Sunday, July 6, 2014

Indy Democrat Blog: IMPD Officer Shot, Killed in Line of Duty

Indy Democrat Blog: IMPD Officer Shot, Killed in Line of Duty

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Indiana Civil Rights Commission Announces Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration

Indianapolis-The Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Commission announced today plans for the State of Indiana’s 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Celebration on Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 12:30 pm-2:00 pm at the Indiana Statehouse. Highlights for the program include: The unveiling of two busts—James Sidney Hinton and Julia Carson The presentation of the Spirit of Justice Award to Jerry Harkness Remarks by Governor Mike Pence The presentation of four awards The recognition of the seven schools and the more than 300 students who participated in the MLK Educational Youth Summit at the Indiana State Museum A performance by the Golden Singers of Broad Ripple Magnet High School Registration The program is free to attend. However, registration is required. Click here to view the registration page. James Sidney Hinton—Was an advocate for civil rights and a stirring public speaker who grew up in Terre Haute, Ind. He urged African Americans to take their place as citizens. He was the first African American to serve in the Indiana Statehouse, doing so in 1880. Julia Carson—A graduate of Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Ms. Carson and Katie Hall were elected to the Indiana Senate in 1976 as the first African American women in that house. In 1996, she was elected to the U.S. Congress, becoming Indiana’s first African American woman from Indianapolis elected. She served until her death in 2007. Jerry Harkness—was a basketball star best known for winning the 1963 NCAA Division I Basketball Championship with Loyola University Chicago. His handshake with Mississippi State basketball players prior to their NCAA tournament game is considered a crucial turning point in the fight for equality in college basketball. Indiana Civil Rights Commission The Indiana Civil Rights Commission enforces Indiana Civil Rights Laws and provides education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers and visitors to the State of Indiana.

Gov. Pence Authorizes Bonuses of up to $1,000 for State of Indiana Employees

by Ken Davidson Governor Pence has authorized one time, end of year bonuses to be paid to State employees. The bonuses of up to $1,000 will be based on performance reviews to be completed in January. The Governor states that the bonuses are in lieu of pay raises and will not affect the budget. We would love to hear your opinions, is this sound fiscal policy? Sound off in the comments section.   Here is the Governor's letter to State of Indiana employees:
Fellow State Employees, As 2013 draws to a close, I am writing to express my sincere appreciation for your service to the people of Indiana over the past year. Through the efforts of dedicated State Employees like you, Hoosiers continue to receive quality service and support when interacting with our state government. Indiana is strong and growing stronger due, in part, to the commitment you exhibit every day in service to the public. Because of your efficiency and commitment to fiscal discipline, Indiana leads the way with a balanced budget, AAA credit rating and a reputation for sound fiscal management. While our present circumstances do not permit us to increase base pay, because your service to Indiana has been exemplary, I have authorized a bonus that you will receive once performance evaluations are completed in January. Employees who meet expectations will receive a $500 bonus, those who exceed expectations will receive $750, and those rated outstanding will receive $1,000. I hope this news will be an encouragement to you for a job well done in 2013. Thank you for your service to the good people of Indiana. It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve alongside men and women like you. God bless you and your family with a memorable holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year. Sincerely, Governor Mike Pence

Chicago Style Politics Comes to Indiana . . .Bobby Rush Style

by Ken Davidson

A new investigation by the Illinois Better Government Association, while not specifically mentioning Hightman, calls the relationship between SBC Illinois and the Office of Congressman Bobby Rush into question. Andy Shaw, President and CEO of the Better Government Association is quick to point out "We’re not suggesting that Rush broke the law, but we are saying the fog needs to be cleared and real answers provided." SBC Illinois was the donor of the $1M grant to Rush's non-profit organization. The grant was supposed to build a technology center in Chicago's troubled Englewood neighborhood. According to reports from the BGA, the center was never built and the money was never accounted for. Shaw calls for an investigation into:

