Category Archives: Terrorism

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.

¿Cómo se Dice, "Grand Flop" ? ? ?

Strike up one huge success for American citizens and their ability to rise up en masse against acts of amazing government stupidity.   This has been a grassroots accomplishment to remember long into the future.

This entire bloated package that was Senate Bill 1639, and all the Kennedyesque bloviations surrounding it since it’s back-room birth, have finally come to an end with the bill’s death by a generous 14 votes at 46-53. (Cloture needed 60 votes to succeed.)

Indeed, “something wicked this way” came.    

Throughout the past week, I have wondered long and hard what incentives, what promises were offered in the Senate’s cloakroom that would persuade so many senators to abdicate their constituencies and support this bill about which they knew nothing?  Why would they deny the exceptionally vocal will of American citizens against this immigration albatross that had no chance of ever becoming law?  We will never know.  But some senators clearly resented having their promised amendments killed and helped us end this miserable fiasco.

So much rhetoric has gotten under my skin on this matter.  I was disgusted by so many repeated condescending claims by senators like Teddy Kennedy, John McCain, Diane Feinstein, Lindsey Graham, Arlen Specter and Jon Kyl that American citizens don’t understand this bill, don’t understand what it will do, don’t understand how vital this bill is to our national security.

Actually we did.  We clearly understood how much more a threat to our national security this bill delivered, how much a $2.6 Trillion rake from our pocketbooks would hurt as we would be forced to pay for and support such an overwhelming amnesty, how immoral it was through this bill to exonerate employers for hiring illegal aliens, forgive their flagrant tax frauds over the last two decades, and remove prosecution and fines from their futures, and how this bill would destroy all immigration enforcement and ensnarl our courts for decades

Those are merely some of the reasons why American citizens threw such a frenetic fit.  Another was the sense of betrayal shared by our citizenry, their unprecedented cynicism and complete loss of confidence in Congress.  Adding gas to the fire was the manner in which this bill was being rammed through and manipulated on the Senate floor.

This bill reeked of politics as usual in Washington, another spawn of the bureaucratic morass we put in power to act on our behalf, but never does.  Pounds upon pounds of pages promising  an empty moon and guaranteeing a free ride to 12-20 million criminals that Democrats had hoped to snare in their voter ranks.

The bill was so large and comprehensive, but relied upon our government’s ability to administer fifty times more than it is already incapable of doing.  It was based upon an issue of such huge importance to our nation, but was created amidst unprecedented secrecy.  The bill was deliberately prevented from being reviewed in committee and Senators were never given an opportunity to read it or its amendments to learn all that they held.  It was shoved through the voting process with such determined expedience in absolute defiance of anything any of us learned in civics.  It angered nearly 80% of the American citizenry on all conceivable sides of the issue.  In the last hour before the bill died, the Capital Hill switchboard literally crashed from sheer volume of calls coming in.  “Not since the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, several Senate aides said, have the lines been so jammed by a single issue.”

This bill was a Grand Embarrassment.

Sen. Jeff Sessions summed my personal disgust with some of his colleagues perfectly yesterday at the close of the day. 

“Let’s acknowledge that independent experts say this bill will not work, not just some radio talk show host.  Independent EXPERTS say this won’t work.  And I would just observe that radio talk show hosts know more about the bill than most Senators, if you want to know the truth.” 

When the burial dust settles on this “Grand Compromise” version of immigration reform, it will become one of the final coffin nails for President Bush, who has staked the latter days of his administration on pure folly that could not possibly have worked.  In the process, he burned what residual support he had left among fellow Republicans.  This Grand Flop will also signal the end of the presidential candidacies of Sam Brownback and John McCain, that latter being noticeably absent in all of these proceedings.  

I imagine Sen. Harry Reid was in a rather foul mood when he returned home last night having been stymied on a procedural shutdown in bitter irony.  Perhaps he was dosed some poetic justice for writing a brand new page in the history of our US Senate by invoking the “clay pigeon” procedure to begin with, an archaic and never used tactic that allowed Reid to personally handpick the 27 amendments to this bill and deny any other amendments be offered.  It is a power limited only to his position as Senate Majority Leader and one that no such person before him has ever attempted, because no one before Reid wanted to stifle our democratic process upon which our country has stood proud.

Our nation desperately needs to do something to curb the flagrant illegal immigration that has been drowning us all over the last two decades and yes, offer a path to citizenship, but not amnesty that slaps the face of the millions of people who have come here legally and followed the rules.  If we’ve learned anything at all since Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, it is that amnesty is not the solution. That legislation only opened the door and invited millions more who hoped to holdout for the same good fortune.  

Reid’s clay-pigeon strategy was to kill every single amendment that would have removed amnesty and put any teeth whatsoever into this albatross, such as the Hutchison touch-back amendment and one offered by Webb to offer citizenship only to those illegals who have been here for four years or more.  So question no longer how much so many senators were willing to risk of our sovereignty and safety to gain a wealth of Hispanic voters into their coffers.

So now what?  I am very much a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and am in good company.  Our nation’s leaders cannot abdicate their responsibility simply because this bill has failed.  They still have their work to do.   Ed Morrissey has some good suggestions at his Captain’s Quarter’s blog and I cannot underscore how much I agree with this bit of advice he offers Congress:

“The problems of immigration did not disappear with the failure of the cloture vote a few moments ago. Congress needs to act to resolve them — but they need to do so in a manner that respects the processes of representative democracy, and in a manner that builds the confidence of Americans rather than fuel their cynicism.”

Washington has been begging for this backlash for years.  I am proud to have taken part in the day when America finally had its fill of chronic empty promises made during campaigns and, more dastardly, the refusal of those whom we elected as our President to respect and enforce the laws of our land.

The moral of this story is one of power-mongering, worthless talk, greed and absolute arrogance in our government placed soundly in check by a usually silent Middle America.  They rose in screaming defiance to remind all that our government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  And by “people,” we mean legal citizens — all others should have no rights whatsoever.

