Friday, April 29, 2011
5-ton travel trailer thrown upside down into house in Tennessee, 27 April 2011.
Housing debris was falling out of the sky onto houses nowhere near a cloud. An Alabama newspaper landed in East TN. Over 200 people were killed by tornados that day.
WBCR 1470 AM in Alcoa TN, home of the Pirate News Radio Show, with Alex Jones and Mark Dice.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
In the video, the former beauty queen who held the Miss America title in 2003, Susie Castillo, says a TSA “screener” fondled her vagina during an intrusive pat-down.
Ms. Castillo was subjected to the groping after she refused to enter a naked body scanner at the airport in Dallas, Texas.
In late 2010, the TSA put in place new procedure guidelines instructing agents to use their “palms and fingers” to “probe” airline customer bodies for hidden weapons, including breasts and other private parts.
On April 15, CNN reported that people who complain about naked body scanners and intrusive airport pat-downs will be investigated as terrorists and criminals.
Lawmakers around the country have introduced legislation designed to rollback the pat-downs after the public and airline employees voiced complaints. In March, legislation was introduced into the Texas House of Representatives directly challenging the authority of the TSA in airports within the state and specifically aimed at criminalizing the use of naked body scanners and enhanced pat-downs.
In November of 2010, chief deputy DA and incoming DA of San Mateo County Steve Wagstaffe told the Alex Jones Show his office will prosecute TSA employees who engage in lewd and lascivious behavior while conducting pat-downs at the San Francisco International Airport. Wagstaffe told Alex Jones that county police will be sent into the San Francisco International Airport. If they witness TSA employees engaged in criminal conduct, they will make arrests and the DA’s office will prosecute.
In January, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura launched a lawsuit against the TSA for subjecting him to humiliating pat-downs as he traveled for his work as the host of the popular TruTV show Conspiracy Theory. Ventura said that he would “no longer be forced by the TSA to prove he is not a criminal or terrorist.”
Earlier this week, Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security, said the TSA had the authority to conduct an intrusive pat-down on a six year old girl. “Parts of the pat down, in another setting, clearly constituted the kind of inappropriate touching that, if done by anyone else, would have resulted in charges of child abuse and sexual assault. The pat down even caused the little girl to cry, her parents later said in televised interviews,” writes J. D. Heyes.
In November, an Alex Jones employee related her experience with the TSA in Denver. Her children were subjected to the intrusive pat-down procedure.
Castillo is currently a spokeswoman for Neutrogena and has appeared on a number of television shows, including the ABC Family reality television series, America’s Prom Queen.
She also held the title of Miss Massachusetts Teen USA in 1998.
Female Blogger Threatened With $500,000 Defamation Suit For Writing About TSA Rape
TSA LETTER FOR LAWSUIT
I'm a privacy pragmatist, writing about the intersection of law, technology, social media and our personal information. If you have story ideas or tips, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I've hung out in quite a few newsrooms over the last few years. Most recently, I was an editor at Above the Law, a legal blog, relying on the legal knowledge gained from two years working for corporate law firm Covington & Burling -- a Cliff's Notes version of law school. In the past, I've been found slaving away as an intern in midtown Manhattan at The Week Magazine, in Hong Kong at the International Herald Tribune, and in D.C. at the Washington Examiner. I also spent a few years traveling the world managing educational programs for international journalists for the National Press Foundation. I have few illusions about privacy -- feel free to follow me on Twitter: kashhill, Circle me, or friend me on Facebook... though I might put you on limited profile.
Attacking the TSA for its privacy-invasive screening procedures has become a favorite activity for many journalists, especially Matt Drudge. TSA horror stories are often featured prominently on The Drudge Report and he has taken to calling Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (of which the TSA is a part) “Big Sis.”
Napolitano, who doesn’t think Drudge “means [the nickname] kindly” said at a recent Politico event that Drudge is wrong in describing DHS programs as Orwellian and that “the privacy impact of new airport screening technology and similar programs are thoroughly vetted before they are implemented,” in Josh Gerstein’s words.
“We want to be conscious of civil liberties and civil rights protections—and we are,” Napolitano said, as reported by Politico.
On the same day as this piece came out, TechDirt reports on a passenger who would likely disagree with the Secretary. After a particularly aggressive patdown in March that might be better termed a feel-up, advice blogger Amy Alkon graphically described how she sobbed loudly while a TSA agent put her hands “into” her VAGINA four times. She screamed “You raped me” after the LAX patdown and took the agent’s name with plans to file charges of sexual assault. Those plans fell through after consulting an attorney, but she did blog about it and included the agent’s name, thereby inflicting her own assault — on the agent’s Google search results.
The TSA agent then hired a lawyer who contacted Alkon asking her to remove the post, threatening her with a defamation lawsuit, and asking for a settlement of $500,000. “Rape is a very serious charge,” writes lawyer Vicki Roberts on Thedala Magee’s behalf. She also says that Alkon, on a return trip to the airport in May called her client “a bad person” who had “sexually molested” her.
Free speech lawyer Marc Randazza has stepped in to assert Alkon’s right to post about her patdown experience, and to defend both her definition of the patdown as rape and, regardless of that, her right to rhetorical hyperbole. Techdirt has a copy of the letter Randazza drafted in response to the defamation threat.
“After [the agent Thedala] Magee’s assault on Ms. Alkon’s vagina and dignity, Ms. Alkon exercised her First Amendment right to recount this incident to others in person and through her blog,” writes Randazza. “This was not only her right — it was her responsibility.”
Forced to perform patdowns now required by law, TSA agents are the ones who have to face the public’s anger. Texas abandoned its effort this year to pass a law making overly aggressive patdowns a misdemeanor subjecting agents to arrest and a fine, but bloggers can certainly keep on trying the agents in the court of public opinion. I have some sympathy for the agent whose name will now be linked with rape in Google results for eternity — though it should surely serve the purpose of making her a bit less touchy-feely during patdowns — but I hope Randazza and Alkon persevere. TSA screening procedures have already taken a toll on the Fourth Amendment; let’s not add the First Amendment to the list of victims.
TSA Agent Threatens Woman With Defamation, Demands $500k For Calling Intrusive Search 'Rape'
from the don't-be-a-victim dept
DOWNLOAD LETTER FROM TSA
Amy Alkon is an advice columnist and blogger who is just one of many people who has had a horrifying and traumatizing experience going through airport security lately. After being pulled aside for an "enhanced" search, she found the process to be so invasive and so in violation of her own rights that she was left sobbing. She wrote about the experience on her blog, noting that she didn't think the search was just "invasive" in the emotional sense, but flat out physically invasive:
Nearing the end of this violation, I sobbed even louder as the woman, FOUR TIMES, stuck the side of her gloved hand INTO my vagina, through my pants. Between my labia. She really got up there. Four times. Back right and left, and front right and left. In my vagina. Between my labia. I was shocked -- utterly unprepared for how she got the side of her hand up there. It was government-sanctioned sexual assault.
Upon leaving, still sobbing, I yelled to the woman, "YOU RAPED ME." And I took her name to see if I could file sexual assault charges on my return. This woman, and all of those who support this system deserve no less than this sort of unpleasant experience, and from all of us.
After investigating whether or not she could file sexual assault charges, and being told that this was probably a non-starter, she instead wrote about the experience, and named the TSA agent who she dealt with: Thedala Magee. Alkon felt that if people can't stop these kinds of searches, they should at least be able to name the TSA agents who are doing them.
Magee responded by lawyering up and threatening Alkon with defamation and asking for $500,000 and the removal of the blog post.
Alkon, with the help of lawyer Marc Randazza, has now responded, refusing to back down. Both letters are embedded below, but here are a few key quotes:
Your client aggressively pushed her fingers into my client’s vulva. I am certain that she did not expect to find a bomb there. She did this to humiliate my client, to punish her for exercising her rights, and to send a message to others who might do the same. It was absolutely a sexual assault, perpetrated in order to exercise power over the victim. We agree with Ms. Alkon’s characterization of this crime as “rape,” and so would any reasonable juror.
Furthermore, even if your client did not actually sexually assault my client, Ms. Alkon’s statements to and about Ms. Magee would still be protected by the First Amendment. The word “rape” itself has been the subject of defamation cases by far more sympathetic Plaintiffs than your client. In Gold v. Harrison, 962 P.2d 353 (Haw. 1998), cert denied, 526 U.S. 1018 (1999), the Hawai’i Supreme Court held that a defendant’s characterization of his neighbors’ seeking an easement in his backyard as “raping [the defendant]” was not defamatory. This speech was protected as rhetorical hyperbole. Of course, we need not seek out Hawai’i case law in order to debunk your unsupportable claims. Rhetorical hyperbole has a strong history of favorable treatment in defamation actions. See Greenbelt Cooperative Pub. Ass'n v. Bresler, 398 U.S. 6, 14 (1970). This doctrine acknowledges our First Amendment right to express ourselves, even when employing literary license. Accordingly, even if your client’s actions were not “rape,” Ms. Alkon had every right to characterize them as such.
