Fire on a frigid night tore through an East Oakland apartment, killing a mother, her daughter and a man who lived in an upstairs unit that had its power shut off earlier this month.
Desperate for electricity, the mother and her two children had dangled a heavy-duty outdoor extension cord over their second-story balcony and plugged it into their downstairs neighbor’s outlet. That jury-rigged electrical system – used to power lamps, appliances and strings of Christmas lights – sparked just before 2 a.m. Thursday and ignited a blaze in the apartment at 82nd Avenue and Birch Street that shot flames out of the second-story windows.
Friends identified the dead woman as Ruth Muñoz, a 27-year-old immigrant from El Salvador. They said she was a housekeeper who had lost her job six months ago and was struggling to make ends meet for herself and her children, ages 7 and 3. Muñoz’s husband, friends said, is behind bars, awaiting deportation to El Salvador.
The woman and her 3-year-old girl, identified by friends as Yvonne Benavides, died in the blaze along with a man neighbors identified only as “Memo.”
Memo, who was staying in Muñoz’s second bedroom, carried Muñoz’s older daughter, Allison Benavides, to safety when the fire started, fire officials said. But he died after re-entering the burning apartment to help Muñoz and Yvonne, fire officials said.
Two other people broke their legs when they jumped from second-story windows to escape the fire.
One first-floor resident who fled the burning building described a horrific early-morning scene.
“I could hear the noises upstairs, and the screaming of ladies when they were jumping out the windows,” said Erika Arana, who was in a downstairs apartment with her three children. “That’s what woke us up.”
Arana had moved into the small apartment building only the day before, invited by residents who knew she needed a place but had no money for rent. The apartment building is bank-owned, and several people said the bank had apparently given up on collecting rent.
Across the street, Edwin Benevides was awakened by his son Diego as flames billowed from the four-unit apartment building. Outside, he saw Allison standing in the street.
“She was screaming, ‘Mama! My mama’s burning,’ “he said.
Benevides said he knew his neighbors only vaguely. Muñoz, he said, would make and sell pupusas and other Salvadoran food.
“It was just people living their lives,” he said.
Thirty-one firefighters rushed to the scene, said Eleanor Bolin-Chew, a battalion chief with the Oakland Fire Department.
Within minutes of arriving, firefighters entered the apartment and pulled out Muñoz, Yvonne and Memo. All three were pronounced dead at a hospital.
By late Thursday morning the firefighting crews were gone, leaving heaps of blackened furniture and other items piled in the driveway of the apartment building, a nondescript beige structure with three garage doors facing the street and tall security gates on either side.
Inside the gate leading to the apartment doors, ashes and soot covered a stroller, a scooter and two small bicycles.
Ruby Ibarra, a friend of Muñoz, said Muñoz moved to the United States from El Salvador six years ago and had lived in the apartment for two years. Muñoz had struggled since losing her housekeeping job, Ibarra said.
“She was a good mom,” she said. “She was a very happy person trying to get a better future for her family in the United States.”
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. shut off power to the second-story unit on Dec. 2, fire officials said. Brandi Ehlers, a PG&E spokeswoman, would not say why. If it was a billing issue, Muñoz would have had 65 days to pay her bill before the power was turned off, Ehlers said.
Muñoz turned to a downstairs neighbor for power, tapping into an outlet with an orange, heavy-duty outdoor extension cord that ran upstairs into her apartment. There, the extension unit was plugged with a mix of high-capacity and low-capacity extension cords that were daisy-chained to a television, stereo, lights, appliances and what Maria Sabatini, a fire investigator, described as “a lot” of Christmas lights.
The mix of cords caused sparking inside the second-story unit and ignited a piece of furniture, Sabatini said.
Because the apartment had no smoke alarms, Muñoz, her children and Memo didn’t know a fire had started until it was too late, Sabatini said.
The apartment building, built in 1959, is managed by the Bank of New York Trust, according to public documents.
Rene Martinez, 43, who bought the building in 2005 with a Bank of America loan, said he walked away from the property in 2007 because he could no longer afford the roughly $3,100 monthly payment. By August 2008, he said, the bank owned the 3,179-square-foot building.
