Friday, February 25, 2011

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Details emerge about blundering suspects arrested in Rio robbery DUMB & DUMBER?

Even Hollywood wouldn't be dumb enough to pair "Ocean's Eleven" with The Three Stooges.
But from the bumbling gaffes displayed in Thursday's robbery of the Rio, it's clear -- anything is possible when there's money involved.

The poorly thought-out plot was detailed in an arrest report for Hiroyuki Yamaguchi, 61, and Edward Land, 41, accused of being accomplices to the crime.
The alleged ringleader, Steven Gao, was the man police say entered the Rio at 4:30 a.m. Thursday in a disguise that included a wig, fedora and fake mustache, and stole $33,200 in gaming chips from a pai gow table. He was still at large as of Friday night.

• Yamaguchi, a taxi driver, used his own cab as the getaway car. Police were able to track the car and quickly linked Yamaguchi to the scene.

• Gao and Yamaguchi covered the cab's interior camera to hide their faces, but didn't realize the audio was still recording -- and captured their incriminating conversations about the robbery.

• Gao used a casino pay phone to call Land after the crime. Police viewed Gao on the casino surveillance tape and tracked the call to Land's cell phone.

• They left evidence everywhere -- in the getaway car, in the casinos, in a backyard and even their own pockets.
This plot had many, many holes, but the one that effectively sunk the ship was the decision to use Yamaguchi's cab as the escape pod.
According to the report, Yamaguchi, a 10-year veteran cabbie in Las Vegas who drives for the Lucky Cab Co., took Gao from the Rio to Terrible's hotel-casino immediately after the stickup, knowing Gao had just committed a robbery.

Video evidence from the cab later recovered by police show Yamaguchi taping over the car's interior camera, trying to conceal his fare's face.

But although the camera had been blinded, the audio was still recording.

"While driving, the suspect (Gao) is heard saying he was upset that he dropped the $10,000 chip," the arrest report states, referring a chip he dropped inside the casino. "The suspect then asks Yamaguchi to hide the gun and that there are no bullets in the gun."

Police later discovered the firearm hidden under the driver's seat of Yamaguchi's cab. He also had electrical tape in his pocket and $1,000 in Rio chips in his bag, the report states.

Yamaguchi initially lied about his involvement to police, and said Gao was a random fare he had met only once before, the report states.
But unfortunately for him, police didn't buy his story:

"It is the opinion that the average person would know that placing tape over a surveillance camera would only be done to hide fruits of a crime," the detective wrote in the report.

The two met inside Terrible's, where Gao gave Land a black shoulder bag and said he "got some chips" and he "won."
Gao told Land he could now pay back the $15,000 he owed him.

Their next rendezvous was at Land's home at 8111 Retriever Ave., near Spring Mountain Road and Durango Drive.
Land told police he took a shower while Gao buried the money in the backyard. Land denied ever looking inside the bag, but said he asked Gao, "Did you rob a casino?"

Gao told him, "You don't wanna know. It's fine, and you will get your money," Land told police.

Land later dropped Gao off at Harrah's, he said, so Gao could "catch a bus" to California. He would return in several days to pay Land his money "with interest," the report said.

Land told police he was more interested in getting paid by Gao than staying out of the cover-up. Police served a search warrant at Land's home and recovered the wig, the shoulder bag and $17,000 in Rio chips.

None of the three suspects has a criminal record, according to police.

During the early-morning robbery, dealer K.C. Patrick saw a man in a disguise and brandishing a gun walk up to the dealer's table next to her and start snatching chips off the table. Patrick called out for security, and a supervisor saw the dealer trying to prevent the suspect from taking the chips. The supervisor, noticing the gun, told the dealer to let the suspect have his way, and the man quickly snatched the chips and left.

Patrick said she wasn't surprised that the suspects were identified.
"I said at the beginning, he's not going to spend a dollar. He's going to get caught," she said.

The heist came just months after a December robbery at the Bellagio, an incident that also was not carried out by a criminal mastermind.
Anthony Carleo, the son of Municipal Court Judge George Assad, made off with $1.5 million in chips but was done in by his own braggadocio, according to police.

After arriving in a motorcycle, he ran through the casino wearing a motorcycle helmet and held up a craps dealer, police said.

But he told so many people about his exploits that police were able to track him down and arrest him.

Mike Blasky

If it comes to a shutdown - NEWT says do it!

If it comes to a shutdown, the GOP should stick to its principles

The Washington establishment believes that the government shutdown of 1995 was a disastrous mistake that accomplished little and cost House Republicans politically.
The facts are exactly the opposite.

While the shutdown produced some short-term pain, it set the stage for a budget deal in 1996 that led to the largest drop in federal discretionary spending since 1969. The discipline imposed by this budget - overall spending grew at an average of 2.9 percent a year while I was speaker of the House, the slowest rate in decades - allowed us to reach a balanced-budget deal in 1997.

