Category Archive 'Los Angeles'
12 Jul 2010

One Point For Europe

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76-year-old Roman Polanski is now again a free man.

European civilization and rationality, for once, triumphed over American mobocracy and barbarism when the Swiss Ministry of Justice took a technical route to dismiss the US request for extradition of internationally-renowned director Roman Polanski.

The Swiss had asked to examine American records establishing whether a previous plea arrangement for an observation period of confinement in a psychiatric unit had been accepted by both sides and subsequently reneged upon by a press-conscious judge. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office refused to supply the relevant records, which tends to suggest strongly that they would have confirmed the reality of the alleged plea bargain arrangement. So, the clever Swiss, noting that the records could prove that Polanski had already actually served his sentence making the extradition request invalid ruled that the extradition request was incomplete and consequently defective, and deserved to be dismissed.

US justice in this matter was, by comparison, politically-motivated featuring, in 1977 and now, public officials posing as champions of the people in the midst of a firestorm of gossip, innuendo, and public misunderstanding whipped up by an opportunistic press. The Swiss tried to do justice. The Americans tried to score points with the mob. I applaud the Swiss.

Variety

New York Times story

Previous Polanski coverage.

22 Apr 2009

CIA: Waterboarding KSM Saved LA

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Still there

CNS:

After KSM was captured by the United States, he was not initially cooperative with CIA interrogators. …

After he was subjected to the “waterboard” technique, KSM became cooperative, providing intelligence that led to the capture of key al Qaeda allies and, eventually, the closing down of an East Asian terrorist cell that had been tasked with carrying out the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

13 May 2008

Coyote Attacks Studied

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AP reports that the recent wave of coyote attacks on small children in the Greater Los Angeles is part of a larger pattern, and is now the subject of academic study.

The coyote was limping as it approached a girl in a sand box at a public park — but it was still dangerous. It snapped its jaws on the girl’s buttocks and her nanny had to pry the toddler from the wild animal.

Less than a week later, a coyote in a mountain resort town some 35 miles away grabbed a girl by the head and tried to drag her from a front yard until her mother scared it away.

A spate of coyote attacks in the fast-growing suburbs east of Los Angeles have left parents on edge and puzzled wildlife officials.

“Their aggressive behavior seems to be on the upswing,” said Steve Martarano, a spokesman with the state Department of Fish and Game. “They just seem to lose their fear of humans.” …

“We’re not sure what pushes them over the edge,” said Robert Timm, a wildlife specialist with the University of California system. “There may be no single explanation for it.” …

Since last year, there have been seven coyote attacks in the Chino Hills area, including four in which children were bitten. State wildlife officials have killed 23 coyotes to protect the public.

Timm, the University of California scientist, said coyotes behave in predictable ways when they turn aggressive such as snatching pets during the daytime or chasing joggers and bicyclists.

If people recognize these signs, they may be able to thwart an attack, he said.

Timm has created a Web site, CoyoteBytes.org, where residents in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties can report coyote bites or sightings. Scientists use the information to study the scope of the problem.

It isn’t really terribly confusing, actually. Today’s America, in the West, frequently features the close proximity of Nature in the wild with dense urban areas. Nobody in California’s cities and suburbs has the old-fashioned 12 gauge shotgun propped up behind the kitchen door ready for invading predators. Without hunting pressure to make Western predators fearful of human beings, they will inevitably grow bolder over time and sooner or later incidents of human predation will occur.

Hat tip to Frank Dobbs.

Earlier postings.

09 May 2008

Three Coyote Attacks on Toddlers in Greater LA This Week

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Fox News reports two more attacks on toddlers by opportunistic coyotes in the Los Angeles area in the same week as the prior Chino Hills park attack.

A coyote grabbed a 2-year-old girl by the head and tried to drag her from the front yard of her mountain home in the third incident of a coyote threatening a small child in Southern California in five days, authorities said.

The coyote attacked the girl around noon Tuesday when her mother, Melissa Rowley, went inside the home for a moment to put away a camera, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in an incident report.

Rowley came out of the house and saw the coyote dragging her daughter towards a street. She ran towards her daughter, and the animal released the girl and ran away, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Arden Wiltshire.

Rowley took her daughter to a hospital where the toddler was treated for several punctures to the head and neck area, and a laceration on her mouth. She was then flown to Loma Linda University Hospital for further treatment, although her injuries were not life-threatening.

