Category Archives: news

Merry Christmas, Michael Devlin

With additional thanks to US District Judge Jean Hamilton, Michael J. Devlin will never, ever see the light of day beyond penitentiary walls for the rest of his life.

In a Federal hearing this morning, Devlin was sentenced to 170 additional years of imprisonment to be served at the conclusion of his current life sentences previously delivered by state courts in October. 

And until Fate delivers Devlin’s final breath, we will celebrate the fact that he will never hurt another child.

Michael J. Devlin was sentenced in October to more consecutive life sentences than he could possibly survive from the multitude of charges handed down in Franklin, Washington and St. Louis counties in Missouri for the abductions and tortures of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby.  Devlin pleaded guilty to every single charge.

Today’s sentencing by Judge Hamilton was far in excess of the standard Federal sentencing guideline of 30 years (duly requested by Devlin’s attorneys), and was exceptionally severe punishment for Devlin’s guilty pleas to various still and video pornography charges and for transporting Hornbeck across multiple state boundaries.

Todd Frankel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a nice recounting of today’s hearing here.

With all cases against Devlin now having reached their conclusions, one can only wonder where Devlin will serve his time.  There is even speculation that Devlin may be given a new identity to protect him during his lifetime ahead of incarceration.

Regardless, it is my fervent hope that Devlin lives a long, long, long life…

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A Posthumous Slap to a Veteran’s Last Wish

On an April afternoon this year, my family laid the remains of my father to rest in the Dallas National Cemetery with full honors accorded his decorated World War II service.  My father, my entire family was exceptionally proud of his service to our country and Dad’s greatest wish of all was to be buried next to his fellow veterans in the National Cemetery, a final act he planned and protected for more than a decade in every possible detail.

The incredible beauty of the day’s glorious sunshine was met only by the beauty and reverence of the attending Memorial Honor Guard, who so carefully and precisely folded our Flag of the United States after conclusion of Taps and before presenting the flag to my mother.  “Ma’am, this flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation as an expression of appreciation for the honorable and faithful service rendered by your loved one.  I offer you our deepest condolences.” 

I wept with a passion I haven’t had since childhood.  Despite our gift that Dad lived to the age of 83 active years, I was absolutely crushed to have lost my wonderful father, my greatest mentor, and realize at the age of 46 my childhood had finally come to an end.  And when I could collect myself enough to walk, I made my way to the two Honor Guards, shook each of their hands and expressed how deeply I appreciated their service and personal sacrifices to my country and the presence and care before my own family that day.  Doing so fulfilled a promise to my father he absolutely demanded me to keep.

“Treasure the living and honor the dead,” was but one of Dad’s axioms drilled into my earliest memories regarding his military brethren.

In what is reported as thousands of military funerals across this country, the flag-folding ceremony has included a 13-part recital corresponding with each of the 13 folds of the American flag before presentation to the family.  The recital is steeped in tradition born somewhere in the 1950’s (soon after “Under God” was added to our Pledge of Allegiance) that I have personally witnessed only four times in my lifetime: at two military retirement ceremonies, in downtown Grapevine, Texas during a flag-folding ceremony on Memorial Day, 2003, and again in downtown Grapevine, Texas on Flag Day, June 14, 2004.

The ceremony is beautiful and holds deep meaning for me due to my upbringing and lifelong deep respect for all of our soldiers and their families.  The entire script of the Flag Folding Ceremony is given and explained here.  So it matters not at all to me that the ceremony is “unofficial” and in apparent violation of The Establishment Clause within the First Amendment to our Bill of Rights.  On a private-sector basis — certainly at a family’s personal request for the funeral of their beloved serviceman — if this ceremonial recital is wanted, it should be given.

So I’m a wee bit perplexed to read the recital tradition is hereby summarily quelled, banned by the Veterans Administration as the result of ONE complaint made by ONE individual attending a military funeral in Riverside, California at the National Cemetery there.  The ban extends to each of the 125 National Cemeteries in the United States.

Of course, the VA is not releasing any information about this fellow’s complaint, just that the ban is in place now, according to a late September memorandum from the VA on the issue that directed the National Cemetery Administration to enact a streamlined, uniform policy for burials.  We do know this chap took umbrage to the 11th stanza of the recital, somehow being apparently demeaned by the tribute to Jewish servicemen in its glorification of “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”  Or perhaps it was the 12th stanza of the recital, in tribute to Christians, that the 12th fold “represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.”

Unless rescinded, families will no longer have this recital option afforded them if they hold burial services at our nation’s national cemeteries, nor even at private services by military personnel.  I am heartened to see retired veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion haven’t the slightest intention of following the VA/Official Government ban.

This brings another of my father’s famous axioms to mind:  “It is the sins of the few that impact the freedoms of the masses.”

What’s next?  Banning the white crosses and Stars of David from the National Cemeteries, too?

Ed Morrissey has more at Captain’s Quarters.

WordNetDaily has an in-depth post on the secularist insanity.

HotAir has its own take.

First-term Congressman Heath Schuler of North Carolina has penned a letter with 11 other Congressional signatories requesting the VA reconsider its ban, with more developing under this thread from Fox News.

Do you find this ban as reprehensible as I do?  Then, by all means, join this petition to request President Bush rescind the VA’s ACLU-driven knee-jerk action to quell one Left Coast activist’s highly successful attack against survivor’s wishes to honor their fallen military sons and daughters, husbands and wives.  And spend a couple of moments out of your day to voice your disgust to your Senators and Congressional Representatives.

Update:  The furor is building in Washington

Update:  Sword-At-The-Ready has information that is a MUST READ, including a pdf file link to the purported VA Memo from Muro of September 27  provided to him by REES LLOYD, Attorney and Jr. Past Commander District 21 (Cal), Director, Defense of Veterans Memorials Project of The American Legion Dept. of California.  Would it surprise you to know that Sword-At-The-Ready offered his first post on this subject TWO WEEKS AGO???

Guns Go Missing From Secured US Luggage

Carrying a gun is still allowed on domestic airline flights (depending upon where in the US you are flying), but weapons must be locked and contained within checked luggage.

There is a growing threat in weapons being stolen after security checks across the country, and an even bigger threat to all of us is in the obvious ability of a TSA-hired and supervised handler to pass a gun to the highest bidder boarding the cabin.

I’m rather distressed to learn that the Department of Homeland Security and TSA have logged more than 100 handguns stolen from secured checked luggage since 911 and who knows how many other guns stolen are not on their database.

Patterico has an enlightening post shedding light on the thievery

Is it safe to fly? And can flying in an ever-escalating terrorist-threatened world ever be made safe without turning air travel into such a debilitating ordeal that it’s simply no longer worth the hassle?

Personally, I would appreciate severe focus by DHS and TSA here.

