Archive for May, 2008


Benicio Del Toro really looks like Che. Creepy!!

Cannes Snores Through Che Biopic
Humberto Fontova
May 24, 2008

Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh unveiled his 4½-hour Che Guevara Biopic “Guerrilla” at the Cannes Film Festival last Thursday. One reviewer described the movie as “maniacally anticipated.” Variety hailed it as Cannes’ “most-anticipated” film.

But based on reviews thus far, it looks like Soderbergh blew it. After suffering what some critics described as the film’s “butt-numbing” duration, Variety’s Todd McCarthy branded the movie “defiantly nondramatic” and “a commercial impossibility.” New York Magazine calls it, “something of a fiasco.” Everyone seemed bored if not actually catatonic while viewing the film. Time’s Richard Corliss described Benicio Del Toro in the starring role as “seemingly sedated.” Bloomberg news wrote of the “viewers’ bleary eyes.”

These reviewers, as usual, miss the point and bash the director unfairly. Director Stephen Soderbergh said flat-out that the purpose of his movie was, “to give you a sense of what it was like to hang out with this person (Che Guevara).”

Well? What did the reviewers expect? As usual, they know very little about the film’s subject. In fact, Soderbergh has accomplished his goal with bells on. As exhibit one, I submit a sample of Che Guevara’s sparkling conversation:

“The past makes itself felt not only in the individual consciousness ? in which the residue of an education systematically oriented toward isolating the individual still weighs heavily ? but also through the very character of this transition period in which commodity relations still persist, although this is still a subjective aspiration, not yet systematized.”…..

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From the Council on Foreign Relations

The Washington Post

Latin America has never mattered more to the United States. The region is the largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States and a strong partner in the development of alternative fuels. It is one of the United States’s fastest growing trading partners, and its biggest supplier of illegal drugs. Latin America is also the largest source of U.S. immigrants, both documented and undocumented. No less important, nearly all Latin American nations are now vibrant, if imperfect, democracies. Not only does the United States affect Latin America, but Latin America increasingly shapes the United States as well. Yet despite these deepening strategic, economic, cultural and political ties, U.S. policies toward the region have remained relatively unexamined.

A new Council on Foreign Relations report, U.S.-Latin America Relations: A New Direction for a New Reality, takes stock of these changes in the Western hemisphere and assesses their consequences for U.S. policy toward the region. It finds that the decades-old U.S. foreign policy trifecta of trade support, drug eradication and democracy promotion is not effectively advancing U.S. interests. Instead, the report identifies four areas that should provide a new basis for U.S. policy toward Latin America: poverty and inequality, public security, migration and energy security.

The region has undergone significant changes in recent decades, making substantial progress but also facing ongoing challenges. Democracy has spread, economies have opened, and populations have grown more mobile. But many countries have struggled to reduce poverty and inequality and to provide for public security. These endemic problems limit economic growth and allow illegal activities and crime organizations to flourish, undermining Latin American governments and U.S. interests in the process.

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AZ StarNet

Two illegal immigrant women from Guatemala said on Thursday they had been raped earlier this week by a group of armed drug smugglers.

The women, ages 18 and 28, were apprehended along with a group 38 earlier this week but didn?t tell anyone about the sexual assaults until Thursday morning while meeting with an assistant U.S. attorney in preparation for a deportation hearing, said Mario Escalante, Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokesman.

They gave the following account: A group of men dressed in black and carrying backpacks intercepted the group while they were walking through the desert on Monday night. The men pulled the two women aside and sexually assaulted them. One women said a man put a pistol to her head.

Officials notified the Guatemalan Consulate in Phoenix about the incident. The women were still set up for formal removal proceedings, Escalante said.

It?s the second report of women being raped by drug smugglers and third report of violence against women on the desert trails in the past week.

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Jacksonville Progress

A 48-year-old disabled woman was allegedly raped Saturday morning just hours after being released from the Intensive Care Unit of a local hospital. Juventino M. Pizano, a 25-year-old illegal immigrant, was arrested for the crime.

The victim underwent surgery May 19 to insert a catheter into her heart, and was released from the hospital Friday afternoon.

?According to the victim, she woke up at about 3 a.m. Saturday morning with a man on top of her. She tried to push him off but wasn?t able to. When she started screaming and hollering, the rest of the family started banging on the door,? said Detective Tonya Sonntag of the Jacksonville Police Department. ?The victim said her attacker then put his pants on and unlocked the door. The boys in the house grabbed him and basically chunked him out the door. Officers responding to the scene found him a few blocks down and detained him.?

