Dumb Crook of the Day

An alleged Center City thief who police said posed as a fire inspector to burglarize the Academy of Music, Independence Visitor Center, and the Art Institute of Philadelphia showed promise as a white-collar criminal.

That career, however, was cut short by a rookie mistake: signing his real name to a visitor log, police said.

Christopher Kieter, 26, of the 200 block of South 13th Street, is charged with impersonating a public official, criminal trespass, theft, and related offenses.

Police spokeswoman Officer Tanya Little said that detectives use all resources available to investigate crimes, but that finding a name at the crime scene was “definitely a great resource.”

No one ever said it takes a lot of smarts to decide to be a thief.

NY Assembly passes strict gun control law 104 to 43

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz, L, and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy.
Mike Groll/ Associated Press

New York’s Assembly on Tuesday easily passed the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, calling for a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed hard for the bill, which passed the Senate on Monday night. He is expected to quickly sign the measure into law.

This is a scourge on society,” Cuomo said Monday night, six days after making gun control a centerpiece of his State of the State address. The bipartisan effort was fueled by the Newtown tragedy that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. “At what point do you say, ‘No more innocent loss of life’?”

The measure, which passed the Assembly 104-43, also calls for restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns.

“This is not about taking anyone’s rights away,” said Sen. Jeffrey Klein, a Bronx Democrat, when the bill passed the Senate late Monday night. “It’s about a safe society … today we are setting the mark for the rest of the county to do what’s right.”

Another provision places requirements on therapists, psychologists, registered nurses and licensed social workers who believe a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally. They would be required to report such a threat to a mental health director, who would have to notify the state. Any registered handguns — or registered assault weapons purchased before the ban — could be taken from the patient.

Though the Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos said “It is well-balanced, it protects the Second Amendment,” some of the Tea Party demagogues who infest the Republican Party raised the usual NRA stink in opposition.

They failed to stop passage of the bill and Governor Cuomo will sign it.

Republicans blocking Hurricane Sandy relief are contemptible

A Northeastern U.S. House Republican said amendments by GOP colleagues could kill $51 billion in Superstorm Sandy aid set for a vote Tuesday.

“We were told the bill was coming up as is,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who represents hard-hit central Long Island, told The Hill.

But instead, conservative House Republicans outside the Northeast submitted 92 amendments to the package to either cut spending they saw as non-essential or demand budget cuts in popular programs elsewhere to offset the Sandy package.

Congress has historically not offset disaster relief with spending cuts, and lawmakers from states hit by Sandy expressed outrage by proposals to do so now.

At least 15 of the 92 amendments would likely make it to the House floor Tuesday, King told The Hill, adding, “Some of them would kill the bill.”

Adding to King’s anger is that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, promised him Jan. 2 the disaster-relief measure would receive expedited treatment, King told The Hill.

Boehner made assurances to King and other Northeastern lawmakers after adjourning the previous Congress without taking up a $60.4 billion aid bill the Senate had passed to finance recovery efforts in the hurricane-battered states…

Sandy, which struck the Northeast Oct. 29, has been blamed for 131 deaths and $63 billion to more than $80 billion in damages.

It wiped out entire communities in coastal New York and New Jersey, paralyzed mass transit systems and left tens of thousands of people homeless. Power was cut to more than 8 million homes in 16 states and Washington, D.C.

These slimeballs don’t deserve their paychecks. They base their policies on hatred, bigotry, regional jealousy – every leftover ideological turd from the days of the Confederacy. They hate folks who accept civil liberties for all, they hate the educated, they fear representative republican government.

The anarchy of America’s rightwing is the least justifiable political current in American history. Responsible in the past for isolationism, the cancer of racism and sexism in American life. The only achievements of this backwards ideology in recent decades is the decline of American education and the widening gap in income between the super-rich and regular working class families.

What human beings would be proud of kicking their neighbors when they are down – instead of helping?

Deaf twin brothers helped to die together after losing sight

Marc and Eddy Verbessem

Identical Belgian twin brothers, born deaf, becoming blind and unable to bear not being able to see and hear each other, had their wish to die granted in a case testing the boundaries of legal euthanasia.

Doctors gave the 45-year-old twins lethal injections after they had had a cup of coffee together and said goodbye to each other, a spokesman at the UZ Brussel hospital said on Monday.

“It’s not simply that they were deaf and blind that they were granted the right to euthanasia. It is that they could no longer bear being unable to hear or see the other,” he said.

Belgium is one of few countries where euthanasia is legal.

A patient must be an adult, capable of making a judgment, and the wish to die must be voluntary, overwhelming and repeated. The patient must also be suffering persistent and unbearable mental or physical pain beyond medical help.

In addition, the condition must be serious and incurable, and have been brought on by illness or injury.

“Unbearable suffering can be mental as well as physical,” the hospital spokesman said. “The brothers were inseparable. They lived together and had the same job.”

He said the brothers died on December 14 and that their family supported their wishes.

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 and the number of cases has risen every year since…The Netherlands and Luxembourg have both decriminalized euthanasia. Switzerland allows assisted suicide if the person concerned takes an active role.

Sensible, compassionate system of law, allowing individuals an informed choice of life or death. Light-years ahead of nations still relying on papier mache morality writ into a book in the 14th Century.

Murder suspect sues for damages to home during shootout

A Utah man is suing his insurance company to cover the damage caused in a deadly shootout with police…

Matthew D. Stewart…returned a check worth $3,321.29 from his insurance company, Fire Insurance Exchange and Farmers Insurance Group, to cover a portion of the estimated $8,400 in damages to his Ogden, Utah, home caused during a drug raid, The Salt Lake Tribune said…

Stewart is charged with aggravated murder for allegedly shooting Webster Morgan Strike Force Agent Jared Francom Jan. 4, 2012. Francom was one of several agents to raid Stewart’s home on suspicion of a marijuana-growing operation inside…Stewart allegedly began firing at officers, striking and killing Francom. Stewart has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Though Stewart’s lawyer said his client is entitled to the full amount of damages to his home, the insurance company said in a letter it is not liable for “intentional damage” done to the property.

Found guilty of a capital offense in Utah, you have the option of death by firing squad. Phew!