The Fifth Weekly Digest of Illegal Immigration in America

During the week of September 1-7, 2007:

Malos Muchachos

We begin the week with a bonafide doosey.  Miguel Angel Ortiz, an illegal alien from Uruguay, fled poverty in his homeland back in 1987 and over the last 15 years especially became a multi-millionaire living the high life in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Using a stolen identity, Ortiz established himself well as a master welder, formed a corporation and landed huge jobs as a contractor at the shipyards, sometime reaping as much as $1.5 Million for his work.  Even though he amassed a long list of crimes committed here inclusive of car theft, child abuse and a short ton of violent crimes — including kicking his pregnant wife in the stomach — and the next year kicking his 5-month old daughter, Ortiz skated by.  In 2002, he was convicted on his latest domestic abuse case involving his wife, served six months in jail and deported in 2003.  Ortiz again returned illegally, reunited with his family and formed the corporation “Virginia Welding and Fabrication, Inc.” using his wife’s name as incorporator and President and started raking in the dineros.  Virginia terminated the company’s corporate status in 2006 for failure to file required annual reports.  So Ortiz started another company, “Ortiz & Guys Welding and Ship Repair” and kept right on going…still using that same stolen identity he had purchased for $8,000 in New York back in 1996.  By the way, our federal government granted Ortiz a passport under the name of that stolen identity.  Ortiz’s jet-setting lifestyle of travels, two 2006 Hummers, a Harley, a 2007 Mercedes, two other fairly new vehicles and their lavish beachfront home finally came to an end when he tried to renew his passport this April and was pegged by ICE.  His oft-abused wife also called in another domestic violence claim and outed him as an illegal alien.  Ortiz pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and falsifying a passport application and was sentenced August 20 to 27 months in prison, then will face deportation.  In his sentencing hearing, a federal prosecutor detailed Ortiz’s litany of deceit and asked for the maximum punishment under federal guidelines.  “He is someone who is intelligent, he’s hardworking, he’s resourceful and he’s determined,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Krask told the judge. “Those normally are good adjectives to say about someone. “But I think in adjudging Mr. Ortiz’s potential to commit this crime again,’’ he continued, Ortiz “presents a strong likelihood that he’s going to try and come into the United States after he’s done with this court.”  Groups seeking better enforcement of immigration laws said that the Ortiz case is indicative of the need for an improved identification system – one that relies on fingerprints or DNA. You absolutely MUST read the details revealed in the Virginia-Pilot’s investigation and coverage of this bizarre case and ask yourself, too, just how this guy slipped through so many crevasses, not cracks.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Minneapolis, Minnesota has ordered the resentencing of the former owner of the Udupi Cafe in Columbia Heights for employing illegal Mexican workers, saying the judge failed to adequately explain why he imposed a lighter sentence than was recommended by federal guidelines.  Nagappan Mylappan Chettiar, 45, pleaded guilty last year to knowingly hiring 10 or more illegal aliens. U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis sentenced him to one day of imprisonment (time served), plus two years of supervised release with three months of that to be served in a half-way house and nine months in home detention. The U.S. attorney’s office appealed, calling the sentence a “dramatic” and “extraordinary” departure from advisory sentencing guidelines, which are presumed to be reasonable. Prosecutors argued that no “exceptional facts” warranted such leniency, and argued for a sentence of one year and a day in prison.

A Mexican coyote and nine illegal aliens from Mexico were nabbed in Kingsport, Tennessee during a traffic stop for speeding.  Police way the group began their journey in Mexico, traveling through Atlanta and were on their way to Charlottesville, Virginia.  The coyote was dropping illegals off at specific locations across the United States.

Jesus Avila, 22, who is accused of murdering a Burlington City, New Jersey man and shooting his girlfriend in the ankle over the weekend, has been identified as an illegal alien from Mexico and a local gang member.  At the time of the murder and aggravated assault, Avila was free under a $5,000 bond having been arrested and arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of “creating a false public alarm,” whatever that is.

Illegal alien Jesus Manuel Holguin-Albo confessed to stabbing his friend to death in Provo, Utah last year.  In a pre-trial motion for his coming murder trial, his attorney has claimed the jury pool available to his client does not contain enough Latinos and is requesting more Latinos be seated and the jury system changed so that there can be.  By law, juries are created by legal records from drivers licenses, tax payers and registered voters, none of which reflect race or ethnicity.  And while census records place Utah County at somewhere between 3.5% and 8.5% Latino, a lot more Latinos are visible in the community.  In a 42-page ruling, Judge Lynn Davis outlined several problems with Holguin-Albo’s motion, including the possibility that 70 percent of the Hispanic population [in Utah County] could be illegal.  I would personally add that, as of now, illegal aliens are first and foremost illegal, cannot possess a valid drivers license, are not recorded as legal do not pay taxes and are not allowed to vote…therefore illegal aliens are not eligible to serve as jurors

A total of 40 Hispanics — a large, but “untold” number of whom are illegal aliens — were nabbed in a cocaine distribution investigation in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.  Authorities say the group, which included a number of gang members, have been responsible for distributing more than $31 Million in cocaine during the past three years.  The drug ring was hauling in some $200,000 per week from their cocaine sales in Hazleton alone.

Miguel Barajas Huerta, 43, was stopped by State Troopers in Springfield Township, Pennsylvania for drunk driving…and for transporting 14 illegal aliens from Mexico in the back open bed of his F-250 pickup

ICE officials have shut-down a modern day slavery ring in Newark, New Jersey, in which some 20 illegal alien women from the African nation of Togo were forced to work 14-hour days without pay and threatened to be sent back home if they refused.  Three Togolese nationals have been charged.  Lassissi Afolabi, 44, Akouavi Kpade Afolabi, 39, and Dereck Hounakey, 30, all face charges of harboring illegal aliens, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Kpade Afolabi is also charged with smuggling illegal aliens for financial gains, which can be punished by an additional 10 years in prison.

Border Patrol agents found 17 illegal aliens crammed into a van near Mobile, Alabama.  The van, known as “Camionetas” in Spanish, is from one of 45 known companies operating out of Houston, Texas that sends illegal alien van-loads regularly throughout the country, and which ICE is targeting for their smuggling activities.

Remember that bogus American Indian tribe in Wichita, Kansas that was scamming illegal aliens by selling “citizenships” to their tribe for $5,000 a pop with the promise of becoming an automatic US citizen?  ICE raided the two offices of the Kaweah Indian Nation in Wichita. Our Texas Attorney General is also suing the fake tribe and its leader, Malcolm L. Webber, for fraudulently selling tribe memberships by claiming that tribal members could get a Social Security number, protection from deportation and U.S. citizenship once the tribe is federally recognized.  (Ahem)  They’re not a recognized tribe, nor is Webber an American Indian.

