Sunday, September 10, 2006

5 years later... WE REMEMBER

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that fateful Tuesday morning 5 years ago?

Today I am asking that we put down our keyboards for a moment and reflect. Remember the nearly 3,000 people killed that morning and those left behind to carry on.

Remember how, for one brief moment in our history, there was no black, no white, no Mexican… just Americans united.

So use this thread to reflect upon where you were when the world stopped turning. What did you think? How did you feel? How have the events of 9/11 changed your life or those around you? What have we learned? But most of all, just take the time to REMEMBER.

Here is a listing of memorial events:

A remembrance ceremony for the 343 New York City firefighters killed in the collapse of the Twin Towers will begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the Los Angeles Fire Department's Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center in Elysian Park, 1700 Stadium Way.

The Hollywood/Los Angeles Beautification Team and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will honor Los Angeles police and firefighters and other first responders, 1 p.m. Monday at The Grove reflecting pond, Third Street and Fairfax Ave., Hollywood.

A 1.8-mile Freedom Walk will begin at 5 p.m. Monday at the Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley,

"At Dusk ... New Dawn," will be held 6-8:30 p.m. Monday at the city's 9-11 memorial at North Hollywood Park, 5301 Tujunga Ave.

A candle-lighting ceremony and memorial will be held at 6:45 p.m. Monday at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd. A screening of Oliver Stone's movie, "World Trade Center," will follow. The screening is free, but reservations are required. Call (310) 772-2529.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pedophiles and Illegal Aliens

Unable to keep children - legal, illegal, black, brown white and everything else - safe from pedophile priests, the Los Angeles and Orange County Roman Catholic dioceses are at it again. This time they're giving in to political children, at the expense of the well being of their own children.

In order to root out pedophiles from those volunteers who work with children, the dioceses planned to do background checks. But the problem is, even with a Matricular Consular card, its not easy to vet the records of illegal aliens. And most of them are quite undestandily squeamish about things like being fingerprinted, showing ID, etc. So rather that upset and lose their services (apparently to the do the things American Catholics won't do), the church is quietly scrapping the background check plan.

Its absolutely shameful the church is doing this. Its not just the Catholics who have faced issues of child abuse in the church, but these two local dioceses are the ones in the news right now having made this horrible decision. Organizations like churches, mosques, synagogues, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Club, etc. that have children working near adults should do their due diligence. Those who prey on children are drawn to these opportunities to be near potential victims. Why open the door any more than necessary?

Three Strikes Law Exempts Illegal Criminals

In a seven-minute news video blog the Full Disclosure Network™ presents L. A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Sheriff Leroy Baca describing how criminal aliens are NOT prosecuted under California’s Three Strikes Law. This shocking and revealing video can be viewed at the URL:

When criminal aliens have been convicted of a crime in California, they serve their time in prison and then are deported out of the country. But according to law enforcement and elected officials, many if not most, of them come back to California six to ten times, each time they return, they are committing a felony, but are not prosecuted under the Three Strikes Law or by the Federal Government.

D A Steve Cooley told Full Disclosure Network™ host Leslie Dutton, “Our Three Strikes Law does not take into consideration a person’s (illegal) status.” Sheriff Baca tells Dutton in the video blog that the Three Strikes Law applies to serious felonies such as assault, murder, or robbery.

When asked why criminal aliens were not subject to the Three Strikes Law, Supervisor Michael Antonovich described the process as “it’s kind of like ‘Kings X sometimes’.

In this video news blog Sheriff Baca states that there are 40,000 illegal criminals in California State prisons right now and that criminal aliens occupy 23 percent of all the L. A. County jails. Without mentioning the failure to prosecute the repeated felonies by these criminal aliens, he went on to say the federal government should be paying for cost and care of these criminals in our jails. Baca also said it is costing California $170 million per year to house the criminal aliens and the Federal government is only re-imbursing $13 to $14 million per year.