Martinez said he had intended the building to be a source of income for his retirement. But after paying the mortgage, water and garbage bills – the renters paid their power bills – he was losing money.
“I could not pay the minimum payment,” he said. “So I decided to just let it go.”
Gilda Gonzales, director of the Unity Council, an Oakland-based group that supports the Spanish-speaking poor, said there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people living in foreclosed buildings throughout East Oakland. While banks often pay the garbage and water bills, they don’t play close attention to their properties.
“The issue here is so big and you have countless people who are in this situation,” she said.
In this case, some said, an attentive landlord may have known that Muñoz was without power and noticed the extension cord running from the first to the second story. Or they might have known that the building did not have a single functioning smoke detector.
“We just have to put pressure on these big banks in New York City to pay attention, so more families don’t die,” said Larry Reid, a member of Oakland’s City Council.
Federal officials said late Thursday that they were delaying the deportation of Muñoz’s husband, Nelson Benavides, 28, until they decided what to do with Allison.
Ibarra, Muñoz’s friend, said: “I just want him to be released so he can be with the baby that’s alive,” she said.
It was a photographic breakthrough that helped capture some of the 20th century’s most iconic images.
But now Kodachrome, the first commercially successful colour film, has become history itself after it was developed for the last time yesterday.
Dwayne’s Photo, a family-run business in Parsons, Kansas, was the last place in the world where the 75-year-old Kodak product could be developed.
The die was cast after Kodak announced in June last year that it would stop making the chemicals needed to develop Kodachrome in a round of cost-cutting after the company reported a £84million loss.
Final hurrah: Wearing commemorative T-shirts, Dwayne’s Photos employees Val Addis (top) and Tricia Stone (bottom) process the final rolls of Kodachrome. The processor is due to be sold for scrap
Kodak Kodak announced in June last year that it would stop making the chemicals needed to develop Kodachrome as part of a round of cost-cutting
But it pledged to supply Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas with the chemicals until the end of 2010.
The shop’s machine was shut down for the last time yesterday but only after fans of the film had travelled there from cross the world to get theirs developed.
British artist Aliceson Carter, 42, travelled from London to get her rolls developed, while a railway worker from Arkansas spent $15,798 (£10,198) developing 1,580 rolls of film of pictures of trains.
Veteran photographer Steve McCurry, best known for his 1985 portrait of an Afghan girl that made the cover of National Geographic Magazine, had a roll of film shot in New York City and India developed.
Before running out of chemicals, Dwayne’s Photos was still processing 700 rolls of film a day.
Its employees took to wearing T-shirts with the epitaph: ‘The best slide and movie film in history is now officially retired. Kodachrome: 1935 – 2010’.
The last roll to be processed was an image taken by Dwayne Steinle, the shop’s owner. The machine is due to be converted into scrap.
Grant Steinle, who manages Dwayne’s Photo, said: ‘The real difference between Kodachrome and all the other colour films is that the dyes that make up the image you see in the film, in Kodachrome, don’t get incorporated into the film until it is actually developed.
‘It’s a really sad day, it was an important part of our business and Kodachrome was an important part of the history of all of photography.
‘Lots of really iconic images of the 20th century were captured on Kodachrome.’
But as the world turns increasingly digital, Kodachrome sales have plummeted and the camera giant made the decision to axe the first commercially successful colour film last year after a remarkable 74 years.
Although it had become iconic, Kodak took the decision to stop production.
A spokesman said: ‘For all its magic, Kodachrome is a complex film to manufacture and an even more complex film to process.’
Recording history: John F Kennedy’s assassination was filmed by Abraham Zapruder on Kodachrome
Capturing the times: The Kodachrome’s treatment of colour gave photographs an individual depth and contrast
Kodachrome’s heyday came in the 1950s and 1960s when it was favoured by still and motion-picture photographers for its rich tones and vibrant colours.
In 1963, Abraham Zapruder used Kodachrome to film President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.
