Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday morning quick hits

Boy, is Gerald's face red!
Officials in the small town of Gerald, MO are scrambling to cover their asses after they were taken in by a self-styled vigilante posing as a federal agent and leading the local cops on drug raids against locals suspected of being involved with methamphetamines, a pervasive problem in rural Missouri. The first people to suspect Sgt. Bill wasn't exactly a kosher pig came from those arrested - Sgt. Bill had everyone convinced - except those arrested - convinced that since he was (posing as a) federal agent, no warrant was necessary. The local cops went merrily along. Now three of the five have been fired, the mayor is perhaps going to be impeached, people arrested in raids led by Jakob have filed multi-million dollar lawsuits alleging civil rights violations, and Sgt. Bill is in a big steaming pot of hot legal water. A local newspaper reporter got suspicious over the "no warrant" assertion and googled his ass - and found out that Sgt. Bill was no federal agent, but just a local loser named Bill A. Jakob, an unemployed former trucking company owner, a former security guard, a former wedding minister and a former small-town cop from 23 miles down the road. Linda Trest, a reporter at The Gasconade County Republican, started looking into Sgt. Bill after hearing complaints about irregularities from people whose homes had been searched, and she began making inquiries about him. “Once I got his name, I hit the computer and within an hour I had all the dirt on this guy,” Ms. Trest said. Just a day before it was revealed that he was not a federal agent, the city aldermen in Gerald had voted to make Mr. Jakob a reserve officer; he wanted the designation, the mayor said, so he could enforce local ordinances, and he stood before the aldermen, hands behind his back, seeking the title. And they gave it to him, just like they had given him the Constitutional rights of their citizens - without a moment of hesitation.

Fairfax, VA tackles the housing and foreclosure crisis head on
Fairfax County approved a landmark housing program yesterday to buy foreclosed properties for middle-income families, becoming one of the first communities in the country to tackle the nation's growing mortgage crisis while also addressing the region's increasing demand for affordable housing...County leaders said the program, through which Fairfax will purchase some properties outright and help families buy others through subsidized loans, takes advantage of a unique moment when thousands of homes are entering foreclosure and available for purchase at below-market prices. The program will expand the county's stock of affordable housing and help stabilize areas where clusters of abandoned, unkempt properties in foreclosure threaten the value and vitality of surrounding neighborhoods, county officials said..."Fairfax, like the rest of the country, is facing a foreclosure crisis that's unprecedented," said county Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D), who proposed the idea. "The county has to use its resources and influence to try to stem the tide,"...Although other communities are addressing the housing crisis primarily through counseling and such financial help as utility payment assistance, Fairfax is plunging deeper into the issue by agreeing to spend more than $10 million in tax revenue toward the purchase of as many as 200 foreclosed houses. The county will purchase 10 houses outright; the rest will be purchased by qualifying buyers with the help of government-backed, low-interest loans.

Government evidence in Guantanamo detainee case ridiculed by appellate judges
The three judge panel who heard the government’s secret evidence for holding a detainee at Guantanamo Bay found that accusations against a Muslim from western China held for more than six years were based on bare and unverifiable claims. With some derision for the Bush administration’s arguments, a three-judge panel said the government contended that its accusations against the detainee should be accepted as true because they had been repeated in at least three secret documents. The court drew comparisons with the governments ridiculous assertions and the absurd declaration of a character in the Lewis Carroll poem “The Hunting of the Snark”: “I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.” “This comes perilously close to suggesting that whatever the government says must be treated as true,” said the panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. My goodness - when the appellate courts openly mock the administration and call it's legal positions absurd, I think the legacy ship they are so worried about has not just sailed - it has sunk, too. And the site pillaged by treasure hunters.

U.S. Army installs new commander for Japan
Brig. Gen. Francis Wiercinski took command of the U.S. Army in Japan on Monday. He replaces MG Elbert Perkins. Wiercinski has served as deputy commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific, in Hawaii since January. He is also a veteran of the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

New Iraq Deployments were announced yesterday The 10th Mountain Division is going back - again - and so is the Pennsylvania National Guard. We wish them all good luck and godspeed, and a safe return home. May this be their last call-up.

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