Once JPD arrived at the scene and began investigating the circumstances, Pizano was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault and public intoxication.

Due to the victim?s fragile condition, she was transported via ambulance to the hospital where she was treated and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner kit was administered. She did not suffer any other physical injuries as a result of the attack, and was released Saturday.

?Our main concern was obviously the effect it might have on her heart. She didn?t need something traumatic like that happening right after getting out of the ICU the day before,? Sonntag said. ?She?s not that old of a woman, but she is in really poor health.?

Pizano?s bond was set at $50,000 for aggravated sexual assault. He is currently being held at the Cherokee County Jail with an immigration hold placed on him.

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AJC.com

A 32-year-old woman was indicted on bigamy charges this week over accusations she wedded six men at the same time.

A Gwinnett grand jury indicted Shawnta Marie McBride of Decatur on five counts each of bigamy and false swearing for saying “I do” at the Gwinnett County courthouse. McBride was arrested Oct. 13, 2006, and released from jail the following day on $12,000 bond.

Authorities said McBride sought marriage as a way to gain American citizenship for her spouses. Four of McBride’s grooms were from Ghana, one was from Morocco and one was from London, according to Gwinnett County Probate Court records.

According to court records, McBride married her first husband, Robert K. Konaido, on Sept. 9, 2004.

Police say she never divorced him, or any of the other five spouses she married between October 2004 and June 2005.

When the charges were filed in October 2006, McBride’s case came on the heels of two other bigamy arrests in Gwinnett. The cases of the other two offenders have already been adjudicated.

Police had accused Alvin Lorenzo Murdock in September 2006 of marrying six women. Murdock pleaded guilty in October 2007 and was sentenced to six years on probation.

William Fairley was also charged in September 2006 for marrying eight women. He pleaded guilty in October 2007 and was sentenced to one year in prison followed by seven years on probation.

Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Dawn Taylor said Thursday that it took a year and a half for McBride’s case to be indicted because prosecutors had difficulty tracking down all the grooms.

“There were different addresses all over for them in our computers,” Taylor said.

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AZ StarNet

A suspected drug smuggler died Saturday night after being thrown from the car he was driving while trying to elude U.S. Border Patrol agents north of Lukeville.

The events leading up to the fatal crash began about 7 p.m. Saturday when agents working near the Lukeville port of entry spotted a car being loaded with marijuana on the Arizona side, said Rob Daniels, Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokesman. They informed agents working further north in the town of Why, who saw the car turn east on Arizona 86 into the town of Gunsight, he said.

Agents tried to stop the 2000 Jeep Cherokee but the driver, a 29-year-old Mexican man, raced away. He drove back west on Arizona 86 toward Why. As he approached the intersection of Arizona 86 and Arizona 85, he slowed down to about 25 miles per hour and a pregnant woman came barreling out of the jeep, Daniels said.

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Judicial Watch Statement Regarding Phoenix P. D. Reversal of Illegal Alien Sanctuary Policy
Border Fire Report
May 29, 2008

Washington, DC
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today in response to Phoenix, Arizona Police Chief Jack Harris?s changes to the city?s Operations Order 1.4.3, which had prohibited police officers from inquiring about the immigration status of individuals and from cooperating with federal immigration officials. Under the new policy, everyone arrested in Phoenix, America?s fifth largest city, will be questioned about his or her citizenship.

Facing a Judicial Watch investigation and a potential lawsuit, Chief Harris announced changes to the Operations Order on Thursday, May 22, 2008. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon announced on December 3, 2007 that he no longer supported the policy, and commissioned an illegal immigration expert panel to study the policy and to recommend changes. The new policies go much further than the panel?s flawed recommendations and try to address concerns of Judicial Watch and the Phoenix law enforcement community.

“There is no question Judicial Watch?s investigation and the threat of a lawsuit prompted both Mayor Gordon?s sudden change of heart on illegal immigration enforcement and Chief Harris?s complete revision of Operations Order 1.4.3. Gordon?s and Harris?s sanctuary policies have severely damaged business owners and taxpayers who are the lifeblood of Phoenix. We are pleased the mayor and the police chief finally have tried to address the illegal immigration crisis……

To read entire article click here.

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The cost of hiring 126 illegal aliens: $6.8 million
TRITON-Megayacht News
May 30,2008

A family owned commercial fishing business in Virginia and two of its owners paid $6.8 million in fines and forfeitures after pleading guilty to hiring 126 illegal aliens to work on their boats.