The uprising was never about immigration.  It was about the American Dream that American citizens still believe in and try to achieve, and which amnesty for 12-20 million illegal immigration cheaters would have completely destroyed.  It was about two decades of Washington betrayal and citizens rallying to end an attempt to bring this nation to its demise by many of its very own leaders.

It was always about the unfunded border.  Now go get off of your governmental arses, get your priorities in order, fund the program and build the fence like you promised.  THEN and only then will we all be happy to discuss creating a pathway to citizenship, and one without amnesty.

PS:  Brace yourselves for the next fight:  The Democrats are going to fight tooth and nail to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, since no liberal talk radio program can seem to stay in business and especially after witnessing conservative talk radio’s indefatigable contributions to this bill’s defeat.

Is America Prepared for Disaster? Are You?

Boys and girls, I’ll warn you now:  this is a LONG missive and best read with a few drams of some good single malt scotch in hand.  The question that I would ask all of you to ask yourselves is this:  Who is responsible for your family’s safety in a time of crisis?  The government?  Or does your sincere and actual survivability in any given critical situation ultimately rest in your own hands?

For the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what would happen, how life as we know it would be compromised when America is faced with another large-scale disaster.  Just what in our national disaster preparedness has improved since September 11th and Katrina?   And, more importantly, just how prepared are we to deal with various crises in the time it would take our government to resolve them and return order amidst the chaos?

Let us presume Rosie O’Donnell is right and those radical Jihadists are actually really wonderful people, family-oriented, and bereft of any hatred toward America.  Let’s presume that terrorism will never against strike this land, despite threats released this week vowing “you and your people will- Allah willing- experience things which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11th, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Virginia Tech.”

Let us presume that we will never again experience the week-long grounding of air flights in the US, moreover the absolute chaos (however exceptionally well handled by NYC and the Pentagon) in thousands and thousands of people walking out of Manhattan to safety, those stranded for many, many hours waiting to cross into Jersey home turf by ferry, the massive enduring power outages, and the long weeks before “normalcy” was even envisioned on the horizon to everyday life across the Northeast.

Actually, can we ever be “normal” after September 11th?  I don’t think so.  But it sure stuns me to read of and even talk to people who seem to have forgotten its incredible impact upon those who survived.

Let us also presume that the newest form of warfare, called “cyber terrorism,” can’t happen to the US as is happening right now in Estonia.  Right now, their entire Internet system is overwhelmed by an avalanche of spam that has totally disabled their exclusively online government (that means banking, government operations, no emails to Mom, etc.).  Estonia says the attacks began after they moved a Soviet war memorial that the Kremlin condemned them for doing.   Even NATO has sent a cyber terrorism expert to help them end the barrage, but doubts the villains will be uncovered since cyber attacks are virtually untraceable. 

Hmmm…  Heaven knows we’ve seen a LOT of instances where spam and trojans have crashed vital computer networks in this country in the last decade.  Russia was even blamed for a couple and are renown for having a large community of hackers and virus writers, yet they are in very good company with hackers and virus writers worldwide, especially in Asia.  Could it happen again in the US?  Could it happen on an even larger scale than before?  Could this be one of the options Little Johnny Jihad has in mind?

We face more than terrorism attacks as American citizens.

Natural disasters with large human casualties are not a question of “if,” but “when.”  Our country’s history is full of them, as related in this incomplete listing on Wikipedia.  Earthquakes in abundance in California and hurricanes like Camille, Andrew and Katrina are but a few and frequent.

Geologists know it’s just a matter of time before another 9.0 earthquake hits somewhere between California and Canada.  While the shaking would be catastrophic around its epicenter (or hypocenter), it’s biggest threat to human survival would be from the tsunami that would come from the coastal fault line that is seismically identical to the one in Indonesia that killed 200,000 people on December 26, 2004.  Remind yourself about the devastation that impacted more than a million people and that took months and months to return even a shred of normalcy to their region.  Doctors Without Borders mobilized large teams of healthcare workers from across the globe and arrived in Banda Aceh, Indonesia two days after the massive earthquake there and to help tsunami victims in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.  They have maintained an historical account of all of their updates from the time of their arrival to date and I encourage you to read liberally and remind yourself of the devastation and ensuing disease outbreaks when there was no food and no water for weeks amidst decaying bodies both human and animal.

What if a similar tsunami hit Los Angeles or San Francisco?  How long would it take to evacuate a couple of million or more people who speak 100 different languages?  This area, with its extreme seismic volatility, is one of the mostly densely populated regions in our country.  The New York times speculated on this very subject after public chaos during Hurricane Rita and Katrina that made a mockery of evacuation plans in New Orleans and South Texas that had people stuck in unprecedented traffic jams on escape highways and interstates so long their cars ran completely out of gas.

Just how better prepared are our cities in a post-911 and post-Katrina world to handle mass evacuations and tend to their residents in the midst of and after a crisis?  How long does it take to evacuate each of the many vulnerable cities countrywide that have exploded in growth in the last decade?   Do the warning triggers provide enough time to escape?

Remember 1999’s Hurricane Floyd?  It tracked all the way to New York causing flooding of historic proportions all along its track, killing power for days to 400,000 people in North Carolina alone and contaminating every source of drinking water.  The flooding of the EDS Data Center in New Jersey brought ATMs to their nonfunctional knees all the way into South Florida and caused long outages at ATMs across the country. 

In the May 30 Washington Post, columnist Brian Jackson penned a eye-opening read examining if America is prepared for disaster after we taxpayers have remitted billions in funds since September 11th to make America more secure.  Just what improvements have been truly realized?  Mr. Jackson, by the way, is the Associate Director of the Homeland Security Research Program at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization that has been keeping track of such issues since around World War II.  I find his conclusions as to our state of national preparedness to be exceptionally bleak.