[Rush] maintains the money wasn’t stolen or squandered, but that claim, without verification, doesn’t suffice, so we’re suggesting some options for shining more light on the situation: The House Ethics Committee can see if Rush crossed any legal or ethical lines in regards to the million-dollar grant, his charity accepting tons of money from regulated companies seeking his legislative help, and his campaign office apparently not paying rent. The Federal Election Commission can look at whether Rush or his campaign operation violated federal law by apparently accepting free rent, not reporting it as an in-kind donation and possibly exceeding donation limits. The Internal Revenue Service can investigate the tax implications of all this, including whether Rush’s nonprofit violated the law by wrongly claiming on one disclosure form the tech center had been built, which wasn’t true. The IRS can also find out if Rush used campaign cash to enhance his personal lifestyle, which is what got former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in trouble.
Any such investigation would obviously focus on whether or not the grantor received anything of value in return for the no strings grant. Regardless of whether there was any impropriety in the transaction, the situation calls into question the professional judgment of Hightman. Carrie Hightman, the Chair of the Gary P3 Committee, became Chief Legal Office for NiSource in 2007 after serving as CEO of AT&T Illinois, which was formerly SBC Illinois. In a statement released when Hightman joined NiSource, her experience in " regulatory, legislative, governmental and external affairs activities, as well as community and industry relations, throughout Illinois" were cited. The statement went on to explain:
During her tenure at AT&T, Hightman led the company through a series of important public policy initiatives as AT&T evolved from a traditional telephone company into a provider of diversified communications and entertainment services, including wireline, wireless, data and video services. Under her leadership, AT&T secured unanimous regulatory approval of a landmark agreement to deregulate local telephone service and offer competitive pricing in the metropolitan Chicago market, as well as helped the company return to the long distance telephone market after a twenty-year absence.
The SBC Foundation states that they provide grants of $25,000 to $50,000. The Gazette could find no evidence of any other single grant in any amount near $1M. Additionally, the 990 tax forms submitted by the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation listed no such contribution, despite a specific question asking about "Unusual Grants."
28 Unusual Grants: For an organization described in line 10, 11, or 12 that received any unusual grants during 20001hrough 2003, prepare a list for your records to show, for each year, the name of the contributor, the date and amount of the grant, and a brief description of the nature of the grant. Do not file this list with your return. Do not include these grants in line 15. 423121 12-03-04 NONE Schedule A (Form BBO or 990-EZ) 2004
Source: Hightman was instrumental in selecting the contractor that was recently approved by the airport board to run the airport for up to 40 years.  While this information was not disclosed to the airport board, the Gazette has previously reported on the connection between Hightman and one of the companies involved in the partnership that was ultimately selected. The Better Government Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is not affiliated with the Northwest Indiana Gazette.  You can read the entire BGA article at their website  The Million Dollar Question

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Compulab to Launch $99 Cell Phone Sized Computer

