Sunday, October 03, 2010

Man Killed by Mexican Pirates on Texas Lake

Woman Tried to Save Her Husband as They Fled on Their Jet Skis

Search teams are combing a Texas lake for the body of a man who was allegedly shot and killed by Mexican pirates when he and his wife were ambushed after crossing into Mexican waters on their personal watercraft.

David Michael Hartley, 30, and his wife Tiffany Hartley, 29, were attacked on Falcon Lake, near the southern tip of Texas, police said.

Tiffany Hartley told police her husband was shot in the back of the head as the couple fled to U.S. waters.

The gunmen are suspected to be Mexican pirates who have been marauding on the lake, law enforcement officials said.

Hartley fell off his watercraft after he was shot, according to his wife, who told rescuers and police she attempted to circle back to save him, but the gunmen were still firing shots so she had to abandon the rescue attempt.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials said Friday they believed that David Hartley was dead, but his body has yet to be found.

U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Narcizo Ramos told The Associated Press that he didn't know whether Mexican authorities were searching their side.

According to Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr., Tiffany Hartley said she and her husband were returning to U.S. waters after sightseeing and taking photos when they saw armed men aboard some boats.

The couple "observed some boats coming at them at a pretty high rate of speed, noticed that some of the boats were armed so they immediately started, according to her, revving it up and gassing it up to the U.S, side of the border to prevent them getting hurt," he said. "Then, of course, shots started being fired at them.

"She said she was seeing bullets hitting close to her in the water and realized that her husband had been hit behind the head," he said. "She went back trying to find, trying to help him. She went in the water trying to load up her husband to her Jet Ski ... trying to get his body and Jet Ski back to the U.S. side.

"She was being shot at so she finally had to let go of the body, climb back in her Jet Ski and head back over here to the United States," he said.

Tiffany Hartley told The Denver Post she believes that her husband was shot five to six miles from the Texas shoreline. Once she was able to reach the shore in Zapata, she parked and called for help.

One of the boats may have crossed into U.S. waters briefly while trying to run her down, she said.

Gonzalez said police at first were not sure whether to believe her story, despite the history of violence on the lake, but another person came forward and said described seeing a woman on a watercraft being chased by men in a boat.

A Recent Increase in Violence
Falcon Lake, part of the Rio Grande situated directly on the Texas-Mexico border, has recently become a haven for the pirates, and there have been at least five reported run-ins with pirates on the lake so far this year, though this is the first instance of a death.

The sheriff said many of the pirates are teens or preteens, and some "barely even know how to use a weapon."

But despite that, he said he has long feared that someone would be killed.

"The one thing I dreaded on Falcon Lake has happened," he said. "The lake is not secure, the border is not secure because the incident that I dreaded the most has in fact happened. We cannot go to Mexico, we cannot recover that body, we cannot conduct an investigation, we have to tell the family we can't do anything about it."

According to ABC Rio Grande, Texas, affiliate KRGV-TV, there have been at least four previous incidents on the lake over the past five months:

April 30: Four heavily armed men boarded two boats near the Old Guerrero area demanding money.

May 6: Two armed men approached a boat and demanded cash.

May 16: Five armed men boarded a boat on the United States side of the lake.

Aug 31: Pirates, using a small boat marked "Game Wardin" tried to stop a Texas fisherman.

State Representative Aaron Pena, a south Texas lawmaker briefed on the pirates earlier this year, has suggested that residents stay off of Falcon Lake altogether.

"I wouldn't do it. When I go out there I have all the protection Texas can provide. But the average fisherman doesn't have that," Pena said.

Pena added that he is certain that the pirates are working in operation with Mexico's violent drug cartels, who wouldn't allow the pirates on the lake otherwise.

Texas public safety officials said that the pirates use AK-47s or AR-15s to intimidate their victims. They also said that they believe they use local fisherman to man the boats to get as close as possible to American vessels.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said this week's deadly shooting points to the need for further border security.

"It's really become substantially worse in the last 18 months with the drug cartels having almost free rein," Perry said Friday. "This is about our citizens', on both sides of the borders, safety."

ABC News Internet

Remember a 'tsunami' KILLS anything in its way! How soon YOU forget 8 years of GWB?