State Fish and Game wardens and county animal control authorities set traps for the coyote and were monitoring the neighborhood high in the San Bernardino Mountains about 65 miles miles northeast of Los Angeles.

On Friday, a nanny pulled a 2-year-old girl from the jaws of a coyote at Alterra Park in Chino Hills, a San Bernardino County community about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. The girl suffered puncture wounds to her buttocks and was treated at a hospital.

A coyote came after another toddler in the same park Sunday. The child’s father kicked and chased the coyote away.

First Alterra Park attack.

26 Jan 2008

Pot in Vending Machines

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Libertarians are fond of imagining a Utopian future in which heroin will be available in vending machines.

California is, as usual, leading the way. At least some people (those who’ve gotten a doctor’s prescription), as of next Monday, will be able to purchase marijuana from at least two vending machine locations in Los Angeles:

Melrose Quality Pain Relief, 4906 Melrose Ave, Mid-Wilshire; 323.957.7777

Herbal Nutrition Center, 1435 S. La Cienega Blvd. Suite G, Mid-Wilshire; 310.855.9484

Thrillist

16 Aug 2007

Reggie, LA Alligator, Escapes, then Is Recaptured

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Marching off to solitary

LA Times:

Reggie the alligator — the John Dillinger of semi-aquatic reptiles — was returned to custody Wednesday after having busted out of the slammer at the L.A. Zoo overnight.

Reggie, who had won international fame while eluding capture in a Harbor City lake for almost two years, was last seen in stir about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. About 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, zoo personnel discovered he’d blown the joint.

It was an hour and a half later when a search party of zoo handlers discovered him hiding out near a zoo loading dock.

“He’d found a comfortable bush to hang out under,” said handler Ian Recchio, who participated in the bust. “He was just sleeping there. Reggie was pretty heated up this morning. As the weather gets warm, alligators get more agile and stronger.”

Recchio said the 7 1/2 -foot, 120-pound fugitive “put up a little fight” as authorities laid hands on him. He then went quietly as he was hustled off to quarantine while zoo investigators tried to dope out his escape route and tightened security at his luxury cell. ..

Initial indications were that Reggie had climbed a chain-link fence at the back of his enclosure, then clambered over a series of brick ridges above it to freedom. Once on the ground, he followed another chain-link fence about 500 yards to the loading dock area.

Reggie’s first capture


Reggie’s theme

11 Aug 2007

Depkafile: Al Qaeda Threatens New York, Los Angeles, Miami With Radioactive Truck Attacks

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The often-unreliable unofficial Mossad outlet Depkafile has reported:

The threat was picked up by DEBKAfile’s monitors from a rush of electronic chatter on al Qaeda sites Thursday, Aug. 8.

The al Qaeda communications accuse the Americans of the grave error of failing to take seriously the videotape released by the American al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gaddahn last week. “They will soon realize their mistake when American cities are hit by quality operations,” said one message.

Another said the attacks would be carried out “by means of trucks loaded with radio-active material against America’s biggest city and financial nerve center.”

A third message mentioned New York, Los Angeles and Miami as targets. It drew the answer: “The attack, with Allah’s help, will cause an economic meltdown, many dead, and a financial crisis on a scale that compels the United States to pull its military forces out of many parts of the world, including Iraq, for lack of any other way of cutting down costs.”

There is also a message which speaks obliquely of the approaching attacks easing the heavy pressure America exerts on countries like Japan, Cuba and Venezuela.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources and monitors say there is no way of gauging for sure how serious these threats are, how real, or whether they are part of a war of nerves to give the Gaddahn tape extra mileage. But it is important to note that the exchange of messages took place over al Qaeda’s internal Internet sites and that they contained the threat of radioactive terror and specific American cities for the first time after a long silence on these subjects.

In addition, a growing number of clips has been disseminated of late over al Qaeda sites instructing the faithful how to design remote-controlled gliders, pack them with explosives and launch them against predetermined targets.

Adam Gaddahn videotape summarized.

Reuters reports that New York City is responding to the Depkafile report.

New York police stepped up security throughout Manhattan and at bridges and tunnels on Friday in response to an Internet report — which authorities said they could not verify — that al Qaeda might be plotting to detonate a dirty bomb in the city.

New York City police said in a statement the threat against the city was an “unverified radiological threat,” stressed the increased security was precautionary and said the city’s alert status for an attack was unchanged at “orange.”

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stressed there was no reason to believe this threat was any different from countless others since the September 11 attacks.

