in Texas that destroyed three vehicles this month, including a luxury plug-in sports car built by Fisker Automotive.
The Fisker Karma, which sells for more than $100,000, was parked in the garage of a newly built home in Sugar Land, Texas, when the fire broke out.
Fisker could not immediately be reached for a comment.
After the fire, the Karma’s lithium-ion battery was intact, suggesting it was not a “contributing factor,” Fisker said at the time, adding that the Karma was not plugged in.
The safety of electric car batteries has been in the spotlight since last year when U.S. safety regulators opened an investigation into General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt after some battery packs caught fire during testing.
NHTSA closed the probe in January, saying that electric cars do not pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered cars.
Fisker has faced tough questions about the reliability of the Karma after a spate of high-profile battery problems in recent months.
In March, a Karma battery failed during a test conducted by Consumer Reports magazine. Fisker recalled 239 Karma cars in December to fix a battery defect that raised the risk of a fire.
The Karma that was destroyed in the garage fire was purchased after the recall. No fires or injuries have been tied to the Karma battery, which is built by A123 Systems.
World From Reuters
(Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman in Detroit)
May 21st, 2012
Vermont police say a 33-year-old motorist was distracted while writing a text message on his cellphone when he crashed into a police car.
Vermont State Police say Jesse Clayton crashed into a Rutland police cruiser at about 1 a.m. last Friday.
Police told the Rutland Herald that Clayton came to a momentary stop at a stop sign, but wasn’t paying attention when pulling into the intersection and striking the side of the cruiser driven by Officer Edward Dumas that was also passing through the intersection.
Nobody was injured, but both vehicles sustained damages. Police say Clayton was issued several traffic citations.
Texting while driving is illegal in Vermont, punishable by a fine of $100 and two points on a driver’s license for a first offense.
May 21st, 2012
By Barry Secrest
You simply have to love Breitbart and their almost apologetic disclaimer, below, in conjunction with their uncovering of yet another piece of evidence oddly indicating that Obama was born in Kenya. It was a promotional booklet from a publishing house, as seen in the above photo, which was distributed to industry professionals only. In the booklet, and as you can see from the photo, Obama is touted as being Kenyan born.
I am certain each of you are surprised at my own personal conveyance of both shock and extreme dismay at this most disturbing of news. Joe Arpaio is also most likely sobbing in pernicious disbelief, at this point.
However, I must be the first to admit, that I too have been mistaken as having been born in the African nation of Somalia. It is an unfortunate misconception, perhaps, owing to my slightly olive complexion and pirate-like bearing, not to mention that pernicious sliver of Cherokee, making itself known. In fact, there are many red , white and blue Americans who are repeatedly construed as being born in the foreign locale of Africa, for mysterious reasons as yet unknown. Obviously, Obama would be the poster child for this oddity. Perhaps someone could get to the bottom of this, a most consternating of issues, before it spins completely out of control.
Now, in all seriousness, we have been writing furiously about an Associated Press article written in 2004, and as seen below:
which was printed in the East African Standard , that Brietbart must have somehow missed. But that fact.....
May 21st, 2012
Conservative Refocus Notes: The US is slowly turning itself into a police state, like it or not, where prosecutors are more concerned with politically gaining a conviction than finding out the truth. As Benjamin Franklin long ago stated, "those who would sacrifice their liberties for the sake of security are doomed to lose both and deserve neither" and he was, of course, correct, as we are slowly beginning to see.
The below examples are excellent reminders of the above quote, all predicated on the incessant need for control that can never fully be realized, as innocent citizens are convicted and jailed on frivolous laws often enacted by the Progressives.
Personal Liberty Digest
By Bob Livingston
Police officers are trained manipulators. They take classes to learn how to read people’s body language and how to ask open-ended and innocent-sounding questions in order to surreptitiously obtain information they can use against you.
They also have a knowledge of the laws that you don’t possess — and laws differ from State to State, and even from one jurisdiction in a State to another. Police have also been known to invent “laws,” place “evidence” that can be linked to you and twist your words into meaning something you did not intend.
For that reason you should never consent to a police search of your vehicle and never volunteer information when being questioned. Of course, not consenting doesn’t mean you won’t be subjected to an unConstitutional and illegal search, as Nancy Genovese learned.
Before being deployed to Afghanistan, Kim left his gun collection with his parents in New Jersey. In the summer of 2010, Kim was back in the United States after being injured in a vehicle crash in Afghanistan. He had a medical appointment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and decided to work a trip from his South Carolina home to his parent’s New Jersey home around the medical center appointment.
He loaded his guns plus some spare parts in the trunk of his Honda Civic and headed to his medical appointment. He got lost in downtown Washington, D.C., and was pulled over by police. The officer said his license had been suspended, but Kim said he was not aware that it had been. It turns out the suspension was a clerical error caused by the State of North Carolina incorrectly reporting to South Carolina that Kim had failed to pay for a ticket.