Cornyn predicts a GOP 'tsunami'

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, predicted a "tsunami" election in November, saying "the only question is how many seats we're going to pick up." His counterpart, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), denied that members of his party are trying to scare voters about GOP candidates such as Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware by focusing on their old comments, such as O'Donnell's admission that she once dabbled in witchcraft. He said it will be a problem for Republicans that their candidates are "outside of the mainstream."

Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said his country "will take care of all terrorists on the Pakistan side of the border," but will do so on its own timeline. He said it is not a question of Pakistan being "unwilling or unable" to stamp out extremism within its borders, but rather a "question of terrain and geography." He added that in recent years, Pakistan has lost more soldiers fighting terrorism than any other country.

QUESTION for those of you who think the government can't do anything WHY BLAME IT FOR LACK OF JOBS!?

Liberals to Dems: It's about jobs

Liberal activists who rallied in Washington Saturday seemed as concerned about bridging the divide between Democrats and disillusioned progressives as they were about promoting civil rights and other social issues.

The “One Nation Coming Together” rally at the National Mall touched on themes of immigration reform, more funding for schools and equal rights for gays.

But more than anything else, the day was about jobs – an issue President Barack Obama and other Democrats admittedly have stumbled over in the past year but will need to seize in coming weeks if they hope to fend off big Republican gains in Congress on Nov. 2.

“This is a march for jobs,” said Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP and a lead organizer of the rally, which attracted thousands of liberal activists to the National Mall.

With the national unemployment rate still hovering at 9.6 percent and millions of Americans out of work, the economy has become the No. 1 issue facing voters. And polls show Republicans with the advantage on that issue — a key focus of the tea party movement that has energized the GOP this election cycle.

Despite efforts by the Obama administration and the Democrat-led Congress to jump-start the economy – and proclamations by experts the recession is over – Americans are still feeling jittery about the nation’s fiscal health. Many on both left and right feel the administration has been distracted by lesser issues and has failed to focus on restoring jobs.

That anxiety was palpable among many attending Saturday’s rally.

Ala Obey, 23, who is studying social work at West Virginia’s Concord University, came to Washington for the first time Saturday to seek reassurance she’ll find work when she graduates.

“It is definitely terrifying when you spend all this money to go to school and are thousands of dollars in debt,” she said. “It’s scary to think when I get done, I might not have a job.”

The jobs theme also was underscored by the thousands of union members – easily identified by their bright-colored matching T-shirts – that were bused to the four-hour event from as far as Michigan, Ohio and New York. The American Federation of Teachers said they had representatives from all 50 states.

Labor leaders sought to tie the insurgent tea party movement with the Wall Street bankers and investors who Democrats have blamed for the nation’s economic woes.

“Behind the voices of fear and hatred that have risen to dominate out national conversation are the forces of greed, the moneyed powers that put us in the economic mess we’re in today. And we’ve got a lot of work to do to repair the damage that greed did to our country,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said while standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

“We come together today because America needs jobs, good jobs, jobs that support families—all families,” he added. “Jobs that give our young people paths of opportunity, not obstacles. Jobs that allow people to retire with dignity.”

In his weekly radio address, Obama highlighted his administration’s commitment to clean energy technology, including solar and wind power. He said it would translate in to hundreds of thousands of new jobs by 2012, when he faces re-election.

"There is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now — and growth in the coming years — than clean energy," said Obama, who did not attend the rally.

Also among the speakers at the rally was Van Jones, a Center for American Progress fellow who resigned as Obama's "green jobs" adviser over controversial past statements he had made about the Sept. 11 attacks and Republicans.

“We have an environment in crisis and an economy in crisis,” warned Jones. “The earth is overheating, temperatures are going up and employment is going down.”

Tea partiers and Republicans are furious at Obama for leading the country down a path of more government spending and regulation — namely in the form of the economic stimulus plan, healthcare law and Wall Street reform. The midterm elections are seen by many as a referendum on the president, who the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other critics deride as “anti-business.”

But many liberals are also upset that the administration is not fighting as hard as they think it should for the goals they share, from comprehensive immigration reform and universal healthcare to a repeal of the ban on gays openly serving in the military.

“They are a little too weak,” said Mai Abdul Rahman, 49, a doctoral student at Howard University who was holding a sign reading “Lift the Blockade” on Gaza. “We have the majority but we have not been able to exercise the majority. We don’t have a clear vision.”

