http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/23/detroit-motorists-under-siege-in- carjack-city/ DETROIT (AP) - When they pull up to a gas station these days, Detroitdrivers are looking beyond the price per gallon at a far more threateningconcern: carjackers.The armed auto thieves have become so common here that parts of the bankruptmetropolis are referred to as "Carjack City," and many motorists feargetting out of their vehicles even for a few moments to fill a tank.So gas stations are taking steps to protect customers, and the city hasformed a special police team to go after suspects. Convicted carjackers willeven get their faces and prison sentences plastered onto billboards."You need to catch these people and make a good example of them," said MousaBazzi, who owns a Mobil station in a semi-desolate neighborhood borderingDetroit's east riverfront. He keeps his business well-lit and continuallyhas two to four employees inside to ensure "there's always an extra hand ortwo" in case of trouble.Authorities blame many of the carjackings, ironically, on improvements invehicle security. Anti-theft equipment, GPS systems and advanced locks nowprevent many vehicles from being driven without a key in the ignition.That makes it difficult or impossible for thieves to steal parked cars,leading them to target vehicles that are occupied, said Jonathan Parnell, ofDetroit's auto-theft squad.Also contributing to the thefts is a strong demand for stolen wheels andtires, police said.Bazzi's station displays pale-green decals depicting a lighthouse - a signthat his business has joined the city's anti-carjacking effort. To be partof the program, stations must have security cameras, good lighting, be open24 hours and have clerks willing to help motorists and provide a phone foremergency calls."There is a waiting list," Sgt. Michael Woody said. "We have so many gasstations that want to become a lighthouse. You get better protection withthat big sticker in the window that tells criminals there is properequipment that will help police investigate these crimes."Detroit police reported 720 carjackings last year in the city of fewer than700,000 people. That's down from nearly 850 in 2011 and 1,231 in 2008.The decline may partly be due to Detroit's freefalling population, but thethefts still exceed the carjackings in some comparably sized U.S. cities.Sharlonda Buckman, executive director of a Detroit nonprofit, was at a gasstation on an October morning when she ran inside for aspirin. Back insideher SUV, she was just closing the door when she saw a carjacker shove hisgun inside.She screamed and jumped out of the vehicle. The carjacker jumped in anddrove off. Three other customers gave chase in their vehicles. One caught upto the SUV and got shot in the leg by the carjacker, who was later arrested.Now, Buckman said, she tries not to pump gas at all."If the night catches me, I won't pump gas in the city," she said. "Or I'llcall somebody to meet me."It's difficult to know how Detroit's carjackings rank nationally becausemany police agencies lump carjackings with all armed robberies in annualreports to the FBI.Newark, New Jersey, with a population of 280,000, had 382 carjackings lastyear, giving it a per capita rate that is actually higher than Detroit's.Memphis, Tennessee, with a population of 655,000, had slightly more than 400carjackings over three years from 2011 through 2013. El Paso, a rapidlygrowing western Texas city of 670,000, reported only 15 carjackings lastyear and 18 in 2012.Through May 19, Detroit has recorded 191 carjackings in 2014, including theFeb. 24 shooting death of CVS security guard Courtney Meeks, who rushedtoward a car being taken by three men, and the Feb. 4 slaying of DonaldBradshaw, a 68-year-old man who was beaten to death with a tire iron afterhe was carjacked at an intersection.Prosecutors, the FBI and Detroit police recently announced a campaign tospread the word about stiffer federal penalties for carjacking, which caninclude the death penalty if someone is killed. A similar campaign thatincludes billboards with photos of convicted carjackers started last summerin Newark.Detroit police have also announced a partnership with General Motors' OnStarroadside assistance service to track down stolen vehicles and promoterewards tied to an anonymous tip line.To avoid becoming a victim, security guard Greg Champion wears a handgun onhis hip whenever he's pumping gas."I don't want to surprise you," Champion said. "I want you to know I'marmed, and I want you to know I can defend myself, and I want you to gosomewhere else."Christine Reed takes the opposite approach. The 27-year-old mother of twowon't stop for gas in Detroit. She lives north of the city in Warren andworks four days a week cleaning offices downtown.If she's in a bad section of town, Reed said, she passes through red lightsbecause it's tougher to carjack a moving target."It's not a safe place anymore," Reed said. "It's dangerous."The state-appointed emergency manager tasked with restructuring Detroit's$18 billion in debt has said crime needs to be reduced to make the cityattractive to new residents and businesses.That's going to take more and better resources, said Wayne County ProsecutorKym Worthy, who complains that she has only a few assistants to trycarjackings."When nobody has any resources . all we can be is reactive," she said.
The Army has decided on a new camo to replace the unpopular Universal Camouflage Pattern on your ACUs— and the selection is very similar to MultiCam.
Sources, on condition of anonymity, confirmed Friday that the service has selected Scorpion W2 as its next Army combat uniform camo, a pattern born out of Army Natick labs.
Numerous Army sources refused to comment on this story, expressing reluctance to get ahead of the service’s announcement on an issue that remains under intense Congressional scrutiny.
Military.com broke the news, reporting that Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III has been briefing senior sergeants major throughout the Army about the new pattern for the Army Combat Uniform.
Known internally as Scorpion W2, a source said the pattern is likely to be announced under a different name.
Its color palette of muted greens, light beige and dark brown resembles MultiCam, the pattern used by soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. However, Scorpion W2 uses fewer beige and brown patches and none of the vertical twig and branch elements later added for MultiCam.
