"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reminded Me of A Comic Strip I Drew...

In reading today's edition of Tony Isabella's "Tony's Online Tips" column on his good and bad experiences on attending the annual San Diego International Comic-Con, it reminded me, for some reason, of my experience of drawing a comic strip.

Tony Isabella is a comic book writer who is based in Ohio. He has worked on a number of comic books for various companies (DC, Marvel, et al.) and strips. Like anyone, he's had his ups and downs in the industry.

In his column, he relates on how he was offered a job in Los Angeles and came out to the Comic-Con to meet with the person who made the offer. His experience is recounted in his column, so I won't give it away. But it was not a happy one.

Anyway, back in the early 1990s, I responded to an ad for an artist for a comic strip to be published in a modelers' newspaper. I got the job ($30 per page was the rate). I did several pages and it was an enjoyable experience. I really learned a lot. I didn't think of it as work as I was having fun doing it.

The gig ended when I submitted my last page and received the check. The check bounced and the paper ceased publication. I never got any explanation on what happened. Apparently, the guy fell into hard times and ceased publication. But it would have been nice to get an explanation or a head's up from him.

Would I do it again? Sure. As I said, I learned a lot.

I've never been to the San Diego International Comic-Con. I probably would have about 10 years ago. It has either been a lack of funds to go or lack of time. Or both. Maybe I'll go next year just for the heck of it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Preventing Abduction Safety Tips Discussed

The Early Show on CBS-TV in Los Angeles discussed some safety tips that could help in preventing abductions like Lily Burk's.

Above, Lily Burk.

Child safety expert Robin Sax, a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney and author of "Predators and Child Molesters," said on "The Early Show" Wednesday that parents and kids need to have a code word that can fit into conversations naturally, but be an indicator that something is wrong, signalling an emergency.

Sax recommended the word "ATM."

"(An) ATM is a place where no one should make a phone call anyway, as you need undivided attention. And if you say, 'I'm calling from the ATM,' that means there's danger."

Co-anchor Harry Smith remarked Burk was probably thinking that she had to stay cool throughout the abduction. Could she have done something to alert people on the street that she was in trouble?

Sax said one tip is to scream "FIRE!" because people respond to the word, rather than "HELP!"

She also recommended that, in an abduction situation, you do anything you can to buy yourself time. Sax recommended gouging the perpetrator with keys or hitting someone with your elbow.

"The goal isn't to win a fight or succeed," Sax told Smith. "The goal is to get a minute, buy a minute of time, so you can run and get some help."

To read the full article, go here.

Above, Kelsey Smith.

As written in an earlier post, the Kelsey Smith Foundation has tips on what to do if you find yourself in a situation where an abduction is imminent. They are:

1. Trust your instincts - If something feels wrong then something probably is wrong.

2. Know your surroundings - know who and what is around you.

3. Always have a plan for where you would go and what you would do if a situation arises.

4. Be willing to make a scene in order to be noticed.

5. Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.

Remember the acronym TIPS:

Take Charge

Inform others of your whereabouts

Prepare for any situation

Survival Mentality (role play situations so you will respond should they happen).

I recall Greg Smith (Kelsey's dad) saying that one of the most important things in an abduction is to not leave the initial crime scene. Kelsey was taken by surprise as she was getting into her car at a Target department store in Overland Park, Kansas. She might have been able to survive had she been able to keep from being taken from the Target parking lot. The kidnapper gains more control by taking his victim to another location where he feels safe and free to do his deeds.

Obama Still Finger-Pointing

President Obama is still trying to blame his predecessor for his problems. Instead of leadership, we get whining and finger-pointing.

Joseph Curl at the Washington Times noted:

Facing the first real rough patch of his presidency, President Obama and his supporters are once again resorting to a tried-and-true tactic: attacking George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

In his White House press conference last week, Mr. Obama referred to the Bush era at least nine times, three times lamenting that he "inherited" a $1.3 trillion debt that has set back his administration's efforts to fix the economy.

With the former president lying low in Dallas, largely focused on crafting his memoirs, Mr. Obama has increasingly attempted to exploit Mr. Bush when discussing the weak economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the difficulty closing the military prison at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

As he took power, Mr. Obama promised a "new era of responsibility" that would transcend partisan politics.

Obama did not "inherit" the $1.3 trillion debt. He created it. The debt never hit the trillion mark until this month.

The economic problems we currently have were caused by his own party in extending sub-prime loans to people who had no business getting them in the first place. He should point the finger at Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Maxine Waters and others who caused this mess.

Curl also points out:

Since taking office, Mr. Obama has implemented a $787 billion stimulus package that has failed to produce a quick economic turnaround and the U.S. economy has shed more than 2.5 million jobs.

This isn't Bush's fault. Obama should take responsibility for his and his party's own actions instead of finger-pointing. It is immature and is not leadership.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Suspect Charged With Lily Burk's Murder

Charlie Samuel, 50, the accused killer of 17-year-old Lily Burk, was charged today with murder, kidnapping and robbery. These are charges that could make him subject to the death penalty.

A photo of Samuel has been released:

Lily Burk Murder: The Media Gathers At Alleged Abduction Site

Above, the tower of the former Bullock's Wilshire, now the Southwestern University School of Law, pierces the night sky.

Lily Burk Murder: The Media Gathers At Alleged Abduction Site

Text and Photos by Armand Vaquer

(Click on photos to view larger.)

Tonight, three nights after Lily Burk was abducted and murdered, the media gathered at the alleged abduction location on Wilshire Place, just north of 7th Street.

Here, Lily had just completed an errand for her mother, who is an associate professor at Southwestern University School of Law which is housed at the old Bullock's Wilshire Building.

After leaving the building, Burk walked up Wilshire Place, which is a side street connecting Wilshire Blvd. and 7th Street, to get back to her car. Wilshire Place is on the east side of the building. It is speculated that her abductor approached her there.

Above, several television stations are set up on Wilshire Place, just down the block from the law school, and where Burk's abduction alledgedly took place.

The Lily Burk murder is big news in Los Angeles. The news media gathered three days later at the scene where Burk was found on Saturday morning and at the alleged location of her abduction.

Above, in the dark of night, one of many television reporters is broadcasting her report to the television audience at the alleged abduction site.

