PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) -- Jaime Andrade had just gotten out of the shower when the men came to snatch him. His wife, Araceli Valencia, was mopping the kitchen in their family home on a typical warm spring morning in Phoenix, Arizona, "when she suddenly felt a hard object pointed to the back of her head and a voice in Spanish tell her not to move," according to a Phoenix, Arizona, police investigative report.
"I told you not to look at me!" Valencia heard one of the kidnappers bark as he struck Andrade across the head.
Her four children bawling, Valencia was hustled into a bedroom where an armed man fondled her and threatened to rape her if she didn't tell him where Andrade hid his money, according to the report.
After beating and binding Andrade, one of the kidnappers put a gun to Valencia's head. His message: We're taking your husband and SUV. We'll be watching your house. If you call the cops, he's a dead man.
Andrade, his wife would later tell police, was a mechanic and freelance human smuggler, or coyote. Police say his 2006 kidnapping was evidence of a growing trend in Phoenix: drug and human traffickers abducting each other for ransoms or retribution.
The trend continues, as police investigated roughly a kidnapping a day in 2007 and 2008 and are on track to shatter those numbers this year. Police are stingy with details of fresh cases navigating the court system, but recently allowed CNN to review the files from Andrade's kidnapping.
For two and a half days after Andrade's abduction, the kidnappers -- including a man whom Andrade later said had been a friend -- deprived their victim of food and water. Through the door of the closet where he was held, Andrade could hear the cries of other victims being tortured in the house, the report said.
Meanwhile, Valencia had defied the kidnappers and called police, who listened to Andrade "scream and howl in pain" over the phone as the kidnappers tried to cut off his ear and a finger. The torture would continue until Valencia came up with the ransom, the kidnappers told her.
They were true to their word. Andrade was pistol-whipped and beaten with a baseball bat and the butt of a rifle. The kidnappers tried to gouge out his eye and slashed open his left eyebrow. They burned his back as well -- presumably, police said, with a blowtorch found at the scene.
The blindfolded Andrade "could feel his pants and underwear being cut open by an unknown person," he told police. He was told to bend over and was beaten when he refused.
"Jaime felt his legs being forced apart and heard Aldo say he was going to get his money," the report said. The kidnappers then sodomized him with a broomstick, a pair of scissors and a wooden dowel used to hang clothes in a closet.
If the trend continues, Phoenix will record an increase in kidnapping for a fourth straight year.
More frustrating is that the numbers represent only a third, maybe less, of the city's kidnappings, said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a police spokesman with 16 years of drug enforcement experience. Most kidnappings aren't reported, he said, because the victims are generally smugglers, drug dealers or illegal immigrants -- or some combination of the three.
Welcome to Mexico City North or Cuidad de Mexico del Norte.
In Dallas, Texas Dan and Sarah Bell discovered a Jesus shaped Cheeto as they began there road trip last week. Nicknaming the Cheeto Cheesus, Sarah noticed that one of the chips looked oddly familiar I was putting them in my hand and I had eaten most of the ones in my hand, and one was left lying there. And I said, Oh my gosh, look at this. It really looks like a person in a robe praying.
CBS news reported the Cheeto in question is about 2 inches tall and missing a right arm. Other than that, one might see a distinct robe, long hair and a man praying. This isnt the first time a Jesus Cheeto has shown up in the snack bag. Last year CNN reported on a similar Jesus Cheeto found in the bag of the popular snack.
I'll see your Jesus Cheeto and raise you a Honeycomb Allah and a calf with three eyes and two noses...
Hebron Maan Two astonishing phenomena were seen in the southern West Bank towns of Dura and Dhahiriyya, south of Hebron, on Sunday.
In Dura, the Arabic word Allah (God) was found written in honeycomb, while in Dhahiriyya a calf was born with two noses and three eyes.
In a cow farm in Dhahiriyya, a calf was born with two noses close to each other, and three eyes; one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle of its face. The owners say the calf is healthy and eats and drinks regularly.
The honeycomb with Allah apparently inscribed in it was found in an apiary owned by Akram Al-Arab.
What does it mean when a goose and a dog sleep together? That's what goes on at my farm. And Burt thr Duck keeps trying to hump Heather the Guenea Fowl. With the Aporkalypse at hand I fear for our future.