Wake up, folks.  Our own President dramatically revised existing Federal disaster response plans on May 9, 2007 in the National Security and Presidential Directive No. 51 that now gives his office the absolute authority to direct operations in the event of a national emergency.  In short, this directive shows that citizens had better be prepared to take care of themselves until the government brings things back under control…and that just might take a while.

We face more than terrorism attacks and natural disasters.  We face infectious disease outbreaks.

You’ve heard by now of the Atlanta, Georgia personal injury attorney infected with exceptionally drug-resistant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB), who didn’t want to miss his long-planned Greek wedding and honeymoon in Italy over a little ole epidemically potential disease and exposed about 900 people on TWO trans-Atlantic planes and their crews.  You might find that early account, while Andrew Speaker was still anonymous, to be interesting.  A lot of information has surfaced since, not the least of which has been the revelation of just how infectious this disease is, despite the initial downplay by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the gullible media.  Good grief:  we even now know Andrew Speaker’s brand new father-in-law is a microbiologist for the CDC and works prominently in its Tuberculosis Laboratory.

I know that Speaker did NOT contract tuberculosis from his father-in-law’s research.  How ridiculous!  Those labs are more secure than the Federal Reserve and lead the technological world in safety measures and precautions.  But I would sure like to know whether Dr. Cooksey knew himself of Speaker’s infection.  Don’t you think a leading microbiologist in the field of Tuberculosis research would place a few precautions in the marriage of his precious daughter to a man infected with XDR-TB?  And, at the very least, don’t you think he would do everything he could to prevent travel, knowing more than anyone else the transmission dangers of same?

Trust me when I say the CDC and the media was initially playing down the danger this fellow placed his fellow travelers in and, in a few days, they will probably do the same to calm a disquieted public.  This man knew he was infectious and deliberately traveled internationally through five nations over a period of about two weeks.   Now you will soon see (or maybe it won’t be that visible) the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) going nuts trying to track down every single person on these flights for testing…and then trying to track down the other innocent folks who just happened to come in contact with each of them.  This man has caused huge problems for several nations and the medical undertaking to try and contain these exposures will be equally huge. 

By the way, you and I and those folks from France, Greece, Italy, Czechoslovakia and Canada will be paying the bill for much of this man’s unbelievable arrogance.  Talk about your personal injuries!

TB is very virulent and saying this man “was not highly infectious” is an oxymoron and a talking point diluted to prevent hysteria in the public.  TB is extremely infectious and the number one killer worldwide.  Period.  And it can take up to two months after exposure before a person will test positive on a PPD.  In the interim, prior to onset of symptoms, said positive person can be very infectious.  On one day, their sputum tests will show little, if any bacterium, while the next day the bacterium counts are off the charts. 

So, you can see that this is an exposure of potential epidemic proportions and will increase exponentially because no one is going to quarantine everyone on these two planes for the next couple of months before their resistance to TB is conclusively determined.  Fortunately, only about 10% of people exposed to TB develop the disease.  That’s the general statistic you’ll hear cited often now.  The reality of just how many people on these two flights come down with TB will be determined by their own personal level of health, any immune deficiencies they may have and certainly their age — children under 10 and adults over 60 are especially vulnerable.  So are diabetics.  The most vulnerable of all are AIDS patients.

This story absolutely underscores how vulnerable we humans are from a medical standpoint, and certainly as a world from a security standpoint.  When the CDC and WHO finally caught up with this man ten days after his arrival in Europe and traipsing across several countries to (finally) Italy and he faced mandated quarantine there, he and his bride skipped town as quickly as their feet would carry them, boarded a Czech plane in Prague, flew to Montreal, Canada and re-entered the US by car…to EVADE capture by those who would prevent his infecting others.  Regardless that his passport was flagged as a “No-Fly,” he skated right through every checkpoint along the way unimpeded.  Here’s a little light reading on the matter from the International Society for Infectious Diseases relating a lot of information on this fellow and his XDR-TB.

Here was a fellow clearly identified with an extremely dangerous and infectious disease by the CDC, who alerted Homeland Security, who alerted US Customs and beyond and no one during his entire European Vacation stopped him once.  Not the border crossings, not Customs, not the airlines.  In fact, when Mr. and Mrs. Speaker re-entered the US in Champlain, NY, the scan of his passport triggered an alarm and clearly revealed to the customs agents that he was highly contagious, to approach him with masks and to DETAIN him until the CDC could arrive.  Believe it or not, the customs agent claims he thought this warning was “discretionary” and, since Speaker didn’t look sick, the agent let them go right through into the US.  They were at the checkpoint for two whole minutes. Said customs agent is presently under administrative leave.  Wow.  My fiance’ wonders if Speaker didn’t have a $500 bill inside his passport when he presented it at the border.

Hopefully, this fellow’s story of amazing arrogance, selfishness and abject stupidity will gain enough air time to wake people up.  By the way, may it also awaken people’s naivete’ in presuming that Tuberculosis is under control.  It isn’t.  Not in the United States, and certainly not anywhere else in the world.

The “likelihood”, not “possibility” of a pandemic is hugely underplayed in our world, despite the myriad of diseases with pandemic potential given the amount of traveling we humans do across the globe.  But the greatest threat of all, from a pandemic stance, remains through a future mutation of influenza.  We’ve all heard of Avian Flu and the diligence required in watching this strain and potential mutations cannot be understated.  On May 29, 2007, the AP released a story about four human cases of bird-type flu discovered during the last week in Great Britain that has Pandemic potential, even though the cases are relatively mild.  Way back in 2005, the National Geographic wrote a piece entitled, World Unprepared for “Bird Flu” Pandemic” that is even more apropos today.

Last, but not least, our own food supply is constantly threatened and which I have written about here and here and even here.  But yesterday’s (May 30th) Wall Street Journal had a wee post on page A7 that had me spitting my coffee across the floor.  The headline reads, “Agriculture Department to Fight Ruling on Mad-Cow Testing.” 