It has been reported that the suspect, Charlie Samuel, left fingerprint evidence inside of Burk's Volvo. It has been speculated that his image was captured on at least one ATM camera. It could be that police found something that belonged to Burk on him or some other evidence that tied him to the crime.

UPDATE: The L. A. Times reported today that Lily Burk's cell phone and car key was found on suspect Charlie Samuel at the time of his arrest. There was also traces of blood on him.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lily Burk Crime Scene

Above, a news cameraman is preparing to shoot the flowers left at the location where Lily Burk was found last Saturday morning.

Lily Burk Crime Scene

Text and Photos by Armand Vaquer

The following photos show the crime scene of where 17-year-old Lily Burk was found murdered in her Volvo at 458 Alameda Street in Los Angeles.

Above, this photo shows the approximate location of where Burk's car containing her body was parked. Flowers were left at the location.

Above, same view but further back.

The news media were arriving at the location while I was there (approximately 1430 hrs.).

Above, the KCBS-Channel 2 news van.

Above, this is a view of the loading docks of the building where Lily Burk was found. Another television station's mobile news van is turning onto 5th Street from Alameda Street.

Above, the office of the L.A. County Coroner, where Lily Burk's body was taken for autopsy.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the L.A. County Coroner's office found that Lily Burk's neck had been slashed, but it is unclear whether the slash wounds were the main cause of her death.

Thus far, the LAPD has put together this timeline of events based upon what has been learned so far:

3 p.m Friday: Samuel allegedly approached Burk at her car, which was parked near the law school on Wilshire Place, north of 7th Street. Samuel abducted Burk.

3:35 p.m.: Samuel attempted to withdraw money from at least one location in downtown L.A. using Burk's credit card. But the credit car was not set up to be used at an ATM.

3:35 to 4 p.m. Burk called both her mother and father, asking how to withdraw money using her credit card. She did not say she was in distress, police said.

4:52 p.m.: Samuel exited the driver's-side door of Burk's Volvo at 458 S. Alameda St. in downtown L.A.

5:25 p.m.: LAPD officers saw Samuel on 3rd Street drinking beer and in possession of a crack pipe. He was arrested.

Friday evening: Burk's parents reported her missing. A missing persons report was filed and detectives began searching for her.

6:15 a.m. Saturday: Burk's body was found by local workers inside her car at 458 S. Alameda St. They called 911, and police arrived.

Burk Murder Hits Close To Home

The Lily Burk murder is really hitting close to home with me.

She was found in a parking lot at Alameda Street and 5th Street (or 4th Street, depending upon reports) Saturday morning after being abducted Friday afternoon while running errands. This is near where I've had lunch many times. There's a McDonalds on Alameda and 8th Street, and I have eaten lunch at any one of those lots several times (homeless people hang out at the McDonalds and are a constant annoyance).

The Los Angeles Times is reporting:

Burk had gone to the campus at the old Bullock's Wilshire building Friday to collect some papers for her mother, an attorney who worked there. The sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because the investigation was ongoing, told The Times that detectives believe the motive was robbery and that Burk appears to have been abducted from that area.

The old Bullock's Wilshire building is mere blocks away from the offices of Securitas USA, the company I work for. And, it is directly across the street from the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services, which is one of our accounts, which is on the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Westmoreland Av.

UPDATE: It is curious that the mugshot of suspect Charlie Samuels, 50, has not been released as yet. Wonder why?

5 Freedoms Lost In Obamacare

CNN Money.com has analyzed the House and Senate health care "reform" bills and they found that if either bill is enacted, we will lose five (5) health care freedoms we currently enjoy.

They are:

1. Freedom to choose what's in your plan.

2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs.

3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage.

4. Freedom to keep your existing plan.

5. Freedom to choose your doctors.

President Obama has been saying that under his plan, people would be allowed to keep their existing plans (no. 4, above). According to CNN Money, that is not true!

Here's what CNN Money found:

This is the freedom that the President keeps emphasizing. Yet the bills appear to say otherwise. It's worth diving into the weeds -- the territory where most pundits and politicians don't seem to have ventured.

The legislation divides the insured into two main groups, and those two groups are treated differently with respect to their current plans. The first are employees covered by the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974. ERISA regulates companies that are self-insured, meaning they pay claims out of their cash flow, and don't have real insurance. Those are the GEs (GE, Fortune 500) and Time Warners (TWX, Fortune 500) and most other big companies.

The House bill states that employees covered by ERISA plans are "grandfathered." Under ERISA, the plans can do pretty much what they want -- they're exempt from standard packages and community rating and can reward employees for healthy lifestyles even in restrictive states.

But read on.

The bill gives ERISA employers a five-year grace period when they can keep offering plans free from the restrictions of the "qualified" policies offered on the exchanges. But after five years, they would have to offer only approved plans, with the myriad rules we've already discussed. So for Americans in large corporations, "keeping your own plan" has a strict deadline. In five years, like it or not, you'll get dumped into the exchange. As we'll see, it could happen a lot earlier.

The outlook is worse for the second group. It encompasses employees who aren't under ERISA but get actual insurance either on their own or through small businesses. After the legislation passes, all insurers that offer a wide range of plans to these employees will be forced to offer only "qualified" plans to new customers, via the exchanges.

The employees who got their coverage before the law goes into effect can keep their plans, but once again, there's a catch. If the plan changes in any way -- by altering co-pays, deductibles, or even switching coverage for this or that drug -- the employee must drop out and shop through the exchange. Since these plans generally change their policies every year, it's likely that millions of employees will lose their plans in 12 months.

This analysis is not from any right-wing blogger, pundit website or FoxNews. It is from CNN, not exactly a bastion of conservatism!

Contact your member of congress and senator today and tell them to vote 'no' on Obamacare!

To read the full analysis from CNN Money.com, go here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Damn It! Not Again! The Abduction and Murder of Lily Burk

Burk family photo.

The scenario is all too familiar: A girl in her late teens goes missing. A worried family tries calling her by cell phone. The police are called. A search begins. A body is found. A family is left grieving.

Ever since the abduction and murder of Kelsey Smith of Overland Park, Kansas in June 2007, my concern over the safety of young women had heightened. Time and again, we see repeatedly news stories of the abduction of girls and women over the media.