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
05/19/2009 12:04 Comments ||
I once found a pigeon dropping that resembled Bill Ayers. Does that count for anything?
Posted by: Richard of Oregon ||
05/19/2009 12:12 Comments ||
At a preview of the Chelsea Flower Show, which opens on Tuesday, the Queen presented her son and heir with the Royal Horticultural Society Victoria Medal of Honour.
He became only the second member of the Royal Family to be given the award, which was set up to commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria, following in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother who was presented with it in 1961.
The Prince joined the select body of 63 horticulturists who can hold it because of his "passion for plants, gardening and the environment".
The economic downturn has seen a reduction in the number of sponsored gardens and also inspired some low key and economical designs.
James May, the Top Gear presenter, has created the world's largest garden made of Plasticine, there is a real underwater exhibit complete with man-eating piranhas in their display, and the Cayman Islands have used plastic coral to recreate an underwater reef.
May, who conceded he was unlikely to win an award for a garden devoid of any plants, said: "It's relatively low-maintenance. Plasticine flowers don't die, and you don't get weeds."
One of the favourites to win a prize is Sarah Eberle's series of "credit crunch" gardens built on a low budget using scrap and recycled materials. The Daily Telegraph garden, designed by Swedish landscape architect Ulf Nordfjell, mixes the traditional English garden with Scandinavian modernism.
There was consternation at the show when Jekka McVicar, who is on the ruling council of the RHS, breached the rules by placing a garden gnome called Borage in the middle of her display of organic and culinary herbs. The rules clearly state that any brightly coloured creatures including garden gnomes - will lead to disqualification.
Mrs McVicar, who has won 61 RHS gold medals, took evasive action before the judges arrived and removed the gnome for some well earned rest. "He's my lucky mascot," she said. "This is the first time we've had a water feature. He went fishing and he got spotted. He's now asleep."
The Queen, who is patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, rarely misses the Chelsea Flower Show while the Prince has often entered his own exhibit. In 2002 his Healing Garden dedicated to the Queen Mother and full of medicinal herbs received a Silver Flora in the Best Show Garden category. He also won silver in 2001 for his Islamic garden.
The Prince has spent more than 25 years developing his own organic gardens at Highgrove in Gloucestershire which includes a wild flower meadow with 30 different varieties of endangered plants.
Giles Coode-Adams, President of the RHS, said he was an ambassador for good gardening practices. "The work that the Prince of Wales does to promote and contribute to good gardening practices and the cultivation of plants, sustainable gardening and the environment are core to the RHS," he said.
Katherine Jenkins, Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart and Dame Helen Mirren were among the stars attending the preview.
The president of Russia created a commission Tuesday to fight what he says are efforts to falsify Russian history - part of a campaign to promote the Kremlin's account and to curtail, and possibly punish, those who question it.
Russia's relations with some of its former Eastern bloc allies have suffered due to ongoing disputes over the facts of the past century.
Russian leaders tend to cast the Soviet Union as a force for good that defeated Nazi Germany and liberated Eastern Europe. Critics say such arguments gloss over the decades of postwar Soviet dominance seen by many the region as a hostile occupation.
President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this month warned against questioning the primacy of the Soviet Union's role in the World War II, in which at least 27 million Soviets were killed. The costly victory is a source of immense pride for Russians, and is central to Moscow's vision of 20th Century European history.
"We will never forget that our country, the Soviet Union, made the decisive contribution to the outcome of the second world war, that it was precisely our people who destroyed Nazism, determined the fate of the whole world," Medvedev said May 8, on the eve of celebrations commemorating the Allied victory in Europe.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party is drafting legislation to make it a crime to belittle the Soviet contribution to what Russians call the Great Patriotic War. The bill, yet to be submitted to parliament, equates criticizing the Soviets' role with rehabilitating Nazism, and makes it punishable by up to three years in prison.
Observers say Russia is trying to prevent any effort to equate the actions of the Soviet regime with the crimes of the Nazis.
"Something had to be done about it, because the arbitrariness and falsifications have become intolerable, contradicting not only science but common sense," said Makhmut Gareyev, president of Russia's Academy of Military Sciences and former deputy chief of the Soviet general staff.