The film was even immortalised in the 1973 song Kodachrome by Paul Simon. The lyrics read: ‘They give us those nice bright colours. They give us the greens of summers. Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day.’
Many professional photographers feel this richness is missing from modern digital images.
Kodak were the only company producing the chemicals.
Steve McCurry looks at his famous portrait of an Afghan girl, used on the front cover of National Geographic Magazine in 1985. The influential picture was taken on Kodachrome stock
Kent Miller, a professional photographer, told CBS that Kodachrome captures events in a way that modern digital cameras cannot.
‘It just reproduces colours in a way that most other films never did, and it lasts forever,’ he said.
‘It’s something that is difficult to do with just shooting digital until you bring it in to Photoshop and restorate and do all your work in there.
‘But just straight out the camera it doesn’t have that density and dynamic ranges as the Kodachrome does just naturally.’
WASHINGTON (AP) – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, to spend New Year’s Eve with U.S. troops.
The former Arizona governor also will be with the Homeland Security officers who have been working with the Afghan government to try to secure that country’s porous borders from militants, as well as weapons and drug smugglers.
The department said in a statement that Napolitano will meet with top American and Afghan officials before traveling to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar then on to Israel and Belgium.
Napolitano is checking on progress to track and stop the flow of terrorist financing through the Gulf, and regional efforts to increase aviation security.
Yemen’s al-Qaida offshoot attempted to bring down two U.S.-bound cargo planes with explosives-packed printer cartridges in September.
She’s going to spend New Years Eve with U.S. Troops. That would be the same U.S. Troops she insulted by saying all VETS are potential terrorists.
While she absolutely refuses to secure the U.S. border with Mexico, she’s going to help secure Afghanistan’s border.
President Obama provoked fresh outrage today after taking a 20-man motorcade to visit a childhood friend during his lavish Christmas holiday in Hawaii.
The 20-vehicle convoy drove the president and wife Michelle from his rental property in Kailua, across highways cleared of traffic and through a military community to reach Bobby Titcomb’s beachfront house.
Mr Obama, who spent eight years at Punahou School in Hawaii before graduating in 1979, has splashed out $1.5m on his trip – a decision that will not endear him to the millions of Americans facing economic hardship in the New Year.
Motorcade: President Obama visited a school friend while on holiday in Hawaii – and had a convoy of 20 vehicles
The extra cost of the excessive security levels demanded by the holidaying Mr Obama will further enrage opponents of the 49-year-old, who will return to work on January 3.
After a game of golf with his old friends in the day, the president ate at barbecue, played volleyball and relaxed on the beach with family and friends, White House spokesman Bill Burton said.
Police had stopped cars along the route at ramps and side streets. Onlookers were often waving or flashing the famous shaka sign.
While enjoying the barbecue the president’s men, armed to the teeth, carefully guarded the area, and waterways, against any possible attack.
Riding: Michelle Obama and President Obama ride in their SUV as they leave their Kailua residence on their way to Bobby Titcomb’s beach house
Near Dillingham Airfield a group unveiled a sign which read: ‘Hi, Mr. Prez.’
The airfield, frequented by gliders and parachute jumpers, was dormant due to security for the President. Bill Star, one the operators of Original Glider Rides, lamented the lost business as it was the first day of excellent weather this week.
Mr Obama, who also visited Mr Titcomb on the same day a year ago, is facing claims that he could have been more frugal in his two-week getaway with wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha at a luxury beachfront rental home in Kailua, an upscale resort about 12 miles from the capital, Honolulu.
The president’s trip has cost approximately $1.5m – and could have been much cheaper critics say
According to the Hawaii Reporter, the bill for the trip included:
$63,000 on an early flight bringing Mrs Obama and the children to Hawaii ahead of the president.
$1,000,000 on Mr Obama’s return trip from Washington on Air Force One.
$38,000 for the ‘Winter White House’ the president has rented for his family on the beach.
$16,000 to rent beachfront homes for Secret Service and Navy Seals.
$134,000 for 24 White House staff to stay at the Moana Hotel.
$251,000 in police overtime.