This would all have been impossible had Republicans not stood firm in 1995 and shown the American people (and the White House) that we were serious about reducing spending.
This historic success was not an achievement of the Clinton administration. In the summer of 1995, administration officials publicly expressed doubt that our aggressive timeline for a balanced budget was even possible. Instead, the balanced budget was an outcome driven by House Republicans with limited support from skeptical Senate Republicans.

How did it happen?

In the spring of 1995, House Republicans passed a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Seventy-two Democrats joined us, giving us the required two-thirds majority to amend the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Senate failed to reach this threshold by one vote.

At a three-hour leadership dinner shortly thereafter, House Republicans, including Texas's Bill Archer of the Ways and Means Committee, Louisiana's Bob Livingston of the Appropriations Committee and, most important, Ohio's John Kasich of the Budget Committee, agreed that we were at a crossroads.
A typical group of politicians would have decided that we had technically kept our word in the Contract With America by holding the vote on the balanced-budget amendment, so it was now okay to revert to politics-as-usual and continue deficit spending.

But we weren't interested in procedural success. We were elected to deliver results. So the House Republican leadership decided that we would voluntarily balance the budget, even without an amendment.
Our constitutional amendment would have set a seven-year deadline to balance the budget. We adopted the same timetable and created a plan that would end deficit spending by 2002. As we developed the reforms and spending cuts, Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) and Rep. John Porter (R-Ill.) encouraged us to be smart rather than cheap.

 We realized that cutting spending in areas that produce long-term savings was destructive to the goal of a sustainable balanced budget. That is why, in the midst of a broad array of reductions and reforms, we doubled the budget for the National Institutes of Health and increased defense and intelligence funding.
The crisis came late in 1995, when the Clinton White House and Senate Democrats set out to test our seriousness. They made a calculated, cynical decision to use the threat of a presidential veto - which would close the government - to insist that we drop our balanced budget.
This point deserves reiteration.

It was President Bill Clinton's veto of our budget in December 1995 that closed the government. The White House knew that it could use the power of the presidency and the support of liberal media to blame us.

So, we faced a choice. We could cave in and be accepted by the Washington establishment, or we could stand firm for a balanced budget for the American people.
We decided to stick to our principles through a very contentious and difficult period. Our attempt to balance the federal budget was distorted in the news media as an effort to ruin family vacations, frustrate visitors to the nation's capital and prevent government employees from going to work. For the Republican leadership, the effort to hold together the House and Senate caucuses while negotiating with the White House became extraordinarily exhausting.

Nonetheless, the ultimate result was the first four consecutive balanced budgets since the 1920s, paying off more than $450 billion in federal debt. We also overhauled welfare - the most successful and popular entitlement reform of our lifetime - strengthened Medicare and enacted the first tax cut in 16 years. It was this tax cut that boosted economic growth and allowed us to balance the budget four years earlier than projected. During my years as speaker, more than 8.4 million new jobs were created, reducing the national unemployment rate from 5.6 percent to 4.3 percent.

Those who claim that the shutdown was politically disastrous for Republicans ignore the fact that our House seat losses in 1996 were in the single digits. Moreover, it was the first time in 68 years that Republicans were reelected to a House majority - and the first time that had ever happened with a Democrat winning the presidency.

Neither these historic achievements nor this historic win would have been possible had Republicans not stood firm and showed the country that we were serious about keeping our commitments.
The lesson for today's House Republicans is simple: Work to keep the government open, unless it requires breaking your word to the American people and giving up your principles. Becoming one more promise-breaking, Washington-dominated, sellout group is a much worse fate - politically and ethically - than having the government close for a few days.

House Republicans should give President Obama the opportunity to sign significant spending reductions and keep the government open, or to veto their cuts and close the government. Similarly, they should give Senate Democrats a chance to accept real spending reductions or make clear that it is their stubborn liberalism that is closing the government.

Another shutdown of the federal government is not an ideal result, but for House Republicans, breaking their word would be far worse.
Newt Gingrich is a former speaker of the House and chairman of American Solutions for Winning the Future.

BIG SIGN SARAH PALIN ISN'T RUNNING: Neither she, nor anyone on her behalf, is courting top donors, early-state activists or experienced operatives - all of whom are getting locked down, day by day.

4 of the Most Dangerous Myths About Washing Your Hands

Review reveals nine widely held myths about washing your hands. Here are a few of them:

Hot water is better than cold water for effective handwashing

Scientists have found that various temperatures had "no effect on transient or resident bacterial reduction." Not only does hot water not show any benefit, but it might increase the "irritant capacity" of some soaps, causing dermatitis.

Hand sanitizers kill germs more effectively than soap

Using alcohol-based hand-hygiene products is in general not more effective than washing your hands with plain soap and water.

Frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizers promotes healthy skin

In fact, contact dermatitis can develop from frequent and repeated use of hand hygiene products, exposure to chemicals and glove use.

Soap with triclosan is an effective antimicrobial for handwashing

A recent study compared an antibacterial soap containing triclosan with a non-antibacterial soap. The results showed that the antibacterial soap did not provide any additional benefit. In addition, concerns have been raised about the use of triclosan because of the potential development of bacterial resistance.