Some, however, say Obama is doing the best he can.

“He can’t do it by himself. He’s not getting the support,” said Evette Glen, 53, a janitor at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia who is “100 percent” behind Obama. “Republicans are just determined to block him. They just want to see him fail. He is doing the best he can.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), the only elected official to speak at the rally, told POLITICO the Saturday march marked an opportunity to showcase Democrats’ efforts to end the recession and create jobs.

“As Democrats, we do such a miserable job (at getting our message out). We reduce taxes and yet we get pigeon-holed to reduce taxes. Wait, a minute, we did reduce taxes,” Gutierrez said. Democrats’ decision to back the $700 billion bank bailout – nearly all of which has been repaid – stopped the economy from spiraling downward toward 15 percent or 20 percent unemployment, he said.

“I think we need to stress what we do,” he added. “We’ve always been about jobs, and we didn’t do a good enough job stressing it.”

Sharon Carraux, a Defense Department employee from Chester, Va., said she has several close family members who are unemployed. But she said was energized about the rally’s promotion of green jobs.

“If you have people idle with nothing to do, they have no other recourse than to look at illegal avenues,” she said. “The message is a little late but it’s getting out.”


I blame the modern media and culture where young people are told violence is GOOD and life is cheap!

Fifth Gay Teen Suicide in Three Weeks Sparks Debate
As Mourners Were Honoring Tyler Clementi, News Came of a Fifth Suicide

Mourners at Rutgers University honored the memory of Tyler Clementi, whose death last week was one of five suicides by gay teenagers in the last three weeks.

Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge Tuesday, days after his roommate allegedly posted video on the Internet of him having sex with another man.

The recent eruption of gay teen suicides has been across the country, from the East Coast to Indiana, Texas to California, where 13-year-old Seth Walsh, who recently hanged himself, was memorialized Friday night.

Walsh, whose family said he was harassed by bullies for being gay, died Tuesday, after being in a coma for nine days.

"The harassment and the teasing and the taunting just became too much," Seth's grandmother, Judly Walsh said Friday night at a memorial service in Tehachapi, Calif.

Police interviewed some of the young people who taunted Seth the day he died, but determined that their actions do not constitute a crime.

In Clementi's case, the young man's roommate, Dharun Ravi, and another classmate, Molly Wei, face several charges of invasion of privacy for what prosecutors say was a surreptitious filming of Clementi in his own dorm room, a recording that they then allegedly broadcast live on the Internet.

New Jersey law enforcement officials have said they are still investigating the case, trying to determine whether they can pursue more serious charges against Ravi and Wei.

Lawyers for Ravi and Wei have not returned messages left by ABC News but Ravi's attorney, Steve Altman, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that he does not think his client can be held criminally responsible for Clementi's death.

In another recent case, Raymond Chase, an openly gay 19-year-old student at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., hanged himself in his dorm room Wednesday.

While his brother told ABC News that it was not brought on by bullying, his suicide has sparked further debate on the nature of support for gay teens and gays on American campuses.

"It is important to allow young people to come out and to find support and to realize that once you do come out you're not alone," said Shane Windmeyer, the executive director of Campus Pride, an organization focused on building safer and more LGBT-friendly campuses.

The deaths have provoked nationwide introspection about bullying, and how gay teens are treated, from the heartland to Hollywood.

Openly gay singer Lance Bass recently admitted that as a closeted teen he would take part in bullying of other students.

"I can tell you right now, when I was in high school in Mississippi, I was one of the first ones to jump on the bandwagon to make fun of a gay person," Bass recently told MTV.

Windmeyer said that when celebrities throw their support behind an issue it can be a major help.

"It brings acceptance, it brings the issue right into the forefront, in many ways gets this into the hearts and minds who need to hear about it," Windmeyer said.

According to a recently released study by Campus Pride on how gay students are treated in higher education, gay students experienced significantly greater harassment and discrimination, and they were more likely to seriously consider leaving school because of it.

The study also found that there is a lack of safety and inclusiveness for gay students on campuses across the country.

There is hope, however, that in light of Tyler Clementi's tragic death, and the nation's shock at its circumstances, bullying of gay teens is an issue that schools are now being forced to address.