$10,000 for an ambulance to be on hand at all times
And those tallies do not include the travel costs of Mr Obama’s staff and Secret Service, car rentals and surveillance operations in advance of the trip, which could easily add up to more than £30,000.
The White House would not comment on the cost of the stay.
A spokesman said the president’s holiday expenses are in line with those of previous presidents.
But the Hawaii Reporter claimed: ‘They could have chosen a less expensive and more secure place to stay such as a beachfront home on the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station – just a two-minute drive away from the Kailuana Place property where they are now.
‘The president visits the military base daily to workout, bowl with his kids or enjoy the more private beach there. ‘He also could have stayed at a home 15 minutes away on the beach fronting Bellows Air Force Base as President Bill Clinton did.’
The 7,000 square foot home where the president is vacationing has five bedrooms, a media room and a secluded lagoon-style pool with tropical waterfalls and a spa.
The Obamas holidayed at the same spot last year, but rising fuel costs have pushed up the estimated travel costs and the president flew later than the rest of his family because of delayed votes in Washington, adding more to the escalating expenses.
The Honolulu Police Department said overtime for officers cost $250,000 last year, compared to $106,000 in 2008 before his inauguration.
The President has no intention of going to a new location for his vacations.
Mr Burton, who is with the president in Hawaii, said: ‘Like most Americans, the president knows what he likes in his own hometown.
‘He’s been going to a lot of these places since he was a very young child and they hold an important place in his life.’
In early 1776, when future President John Adams was thinking about 13 embryonic state constitutions, he asked, “As a good government is an empire of laws, the first question is, how shall your laws be made?”Adams had in mind a “Representative Assembly” for the states, and later the nation, but if he were around today, his first question might be the 18th-century equivalent of “Who’s running this show?”
When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar created a new name — “wild lands” — last week for previously undesignated federal lands, and proposed that the Bureau of Land Management treat them as if they were protected by the Wilderness Act, without the approval of states or Congress, he knew perfectly well that Article I, section 1 of the U.S. Constitution says all legislative powers shall be vested in Congress.
The day before, when U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said she would regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and oil refineries because Congress wouldn’t, she, too, knew perfectly well what the Constitution says.
The day before that, when Ken Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, announced a “demand letter” to some 8,500 legitimate U.S. firearms dealers near the Mexican border, ordering them to register multiple sales of certain semiautomatic rifles — without congressional authorization to create a gun registry — he also was aware of what the Constitution says.
A month ago, when Dr. Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, issued the rule reinstating and funding the Obamacare end-of-life counseling “death panels” that Congress rejected, he had to know what the Constitution says.
The examples go on and on, showing how the Obama administration is moving to achieve through anti-democratic bureaucratic regulation what it cannot pass through an elected legislature. And take note: The Supreme Court long ago ruled that federal regulations are as legally binding as laws duly passed by Congress and signed by the chief executive.
So Republicans, the Tea Party and constitutionalists across the land are furious at edicts being used for end runs around Congress.
But there’s a catch. The authority behind every one of those examples was delegated to the administrative agency by Congress.
Unbelievable as that may seem, it’s true. Take Secretary Salazar’s crazy-sounding “wild lands” ploy in his “Secretarial Order 3310.” The second item in that order is a paragraph titled “Authority.”
It cites five different laws in which Congress delegated a piece of the power to create “wild lands,” going back to Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1950.
Is there a single soul in Congress today who could tell you what’s in that 1950 law? (It transferred all functions of all other Interior Department officers, agencies and employees to the secretary alone, a sort of “instant emperor” law.)
What about Jackson and her EPA regulations? Where did all that power come from? President Nixon created it in an Executive Order cobbling the EPA together from at least 10 other agencies, and bundling them (with their regulations) into his cluttered Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970.
The EPA was never created in a single enabling act of Congress, but Nixon’s ragtag plan was sent to Congress in July 1970 for special approval hearings. The legality of this process was questioned, so Congress fumbled around reworking it until 1984, when the jumble finally passed, a decade after Nixon’s resignation — even though the EPA started operations in December 1970. Very messy.