Two illegal aliens from Mexico are in the custody of Fort Worth, Texas police for the attempted kidnapping of a female TCU student.  The two illegals are strongly suspected in three other attempted kidnappings that have plagued the TCU area for some time.  Jose Alberto Chavollo, 19, and Victor Garcia, 23, were arrested by Mansfield authorities. Chavollo faces charges of aggravated kidnapping, evading arrest and possession of a controlled substance and was being held with bail set at $31,000. Garcia faces a charge of aggravated kidnapping and was being held with bail set at $100,000.

Some 65 people — mostly illegal aliens — were nabbed in a week-long anti-gang operation targeting Hispanic gangs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.    A total of 5,000 Hispanic gang members have been arrested since the program began in February of 2005.  Per Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel:  “Some of those arrested were among Oklahoma County’s most dangerous gang members.”  Those arrested hailed from Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and IRAQ.

Peligro, Will Robinson!!

Mexico does not end at its borders….  Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”  So said Mexico President Felipe Calderon in his state of the nation address at the National Palace before a riotously enthusiastic audience in Mexico and here in the states.  Calderon, like his predecessors Fox in 2004 and Zedillo in 1995, is sending a clearly seditious message (first strongly outlined by Fox in 2002 of Mexico’s long-range goals of EU-type open borders to establish “our new nation”) to the near 50 Million Hispanics in America:  Live in the US (where we restored your Mexican citizenship by a constitutional change in Mexican law in 1998), but put Mexico first, even if you’ve taken an oath as a US citizen to renounce your Mexico allegiance, or allegiance to any other country.  Calderon reinforced Mexico’s rulers in telling all within ear shot the first loyalty of all men and women of Mexican ancestry, no matter where they live, is to Mexico.  In consideration of the Democrat’s unprecedented pandering (strategically smart) to an Hispanic debate crowd, there is no way to fully underscore just how easily the liberal establishment can allow and even persuade Mexican-Americans to vote Mexico’s own interests here in the US.

Hasta la Vista

Nineteen illegal aliens have been apprehended in Grand Island, Nebraska during a raid of Cloudburst Lawn & Sprinkler, a local landscaping firm.  Heading back to their homelands in the next few months will be 11 illegal aliens from Mexico, 6 from El Salvador and 2 from Guatemala.

There were four illegal aliens inside a van carrying more than 14 people that overturned on a Chicago area freeway killing two of the occupants.   The van load — all hired by Barton Staffing Services of Joliet, Illinois — was returning from picking up trash at the Cog Hill Golf Course in Lemont that will host the PGA’s BMW Championship this weekend.  The four now face deportation proceedings.

Already more than a hundred illegal aliens have been nabbed this past week in the Mobile, Alabama area at various construction sites, and five were caught near a middle school in Summerdale after “commenting” on the “appearance” of girls there.  No information is available, other than all being Hispanic.

More than 24,000 illegal aliens from Guatemala are expected to be deported by year’s end.  So far in 2007 more than 15,000 illegal aliens here have been shipped back home, much larger numbers than just a year ago in which more than 18,000 were deported back to Guatemala.

Loco Politicos

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently underway in a last-ditch effort to secure some sense of immigration reform in the revival of a bill that died in committee so that the notorious “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” monster package of confusion and amnesty could be brought before the Senate and ultimately die.  The current bill calls for some of the same things as the compromise legislation that died. Both include a pathway to citizenship for those already here illegally.  Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said the bill essentially sells citizenship for $2,500 — the amount of the proposed fines. He derided the touch-back provision as “a scenic bus ride.”

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who has watched his popularity take a nose dive after his high-profile role in the Senate’s failed immigration reform legislation that would have granted amnesty to the near 20 million illegal aliens in the US, has landed in the news again, albeit through a column he wrote in an Arizona newspaper speaking out against Sanctuary Cities.  He is right, in my opinion, about the plight this country is suffering when he asserts ” Sanctuary policies compound the failure of the federal government to counter the flow of criminal aliens into the United States.”  And this year’s Government Accounting Office statistics that 55,322 criminal aliens were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times,averaging over eight arrests per alien and the Department of Justice having expressed its surprise at the “extremely high” rate of rearrests for criminal aliens when it found that that 73 criminal aliens in a study group were arrested a total of 429 times, certainly underscores our disaster.  Kyl rightly slams DHS Chief Michael Chertoff for “policy choices” that have destined local efforts to fail.  And, of course, Kyl touts his own failed legislation.  Indeed, I want all the tough enforcement policies that Kyl’s plan would bring to help identify incarcerated illegal aliens, detain criminal aliens, and even create a national database of those overstaying their visas.  But where the good Senator departs from me and the majority of US citizens is in granting a free-ride amnesty in the process.  And, of course, his column carefully stays completely away from that little issue.

An October 1 court date has been set by San Francisco’s US District Judge Maxine Chesney to hear arguments on whether the Social Security Administration can begin sending employers those no-match letters regarding their employees.  The letters were slated to begin mailing out on September 14 before Judge Chesney granted a temporary restraining order to the AFL-CIO and several immigrant rights groups.  Having given the matter some thought, I find this restraining order good news actually.  How in the world can the no-match letters be guaranteed as accurate, when the database from which they would be generated is so flawed?  Chock another one up to a politically-obsessed and inept federal government, that allowed the SSA to degenerate into its present quagmire. Meanwhile, the SSA is warning that Judge Chesney’s blockade will effectively delay the processing of millions of disability and retirement claims and payments because of processing logjams created by delays in sending out those no-match letters.

In Sacramento County, California, the Sheriff wants to hire 21 more deputies to help with county crime.  The District Attorney would like to increase his staff at the county’s crime lab that is overwhelmed.  As the county begins to battle out a new budget, Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan has said she can save millions if the county stops providing free healthcare to illegal aliens.  In this fiscal year alone, the county will provide routine and acute care to somewhere between 2,400 and 4,000 illegal aliens at a cost of between $1.4 Million and $2.3 Million.  It’s a thought that will probably die pretty quickly, since yanking funding for healthcare to illegals there would further overwhelm emergency rooms and lead to more serious, more expensive illnesses in the illegal alien community.

In a report sanctioned by San Diego County in California, taxpayers footed an estimated bill of $256 Million during 2006 for their illegal alien population.  The figure includes $155 in free medical care and $75 Million to pay for incarcerations and court costs in the county that borders Mexico.

Muy Estúpido

A boat load of illegal aliens ran aground on a rocky reef near La Jolla, California.  When the boat hit, at least ten illegal aliens scattered to the four winds and may have escaped.  The abandoned boat finally reached the beach, where authorities recovered lifejackets, fuel tanks filled with gasoline and water bottles with Hispanic logos.  The unregistered 20-foot vessel is “a likely smuggling boat,” authorities said.