Yokneam, Israel – 14-July-2013 – CompuLab is introducing Utilite – a miniature ARM-based desktop computer. Powered by Freescale i.MX6 system-on-chip, Utilite is the next generation of CompuLab’s highly acclaimed Trim-Slice computer. Featuring a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, up-to 4GB RAM and dual-head 1080p display output, Utilite expands the 2011 Trim-Slice offering with up-to twice the performance and less than half the starting price of $99. Designed into an elegant “zero-screws” housing and measuring only 5.3” x 3.9” x 0.8”, Utilite provides unprecedentedly rich I/O with dual GbE, 5 USB ports, 802.11 WiFi and Bluetooth. High performance, low-power, rich I/O and miniature form-factor position the Utilite as an attractive solution for a variety of applications such as media player, IPTV, infotainment systems, digital signage, thin client and small-footprint desktop replacement. Utilite will be offered with fully featured, desktop-grade Ubuntu Linux or Android operating systems delivering rich multimedia and PC-like user experience. “In 2011 CompuLab’s Trim-Slice has pioneered the market of ARM-based computers,” said Igor Vaisbein, VP Business Development at CompuLab. “Utilite pushes the boundaries of ARM desktops even further by doubling the performance and providing more connectivity while maintaining the same tiny form-factor and drastically reducing cost.” Utilite is particularly attractive to software developers since it is a high-performance, open platform designed into a commercial grade product. CompuLab intends to collaborate closely with the open-source community. CPU Freescale i.MX6 single / dual / quad core Cortex-A9 MPCore, up to 1.2GHz RAM Up to 4GB DDR3-1066 Storage mSATA SSD, up to 512GB Micro-SD (SDXC), up to 128GB Graphics Graphics Processing Unit supporting OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0, OpenVG 1.1 and OpenCL EP Video Processing Unit supporting multi-stream 1080p H.264, VC1, RV10 and DivX decoding Display HDMI 1.4 up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz DVI-D up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz Network Two Gigabit Ethernet ports WiFi 802.11b/g/n Bluetooth 3.0 Audio Stereo line-out and stereo line-in S/PDIF (electrical through 3.5mm jack) USB Four USB2.0 high-speed ports, 480 Mbit/s USB OTG port, 480 Mbit/s RS232 Two RS232 serial ports, ultra mini serial connector Power supply Unregulated 10 to 16 volt input Power 3W – 8W Dimensions 5.3” x 3.9” x 0.8” – 135mm x 100mm x 21mm CompuLab expects to start accepting orders for Utilite in August 2013. Utilite will be offered in several configurations starting from $99.