Over the past thirteen years Full Disclosure™ programs have been billed as “the news behind the news” and are featured on 43 cable systems and the Internet at The programs have explored police policies, politics, corruption and reform, interviewing all the LAPD Chiefs from Ed Davis to William Bratton as well as the Southern California County Sheriffs and most U.S. Attorneys General and Special Prosecutors involved in Presidential investigations. Cable channels are listed by community and air times on the website.

Friday, June 09, 2006

What were al-Zarqawi’s final words?

By Jennifer Solis

Mayor Sam admonished me to stick to local political commentary, but after watching General Caldwell’s press conference, where it was revealed that the 39-year-old terrorist did not die immediately after being hit on the head by two 500-pound bombs, I’ve just have to know – what were his final words?

It doesn’t look like any of our medics were in a hurry to get him to a hospital, so that he might survive, and eventually go on trial after Sadaam. But I’m looking for a possible medical malpractice lawsuit here. The ICLU (Iraq Civil Liberties Union) is also considering possible legal action against Task Force 145, for acting as judge and jury, not to mention jurisdictional issues.

Finally, did the administration seek an environmental impact report before dropping bombs on Abu Musab’s safe house? Rumor has it that it was his real estate agent that turned him in. Obviously, the guy wasn’t a Realtor.

So, please check your copious sources, and if you can find out what were his final words before assuming room temperature, please post it here. Thanks.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Relief for Gas

With gas prices skyrocketing, legislators are proposing two steps to bring some relief to motorists. The Sister City is supporting both and urging you to write to member of Congress asking that both proposals be implemented. We also urge other bloggers to pick up this meme of "gas tax relief."

Senate Republicans propose a $100 tax rebate for taxpayers. Not only would this cover the increase in gas prices for drivers for some time, pumping the money back into the economy could do some good. We saw this with the 2001 tax rebate.

Democrats are proposing a temporary suspension in the 18 cents a gallon Federal gas tax. This would temporarily reduce money available for highway construction, but consumer spending could actually increase tax revenues by a greater amount.

These two measures won't necessarily lower gas prices but could provide some relief to taxpayers and a boost to the economy.

Below are links to the email addresses of California's Congressional Delegation.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Half Under Water, Half Under Indictment

By Jennifer Solis

When I read about the problems New Orleans is having post-Katrina, it makes me glad to be in L.A.

Compared to the Big Easy, our difficulties with immigration and corruption are insignificant.

Before the hurricane, there were fewer than 2,000 (estimated) illegal immigrants in New Orleans. Now there are almost 20,000, attracted by the huge contracts to repair the levees and storm damage. The resident African Americans, who thought they would get the lion’s share of these jobs, are up in arms over their inability to find employment.

Part of the problem is that there is nowhere to live near the job sites, and since they are used to living in what we would call “civilized” conditions, the Blacks have a hard time competing with rural Mexicans, who are willing to sleep on the ground near the job sites, without sanitation facilities.

I’m certainly no fan of President Jorge Bush, but I find it amusing to see the amount of blame heaped on the current administration, in view of the fact that the New Orleans mayor, city council, and chief of police are all Democrats. So are the Louisiana governor, Lt. Gov, attorney general and two-thirds of the state senators and house of representatives.

The state has a long-time reputation for corruption. As former congressman Billy Tauzin put it, “Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under indictment.” Recent scandals include the conviction of 14 state judges and an FBI raid on its congressman.

When former Governor Edwin Edwards ran against Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, Edward’s popular bumper sticker read “Elect the Crook.” Edwards is currently serving 10 years for taking bribes. Duke recently completed his own prison term for tax fraud.

The Louisiana school system is rated dead last in the nation in number of computers per student (one per 88 kids). By the state’s own admission, 47-percent of the public schools in New Orleans are considered “academically unacceptable.” Louisiana has the second highest per capita number of adults who never finished high school.

As for rebuilding parts of the city which will remain under sea level, and vulnerable to the next big storm, I find that as insane as building a nuclear plant near an earthquake fault. (Wait a minute – we’ve already done that.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cartoons, Decapitation, Computers And The Constitution

By Walter Moore - February 6, 2006

They riot over a cartoon, but watch televised beheadings the way we watch weather forecasts. That's who we're fighting. Under the circumstances, one can understand the President's desire to use every technological means available to prevent further attacks on our country.