WHAT??

To offer the Cliff Notes to this article not available beyond subscribers, a Kansas-based company called Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows for mad-cow disease so they can truly and safely (from litigation) advertise their beef as “safe.”  Well, the USDA filed suit on the basis that Creekstone could begin a movement toward wide-spread testing that could “lead to a false positive” in the results of said testing.  A federal judge ruled in March of this year that Creekstone could go ahead with their testing of every cow they slaughter for sale to US markets and commended them for their initiative.

But the Bush administration has now vowed to fight this ruling allowing meatpackers to test their cows.  Right now, the USDA tests fewer than 1% of slaughtered animals for mad-cow disease.  Larger meatpacking companies have been complaining and say if Creekstone tests its meat and advertises it as safe, they might be expected to perform the same wide-spread and expensive test, too. 

SHOOT ME NOW!  We have a US meat producer wanting to voluntarily test all of their meat for safety (sharp marketing idea that!), and has fought vigilantly and at great cost in our courts to be able to do so, but our own President is vowing to fight so they can’t??   Just so the other meat producers don’t have to follow suit to remain competitive??? 

What in the blithering Hades is going on?

Okay.  I think I’ve offered enough citations by now to show you some of what deeply concerns me.  Unfortunately (for me especially, pardon the selfishness), I don’t have any solutions to offer that would prevent any of these scenarios from occurring, but I do have a few plans to try and minimize the vulnerability of my own family.  (I’ll get to that in another hour or two…)

Unfortunately, my neighbors haven’t awakened to their own vulnerabilities yet…

We live in a very narcissistic and laissez-faire world.  Most Americans in my neck of the woods live hand-to-mouth, mortgaged up to their receding hairlines, but possessing the latest and greatest of cell phones, wireless home networks, Le Cuisine cookware, Lexicon receivers and Monster Power Conditioners driving their large-screen LCD TVs and home theater systems, and the wives all carry Gucci and Dooney-Bourke purses.  Their daughters wear Prada.  They grow their credit card debts while racking up miles on American Airlines with every purchase, regularly have their dentists bleach their teeth and wouldn’t dream of missing a Botox party.  They’re driving our economy and I say more power to them.

But when the next “not if, but when” strikes, they’re screwed.

These folks don’t even know what Civil Defense Sirens Testing is all about.  Last month, when 80+mph winds and storms hit the Dallas metroplex one evening, the sirens went off and people were “confused” by what the sirens mean. I presume they, like me, hear these sirens being tested at Noon on the first Wednesday of each and every month, but they don’t pay attention.  So, when the sirens wail to alert folks to impending tornadoes and the like, people are “confused.”   I kid you not.   What idiots.

So I have reasonable doubts they they will have cash, flashlights or even food to last them a few days when the lights go out the next time and the ATMs close for business.

If there is any resounding lesson for individuals to learn from Hurricane Katrina — irrespective of the ad nauseam politics — is that people should not, cannot depend upon the government to immediately bail them out and make everything better.  Heck, New Orleans became a model for looting and thuggery for weeks after the city flooded and what few police remained were powerless to defend the residents, moreover the businesses that suffered huge theft losses.  The logistics are simply too great to prevent suffering.  There are some things you just have to take care of yourself.

We can’t escape the world we live in or the Earth we live upon.  Most people in America have been very fortunate in not having to live through earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks or disease outbreaks, instead being able to watch vicariously through media coverage of same.  That doesn’t mean, however, that disasters — both large and small — couldn’t happen to any one of us at any given time. 

There are so many things over which we have no control.  On those, I leave in the hands of God.  But there are many quite simple actions we can take now to help ourselves later and ease, as much as possible, a burden to come.  Doing so doesn’t require breaking the bank either.

From a Murphy’s Law standpoint alone, the best insurance of all against being impacted by a disaster is simply to be as prepared as possible.

1.  Gather the family and designate a place to meet, should disaster strike while everyone is scattered to the four winds.    Every week, repeat the location and plan to each other, over and over, week after week, until it is completely ingrained.  Chances are, your cell phones won’t work if there are large electrical outages or floods.  (Remember Katrina?)

2.  Get a large gym bag and fill it with a good first aid kit, extra ACE bandages, rolls of gauze and Telfa pads, Neosporin, DEET, Advil, Rolaids, a weather/am/fm radio, a couple of flashlights, a battery cellphone charger, an ample supply of various batteries your devices require, a couple of blankets, a couple of rolls of toilet paper, a box of emergency candles, a box of kitchen matches, a bar of soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, a couple of bottles of isopropyl alcohol, a small bottle of bleach, a can opener, a medium-sized plastic bowl, a Leatherman multi-tool, a camping shovel, a container of anti-bacterial wipes, some washcloths and/or hand towels, and a change of jeans, a shirt, socks and underwear.  Have this bag (including anything else your family must have) ready and maintained to use at any given moment.

3. Keep a good first aid kit, a blanket, a flashlight, a can of Fix-A-Flat, jumper cables, and some water in the trunk of your car at all times.

4.  Always keep a couple of cases of bottled water or several gallons of same on hand.  This is ALWAYS the first thing to sell out of and run out of when calamities occur.  Read more from the National Safety Federation on creating, keeping and storing safe drinking water during an emergency.

5.  Get yourself a basic camping propane stove with a few extra cans of propane.  Then you can cook to your heart’s content when the power is out.

6.  Keep extra canned foods on hand.  Buy just one extra can of chili, tuna, soups, vegetables, fruit, etc. each time you go to the grocery store and it won’t be long until you have a nice backup selection.  Also stock up on rice, dried beans, powdered milk and a container of Gatorade/Tang powder.  Keep the rice and beans in Tupperware.  All of these contained foods store long and can save your hide in extended power outages.  Read the USDA’s Food Safety Organization’s Fact Sheet on ensuring and keeping safe foods during an emergency.