For years, Russia has fought efforts by former Soviet republics and allies, many of which now in NATO and the European Union, to remove or relocate WWII monuments and Soviet grave sites.
Medvedev and Putin have accused the former Soviet republics Latvia and Estonia of treating citizens who fought alongside the Nazis as heroes by allowing them to hold commemorations.
Russia denies Ukrainian claims that a devastating Stalin-era famine was genocide.
It also denies the 1940 killing by Soviet agents of some 20,000 Polish officials, intellectuals and priests near the western Russian town of Katyn constituted genocide.
The new 28-member history commission is charged with analyzing information and working out strategies for countering alleged efforts to falsify history, Medvedev's press service said.
It will be headed by Sergei Naryshkin, the president's chief of staff, and filled with government officials.
Let's talk true history, you jerk. What about the secrety protocol to the Nazi-Soviet Non-Agression Pact that divided Poland (and much of the rest of eastern Europe) between them? Those folks remember.
The president of Russia created a commission Tuesday to fight what he says are efforts to falsify Russian history - part of a campaign to promote the Kremlin's account and to curtail, and possibly punish, those who question it.
Should appoint the head of the Ministry of Truth NEA who've shown remarkable success in keeping out true history that is inconsistent with the socialist dialectic social justice meme.
you don't hear that old german saying that they helped Lenin get too Petrograd and start the Bolshevik Revolution that started the soviet union though do you through funds and a staright shot through Germany from Zurich too start it.
The Senate has voted to prohibit credit card companies from arbitrarily raising an individual's interest rate and charging many of the exorbitant fees.
The vote was 90-5.
With the House on track to endorse the measure by week's end, President Barack Obama could see a bill on his desk by the end of the week.
If Obama signs the bill as expected, the credit card industry in the next year would have to change the way it does business.
Lenders would have to post their credit card agreements on the Internet and let customers pay their bills online or by phone for free. They'd also have to give consumers a chance to spare themselves from over-the-limit fees and give them 45 days notice and an explanation before interest rates are increased.
How long before credit for risky individuals starts drying up?
Should be harder to get a card. I recall in the 70s it was extremely hard to get one. Then in the 80s, your dog or cat would get invites to have one. What happened is that banks discovered they could write off bad card debit by making the other card holders carry the losses. That way the banks never suffered a significant loss and had no incentive to do any real screening of applicants. When they failed to follow the drop of the Prime Interest rates [who's rise was the justification for their interest rates to reach 21%+], they became free targets for attention. Bush the Elder made a initial proposal to investigate and the banks dumped on the market the next couple days scaring the man off the issue. That was back round '90. It's red on red as far as I'm concerned. Credit is earned, not an entitlement.
When that happens, more mortgage defaults. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Agreed, Spot, for those who still have variable rate mortgages. Anything that puts a little extra strain on homeowners is going to cause foreclosures until all those who are over-mortgaged move to housing their incomes can support. Unfortunately, the whole jobs thingy is putting those who were fine before into a precarious situation now.
Typically inflation triggers movement of money - that stuff government defines - into 'real' things such as metals and lasting commodities. Gold and oil have tended to 'track' each other in price but right now they are not. We know government money printing deflates the value of the pre-existing money (inflation) which would be consistent with the increase in price of oil. My question is why has not gold also increased? There is something missing in my simple model and I don't know what. Perhaps the oil price increase is NOT due to inflation, but to decreased supply/renewed demand or speculation, and inflation is not actually starting yet. One other thing that does not seem to be happening with gold prices is a response to a flight from dollars to Euros or Yuan or whatever. Again, inconsistent with the general story line.
NOTE: THIS IS AN ATTEMPT AT A REPOST, BECAUSE I SCREWED UP THE HTML ON A LINK AT THE LAST POST. IF A MODERATOR WOULD BE SO CONSIDERATE AS TO DELETE THE LAST POST I MADE BEFORE THIS ONE I WOULD BE THANKFUL. (Unfortunately, I'm broke, so there are limits to my thankfulness...)
Oil is probably a much more sensitive commodity to inflation than gold because it's used. Every day millions of barrels are put into the supply system, and every day millions of barrels are taken out of the supply system, turned into other products in refineries, and used, in volumes several orders of magnitude greater in price than gold.