Some argue, however, that the United States Constitution prohibits the President, in a time of war, from using NSA computers to sift through zillions of innocent telephone calls in a hunt for calls involving terrorists. The computers work like those change-sorting machines at the grocery store: you dump all telephone calls into them, and they sort the calls into different piles. The government then focuses on the "maybe trouble" stack of calls. Does the Constitution require the President to get a judge's permission for this process?

Let's start with the wording of the Constitution itself. The document doesn't specifically mention wiretaps or satellites or radio transmissions, because, of course, they weren't around back when. Wars, however, were around back then, and the Constitution does address war: Congress has the power to declare war, while "The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States...." And, the Third Amendment states, "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." There's nothing stating that, "in time of war," the President needs to consult with the Judiciary at all regarding the conduct of the war.

Next, let's look at whether, historically, anyone in our country has ever believed the Constitution required judicial oversight of military campaigns, and in particular, the interception of enemy communications.

Western Union built its first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861. Did anyone ever claim that Lincoln needed a warrant to tap into Confederate telegrams? No.

When the United States entered World War I, did anyone claim President Wilson needed warrants to monitor radio transmissions in America? No. On the contrary, the federal government didn't just monitor radio transmissions back then. Rather, the government took over all radio stations and made it illegal for private citizens even to possess a transmitter.

In the days leading up to World War II, did anyone claim Roosevelt needed a warrant to monitor communications between Japan and its ambassadors? No. During the war itself, did Eisenhower have to explain to a judge why it would be helpful to try to monitor and decode German transmissions? Of course not.

Our history thus indicates that we as a nation have never deemed the Fourth Amendment to apply to a President's efforts, during war, to intercept enemy communications. Rather, the "practical construction" -- the understanding of the document as exhibited by our conduct as a nation -- is that the Commander in Chief has the power, under the Constitution, to monitor the airwaves during wartime to ensure the survival of our nation.

And here's something you might not know about the Fourth Amendment: when the Supreme Court first addressed the issue of whether police could conduct wiretaps without a warrant, the Supreme Court ruled that no warrant was needed. The Court reasoned that the wiretaps did not constitute a "search" or a "seizure," and therefore did not require a warrant. Only years later did the Court reverse its position.

In any event, even assuming police need a warrant for a wiretap in the course of a criminal prosecution, that does not mean the same standard applies to a President trying to intercept enemy communications during a war. Presidents do lots of things during a war that we would never let police and prosecutors do.

As for any Congressional statute purporting to require the President to seek a court's approval before eavesdropping during war, the President can legitimately argue that any such statute is itself unconstitutional. Insofar as the Constitution makes the President the Commander in Chief, Congress lacks the Constitutional authority to require the President to share that command with lawyers wearing black robes.

So the President can certainly argue that he has the Constitutional power to have NSA computers intercept all transmissions in order to find those involving terrorists. And if he does not, then we need to amend the Constitution immediately so he does.

If you have any doubts about that, just remember the riots over cartoons and the indifference to beheadings. Remember the stakes.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

John Edwards Anti-Alito Screed

We received an advance copy of an email screed former Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards is going to send out encouraging protest of Supreme Court appointee Samuel Alito.

The hearings in Washington are not going the way the Democrats had hoped and so now, they're desperate.

Here in its entirety is more liberal claptrap:

When President Bush nominated Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court last year, I wrote you to express my strong opposition to his confirmation. His record, both on the bench and as an official in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, showed that he is an ideologue whose extreme views would put our fundamental rights at risk.

Now that his hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee are underway, it is becoming even clearer that Samuel Alito is the wrong man for the job. It's time for Democrats to stand up for what we believe in. Join me in opposing Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Alito's careful dodging of the tough questions about his ideology and record can't hide the fact that his views are way outside the mainstream. His failed memory about his own activities — from his membership in a reactionary group at Princeton to his failure to recuse himself from cases in which he had a financial interest — creates a vacuum on ethical issues that is unacceptable in an appointment of this importance.