One law enforcement source told Reuters that authorities were responding to Internet chatter reported on Israeli Web site www.debka.com, but that the information reported there could not be verified.

24 Jun 2007

If Guns Are Outlawed, Only Anti-Gun Groups Will Have Guns

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Mark Steyn observes:

If you live in one of those jurisdictions like New York City or Washington, DC where your Second Amendment rights are dramatically constrained, here’s a useful tip. If you’re looking for a good place to buy cheap firearms, try the local gun control group:

    The founder of an antiviolence group called No Guns pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal weapons charges.

    Hector “Big Weasel” Marroquin is accused of selling an assault rifle, a machine gun, two pistols and two silencers to undercover federal agents last fall.

I love America! Even the anti-gun groups are full of gun nuts packing totally awesome heat.

LA Times story

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Hat tip to Frank Dobbs.

03 Jun 2007

NO GUNS Founder Arrested For Arms Sales

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Los Angeles Times:

Former 18th Street gang member Hector “Weasel” Marroquin for years was celebrated and rewarded for having turned his life around.

He founded the anti-gang organization NO GUNS and received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the city for his efforts to help steer Latino youths away from a life of crime. His champions included former state Sen. Tom Hayden.

But his arrest this week on charges of selling firearms to federal undercover officers underscored concerns long held by people familiar with Marroquin’s background that he had not left his criminal life behind.

“I never for a moment believed that he ever left the life,” said Connie Rice, a civil rights attorney and former member of the Los Angeles Police Commission who noted that she saw Marroquin at meetings of anti-gang agencies. “I always thought he was using the system.”

Marroquin, 51, was arrested Thursday at his Downey home on charges of selling several guns, including a machine gun, two silencers and two rifles, to undercover officers. He bailed out of Los Angeles County jail Thursday night and could not be reached for comment.

His lawyer, Patrick Smith, did not return phone calls Friday. …

Marroquin’s arrest marks the latest chapter in a life filled with controversy.

In the mid-1990s, claiming to have left the gang life, Marroquin formed NO GUNS — Networks Organized for Gang Unity and Neighborhood Safety — headquartered in Lennox. Over the next decade, NO GUNS emerged as one of the area’s few anti-gang groups run by Latinos.

In 2000, the Sheriff’s Department called in NO GUNS to help quell riots between Latinos and blacks at its Pitchess Detention Center.

But some law enforcement officials believed that Marroquin was a front man for the Mexican Mafia prison gang and that NO GUNS was a facade for illegal activity and a channel for public funds.

Classic.

25 May 2007

Celebrity Los Angeles Alligator Captured

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Sean Hiller/AP

ITV NEWS:

One of America’s most-wanted has finally been caught… having spent the past two years lounging in a Los Angeles lake.

For months, the 6.5ft (2m) alligator called Reggie evaded authorities and was more headline news than the average A-list celebrity.

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin had even offered to help nab Reggie at one point while the local newspaper kept a Reggie Watch on its masthead. He even inspired a song, two children’s books and innumerable T-shirts.

Every day, crowds of people converged on Harbor City’s Lake Machado hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive creature who was dumped in the park by its owner back in 2005.

But when his time was up – as he sunbathed in a secluded area of the park – Reggie refused to surrender without a fight.

In true Hollywood style, as TV helicopters hovered above and fans and paparazzi gazed on, Reggie thrashed around as six men attempted to restrain him while reptile expert Ian Recchio hooked its neck so the alligator’s jaws could be taped shut.

Reggie was then loaded onto a truck by firefighters bound for Los Angeles Zoo where he will be kept in quarantine for up to two months. Clearly fame doesn’t come without a price.

AP story:

Reggie was an illegal pet allegedly tossed into the 50-acre lake by a former policeman when it got too big. The officer pleaded not guilty in April to 14 misdemeanor charges and awaits trial.

When the animal was first spotted in the murky lake in August 2005, it became a sensation as crowds gathered to catch a glimpse. Locals named it Reggie, though it’s not clear whether the reptile is male or female.

Gloria and Danny Gutierrez said they would go to the lake several times a week and watch for Reggie. Gloria Gutierrez wore a white T-shirt decorated with the words “Welcome back, Reggie.”

“We’d bring our chairs out here and a bag of fruit, and we’d talk with people we didn’t even know,” Danny Gutierrez said.

The gator inspired a zydeco song, two children’s books and innumerable T-shirts. Students at Los Angeles Harbor College next to the lake adopted Reggie as a second mascot.

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