No free woman should endure what your client did to Ms. Alkon. Fortunately, Ms. Alkon is capable of recognizing injustice, and for the good of us all, she had the courage to speak out on this matter of public concern of the highest order. After Magee’s assault on Ms. Alkon’s vagina and dignity, Ms. Alkon exercised her First Amendment right to recount this incident to others in person and through her blog. This was not only her right -- it was her responsibility.
I honestly don't know if this reaches the "technical" definition of rape, but I am massively troubled, if not horrified, by the idea that a woman who feels sexually assaulted based on what happened above ends up being threatened for saying she felt violated. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Don't Give The TSA An Easy Time Of Violating Your Rights
It shouldn't be emotionally easy, earning a living by violating people's rights.
On March 31st, when I came through the metal detector and realized that everyone in the TSA line to my United flight was getting searched, I got teary. I was teary at the prospect of being touched by a government worker -- entirely without probable cause. I was very upset, both because of the physical violation and because I love our now too-often-crumpled-up Constitution and Bill of Rights.
I can hold back the tears...hang tough...but as I was made to "assume the position" on a rubber mat like a common criminal, I thought fast. I decided that these TSA lackeys who serve the government in violating our rights just don't deserve my quiet compliance. And no, I won't go through the scanner (do you trust the government that they're safe?) and allow a government employee to see me naked in the course of normal and totally ordinary business travel: flying from Los Angeles to Binghamton, New York, to attend an evolutionary psychology conference for my work.
Basically, I felt it important to make a spectacle of what they are doing to us, to make it uncomfortable for them to violate us and our rights, so I let the tears come. In fact, I sobbed my guts out. Loudly. Very loudly. The entire time the woman was searching me.
Nearing the end of this violation, I sobbed even louder as the woman, FOUR TIMES, stuck the side of her gloved hand INTO my vagina, through my pants. Between my labia. She really got up there. Four times. Back right and left, and front right and left. In my vagina. Between my labia. I was shocked -- utterly unprepared for how she got the side of her hand up there. It was government-sanctioned sexual assault.
Upon leaving, still sobbing, I yelled to the woman, "YOU RAPED ME." And I took her name to see if I could file sexual assault charges on my return. This woman, and all of those who support this system deserve no less than this sort of unpleasant experience, and from all of us.
I've been waiting on posting this, both because I've been utterly swamped with work, and because I was waiting for a reply from a lawyer about the possibility of filing sexual assault charges. It turns out that filing charges is probably a no-go. Harvey Silverglate, lawyer and co-founder of the wonderful campus free speech defenders, FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), emailed me this:
I think it is extremely unlikely that these pat-downs would be deemed a sexual assault, or any assault for that matter. In the first place, the person doing the pat-down would be acting according to regulations and instructions, hence on good faith ... because of the purported justification ("National security", airline safety).
The only issue, it seems to me, is whether there is a decent security reason to justify such pat-downs, or whether it is an unconstitutional search and seizure, or invasion of privacy/intrusion, because not justified for safety reasons. As with most constitutional rights, including this Fourth Amendment search-and-seizure, or Fifth Amendment due process, a court would weigh the state's justification (i.e., security gains) versus the citizen's losses (privacy, dignity).
...To win a battle for liberty like this, people must not get accustomed to these indignities, but must complain about them every single time ... and in every forum possible.
I'll echo Harvey in asking that you all do as I did (and that you spread the word to do as I did): Don't make it easy for the government, through these TSA lackeys, to be violating us -- sexually, and in respect to our right to not be searched without probable cause.
And no -- the fact that some people are terrorists is NOT probable cause. The fact that you are wearing underwire is NOT probable cause. And no -- the fact that you, in 2011, are unwilling to hitchhike thousands of miles instead of taking a plane is NOT probable cause.
The rights of vast number of Americans are being violated daily and it is absolutely essential that we all stand up and defend our rights -- and as loudly and vociferously as possible.
Are you in? Spread the word.
UPDATE: I forgot to post the TSA woman's name when I wrote this last night. I think it might have been Thedala Magee. Or Magee Thedala. I was really upset, and neither name sounds like a typical American first name or last name, so I can't remember if I wrote it down in the right order.
Please, everybody, ask for the name of the person who violated you, and when you post about it, use their name. It's got to become very uncomfortable to be one of those who earns a living, as said at Nuremberg, by "just following orders."
Oh, and just in case you're one of those who has gotten used to giving up your rights with ease, ANY touching by a government official without probable cause counts as being violated.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Moonshiner 28: A Brief History of Moonshine in Graham County NC - Jim Tom will proudly tell you that he holds the North Carolina State Record for DUIs with 21. And he also holds the record for surviving the worst motorcycle wreck in history. Starring Popcorn Sutton and Junior Johnson of NASCAR.
Dragon's Tale at Deals Gap
Such harassment of motorcycle enthusiasts is common from THP, Blount County and North Carolina police, as occurred in 1997 at a BMW rally at Fontana Village, North Carolina. Drivers and riders had arrived from all over North America to commune with Mother Nature, stop for gas and lunch at the Motorcycle Resort at Deals Gap, North Carolina, (at that time, run by ex-cop Pete Leary whose race teams have won a national championship) and to tame the world-infamous Dragon.
A camouflaged Task Force of these agencies descended upon 3,000 peaceful tourists, using helicopters, drug dogs and secret alcohol Prohibition laws. It seems these cops were under the influence of the delusion the BMW owners—including off-duty cops and military personnel—were about to start a rumble with a gang of 11,000 "drug-crazed" Hell's Angels (originally named by US military veterans for their squadron by the same name). The Angels were allegedly tourists at casino in nearby Cherokee Nation.
Tourists were forced to pass five road blocks in a one-mile distance. Motorcycles were disassembled and confiscated for the tiniest of alleged infractions. Pedestrians were arrested as "public drunks" for any purchasing of beer at the Fontana campground, which was licensed to sell beer. Unmarked police cars were used to entrap motorcyclists by slowing to a crawl and waving riders to overtake on the double yellow line, and followed bikers at night while driving without headlights on. Off-duty cops who pointed out the illegality of the Task Force's arrests faced career reprisals when they got home. As one tourist observed, "I hadn't seen such a show of paramilitary force since the riot control in Washington D.C. when Nixon bombed Cambodia." To add insult to injury, a police helicopter hovered over sleeping campers broadcasting the theme song to the television propaganda show, COPS.
A press release by the BMW club summed up: "The police came to be viewed as buffoons, except by those members from foreign countries, who had only read about this type of police intervention in accounts of World War II era Germany. For most, the actions reinforced the Hollywood stereotype of southern justice: Local sheriff uses imaginary crisis to order suspension of the U.S. Constitution." A BMW rider who was a former Arizona State Trooper and former Indiana Patrolman said, "The next time I come to your area it will be with a video camera, a tape recorder, a cellular phone and a copy of the North Carolina State Statutes."
Fortunately for the BMW club, the sick Graham County sheriff responsible for this viscious fiasco, bootlegger Melvin Howell, committed suicide after his arrest for sexual assault of sheriff's department employees and indictment for threatening murder against them. When the sheriff's own attorney was forced to testify against him, he became depressed. What else did the lawyer know about besides the death threats? As The Graham Star reported, "The Bad Boys in Blue" had gotten out of hand in spectacular fashion, while responsible owners of motorcycles had minded their own business while on vacation. Rob Mason, executive director of the Graham County Chamber of Commerce, said the police actions were "equivalent to the sheriff's department torching Stanley Furniture," estimating financial losses to area businesses at $250,000 (since tourists were afraid to leave the campground). As they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Suicidal Sheriff Howell's chief deputy, Jerry Crisp, was fired by Graham County for his alleged destructive tendencies but reemployed by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) police (which was also part of the anti-motorcycle "Task Force"). Seeking retaliation for his humiliation -- two years after the BMW rally -- Crisp made an illegal arrest outside of his jurisdiction, handcuffing ex-cop Pete Leary at his place of business (and nearly breaking his arm). Leary had voiced concern about how police had mistreated his motel guests, campers, restaurant diners and store customers during the BMW rally. Crisp obviously sought to intimidate and silence one of his many critics, to the point of risking a lawsuit for false arrest. Leary, winner of a gunfight with a convicted murderer during an attempted armed robbery (when he dodged a shotgun blast and returned fire by shooting the assailant in the derriere), was not likely to take his false arrest quietly by turning the other cheek.