WASHINGTON — Two hundred and fifty-five child predators were arrested and 61 victims of child sexual exploitation identified during a five-week operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces across the United States and its territories. Operation iGuardian, which ran May 28 to June 30, was a surge operation conducted as part of HSI’s Operation Predator to identify and rescue victims of online sexual exploitation, and to arrest their abusers as well as others who own, trade and produce images of child pornography. “Protecting our youth in the digital age requires all of us to be on the lookout for child predators abusing and extorting victims online,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Children and parents need to understand that not everyone online is who they say they are. Child abusers prowl social media looking for opportunities to force young people into sexual exploitation through guile, deceit, and extortion. We want children to know that it’s wrong for any adult to solicit or pressure them for sex and that the law is on their side.” According to investigators, a “disturbing trend” is emerging in which child predators are increasingly using the Internet to entice children to produce and share sexually explicit material online. During Operation iGuardian, HSI and ICAC investigators encountered various child predators chatting online with minors about sexual topics, sending them obscene images, encouraging them to produce nude or sexual photos and videos, and attempting to meet them in person to engage in sexual activity. In some cases, child predators are also sexually extorting, or “sextorting,” the minors into producing additional and increasingly graphic images and videos. “Thanks to the essential support of our federal partners and the dedicated efforts of our task force members, Maryland’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has had a significant impact on our fight against the Internet exploitation of children,” said Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown. “Since 2000, Maryland’s task force has been responsible for 526 arrests of men and women who were attempting to victimize our most vulnerable citizens – our children. I applaud the dedicated members of the 61 task forces across our nation, who daily work together in cyberspace tracking down those who prey on our children.” Twenty-four of the 61 victims identified during the Operation iGuardian were engaging online with strangers who sexually exploited them. Their ages ranged from 7 to 17, the majority aged 13 to 15 years old. Of the 61 victims identified, four were under the age of 3; five were ages 4 to 6; 13 were ages 7 to 9; 10 were ages 10 to 12; 23 were ages 13 to 15; and six were ages 16 to 17. Forty-two were girls and 19 were boys. Of the 255 child predators arrested during Operation iGuardian, 20 were charged with online sexual enticement of a minor, two of which escalated to sextortion of multiple victims (see Caraballo-Colon and Romero Barrios cases below). The other 235 were charged with child pornography production, possession and distribution of child pornography; traveling with the intent to have sex with a minor; and various other offenses, including rape and molestation. Of the 255 arrested, 251 were men and 4 were women. Investigators point to three significant arrests made during Operation iGuardian. In each case, HSI is asking that anyone with additional information about potential victims come forward: Jimmy Caraballo-Colon, 25, a former high school cheerleading coach and athlete from Caguas, Puerto Rico, was arrested June 4 by the HSI Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force (PRCACTF) after it was discovered by the Greenwood Village Police Department in Colorado that he was blackmailing a 17-year-old girl he met online in an anonymous Internet video chat website. Through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, investigators identified a second victim, a 15-year-old girl in California. Further investigation led to another 15-year-old girl in the Netherlands, and leads are currently being pursued regarding two 15 and 16-year-old girls in Australia. Investigators believe there are more than 80 potential victims who remain unidentified. John David Boyle, 49, a former middle school teacher from Glendora, Calif., was arrested June 5, during an undercover sting operation in his classroom, by HSI Los Angeles and the multi-agency ICAC. Boyle has been indicted and charged with enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity over the Internet. He has also been charged with advertisement of online child pornography, as well as distribution, receipt and attempted receipt and possession of child pornography. Believing the undercover investigator shared his sexual interest in young boys, Boyle allegedly set up an in-person meeting in his middle school classroom for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity while watching child pornography. Investigators have identified a 14-year-old boy who was a victim of sexual contact with the defendant and believe that there are additional victims in this ongoing case. Eduardo Arturo Romero Barrios, a Mexican national, 33, was arrested June 26, by the Mexican Attorney General’s Office with the assistance of the Mexican Federal Police in Monterrey, Mexico. The arrest followed a lead by HSI Mexico City and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children from a social media provider about a user who was pretending to be a young teenage girl in order to elicit provocative images from minors via the social networking site. Romero Barrios was then extorting the minors to provide more sexually explicit material by threatening to expose the images he had acquired from them throughout the Internet. Investigators – with the assistance of HSI Little Rock and the Arkansas Area 4 ICAC – have identified two victims, boys ages 11 and 13 in Arkansas, and are pursuing leads into at least three other children: a 10-year old Kentucky girl, and two others in Australia and the Ukraine. Investigators believe there are other potential victims who Romero Barrios may have exploited. “We are very thankful for the priority that Director Morton and ICE have made in protecting our country’s most vulnerable victims, and we are proud of the assistance that NCMEC provides law enforcement as they investigate child sexual exploitation cases,” said John Ryan, CEO of The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “The sad truth is, there are many more child victims of sexual exploitation out there who have not yet been rescued and are still suffering. We know that there’s more work to be done so that all child victims receive the help they deserve.” In fiscal year 2013 to date, 1,674 child predators have been arrested by HSI on criminal charges related to the online sexual exploitation of children. In 2012, 1,655 child predators were arrested, 1,335 were arrested in 2011, and 912 were arrested in 2010. Since 2003, HSI has initiated more than 29,000 cases and arrested more than 10,000 individuals for these types of crimes. During the announcement of Operation iGuardian, HSI also discussed plans to launch an educational awareness program in conjunction with ICACs and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Netsmartz. That program, called Project iGuardian, is being designed to reach children, parents and teachers and share information about the dangers of online environments, how to stay safe online and how to report abuse and suspicious activity. The 61 ICACs are funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.


