John Allen Muhammad has been convicted for 6 more of the murders he and his sidekick, Malvo, committed during their shooting spree a three years ago. The jury came to the proper conclusion again, and I’m glad for it. The only downside appears to be that Maryland doesn’t have the death penalty and Muhammad will likely be sentenced to life without parole.
Muhammad, 45, was convicted Tuesday after a monthlong trial in which he acted as his own attorney. The verdict adds to the death sentence Muhammad previously received for a sniper shooting in Manassas, Va. He faces a likely term of life in prison without parole when he is sentenced Thursday.
The trial also gave family members an explanation, however twisted, for the 2002 rampage in which Muhammad and his one-time protege, Lee Boyd Malvo, took aim at random people. Malvo, testifying for the first time against Muhammad, told jurors that Muhammad’s original plan included far more bloodshed – and plans to bomb children.
“We may never know the whole truth, but we do know without a doubt, 100 percent, that Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad are the ones who committed the murders,” said Vicki Snider, whose brother, James L. “Sonny” Buchanan, was killed while mowing grass near a suburban mall.
The jury took about 4 1/2 hours to reach a verdict about the murders of James Martin, Premkumar Walekar, James “Sonny” Buchanan, Sarah Ramos, Lori Lewis Rivera and Conrad Johnson. In all, 10 people died and three were wounded during the three-week spree.
Muhammad stood grimfaced with his arms folded across chest as it was read. As he was led from the courtroom he said, “Your honor, may I speak?”
“No sir,” Montgomery County Circuit Judge James Ryan answered.
Muhammad’s had his say, both in court and in public where he chose to punctuate his speech with long-range sniper shots. The only just conclusion this affair is to send him back here to Virginia where we do have the death penalty. We’ll take it from here…
John Hawkins over at Right Wing News has a list of 22 problems with the Senate’s Immigrations Reform bill. Seriously, you need to know about all the crap they’ve stuffed into this thing and you need to contact your elected reps. This thing passed the Senate so the only hope now is for the House members in the conference between the House and Senate versions to hold fast.
On this day we remember those who have stood to answer the call of duty to our Nation and entered the ranks of the military. They deserve our respect and our thanks. Have a look over there to the right in the blogroll marked “Milblogs” and take a little tour of them today. They’ve got a lot of value to say and some critical insights.
To those of you still engaged with the enemy and standing between liberty and the darkness, please know we appreciate you, we honor you, and we wish you victory in your mission.
Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) described Saturday’s 10th Congressional District Republican Convention as just the first round in a championship battle.
“People will be talking about this convention for years,” he said Tuesday. “We’re not going to forget the bloodshed.”
Longtime District Chairman Jim Rich survived a challenge to retain his position at the convention but his challenger, Heidi Stirrup, said she is considering filing a complaint with the state party because she said the convention was not conducted according to the party plan.
Stirrup blamed the current leadership for recent GOP losses in Loudoun County and elsewhere in the district. District voters rejected that assertion, with 61 percent supporting Rich’s reelection.
Stirrup pointed to procedural gaffes, arguing parliamentary procedure was not followed. Most alarmingly for Stirrup supporters was when Eve Barner asked to amend the convention’s credentials report to challenge the inclusion of delegates who had previously supported a Democrat or Sen. Russ Potts’ (R-27) run for governor as an Independent. The presiding chairman, to the dismay of Stirrup supporters, ruled that effort out of order. J. Warren Geurin, a Loudoun County School Board member who served as parliamentarian during the convention, said the state party plan trumps Robert’s Rules of Order, because it allows anyone to join the committee who pledges to support Republican candidates in the future.
“When [Barner] got into ‘I challenge so and so and so and so,’ at that moment the state party plan came into control,” Geurin said.
As the debate about party participation continued, some fuel may have been added to the fire. Delgaudio was taken slightly aback when the microphone was taken from Barner after her time had expired. The same thing happened to Stirrup. And Geurin talks of what he called a lack of “gentlemanly behavior” from Delgaudio and some Stirrup supporters. He said Delgaudio yelled at the presiding chairman, Jim Fisher, and the delegates to try and gain the floor.
OK, as I’ve previously written, I was at this convention. Allow me to offer a point up about this story. First and foremost, I will call anyone who claims that Eve Barner had the microphone taken away from her because her time ran out a flat-out liar. There was no indication that her time had expired, whatsoever. The mic was taken away because J. Warren Geurin didn’t like what she was proposing and decided the rest of us didn’t need to hear her out. In the middle of her motion, she was simply silenced in spite of having been recognized for the floor.
In short, Guerin and Rich are perfectly fine with your freedom of speech – as long as they agree with what you’re saying. After that… well, you just don’t get to speak.
I’ll reitterate what I’ve written on the matter here again: I don’t agree with the motion Barner was proposing and I would have voted it down. My issue is 100% with the conduct of the chairman and his goons in their actions at this convention. You won’t hear me say it often, so bookmark this one: Delgaudio is right. And in spite of my feelings about most of his methods, he had the right to speak and the chairman had no call to refuse to recognize him. The actions of Rich and the rest of them will simply split the party further, and I want to hear Rich’s excuses when we lose even more electoral ground in the next few years.