This concerns me as a father of a 22-year-old daughter who is in her senior year in college. That is why the cases involving Amber Dubois, Kara Kopetsky and others have caught my attention along with the case of Kelsey Smith.

Now we have another abduction and murder of a young girl, age 17. Her name is Lily Burk. Sadder yet, she was an only child.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Police said Burk left her Los Feliz home at about 2 p.m. Friday and later made at least two calls to her parents asking how to get cash from an ATM machine using her credit card. Investigators said that it appears she died from blunt force trauma. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.

As in the Kelsey Smith case, a cell phone is a major player in the investigation. Her parents frantically tried calling her. The pings picked up indicated that her movements were moving in an eastward direction. Los Feliz is near Hollywood and her vehicle with her body was found just east of downtown Los Angeles at the intersection of Alameda Ave. and 5th Street. She was found yesterday.

The intersection Burk was found is in an area I patrol frequently as a field supervisor for Securitas USA.

Again, the victim was one with career aspirations:

“Lily was looking forward to going to college, to being a writer, to what was ahead,” her parents said in the statement. “She had a really bright future and it was cut short. If there is anything that people can take away from this horrible tragedy, it’s that life is fragile and that they should live every minute of it fully.”

From the Los Angeles Times:

"She was my best friend," Deborah Drooz, 54, said of her only child. "She was warm and funny and incredibly gifted verbally. We read books together. We loved each other very much. She was looking forward to her life."

Sgt. Miguel Arana of the Los Angeles Police Department said there were signs of a struggle inside the car. Lily appeared to have head injuries from striking the passenger side of the front windshield, but the car did not show signs of having been in a crash, he said.

Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz said that the cause of death appeared to be blunt force trauma and that there was "strong evidence" that Lily was killed by 5 p.m. Friday. He declined to disclose more details.

Drooz and her husband, Gregory Burk, 59, said their daughter left home about 2:30 p.m. Friday to pick up exams for her mother, an attorney and an adjunct professor at Southwestern University School of Law on Wilshire Boulevard, near downtown.

Lily picked up the papers and, more than an hour later, made separate calls to each of her parents, asking them how to get cash using her credit card at an ATM, police said.

Lily seemed in a rush, her father said, but not frightened. She said she needed money to buy shoes. Her parents said they told her to come home.

When she had not returned by 5 p.m., her parents became worried.

The latest news reports are that police are closing in on a suspect in Burk's murder. I suspect that she was being forced to withdraw money from her credit card but didn't know how to do so and went to several of them. Her abductor may be seen with her in videos taken from ATM cameras. (Again, this is just me speculating, nothing official.)

Hopefully, the police will capture the killer of Lily Burk and get him off the streets. But there are others out there.

The Kelsey Smith Foundation (or Kelsey's Army) has tips for young women and girls on how to be aware of their surroundings. Although they are permanently posted on this blog, I am going to post them here as it bears repeating:

1. Trust your instincts - If something feels wrong then something probably is wrong.

2. Know your surroundings - know who and what is around you.

3. Always have a plan for where you would go and what you would do if a situation arises.

4. Be willing to make a scene in order to be noticed,

5. Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.

Remember the acronym TIPS:

Take Charge

Inform others of your whereabouts

Prepare for any situation

Survival Mentality (role play situations so you will respond should they happen).

For more information on personal safety, contact Kelsey's Army.

UPDATE (7/27/09): The Los Angeles Police Department had made an arrest in the murder of Lily Burk.

According to MyFoxLA:

The Los Angeles Police Department announced today it had made an arrest in the death of 17-year-old Lily Burk, whose body was found in her car near Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles over the weekend.

Charlie Samuel, 50, of Los Angeles was booked for murder and being held without bail, the LAPD reported. He was arrested Sunday night, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Web site.

The teen "is believed to have been the victim of a botched robbery," according to the LAPD statement.

The LAPD has scheduled a press conference on the case for 11:00 this morning. Let's hope they have solid evidence to put this animal away for good or the death penalty. Kudos to the LAPD for the swift arrest!

A Milestone Reached...Sort Of

Last night, my mom and I went out to dinner at Coco's (she had a craving for prime rib, but they didn't have any) out in Woodland Hills.

As I was perusing the menu, I noticed that the sirloin steak dinner offered in the main menu was the same as the sirloin steak dinner offered in their senior menu. Coco's senior menu is for folks who've attained the age of the double-nickle (i.e., 55), which I did five months ago.

I figured, since the offerings were the same and since I've reached the lofty age allowing me to partake, why not save a couple of bucks and go for the one on the senior menu? So I did.

I'm proud of myself, I at least held off five months before surrendering to the reality of encroaching geezerhood.

Incidentally, while searching for a Coco's image to put with this, I discovered that there are Coco's Restaurants in Japan!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Palin Should Counter-Sue The Legal Abusers

Above, Palin should take aim against those who abuse the legal system.

Palin Should Counter-Sue The Legal Abusers

by Armand Vaquer

When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced her decision to resign as governor (effective this coming week), the pundits said that she was making a big political error.

It is possible. But they don't know the Alaskan governor.

A few days after her announcement, she told ABC News:

"You know, conditions have really changed in Alaska in the political arena since Aug. 29, since I was tapped to run for VP. When that opposition research -- those researchers really bombarded Alaska -- started digging for dirt and have not let up. They're not gonna find any dirt," she said. "We keep proving that every time we win an ethics violation lawsuit, and we've won every one of them. But it has been costing our state millions of dollars. It's cost Todd and me. You know the adversaries would love to see us put on the path of personal bankruptcy so that we can't afford to run."

The state's ethics laws are such that even though she's an elected official, she has to personally incur much of the legal costs to defend against these lawsuits, no matter how phony or frivolous they may be.

None of the ethics charges have been proven true, but she and the state still has to incur the expense in defending against them. That, plus the time wasted in defending herself, took a toll.

From CNN:

"It doesn't cost the critics anything to file frivolous lawsuits or ethics violation charges. It costs our state such a great deal -- thousands of staff hours, millions of dollars in public resources that aren't going to things that it should be going to," Palin told CNN earlier this month. "We haven't violated the ethics code."

She said her family is facing more than $500,000 in legal fees and has set up a legal defense fund to help defray the costs.

Although the governor and her supporters have criticized the investigations, Andree McLeod, who has filed six complaints against Palin, thinks they are appropriate.