If you think there are other factors at work, the factors I just outlined will make oil more responsive in price movements to various attempts at price manipulation than (for instance) gold is.
Some other possible answers: there was a bubble last year, and it burst and now that the last of the bubble positions have been liquidated, the price is rebounding.
Second, the oil industry, having more players than the gold mining industry, many of which are in state-run companies who a) have the access to money with which to perform market manipulation, and b) have the incentive to play the futures market in attempts to drive up the price of the commodity they sell, is in a situation where price swings are invvariably magnified.
(See some speculation on that problem here: KGB Commodity Corner at the blog Globalwarming-Arclein. I meant to point that out to you and others a while back, but I think that was in the week, not the period yesterday, when everyone was having problems connecting to the 'burg.)
Brazil and China will work towards using their own currencies in trade transactions rather than the US dollar, according to Brazils central bank and aides to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazils president.
The move follows recent Chinese challenges to the status of the dollar as the worlds leading international currency.
Mr Lula da Silva, who is visiting Beijing this week, and Hu Jintao, Chinas president, first discussed the idea of replacing the dollar with the renminbi and the real as trade currencies when they met at the G20 summit in London last month.
An official at Brazils central bank stressed that talks were at an early stage. He also said that what was under discussion was not a currency swap of the kind China recently agreed with Argentina and which the US had agreed with several countries, including Brazil.
Currency swaps are not necessarily trade related, the official said. The funds can be drawn down for any use. What we are talking about now is Brazil paying for Chinese goods with reals and China paying for Brazilian goods with renminbi.
Henrique Meirelles and Zhou Xiaochuan, governors of the two countries central banks, were expected to meet soon to discuss the matter, the official said.
Mr Zhou recently proposed replacing the US dollar as the worlds leading currency with a new international reserve currency, possibly in the form of special drawing rights (SDRs), a unit of account used by the International Monetary Fund.
In an essay posted on the Peoples Bank of Chinas website, Mr Zhou said the goal would be to create a reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations.
In September, Brazil and Argentina signed an agreement under which importers and exporters in the two countries may make and receive payments in pesos and reals, although they may also continue to use the US dollar if they prefer.
An aide to Mr Lula da Silva on his visit to Beijing said the political will to enact a similar deal with China was clearly present. Something that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago is a real possibility today, he said. Strong currencies like the real and the renminbi are perfectly capable of being used as trade currencies, as is the case between Brazil and Argentina.
$70 billion: US trade deficit in 1993, the year before Clinton granted China Most Favored Nation status (which he pledged not to do). Recent years' trade deficits: ~700 billion or 5-6% of GDP. Jobs, industry, wealth power and social cohesion lost: incalculable.
We covered the story previously so it's only fair to let this dingbat have his say ...
LAHORE: US journalist Seymour Hersh on Monday contradicted news reports being published in South Asia that quote him as saying a "special death squad" made by former US vice president Dick Cheney had killed Benazir Bhutto.
The award-winning journalist described as "complete madness" the reports that the squad headed by General Stanley McChrystal -- the new commander of US army in Afghanistan -- had also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and a Lebanese army chief.
Yes, we thought so, too.
"Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Mrs Bhutto," Hersh said. "I have never said that I did have such information. I most certainly did not say anything remotely to that effect during an interview with an Arab media outlet."
He said Gen McChrystal had run a special forces unit that engaged in "high value target activity", but "while I have been critical of some of that unit's activities in the pages of the New Yorker and in interviews, I have never suggested that he was involved in political assassinations or death squads on behalf of Mr Cheney, as the published stories state."
He regretted that none of the publications had contacted him before carrying the report. "This is another example of blogs going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their job -- and that is to verify such rumours."
And who would know more about misleading and fabricated stories?
Which bloggers? We only ran the story published by the professional journalists...and disbelieved the information, even if we did believe Mr. Hersh had indeed uttered such vicious stupidities, as is his wont.
Posted by: Steve White ||
05/19/2009 00:00 ||
Top|| File under:
"Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad"
Oh, sure. You say that now. Backpedal furiously as Cheney's evil minions lurk outside in your shrubbery waiting only for the cover of darkness.