Please join me in calling on Democratic Senators to stand up for the core principals of our party by opposing Alito's nomination. This is not my petition; it is ours, because all of us are threatened by this nomination. Sign our petition calling on Senate Democrats to stand together and block Alito's confirmation with every means at their disposal. We will share the results with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

What would it mean if Alito is confirmed to the Supreme Court? Alito is a conservative activist in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. If he replaces the moderate Sandra Day O'Connor, a consistent swing vote, the court would shift far to the right, endangering our liberties so deeply that it would affect the lives of every single American.

Here are just a few of the positions Alito has staked out that put our fundamental rights in danger.

Abuse of Power. President Bush is now engaging in surveillance of United States citizens that violates federal law. He could have asked Congress to change the law, but he didn't. That overt abuse of power demonstrates the importance of a Supreme Court committed to protecting our basic freedoms. But Alito has consistently expressed support for vesting tremendous power in the hands of the President, with few checks by Congress and the courts. In questioning, he responded that the courts were ill-equipped to determine the limits for interrogations or detentions that the administration or the military deems important for security or to balance the government's needs against basic constitutional protections. The implication that he would take a hands off approach whenever the administration says "national security" is in invitation for governmental abuse.

Eliminating the Right To Choose. When Alito applied to work at the Justice Department in 1985, he expressed his strong belief that, in his own words, "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." As a judge, he took a narrow view of Roe that the Supreme Court, and Justice O'Connor, explicitly rejected. In his hearing, Democratic Senators repeatedly pressed Alito to distance himself from the view he expressed in 1985. He didn't. Instead he focused on the undisputed doctrine of stare decisis, that is, giving weight to existing case law. In the absence of a repudiation of his unequivocal statement in 1985, I am not comforted much. His answers about abortion sounded a lot like Clarence Thomas's. It's clear that given the opportunity, Alito will vote to restrict — and probably eliminate — a woman's right to choose.

Conservative Judicial Activism. Judge Alito has a history of putting his conservative ideology over the rule of law. He has voted to invalidate important laws passed by Congress, including a ban on machine guns and the Family and Medical Leave Act. And he has consistently ruled against victims of discrimination in the workplace. In all these cases, he has proven more conservative than many of his Republican colleagues on the courts of appeals and even more conservative than Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in some cases.
Judge Alito has consistently sided with the most powerful interests, business or government, which concerns me greatly. But I am most concerned about his willingness to overlook executive abuse of power, which has been then hallmark of this administration. This is a judge who is way out of the mainstream, someone who disregards our fundamental rights and endangers our liberties. Join me today in urging Senate Democrats to stand together and use every means they have available to block this dangerous nomination.

Sign this important petition today. Your support will make an enormous difference to our Democratic Senators as they stand together to fight Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Thank you for all that you do for our party,

John Edwards

Monday, January 02, 2006

Another Anony-Blogger Outed

The "Mayor Sam's Sister City" of the judicial world, Underneath Their Robes, has enchanted many with its dishy distribution of news, gossip and more about the Supereme Court and other parts of the Federal Judiciary. Friday, its author sent an email to his co-workers that he would be leaving his government job to take an unspecified position in Washington.

For some time, it was presumed that the anonymous author of the blog "Article Three Groupie," or A3G was a young, female attorney. Two out of three of those are correct.

A November article in New Yorker revealed the author of the blog (if not A3G her/himself) was David Lat, a 30 year old Assistant US Attorney in New Jersey (pictured above). Following the outing, the blog was taken down, but now it appears that Underneath Their Robes will continue.

In parsing his/her own outing, Lat/A3G seems to want to leave open the possibility that A3G is an actual person. "When I have something to report to A3G, I email her about it..."

Here at the Sister City, we have our own experience at being outed and are prime proof an anony-blog can go on when the writers remove the masks. Still, not sure if Brian and I ever intended to seriously entertain the option that Sam Yorty and Frank Shaw are actually alive and well and writing a blog.

We wish Underneath Their Robes the best of luck and look forward to more of their great work.