Citizens who criticize our government often face reprisals for attempting to exert democracy, even when those citizens are ex-cops (especially when they enjoy motorcycles). Crisp also sued the BMW club for writing about him in their newsletter. The club retained the services of Pete Leary's lawyer and published a "clarification" in their newsletter to protect themselves from the vindictive TVA cop.
Is Deputy Crisp from the same family of Mayor Crisp in Blount County TN, who got the speed limit on the Dragon illegally reduced to 30 MPH in 2002? Is Deputy Crisp William Carl Crisp, sentenced to 16 years prison for pedophile rape in Graham County?
And who really burned down the Graham County Sheriff Office? Why does the sheriff refuse to give county commission his financial books, and refuse to allow county commission to make financial decisions for the county? Why does Graham County Commission Chairwoman Sandra Smith call sheriff Russell Moody a criminal? Moody asked Smith, “Do you think I’m a criminal?” “Yes,” Smith responded. “You do?” Moody said. “Yes,” Smith responded. When contacted Tuesday, Smith denied she called the sheriff a criminal, but said “he is breaking the law." “I don’t like the way he is dealing with his office — I just think he is breaking the law,” Smith said. Smith said the sheriff could face removal from office and his chief deputy could be made sheriff if Moody is removed. Smith said Moody has a “God complex.” “He’s a spoiled brat,” Smith said. Sheriff Russell Moody said he has no plans to resign as sheriff despite an affair with a former secretary in his office. It is with deep sorrow and regret that I have sinned against and disappointed my Heavenly Father. I have sinned and sinned against Him alone and for that I am truly sorry. I have asked for His forgiveness and his healing for my family and friends, and all those that I have hurt. Next I would like to tell my wife that I'm sorry for what I've done and the heartache and the pain I have caused her. I would like to apologize to my children for not being the husband and father I should have been to them and for that I'm truly sorry as well. To my community, as your sheriff, I ask for your forgiveness and your prayers as I continue to fulfill the responsibilities you elected me to do. It is with your support and your prayers that this office will seek to continue to serve and protect the citizens of this community. Please feel free to contact my office if you have sexual services to offer me."
Blount County TN names highway to honor convicted hit-and-run killer of a biker tourist - Crack cocaine kingpin of Tennessee saved from DUI homicide arrest by Governor Don Sundquist and his black helicopter air force.
Did Town Alderman Get away with murder in Robbinsville NC? Robbinsville Town Alderman, Johnny Lee Williams, cowardly gunned Phillip McClung in broad daylight in the town's only shopping center by shooting him in the back and then approaching the downed man and putting the next cowardly shot in the back of his head. Sheriff Russell Moody lost the murder file shortly after taking office; delaying the trial. Graham County Grand Jury refused to indict the Robbinsville Town Alderman for years. The Graham County Graham Grand Jury returned no true bill of indictment Monday for a second-degree murder charge against Robbinsville Town Councilman and Vice Mayor Johnny Lee Williams. The investigation into the case so far includes 10 statements from eye witnesses, including a statement from Williams in which he admits to shooting McClung once intentionally. Williams, in his official statement, claims that the second shot, to the back of the head, went off accidentally. Grand jury hearings are secret, and the prosecution is not allowed to appear before a grand jury in North Carolina, said District Attorney Mike Bonfoey. Twelve votes from the 18-member panel are required for the jury to return a true bill of indictment. The murder victim's mother wrote, "I cannot believe the grand jury did not have enough evidence to return a true bill of indictment on Johnny Lee Williams for killing my son Phillip McClung. What has happened to our legal system? Where is our justice? Does it only apply to certain people, while people like Johnny are above the law? Is it because he’s an alderman and vice mayor of our town? Does this mean he is not accountable for his actions? I certainly hope not, but if this is not the case, why is there not a trial? How can Johnny shoot my son, who was unarmed, down in cold blood, not once, but twice- in the back like a coward-and still be walking around a free man? Can someone explain this to me? Is the law not to protect the innocent and convict the guilty? Johnny killed my son with malice and without remorse. He even admitted to shooting Phillip. How much more evidence do you need? My son is dead and Johnny Williams is walking around a free man. You tell me; what kind of justice is that?" Williams ended up getting only 5 years for what most would call the 1st degree murder of an unarmed man. The DA's office said "This was a good deal for the state; that if he would had gone before the Graham County jury he could have walked out of court a free man. In the same interview with WLOS news Robbinsville Mayor stated, "The best man in Graham County is going to prison."
Rebuilding old sheriff's office splits board
Commission can't agree over design
By James Budd, editor
April 7, 2011
ROBBINSVILLE, N.C. -- Graham County commissioners rejected a proposal to go ahead and use more than $200,000 in insurance money to build back the burned-out sheriff’s office on Main Street to its original square footage.
Instead, the commission plans to hold a workshop at 3 p.m. Thursday to discuss options to repair the burned-out building, which was destroyed last May by an arson fire.
Commissioner Raymond Williams, in a motion at Monday’s commission meeting, said he’s tired of the delays in restoring the building.
“If we don’t do something this will drag out another year,” Williams said.
Williams said he wanted to use the $200,000 in insurance money to “put the building back like it was.”
Williams found support for his motion from Commissioner Billy Holder, who said the insurance company should provide blueprints for the restoration so the county could get started as soon as possible.
“We don’t want a Taj Mahal,” Holder said. “We just want it back like it was.”
The commission hopes to put the North Carolina County Extension Office back into the building, which was shared with the sheriff’s office.
The Soil and Water Conservation Office, which is now in rented space in Village Shopping Center, would likely be moved into the revamped building, County Manager Mickey Duvall said.
Commissioner Sandra Smith indicated she thought the sheriff’s office should be put back into the space, but her suggestion didn’t appear to have support from other commissioners.
Rent money paid for the sheriff’s office in the old Wachovia Building can be applied to eventual purchase of the building. The building, located on the bypass, is owned by the Cody family.
Teresa Garland, head of the extension service, said she is confident a $46,000 grant will be received from Golden LEAF to build a “learning” kitchen in the new building.
Duvall said plans for the renovated building could be drawn up to accommodate the possible kitchen.
Duvall also said it would cost about $25,000 to bolster the first floor of the building to accommodate a second floor.
Commission Connie Orr said the commission ought to wait to review all possibilities.
Williams’ motion to go ahead immediately with the renovation failed 3-2, with Chairman Mike Edwards and Commissioners Sandra Smith and Orr opposed.
Graham County board still not sure on where to get their office space
Commercial Office Space News
May 30, 2010
Commissioners met up in regards to getting a temporary Sheriff’s office, as the local community showed discontent at the move today.
Chairwoman Sandra Smith had to stop sections from the crowd trying to shout out about the indecision with the office space in Robbinsville, saying, “The public has no say whatsoever with what we do about county buildings.”
The deputy then came out of the meeting and left. This leaves Graham with the dubious honor of having two Sheriff’s office, one that is occupied by commissioners and the other the working home of Sheriff Russell Moody.
The reason for the move is unfortunate, an arson attack caused damage to the Sheriff’s office in a small town that only has 8000 people.
Police have apprehended a man who is suspected of causing the arson attack that happened during the early hours of the morning. It is believed that he was trying to destroy evidence that may have allegedly linked him to drug-related offences.
Getting back to the office space issue, the Sheriff’s association has offered to pay for a 3 month lease of temporary office space, so that Moody can have a new place to set up headquarters, at least for the mean-time.
How Corrupt is Graham County Sheriff's Department?
Exposing the Dark Side of Graham County NC
Oct 5, 2006
Vol 49 No. 29
Graham Star Newspaper editor describes his first week on the job.
From my first week on the job, it was apparent I had stepped into a whole different world when a local deputy said he was going to “kick my ass” for asking questions about a stepfather who had just fired shots at his stepson right outside the jail. I must admit I was pretty amazed. It was as if I had jumped through a time and space warp into the wild west.
FIRE AT SHERIFF’S OFFICE ‘SUSPICIOUS’
by Zelerie Rose
May 20, 2010
Vol. 56 No. 48
Graham County Sheriff Russell Moody said a predawn fire that gutted the sheriff’s office Monday was “suspicious.”
Agents from the State Bureau of Investigation were called to downtown Robbinsville to investigate the cause of the blaze, which did about $1 million in damages to the county-owned building.