...Well, what is interesting about this is that Sy Kottic Hersh has - AFAIK - never backed down on a story before. He's always got secret sources and proof that never quite show up before the uproar goes away - but he's never denied anything like this.
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski ||
05/19/2009 6:05 Comments ||
The Dark Forces must have finally found a hostage he cares about (muhahahahaha!).
Posted by: Jonathan ||
05/19/2009 7:46 Comments ||
I suspect Darth Cheney zapped her with a Naval Observatory Death Ray from his formerly SECRET basement lair. These things all have a way of getting out in the end you know. I blame Cheney and gas gulping SUV sun roofs.
"This is another example of blogs going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their job -- and that is to verify such rumours."
"Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad.
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh created a stir earlier this month when he said the Bush administration ran an executive assassination ring that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. Under President Bushs authority, theyve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving, Hersh said.
AMY GOODMAN: Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh created a stir last month when he said the Bush administration ran an executive assassination ring that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. Hersh made the comment during a speech at the University of Minnesota on March 10th.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Congress has no oversight of it. Its an executive assassination wing, essentially. And its been going on and on and on. And just today in the Times there was a story saying that its leader, a three-star admiral named McRaven, ordered a stop to certain activities because there were so many collateral deaths. Its been going inunder President Bushs authority, theyve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
05/19/2009 12:34 Comments ||
Hats off to you, Frank J. Fleming, and your Dick Cheney Assassination Squad, AND the Dinosaurs with Rocket Launchers that they rode in on!
Mismanagement and underinvestment by the U.S. Air Force could possibly lead to the failure and blackout of the Global Positioning System (GPS), a federal watchdog agency says.
The risk of failure starts in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report quoted by PC World.
The failure would impact not only military operations, but also the millions of people and businesses who rely on the satellite-based navigation systems built into cars, boats and cell phones.
"If the Air Force does not meet its schedule goals for development of GPS IIIA satellites, there will be an increased likelihood that in 2010, as old satellites begin to fail, the overall GPS constellation will fall below the number of satellites required to provide the level of GPS service that the U.S. government commits to," the GAO report states.
The report says the Air Force has struggled to build successful GPS satellites within cost and on schedule.
I don't use GPS, Hell getting "Lost' is half the fun, once I tool a wrong turn and discovered a parked HUGE locomotive Crane (Self propelled) with it's "Wrecker" Train, I was staring at the behmoth for an hour or so, and took many pictures.
Looked like it would have no absolutely NO trouble lifting a whole derailed locomotive all by itself then setting it on a 20 wheel very heavy flatbed car (Right behind the Crane) and hauling the whole mess away.
Fascinating, I've never seen anything so big.
and all because of a wrong turn.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
05/19/2009 21:14 Comments ||
Maps are kind of passe, but I personally like 'em. They work fine after I drop them on the floor. Can't say the same for my GPS unit.
With the Sri Lankan army's offensive against LTTE almost over, India will send 25 tonnes of medicines worth over Rs three crore to help the internally displaced population in the northern parts of the island nation.
"An Indian Air Force IL-76 aircraft carrying about 25 tonnes of medicines is scheduled to leave Delhi for Colombo on May 22 (Friday). This will be disbursed among the sick, wounded and internally displaced people in northern Sri Lanka," Defence Ministry officials said in New Delhi on Monday.
In March this year, Indian Armed Forces had set up a fully equipped 50-bed hospital close to a relief camp at Pulmodai town on Sri Lankas northeastern coast.
During its presence there, the 60-member Indian medical team, comprising specialists, surgeons and paediatricians, has treated over 3,000 people mainly war wounded, trauma and fractures, in the two months since the hospital came up.
The Sri Lankan government, officials said, has lauded the humanitarian work done by the team of Indian army doctors in the war-ravaged parts of the country.
After a request by Sri Lankan government, Indian armed forces will soon shift the field hospital to Manik Farms in Vavuniya to widen scope of the humanitarian assistance.
"A need was felt for including a gynaecologist in the team of doctors but experts said since the field hospital lacks specialized medical equipment and support staff, this would not be feasible at the moment," officials said.
A lady Medical Officer present in the team was handling women patients.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.