Centro Legal, an Hispanic immigration rights advocacy group, has filed suit in Minneapolis, Minnesota on behalf of ten illegal aliens nabbed in that large raid of the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Worthington that netted 200 illegals.  The suit claims federal agents “insulted, abused, and humiliated the plaintiffs on account of their race” and ordered female Hispanic workers to disrobe in front of federal agents. White workers, meanwhile, were allowed to move about the plant freely during the raid and weren’t subject to unlawful conduct on the part of agents, according to the lawsuit.  The Feds say the claims are false.

Muy Buenos!

North Carolina will begin deporting their prison inmates across the state when their crimes are adjudicated.  Since July, when the measure went into effect, 125 illegal alien criminals have been slated for eventual deportation.

Mr. Michael Chertoff has declared before a House panel that he will “not tolerate interference” by “sanctuary cities” in the US over his application (at last) of federal immigration laws, specifically those requiring proof of citizenship before hiring an employee.”  Regarding recent blocks in California of checking residency against Social Security numbers, Chertoff said [the Dept. of Homeland Security] is exploring all of its legal options.  “I intend to take as vigorous legal action as the law allows to prevent that from happening, prevent that kind of interference.”  Of course, Chertoff has certainly not threatened to halt federal funding to those sanctuary cities….  Typical.

Hmmm…

City officials in Herndon, Virginia have decided to close a day laborer site, due to the site’s and city’s inability to verify legal citizenship of those arriving there daily to seek employment off the streets.  In 2005, Herndon banned day laborers and motorists seeking to employ them from meeting on the streets, a matter that had created huge chaos in the city.  By banning the solicitations, which the courts view as a First Amendment right of free speech of the workers and those wanting to hire them, Herndon created the day laborer site to provide an alternative means, a court requirement. Ultimately, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Leslie Alden held the site fell short of providing alternative means of seeking employment to illegal aliens, who she feels are also entitled to constitutional rights of free speech.  So the city found itself in a catch-22.  Having logged several ordinances cracking down on illegal aliens, they found themselves incapable of preventing illegal aliens from being hired through the site that they would now have to manage.  Instead, they opted to close the center and hope to utilize zoning and traffic ordinances to prevent day laborer gathering sites from popping up in the city henceforward.  It’s a mess.

———————————-

POSTLUDE: This is a recurring weekly compendium of acts and issues inherent to the matters surrounding illegal immigration in the United States.  Quite simply, the following are items of interest to me and which I feel merit further perusal by American citizens.  For the record, clearly know and understand that I am NOT anti-Hispanic or anti-immigration, but am sick, tired and damned well highly frustrated at our elected officials in Washington who are selling our nation’s future for personal gain and a hopeful new future voter base.  Despite laws enacted and funding remitted, practically NOTHING has been done to seal our wide open borders to the South AND to the North, nor has anything yet been done to end the menace and financial drain of continuing illegal immigration into our sovereign nation.

This Summer, unprecedented numbers of American citizens made their voices clearly heard in opposition of the proposed 2007 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act and, as the result, the bill died a horrible death.  Americans do not want amnesty handed to some near 20 million illegal alien criminals, who broke the law being here in the first place.  We demanded the government fulfill its promises and laws and BUILD THAT FENCE, which they have not.  We demanded the government fulfill its promises and laws and end illegal immigration and punish those who would hinder those measures, which it has only just now decided selectively to do.  Will employers be forced to end illegal hiring practices of undocumented workers?  Will the overwhelming disaster to our nation’s crops, restaurants, hotels and lawn services come to pass?  Will Americans face huge escalation in prices as a result of pulling a false economy into the light of legality?  Will Americans tire of the struggle and forget why we were enraged by amnesty and free rides to illegal aliens in the first place?

This weekly entry is my attempt to see that the latter won’t happen.

Obey our laws and we will embrace you.  Defy our laws and you can go to Hell.

Scientists Find Virus at Heart of Missing Honey Bees

Remember awakening after Winter to find nearly half of the honey bees in the United States had simply vanished?

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), limited primarily to commercial genetically-enhanced bees, practically decimated the pollination industry here and in Europe, and left scientists completely baffled…until this week.

For the last six months, a huge team of scientists and researchers have been conducting one of the largest-scale investigations ever seen.  Their result was the identification of a significant connection between an obscure insect virus and the massive CCD experienced across the U.S.

Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) was first identified in Israel in 2004 after massive numbers of their own honey bees began to disappear.  Also in 2004, the United States lifted an 80-year-old ban on importing bees designed to protect US honey makers from pests that plague the insects, and began importing honey bees from Australia.

Every CCD-affected beekeeping operation that was examined [in the US recently] either used Australian bees or had mingled with operations that had them, the researchers said.

Not only did the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council unequivocally deny U.S. bees had been infected by Australian insects, but it is very important to acknowledge Australia has not experienced widespread colony collapses in their homeland.

Therefore, while scientists firmly agree the common denominator and likely trigger in U.S. bee hive decimations is IAPV, they firmly believe other factors are at play, such as predatorial mites, stress from being carted across the country, and pesticides.

Additionally, IAPV was discovered by scientists in royal jelly used to feed infant bees imported from China. 

The advice to U.S. beekeepers is to “maintain healthy colonies.”  Those bees that are well-fed, without mites, and protected from stress have immune systems capable of fighting off this virus.

So now we have a good idea of what happened to the bees and we have further reiterated the perils of trucking colonies from one field to another, states apart.  Moreover, we have underscored at least a dozen times in this matter what happens when you test Mother Nature.

Rebuilding our nation’s honey bee populations will take years.  And, on a pleasant note, those very Moms and Pops who have managed to survive the vast commercialization of the pollination industry are reaping the benefits of so many more enlightened consumers Hell-bent on buying local honey.  Allow me to recommend my FAVORITE in the Dallas area, a frequent vendor at the Dallas Farmers’ Market local produce building:  Roundrock Honey!  I kid you not, this honey has the BEST flavor I have EVER tasted.  And I certainly have tasted much more than my weight from honeys literally from across the U.S. and Europe.

Good news ofttimes comes in small doses.

Science Daily has all the details for those scientifically minded folks.

Weekly Digest of Illegal Immigration in America – Part 4

PREFACE: This is a recurring weekly compendium of acts and issues inherent to the matters surrounding illegal immigration in the United States.  Quite simply, the following are items of interest to me and which I feel merit further perusal by American citizens.  For the record, clearly know and understand that I am NOT anti-Hispanic or anti-immigration, but am sick, tired and damned well highly frustrated at our elected officials in Washington who are selling our nation’s future for personal gain and a hopeful new future voter base.  Despite laws enacted and funding remitted, practically NOTHING has been done to seal our wide open borders to the South AND to the North, nor has anything yet been done to end the menace and financial drain of continuing illegal immigration into our sovereign nation.