The Graham County Fire Department received the fire call about 2:30 a.m.
Moody said Tuesday morning “the fire is of a suspicious nature” and is asking the public for help if they have information regarding the fire.
“We’re not finished with the investigation yet, but there is enough evidence to make us suspicious,” Moody said.
Meanwhile, county officials were scrambling Monday to locate new office space for the sheriff’s office and the adjoining county extension office.
The county commission is expected to meet in an emergency session today, Thursday, at 3 p.m. to come up with a location to house the sheriff’s office.
The old Ditmore Drugs and the Wachovia Bank have been considered.
The county was also trying to restore the computer network and phone service in the area.
“You can imagine what kind of hectic day we’ve had,” said Kim Crisp, assistant county manager. “We can call other county offices, and we can call out, but we can’t receive any calls.”
The investigation room at the sheriff’s office took the brunt of the damage, but the rest of the county-owned building is severely damaged by heat and smoke and was declared a total loss.
Moody said a brick wall kept the fire from spreading.
“We think the brick wall kept the fire from spreading to other parts of the building,” Moody said. “But we lost a lot of equipment, computers and files. I’m afraid it will have long-reaching consequences for us, especially in upcoming cases.”
Robbinsville man arrested for setting fire to sheriff's office
by Zelerie Rose
May 27, 2010
A Robbinsville man was arrested Sunday evening and charged with starting the fire that destroyed the sheriff’s office and county extension office May 17.
The suspect is also charged with burning a mobile home just north of Robbinsville off U.S. 129.
Mitchum Turpin, 36, of Happy Hollow Road, was charged with five counts of burning personal property, malicious injury to a public building using incendiary materials, breaking and entering, destroying criminal evidence, common law obstruction of justice and burning a single-wide mobile home at 129 Tapoco Road.
“Ever since the destruction of the sheriff’s office, my officers have been working nonstop on this investigation,” said Graham County Sheriff Russell Moody.
“We have been working in conjunction with the State Bureau of Investigation, and the district attorney’s office, and I’m pleased to say all that hard work paid off with his arrest.”
Originally from Jackson County, Turpin is no stranger to law enforcement. He spent several years in prison on first-degree kidnapping charges, breaking and entering, and attack with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He was recently arrested by Graham County deputies for possession of marijuana.
“We stopped a black Chevrolet Cavalier in a traffic stop at the intersection of Hares Creek and U.S. 129 on Wednesday, May 12,” said Graham County Detective Jeremy Spencer.
“A K-9 search was conducted on the vehicle and a positive alert for narcotics was made. Mitchum had two other people in the vehicle with him. We had all of them get out so we could search the car.”
Spencer said officers found the contraband when they opened the trunk.
“All three people were on probation or parole, and all denied knowledge of the marijuana,” Spencer said. “We didn’t arrest anyone at the time because I wanted to check with those officers first to see if there were any additional problems we needed to know about.”
A couple of days later Spencer had charges drawn up on Turpin, and went to his residence to arrest him. A small amount of marijuana was found at his home.
Turpin was arrested and charged with felony possession of marijuana, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver schedule VI controlled substance, and maintaining a place for controlled substance. He was placed under a $10,000 bond that he made later that day.
On Monday, May 17, at 2:30 a.m., the dispatch center received a 911 call that the sheriff’s office was on fire. Investigation into the cause of the fire revealed an air conditioner window unit had been knocked out to allow fire and smoke to escape.
The contents of the investigation division suffered extensive heat, fire and smoke damage. An arson canine alerted officers to three separate areas on the floor of the burned building indicating the presence of ignitable liquids.
Through interviews and further investigation, officers were able to tie Turpin to the fire. He had made inquiries as to where evidence held by the sheriff’s office was located, and had made statements relating he “would do anything to not be sent back to prison.”
Turpin is being held at the Cherokee County Jail under a $250,00 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on June 14. Investigation is still ongoing concerning the marijuana.
“I would like to thank the SBI’s Special Response Team for helping me get Mitchum off the streets,” Moody said. “I also want to thank the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association and all the sheriffs across the state for their help in getting this office up and running.
SHERIFF, COMMISSION IN STANDOFF
SHERIFF SAYS HE’S STAYING IN NEW HEADQUARTERS BUT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WANT HIM TO LEAVE IMMEDIATELY
by Zelerie Rose
May 27, 2010
Vol 56 No 49
Graham County commissioners and Sheriff Russell Moody appear to be in a standoff about the sheriff’s decision to use the old Wachovia Bank building as his new headquarters.
Moody said he isn’t moving and the commission wants him out.
Sheriff Russell Moody moved into the bank building located on Rodney Orr bypass, and owned by the Cody family, after a May 17 fire in his old building left him stranded on the sidewalk for two days.
Moody said he felt two days were more than enough time for commissioners to secure some type of temporary quarters for his office, and after failing to hear from them, he called the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association to see what kind of help they could provide.
“I was on the sidewalk, under a tent trying to run the sheriff’s office,” Moody said. “I can’t operate like that. Not only am I answerable to the people of this county for their protection, I also have to answer to the district attorney’s office, and to the judges who serve here.
“I need to have a safe, secure place to store evidence, case files, and a million other things related to ongoing investigations,” Moody said. “I can’t do that on the side of the road.”
Moody said the sheriffs’ association told him they would have him off the street in 24 hours, and to start looking around for a building suitable for his needs.
“I went and talked to Herve Cody about using the bank because it already had a locking vault, there’s plenty of parking, and it’s centrally located.” Moody said. “It appeared to be an ideal solution, and Herve offered to help me any way he could. When I told Eddie Caldwell, the vice president of the sheriffs’ association, about the building he agreed with me and we started moving in.”
Moody said the sheriffs’ association was true to its word in getting him off the street, and in addition they contacted other sheriff’s offices from across the state to help get supplies and equipment for his office.
“In less than 24 hours the sheriffs’ association had me off the street, set up with equipment and ready to open while the commissioners hadn’t even found me an office to move into,” Moody said.
Commissioners say they offered Moody temporary accommodations to get him off the street until a more secure temporary location could be found, but he declined the offers as being inadequate for his office needs.
The board called an emergency meeting last Thursday to consider proposals for a building to house the sheriff.
Three buildings were under construction: the old Ditmore Drug store, located on the corner of Ford Street and Rodney Orr Bypass, available for $2,000 a month; the bank building for $1,200 a month; and the Millsaps building located on Court Street beside the courthouse, for $600 a month.
After hearing comments from several sheriffs and state representatives last Thursday, the commissioners went into closed session. When they emerged about 30 minutes later, they had incoming County Manager Mickey Duvall tell everyone they would make a decision about where to put the sheriff’s office by noon the next day.
Interim County Manager Kim Crisp polled the commissioners the next day by phone. The vote was unanimous to put Moody in the Millsaps building.
“The decision to lease the building from Jack Millsaps was based solely on financial concerns,” Commissioner Steve Odom said. “It was half the cost of the bank building and Mr. Millsaps asked for reasonable terms for leasing. The building has several offices and a reception area inside which would be more suitable for short term accommodations. I made what I thought was a conservative business decision, and one that was in the best financial interest of the county. I stand behind that decision.”
When Moody heard the commissioners rejected the bank building due to the unacceptable terms and conditions of the preliminary lease, he contacted Jack Adams, overseer of the bank building.
Adams told Moody to find out everything the commissioners had a problem with concerning the lease, and they would do everything possible to meet their requirements.
Moody and Caldwell told County Attorney David Sawyer, Crisp, and Duvall, that the Codys were willing to renegotiate the lease to be more in line with Millsaps’ lease, and to let the commissioners know the sheriffs’ association would pick up the $600 difference in rent.
Commission Chairwoman Sandra Smith said the sheriff failed to inform the commission about his plans. She said the Millsaps building would be better financially.
“We are required to provide an office building for the sheriff and we have,” Smith said. “It is located next to the courthouse. We gave an oral commitment to Jack that we would lease his building, and we are not lying politicians. We mean what we say.”
“The commissioners say the county is strapped for money and yet they want me to move into a building that doesn’t have adequate parking, will require them to purchase some kind of vault or safe to secure evidence, and is inadequate to meet our needs,” Moody said.
“That makes no sense to me when I’m already in a building that has everything we need, and isn’t costing the county or citizens a single dime. I just don’t understand their reasoning on this,” Moody said.
Commissioner Billy Cable said he thought a lot of the misunderstandings were because Moody left them out of the loop when making his decisions.
“I don’t like the fact that Russell didn’t include the commissioners when he decided to move into the bank building,” Cable said.
