quidni pro quo

Random musings at random intervals. Erudition not guaranteed.

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Location: El Paso area, Texas, United States

I'm a 40-something Christian, conservative, pro-life, Constitutionalist, motorcycle-riding, pick-up truck driving, wife, mother, state employee, ham radio operator and part-time college student, enlisted in the Texas State Guard. Everything else is subject to revision without notice.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Code Amber

I've added the Amber Alert ticker to the top of this page. Please let me encourage anyone with a website or blog to add this alert to those pages as well - there's no charge for the ticker, and it may very well help save the life of another lost or abducted child sometime. Tickers are available for both the US and Canada.

Get the Code Amber Ticker.

(or, just click on the ticker to go to the Code Amber home page)


Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day, 2007

To the memory of those who, through the generations, gave their all to keep Old Glory flying high and her people standing free; and to their families, who endured.

Thank you!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Concealed handgun license records sealed from public

Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN (AP) -- The names of people licensed to carry concealed handguns in Texas are no longer available to the public.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry announced Thursday that he signed into law a bill that seals state records showing who is allowed to carry a gun in public. Only law enforcement agencies will have access to the information.

The law took effect immediately upon its signing Wednesday.

The entire (brief) article is linked above.

And no, I don't believe that "state-issued CHL permits" are "just another government record" that should be publicly accessible without good cause. The difference between the CHL'er and "doctors, nurses, lawyers, real estate agents and barbers" is that the C in CHL means concealed... i.e. not easily discernable to anyone else. A doctor who practices in secret won't have many patients; a real estate agent who doesn't advertise won't sell many houses. However, the CHL'er isn't marketing his skills with a gun. And a doctor, nurse, lawyer, realtor or barber doesn't endanger his own safety by advertising and being known.

But a CHL'er who quietly goes about his or her business keeps not only himself safe, but also those around him by extension - criminals are more wary of attacking when they're not sure if their potential victim has the ability to fight back. It's been proven over and over again that where CHL/CCW is practiced, the violent crime rate drops. (For a classic example, check out the recent history of Kennesaw, GA)

Now, if the "open records" people insist on knowing who is carrying, I have a suggestion - let's go back to open carry, for anyone who wants to and who isn't a felon who's legally barred from owning a handgun. No permits required. After all, Arizona, New Mexico, Virginia (and others) allow open carry... and their crime rates haven't escalated because of it. They're actually pretty safe places, especially when compared to certain locations in California, New York City, D.C., New Jersey, Great Britain.....

With open carry, it would be immediately obvious to those who want to know, that someone is armed. And they wouldn't have to wait for the government to provide the information.

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FBI seizes Access HealthSource CEO's vehicles

Followup on the NCED debacle:

Apodaca target of FBI warrant
By David Crowder / El Paso Times
Article Launched: 05/24/2007 12:00:00 AM MDT

FBI agents seized two cars and a motorcycle Monday belonging to Frank Apodaca, president and CEO of Access HealthSource and president of its parent company, the nationally traded Precis Inc.

The latest move appears to be part of the mushrooming criminal investigation that has seen federal agents hit the offices of elected officials at the County Courthouse, various businesses, homes and other offices during the past 13 months.

Apodaca's lawyer, Ray Velarde, confirmed that the FBI agents, acting on a seizure warrant, took Apodaca's 2004 Cadillac Escalade, 2002 Mercedes Benz and Harley-Davidson Road King motorcycle at Apodaca's Upper Valley home in the 5200 block of Hunter's Glenn Court.

"They left his wife's car," Velarde said.

He said the warrant was based on a sealed affidavit that was signed at 2:55 p.m. Monday and presented to Apodaca at his Access office at 3:30 p.m. The agents escorted Apodaca to his home, where they took possession of the vehicles, Velarde said.

"We have no knowledge about their reasons to justify the seizures, but we intend to recover these vehicles because, in fact, they are not subject to seizure," Velarde said. "We're not acknowledging any kind of wrongdoing.

"If anything is seized, it is only because something can be proven."

He said the vehicle seizure was Apodaca's first encounter with the FBI since September, when agents searched his home and the offices of Access HealthSource.

Last week, an estimated 75 FBI agents searched the offices of County Judge Anthony Cobos and Commissioners Luis Sariñana and Miguel Terán, seizing documents and electronic data stored on computers and other devices.

The first search that became public in the investigation occurred at Hospice of El Paso in April 2006.

A month later, federal officers from four agencies executed search warrants at the headquarters plant of ReadyOne Industries, then known as the National Center for Employment of the Disabled and the NCED-owned offices of Physicians Healthcare Management.

Joe Spencer, the lawyer for NCED's former president and CEO, Robert E. "Bob" Jones, has said his client is the target of a federal investigation.

In September, agents searched the offices of Access HealthSource, which was owned by NCED until 2005, as well as Apodaca's home and the home and personal office of former county judge and lawyer Luther Jones.

Access HealthSource is a third-party administrator that has handled the self-fund health benefits plans for more than 60,000 employees and dependents of the city of El Paso, the county and the El Paso, Ysleta, Socorro and Canutillo school districts.

FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Tim Kinard would not confirm the agency's seizure of Apodaca's vehicles or discuss the reasons for such a seizure.