This Summer, unprecedented numbers of American citizens made their voices clearly heard in opposition of the proposed 2007 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act and, as the result, the bill died a horrible death.  Americans do not want amnesty handed to some near 20 million illegal alien criminals, who broke the law being here in the first place.  We demanded the government fulfill its promises and laws and BUILD THAT FENCE, which they have not.  We demanded the government fulfill its promises and laws and end illegal immigration and punish those who would hinder those measures, which it has only just now decided selectively to do.  Will employers be forced to end illegal hiring practices of undocumented workers?  Will the overwhelming disaster to our nation’s crops, restaurants, hotels and lawn services come to pass?  Will Americans face huge escalation in prices as a result of pulling a false economy into the light of legality?  Will Americans tire of the struggle and forget why we were enraged by amnesty and free rides to illegal aliens in the first place?

This weekly entry is my attempt to see that the latter won’t happen.

During the week of August 25-31, 2007: 

Malos Muchachos

Leon Lugo Andrade, 37 and illegal alien from Mexico, will spend the rest of his life in prison for his unbelievably gruesome murder of 61-year-old William Huang, a restaurateur and ordained minister in Houston.  It took the jury a mere ten minutes to bring their verdict against Andrade, who hacked Huang mercilessly to death with a machete in front of Andrade’s estranged wife and daughter outside Huang’s restaurant, on the very night Huang was celebrating his youngest son’s 10th birthday.  The estranged wife, a waitress at Huang’s Lucky Seafood restaurant, had reported to Huang and authorities that Andrade was stalking her since their separation and held a restraining order against Andrade for over a year for repeatedly beating her and their children. During the time Andrade lived illegally in Houston, he was convicted of murder/manslaughter, numerous DWIs, firing weapons and carrying a shotgun in public.  Huang, at the time of his murder, was trying to help Andrade’s estranged wife and daughter escape to safety.

A 25-year-old off-duty motorcycle cop from Flint, Michigan was killed when he was rear-ended by Ramon Felix Pineda, 28 an illegal alien from Mexico.  Officer Vincent Owen D’Anna was riding down the road when a drunken Pineda hit him from behind.  D’Anna was penned beneath Pineda’s Camaro and dragged for some distance before Pineda stopped the car and tried to flee the area on foot.  Local good Samaritans, who witnessed the accident, tackled Pineda and prevented him from fleeing the scene until authorities arrived.  Those good Samaritans lifted the Camaro off of D’Anna who died from his injuries a few hours later in the hospital.

A 25-year-old illegal alien from Guatemala was sentenced this week following his conviction in July for the savage rape and beating of a 73-year-old East Hartford, Connecticut woman.  Alejandro Cuy Xum received 20 years for the attack on the woman, who is confined to a wheelchair and an oxygen tank and has since lost every single thing in life she enjoyed:  her independence in her own love-filled home, her many neighbor friends, her pet dog, and any possible sense of security.

Deported “activist” and Toast of Tijuana, Elvira Arellano has now asked Mexican President Felipe Calderon to appoint her as Mexico’s Ambassador of “Peace and Justice” so that she can return to the United States.  She’s also asked Calderon’s help in obtaining a VISA.

A pickup crammed with 10 illegal aliens being smuggled into the US from Mexico crashed in an extremely remote area in California’s Mojave Dessert killing one alien and injuring nine others.  The pickup, rented in Los Angeles County, was driven by a 19-year-old man and crashed through a guardrail plunging 200 feet down an embankment.  Five riding in the open bed were ejected.  Those who could walk or be dragged fled the scene, but were apprehended by a California Patrol helicopter.  Five Care-Flight helicopters were used to transport the injured to medical care in Las Vegas, Loma Linda and Palm Springs.

Sabien Velasco, a 27-year-old illegal alien from Columbia, now holds the honor of being the very first illegal alien in New Jersey to be reported by police, after his arrest, to immigration officials under the state’s new law less than a week old.  Velasco was arrested in Elmwood Park, New Jersey on aggravated assault and weapons charges after police found him chasing his family through their home wielding a machete.  Velasco is currently unemployed and has been in the U.S. illegally for some five years.

25 of the 29 illegal aliens nabbed at that hog Smithfield processing plant last week in Tar Heels, South Carolina used stolen identities to obtain employment.  Two victims associated with these identity thefts lost more than $10,000 each and another victim was evicted from their subsidized housing because of substantially increased income reported on her social security account.  U.S. Attorney George Holding said the group may have purchased or stolen the identities through a “myriad of ways” – including computer hacking, fraudulent e-mails and Dumpster diving – and didn’t acquire the information from a single location.  “It’s an epidemic problem,” Holding said Tuesday.

An ICE raid at Fairfield, Ohio’s Koch Foods netted over 161 illegal aliens employed at the plant, which is nearly half of the entire workforce.  More arrests are expected as authorities are able to track down those who escaped when the employees scattered.  Twelve were found in a walk-in freezer and required medical care.  40 of those arrested have been granted a “Humanitarian Release” and won’t be immediately deported, as they either have health issues or are the sole caregiver for a child or other family member.  But 20 others (12 men and 8 women) from Mexico, Guatemala and Peru are facing charges of forgery and identity theft and are being detained for trial in Butler CountyAuthorities describe Koch Foods as an “egregious violator” of US immigration laws and has had the company under investigation for two years.  They are watching two other unidentified companies there also that remain under an ongoing investigation.

A Fairfield, Ohio restaurateur, Jing Fei Jiang, an illegal alien from China, has been convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for transporting, harboring and employing illegal aliens in his restaurant.  Jiang has 30 days to cough up $100,000 to the feds, or have his restaurant seized.  Also arrested at the home owned by Jiang in which his illegal employees were sheltered, were “several” additional illegal aliens from China and Mexico, who are in the process of deportation.

Francisco Santos, a 17-year-old illegal alien from Mexico, is quarantined near Atlanta with active (communicable) tuberculosisSantos, a day laborer, finally became so ill that he went to a local hospital for (free) treatment last week and, when diagnosed with TB, refused treatment and tried to leave.   His 8-member immediate family is currently under testing and, if possible, authorities will extend testing to all those Santos has come in contact with in recent weeks.  Santos has also become the poster child of sorts for the unprecedented escalation of TB in Georgia and South Carolina, the latter location seeing over 131 TB cases discovered among workers of one poultry plant caused by illegal aliens who (obviously) are not screened for disease when they sneak over our border.   The CDC reports more than 300 cases discovered in South Carolina each year now nowadays.  FRIDAY UPDATE:  Four people living with Santos have tested positive for TBSantos will likely be fully recovered and these others having completed treatment by the time he is actually deported.