In a series of events that have apparently included the revelation that the top 3 law enforcement officers in the nation, A.G. Alberto Gonzales, his #2 Paul McNulty, and FBI Director Robert Mueller would resign if asked to return the materials seized in a warranted search, Speaker Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have now acknowledged that the FBI can execute a search warrant on the office of a member of Congress.
Congrats, Congresscritters. You’ve now caught up to the rest of the American citizenry. Don’t hold your breath that it’s going to help you. This entire episode put into graphic detail the obvious feeling that the members of Congress have that they are not to be held accountable to the law. The rest of us, sure. But not them. I’m angry at any member of Congress who, for one moment, gave any reasonable credence to the notion that the separation of powers was intended to create a no-lawman zone around the offices of Congressmen. Hastert has seriously damaged his own credibility, cost Congress as a whole more in the way of reputation (something they don’t have a lot of to play around with, in any case) and turned what should have been a clear Republican advantage into a Republican disaster.
All of those things are stupid but it’s that last one that just kills me. Handed a golden opportunity to be very subtle and quietly let Democrat Congressman Jefferson slag himself and become a millstone around the necks of the Democratic leadership, Hastert instead chose to attempt to slime the agents of the FBI who were doing what they’re paid to do. It looked for all the world like Hastert was trying to keep an armor plate over his own ass, which does nothing more than beg the question, “what would he need said armor plate over his behind for, anyway?” Dumb. Just really brainless. And the spinmeistering that’s going on now is so transparent they might as well put up neon signs to point it out.
Even now, they can’t really let it go. Have a look at this paragraph from the story:
In an editorial page article in USA Today on Friday, Hastert said he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have directed House lawyers “to develop reasonable protocols and procedures that will make it possible for the FBI to go into congressional offices to constitutionally execute a search warrant.”
Um, point of clarification? It’s unnecessary to “develop reasonable protocols” to “make it possible for the FBI… to constitionally execute a search warrant.” It’s already constitutional you nitwits. There’s nothing in the Constitution that precludes such a search. The fact that 200+ years of Congressmen, many of whom have been corrupt, have never been so stone cold stupid as to create a situation where the FBI would have to execute a search warrant on their offices does not mean that the FBI never had the ability to do so under the law. What the esteemed Congresspeople are trying so desperately not to say is that they want protocols and procedures set up that would permit them to avoid having to comply with such a warrant in the public eye.
Well, tough cookies, folks. Do something novel to avoid having to comply with search warrants: be ethical and legal. What a concept.
We’re visiting family this weekend so blogging will be light. Just a head’s up, folks. Enjoy the holiday and be safe!
Mark in Mexico has this one covered so I’ll leave the details to him. This crux of the story is this: a 3% tax was added to long distance phone calls to pay for the Spanish-American War – in 1898. Apparently, Congress just got around to killing it after overcharging by, oh, about $15 Billion. Tony Snow got to make the happy announcement at the White House, but he left out some important details. Go see Mark and he’ll fill you in.
Ever since the story surfaced some weeks ago, I have been keeping an eye out for information about an incident in Haidtha, Iraq wherein US Marines may have killed noncombatant civilians, including women and children. It now appears that the investigation into the incident – no, the atrocity – may be nearing its conclusion. And it’s not a pretty one:
Murder charges may be brought against some Marines for what may be the worst atrocity committed by U.S. military personnel in Iraq, a senior Pentagon official said Friday.
The official said Marines were likely responsible for killing as many as two dozen unarmed civilians, including women and children, in Haditha last November. A separate investigation is under way into whether Marines tried to cover up the killings. The official requested anonymity, citing the ongoing criminal investigation of the incident.
The Marines initially reported that one Marine and 15 Iraqi civilians had been killed in crossfire when U.S. forces responded to an insurgent attack on Nov. 19. The first report to the contrary surfaced in March, when Time magazine quoted witnesses saying the Marines “went on a rampage after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children.”
In addition, photos taken of the scene reportedly do not support the Marines’ original account of how the incident evolved.
Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters has also been following the story and feels the same way I do:
This makes me physically ill. We can say it happens in every war, and that would be accurate, but it doesn’t excuse it in the least. Our military has the reputation of high discipline and morale, and 99.9% of our troops live up to that standard. As with Abu Ghraib, only on a much less serious scale, the actions of one undisciplined unit will reflect horribly on those who have done their best to protect Iraqi civilians, especially the children. Those 99.9% of our troops provide the best possible security for the United States. If these men turn out to be war criminals of the most despicable variety, they will have damaged the work done by our armed forces immeasurably.
Well put. The report isn’t completely released, and this is just a review. The actual findings from the investigatory unit will be out in a month or so. It’s just really not looking good. For my part and if the report turns out to show these Marines did what is alleged, then I would urge they be court-martialed immediately in an open and public forum. If the charges are upheld, they should be subject to the most stringent response provided by military law. The people of Iraq – indeed, the world – need to see that we don’t condone this kind of action. That our soldiers are not above the law and when they violate that law, it is they who are punished.