"In these kinds of cases, we can't comment because anything we say can be construed one way or the other by one person or the other," Kinard said. "That's why we have to be close-lipped."

Velarde said, "My guess is they are trying to maintain the status quo so that when the investigation is resolved, nothing will have been sold or given away."

David Crowder may be reached at dcrowder@elpasotimes.com; 546-6194.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

FBI raid related to continuing NCED inquiry

(NCED = National Center for Employment of the Disabled)


"It's a little over the top here. I've never seen that many people in suits without smiles."

"I'm stunned. I can't imagine that the FBI would execute search warrants without probable cause."

"The community should withhold any judgment at this point."

"Clearly, this makes us look terrible."

The above notable (and quasi-humorous) quotes are taken from several related articles in today's El Paso (Texas) Times. The main story is linked above.
Federal agents' appearance shocks many
EPISD trustee's office was searched
Investigation sours commissioners' image
County attempts to move on after search

Kinard said he could not say what the investigation centers on, stating only that it is "related to an investigation involving former employees of NCED."

Robert E. "Bob" Jones, the former president and CEO of NCED, now called ReadyOne Industries, has been the target of a federal investigation since last year, when he resigned.

ReadyOne provides employment on federal no-bid contracts to severely disabled workers. The company came close to being thrown out of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Program by the Committee for Purchase for violating the requirement that 75 percent of its work on federal contracts be performed by severely disabled workers.

At the start of the committee's investigation, sparked by an El Paso Times article in late 2005, NCED had 4,000 employees and contracts totaling more than $200 million.

In the wake of the investigation, the company laid off nearly 3,000 workers.

In the past year, the FBI has executed several search warrants at the offices of various lawyers and businesspeople in El Paso, all related to the investigation of a former NCED employee.

While FBI officials will not expand on the scope of the investigation, a copy of the search warrant given to Terán states that investigators were looking for "documents constituting evidence concerning violations of Title 18 of the United States Code Sections 666, 1341, 1346, and 1956, as more particularly described in Attachment B and incorporated herein." According to the U.S. Code, Title 18 involves "Crimes and Criminal Procedure." The particular sections specifically involve theft, bribery or fraud receiving federal funds.

Gonna be interesting, and maybe entertaining, to see how this plays out. Popcorn, anyone?

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

I love it....!

Carbon Debits

Reducing the threat of Carbon Credits one Debit (and one Tree) at a time.

Voters in Texas Suburb OK Anti-Illegal Immigrant Ordinance

Voters in Texas Suburb OK Anti-Illegal Immigrant Ordinance
Sunday, May 13, 2007

FARMERS BRANCH, Texas — Voters in this Dallas suburb became the first in the nation Saturday to prohibit landlords from renting to most illegal immigrants.

The ban was approved by a vote of 68 percent to 32 percent in final, unofficial returns.

The balloting marked the first public vote on a local government measure to crack down on illegal immigration.

"It says especially to Congress that we're tired of the out-of-control illegal immigration problem. That if Congress doesn't do something about it, cities will," said Tim O'Hare, a City Council member who was the ordinance's lead proponent.

The ordinance requires apartment managers to verify that renters are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants before leasing to them, with some exceptions.

Property managers or owners who break the rule face a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Council members approved the ordinance in November, then revised it in January to include exemptions for minors, seniors and some families with a mix of legal residents and illegal immigrants.

Farmers Branch has become the site of protests and angry confrontations, and opponents of the regulation gathered enough signatures to force the city to put the measure on the municipal election ballot.

With Saturday's approval of the ban, opponents plan to fight it in court, and will seek a restraining order to stop the city from enforcing it.

Read the entire AP article courtesy of Fox News at the above link.

Me, I'm shaking my head over this.... "Let the voters decide!" But, when the voters decide in favor of the ordinance, the opponents cry "Foul!"

Why am I not surprised? It's just another indication of just how much (or truthfully, how little) they actually respect the democratic process.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Parker vs. DC - next chapter

Courtesy of the Armed Canadian:
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

DC Circuit Denies Enbanc Hearing in Parker vs. DC

Just in, folks, the DC Circuit court has denied the District's request to have Parker vs. DC reheard enbanc. This means Parker stands and the District must now appeal to the Supreme Court.

Text of the ruling follows:

United States Court of Appeals
No. 04-7041 September Term, 2006
Filed On: May 8, 2007 [1039073]

Shelly Parker, et al.,
District of Columbia and Adrian Fenty, Mayor of the
District of Columbia,

BEFORE: Ginsburg, Chief Judge, and Sentelle, Henderson, Randolph,*
Rogers,* Tatel,* Garland,* Brown, Griffith, and Kavanaugh,
Circuit Judges


Appellees’ petition for rehearing en banc and the response thereto were circulated to the full court, and a vote was requested. Thereafter, a majority of the judges eligible to participate did not vote in favor of the petition. Upon consideration of the foregoing and appellees’ Fed. R. App. P. 28(j) letter, it is ORDERED that the petition be denied.
Per Curiam

Mark J. Langer, Clerk

Michael C. McGrail
Deputy Clerk

* Circuit Judges Randolph, Rogers, Tatel, and Garland would grant the petition for
rehearing en banc.

Expect a lot of talk on Parker over the next few days. Now it gets interesting.


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