Some 50 members of the notoriously violent MS-13 gang in the Boston area have been the target of ICE raids this week, although it is unknown how many were actually apprehended.  To date, nearly 5,000 violent thugs from some 350 gangs nationwide have been taken into custody since Operation Community Shield began in 2005.  The Boston area raids were implemented by Operation 13 that targets MS-13 members.

Jose Ramirez, 18, and Porfirio Ramirez-Baca, 34, both illegal aliens, are jailed in Woodbridge, Virginia on two counts of assault and battery and two counts of abduction with the intent to defile after attacking a teenage couple.  The pair followed a 17-year-old boy and his 18-year-old girlfriend while walking to their car late at night and stopped the teenage pair from driving away.  One attacked the boy, punching him repeated in the face, while the other grabbed the girl out of the car, threw her down on the ground,  pinned her down and began groping her “inappropriately.”  Both of the teenagers were able to escape and called police.  Following the illegal pair’s adjudication in District (for the adult girl) and Juvenile Court (for the boy), they will face deportation by ICE.An illegal alien (whom police will not identify) , driving a pickup truck reported as stolen in May, was finally arrested near Gila Bend, Arizona after several attempt to flee, resisting arrest and causing several minor injuries to Border Patrol agents.  After his apprehension, he kindly revealed to the agents that he suffered from HIV and Tuberculosis…just before they found about $700,000 worth of marijuana in the back of the truck.  The alien is receiving medical care before continued incarceration, trial and eventual deportation.

Madian Santos, 36 and an illegal alien, was apprehended in Kingman, Arizona while smuggling 5.5 pounds of heroine hidden in the engine manifold.  (Hmmm…  I may be blond, but wouldn’t that be an exceptionally hot place??)  Santos told police he was an illegal alien living in North Carolina and was headed home following a trip to Bakersfield, California.

Nearly 900 pounds of marijuana have been seized along the New Mexico border with Mexico this week in two separate incidents.  In one, a “suspicious” truck hiding out in the dessert was discovered by Border Patrol agents on foot, but the driver was able to flee the scene, ditch his truck, and sneak back into Mexico.  Details of the other incident are unknown.

McAllen, Texas officials are tiring of the prevalent use of one of their city parks as a sleeping and trashing ground for illegal aliens, many of whom arrive there fresh over the border seeking housing and inquiring of “work in New Orleans.”

Mourners in North Bergen, New Jersey are anything but safe in visiting love ones in local cemeteries.  One cemetery alone near the Grove Reformed Church has become home to some 140 illegal alien Latino vagrants and many others are living in other cemeteries in the area.  One 56-year-old woman was sexually assaulted at the cemetery last month and another woman was accosted and her necklace stolen.  Local police claim their hands are tied.  The Mayor says he wasn’t aware there was a problem.  Meanwhile, area residents are furious from police inaction, having the vagrants use their outdoor water faucets to clean up in the morning, and many say they have been approached by drunken males who were panhandling and harassing them.

Those two National Guard soldiers in Laredo, Texas have pled guilty to helping to smuggle a healthy number of illegal aliens across the very border they were there to protect.  Sgt. Julio Pacheco and Sgt. Clarence Hodge, Jr. face about a decade in prison.  The status of the cases against Pacheco’s sister and brother-in-law, who are charged with helping the two soldiers, is unknown.

Hector Valesquez-Nava, 24 and illegal alien from Mexico, changed his plea from not guilty to nolo contendre Wednesday to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter in Los Angeles.  Nava, with a blood alcohol level three times California’s legal limit, crashed into a car last April instantly killing movie director and producer Robert Clark (Porky’s, Porky’s II, A Christmas Story, and Loose Cannons), and Clark’s 24-year-old son, Ariel, a promising jazz musician studying at Santa Monica College.  With Nava’s plea, he cut his potential imprisonment (if convicted on the earlier count) from a max of 12 years to 6.  Nava was already serving two years probation for pleading guilty to a prostitution-related charge in LA in 2005.

Angel Lopez, 33 and illegal alien from El Salvador will be serving 4 to 10 years in a Pennsylvania penitentiary for aggravated assault of his distant relative , Santos Lopez, in Warminster in MarchAngel used his switchblade to slash Santos’s stomach open and delivered several stab wounds to his arms and back.  “It had to do with alcohol,” he explained to the judge via an interpreter.  Prior to the incident, Angel had already been deported once from the US back to El Salvador.  Following his incarceration, the feds will deport him again.

Eddie Carbajal-Lile, an illegal alien from Mexico, has been caught after fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run car crash in Lima, Ohio that killed 17-year-old Paul Watry.   Two other teens were injured in the crash.  Lile will now face a potential 15-year sentence in an Ohio prison…prior to being deported.

Perfecto Rios, 17, illegal alien from Mexico and gang-banger from Concord, North Carolina, has been arrested there on a myriad of severe criminal complaints, including five counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon of two Hispanic businesses, first degree rape and first degree kidnapping of a female clerk during one of those robberies, and more that a dozen other crimes committed in nearby communities.

Miguel Hernandez, 44 and illegal alien from Mexico, was arraigned on two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in Grayslake, Illinois.  Hernandez was exceptionally drunk when he plowed into 19-year-old Heather LaMarche, causing her vehicle to roll several times and burst into flames. While two of Heather’s passengers did escape before the fire, Heather did not.  She suffered extreme burns and died at the hospital within hours.  Hernandez was also injured, appearing in court with both legs in casts.  Hernandez was driving without a license and will likely also be charged with  reckless homicide.

A Chinese restaurant owner has been sent to one year in prison by a Federal Court in Knoxville, Tennessee for conspiring to harbor, house and employ Hispanic illegal aliens.  While counsel for Pun Wan Chan stridently argued that “everyone else is doing it” and that Chan had used a Knoxville employment agency that advertised in the local Chinese newspaper to exclusively fill his employment slots (said employment agency only representing illegal aliens purportedly), the court held that what Chan did was to take advantage of illegal immigrants, who would be too afraid of discovery and deportation to report labor law violations or other mistreatment.

 Peligro, Will Robinson!!

If traffic hazards were not notoriously enough already during the Labor Day Weekend, now we will welcome the onset of Mexican semi-trucks that will begin their crossing of the Border carrying Mexican goods into the US on Saturday.  The Teamsters Union is appealing to the 9th District Court of Appeals in San Francisco for an emergency injunction to Bush’s final implementation to his father’s 1994 NAFTA Treaty.  “Before providing unconditional access throughout the country to tens of thousands of big rigs we know little to nothing about, we must insure they meet safety and environmental standards,”  No kidding!  Hmmm…  I wonder if the drivers will speak English?  Or is that just a requirement for Mexican truck drivers entering Laredo, Texas?  FRIDAY UPDATE:  The onset of this pilot program will not begin before Thursday, Sept. 6, when up to 44 Mexican trucks will begin DAILY “long hauls” into the United States. By the end of September, that numbers is expected to increase to 174. Our government worries that “further delays might jeopardize diplomatic and trade relations with Mexico. 