"I don't really care what other people think. I am holding the governor accountable. Other people's ignorance is not going to stymie me," McLeod told CNN, surrounded by stacks of state documents she has collected from filing information requests and ethics complaints.

"I am exercising my right to get these public records to discover what Sarah Palin is up to," she said.

McLeod, a registered Republican, has filed several complaints since Palin announced her decision to step down, including the one regarding gift disclosures. She has also filed two lawsuits, including one regarding whether it was appropriate for state business to be discussed using private e-mail addresses.

When ethics complaints are filed against the governor or her staff, the state has to hire an independent counsel to investigate the claims to avoid a conflict of interest.

Among other claims against Palin cite her wearing an Arctic Cat logo on a piece of clothing during a snowmobile race as a conflict of interest and another saying that an interview she did after the presidential election in her state office was inappropriate. Those were dismissed.

James Muller, a political science professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, told CNN that, "Some of [the complaints against Palin] are clearly fanciful, farcical.

"I think most of these ethical complaints are trivial. Almost all have been dismissed by the various levels of review that have taken them on," Muller said.

There's even been frivolous ethics charges against Palin over the defense fund.

Once Palin leaves office and becomes a private citizen again, she should counter-sue these wackos for malicious abuse of the legal system, then they'd have a taste of their own medicine. Let them rack up legal expenses and see how they like it! After all, turnabout is fair play.

Why are these people filing such frivolous lawsuits? One, some are members of an Alaskan political machine who was once dominant in the state. They are seeking revenge over their loss of power. Second, some are left-wingers who are deathly afraid of Palin. You can always tell how effective a political figure is by the attacks they attract. The left is adept in the "politics of personal destruction."

What the future holds for Palin is an open question. It depends upon how she handles things in the next few months. She is to speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on August 8. Maybe she has something to announce then.

Stay tuned!

Haruo Nakajima At Toho Studios

Photo courtesy of Sonoe Nakajima.

Haruo Nakajima At Toho Studios

The current issue of G-FAN (no. 88) contains a photo on page five of the original Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima posing with his Mangled Skyscraper Award at Toho Studios with Executive Producer and President of Toho Pictures, Inc. Shogo Tomiyama. They are standing in front of the new Godzilla statue.

The award was presented to Mr. Nakajima at G-FEST XV last year.

In a letter of congratulations to Mr. Nakajima for being awarded the Mangled Skyscraper, Mr. Tomiyama invited him to stop by the studio for a photo with his award in front of the Godzilla statue.

This photo and one on page three (the contents page) of G-FAN were from Sonoe Nakajima. However, the photo on page three was reduced to fit in the contents page.

Above is the full photo from page three of G-FAN.

This year's Mangled Skyscraper Award was presented to Kenji Sahara at G-FEST XVI earlier this month.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ishiro Honda Book Gets Publisher!

Above, Kumi Mizuno and director Ishiro Honda during filming of "Monster Zero." I guess Mizuno was quite a handful to direct.

To quote a line from The Mysterians, "Good News! Good News!"

I received the following message from Peter H. Brothers:

The publisher has decided to publish my Ishiro Honda book.

It's in the early stages yet; no contract or release date and there will be many details and possibly more delays, but they have agreed to publish it.

I will keep you posted, and thanks many times over for your encouragement and support.

As mentioned previously, Peter had been working on his biography/filmography on Ishiro Honda for the past several years.

Details will be posted here when they are finalized.

Why Obamacare Is Sinking

Charles Krauthammer has a great article entitled, "Why Obamacare Is Sinking."

In it, Krauthammer outlines the many reasons that the Obamacare healthcare "reform" legislation is losing ground amongst Democrats.

He starts it with:

What happened to Obamacare? Rhetoric met reality. As both candidate and president, the master rhetorician could conjure a world in which he bestows upon you health care nirvana: more coverage, less cost.

But you can't fake it in legislation. Once you commit your fantasies to words and numbers, the Congressional Budget Office comes along and declares that the emperor has no clothes.

To read the full article, go here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama Rambled and Lied In Press Conference

President Barack Obama held the worst presidential press conference I've ever heard.

It was an incoherent, rambling mess of facts and figures pulled off the ceiling. When Obama was given a tougher-than-usual question (those were very few, given that he still has a fawning press backing him), he rambled and didn't directly answer the questions given him.

He also lied many times. Obama lied saying that he inherited from President Bush a $1.3-trillion federal budget deficit. A total fabrication. Obama said that the “biggest driving force behind the federal deficit is the skyrocketing costs of Medicare and Medicaid.” Another bogus statement. The biggest driving force is the spending from the stimulus and bailouts he initiated.

On healthcare, Obama claims his plan “lowers healthcare expenses.” The Congressional Budget Office burst that balloon days ago. There is no evidence that his plan (i.e., the one the Democrats in congress are backing) will lower anything! The CBO said that the plan now before congress will add trillions to the deficit!

Obama lied in saying that his healthcare proposal “promotes choice.” The plan now in congress eliminates choice by 2013! People seeking new health insurance will be prevented from having any choice in 2013 by law. They will be stuck with the single-payer socialist Obama plan with no recourse. This provision is in the Democrats' healthcare bill.

Obama restated his lie against Sen. Jim DeMint that the healthcare debate is “not about me.” A blue-dog Democrat reported a meeting with Obama in which Obama said, “You’re trying to destroy my Presidency!” This was in response to several Democrats who have come out against his socialist health plan.

Finally, he attacked pediatricians in saying they'd rather remove organs instead of pursuing less costly means of treatment. Another lie! It was also a smear against pediatricians.

Obama is against the ropes and it is showing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Taco Bell Chihuahua Dies

Taco Bell/AP.

Gidget, the chihuahua who appeared in many commercials for Taco Bell in the late 1990s, has passed away Tuesday night at the age of 15. She was famous for the lines, "Yo quiero Taco Bell!"; "Here Leezard!" (Taco Bell had tie-in items with the Sony/TriStar Godzilla in 1998) and "Drop the chalupa!"

The cause of death was said to have been due to a stroke.

Gidget, although a female chihuahua, was portrayed as a male dog and was voiced by by Argentine American actor Carlos Alazraqui.

G-FAN Travel Guide To Kaiju Japan Progressing

Above, Shibuya Crossing, a location of several Gamera and Godzilla movies.

