Archive for March, 2010

Creepy Crawlies
March 24, 2010

Interesting dispatch from the War on Bugs. Customs inspectors working at the Port of Houston and the Port of Freeport found two bugs never seen before in the United States. Both insects were found in separate shipments on the same day. The first one pictured above is Brachytemnus porcatus (thank you cut and paste function). Inspectors found 10 of these wood boring beetles in a shipment of wood packing material from Italy. The shipment was fumigated and sent back home. The second foot soldier of the agricultural Armageddon is a Neuroctenus longiventris. This plant pest was found in a shipment of pineapples from Costa Rica. The shipment was fumigated and then allowed into the US. Both bugs are listed as having the potential to wreak havoc on plant life and forests.

“Double A’s”
March 12, 2010

As most of you know the violence in Mexico is reaching (or has reached depending on who you talk with) epic proportions. Now another gang in Juarez is starting rear its head more and more. The gang is called “Double A’s” for Artistas Asesions (Artistic Assasins). A trusted source in Juarez tells me this gang rivals the Aztecas and has aligned itself with Chapo Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel. The only difference with the “Double A’s” is they are made up almost entirely of teenagers. This group has been blamed for several recent massacres, including the slaughter of several teenagers at a birthday party last month.

Also, this week a pig’s head was found butchered on a street with a message to Juarez Mayor, Jose Reyes. The message was simple, “You have two weeks to live.” This would account for why the Harvard graduate sent his wife and children across the border to live in El Paso.

My source tells me the Cartels are also no longer respecting families. Many times family members would help hide those sought by a rival cartel. Normally, family members were left untouched out of some morbid sense of decorum. Now that no longer applies. If a cartel or gang goes looking for someone and the person is not found, then the family is killed as a lesson. Case-in-point, my source tells me on Monday a wife and her mother were killed and a three-year old girl severely hurt because the cartel members couldn’t find her husband. This seems to be a natural progression of the cartels battle against one another and the government. “In the old days” cartels had rules of engagement. Never hurt or kill wives, children or family members, never kill anyone on a Sunday and never mutilate a person to the point they couldn’t have an open-casket funeral (this last one was out of respect for mama). None of that applies anymore.

Another interesting development is the use of Twitter to get out information out about what is happening with the cartels. Recently there were several huge shootouts in Reynosa. A law enforcement source in Houston who closely monitors the situation in Mexico says the shootouts are the result of the Zetas trying to take over the entire Gulf Cartel. If you remember the Zetas were an elite unit of the Mexican Military trained specifically to combat the cartels (incidentally our government trained these special forces troops). That unit lasted all of about two seconds until the Gulf Cartel made the Zetas a better offer. Now the Zetas have trained new members (based on the techniques we taught them) and now want the whole operation. However, the point of this post is that the cartels have instituted a media blackout, threatening to kill, torture and kidnap any reporters who write about the violence in Reynosa (made source in Juarez says the same blackout has not happened in his city). So residents of Reynosa took to Twitter to get the word out. Here’s a link to the Twitter page, http://twitter.com/reynosafollow. My source here in Houston says this was the best way to hear about the shootouts quickly, because “official” word of what happened didn’t come till about a week after the fact. If you remember the Iranian people used Twitter to get the word out about what was happening during the recent elections in the face of a similar blackout.

Is it really that easy?
March 11, 2010

My dear mom sent me this video and I went back and forth as to whether I should post it to my blog. The whole not wanting to give any wayward soul a new idea dilemma. I decided to post it more as a reminder to everyone not to leave ANY valuable item in their car. By the way, I haven’t tried any of these techniques to see if they work.

Lost and Found
March 9, 2010

This is a letter sent by Houston Attorney, Bill Ogletree, to the City of Houston, Westfield Concession Management, Inc. and Continental Airlines. While it is not unusual for an attorney to send a letter proclaiming the rights of a client have been violated, what caught my eye with this letter was that Ogletree was claiming his rights had been violated over a lost leather coat. I tried to talk with Mr. Ogletree but did not receive a response. During my second call to his office a receptionist said, “I gave Mr. Ogletree your contact information and he will contact you if he chooses.” I also spoke with City Attorney, Arturo Michel. His response was, “There is no legal obligation for someone to collect and secure the coat.”  A check of Harris County records shows no lawsuit has been filed. Here is the letter … click the image below to enlarge.

I Can See You.
March 8, 2010

I came across this consumer alert from the Texas Attorney General’s Office and thought I would pass it along to all parents out there. Here’s the letter from the AG’s Office…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2010
www.texasattorneygeneral.gov
Subscribe to E-News
CONTACT
Press Office at
(512) 463-2050
 

Consumer Alert: Parents Should Keep Children Away From new Video Chat Web Site Chatroulette.com

 
An increasingly popular Web site poses a threat to Texas children by giving users – including dangerous sex offenders – an opportunity to conduct live video chats with randomly selected participants.

Armed with only a Web camera and Internet access, http://www.chatroulette.com users are paired with a random stranger for a video chat. Neither a login nor registration is required before young users can be face-to-face with a total stranger. Worse, users who simply click “next” are shuffled to a new video chat partner.

An undercover investigation by the Cyber Crimes Unit revealed startling results. Nearly half of the randomly selected users encountered by Cyber Crimes investigators immediately exposed themselves and conducted sexually explicit acts on camera.

In light of the serious threat that children will be exposed to graphic sexual conduct, Texas parents should prohibit their children from accessing http://www.chatroulette.com. Although site users are supposed to be at least 16 years old, the rule is not clearly enforced – which means parents’ preventative role is particularly important.

Attorney General Abbott reminds parents to closely monitor their children’s Internet activities by using the following safety tips:

• Place the computer in a public room at home so that parents can monitor their children’s Internet use. Do not allow computers in a child’s bedroom or permit the use of Web cameras.
• Make sure children know never to agree to a face-to-face meeting with someone they meet online and never to divulge personal information to an Internet stranger.
• Stay informed. Surf the Internet with children or at least talk to them about the Web sites they are visiting.
• Establish ground rules for children’s Internet usage, including the hours they may surf and the kinds of Web sites they may visit. Post the rules near the computer.