The problem is delegation of power, the irresponsible, excessive, chaotic delegation of legislative power to the Executive Branch by Congress.
Will we ever get all that power back into Congress? Probably not. But I predict that 2011 will see a vigorous effort to rein in future delegation of powers in a stronger, more deliberative Congress. Happy New Year!
Back in 1993, when they were 19 and 21 years old, Jaime and Gladys Scott persuaded two men to give them a ride to a local nightclub in Forest, Mississippi. Jaime complained of nausea and asked for the car to be pulled over. When the driver complied, another car pulled up and disgorged three teenage boys armed with a shotgun. The victims were clubbed in the head with the shotgun butt, and relieved of their wallets, which proved to contain eleven dollars in cash. Jaime and Gladys left with the attackers, according to testimony from the victims.
All five of the perpetrators were eventually arrested, and while everyone involved was black, the case turned into a racial cause when the Scott sisters were slapped with remarkable double life sentences for their actions. The three armed boys pled guilty and received much smaller sentences, which they have already served. Civil rights activists began to clamor for parole, or a complete overturning of the verdict, maintaining that white women arrested in a similar situation would never have been given such harsh prison sentences.
The sisters apparently had poor representation at trial. According to a September 2010 story in USA Today, their attorney was reprimanded for “lack of diligence” and “failure to communicate with clients,” and was eventually disbarred on unrelated charges. They didn’t testify at their trial, and no one testified on their behalf, while two of their accomplices testified against them as part of plea-bargain deals.
Advocates for the Scott sisters have a way of describing the case in highly malleable terms. The sisters have always maintained their innocence, while some civil-rights advocates say the verdict doesn’t matter, only the excessive nature of the sentence. Their brother Willy, interviewed by ABC News while home on leave from a tour in Afghanistan, asked, “How do you take two teenage girls and some teenage boys and rob a person for $11 and get life in prison?” Apparently he didn’t get the “we’re innocent” memo.
Nadra Kareem, writing at Human Rights, compares the Scott’s tale with Les Miserables, in which a man is hunted by the law for 20 years after stealing a loaf of bread. She describes the crime as a petty theft in which “no one was harmed,” leading me to suspect she has never been clubbed in the head with a shotgun. This is a common refrain from the Scotts’ defenders – they tend to mention the tiny amount of money at stake, and leave out the little details about terror, shotguns, and head-smashing.
Granted that a double life sentence seems very excessive, but still, it’s not as if the ladies plucked eleven bucks out of an unattended cookie jar. Kareem asks if “black life is considered so worthless that lawmakers don’t care if the Scotts rot in prison over $11?” I find myself thinking about the value of the black life that might have ended at the muzzle of that shotgun back in 1993. It’s distressingly common for the victims to fade out of any discussion about high-profile crimes, which become all about The Persecuted Defendant versus The System, with The Victim reduced to a spectator… who must often be interviewed by Ouija board.
At any rate, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was finally persuaded to commute their sentences, 16 years after they were imprisoned. Since the whole affair has been clouded with racial politics since the trial, it should be noted that Barbour is white, and recently got in hot water with civil rights groups for some controversial musings on the history of integration in Mississippi.
The final strange twist in the story is that Jamie Scott is suffering from kidney failure… and Gladys Scott offered to donate a kidney as part of her parole agreement.
While Barbour initially said Gladys’ parole was “conditioned on” her kidney donation, his office later clarified that she won’t be sent back to prison if she can’t, or won’t, give up the organ. It would seem the sheer generosity of the offer influenced the parole decision, if all of the Governor’s statements are taken at face value. This should come as a relief to medical ethicists nervous about the spectacle of other prisoners clamoring for organ donation cards in exchange for parole. Hopefully ObamaCare wasn’t relying on that supply of organs.
The authorities seem satisfied the Scotts are no longer a threat to society, and their prosecutor, now retired, believes some relief from their heavy sentences is “appropriate,” although he still maintains their guilt. Given the facts of the case, it’s hard not to see double life terms as wildly excessive. Both law enforcement and the civil-rights community appear content with Governor Barbour’s decision to commute the sentences. As far as I can tell, nobody asked the now-forgotten victims for their opinion, and I doubt anyone ever will.