7.  Keep some cash on hand.  Store the cash in a home safe, suture it up in a mattress, bury it in a tin beneath the dog bowl, whatever.  But have a couple of hundred or so readily available.  You’ll be glad you did.

8.  Go buy yourself a couple of 5-gallon gas cans right now when the prices are low and availability high.  Then, when you need to, you can fill them up when you fill up your car the next time something happens.

There are a lot of folks out there with additional ideas and a ton of knowledge they could share on the subject of preparedness, and I dearly hope they will here.

I have no qualms admitting that I have always taken anal retentiveness to an unusual level.  As I’ve written before, I have no confidence in the safety of our global food supply found commonly in our neighborhood groceries.  I’m not about to boycott or even do without, but I am trying to be as smart as possible over the foods we eat.  And when I find a means of controlling the quality and purity of my foods…well, I tend to go overboard.

So, right now I am canning my little heart out, as I love to do each Spring through Fall.  Jams and jellies are set aside.  Even homemade peach hooch is under brew.  I will continue to search out truly local sources of vegetables and fruits that will be canned or frozen for use in the winter.  I’ll be using my own canned whole tomatoes and tomato sauces during the cold days ahead and enjoying my own canned or frozen peas, beans, brussels sprouts, corn and a wealth of homemade pickles and relishes.  I will also share a few of them this Christmas in gift baskets.

If that isn’t anal enough, I’ve now set my sites on a nearby grass-only-fed dairy farm that is a certified provider of raw milk.  From that I will make my own butter (which freezes very well) and my own cheeses, that I hope will be tasty.  I’ll let you know how the cheese thing works out…very iffie thing that.

If only I had my own farm…  Of course, then I would learn the hard way just how hard maintaining one really is.  Something tells me milking a goat is about as difficult and dangerous as kayaking in Class III water.

Get prepared, folks, while doing so is cheap and easy.  May you not find out personally that most people won’t.

INS Too Busy to Watch the Fort Dix Six

Here is another reality of our times destined only to become worse in the future ahead:

 

Remember the six men arrested in their foiled terrorism plot to attack Fort Dix, of which three brothers were illegal aliens?  In a post by HotAir, we are informed the INS knew about these three illegals for two decades, but a beauracratic paperwork backlog allowed the entire family to remain here illegally and suspended any effort that could have deported them.

 

My jury remains out on whether a quick decision on the family’s 1989 asylum request would have prevented the near-miss at Fort Dix, since (a) their request could have been granted; or (b) they could have sneaked back over the Brownsville border if deported.  Yet this story undeniably screams at how overburdened our government has become, and especially so the INS.

 

Click here for enlightenment.

 

Gee.  I wonder just how yesterday’s newly proposed “Amnesty Under Another Name” bill, if passed, would further bury the INS?

 

Behold the consequences of  reactive legislation and a congress with a preponderance of members more concerned with re-election than rationality and responsiveness to their electorates.

 

 

The Unspeakable Murders of Channon and Christopher

I can find no words to describe the inconceivable evil that five human beings brought against two young people, one a senior in sociology at the University of Tennessee, at the beginning of this year.  I have struggled to even partially comprehend the level of attrocities, the terror committed, the pain inflicted upon two other human beings.  And I remain stunned in the aftermath of verifing this tragedy is very real.

This is a story that has not hit the mainstream media and would not be noticed at all, if not for the local Knoxville press and the blogosphere at large.  Like me, people across America and beyond are struggling to understand why this story has received practically no coverage when this case sincerely makes the Missouri monster, Michael Devlin, seem like a boy scout in comparison.  And Devlin’s attrocities committed against two young boys will have me cheering if and when he is put to death…if I live so long to see it.

This case is much, much worse across the board.

Is the evil committed in this case too gruesome for media to report?  (Doubtful.)  Is it that murder has become so commonplace today that this attrocity is not even considered “news” in our wholly narcissistic society?  (Perhaps.)  Is it because there was no chase to cover, no developing story to grab our attention, no manifesto sent by these evils to NBC?  (Undoubtedly.)

Could it be that our mainstream media has a specific agenda regarding race and hate crimes, under which this story doesn’t have a place?  Is it that the two murdered young people were white and the five evil monsters who carjacked the couple, gang-raped and sodomized them, mutilated and tortured them so horribly were black thugs…and there is no Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson to find this event reprehensible and scream for justice?  (Inarguably.)

I join a quickly growing host of people who seek answers and absolutely demand that this story be told.  And I ask you to join me in doing the same.  Regardless of one’s opinion as to why this story has not received attention and far beyond the fact that the assailants are black, their hatred of humanity is terrifyingly clear for the world to see through their methods of orchestrating the ends of two innocent, young lives.

May God bless and bring comfort to the families and so many friends of Channon Christian, 21, and 23-year-old Christopher Newsom.

Be clearly warned:  This post is extremely graphic.

On Saturday evening, January 6, 2007, Christopher and Channon left on a date to have dinner and find fun in Knoxville.  At around 12:30 a.m., Channon called her parents and told her father that they were headed to join some friends at one of their houses, but would be home in a couple of hours.

But the couple never made it.  They met the incarnations of evil.

At a location that authorities will not release, Channon and Christopher were carjacked by three black thugs.  They were robbed and beaten, bound, gagged and blindfolded, and taken to a house where a young black woman only 18 years of age, was there waiting to join the party. Once at the house, Christopher was repeatedly sodomized and gang-raped by ALL four and brutally beaten, while Channon was forced to watch and listen to his screams of agony as the evil ones laughed and drooled in their joy.  Then the group turned their sights to Channon and ALL four repeatedly and brutally gang-raped and sodomized her, while Christopher was forced to watch and listen helplessly.

At some point during that Sunday, it was reported the group used a box cutter to castrate Christopher, forcing Channon to watch this unbearable torture.  Then he was shot three times.  At some point, Christopher was soaked with gasoline and set afire, but I can find no credible information as to when or where.  Christopher was wrapped up in bedsheets and/or a comfortor and taken away by one of the thugs to be dumped nearby.  Police have clearly stated their belief that Christopher was dead by nightfall.