“We have to have the county’s best interests in mind, and there was no way we could have gone along with the terms and conditions stated in that lease.”
Moody said he has no intention of leaving the bank building regardless of how commissioners vote.
“I am here to serve and protect the people of this county, and thanks to the sheriffs’ association this office has been up and running since last Friday,” Moody said.
“If I had waited on the commissioners I would still be on the sidewalk. I am here to fight drug dealers and child molesters, not the county government.”
Chairwoman Smith thinks sheriff is 'breaking the law'
Sheriff, commission disagree on HQ building
By James Budd
September 24, 2010
Graham County Commission Chairwoman Sandra Smith said she believes Sheriff Russell Moody is breaking the law by keeping his office in the old Wachovia Building against the wishes of the commission.
Smith’s anger at the sheriff erupted in an exchange between Smith and Moody in Monday evening’s commission meeting.
Smith asked Moody, who was seated in the audience at the commission meeting, if the rent on the Wachovia Building had been paid by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association.
Moody responded that it will be paid by December.
Moody, who said he had heard Smith was alleging he was a “criminal” in public discussions in recent weeks, asked Smith, “Do you think I’m a criminal?”
“Yes,” Smith responded.
“You do?” Moody said.
“Yes,” Smith responded.
When contacted Tuesday, Smith denied she called the sheriff a criminal, but said “he is breaking the law.
“I don’t like the way he is dealing with his office — I just think he is breaking the law,” Smith said.
Smith said the sheriff could face removal from office and his chief deputy could be made sheriff if Moody is removed.
Smith said the sheriff hasn’t turned over financial information to the finance officer and the action could give Graham County a “black mark” with the state on the upcoming audit. Smith said the sheriff hasn’t provided financial information in several months.
Ditmore told commissioners that County Manager Mickey Duvall told him last week the records weren’t public documents and could be withheld.
Duvall cited an e-mail from Sharon Scudder, a lawyer for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, who advised him the information “may be” protected under attorney-client privilege.
“Based on what you told me, during negotiations for settlement of the property loss claim, the county should be able to withhold information critical to the negotiation from public inspection,” Scudder wrote Duvall.
Amanda Martin, an attorney for the North Carolina Press Association, said the records should be made public unless they are specifically part of a pending lawsuit.
“The laws on attorney-client privilege are specific,” Martin said. “I believe there is no question, these are public records.”
Ditmore said Sheriff Moody later gave him a copy of the initial statement of loss, which the county withheld as a privileged document.
The document shows the county has a policy limit of more than $10 million through Travelers Insurance.
The report shows preliminary repair estimates at be $142,213. The document shows about $27,000 in advance payments have been paid for cleaning and other purposes.
Ditmore asked commissioners why part of the initial payment couldn’t be used to pay rent on the Wachovia Building.
“I’m not going to answer that question,” Smith said.
Smith later advised Ditmore his five minutes allotted for public comment had expired.
Smith said Tuesday the old Wachovia Building isn’t an official county building and the insurance money can’t be spent on the building for rent.
Smith said she has signed the lease on the Millsaps Building next to the courthouse, which has been designated as the sheriff’s office.
Smith said she “doesn’t remember” when she signed the lease, but indicated she didn’t need the signatures of the other commissioners because the issue has been settled by a previous vote of the commission.
Commissioner Raymond Williams said he was surprised about the lease agreement.
“I never signed it,” Williams said.
Moody said he has tried to run his office “transparent” and open to the public.
Smith said Moody has a “God complex.”
“He’s a spoiled brat,” Smith said.
ENOUGH OFFICERS IN COUNTY TO ‘PATROL ATLANTA’ AT TIMES
by Tyler Larson
Feb 19, 2009
Vol 54 No. 35
As a seasonal visitor with business concerns here in Graham County, I certainly enjoy The Star and your articles while I’m here each year. My primary residence is in Knoxville, Tenn., but I’m having a new summer home and retreat built in Macon County right now and I enjoy exploring and spelunking here locally. I noticed that you have an abundance of law enforcement officials here. In fact I’d venture to say that there are enough here to patrol Atlanta on a slow day. My question is why so many? They seem bored to tears. As a former government security agent myself, I understand the concept of the police mentality and thought patterns. I was stopped in a roadblock and hassled the other day by your local police. They are a strange bunch with most looking like high school boys, while others looked like escapees from the old folks’ home or mental hospital.
Dragonater Note: A standard scam by dope-dealing cops is to make highly publicized "drug busts" of their own dope, either with no arrests, or just arrest the know-nothing drivers. The highly publicized burning of marijuana leaves and stems does not include duffle bags of primo bud, which the cops sell on their black market. Tennessee leads the nation in sheriffs convicted of dope dealing. Marijauna is Tennessee's #1 cash crop, and probably USA's as well. Big Brother has made this cure for cancer illegal, under orders from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Pissed off business owner got 41 speeding tickets
"It is extremely easy to beat this type of ticket in court. Your easiest defense is to simply throw the ticket away. If it does not come with a return receipt that requires a signature, there is no proof that you actually got the ticket."
-Norman G. Fernandez, attorney at law, BikerLawBlog.com, free ebook How to Beat a Speeding Ticket - Photo RADAR
Business owner beats speeding tickets by turning town's traffic enforcement camera technology against them
A Maryland business owner has successfully discredited the camera equipment used by traffic enforcers – ironically by using their own technology against them to prove errors in the system.
Will Foreman, the owner of Eastover Auto Supply in Oxon Hill, Maryland, has managed to prove reasonable doubt five times before three separate judges, by bringing photos snapped on the highway of his company’s vehicles into court and proving that there is no way they were travelling over the speed limit.
But how did he do it?
Foreman took a close look at the photos snapped on Maryland’s Indian Head Highway by Optotraffic. The company’s devices first use sensors to detect vehicles traveling at least 12 miles over the imposed speed limit, and then snap two time-stamped image of the vehicle 50 feet down the road, at 0.363 second intervals.
The allegedly speeding motorist is then sent the pictures and a $40 ticket.
After superimposing the two photographs into one image - using the vehicle’s length as a frame of reference - Foreman was able to calculate the vehicle’s speed, given the distance and the elapsed time of the shots, and was able to prove that the vehicles were not in fact speeding.
‘I’ve never seen this before…You’ve produced an elegant defence and I’m sufficiently doubtful,’ Judge Mark T. O’Brien said in court before throwing the tickets out.
Foreman says that he is waiting to prove the system’s technology wrong on at least 40 more tickets that drivers at his company have received.
‘This whole thing…I can’t wrap my head around it. They’re stealing from the public. It’s highway robbery,’ Foreman said.
‘It p***** me off. I’m trying to run a business…they’re raping the public,’ he added, calling the ticketing of the public for driving the speed limit ‘appalling’.
Forman went straight to the mayor when he spoke in a public forum at a Town of Forest Heights Council meeting in March.
'I explained how I and many others had successfully defended ourselves in court. I tried to emphasize to them that I wasn't complaining because we were ticketed. I was furious because the charges were false,' Foreman said.
According to Foreman, the town's newly elected mayor Jacqueline Goodall said that it was an inappropriate forum to discuss the speed cameras. He said that Goodall told him he 'would call him tomorrow.' Four months later he says he has still not met with her and that she has not returned her calls.
Many have said that they feel that the speed cameras are just a cash cow for local governments.
In Forest Heights, the small town where Foreman’s company received the majority of the speeding tickets, $2.9million is expected to be generated in ticket revenue this fiscal year alone.
Speed cameras are becoming increasingly common across the country. Vendors that sell the devices can receive up to 40 per cent of what motorists pay on each ticket, with the rest of the cash going to local, county and state government.
Optotraffic states that photo enforcement significantly reduces the number of traffic violations and crashes, but maintains that the photos are not meant to be used to capture the actual act of speeding.
‘No one has come to us with a proven error. Their speed is not measured by the photos. The speed is measured before the photos are taken,’ Optotraffic spokesman Mickey Shepherd said.
Judges in Mr Foreman’s cases have sided with him, not believing that the vehicles would have slowed significantly in the 50ft from when the sensor clocks the vehicle and the photo is snapped.
Foreman also said that the brake light would most likely be showing in the photos if that were the case.
"Traffic cops and State Troopers are purely there for the money. I used to be a traffic cop in Panama City, Fl. Traffic tickets pay for the policeman's ball and the Christmas party. The more money we bring in from tickets, the more beer and food at our parties. If anyone tells you that traffic cops don't have a quota, they're lying. I hated the days when I was posted on traffic because if I brought in less than 14 traffic citations daily, I was considered lazy. Traffic tickets have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with increasing revenue for the city. If the law was really concerned with traffic safety, they would revoke the license of anyone caught speeding or running a red light. Removing bad drivers from traffic permanently is much more effective than issuing a traffic citation."