ABC News Internet

Stewart Jokes About Sanchez' Firing

'The Daily Show' Host Quipped About Sanchez' Comments at a NYC Event

Jon Stewart had some advice Saturday night for Rick Sanchez, who was fired from his job as CNN anchor after he called Stewart a bigot and questioned whether Jews should be considered a minority.

"If you went on radio and said the Jews control the media ... you may want to hold on to your money," Stewart said at Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars" at New York's Beacon Theater, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Later in the evening, Stewart said, "All he has to do is apologize to us, and we'll hire him back."

Fellow late night host David Letterman also put in an appearance at the event, which was a fundraiser for autism education, and made a reference to Sanchez' recent firing.

Letterman said he was in New York because he was "helping Rick Sanchez clean out his office."

Sanchez, the former host of CNN's "Rick's List," made the derogatory comments about Stewart and Jewish people Thursday on the radio show "Stand Up! With Pete Dominick" in reaction to a recent jab that Stewart made at him on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

When Sanchez reported that he'd received a tweet from House Republican leader John Boehner, Stewart called it a case of "send a twit a tweet."

"He's upset that someone of my ilk is almost at his level," Sanchez said of Stewart in an interview with Dominick, adding that he feels that Stewart is bigoted toward "everybody else that's not like him."

Sanchez, who was born in Cuba, went on to say that Stewart "can't relate to what I grew up with," and said how, as he was growing up, his family was poor and his father was the victim of prejudice.

Dominick, who is also a CNN contributor and was once the warm-up comic for "The Daily Show," pointed out that Stewart, who is Jewish, comes from a minority group. Sanchez dismissed the notion.

"I'm telling you that everyone who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah," Sanchez said.

"I can't see someone not getting a job these days because they're Jewish," he added.

Dominick pressed Sanchez during the heated interview, and eventually Sanchez backed down on his use of the word bigot.

"OK. I'll take bigot back ... (Stewart is) prejudicial," Sanchez said. Stewart is "not just a comedian," he said. "He can make and break careers."

The details of the interview were posted on the news and opinion website Mediaite on Friday and quickly became a hot topic.

CNN issued the following statement late Friday: "Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company. We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well."

Sanchez had been with the network since 2004.

Sanchez did not return e-mails or calls made by The Associated Press, although it was unclear whether his CNN-issued phone is still active.

Stewart had no comment, according to a Comedy Central spokesman.

Sanchez has been a frequent target of Stewart's, who has mocked him for such things as his mispronunciation of the word "annals" in a piece on Vice President Joe Biden and his questioning of a reporter stationed in a California gay bar who was unable to find a person who doesn't support gay marriage.

During the interview with Dominick, Sanchez said that a CNN executive had compared him to Hispanic reporter John Quinones of ABC's "Primetime: What Would You Do."

"In his mind, I can't be an anchor," Sanchez told Dominick. "An anchor is what you give to high-profile white guys.

"Deep down, when they look at a guy like me they see a guy automatically who belongs in the second tier and not the top tier," Sanchez said.

He said he feels that racism exists "not just [from] the right," but also from "elite, Northeast establishment liberals," and that he is condescended to because of his Latino heritage.

Sanchez has worked at MSNBC and CNBC throughout his career. He spent a large part of his career as a reporter and anchor in Miami.

CNN has not announced a replacement for Sanchez and said that for the foreseeable future it will broadcast "CNN Newsroom" in the 3-5 p.m. time slot held by "Rick's List."

The Associated Press

Left-Wing Crazies Take Their Turn

What's the antidote to Glenn Beck?

Probably not the showing of left-wing marchers who turned out for the One Nation rally yesterday. It fell far short of Beck's massive march in terms of numbers and enthusiasm, but it did mirror it in one key way: plenty of wingnuts, reports The Daily Beast's John Avlon.

The rally offered a snapshot of the fragile coalition that is the contemporary far left—a dizzying array of activist organizations and identity politics, with financial muscle provided by the labor unions who bused their members in.

Signs that read "Yes We Can...Bomb Civilians!" and "Jesus Christ is the Almighty Liberal" prove that wingnuts aren't limited to one side of the political spectrum, writes Avlon, author of Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America.

Read the rest of story in The Daily Beast