Meanwhile, the remaining four continued to rape, beat, sodomize and urinate upon Channon repeatedly, and they did so throughout Sunday and late into the night before Monday’s dawn.  They sprayed a household disenfectant into her mouth and other orifices – not to poison or kill her, but to try and destroy their DNA evidence.  The evils used the same box cutter to completely sever one of her breasts, apparently while she was still alive.  She may have been strangled and she was certainly set afire.  Then Channon was completely dismembered, her body parts thrown into trash bags.

And the incarnates of evil scattered to the four winds.

When Channon and Christopher failed to return home that Sunday morning, nor could either be reached by cell phone overnight, their frantic parents notified Knoxville police and a large scale search ensued across the area.Shortly after Noon that Sunday, Christopher’s body was found by a railroad worker wrapped in “a sheet or a comfortor,” laying where it had been thrown alongside some railroad tracks on the seedy east side of town.  His body had been mutilated and beaten mercilessly, he had been bound with rope or bootlaces, shot three times, and his body had been badly burned using an accellerant.

When Channon could not be found overnight, a search warrant was issued to her cell phone provider and they were finally able to trace her phone signal to the nearest tower by the end of the day.  Her family and police found her abandoned vehicle  late Monday only about two blocks away from where Christopher’s body was found and, by the way, about two blocks from where their tortures and murders had been committed.From the vehicle, forensic teams were able to lift a fingerprint that was a perfect match for one Lamaricus Devall Davidson, a local thug who was released in August 2006 after serving time in the state penitentiary for multiple convictions on aggravated robbery and carjacking from Madison County.

On Tuesday mid-afternoon, Police swarmed Davidson’s residence of record, a rental home he shared with his half-brother Letalvis Cobbins and Cobbins’ live-in lover, Valerie Coleman, 18.  Cobbins is also a convicted felon.  He was convicted on felonious third-degree attempted robbery in Queens County, New York in 2003, although I cannot ascertain if he ever spent any time behind bars.Police found no one inside the house and the front door was open.  What they did find was an unrecognizable body that had been brutalized, mutilated, dismembered and contained within five separate trash bags stuffed into a large trash can in the kitchen.  The Knox County ME later identified the body as Channon Christian.

Police now began a search for Davidson and Cobbins, whom they described as “persons of interest.”

On Thursday morning, county, state and federal authorities tracked down Cobbins and George Thomas hiding out at a friend’s home in Lebanon, Kentucky.  Later that afternoon, police tracked down Davidson hiding out in a vacant house in the Mechanicsville area.  When police apprehended him, he began crying uncontrollably, according to a statement made by the Knox County DA.

In two separate searches of the residence (before and after Davidson’s arrest), police seized a ton of inflamatory evidence in addition to the loaded .22 pistol police recovered from Davidson’s person and a .9mm taken from Cobbins at the time of their arrests.  There was a .30 caliber rifle, two empty boxes of .22 ammo, a few empty .22 casings, a 9mm magazine (with Cobbins’ fingerprints), loose .22 and .38 Special bullets, gasoline- and blood-soaked clothing, blankets and clothing fragments, hair, socks, shoes, a gun cleaning kit, several cell phones, a silver I-Pod, a near empty spray bottle of household disinfectant, two red gas cans, and a plastic bag with more hair and socks…to name merely a few of the police evidence listings.

Soon after the initial three arrests, police began chatting with Vanessa Coleman, Cobbins’ live-in and mother of his two young children.  Coleman was discovered when police raided the Lebanon, KY house to find Cobbins and Thomas.  Considered a witness at first, she described to police what had happened in the house and that she had seen some of the attrocities.  As is now known, she was a very active participant every step of the way of  Channon’s and Christopher’s torture and demise.

Coleman was finally arrested in early February in Lebanon, Kentucky and fought extradition back to Tennessee for weeks.  She’s there now, though.  Unlike the other thugs, Coleman (also indigent) managed to secure representation by a private attorney, although people cannot conceive of who is paying what will be her huge legal tab.  All of the attorneys are certified as being qualified to represent death penalty cases.

Meanwhile, back at the jail, Davidson, Cobbins and Thomas all coughed up blame on each other after their arrests, and Davidson provided the name of  a fourth man, Eric Boyd.  It was Boyd, they said, who had taken Christopher’s dead body away.  Boyd was the worst one of all, they all declared.  Boyd was soon picked up, as well.

To make a long and potentially confusing legal story short, there are federal and state crimes cited in this matter.  Davidson, Cobbins and Thomas each face 46 charges from the Knox County Grand Jury of premeditated murder, kidnapping, rape, robbery and theft.  Vanessa Coleman also faces 40 charges from Knox County of premeditated murder, kidnapping, rape, robbery and theft.  There are also weapons charges involved, since Davidson and Cobbins were felons.

As you will see if you view the indictment linked below and review these statutes, these charges are vague and wide and, as such, will give a jury a great deal of room with which to convict these monsters.

Federal carjacking charges were also filed against Davidson, Cobbins and Thomas, although those charges were withdrawn.  In my opinion, the reason for this is so that the state may go forward on their case and, in the event the jury fails to serve sound judgement or deliver significant sentences, the feds can then reinstate their charges under a separate trial.  And the fed charges carry very hefty mandatory sentences.

Eric Boyd, a convicted serial robber and fellow felon, was No Billed by Knox County on all the counts levied against his thug pals, but has been indicted by the Federal Grand Jury as an accessory after the fact.  This thug was contacted by Davidson during the wee hours of Monday morning, who described to Boyd the carjacking, tortures and murders at his house.  Boyd helped Davidson to escape the area later that evening.  Boyd let Davidson make a myriad of phone calls from his own cell phone and helped him break into the vacant house on Reynolds Street in the Mechanicsville neighborhood, where police later apprehended Davidson and the .22 pistol he was carrying.