G-FAN Travel Guide To Kaiju Japan is progressing, albeit slowly. We were hoping to have it done by the end of May to have it available at G-FEST XVI, but convention planning and the usual G-FAN work (along with family obligations) have a way of demanding more attention.

But don't fret! As of last month, J. D. Lees informed me that he has about 3/4 of it completed and he's using some time now, during the summer vacation period, to wrap it up. We are hoping to have it completed by the end of August, just in time for the autumn travel shows, etc. (Yes, we plan to target travel shows along with the Japan Expo in Los Angeles.)

Although it is coming along slowly, it is best to do it right the first time!

As soon as it is completed, the big announcement will be made here, the usual kaiju forums and, most importantly, at the official G-FAN website.

Speaking of G-FEST XVI, my end of the wrap-up article has been completed and J. D. is working on his end of it as a collaborative piece. My photos of the convention have been sent on to him, so it should be an excellent feature in the upcoming G-FAN. J. D. loves the photos, especially of one taken during the final round of G-pardy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bombshell! Obama Was Foreign Born Student!

MyFox in Washington, D.C. has an Associated Press report that the Supreme Court now has Obama citizenship records, and they aren't favorable to President Obama.

The report is as follows:

AP- WASHINGTON D.C. - In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama's qualifications for the presidency, the group Americans for Freedom of Information has Released copies of President Obama's college transcripts from Occidental College Released today, the transcript indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate at the school. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama's detractors have been seeking.

Along with the evidence that he was first born in Kenya and there is no record of him ever applying for US citizenship, this is looking pretty grim.
The news has created a firestorm at the White House as the release casts increasing doubt about Obama's legitimacy and qualification to serve as president. When reached for comment in London, where he has been in meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Obama smiled but refused comment on the issue.

Britain 's Daily Mail also carried the story in a front-page article titled, Obama Eligibility Questioned leading some to speculate that the story may overshadow economic issues on Obama's first official visit to the U.K.

In a related matter, under growing pressure from several groups, Justice Antonin Scalia announced that the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear arguments concerning Obama's legal eligibility to serve as President in a case brought by Leo Donofrio of New Jersey. This lawsuit claims Obama's dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. Donofrio's case is just one of 18 suits brought by citizens demanding proof of Obama's citizenship or qualification to serve as president.

Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation has released the results of their investigation of Obama's campaign spending. This study estimates that Obama has spent upwards of $950,000 in campaign funds in the past year with eleven law firms in 12 states for legal resources to block disclosure of any of his personal records. Mr. Kreep indicated that the investigation is still ongoing but that the final report will be provided to the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder. Mr. Holder has refused to comment on the matter.

I knew Gary Kreep during my Young Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom days. He is also a relative of one of my high school teachers.

UPDATE: I originally received an email with this story from an ex-cop friend, and posted it when I found the MyFoxDC story (link at top). It appears that this may have been an April Fool's joke per Snopes. So I would be dubious about the authenticity of this story.

Gary Kreep, as I had indicated, is a real person and is related to one of my high school teachers. Gary is the executive director of the United States Justice Foundation.

Rep. Brad Sherman "Notably Missing" On H.R. 676

I was checking around to see if California Rep. Brad Sherman, D-27th Dist., has taken any position on Obamacare (H.R. 676) and there is no indication that he has.

Several leftist/liberal websites note that Sherman is "notably missing" on H.R. 676.

He may have taken a position, but hasn't said anything. He could be in support of it and is afraid to make his position known. Then again, it is possible that he may actually see that it's a bad bill and decide to vote against it. (I, for one, would be pleasantly surprised.)

Contact him and urge a 'no' vote!

Rep. Brad Sherman Contact Info:

2242 Rayburn Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0524
(202) 225-5911 tel
(202) 225-5879 fax

Jimi Hendrix Murdered?

Above, Jimi Hendrix (center) with Noel Redding (left) and Mitch Mitchell.

The Times of London has an article about a forthcoming book on the death of rock icon Jimi Hendrix. It theorizes that Hendrix was murdered.

The article states:

The doctor who attempted to revive Jimi Hendrix on the night that the guitarist died believes that it is “plausible” that he was murdered.

John Bannister said that medical evidence was consistent with claims in a book that Hendrix was killed on the orders of his manager, Mike Jeffery.

James “Tappy” Wright, a former road manager who worked for Jeffery, writes in his new memoir, Rock Roadie, that in the early hours of September 18, 1970, a gang hired by Jeffery broke into the London hotel room where Hendrix was staying with his girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, and forced sleeping pills and wine down his throat until he drowned.

Hendrix was staying at Dannemann's London flat and was sleeping when (according to her story) Dannemann left to go buy cigarettes. When she returned, she found Hendrix unconscious with vomit flowing from his mouth. She claims she panicked and called Eric Burdon of The Animals who screamed into the phone, "Call an ambulance!" She finally did when it was too late. Hendrix was taken to St. Mary Abbott's Hospital in the Paddington area of London where he was pronounced dead after efforts to revive him failed.

Longtime reporter and Hendrix friend, Sharon Lawrence, published her own book, Jimi Hendrix: The Man, The Music, The Truth, in which she came to the conclusion that Hendrix committed suicide. Hendrix's "personal number" was nine, and it was determined by Lawrence (after talking to Dannemann) that Hendrix took nine Verperax pills that Dannemann had in her apartment. As the number nine meant a lot to Hendrix, the taking of nine pills had to have been intentional, according to Lawrence.

Hendrix's manager, Michael Jeffrey, was a source of frustration for Hendrix as he was ineffective in fighting off a myriad of lawsuits and mishandling the band. Hendrix was said to be depressed over his finances at the time of his death.

Jeffrey died in a plane crash on March 5, 1973 when two Spanish planes collided over France.

It was found that Hendrix died of vomit inhalation from Barbiturate intoxication. Those nine Verperax pills were washed down with wine. Hendrix is buried in Renton, Washington.

This should be an interesting book to read. To read the full article, go here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stop The Democrats' Healthcare Scheme

Stop The Democrats' Healthcare Scheme

Source: Wall Street Journal Online

The Obama Administration and the radical leftist Democrats in congress are hell-bent to pass a healthcare "reform" bill that is not reform, but a major tax hike and it will destroy the best healthcare system in the world.