The charge is a misdemeanor and federal prosecutors had recommended home confinement in addition to the monetary penalties, but U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson sentenced Yvonne Michelle Peabody, the company?s vice president, to three months in prison.

At the sentencing hearing last month, the judge said he was making an example out of Peabody, who had served on the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Council?s law enforcement subcommittee at the same time illegal aliens had been working on the family?s eight scallop boats.

She paid a $50,000 fine and will also spend an additional four months on home confinement after her release. Her father, William Peabody, will serve five months of home confinement and paid $100,000 in fines.

Hiring undocumented workers or foreign crew already in the United States on a B1/B2 visa who are or were employed by another megayacht at the time of their entry is prevalent in the yachting community. The prosecution of the Peabodys is a reminder that when federal authorities choose to enforce the law, the penalties can be stiff.

John E. Holloway, the Peabodys? attorney, had argued in court that the “government took a permissive approach to the presence of illegal aliens on commercial fishing vessels.”…..

To read entire article click here.

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The Federation for American Immigration Reform has put together an informative, well produced video on their take on why we should build the border fence. Worth a look. GuardDog

FAIR: Build The Fence Now

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CASA De Maryland

The The Montgomery County street corner that played host to a homicide and a carjacking Tuesday has long been on local leaders? minds.

The Silver Spring intersection of University Boulevard and Piney Branch Road is not so much a crime hot spot as it is a source of frustration: the 7-Eleven and Exxon Station lots there are becoming more popular with day laborers than a county-funded day labor center just half a block down.

Leaders of CASA of Maryland, the immigrant advocacy group that runs county day labor centers, sent workers to the intersection several times a week throughout 2007, imploring workers to use their facility. The center is heated, has staff to record job placements and lawyers ready to pursue employers if they don?t pay workers.

Nonetheless, throughout 2007, 50 to 80 workers a day looked for jobs at the Exxon and 7-Eleven at the intersection, roughly the same number who signed up for work at the center. Now, with the downturn in the economy, those numbers have doubled, according to Hispanic community police liaison Officer Luis Hurtado.

?There?s no jobs to be had,? Hurtado said. ?And so the crowds are getting bigger and bigger ? I would say they?ve doubled in these areas and throughout many Silver Spring 7-Eleven parking lots.?

Hurtado said he?s worried the sagging economy, the downturn in the housing market and lack of construction jobs will have more detrimental effects.

?We?re seeing an escalation in crime committed by Latino males, and we?re seeing an increase in Latino crime victims, like the storekeeper who was killed this week,? Hurtado said. ?We?ve arrested people who tell us they just need to feed their families.?

Maryland Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez says people need to pay attention to crime victims as well.

?I think what went missing from a lot of the reports of this tragedy was the fact that the victim was an immigrant,? Gutierrez said. ?He was a hard-working El Salvadoran immigrant just trying to get by, like most of the people who come to our country.?
Tuesday has long been on local leaders? minds.

The Silver Spring intersection of University Boulevard and Piney Branch Road is not so much a crime hot spot as it is a source of frustration: the 7-Eleven and Exxon Station lots there are becoming more popular with day laborers than a county-funded day labor center just half a block down.

Leaders of CASA of Maryland, the immigrant advocacy group that runs county day labor centers, sent workers to the intersection several times a week throughout 2007, imploring workers to use their facility. The center is heated, has staff to record job placements and lawyers ready to pursue employers if they don?t pay workers.

Nonetheless, throughout 2007, 50 to 80 workers a day looked for jobs at the Exxon and 7-Eleven at the intersection, roughly the same number who signed up for work at the center. Now, with the downturn in the economy, those numbers have doubled, according to Hispanic community police liaison Officer Luis Hurtado.

?There?s no jobs to be had,? Hurtado said. ?And so the crowds are getting bigger and bigger ? I would say they?ve doubled in these areas and throughout many Silver Spring 7-Eleven parking lots.?

Hurtado said he?s worried the sagging economy, the downturn in the housing market and lack of construction jobs will have more detrimental effects.

?We?re seeing an escalation in crime committed by Latino males, and we?re seeing an increase in Latino crime victims, like the storekeeper who was killed this week,? Hurtado said. ?We?ve arrested people who tell us they just need to feed their families.?

Maryland Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez says people need to pay attention to crime victims as well.

?I think what went missing from a lot of the reports of this tragedy was the fact that the victim was an immigrant,? Gutierrez said. ?He was a hard-working El Salvadoran immigrant just trying to get by, like most of the people who come to our country.?