-Dallas, West Palm Beach, FL, 22/4/201
2. to steal; filch. 3. to buy (narcotics). 4. cop out, a. to avoid one's responsibility, the fulfillment of a promise, etc.; renege; back out. 5. cop a plea, a. to plead guilty or confess in return for receiving a lighter sentence. b. to plead guilty to a lesser charge; plea-bargain.
—Random House Unabridged Dictionary
"Lasercraft is a member of the Public Safety Equipment PSE group of companies. Public Safety Equipment (Intl) Ltd, Registered Office, Yeadon, Leeds, England. Beijing Mag Science & Technology Development Corp, Beijing, China."
"Redflex Group is based in South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Redflex Holdings Limited was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in January 1997. Redflex Traffic Systems Inc has contracts with more then 130 USA cities, and is the largest provider of digital red light and speed enforcement services in North America."
$500,000 Knoxville TN Redflex invoice paid to National Australia Bank
"Your photo radar defense: Ignoring The Letter. When you receive a general post letter advising you of your photo radar citation, you have the option of just ignoring it. All states have guidelines on how the citation must be served. In effect, your payment or appearance at the courthouse is your acceptance of service. By not responding to the letter, you are refusing acceptance of service. In addition, none of the departments are making personal service to anyone that lists a PO Box as their mailing address on their vehicle registrations."
-Lt "Radar" Roy Reyer, Maricopa County Sheriff Office, Phoenix, Arizona, RadarBusters.com, Your Photo Radar Defense
75% of AZ Drivers Refuse to Pay Photo Traffic Tickets
85% of TX Drivers Refuse to Pay Photo Traffic Tickets
Only the DUMB pay traffic camera tickets:
"You've got all these speed cameras here. In L.A. people would say, 'Why don't you just shoot them out?'"
-Jay Leno, BBC Top Gear (crowd cheers wildly)
Knox County TN deputy sheriffs confess to shooting redlight camera
Green Hornet shoots redlight scamera (crowd cheers wildly):
Friday, April 22, 2011
“When I go out on my motorcycle, I wear protection from head to toe. However, if someone doesn’t want to wear a helmet when riding their motorcycle, that should be their choice. There is a donor shortage in this country.”
-Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM), Congressman Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty 2008, The Right to Kill Yourself, John Stewart Mill and Victimless Crimes
"It's never been a consideration that I would enlist the services of a prostitute, myself personally. But if I were to do that, where would I want to enlist that service? Well, it would probably be in Nevada, where it's legal, because it would be safe."
-GARY AND THE HOOKERS
Ex-N.M. governor Gary Johnson announces for president
Ron Paul on Gary Johnson: "I can't imagine endorsing anybody else"
Governor Gary Johnson helps downed rider, chases hit-and-run driver - "Recently, while traveling in his state-issued Lincoln Continental, New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson encountered a motorcycle accident. After calling 911 on his cellular phone, Gov. Johnson walked across the busy Interstate 25 to check on the motorcyclist, noticing two other vehicles -- one a pickup truck with a flat tire -- nearby. Suddenly the pickup roared off, and the driver of the other vehicle yelled, 'That's the guy who di it!' Johnson dashed back to his car and followed the pickup for about a mile until the driver pulled off the road and feverishly began changing the tire. Not knowing what to expect, Johnson kept a safe distance. When the chase resumed, the governor kept in touch with state and Abuquerque police on separate phones until they collared the hit-and-run, uninsured driver." [note that driving without insurance is not a crime, but that is never admitted by govt or media, which would eliminate 90% of hit-and-run] - American Motorcyclist, October 1996
Willie Nelson Endorses Johnson
17 May 2011
Long-haired country crooner Willie Nelson and his Teapot Party have endorsed Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
Johnson, the first presidential candidate the group has endorsed, got the nod from the Teapoters because of his views on legalizing marijuana.
The former governor of New Mexico, who previously admitted to smoking pot for medicinal purposes, supported legalizing the drug when he was governor. Since he’s been out of office, he has continued to speak out for marijuana reform. Johnson said, “I advocate legalizing marijuana – control it, regulate, tax it” during the Republican debate on May 5 in South Carolina.
Going by Johnson’s outspokenness about the drug – he once joked that he never exhaled – it comes as no surprise that he happily accepted Nelson’s thumbs up.
In a press release issued on the Teapot Party’s site, Johnson said: “I am truly gratified to have the endorsement of such an iconic entertainer, philanthropist, innovator and champion for individual rights as Willie Nelson. …Not only is he a superstar talent, he is a bold advocate for social change. Americans are demanding the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams without interference from a heavy-handed government, and Willie Nelson lends a tremendous voice to those demands.”
Nelson’s voice only got more tremendous after he was arrested for pot possession last November. Instead of issuing an apology, the then-77-year-old immediately founded the Teapot Party, dedicated to taxing, regulating and legalizing marijuana.
The Teapot Party also recently endorsed Washington State Rep. Roger Goodman, who is running for Congress in 2012.
Nelson fans probably won’t be too surprised by these endorsements. After all, they’ve stood by the Red Headed Stranger in the past when he performed with another marijuana advocate, Snoop Dogg.
The Dragonater will never endorse any candidate who supports the illegal alien invasion and export of US jobs
Free Johnson - The Next Ron Paul?
The New Republic
There are certain shibboleths in presidential politics that even the most forthright candidates feel obliged to repeat, certain topics they feel compelled to avoid. Yet talk to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the unorthodox 2012 GOP hopeful, and those rules go out the window. Ask about church, and he says he doesn’t go. “Do you believe in Jesus?” I ask. “I believe he lived,” he replies with a smile. Ask about shifts in position, and he owns up to one. “I changed my mind on the death penalty,” he tells me. “Naïvely, I really didn’t think the government made mistakes.”
Ask about his voting history, and he volunteers (without regrets) that he cast his first presidential ballot for George McGovern (“because of the war”). Ask about his longstanding support for marijuana legalization, and he recalls the joy of his pot-smoking days. “I never exhaled,” he says. (An avid athlete, Johnson forswore marijuana and alcohol decades ago when he realized they were hurting his ski times and rock-climbing ability.)
Like Ron Paul, whom he endorsed in 2008, Johnson is an unabashed libertarian-and, in some ways, a purer one (he’s pro-choice, pro-free trade, and pro-immigration). So, while he’s no culture warrior or foreign policy hawk—he opposed the war in Iraq and the troop surge in Afghanistan—he outflanks any Republican on fiscal issues, proposing an immediate, across-the-board 43 percent spending cut. “We’re on the precipice,” he says, of the country’s finances. To illustrate what lies in the abyss, at times he flashes his favorite prop: a $100 trillion bill from Zimbabwe that he keeps in his wallet.
What does Johnson make of Palin? On a drive through the foothills of New Hampshire, I ask him. Riding shotgun, he turns the question around on me. "Um, I guess some people think she's folksy," I say from the backseat. "Well, at first she strikes you as folksy," he shoots back. "And then you realize: She might be running for president of the United States! And then, don't we have the obligation to tell her what a terrible idea that is?" Cupping his hands to his mouth, he brays, "Sarah! We love you! Don't run!" He also performs a rendition of the "deer-in-the-headlights" interview she did on "The O'Reilly Factor," about the BP oil spill.
Gary E. Johnson
Gary Earl Johnson (born January 1, 1953) is an American businessman and candidate for the Republican nominaton for President of the United States in the 2012 election. He served as the 29th Governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, and is well-known for his low-tax libertarian views and his regular participation in triathlons.
Founder of one of New Mexico's largest construction companies, Johnson entered politics for the first time by running for Governor of New Mexico in 1994 on a conservative, low-tax, anti-crime platform. He beat incumbent Democratic governor Bruce King by 50% to 40%. He cut the 10% annual growth in the budget by using his gubernatorial veto on half of bills in the first six months.
He sought re-election in 1998, winning by 55% to 45%. In his second term, he concentrated on the issue of school voucher reforms, as well as campaigning for marijuana decriminalization. During his tenure as governor, he adhered strictly to an anti-tax, anti-bureaucracy program, and set state and national records for his use of veto powers: more than the other 49 contemporary governors put together. Term-limited, Johnson retired from politics at the end of his second term. He "is highly regarded in the state for his outstanding leadership during two terms as governor. He slashed the size of state government during his term and left the state with a large budget surplus."