The Wall Street Journal wrote:

But the most remarkable quality of this health-care exercise is its reckless disregard for economic and fiscal reality. With the economy still far from a healthy recovery, and the federal fisc already nearly $2 trillion in deficit, Democrats want to ram through one of the greatest raids on private income and business in American history. The world is looking on, agog, and wondering why the United States seems intent on jumping off this cliff.

On funding this idiotic scheme, the WSJ also wrote:

A new payroll tax. Unemployment is at 9.5% and rising, but Democrats will nonetheless impose a new eight percentage point payroll tax on employers who don't provide health insurance for employees. This is on top of the current 15% payroll tax, and in addition to a new 2.5-percentage point tax on individuals who don't buy health insurance. This means that any employer with more than $400,000 in payroll would have to pay at least 25% above the salary to hire someone. Result: Many fewer new jobs, with a higher structural jobless rate, much as Europe has experienced as its welfare states have expanded.

Other new taxes, including an as yet undetermined levy on private health plans. This tax, which Democrats say could raise $100 billion or so, would make it even harder for private plans to compete with the government plan, which would already benefit from government subsidies and lower capital costs. For good measure, the House bill also gets the ball rolling on tax increases on foreign-source corporate income.

The WSJ published this table on what the tax rates would be if this healthcare bill is passed (along with tax hikes some states, like California, have already imposed) and compares them to other countries and some states:

To read the full article, go here.

This legislation will kill jobs, ration healthcare, take medical decisions away from doctors and put it into the hands of Washington bureaucrats, add more tax burdens on taxpayers and it will kill small business. Do you want the same people who caused the mortgage meltdown to handle your healthcare?

Now is the time to contact your member of congress and tell them to vote against this legislation. Nancy Pelosi is trying to ram this through within the next two weeks.

It needs to be stopped and it needs to be stopped now!

Apollo Landing Site Photos Released By NASA

Forty years ago this week, Apollo 11 landed on the moon in the Sea of Tranquility.

NASA photo.

This week, NASA has released some photos of several Apollo landing sites taken from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. One of these show the Apollo 11 descent stage (above) from the lunar module Eagle sitting at Tranquility Base on the moon.

The photo does not reveal whether or not the U.S. flag still stands. It is speculated that the exhaust from the Eagle ascent stage knocked it over. Some photos, it has been reported, show footprints and wheel tracks left by the astronauts in later Apollo missions that included lunar rovers.

Tomorrow marks 40 years since Eagle landed on the moon.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite

When Walter Cronkite editorialized in 1968 that the U.S. efforts in Viet Nam were "mired in stalemate," President Lyndon Johnson lamented, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Indeed, Johnson did lose middle America.

Walter Cronkite died yesterday at are 92, which was not unexpected as reports trickled out that he was not in good shape.

Cronkite was called "the most trusted man in America." Some didn't trust him. For the most part, his admitted liberal leanings were kept in check during his broadcasts. He said he tried to be fair and professional in his work. When you compare the way Cronkite handled the news to the way the mainstream media covered last year's election campaign, I would have to agree. The pro-Obama media bias was front and center for all to see and it became sickening.

Cronkite covered the 20th Century's biggest stories from World War II to the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. He choked up when he reported the death of President Kennedy. He was at a loss for words as the first images of Neil Armstrong's moonwalk were broadcast.

Some have said that we'll never see someone of the calibre of Walter Cronkite. I disagree. But at present, there is nobody reporting the news on national television who can be labeled "the most trusted man in America."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Japan Favorites

Photos and text by Armand Vaquer

I've been lucky enough to visit Japan five times, the first being in November 2001 for the premire of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

The second being with G-TOUR with 59 other Godzilla fans to celebrate Godzilla's 50th anniversary. I returned in October 2005, April 2006 and April 2007. Each trip was enjoyable and I try to visit new places each time.


As I mentioned, the first was in 2001 for the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Here are a couple of photos from that event:

Above, the star enters the full-capacity theater at Orchard Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Above, Shogo Tomiyama, Nobuaki Kakuda, Chiharu Niyama, Ryudo Uzaki and director Shusuke Kaneko pose with Godzilla.

I took an excursion down to Atami and got this shot of Atami Castle (on the hill) from King Kong vs. Godzilla:

This shot was taken while waiting to get into Orchard Hall. I am wearing my press passes. Photo courtesy of Clawmark Toys.


While it seems like a long time between the 2001 trip and G-TOUR in 2004, it wasn't so bad as J. D. Lees and I put our heads together (two heads are better than one) to plan out the tour and select Sita Travel to handle the arrangements. The time seemed to go by quickly. Since I have other photos of G-TOUR posted on my blog, I'll just post one I never posted here before.

Above, one of the gates at Nijo Castle in Kyoto. It appears three generations of a Japanese family were also visiting Nijo.


This trip was covered in my blog "A Japan Mini-Vacation," which is a "re-print" of my article for G-FAN magazine. It seemed to have made a hit with some travel-oriented websites as it was linked. Here's one from Yokohama's Landmark Tower (below). They had a machine in which visitors can make a post card of themselves. I looked a little worn out. It was probably because I walked about two miles to get to the Tower. I did a lot more walking later that day in Yokohama.

This is of the pagoda at Asakusa Kannon Temple in the Asakusa section of Tokyo.


A few months after the 2005 trip, I decided to go back as I had more vacation time. This trip was due to the premiere of Gamera The Brave in April. I went up to Sendai and Matsushima to see where my dad was briefly stationed during the Korean War in 1951. It was on this trip that I first met actress Shelley Sweeney, who appeared in five Godzilla movies (below).

Above, it was a beautiful spring day at Nakamise Street in Asakusa.


In April 2007, I took a 12-day vacation to Japan. I spent a few days in Tokyo and then took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyushu to visit Mt. Aso, Nagasaki, Sasebo and Fukuoka. This trip was recounted extensively elsewhere on this blog. Here are some shots I took while in Tokyo:

Above, is Harajuku Station with the Docomo Tower in the background. Harajuku received some notoriety in a song by Gwen Stefani (I think it's called "Rich Girl").

Above, the Godzilla statue in Hibiya.

Above, for the electronics geek in you, you can't beat Akihabara "Electric Town" in Tokyo for plenty of stores of computers, games and anything else your heart desires.

