Posted in Natural Disasters, News, Sandy

Price Gouging in Wake of Sandy

… And in the “business owners can be total jerks that love to profit off of human tragedies” category, we have this gem straight from NJ:

MYFOXNY.COM –

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs issued subpoenas to 65 businesses across the state Friday after more than 500 consumer complaints about alleged price gouging.

“Having seen firsthand the suffering people are experiencing, I assure New Jersey’s residents and retailers that we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to price gouging,” said Governor Christie. “We are not asking businesses to function as charities. We require that they obey New Jersey’s laws – or pay significant penalties.”

Attorney General Chiesa noted that the Division has received allegations of price gouging from all regions of the state, with complaints particularly prominent in Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic counties. The top complaint categories are:

-Gasoline, with gas prices in some cases allegedly rising by $1 or more per gallon immediately following the storm, in some cases allegedly exceeding $5 per gallon. The Division has also received complaints about gas stations charging more to fill up hand-held canisters than to fill car gas tanks, in apparent violation of state Motor Fuels Act protections related to fuel prices.

-Generators, Batteries and Non-Gasoline Fuels such as propane; with generator prices allegedly doubling from pre-storm prices.

-Food, including reports of unexpectedly high prices at convenience stores and restaurants in certain areas, affecting consumers who are unable to cook a hot meal at home due to power outages.

-Lodging, including complaints about hotels and motels significantly raising their prices, allegedly for rooms that were rented at much lower rates before the storm.

Consumers who suspect price gouging or any other violation of consumer protection laws, particularly as a result of Hurricane Sandy, are urged to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at  (800) 242-5846.

Read more: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/19990960/price-gouging-complaints-in-new-jersey#ixzz2BBt4e8Xo

 

 

Posted in Attorney General, C-Haze, Current Events, Eric Holder, Extremists, Hate, Hate Crimes, Holocaust, Politics, Race, Terror, Terrorism, War on Terror

Eric Holder, Hate Crimes and Terrorism

During my habitual morning perusal of national headlines, this one caught my eye:

AG Holder Urges New Hate Crimes Law

Curious, I started reading the article, and quickly found myself getting annoyed.

Attorney General Eric Holder wants new federal hate crimes laws created to put a stop to what he refers to as “violence masquerading as political activism”.

Specifically, he’s referring to a recent rash of extremist violence– the unsolved bombing of a New York City Starbucks coffee shop in May (rumored to be caused by an anti-globalization group), the shooting of two soldiers at an Army recruitment center in Arkansas by a loony anti-American, the shooting of three Pittsburgh police officers in April by a white supremacist, the arrests of four extremists- also in April- in connection with their plot to blow up synagogues and down airplanes, the assassination of an abortion doctor while attending church, and the shooting at the holocaust museum.

Whew.

That’s quite a list.

Now please don’t misunderstand- I am all about ending violence- in all its forms, most especially the kind of violence that stems from political extremism.

What annoys me is the fact that we already have a term for this type of violence… there are federal laws already on the books to combat it. It’s not that we need new hate crime legislation, rather the more logical path would be to utilize the laws that are already in place.

The type of violence Holder is referring to already has a name. We need to stop side-stepping around this issue and call it exactly what it is.

Terrorism.

According to Congress, the definition of terrorism is “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.”22 United States Code 2656f(d)(2).

Congress breaks this down further by identifying five criteria for an act to be considered terrorism:

  1. The act must be premeditated
  2. It must be politically motivated
  3. The act must be violent
  4. The act must be carried out against non-combatants
  5. It must be carried out by sub-national or clandestine agents (not at the bidding of the U.S. Government)

Let’s review.

Eric Holder wants to create federal legislation that would end “violence masquerading as political activism”… and yet… we already have federal laws on the books making just such a thing not only illegal, but physically defining it as terrorism.

The shooting at the Holocaust Museum, for example, neatly fits all five criteria… as does the Murder of Dr. George Tiller, the killing of the Pittsburgh police officers, and the the plot to blow up synogogues and shoot down airplanes would have, had the plans not been thwarted (thankfully).

What is mind-boggling to me is the fact that to-date, the only  two of these incidents to result in actual terrorism charges are the cases in which the two soldiers were shot (one fatally) at the Army recruitment facility in Arkansas, and the case in which the terrorists were attempting to blow up synagogues and shoot down airplanes.

It is interesting to note that these two cases are also the only two on the list that involve both black men and Muslims.

The soldier shooter has been charged with 16 counts of committing a terrorist act.

The charges against the men who tried to kill jews by blowing up synagogues and planes include conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.

Don’t get me wrong- I am not claiming, even for an instant, that the black terrorists deserve any more of our sympathy or compassion than the white terrorists do. I fully support the decision to charge them using federal terrorism laws.

Fully.

I simply don’t understand how it’s terrorism to target jews in a plot to blow up synagogues, but not terrorism to target jews by shooting up the Holocaust Museum.

Similarly, I don’t get how it’s terrorism for a Muslim extremist to kill an Army recruiter and wound another soldier, but not terrorism for a white supremist to shoot three Pittsburgh police officers.

The Department of Homeland Security, for example, when discussing the Holocaust Museum shooting, flat-out referred to that incident as an act of “domestic terrorism”.

Um…

… Then why are we not charging the gunman with terrorism?