The level of complete depravity of these five is horrific in itself and, at very least of the issues involved, is that this case provides a clear snapshot of the level to which our society has plunged.

Monsters walk among us.

A hearing on various pretrial motions in the cases of Davidson, Cobbins and Thomas and Coleman is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, May 17 in Knoxville.

—————————————-

 First and foremost, I entreat you to watch a loving and amazing benediction created by a friend of Channon Christian at YouTube.  See For Channon Christian. This is the original video posted to YouTube on January 9th by FarragutAlumni. Channon was a Farragut High grad.

For more information, and the most astounding amount of police records made public in my memory, see the following links:  Read the state’s Indictment against Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas and Coleman.

Here are the police Search Warrants and Seized Evidence List. 

From the Knoxville News Sentinel comes This informative article. Be certain to check the right margins where a ton of information waits, including the Federal complaints filed by BATF and US Marshal agents against Davidson, Cobbins, Boyd and Thomas.

From Tightrope comes This article detailing the charges and possible sentences. 

From Mark Alexander comes this compelling article regarding race issues in Murder in Black and White. I cannot possible agree more with Mr. Alexander’s assertion, “This appalling attack is more than a case study in sociopathic evil. It is also a case study in journalistic malpractice.”  And I wholly embrace the entirety of his posting, as well.

This from Newsbusters on The National Media’s Refusal to Cover White Couple’s Murder Suggests PC at Work. 

From Wake Up America comes this heartfelt and poignant account in A Call to Justice.  (You will need to scroll down to find the article that is the second one on this page.)

And for those who, like me, find this gruesome account wholly inconceivable, Snopes has their own verification of the facts in their reporting of Newsom/Christian Murders.

UPDATE:   5:00 p.m.  Large-scale word is now getting out.  Michelle Malkin speaks about this murder and the media’s reprehensible ignorance of the story in this week’s VENT segment. Click on the video screen twice to begin.

UPDATE:  May 18th at 11:30 a.m.  Fox News’ Bill Hemmer aired a report on the murders on his BYA (Because You Asked) segment this morning.  While it was a cleaned-up account, it nevertheless hit the topics of possible reverse racial bias and questioned the nature of the murders as a hate crime.  In a carefully worded sentence, he also eluded to the torture these young people endured.  HotAir has a link to the Fox story Here.   I have no doubt the “You” in BYA was primarily Michelle Malkin, in addition to the likely hundreds of emails they’ve been receiving lately.

UPDATE:  May 19th at 9:45 a.m.  More charges have been added to the list for Lamaricus Davidson.  It seems that killing Channon and Christopher wasn’t enough to sate the evil needs of this thug.  On the day Christopher’s body was discovered, Davidson robbed a local Pizza Hut at gunpoint and tried to steal a woman’s purse.  Six new charges of aggravated robbery, attempted robbery, aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon (by a felon) will not be tried with the murder case that is set to begin next year.  See WVLT’s coverage of these new charges Here.

3 of Fort Dix 6 Sneaked Over the Texas-Mexico Border

Need a little more reassurance as to why our spineless Congress and obstinate President should immediately seal the US-Mexico Border for good?  And post-haste?

Read this from Michelle Malkin.  The three illegal alien brothers, who were part of the six Jihadists targeting Fort Dix until they were busted a couple of nights ago, apparently sneaked over the border near Brownsville, TX in the early 1980s….  Gee!  Do you think maybe there are a few more hiding out just like these fine fellows?

http://www.michellemalkin.com/mt/oct05-tb.cgi/6826

James Pinkerton has written another well-done of his summaries on the subject.  His money quote of the day:  “And, since we have just been reminded yet again that illegal aliens can be terrorists, we should ask a further question: Do we really have to wait for an A-bomb to go off in a U.S. city before we get curious as to who is in our midst?”

Full link to Pinkerton:  http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-oppin105206058may10,0,3060585.column?coll=ny-viewpoints-headlines\n
Another nail in the Amnesty Coffin….  This merely underscores my belief that we can all kiss what was our own safe childhoods goodbye for our progeny.  At least I have a personal memory of what life was like growing up in America before you had to lock your doors at night.

Further, were there actually TEN people involved in the failed terorism plot against Fort Dix?  The FBI thinks so.

Read this story and weap:  http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200705/NAT20070510c.html

America’s Slow Death by Food Poisoning

In my perfect world (or what I would do if I won the lottery), I would buy the most fertile, unspoiled block of acreage far away from the city I could find and upon it, I would build a farm.  I would raise my own cattle and sheep and goats and poultry, and grow my own fruits and vegetables.  I would make my own sausages and cheeses.  I would pay family-sustaining wages to legal Americans to help me harvest and can my vegetable and fruit bounties. And I would share with them part of all of our labors, a food bonus, if you will.

 

This has been my greatest dream for as long as I can remember, and I am certain the real reason why I so love canning the foods I find at roadside stands and farmer’s markets every Spring, Summer and Fall.  And never has this lifestyle of self-sufficiency seemed a necessity to survival more so than today.

 

This year alone has brought us staggering harm to our beloved pets and story after story showing how vulnerable our own food supply really is.  We found that China was using melamine to fraudulently up the protein content of wheat flour used in pet food and that very additive that the US bought in untold tonnage was the lethal ingredient that has killed thousands of dogs and cats.  Next came the information that unused and contaminated pet food was sold to hog and chicken farmers.  Yet the FDA and USDA has told Americans that the risk of food contamination is “low.”  They presume so because their stats show Americans eat less pork than other meats.  They deliberately evade the subject of poultry and egg consumption.    Testing of the chemical’s entry into our actual food supply has NOT even been conducted…although news last week carries the intent that the FDA soon will.