I await the full report and will comment on this again.
(See the update at the bottom.)
A story released yesterday is claiming that the popular Norton security products for PC’s has a “gaping security flaw” that could permit hackers to exploit millions of user systems worldwide:
A gaping security flaw in the latest versions of Symantec’s anti-virus software suite could put millions of users at risk of a debilitating worm attack, Internet security experts warned May 25.
Researchers at eEye Digital Security, the company that discovered the flaw, said it could be exploited by remote hackers to take complete control of the target machine “without any user action.”
“This is definitely wormable. Once exploited, you get a command shell that gives you complete access to the machine. You can remove, edit or destroy files at will,” said eEye Digital Security spokesperson Mike Puterbaugh.
“We have confirmed that an attacker can execute code without the user clicking or opening anything,” Puterbaugh said.
eEye, based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., posted a brief advisory to raise the alarm about the bug, which can allow the execution of malicious code with system-level access.
The flaw carries a “high risk” rating because of the potential for serious damage, Puterbaugh said.
Symantec, of Cupertino, Calif., confirmed receipt of eEye’s warning and said an investigation was underway.
Pretty serious stuff. But Symantec’s response?
Symantec was notified about a potential remotely exploitable vulnerability affecting Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 10.x.
Norton products do not contain the code affected by this potential vulnerability, and none of the Norton products are affected by this issue.
Symantec product teams are currently investigating this report. If necessary, we will provide updates for all currently supported products to resolve this issue.
This advisory will be updated as additional information becomes available.
So, which is it? Is there a “gaping security flaw” in Norton or do those products “not contain the code affected by this potential vulnerability“? And if that’s the case, what’s the Symantec investigation investigating?
Someone’s either covering up or hyping up. The question of which it is will tell us who it is.
Update: Apparently, none of the “Norton” branded products are vulnerable – it’s just the Symantec branded anti-virus stuff that’s got the gaping security flaw. From Symantec’s site:
May 26, 2006 – Updated Products Affected section and other details
Authentication Required No
Exploit publicly available No
A stack overflow in Symantec Client Security and Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition could potentially allow a remote or local attacker to execute code on the affected machine.
Product Version Build Solution
Symantec Client Security 3.1 All Pending
Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition 10.1 All Pending
Products Not Affected
Norton Product line No products in the Norton product line are affected
Symantec was notified that Symantec Client Security and Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition are susceptible to a potential stack overflow. Exploiting this overflow successfully could potentially cause a system crash, or allow a remote or local attacker to execute arbitrary code with System level rights on the affected system.
This advisory will be updated when product updates to address this issue are available.
Symantec engineers have verified that this vulnerability exists in the product versions listed above. We are continuing to evaluate other versions of our software. This advisory will be updated when additional information is available.
This is a very serious issue. Symantec products are virtually everywhere in both the consumer and governmental sector. McAfee must be dancing for joy over this one. Might I suggest, if you’re a business IT guy, that you have a look at Cisco’s CSA?
In the face of widespread disapproval from the public, the Senate has passed the abomination they called a “comprehensive” immigrations bill. Think you know what’s in it? Guess again. From Dana Rohrbacher at the Washington Times:
This “shamnesty” bill spells out the level of contempt the Senate has for middle-class Americans. This “comprehensive” bill includes:
- In-state tuition for illegal aliens. Your kid has to pay full freight if they cross state lines, but the illegal alien who broke into the country doesn’t.
- All temporary guest workers have to be paid the prevailing wage. American citizens do not have to be paid prevailing wage.
- All agricultural guest workers under this bill cannot be fired by their employers except for what the bill calls “just cause.” However, American agricultural workers can be fired for any reason.
- Illegal aliens are made eligible for Social Security. Not only will they receive retirement benefits, but their children will receive survivor benefits should the parents pass away. This is at a time when we are trying to keep Social Security solvent for the next generation.
- Expands the visa lottery program, which is itself a questionable way to make visa distribution decisions.
- Employers of illegal aliens get amnesty, too. Employers would be exempt from civil and criminal tax and criminal liability under immigration law. God forbid we hold employers accountable for helping illegal aliens break the law and being the magnet that has drawn them here for years.
- Taxpayer dollars to radical immigrant-rights groups so they can help illegal aliens adjust their status. Millions of your tax dollars will go to the same groups that organized those rallies where people who came here illegally waved foreign flags and thumbed their noses at our laws.
In case you’re wondering who the mental giants in the Senate who voted to OK this mess are, here’s the list from the Senate web site. Virginia’s Senators, John Warner and George Allen split on the issue. I am sad to say that a man I’ve held in respect for years, Senator Warner, has spent his last dime of political coin with me. His actions in the Gang of 14 severely crippled him in this household, but this betrayal on his part is the last straw. Good thing he’s not up for re-election this year.
I hope the House sticks to its guns, as Congressman Frank Wolf told several of us at the convention last weekend.