A Washington Post editorial on November 19 endorsed Senate passage of the New START treaty with Russia. On December 27, after the treaty was passed, the Post published an editorial saying that Russia was firmly under the control of former KGB officer Vladimir Putin, the former president who is now Prime Minister, and that the Russian regime could not be counted on to live up to international standards.
Wouldn’t it have been nice for the Post to have told its readers this fact before the treaty was passed?
In an effort to get more immigrants engaged in the community and on a path to citizenship, the city of Boulder will expand and revamp its outreach efforts in 2011.
The city recently partnered with Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration — a project of the National League of Cities — to implement programs that provide information to documented and undocumented immigrants.
Boulder will work with the group on two programs: the NewCITYzen Naturalization Campaign and the New Americans Citizen’s Academy.
The campaign highlights the benefits of naturalization and provides resources for immigrants to help begin their path to citizenship. The citizen’s academy helps educate immigrants about local government, including issues of finance, structure and city services.
“We recognize that our cities and towns are becoming more diverse, and we want to help mayors and local officials to recognize the needs in the local populations,” said Ricardo Gambetta, a program manager for immigrant integration at the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C.
Gambetta said the programs would provide Boulder with several resources, including television public-service announcements, posters, classroom curriculum and marketing materials — all at no cost to the city.
He said Boulder would also be unique among participating cities by developing an educational television series for Channel 8 that blends entertainment with lessons about city services, American law, public safety and other topics presented in English and Spanish.
“The idea is to reach out to the entire immigrant population in your community, to let them know more about what programs and services are offered,” said Sarah Huntley, a city spokeswoman. “This is building on efforts Boulder has participated in for a long time.”
While Boulder already offers classes for immigrants who want to learn English or work toward becoming a U.S. citizen, Huntley said the new programs would refocus and coordinate the city’s outreach efforts, as well as add group workshops and information sessions.
“It will hopefully help existing city staff figure out what resources we already have that could better help reach the immigrant population,” she said.
The city also plans to work with the Boulder Valley School District to reach out to parents about the available services.
The details of the new effort will be worked out in the first half of the new year, Huntley said, and will include input from the city’s Immigrant Advisory Committee.
According to data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, about 69 percent of Boulder’s estimated 10,600 foreign-born residents are not U.S. citizens. Most foreign-born residents come from Latin America, followed by Asia and Europe. An estimated 14 percent of all Boulder households use a language other than English at home, according to the survey.
Huntley said reaching the increasingly diverse population of immigrants can be difficult because of cultural barriers, or a fear among undocumented immigrants that they would be exposed by participating in city-sponsored programs.
Huntley said Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner is not interested in launching investigations into a person’s immigration status if there is not other crime involved, and that the city wants immigrants — documented or otherwise — to feel safe in using services like the library.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Washington, D.C. did not return calls on Tuesday.
Most of the city’s current programs for immigrants take place at the library. The library offers materials for people in the process of applying for U.S. citizenship and hosts classes with immigration attorneys. Other classes include English as a second language and U.S. history and civics.
Ghada Elturk, Boulder’s outreach librarian, said the classes are an important resource for the city’s recent international transplants.
“You want to ease their way into a new society and a new lifestyle, and help them belong to a new community,” she said.
The Boulder City Council earlier this year agreed that its lobbying agenda for 2011 should include backing federal legislation that overhauls national immigration laws, and provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military.
Jonathan Dings, chairman of Boulder’s Human Relations Commission, said the city should provide transitional services to immigrants.
“Any opportunities we can make work for persons to become naturalized citizens are really all positive,” he said. “There’s only an upside, and that kind of engagement is really a good thing for Boulder and, really, for all cities.”
Lisa E. Battan, a Boulder attorney who specializes in immigration law, agreed.
“I think becoming a U.S. citizen is one of the greatest things that can happen to an immigrant,” she said. “If the city can promote that, I think that’s great.”
A UC San Diego doctoral candidate facing deportation is now free to pursue his advanced degree, at least for one more year.