But because of the erroneous suspension, the D.C. officer called for backup and told Kim he’d have to go to the police station. Then the officer asked if he could search his vehicle. Kim consented because he knew his guns were properly locked in a case, which complied with Federal firearms transportation laws. Kim was handcuffed and made to sit on the curb. He was then booked on four counts of carrying outside the home. Officers told him that he was in violation of registration laws because he admitted to having stopped at Walter Reed. In D.C., having a weapon outside the home is illegal.
In Demopolis, Ala., Avera answered a police officer’s question honestly. It landed her in jail for 40 days — including 17 hours strapped in a restraint chair — and a conviction on a drug charge that carries a sentence of one year in jail and seven years of probation.
Avera had recently taken up the hobby of scuba diving. Her dive instructor had advised her to take pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) to help her equalize pressure on her eardrums and to help her with other sinus issues she experienced while diving. This is a common practice among divers; and Avera had, under advice from her physician, taken pseudoephedrine many times before to treat allergies.
But just weeks before Avera was arrested, a new State ordinance went into effect in her home State of Mississippi that made pseudoephedrine a prescription drug. So Avera drove to Alabama to buy some.
In the car with Avera were her adult son, his girlfriend and their three children. The son and girlfriend bought two boxes of Sudafed from a CVS. Avera bought another at Wal-Mart. As she pulled away from Wal-Mart, Demopolis Police Sgt. Tim Soronen pulled her over. (In Avera’s trial it was revealed the CVS pharmacist was a police informant who tipped off police about the Sudafed purchase.)
“What brings you to Demopolis?” Soronen asked.
“I came over to buy some Sudafed for our scuba diving trip this weekend, since we can’t buy it in Meridian anymore,” Avera replied.
Soronen asked Avera if she knew it was against the law to cross the State line to buy Sudafed. Avera said she did not. Soronen ordered her out of the car.
Using the threat of kidnapping Avera’s grandchildren and putting them into the hands of the State Department of Human Resources, Soronen extorted a confession from Avera that she was buying Sudafed to manufacture crystal methamphetamine. It did not help that her son — a habitual drug user who had been through rehab several times — had a bottle of methadone and a pouch containing drug paraphernalia that police found during a vehicle search.
She was convicted after the trial judge allowed the prosecutor to make entirely unsubstantiated claims. These included that Avera had confessed to having used crystal meth for two years — her former employer, a physician, insisted there was never any indication she was a drug user — and that she had somehow “diluted” drug tests that showed she had no meth in her system.
Avera’s conviction is being appealed, and she is free on a $20,000 bond. But Kim accepted a deal that allowed him to plead guilty of one misdemeanor charge of possessing an unregistered gun with the understanding the charges would be dismissed and his guns and gun parts — worth $10,000 — would be returned if he stayed out of trouble for nine months. Now the Metropolitan Police are refusing to release Kim’s guns.
“The mistake he made was agreeing to a search of his vehicle,” Kim’s attorney Richard Gardiner told The Washington Times. “If the police ask for consent to search, the answer is ‘no.’ If they ask, ‘why not?’ The answer is, ‘no.’”
For most people, encounters with police end with no more than a warning or a ticket. But you never know when you may say or do something that interests the officer enough that he or she wants to take a closer look at who you are and where you’ve been.
Privacy expert and lawyer Mark Nestmann writes in his book, The Lifeboat Strategy to never consent to a vehicle search. He reminds that you do not have to answer an officer’s questions if you are being detained.
From his book:
Say something like, “Officer, I know you want to do your job, but I can’t consent to a search.” A likely response will be, “Why not? What do you have to hide?” You are under no obligation to answer this question. Instead, say something like, “Officer, am I under arrest? If not, I would respectfully ask that you permit me to leave.” If there’s no response, then announce, “Officer, if you’re not detaining me, may I leave?” If the response is “yes,” say “thank you” and leave immediately. If the response is ambiguous, or if your question is answered by another question, repeat your question: “Am I being detained, or may I leave now?”
If the response is “no,” you’re being detained. Police may detain you or your vehicle for a brief time… If you’re detained, you’re under no obligation to answer any questions or consent to a search. You should point that out; but again, in a non-threatening way. One way is to make a joke; e.g., “My lawyer would kill me if I consented to a search without him being present.”… Specifically mention the word “lawyer.” This will end many requests for a search or to answer questions. If not, tell the officer that you want to call your lawyer… If you don’t have a lawyer… Just keep your mouth shut and don’t consent to a search.
Nestmann also recommends you keep your car free from clutter and conceal everything that you want to keep private. If an officer sees something suspicious out in the open, he can get around the need for consent or a warrant and claim probable cause.
Most people now break many laws during the course of their day that they don’t even know exist. The presumption of innocence no longer applies. Over the past several decades, police have become increasingly militarized and increasingly militant and abusive. For years, complaints about abusive police from members of the black community have fallen on deaf ears. Propaganda-induced ignorance will cause many to dismiss this issue still.
Some people are concerned there will come a time in the United States when the military will be brought to bear on the regular citizens in a time of riots or civil unrest. But it’s more likely we should fear the police, who are already showing a proclivity to attack and abuse citizens — including children — and are obviously preparing for civil unrest.