Although I am currently working two jobs, they combined don't pay as well as the one I had during most of these trips. People ask me when am I going back to Japan. At present, I don't know. It'll probably be when I get a full-time position that pays well enough. Also, one other factor to keep in mind, the U.S. dollar is stuck in the 90s (in yen) per dollar exchange rate. I was able to get ¥116 per dollar in 2007. That, too, needs improving to make a trip cost-effective. Today's exchange rate will cause an American to lose money.

What the future holds is anyone's guess. But at least I have plenty of photos to look back on fun times. I hope you enjoyed them as well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Lot of Nerve

Above, Laci Peterson.

Someone's got a lot of nerve.

The family of convicted killer Scott Peterson has set up a blog and is asking for contributions to cover the cost of an investigation necessary to overturn his 2003conviction of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son.

He family claims it needs $95,000.

California already funds mandatory appeals for condemned inmates, but the family claims that more money is needed.

Peterson is now on death row at San Quentin State Prison. He denies killing his wife.

The check's in the mail! Right.

San Pedro & Catalina Island Railroad

I was perusing my library of pamplets and booklets the other day and came across one called The San Pedro & Catalina Island Railroad: Ambition and Adversity In Railroading, 1870-1920, by Abraham Hoffman, PhD.

In the booklet, Hoffman provides the history of the railroad connecting Catalina Island and the mainland. The prime backer of the railroad was Phineas Banning, with the aid of Senator John P. Jones.

Construction on the railroad began on February 9, 1876 and it was completed in 1878. Redwood logs were used as they were water-resistant and huge pile drivers were needed to drive them into the ocean floor.

Initally, the railroad was very profitable to the San Pedro & Catalina Railroad Company, but costs began to skyrocket and the railroad eventually ceased operation in 1912. In 1919, William Wrigley, Jr. bought Catalina Island and the railroad bridge for his own use. He saw tourism possibilities and further developed Avalon, the largest village on Catalina. He was uninterested in reviving bridge traffic and received complaints from coastal shippers that the bridge blocked the way. Accordingly, Wrigley ordered the razing of the bridge and removed the bridge support piles, which took about six months to complete.

Occasionally, a relic of the channel bridge will surface.

Nice to revisit a tidbit of obscure California History on occasion.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Democrats' Healthcare "Web of Bureaucracy"

(Click to see larger.)

House Minority Leader John Boehner unveiled a flow chart (above) of the Democrats' healthcare proposal.

"If anybody thinks that all of this bureaucracy is needed to fix our health care system, I plainly disagree," says Boehner. "What this is going to do is ration care, limit the choices that patients and doctors have and really decrease the quality of our health care system."

According to FoxNews:

[The chart above] shows the president and Congress at the top, with dozens of agencies and officials responsible for various slices of the health care program underneath.

The suggestion inherent in the chart is that the health care system would grind to a near-halt under the Democrats' plan.

Now is the time for everyone who opposes this fraudulent "healthcare reform" to contact their Representatives and U.S. Senators. This essentially amounts to the government taking over roughly 19% of the U.S. economy. It will cost $1.5 trillion and it will kill the economy if passed.


Jordan Twining has his G-FEST XVI up for all to see.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

29 Years Ago This Month: Reagan Nominated In Detroit

29 years ago this month. The message is still just as relevant today as it was then.

"First, we must overcome something the present administration has cooked up: a new and altogether indigestible economic stew, one part inflation, one part high unemployment, one part recession, one part runaway taxes, one part deficit spending and seasoned by an energy crisis. It's an economic stew that has turned the national stomach."

L.A. To Eat Jackson Funeral Bill, Says Mayor

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, back from his African vacation, hit back on critics who criticized the city's expenses that were incurred for Michael Jackson's memorial service at Staples Center last week.

"This is a world-class city, and we provide fire and police protection, period," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "The idea that we would charge the family for a funeral is nonsensical."

Excuse me, Mayor, but Michael Jackson was a private citizen and most private citizens pay for their own funerals and the security motorcycle escorts that accompany funeral motorcades. And what the hell does "world-class city" mean? It is also the city's responsibility to provide police and fire protection.

The city is heavily in debt, and to expect taxpayers to foot the bill for Jackson's funeral/memorial services is grating. Jackson's family are millionaires, so they should pay for their own funeral expenses.

Villaraigosa also criticized the website that was set up by his own staff to raise money to defray the city's costs. $35,000 dollars in donations from about 1,800 people has been raised to date. Villaraigosa called it a "ridiculous" move.

The cost to the city has been estimated to be from $1.4 million to $4 million.

I heard a tape recording of Villaraigosa's remarks yesterday and he was rambling and virtually incoherent.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns

Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns

Directed by Sergio Leone

Music by Ennio Morricone

A Fistful of Dollars:

For A Few Dollars More:

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:

"The Ecstasy of Gold" from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:

The Avengers

An old favorite from the 1960s, The Avengers with Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg:

"My G-FEST XVI Experience"

Above, Jean Carbajal and John "Dutch" DeSentis at the Godzilla Blood Bash. DeSentis appears happy that the Pickwick Theater put a cover over the orchestra pit.

Jordan Twining has posted his "My G-FEST XVI Experience" report over at his Kaiju HQ website.

He has no photos up yet, but will have them up shortly.

To read Jordan's report, go here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lupe's Hot Dog Stand

One nice thing about Los Angeles is the diversity of different ethnic foods available. There are Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Filipino, Kosher, Thai and many others kinds of eating establishments.

That goes especially for the fast food business. For chili burgers, it's Tommy's. For chili dogs, it's Pink's. For good regular burgers, it's In 'N Out Burger. For sushi, it's Crazy Tokyo Sushi.

For burritos and tacos, it's Lupe's Hot Dog Stand at 4642 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90022. Tel. (323) 266-6881.

I discovered Lupe's last year and I always go there whenever I am in East Los Angeles. While Lupe's Hot Dog Stand sounds deceiving, it is her burritos and tacos that is the big draw (yes, she also sells hot dogs and hamburgers along with taquitos).

She has about a dozen different varieties of burritos. My favorite is the chili relleno burrito. Her tacos are also excellent.

Several websites list Lupe's and there are some people who claim that Lupe is a grouchy old lady. I've never found her so. We get along quite well and she has a dry sense of humor.