Mark Farrales, 31, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in mid-December at his home in Los Angeles. He had been ordered deported in 1998, according to ICE.
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-San Fernando Valley, intervened on Farrales’ behalf, giving the Harvard graduate time to pursue legal status.
“Last week, I contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and expressed concern regarding the handling of the case of my constituent Mark Farrales,” Sherman said in a statement. “My office was informed that Mr. Farrales received a deferral of his deportation and was released from detention in time to spend the holidays with his family. I am pleased by this outcome and my staff will continue to monitor Mr. Farrales’ situation.”
ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said, “ICE granted Mr. Farrales deferred action for a period of one year to allow him further opportunity to pursue his legal options.”
Farrales arrived in the U.S. when he was 10-years-old, his family fled the Philippines after his father was shot for speaking out against the government, according to multiple reports. A visitor’s visa bought them entry but efforts to secure asylum failed.
During that time the young Farrales went on to be valedictorian of his Los Angeles high school, attended Harvard and earned a master’s degree at UCSD before starting his doctoral work there.
He has secured an attorney in Los Angeles who is working to get ICE to review Farrales’ case.
Last week, I contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and expressed concern regarding the handling of the case of my constituent Mark Farrales,” Sherman said in a statement.
Constituent? Farrales is illegally voting too? Well hell, why not, this lying thieving POS has no regard for U.S. Laws and apparently many in ICE don’t either.
Farrales arrived in the U.S. when he was 10-years-old, his family fled the Philippines after his father was shot for speaking out against the government, according to multiple reports. A visitor’s visa bought them entry but efforts to secure asylum failed.
Under the guise of a visitor’s visa, his family lied to get into the U.S. No surprise there.
So, exactly who is paying for this lying thieving invader’s advanced education that ICE says he’s now free to pursue?
Dec. 26, 1944: Elements of the U.S. 4th Armored Division – the spearhead of Gen. George S. Patton Jr.’s Third Army – break the German Army’s siege of Bastogne relieving the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division.
The grateful but proud Airborne soldiers insist they are only being “relieved,” not “rescued.”
Dec. 30-31, 1968: U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Sergeant First Class Robert L. Howard is operating deep in the South Vietnamese backcountry (some sources say Cambodia) when suddenly his 40-man hatchet platoon is attacked by a force of some 250 North Vietnamese soldiers.
As the attack unfolds, Howard and his lieutenant are struck by an exploding claymore. Howard is knocked unconscious. He comes to, but with blood in his eyes, he initially believes he has been blinded. Momentarily he can see, but he quickly realizes his body is riddled with shrapnel, his weapon is destroyed, and the enemy is all around him.
Howard manages to toss a grenade at an enemy soldier who is burning the bodies of Howard’s dead comrades with a flamethrower. Howard then crawls under heavy fire to his wounded lieutenant, and drags the officer toward a position of relative safety. Howard survives a second blast when his lieutenant’s ammunition pouch is struck and detonates. Despite his shredded hands, Howard manages to shoot several enemy soldiers with a pistol. He is then shot in the foot and no longer able to walk. Nevertheless, he organizes what’s left of the platoon into a defensive position, then crawls from one man to the next, tending to the wounded and dying, shouting encouragement to the living and fighting, and directing airstrikes on the attacking enemy. Though surrounded, Howard successfully repels attack-after-attack, saves his platoon, and ultimately receives the Medal of Honor.
Retired as a colonel in 1992, Howard is the only soldier to be nominated three times for the Medal of Honor for three separate actions over a period of just over a year.
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: The great Col. Bob Howard passed away, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009.
In addition to visiting American troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere throughout 2009, he frequently found time to email, often thanking us for our weekly military history updates.]
Jan. 1, 1962: U.S. Navy SEAL Teams “One” and “Two” are established.
Born of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams, America’s SEALs (an acronym for the three realms – SEa, Air, Land – in which SEALs operate) have evolved over the past 48 years to become some of the most respected and feared commandos in the world. Though most of their work is classified, SEALs are involved in almost every operational aspect of the global war on terror.