 

Just today, May 8th, comes the story that melamine has also contaminated farm-raised fish.  Read about that here:  http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/050907dnnatfishcontaminated.1870f24.html 

 

Believe it or not, once upon a time prior to the huge food globalization push of 2000, America produced its own wheat gluten.  Then, after the globalization treaty, China came in and undercut American producers to the quick.  Out of the four firms churning out wholesome wheat gluten at the beginning of 2000, only two survive.  Today, the remaining two are below 20% capacity in their output, because they can’t compete with China’s slave-labor-driven low prices.  And those are not so low after all when you consider the amount of poisoning they are bringing.  Read more here:  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/4775769.html 

 

Over this past weekend, the NY Times offered a lengthy tome about China and its fraudulent substitution of diethyline-glycol for glycerin, an extremely common ingredient in just about every medication sold over and behind the pharmacy counter, and is found in every bottle of makeup, every lipstick, every brand of toothpaste, every soap – liquid or solid – every hand and/or body lotion, and just about every single hair care product.

 

Read the NY Times’ “From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine” here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/world/06poison.html?ex=1179115200&en=6981a88b468e38b2&ei=5070&emc=eta1 

 

Let us not overlook Bovine Spongiform Encephaly, or “Mad Cow Disease.”  It is widely held that Economics caused this one, by ranchers switching from more expensive soya bean meal protein supplement to animal by-products.   Before Mad Cow arrived on the world stage, the FDA turned a blind eye to the worldwide practice of using meat and bone meal, produced from the ground and cooked left-overs of the slaughtering process as well as from the cadavers of sick and injured animals such as cattle, sheep, or chickens, as a protein supplement in cattle.  Evolution took it from there.  And there is huge evidence of this cattle disease tracing through our beef supplies worldwide to a new form of a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, among other woes.  Americans seem to ignore that our beef alone and for years contains large quantities of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, fertilizers and chemical proteins.

 

Vegetables have also taken center stage in recent months as our spinach and lettuce crops were tainted with E. Colli.  Tomatoes and mushrooms have also very recently become victims.   More recently was Peter Pan’s devastating battle with salmonella, something we once thought only tainted uncooked chicken and pork.  And to top it off, the FDA knew about the E. Colli and salmonella plagues at Peter Pan and
California’s
Salinas Valley (major source of US-grown leaf vegetables) for YEARS before the recent outbreaks.  Read here:  http://www.drudge.com/news/93626/fda-knew-years-potential-problems 

 

Need more information?  Read this article from the Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/22/AR2007042201551.html 

 

I am absolutely incensed that our vegetables and non-meat food suppliers and producers are assumed to police themselves with practically no oversight.  Meat, at least, is judiciously inspected…but not the additives that are fed to the stock.

 

And just yesterday – underscoring why I have always refused to use microwave popcorn is this story about how fumes emitted from a chemical additive that gives the popcorn its butter “flavor” is causing debilitating, irreversible pulmonary disease:  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/us/06butter.html?em&ex=1178596800&en=a40b9580fc2767ce&ei=5087%0A 

 

Wait, there’s more!  Far beyond the mercury known to ruin shellfish freely sold in our markets, Chinese-supplied catfish sold in four Mississippi grocery stores were found contaminated by an antibiotic banned by the FDA.  As if Mississippi really needs to supplement its own healthy supplies of catfish?  It’s all in the money.  Chinese catfish is cheaper to buy than homegrown.  Read about the tainted fish here:  http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070503/NEWS/705030390 

 

And did you hear the one about the FDA recall last month on imported olives because of the potential for causing botulism?  http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01608.html 

 

In March, the FDA recalled millions of bottles of water shipped to California under at least five brand names from Armenia for containing arsenic.  http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01594.html 

 

Also in March, the entire baby food line produced for HEB Grocery stores (largest independent chain in
Texas) was “voluntarily recalled” since particles of GLASS were found by consumers in some jars. 
http://www.heb.com/aboutHEB/media-PR-BabyFoodRecall.jsp  Heaven knows, infant formulas are also not immune from troubles, certainly including the recalls for improperly sealed containers, or containers found with itsy-bitsy pieces of black plastic nestled amidst the powder.    How about this story from the FDA regarding their recall of a Mead-Johnson formula found to have bit of METAL within some of the containers!  http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01323.html 

 

I am amazed at my own naiveté in assuming any of the food I buy is safe, and the relative few examples I cite above are sincerely only the tip of a monstrous iceberg.  Who would ever think third-world food woes would infect the United States in this day of Whole Foods and Central Market?  But the plagues are long here and increasing exponentially.  What happened?  Globalization, supply and demand, and simple economics are the three culprits off the top of my mind.  And, in short, we are each to blame.

 

For me, I’m digging into basics as I have never done before.  For years I have bought vegetables at farmer’s markets and enjoyed canning with a frenzy.   I make my own jams, jellies, pickles, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, salsa and put away short tons of properly canned beans, peas, squash, Brussels sprouts, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and peppers.  Heck, I even make my own candies and home-grown hooch!  We give a lot of these items away in Christmas baskets to clients, who LOVE them and always ask for more and more.  Now the hobby has clearly become a necessity.

 

We allowed our government to kill off most of the local farmers to our various areas and now is the time to bring them back.  I strongly encourage you to support them with everything you can and spare yourselves as many chemicals and poisons as is humanly possible.  And if you decide to can, like I have, for GOD’s SAKE, please learn how to do it safely!  It doesn’t require rocket science and is actually easy to do, but there are strict rules to follow so you don’t poison yourselves and loved ones.  See your local County Extension site for invaluable information.

 

And when I say support your local farmers, I am NOT including the hoards that show up in droves bringing vegetables from Mexico!  Get to know your farmers.  Talk to them.  And grab your kids and drive up to their place to help them pick.  It’s a great family outing…and how I end up with the best Wise
County peaches and blackberries every year.

 

As I always say, it’s good to be old enough to know how to keep going when the lights go out.  I encourage you to do the same.  Your family’s safety may well depend upon it.