10-year-old charged in robbery attempt

A 10-year-old boy, who has been investigated numerous times by Seattle police since he was 8, has been charged in connection with a botched robbery aboard a Metro bus and an unrelated theft of a bicycle in June.

The boy and his two half-brothers, ages 12 and 14, were charged in King County Superior Court with first-degree attempted robbery in connection with Tuesday’s incident aboard the bus, in which the younger boy accidentally shot himself in the arm during a scuffle. The 10-year-old also was charged with second-degree robbery and intimidating a witness in connection with the theft of a bicycle June 24 in downtown Seattle.

The felony charges were filed one day after the three boys appeared in juvenile court and were ordered to remain in custody at least until hearings scheduled for next week…

Over the past two years, the 10-year-old has been investigated 13 times for crimes that include theft, robbery with assault and robberies with a weapon, according to police. During that period, six cases have been referred to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for potential criminal charges, but Friday marked the first time charges were filed against the boy.

Police say the three boys belong to the Down With The Crew gang in Seattle’s Rainier Valley…

Details of the 10-year-old’s remaining five cases referred to prosecutors have not been released by authorities. Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, said one theft case was sent back to Seattle police for further investigation and the four additional cases were found to have “insufficient evidence” and were not filed in court.

Though the boy has been charged for the incident on the bus, there will be a special hearing to determine whether he will stand trial in that case as well as for the June robbery. According to state law, children between the ages of 9 and 11 “are presumed to be incapable of committing crime” unless a judge determines the youth has the “sufficient capacity to understand the act or neglect, and to know that it was wrong.”

Phew! Anyone for a remake of the Bad Seed?

Thugs “formerly known as Blackwater” paying $42 million fine

Bush’s bubba Bremer with his Blackwater bodyguards
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

The private security company formerly called Blackwater Worldwide, long plagued by accusations of impropriety, has reached an agreement with the State Department for the company to pay $42 million in fines for hundreds of violations of United States export control regulations.

The violations included illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized proposals to train troops in south Sudan and providing sniper training for Taiwanese police officers, according to company and government officials familiar with the deal.

The settlement, which has not yet been publicly announced, follows lengthy talks between Blackwater, now called Xe Services, and the State Department that dealt with the violations as an administrative matter, allowing the firm to avoid criminal charges.

Don’t slap their wrist too hard. The Obama administration continues to employ these gangsters.

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Troops confined to quarters for skipping Evangelical concert

Gee, I wonder if they sang this one at the concert?

The Army said it was investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band’s concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up.

Pvt. Anthony Smith said he and other soldiers felt pressured to attend the May concert while stationed at the Newport News base, home of the Army’s Transportation Corps. “My whole issue was I don’t need to be preached at,” Smith said in a phone interview from Phoenix, where he is stationed with the National Guard. “That’s not what I signed up for.”

Smith, 21, was stationed in Virginia for nearly seven months for helicopter electrician training when the Christian rock group BarlowGirl played as part of the “Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concerts.”

Smith said a staff sergeant told 200 men in their barracks they could either attend or remain in their barracks. Eighty to 100 decided not to attend, he said.

“Instead of being released to our personal time, we were locked down,” Smith said. “It seemed very much like a punishment…”

Smith said he and the other soldiers were told not to use their cell phones or personal computers and ordered to clean up the barracks.

About 20 of the men, including several Muslims, refused to attend the concert based on their religious beliefs, he said.

The Christian evangelical proselytizing theme clings like stink to many American military bases – especially those in the Bible Belt. Often introduced by a small cadre of over-the-top fundamentalist officers linking throughout our wonderful worldwide network of military enclaves.

It’s something folks haven’t had to report on, blog about, complain about as much since the religious glory days of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld; but, nonetheless persistent and pernicious. The only humorous bit being officer types who should know that “the book” – in the military sense – always takes precedence over their holy roller guidebook.

Drug companies con the public with minimal advances in medicine

Drug companies have been accused of conning the public in a report that claimed more than four fifths of new medicines offer few benefits.

An estimated 85 per cent of drugs coming onto the market offer only slight advances on existing treatments while having the potential to cause serious harm due to toxicity or misuse, the study concluded…

”Sometimes drug companies hide or downplay information about serious side-effects of new drugs and overstate the drugs’ benefits,” said Prof Donald Light, a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey.

”Then, they spend two to three times more on marketing than on research to persuade doctors to prescribe these new drugs. Doctors may get misleading information and then misinform patients about the risks of a new drug. It’s really a two-tier market for lemons.”

He alleged that the pharmaceutical industry owned companies in charge of drug testing and provided ”firewalls” of legal protection behind which information about dangers or lack of effectiveness could be be hidden.

Companies were assisted by the ”relatively low bar” for effectiveness that had to be crossed to get a new drug approved…

”A few basic changes could improve the quality of trials and evidence about the real risks and benefits of new drugs. We could also increase the percentage of new drugs that are really better for patients.”

In his paper, Prof Light concluded: “The evidence here indicates that the two-tier market for prescription drugs is the largest and most dangerous market for lemons in modern society. Neither wars nor used car injuries come close.

Nothing that a lot of us haven’t recognized for years; but, it’s always helpful to see legitimate studies provide some ammo against the greedy bastards running the pharmaceutical industry.

I’ve long felt the barrage of advertisements in the mass media for prescription drugs should be outlawed like cigarettes. If they’re beneficial, your physician will have learned about them. Otherwise, the pharma giants are just building artificial demand with their propaganda.

Body of kidnapped mayor dumped in northern Mexico

Security forces have found the body of a slain mayor near Mexico’s richest city, days after he was abducted by hitmen in the latest attack on a public official by increasingly bold drug cartels.

President Felipe Calderon, who has staked his presidency on a faltering drug war, condemned the “cowardly assassination” of Edelmiro Cavazos, the mayor of a town on the outskirts of Monterrey, an industrial center with close U.S. business ties…

Cavazos, a 38-year-old, U.S.-educated mayor from Calderon’s conservative National Action Party, was found dumped on a rural road outside his town of Santiago. He was blindfolded and his hands were tied…

Alejandro Garza, the attorney general in the border state of Nuevo Leon, which includes Santiago and Monterrey, 140 miles from Texas, said Cavazos was shot three times and accused drug cartels of being responsible for the killing.

Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina urged Calderon to send more troops to Monterrey and surrounding areas, echoing a plea from Mexican business groups published in newspapers across the country.

Medina said this week that Cavazos, who took office last year, was probably targeted for his efforts to clean up Santiago’s corrupt police force, part of a nationwide effort to curb endemic police graft

Santiago, a popular weekend getaway for Monterrey residents, has also become a staging post for drug gangs smuggling narcotics north into the United States. Many capos have taken refuge in mansions nestled in surrounding hills.

RTFA for the details. Not the murder. That’s bad enough.

Reflect that there are enough people profiting from the dollars dripping from the bloody hands of these gangsters, enough landlords, crooked cops and politicians skimming their percentage of graft – to keep away honest jobs for honest people.

The model isn’t new. It was perfected in the days of Al Capone. It had to be stopped back then. And it must be, now.