If you happen to be in East Los Angeles, particularly in the vicinity of Eastern Avenue and Third Street, do yourself a favor and stop in for a burrito or taco (or both!).

G-FEST XVI Photos At Vinylmaddness.com

Above, the Godzilla Blood Bash (after it moved outdoors) is just one of the many photographs Jean Carbajal posted at hits website, Vinylmaddness.com.

G-FEST XVI Photos At Vinylmaddness.com

Jean Carbajal's website, Vinylmaddness.com, has several pages of photos he took at G-FEST XVI, including the one above.

Jean has one of the most extensive collections of kaiju items and was profiled in G-FAN #79 (Spring 2007 issue).

Much of Jean's photographs are of toys and model kits as these are his primary interest. But he also has photographs of the happenings at G-FEST, including the "Godzilla Blood Bash" held the last night of the convention.

To see Jean's photos, go here.

Holder May Appoint Special Prosecutor

FoxNews.com is reporting that U.S. Attorney General is still contemplating prosecuting Bush Administration officials on interrogation tactics.

The report states:

Attorney General Eric Holder is considering whether to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's interrogation practices, a controversial move that would run counter to President Barack Obama's wishes to leave the issue in the past.

Holder plans to make a final decision within the next few weeks, a Justice Department official told The Associated Press on Saturday night. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on a pending matter.

If it is decided to go forward with an investigation, it will cause a major partisan war in Washington. This is something that President Obama doesn't need since his popularity numbers have been dropping recently.

To read the full article, go here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sushi With Peter H. Brothers

Had a pleasant "brunch" today with writer Peter H. Brothers at Crazy Tokyo Sushi.

As customary for our get-togethers, each of us brought a Godzilla-related item to the restaurant. Peter brought along a 1983 Bandai Godzilla toy and I brought my newly-acquired 7" Tokyo Tower that I bought at G-FEST. We put the two items together and they looked cool, although the scale between the two was a little off.

We caught up on different things including his book on Ishiro Honda, G-FEST, monster conventions, etc. Surprisingly, he was unaware that Monsterpalooza took place recently in Burbank. He's sorry he missed it. We noted that our trip to Japan with G-TOUR took place five years ago next month. Where did the time go?

An interested publisher is currently reviewing his book and should make a decision shortly. He's been adding things to the manuscript and obtaining rare photos to put his book over the top with the publisher.

He viewed the YouTube video of Kenji Sahara at G-FEST XVI and noted that Sahara looked great at the convention. He thought Sahara didn't look too well in Godzilla Final Wars.

He is planning to attend next year's G-FEST, hopefully with his Honda book in hand.

Finally, we found that we have similar musical tastes as a Michelle Branch song was played over the restaurant's speakers. We both like her songs. So that is why Michelle Branch is at the top of this blog (in case you were wondering). For you, Pedro!

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Senator Bobby" Singing "Wild Thing"

"Senator Bobby" singing "Wild Thing." Never thought I'd ever hear this again.

The Troggs - "Love Is All Around"

The Troggs - "Love Is All Around"

Jackson Family Battles Over Michael's Body

FoxNews.com and the New York Post are reporting that a tug-of-war over Michael Jackson's body is going on amongst Jackson family members.

Some family members, including father Joe Jackson and Jermaine Jackson, want to bury Michael at Neverland Ranch while others, including mother Katherine, want to abide by Michael's wishes (he expressed that he'd never go back to the ranch after his acquittal).

According to Fox:

Joe Jackson and Michael’s brother Jermaine are adamant that the pop icon should be buried at his Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara, mainly because the family could earn millions from a Graceland-like museum at the site.

It is reported that Jackson's body is being stored at a crypt owned by Berry Gordy of Motown.

There's one other problem: it is illegal to bury a body on private property in California.

Since toxicology tests are "incomplete and Jackson’s brain still in the hands of state investigators, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said there were no plans to bury the body yet," according to Fox.

These disputes (and others) may end up in court for a final decision.

Kelsey's Law In California?

I received the following email from Missey Smith, Kelsey Smith's mom, last night:


Thank you for your support of Kelsey’s Law in Kansas. I know that California has proposed a similar law. I don’t know the status nor the bill #. Sorry.

Greg and I would be willing to come to California to testify if they would like. We go to Philadelphia on July 20 to present this law to state legislators from across the nation. We will present it on July 21st.


Missey Smith

I did some checking, but I couldn't locate any reference to pending legislation in the California state legislature for a law requiring that cell phone providers cooperate with law enforcement in missing persons cases.

Accordingly, I sent an email to my state assembly member, Julia Brownley, asking if such legislation is pending:

Dear Assemblymember Brownley:

In June 2007, Kelsey Smith was abducted from a Target store parking lot. She was found four days later raped and strangled. Her cell phone pings led authorities to her body. However, Verizon dragged their feet in providing cell phone ping data to law enforcement.

I have followed the Kelsey Smith case from the beginning and I agreed with the Kansas legislature that it would be in the best interests of all Kansas citizens if a law requiring cell phone companies to cooperate with law enforcement in cases involving kidnappings be enacted.

Is there pending legislation for a similar law in California? If not, would you be willing to sponsor such legislation?

Greg and Missey Smith, the parents of Kelsey Smith, have started the Kelsey Smith Foundation (Kelsey's Army) to educate young women on how to prevent kidnappings. They would be willing to come to California to speak in favor of legislation mandating that cell phone providers cooperate with law enforcement in missing persons cases.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Armand Vaquer

I notified Missey Smith of my query and will notify her when I receive a response from Assemblymember Brownley. I will post Brownley's response when it is received.

There is an open case in San Diego County of a missing high school student, Amber Leeann Dubois (above), whose cell phone pinged a day after her disappearance. To date, she has not been found. Thus far, her cell phone provider has cooperated with law enforcement.

Note, in Kelsey Smith's case, when Verizon did provide the ping data to law enforcement, searchers found her body in Missouri within a few hours. So you can see how vital it is that cell phone providers cooperate with law enforcement immediately when an abduction occurs.

From Kelsey's Army.org:

Greg & Missey will present the Kelsey Smith Act in Philadelphia, PA at a conference of state legislators from around the United States. This is the first step in getting Kelsey's Law passed nationwide.

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