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WFAA

MCALLEN, Texas - A teenage mother who sparked a frantic citywide search Thursday when she told police her infant daughter was kidnapped in broad daylight is now accused of stabbing the baby girl to death.

Angelica Gutierrez, 19, was arrested Thursday on a charge of capital murder in the fatal stabbing of her 15-day-old daughter, Gabriella Corona. She remained in the city jail Thursday night and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning. A jail official said she did not yet have an attorney.

Gutierrez, a Mexican national, initially claimed that her daughter was ripped from the arms of her aunt during a robbery Thursday morning, police said. Dozens of officers locked down area elementary schools and cordoned off the area in search of Gabriella and the kidnapping suspect.

About 20 minutes after Gutierrez’s initial call, Gabriella’s body was found hidden in some shrubs about a block from the location where officers first responded, police said in a story on The Monitor’s Web site.

“We had our suspicions from the onset,” McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said at an afternoon news conference.

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Chron.com

A drug dealer named The Spider is wondering why his Jesus Christ still hasn’t appeared in Dallas.

Thanks to an unusual bust by federal agents in Laredo, they’re not going to connect.

Drug traffickers mixed as much as six pounds of the illicit white powder into a paste and used it to make a regal statue of the Christian savior, complete with painted-on flowing hair and a gold cape.

Smugglers were likely hoping the statue, which could be worth as much as $30,000 on the streets, would be dismissed by border guards as just another of the hundreds of plaster representations hawked to borderland tourists.

But a dog trained to sniff out drugs confirmed it was anything but another religious memento.

“This seizure shows what extreme measures people will go through to smuggle drugs,” Janice Ayala, second-in-command of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s investigative office in Laredo, said Wednesday.

Earlier this week in the Rio Grande Valley, border inspectors found $10,000 stuffed into a child’s bulging diaper.

“These people will use anything, including religious icons to smuggle their drugs,” said Steven Robertson, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, in Washington. “It is sacrilegious.”

Robertson said if the statue had been successfully smuggled, it would likely have been broken apart with water, sifted through a strainer and dried before being bagged and sold to users.

Investigators will likely now run chemical tests to determine what percentage of the statue is cocaine as well as the drug’s purity.

There’s no way to know if smugglers routinely use the Jesus statue technique, though Robertson said big-time drug dealers would likely consider it too much work for too little profit.

The plot quietly began to unfold last week when the woman who was a passenger in a car driving into the United States said a man told her he had too many things to carry, and would pay her $80 if she’d drop the statue at the Laredo bus station, according to a court document filed Wednesday.

While trying to enter the United States, Customs and Border Patrol inspectors grew suspicious and checked her out.

The woman later said she was unaware the statue was cocaine and took federal agents along for her rendezvous.

After being arrested, the man, 61-year-old Bernardino Garcia-Cordova, admitted the statue was his property, authorities said. Garcia-Cordova, who now faces cocaine importation and possession charges, told investigators a man he knows only by a Spanish nickname, La Araña, or The Spider, told him to take it to Dallas.

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“It has more diversity than ‘Cops,’ and people really learn a lot from watching this,” Shapiro said. “You see a lot of people who are not admitted into the country, and you learn why. You will become a more knowledgeable traveler in terms of crossing the border.”

ABC makes a run for the ‘Border’
Reality show will document homeland security
The Hollywood Reporter
May 28, 2008

A new ABC unscripted series will take an unprecedented look behind the scenes at the government’s fight against terrorism.

The network has ordered 11 hours of “Border Security USA” from executive producer Arnold Shapiro (”Big Brother”). Shot on location throughout the United States, the series will focus on the efforts of border protection agencies to halt illegal smuggling and immigration.

A typical episode might jump from a border patrol in Texas to security screeners at a New York airport to a Coast Guard boat off Puerto Rico.

“Border” is billed as the first multiepisode television series to be shot in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, as well as several other government agencies.

“We’re showing everyday heroes who are risking their lives to protect us,” said Shapiro, who also produced the law enforcement series “Rescue 911″ and the classic jailhouse documentary “Scared Straight.” “Every mode of transportation to get into the country, we have covered.”

“Border” is based on the Australian series “Border Security: Australia’s Front Line,” which debuted in 2004. ABC purchased the rights to the format and tapped Shapiro to shepherd the U.S. version. Shapiro wrangled the cooperation of the DHS (as well as the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, the Secret Service, Customs & Border Protection and Immigration & Customs Enforcement). The network plans to launch “Border” sometime next season……

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