Hasta la Vista

Two more illegal aliens working on roofing jobs near Great Falls, Montana are on their way home via deportation.  They follow five illegal alien roofers deported from Great Falls last month and another six illegal alien roofers nabbed in Glasgow three weeks ago.  Roofing companies started arriving in the area in droves following a June 16 hail storm that caused significant damage in the area.

Ten illegal aliens were apprehended in DuBois, Pennsylvania during a traffic stop Monday.  Nine of the illegal aliens were from Mexico (8 men, 1 woman all between the ages of 20 and 26), and another was a juvenile female illegal alien from Guatemala.  All will be deported by ICE.

Five illegal aliens from Mexico were discovered in a freight train car just outside of Abilene.  The two men and three women are being held by ICE to prepare for their deportation.

Missouri has nabbed it’s first illegal alien under Gov. Blunts 5-day-old mandate for state officers to check citizenship for every person arrested.  Jose Guadalupe Delacruz, illegal alien from Mexico, was arrested in Jefferson City in connection with an assault.  County police called Missouri’s Highway Patrol, who verified Delacruz was an illegal alien, as well as being wanted in Jackson County, MO to answer a warrant for driving with a revoked drivers license.  Delacruz is slated for deportation. 

Loco Politicos

Immigration and Customs Enforcement criminal investigators will no longer be involved in immigration work site enforcement or conduct checks for illegal alien prisoners.  Almost 1,000 ICE Office of Investigations agents will be reassigned exclusively to customs investigations, reducing the manpower involved in detention and removal of illegal aliens to 4,000 nationwide, according to documents obtained by The Washington Times and interviews with ICE union representatives.  Great.  Just great.

Dr. Gene Rogers, Director of Health & Human Services for Sacramento County in California — and medical director since 1999 for their Indigent Services Program — has been fired.  Dr. Rogers filed suit against the county in 2003 questioning the county’s hard budget cuts while not cutting non-emergency medical care provided daily to scores of illegal aliens.  He cited “cases and case histories of patients who essentially have come up from Mexico for the express purpose of being treated here, and then leaving to return home,” Dr. Rogers said. “I’ve watched illegal immigrants brazenly demand free, non-emergency health care that was meant for our poorest citizens. I’ve heard them and their families complain. They feel entitled to it.”   The suit remains under appeal in Federal Courts.

Shoot me.  Texas Gov. Rick Perry and 150 local business leaders are in Mexico City this week chatting about economic initiatives in renewable energy and the energy sector in general between Texas and Mexico.  Gov. Perry just had to make the statement that the plan to build a fenced/virtual border wall between the U.S. and Mexico “sends a bad message” and “won’t work.”  Perry said he favors building short spans of walls in some urban areas on the border. He also said immigrants should be issued ID cards with biometric data that would allow the government to keep tabs on them.  Otherwise, “we know how to deal with border security, and you don’t do it by building a fence; you do it by putting boots on the ground,” Perry said.  Yes, Gov. Perry…but we just can’t seem to get enough boots. 

The Border Patrol Chief of Laredo, Texas — one of the most dangerous illegal alien entry points in the US — made his department’s role quite clear this week:  “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” Carlos X. Carrillo, Border Patrol chief of Laredo, Texas, told guests at a town-hall meeting Thursday. “The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop illegal immigrants. The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop narcotics. … The Border Patrol’s mission is not to stop criminals.  The Border Patrol’s mission is to stop terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country.”  A furious Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo called for Carrillo’s immediate resignation.  As expected, Carrillo has now profusely apologized.  “It’s painfully obvious to me that I could have done a better job of articulating my talking points,” Carrillo groveled.

The AFL-CIO and the ACLU have joined forces with several immigrant rights groups in California and have filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration in an attempt to block implementation of the coming national crackdown on employers hiring illegal aliens.  The crackdown relies upon the SSA generating letters to employers of employee identifications that do not match federal records and providing 90 days for the employers to correct same or risk severe fines.  The suit cites the SSA database as being full of errors, and therefore destined to produce erroneous reports, and that “tens of thousands of workers will lose their jobs right before the holidays.” 

Muy Estúpido

Two “immigrant rights” coalitions that splintered over political differences in Los Angeles last year (the “March 25 Coalition” continued their protests, while “We Are America Coalition other shifted its focus on helping illegals obtain legal citizenship and voter registration drives) have now rejoined and have renamed themselves the “We are All Elvira and Saulito Coalition“.  Instead of calling for workers to boycott their jobs (which never worked well), they are now planning a boycott of commerce on September 12, in which no Hispanics will spend money.

Notorious radical Ricardo Juarez, leader of “Mexicans Without Borders,” is a devout follower of Mexican Communist Guerrillas…the Marxist Zapatista Army of National Liberation?   His idol is Mexican revolutionary and leftist rebel Emiliano Zapata?  Where’s his ski mask and AK-47?   I’m shocked!  Say it ain’t so!

An illegal alien from Mexico apparently died from desert heat while illegally crossing our border near Tucson, Arizona.  His body was found by a local rancher on his land with no identification.  The man’s death brings the total to 156 of desert deaths of illegal aliens near Tucson since October 1, 2006.

Huh?  The LAPD is ceasing impounding vehicles for drivers stopped without driver’s licenses.  “The decision touches on what has long been a hot-button issue, because many unlicensed drivers who have their cars towed are illegal immigrants who cannot get driver’s licenses.”  So Los Angeles officers, who have been impounding some 40,000 autos annually, have stopped until they receive a ruling from the city attorney on whether a 2005 ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals applies to them.  Fortunately, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol are continuing the impoundments, in belief the 9th Circuit ruling has nothing to do with them.  Do read this link and, at the bottom, a digest of the Oregon case that was the basis for the 9th Circuit Court’s review.

An estimated 25,000 to 50,000 illegal aliens in Oklahoma have fled to Arkansas or Kansas in recent weeks fearing the impact of Oklahoma’s recent law to seriously crack down on illegal immigration that will take effect on January 1, 2008.   Ironically, Arkansas is poised to pass a similar law in their state, and Kansas is giving the idea some serious thought, too.  In Arizona, where the illegal alien population is estimated at some 500,000, about 100 illegal aliens are believed to be leaving the state each day in advance of the state’s January 1 crackdown on employers.

Hundreds of public school students in Arizona are struggling to learn English from teachers who don’t know English themselves. Nine of 32 school districts reviewed failed miserably.  I doubt that is confined to Arizona. 