There is no point in creating new laws- hate crime laws- that make an act illegal that is…

Uh…

… Already illegal.

How about we actually utilize the laws that are already on the books, and start recognizing these extreme, politically motivated, violent acts for what they really are?

Simply passing a law that contains the exact same verbage, albeit uses  a different name (this time it’s a “hate crime” as opposed to “terrorism”), is a redundant waste of taxpayer dollars.

Besides, we all know how well the original Federal Hate Crimes bill fared in Congress back in 2007. The president threatened to veto the legislation, and the only way Congress could manage to get it passed was to shove it into one of Bush’s much-needed war spending bills.

Sneaky, sneaky.

I don’t necessarily consider hate crime legislation a bad thing… I just think it’s a stupid waste of both time and money when the hatred one is attempting to combat is already quite illegal.

Especially when it appears the only reason the current law is not being used is because of some as-yet unexplained fear that our federal prosecutors apparently have when it comes to actually using that ever-so-dirty word- terrorism– as it pertains to citizens of our own country.

How absolutely ridiculous for Attorney General Eric Holder to act as if he needs a new bill to pass in Congress before he can effectively go after these whack jobs.

He already has everything he needs to get the job done…

… He’s simply unwilling to do it.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Change, Elections, News, Policy, Politics, President, Presidential Campaign, Race, Rod Blagojevich, Roland Burris

Roland Burris Claims Responsibility for the Wrong Thing

Until now I have stayed away from all the arguments surrounding the impeachment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, and his controversial choice in naming Roland Burris to replace President Barack Obama in the Senate.

Today, however, I have something to say.

I came across an article in the Chicago Sun-Times about Senator Burris, and his recent appearance at a Martin Luther King breakfast (part of the Rainbow PUSH coalition).

It was at this event that Burris claims it was he who made it possible for Barack Obama to become president.

I had hoped, with the historic election of our first black president, that we would not be bombarded with a bunch of idiotic people claiming that had it not been for them and their tireless efforts, this election never would have been possible.

It seems my prayers are going to go unanswered… in this instance at least.

Now don’t misunderstand.

I’m not saying there wasn’t a huge effort, an effort that dates back more than a century, that went into making Obama’s election possible.

Many people- men and women, black and white- have worked tirelessly, sacrificing their very lives, so that a man like Barack Obama- a man just like any of the rest of us- could acheive the honor of holding the highest office in this land.

All of them are heroes, and all of them have my undying respect and gratitude.

Roland Burris, however, is an asshole.

I’m surprised that Burris, in his never-ending quest to take credit for the results of this most historic election (glory that is not his), has not gone on to take credit for ending the death penalty in the state of Illinois.

He was responsible for it, after all.

Unfortunately, the story behind the now-infamous moratorium on Illinois’ executions is more of a black mark on Burris’ record than anything else… maybe that’s why we don’t hear him talking about it too often.

Allow me to explain.

As many people know, Roland Burris served as the state of Illinois’ Attorney General from 1991-1995. He was only the second African-American to hold this position.

In 1992, the case of two men- one of which had been sentenced to death in 1985 for the kidnapping, rape and murder of  a 10-year old child- erupted in controversy, and was back on the docket, up for appeal.

Burris assigned Assistant Attorney General Mary Brigid Kenney to fight the appeal. Right away, she developed some serious concerns regarding the legitimacy of the original investigation against the men.  She immediately sent her boss (Burris) a memo stating that she believed the state had convicted two innocent men, refusing to take part in fighting to uphold what she felt was a wrongful conviction.

Burris ignored the memo altogether, resulting in Kenney’s resignation.

Her letter of resignation reads, in part:

 I was being asked to help execute an innocent man… Unfortunately, you have seen fit to ignore the evidence in this case.

In 1995, DNA tests confirmed that neither of the men had committed the crimes they had been charged with and sentenced to die for.

Kenney, it seems, had been right all along.

A.G Burris, on the other hand, defended his fight to keep the men in prison, claiming that it is not his job to judge the actions of the jurors who originally convicted them.

In 2002, then-Governor Jim Ryan issued a full pardon to both defendents.

It was this case that resulted in Governor Ryan’s state-wide moratorium on all executions.

Burris was never taken to task for his tireless fight to execute an innocent man, nor was he ever forced to accept responsibility for causing the moratorium on all executions in Illinois.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not a fan of the death penalty myself.

Burris, however, fucked up.

While definitely one of his bigger mistakes, the death penalty fiasco is but one example of the true character of this jackass.

Like too many politicians, he has led a professional life that is fraught with hypocrisy.

In 1993, for example, while still Attorney General, he organized a national handgun ban. He even helped organize Chicago’s first Gun Turn-In Day.

The problem?

It was later revealed that Burris himself not only owned a handgun and a shotgun, but had refused to turn either of them in, like he was pushing so hard for everyone else to do.

His excuse?

He “forgot”.

Right.

He organizes a nationwide hand gun ban, pushes for heavy gun control (not something I’m opposed to, mind you), organizes the city’s first Gun Turn-In Day…

… And then “forgets” that he owns two weapons himself?

Alrighty then.

Senator Roland Burris, unfortunately, is just another politician…

… Full of his own self-importance… and laced with a whole heapin’ gob of bullshit.

A man who thinks the rules apply to everyone but him.

Wonderful.

This is just what we need.