Lessons from Zimmerman, Trayvon and The Media “I believe that this tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak honestly about the complicated and emotionally charged issues that this case has raised. We must not, as we have too often in the past, let this opportunity pass.” Attorney General Eric Holder speaking to Delta Sigma Theta in Washington regarding the Trayvon Martin case. Trayvon Martin’s death should not be in vain. Let’s take the opportunity to learn from this incident. Here are some lessons Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and the Media can teach us. 1. There is legitimate frustration with the criminal justice system in the African-American community. African-American citizens are frustrated. They see a system where young men are killed on a daily basis, where innocent children are shot in their homes and where black males ages 18-30 are incarcerated at an alarming rate. African-Americans receive longer sentences than do other racial groups for similar crimes. African-Americans who are convicted in cases with victims who are not African-American are much more likely to receive the death penalty than any other group. 2. Most Americans do not want to acknowledge that there are problems with the criminal justice system. We have to continually strive to do better in America. Our system is founded on the principle that all men are created equal. The justice system should treat all men as equal. 3. The media is perfectly happy to play on this dynamic for ratings and to advance a political agenda. We cannot change the past, but we also cannot learn from it if we do not honestly address it. Here are some facts that are undisputed in the Trayvon Martin case and which the many people still do not or will not acknowledge: 1. On the night of the incident, George Zimmerman was told there was a video recording of the shooting. Zimmerman’s response was “Thank God.” There was no video, but this is a tactic used by police to try to get suspects to answer honestly. 2. George Zimmerman taken into police custody, was mirandized and interviewed at least two separate times on the night of the shooting. These interviews lasted several hours and were voluntary. 3. Trayvon Martin had been caught with items from multiple burglaries at school just weeks before this incident. Near the scene of this incident, a “burglary tool” was found. (These facts are undisputed and I do not raise them to in any way suggest that the shooting of Martin was justified but to suggest that the initial report of “suspicious activity” may be justified.) 4. George Zimmerman had injuries to his nose and the back of his head when the police arrived. At least one witness at the scene testified that the back of Zimmerman’s coat and pants were wet. 5. The media used a picture of Trayvon Martin which was taken when Martin was 12 years old. 6. At least one media outlet intentionally “edited” an audio recording of the George Zimmerman 9-1-1 call in order to make it appear that he was using a racial slur. 7. George Zimmerman had a prior arrest for domestic violence, resisting arrest and resisting an officer with violence. These charges were dismissed through a pre-trial diversion program. 8. Zimmerman and his wife previously had a mutual restraining order issued. 9. There are approximately ten shooting incidents involving children in the United States every day. The question then is, why THIS case? Why did this case warrant such media attention? Gun control advocates were frustrated that their agenda was not getting pushed enough in 2012. Stand Your Ground laws had been passed in 24 states and were gaining popularity throughout the US. This was a major concern to gun control advocates and something had to be done . . . public opinion had to be swayed at any cost. Along comes the Trayvon Martin case. A case that could easily be painted as an innocent child skipping home from 7-11 with a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles for his brother being gunned down by a crazy white vigilante with a gun. A case of racial profiling at its worst and an indictment of the right to own and carry a firearm. Never allowing facts to get in the way of their agenda, information began to come out that this was not a “stand your ground” case. In fact, no matter what facts you believe , this case is about self-defense. Either George Zimmerman had a reasonable fear that his life was in danger or he did not. The media and the blogosphere set out in earnest attacking stand your ground laws and calling for more gun control. After all, here was a case where a citizen with a lawfully owned weapon killed a young man and was not charged. Certainly there must be something wrong with the system that would allow such a thing. Now we know why the media, including the Reverend Al Sharpton, chose to jump on the Trayvon Martin story. That is the past. What do we need to move on, to address legitimate concerns about our criminal just system and to protect ALL law abiding citizens from criminals. We have taken great strides in recent years at doing just that. Federal Sentencing Guidelines narrow the discretion of judges in setting sentences. Many states have adopted similar approaches with mandatory minimum sentences, and mandatory objective standards for sentencing. Nonetheless, all bias will never be taken out of the system. The other piece of the puzzle involves minority groups being adequately represented in all segments of the criminal justice system. As long as African-American males make up the majority of the defendants and white males make up the majority of law enforcement, there will be the appearance of bias. Nonetheless, as citizens we have to be forever vigilant in watching for those who would use these frustations for their own political and financial gain.