Muy Buenos!

Nearly 70% of Arizona voters polled last week strongly approve of their state’s law to severely punish employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, as well as the fed’s recent deployment of current law requiring employers to fire illegal aliens if their identities are found to be questionable and can’t resolve same in 90 days.

Good ole Arizona Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s much maligned hotline has nabbed another dozen illegal aliens, including two bonafide smugglers, thanks to a tip provided by an anonymous caller.

A US District Judge has upheld Arizona’s new voter identification laws requiring all voters to submit proof of US citizenship and various forms of identification before being allowed to vote in the state.  The vast majority of contentions presented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund were rejected in the ruling, but two more remain for consideration.

Missouri’s Governor ordered Tuesday a crackdown on state-paid construction companies who hire illegal aliens.  In addition to existing requirements for contractors to provide paperwork ensuring their workers are employed legally, the state will now regularly audit said paperwork and conduct spot inspections at work sites to review workers’ own documentation.  On the day before, Gov. Blunt ordered all of his Highway Patrol, Capitol Police and Missouri Water Patrol to check the citizenship status of “everyone they present for incarceration. 

NCAA: You Would Deny Funds to a Grieving Family?

This post I read on Houston’s Clear Thinkers blog has me a tad bit miffed.  I really don’t have a working knowledge of the NCAA or its power-mongering antics, but I happily defer to Mr. Kirkendall’s opinions with all enthusiasm.  And the story he so eloquently shares reveals a lack of compassion by the NCAA the likes of which stun me.  Has the NCAA achieved “a new level of absurdity”?  Undeniably.

One of the most promising high school football athletes from Texas this year was murdered last weekend in Houston by a thug who thought shooting Herman Mitchell was an appropriate solution to a dispute they shared for some time over the ownership of a Pitt Bull.  

Mitchell and three of his pals headed out last Friday afternoon to play a scrimmage game at Westfield High School.  They got as far as their apartment complex parking lot when they spotted the tan-and-white dog in the possession of Emile “Rusty” Lewis, 19 and a Louisiana native transplanted to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Mitchell and Lewis had been arguing for some time as to which of them “owned” the dog.

After an argument and ultimate fistfight, Lewis went to his own apartment in the complex, retrieved a rifle, and returned to gun-down Mitchell with a multitude of shots.

It probably won’t come as a surprise that Lewis has a rap sheet half a mile long of convictions for drugs and weapons charges since his arrival two years ago from New Orleans.  A rifle was recovered in Lewis’s apartment at the time of his arrest and his right eye was swollen and beginning to turn black.  Nevertheless, Lewis has insisted he had nothing whatsoever to do with Mitchell’s murder.  Witnesses disagree.

Young Mitchell, a 6-foot, 200-pound All-District linebacker from Houston’s Westfield High, was eagerly looking forward to joining OU’s Sooners team on a full scholarship next year.  Mitchell had received a myriad of offers from universities across the country, but turned them down in favor of his favorite team, the Sooners.  Oklahoma fans were looking forward to having Mitchell join the Sooners, too.

One OU Booster Club member, Adam Fineberg of Houston, began a campaign through the OU Booster site with a goal of raising $10,000 to help Mitchell’s family pay for his funeral.  He raised $4,500 within a matter of two days…and the NCAA shut him down.  The NCAA declared Fineberg’s fundraising to be a rules violation against the Sooners, citing the funds as “illegal financial assistance” to Mitchell’s brother, who is a sophomore fullback at Westfield High, and that the fundraising on OU’s Sooner Booster site was improper.

From the Oklahoma Sooners blog:

Oklahoma fan asked to stop fundraiser for Mitchell: Just hours after Oklahoma football recruit Herman Mitchell was shot to death Friday in Houston, Adam Fineberg started raising money for Mitchell’s family. But after raising $4,500, enough to cover almost half the cost of Mitchell’s funeral, Fineberg stopped. An OU compliance officer told him his actions would constitute an NCAA rules violation against the Sooners… That money is considered illegal financial assistance under NCAA rules because Mitchell’s brother is a sophomore fullback at Westfield High School in Spring, Texas, and because Fineberg is an OU fan who attends Sooner football games and solicited donations through an OU fan Web site… OU spokesman Kenny Mossman said the an official with the university’s compliance office contacted Fineberg on Monday asking to him halt his fundraising efforts until the OU received a rules interpretation from the NCAA. That interpretation came Tuesday. “This is not a permissible expense for OU or someone who could be construed as an OU supporter,” said Mossman, an associate athletic director for communications. “We’re not trying to be the bad guys, but we have to play by their rules.”

So Fineberg was left with no alternative but to return all of the donations, which he did Wednesday morning.

Later on Wednesday, Oklahoma University filed a request for a waiver with the NCAA to allow the university to collect funds for Herman Mitchell’s family.  “We will look at their waiver request quickly and very seriously,” NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said on Wednesday.  Under the terms of the proposed waiver, any funds raised in excess of Mitchell’s funeral costs would be given to a charity to be designated by the Mitchell family.

I applaud Fineberg for his compassion, intent, and damned fine job.  Mitchell’s family lives very modestly and not by choice, and gone forever is their dream of watching their son and brother achieve the greatness for which he was undeniably headed.

Houstonians have now established a local site for donations, free from any strings the NCAA could possibly attach:

Herman Mitchell Memorial Fund
c/o InvesTex Credit Union
230 Cypresswood Drive, Suite H
Spring, TX 77388.

The fund is wholly legit.  Please call the credit union at 281-449-0109, or Toll Free at 1-866-449-0109 to confirm how your donations are tax-deductible, or for any other questions you may have. 

I found a heart-felt tribute to Herman by Hubert Wilson (I presume to be on of Mitchell’s friends) on ILovePoetry.com:

The Promise of Herman Mitchell

Coveted greatness denied.
Rarest talent all had eyed.
Incredible fleet Mercury of the gridiron seemed to glide.
Moving elusively from side to side.
Stunned opponents could not decide.
Often to no avail as they ineptly tried.
No real answers for number eleven were deftly applied.

August Texas afternoon saw this seventeen year old’s gift brushed aside.
Nefarious heated argument and pride.
Damned families to sad events eternally tied.

Countless unfortunates more than cried.
Racking their very souls.
Evaporating hope deep down inside.
Agony far and wide.
Many dreams in that gloomy humid parking lot also died?

Mitchell’s friends, teammates, coaches and family remember him in a candlelight vigil Sunday evening.

The family has announced Visitation services to be held Friday, August 31, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Integrated Baptist Church, located at 4910 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Houston (77021).  Funeral services will be held Saturday, September 1, at 11 a.m. at the Windsor Village United Methodist Church, located at 6000 Heather Brook Drive in Houston (77085).