Headline Writers Call – or the Reporter’s
A federal prosecutor friend wrote me recently and attached a news article with the headline, “Decision Time for FBI on Clinton.”
“Why does the media say stuff like this?” he asked. “The FBI has no say in this or any investigation.” And he went on to muse about how reporters just don’t seem to understand that the only entity that can make a “decision” on whether to indict Hillary Clinton for the way she (mis)handled her State Department e-mails is the office of the U.S. Attorney General.
He’s right. The the final decision is up to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. With that said, I figure it is time to talk about the elephant in the room. Elephant, is thy name partisan politics? [click to continue…]
Now More Gun Suicides Than Gun Homicides
Thank goodness there have been no headline grabbing mass shootings in America recently.
I was thinking about that this week after reading about the 17th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot dead 12 of their fellow students, one teacher and injured many others in a senseless bloodbath at their Colorado high school.
Let’s hope this lull in school/office/theater shootings continues. Yet, sadly, it is surely temporary given that in the United States there are as many 310 million guns in civilian hands. [click to continue…]
Hastert was Speaker of the House until 2007
Later this month one of the most powerful men ever to have served in the U.S. House of Representatives will face a federal judge to learn his fate. Dennis Hastert has pleaded guilty to evading U.S. banking laws, illegally structuring payouts to conceal other crimes and lying to the FBI. But that’s only a small part of his sordid story.
It’s a textbook case of why critics are able to say there is one system of justice for the rich and connected and quite another for the rest of us. It’s also another condemnation of our statute of limitations laws that say suspects can’t be tried for certain crimes if too much time has passed. [click to continue…]
Concussions and Kids – A Dangerous Mix
It was the admission that made every parent of every kid who wants to play football gasp.
The question from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky was simple. “Do you think there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE?”
The answer, from no less than the National Football League’s senior vice president for health and safety, Jeff Miller: “The answer to that question is certainly yes.”
Wow. Now, it doesn’t take an Einstein to know that repeated, solid blows to a person’s head will cause problems. [click to continue…]
The Aftermath of the Brussels Attack
Another week, another deadly terrorist attack, this time in Brussels. The aftershocks heightened security across Europe and here in the US.
Understanding why Muslim extremists continue to kill innocents and what they are likely planning for the future can best predicted by someone who used to live, eat and pray among them.
Meet Emad Salem, a devout Muslim who, after serving as a Major in the Egyptian military, became a US citizen 31 years ago. But he became more than that. He became one of the FBI’s most valuable undercover assets in the War on Terror, beginning in the early 90’s. [click to continue…]
California Overcrowding Among the Worst
It’s easy to understand the intent behind the current move to reduce prison overcrowding but are we sure we’re doing it right?
In 2010, when President Obama signed The Fair Sentencing Act to reduce federal prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders he specifically targeted those who had been convicted of crack cocaine crimes. In the past, anyone in possession of crack — an inexpensive drug most often used in poor black communities — was routinely sentenced to harsher penalties than those who had dealt in the more expensive powder cocaine that was used almost exclusively by more affluent whites. [click to continue…]
A Criminal’s Best Friend If It Has iOS 8 Installed
In this corner – the FBI – which says that all high tech company Apple cares about is protecting its mega-profits brand and not the nation’s security.
And in that corner – Apple – which says the feds will put everyone’s privacy in jeopardy if a court forces them to disable password protection on the iPhone of dead terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. Farook and his wife shot to death 14 of his San Bernardino County co-workers last December and seriously wounded 22.
There might be valuable information on Farook’s phone, information that could help thwart future terrorist attacks. But then again, maybe there’s nothing on that phone at all. Both sides say it’s the principal of the issue at stake. [click to continue…]
Robert & Betty Were Married For 72 Years
I recently wrote about the plight of 94-year-old Betty Winstanley, who resides at the Masonic Village retirement home in Elizabethtown, PA. She doesn’t want to live there anymore. Now that her husband of 72 years is gone she longs to move to a care home closer to her two children in Maryland. The state of Pennsylvania won’t let her leave.
To the state Betty is case #1201 of 2014, just another old person the court has declared, “totally incapacitated.” Once someone is so labeled they get a court appointed guardian who, literally, takes over their life. Guardians decide all the ward’s finances, who can visit and for how long, when or if they can leave the home – everything. [click to continue…]
Elizabeth “Betty” Winstanley
She is a well-spoken, elegant and wealthy 94-year-old widow. And as Betty Winstanley told me from her room at the Masonic Village Retirement facility in Elizabethtown, PA, “I feel like I am in prison. My life is a living hell.”
Welcome to America’s twisted world of court appointed guardianships for the elderly.
Quick backstory: Betty and her husband, Robert, were married for 72 years. They had three children, Richard, David and Betsy. For nearly 7 years the couple occupied a “lovely” independent living apartment at Masonic Village retirement home in Elizabethtown, PA.
In early 2014, Betty, who uses a rolling walker to get around, says she felt faint and seeing no staff nearby lowered herself to the ground. [click to continue…]
Not Always Reliable
How many times have you heard someone say, “Believe me, I know it’s true. I saw it with my own eyes!” When someone passionately tells us they were an eyewitness to an event we are programmed to believe their story.
It happens in courtrooms all across the country every day. An eyewitness takes the stand, puts a hand on the bible and swears to tell the truth about what they saw. In sometimes vivid detail they tell their story, point the finger of blame at a defendant and proclaim they are 100% sure about the identification. This compelling, first-hand testimony sways juries and has resulted in countless convictions. Some include sentences of death.
So how trustworthy is an eye-witness, anyway? [click to continue…]