Gov Johnson with Richard Abruzzo now missing and presumed dead in balloon race crash, while on an island with Ken Lay and Saddam Hussein
In 2009, he founded the Our America Initiative, a 501(c)(4) "nonprofit political advocacy committee that promotes common-sense business approaches to governing." He announced his candidacy for the presidency on April 21, 2011.
Johnson was born in 1953 in Minot, North Dakota. His father was a public school teacher, while his mother worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Johnson graduated from Sandia High School in Albuquerque in 1971, He attended the University of New Mexico from 1971 to 1975 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. It was there that he met his future wife, Denise "Dee" Simms.
While in college, Johnson earned money as a door-to-door handyman. His success in that arena encouraged him to start his own business, Big J Enterprises, which was founded in 1976. When he started the business, Johnson was its only employee. His major break with the firm was receiving a large contract from Intel's expansion in Rio Rancho, which increased Big J's revenue to $38million. Over-stretched by his success, Johnson enrolled in a time management course at night school, which made him heavily goal-driven. He eventually grew Big J into a multi-million dollar corporation with over 1000 employees. By the time he sold the company, in 1999, it was one of New Mexico's leading construction companies.
Gov Johnson claims Mt Everest for NM
Governor of New Mexico
Johnson entered politics for the first time in 1994, approaching the state Republican Party for the gubernatorial nomination. Rebuffed, and told he should run for the State Legislature, Johnson spent $500,000 of his own money putting out a message of bringing to the office a 'common sense business approach'. His conservative platform emphasized tax cuts, job creation, halting the growth of state government, and a tough line on law and order. Johnson's campaign slogan was "People before Politics".
He received the nomination, defeating state legislator Richard P. Cheney by 34% to 33%, with John Dendahl and former governor David F. Cargo in third and fourth. Despite having little experience in politics, Johnson won the general election, defeating the incumbent Democratic Governor Bruce King by 50% to 40%. Johnson was elected in a nationally Republican year, though party registration in the state of New Mexico at the time was 2-to-1 Democratic. Today, that is still the case.
As governor, Johnson followed a strict small government approach. According to former New Mexico Republican National Committee member Mickey D. Barnett, "Any time someone approached him about legislation for some purpose, his first response always was to ask if government should be involved in that to begin with." Having run on a promise of lowering the 10% annual growth of the state budget, in his first six months in office, Johnson vetoed 200 of 424 bills put in front of him, a national record of 48% of all legislation, and used the line-item veto on most remaining bills. Johnson frequently angered Democrats in the Legislature by using a governor's line-item veto powers to cut money from the Legislature's budget bill." In 1995, he called on the Republicans in Congress to eliminate the budget deficit through proportional cuts across the budget.
In his first budget, Johnson proposed a wide-ranging cut in taxes – repealing a tax on prescription drugs, cutting income tax by $47million, and cutting gasoline tax by 6 cents per gallon. However, of these, only the gasoline tax cut was passed.
In 1998, Johnson ran for re-election as governor against Democratic Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez. He campaigned on continuing the programs of his first term: improving schools, but cutting state spending, taxes, and bureaucracy, along with using his veto power frequently. Johnson won by a 55% to 45% margin, making him the first Governor of New Mexico to serve two four-year terms after term limits were expanded to two terms in 1991.
In 1999, Johnson became one of the highest-ranking elected officials in the United States to advocate the legalization of marijuana. Saying the War on Drugs was "an expensive bust," he advocated the decriminalization of marijuana use and the concentration on harm reduction measures for all other illegal drugs. "He compared attempts to enforce the nation's drug laws with the failed attempt at alcohol prohibition. Half of what government spends on police, courts and prisons is to deal with drug offenders." He suggests that drug abuse be treated as a health issue, not as a criminal issue. His approach to the issue garnered supportive notice from conservative icon William F. Buckley,< as well as the Cato Institute and Rolling Stone.
In 2000, New Mexico was devastated by the Cerro Grande Fire. Johnson's handling of the disaster earned him accolades from the Denver Post, which observed that he
was all over the Cerro Grande Fire last week. He helped reporters understand where the fire was headed when low-level Forest Service officials couldn't, ran herd over the bureaucratic process of getting state and federal agencies and the National Guard involved, and even helped put out some of the fire with his feet. On a tour of Los Alamos last Wednesday, when he saw small flames spreading across a lawn, he had his driver stop his car. He jumped out and stomped on the flames, as did his wife and some of his staffers.
Johnson's leadership during the fire was praised by Democratic Congressman Tom Udall, who said: "I think the real test of leadership is when you have circumstances like this. He's called on his reserves of energy and has just been a really excellent leader under very difficult circumstances here."
Johnson's hallmark issue was promoting school voucher system. In 1999, he refused to sign off the budget after it failed to include a voucher program, but was faced down by Democrats holding majorities in both houses of the New Mexico Legislature. In 2000, Johnson once again proposed the most wide-reaching voucher program in the United States, with each parent receiving $3,500 per child for education at any private or parochial school.
He rebuffed efforts by the Libertarian Party to draft him in the 2000 presidential election.
News reports have noted that Johnson "is highly regarded in the state for his outstanding leadership during two terms as governor. He slashed the size of state government during his term and left the state with a large budget surplus." According to one New Mexico paper, "Johnson left the state fiscally solid," and was "arguably the most popular governor of the decade . . . leaving the state with a $1 billion budget surplus." The Washington Times has reported that when Johnson left office, "the size of state government had been substantially reduced and New Mexico was enjoying a large budget surplus."
According to a profile of Johnson in the National Review, "During his tenure, he vetoed more bills than the other 49 governors combined — 750 in total, one third of which had been introduced by Republican legislators. Johnson also used his line-item-veto power thousands of times. He credits his heavy veto pen for eliminating New Mexico’s budget deficit and cutting the growth rate of New Mexico’s government in half." Johnson has "said his numerous vetoes, only two of which were overridden, stemmed from his philosophy of looking at all things for their cost-benefit ratio and his axe fell on Republicans as well as Democrats." "[W]hen he was governor of New Mexico: [Johnson] never raised taxes in eight years; cut over 1,200 government jobs without firing anyone; cut taxes 14 times; vetoed over 750 bills; was the biggest advocate in the country for school vouchers; started his own small business and became a multimillionaire."
Johnson was term limited and could not run for a third consecutive term as governor in 2002. In the 2008 election campaign, Johnson endorsed Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination.
Johnson served on the board of directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy,a student nonprofit organization that believes that the war on drugs needs to be reevaluated. As of April 2011, he serves on the board of directors of Students For Liberty, a college-age national political organization.
2012 presidential campaign
In February 2011, Johnson was a featured speaker at both the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the Republican Liberty Caucus. At CPAC, "the crowd liked him -- even as he pushed some of his more controversial points." Johnson tied with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for third in the CPAC Straw Poll, trailing only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney (and ahead of such notables as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who "finished a distant 9th place, garnering only 3 percent of the vote."). David Weigel of Slate called Johnson the second-biggest winner of the conference, writing that his "third-place showing in the straw poll gave Johnson his first real media hook ... He met tons of reporters, commanded a small scrum after the vote, and is a slightly lighter shade of dark horse now."
Johnson is an avid triathlete who bikes extensively and abstains from all recreational drug use, caffeine, alcohol, and some sugar products. During his term in office, he competed in several triathlons, marathons and bike races. In 1997, he took part in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. He went on to finish the Hawaii Iron Man five times, the last time finishing the marathon run, 3.8-kilometre swim and 180-kilometre bike ride only two hours behind the winner. In 2003, he reached the summit of Mount Everest "despite toes blackened with frostbite." He once ran 100 miles in 30 consecutive hours in the Colorado Rockies.
In 2005, Johnson was involved in a near fatal paragliding accident when his wing got caught in a tree and he fell approximately fifty feet to the ground. Johnson suffered multiple bone fractures, including a burst fracture to his T12 vertebrae. He used marijuana for pain control from 2005 to 2008.
Johnson was married to his wife Dee, née Simms from 1977 to 2005, when he initiated the separation and divorce. On December 22, 2006, Dee Johnson died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease at the age of 54.
He lives in Taos, New Mexico in a home he built himself. He has two grown children; a daughter, Seah, and a son, Erik.
Off With Their Heads: Gary Johnson for President of the United Republic of Britain
"Shit's gettin way too complicated for me. There are white folks, and then there are ignorant mutherfuckers like you! You can put lipstick on a pig. Sorry ass mutherfucker's got nuttin on me. I inhaled frequently - that was the point. Pot helped, and booze. A little blow when you could afford it. Junkie, pothead. That's where I'd been headed. You ain't my bitch nigger, git your own damn fries!"
-Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro, Dreams From My Father MP3
World heroin production increased 900% after the US invasion of Afghanistan
"You haven't lived until you've heard a live police chase on a car radio...in a car you're driving."
-Danny Bonnaduce, a/k/a Danny Patridge, VH1 100 Top Child Stars
Maximum Street Speed Explained, Part III
By Jack Baruth
It was just another day at the “Tail Of The Dragon” for the group of experienced sportbikers clustering around the Robbinsville, NC, gas station. Fresh from multiple high-speed runs down the famed road, they were reliving their victories when a long-haired old man in some girly convertible asked them to “show him the fast way through.”
“Fuck off. We don’t wait for old cagers,” was the reply.
As fate would have it, they didn’t have to. Five of the six knee-draggers had to yield to that old man in his Porsche-with-panties before the halfway point.
The sixth and fastest made a mistake, went off, and snapped his fairing into three pieces.
The nice old man stopped and helped him carry his bodywork to the “Tree of Shame” at the Dragon’s end.
Contrary to what you read in Car and Driver, we can’t drive “10/10ths” on back roads. In Speed Secrets, Ross Bentley talks about the bell curve of tire traction. The more we ask from the tires, the more we get . . . but as we reach the limit of traction, the rate of slip increases. As we pass the “peak” of traction, the tires “fall off” at the same rate . . . but now we have no safety margin for gravel, road waves, animals, and whatnot.
We need to stay on the safer side of the tire-traction curve. That means we drive up to the audible squeal but not past it. To make this happen, we drive what I call the “Safe Line.” This is what I teach to novice racing students, and it’s the only “racing line” we can use on back roads.
Approach each turn at the very outside edge of the pavement. For right-handers, this means either the edge of the double-yellow or the far edge of the road, depending on your vision and personal risk tolerance. Brake in a solid, single swift motion, “squeezing on” and “easing off.” If you over-slow the car, that’s fine. Wait longer next time. But don’t re-accelerate this time.
When you have completed braking, turn your head past the “clipping point” of the turn, which is either the inside curb or the double-yellow, focus on the exit, and make a single turn-in motion. Keep constant throttle until you reach the clipping point, then unwind the steering wheel before applying throttle for the exit.
Since we are not on a racetrack, we don’t trail-brake, we don’t “adjust” the car in mid-corner with left-foot braking or throttle inputs, and we don’t even think about applying power until the car is pointed properly to the exit. Most importantly, we take the absolute latest apex, which is to say that we wait as long as possible to turn the car into the corner before turning sharply. This reduces mid-corner speed, but it also reduces inadvertent corner exits.
To do this quickly, you need “traction sensing”: the ability to guesstimate potential corner speed the first time you see a turn. I can’t give that to you. You’ll have to earn it over time by steadily increasing the speed at which you approach known corners until something goes wrong.
Racetrack time doesn’t help much here. Racetracks don’t have pavement waves, big bumps, salt, gravel, dead animals, or Amish people in horse-drawn carriages.
If you see any of those, you’re either on the road, or you’re at Nelson Ledges Road Course for a “Friday Funday.” Forget what you know about on-track traction sensing. You can be an SCCA champion and still finish your first Ohio backroads drive in close proximity to a guardrail or tree. Ask me how I know.
Between corners, we accelerate at full speed until it’s time to brake for the next. The exception to this is when we run “The Pace.” The concept of “The Pace” is an old sportbike maxim: set a maximum speed between corners and treat it as a hard ceiling. On the backroads group drives in which I occasionally run, that ceiling is 110mph. Go faster than that, even for a moment, and you can go home alone. No exceptions.
If you enter a corner too hot, straighten the wheel and apply full ABS. Chances are you will go off, but you will go off slow. If you find yourself “saving” a turn by braking in the middle, guess what? You had enough traction to make it through on the throttle.
When you are in mid-air from a “whoop,” do not hit the brakes. Relax your hands and make sure your thumbs are clear of the steering, and keep the throttle at the same place you had when you left the ground. Oh, yeah: keep your eyes up for other road users and treat ’em with courtesy, of course. Pass with care.
Part IV is the finale, in which we discuss suburban and urban techniques.
Maximum Street Speed Explained, Part II
By Jack Baruth
The über-wealthy have many fascinating ways to speed on America’s highways, from night-vision goggles to convenient spotter planes overhead. But those of us who toil in the middle class have to earn our velocity by hard graft. Freeway speeding is the crack cocaine of fast-road driving—cheap, easy, addictive, and deadly—and nighttime freeway speeding is both more glamorous and annoying than its daytime counterpart.
Once the sun goes down, we can do a lot more of that left-lane passing which is so near and dear to the hearts of wannabe Europeans, thanks to a trick I call “Poor Man’s Takedown.” Cop cars have “takedown” lights: high beams which flash alternately. We can simulate the effect as follows: While coming up behind traffic in the left lane, switch to parking lights only. When you are a few hundred feet back, flash your brights three or four times, producing the “takedown” effect. As Billy Dee Williams would say, “It works every time,” primarily because it startles Toyota drivers into yielding the lane before their natural territorial instincts can assert themselves.
We don’t use the shoulder at night unless we have to. Confused deer, abandoned cars, and discarded retreads tend to hide out there. In the event that a lane-changing fellow motorist leaves us with no safe lane choice and no time to slow the car, it’s occasionally possible to simply split the lane on the side away from the lateral direction of the lane change. If you are swift enough with it, you might even keep your mirrors.
The time will come when, despite our best efforts to look ahead, watch brake lights, and use our Valentine Ones, we will be clocked. At this point, we have two useful options. We can pull over and wait for the nice policeman, right there across the road from his clocking point (this will sometimes earn us some goodwill), or we can run.
It isn’t really “running” until the cop is directly behind us with his lights on. That’s a felony, and I advise against it. Until then, it’s merely additional speeding, spiced up with some unwarranted direction-changing. When we decide to perform said additional speeding, we need to absolutely abandon the idea of getting where we were going. That’s no longer important. Instead, we need to perform three important tasks.
Task one is breaking visual contact. As long as the cop can see us, we are toast. So it’s time to boogie. Most police sedans with light bars can’t break 120 mph, so we want to get to that speed or better immediately. We look ahead, not behind, or we will surely drive right into the back of a lane-wandering minivan full of multicultural children stroking crippled kittens and singing “Kumbaya.” We can check our mirrors in the gaps between traffic.
With Task One accomplished, it’s time to multiply possibilities. The police handbooks indicate that fleeing drivers almost always turn right. So we get off the freeway and turn left. If we have enough clear air and we aren’t driving something like a lime green Audi S5 or other memorable car, we can cross the median and join the lawful traffic heading in the other direction. If that’s too much to ask, get off the freeway . . . but do it quickly. We keep our speed up, using the techniques I’ll cover in Part III, and we make multiple direction changes.
After a few of these, it’s time to abandon the whip. We get out of the car and walk away. A gas station is fine for this, a restaurant is better, a car lot is best of all. If you have, ahem, a new Ford Flex, why not drive into a Ford dealership and park in a line of them? Then get away from the car. Guess what? If they can’t prove we were driving the car, we have a fighting chance in court.
If the police manage to catch us, we say we didn’t see them and that we always drive like a maniac. This abject confession of putative stupidity saved, um, a friend of mine from a beating after he led the Ohio Highway Patrol on a 120+ mph chase down Route 71 in a Lotus Seven clone. Sorry, officer! Didn’t see you back there! Gimme the ticket, I’ll sign it!
In cities, we return to the scene of the crime. Police search in an outward circle that expands with time. The one place they won’t be is the place where the search started, so we go there, using left turns. Needless to say, we don’t go speeding with weed, Ecstasy, firearms, or illegal immigrants in the car, because one felony charge at a time is enough.
Mugshot of multibillionaire Bill Gates, richest man in America*
In Part III, we will learn how to drive back roads at outrageous speeds.
Editorial: Maximum Street Speed Explained
Why I Posted Jack Baruth’s Maximum Street Speed Editorials
Amazing Porsche made out of packing tape
"The MAINTAIN TOP SAFE SPEED sign may be used on highways where conditions are such that it is prudent to traverse an area as quickly as possible."
—USDOT, FHA, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Chapter 2I. Emergency Management Signing, 2003 Ed
*Not counting trillionaire jewish banksters who own the private "Federal" Reserve Bank that counterfeit all so-called "US dollar bills" and keep all income taxes, with immunity from arrest by 1-million traffic cops.