The new pattern will serve as the service’s primary camo pattern, but Army uniform leaders have said they envision a “family” of patterns with a dark jungle-woodland variant and a lighter pattern for desert environs. The main camouflage pattern would be worn in garrison, and the others would go to deploying troops.
.Natick derived Scorpion W2 from the original Scorpion pattern developed by Crye Precision, of Brooklyn, N.Y., MultiCam’s manufacturer. Crye officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Crye developed Scorpion under a government contract in 2002, and it was later used for Objective Force Warrior, a soldier systems development program, according to Guy Cramer, CEO of a competing camouflage developer, HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp., of British Columbia.
Cramer said while MultiCam and Scorpion may look similar, he believes MultiCam is better-performing.
The Scorpion W2, according to a source, was among the 22 patterns considered in 2010 when the Army began shopping for new combat uniforms. The Army narrowed that down to four finalists (Scorpion was not among them) and late last year it looked like leaders were nearing a deal with Crye to adopt MultiCam.
But then talks broke down over cost, according to Crye.
The Army’s options are somewhat limited. Congress, in the 2014 Defense Authorization Act, directed the Defense Department to rein in uniform spending and adopt a camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms across all services. It has forced the Army to take a closer look at existing camouflage patterns — particularly those of its sister services, mainly the woodland and desert versions of the Navy and Marine Corps combat uniforms.
In March, an Army official confirmed the service could experiment with MultiCam colors if desired, noting a company can copyright a pattern but not a color palette.
Col. Robert Mortlock, the program manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, told Army Times at the time that the service examined camo beyond 50 meters and found that, while colors are important, the actual pattern is “not that relevant.”
He died of cancer early Thursday at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, said his wife, Nan. They were just about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
Levine shepherded the toy through design and development as Hasbro's head of research and development. He and his team came up with an 11½-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts, and since the company's employees included many military veterans, it was decided to outfit the toy in the uniforms of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, with such accessories as guns, helmets and vehicles.
Levine, who served in the Army in Korea, said he got the idea for the moveable figure as a way to honor veterans.
“All in that gigantic fighting machine agree in the selection of that one truly heroic figure in the war. He is G.I. Joe...He and his platoon leaders have given us an example of loyalty, devotion to duty, and indomitable courage that will live in our hearts as long as we admire those qualities in men.”
Speaking to The Associated Press, Walesa said "the world is disorganized and the superpower is not taking the lead. I am displeased."
The former Solidarity leader said that when he meets Obama in Warsaw, he wants to tell him that the U.S. should inspire and encourage the world into positive action.
"The point is not in having the States fix problems for us or fight somewhere, no," Walesa said. "The States should organize us, encourage us and offer programs, while we, the world, should do the rest. This kind of leadership is needed."
"I will say: Either you want to be a superpower and guide us, or you should give the superpower to Poland and we will know what to do with it. Amen," said Walesa, who is known for sometimes abrasive comments."
Looks like our President is going to get a metaphorical kick in the dupa.
"Plata O' Plomo!" - Silver or Lead! Meaning take our silver, our bribes, and do what we tell you or we'll fill you full of lead! Looks like the Mexican drug cartels are taking over the border. Well I guess we really don't have a border with Mexico anymore. Everyone crosses over whenever they please.
Americans say the U.S. Army is the most important service branch to national defense, but the Marine Corps is still considered the most prestigious, said a Gallup poll released Friday.
The annual poll, timed to mark the start of the long Memorial Day weekend, showed that 26 percent of Americans say the Army is the most important military branch, followed closely by the Air Force at 23 percent. The Marine Corp was called the most important by 19 percent, the Navy by 17 percent and the Coast Guard by 3 percent, the poll found.
The Army has edged out other military branches in Gallup surveys conducted throughout the last decade.
Gallup started asking Americans about the importance of U.S. military branches in the 1940s, using a variety of questions over the years.
Americans until the mid-2000s always viewed the Air Force as the most important branch of the military. While it still ranks high today, it no longer dominates, the pollsters said.
Importance does not necessarily equal prestige.
The Marine Corps has consistently been considered the nation's most prestigious military branch, even if not the most important, with nearly half of Americans - 47 percent - saying they respect Marines the most.
The Air Force was a distant second, with 17 percent saying is was the most prestigious branch, said the poll.
"Despite successful Navy SEALs raids that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011 and helped rescue the captain of the merchant marine vessel Maersk Alabama from pirates in an incident that was the basis of the movie 'Captain Phillips,' the Navy's image has not benefited," Gallup noted.
The poll found that 12 percent of Americans say the Navy is the most prestigious military branch.
"They clearly see the Marine Corps as the most prestigious," the pollsters said. "The Marines have benefited from being viewed as an expeditionary force central to U.S. wars over the last century, along with an omnipresent advertising campaign touting 'the few, the proud.' "
"The U.S. Army is going to dust off its old Scorpion pattern as a replacement for its much criticized Universal Camouflage Pattern."
"I ran a story about the selection this morning on Military.com. I have been told that Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III is quietly telling all of the senior sergeant majors around the Army that the service's new camouflage will be Scorpion - a pattern similar to MuliCam that was developed for the Objective Force Warrior program in 2002."
The Army has been considering replacing UCP with Crye Precision's MultiCam - a pattern that has demonstrated consistent performance in multiple tests and was selected in 2010 for soldiers to wear in Afghanistan.
But Army officials balked at MultiCam's price tag. They didn't want to pay for "printing fees" the company receives on MultiCam - a small figure that amounts to about one percent of the 20-percent price hike uniform companies want to charge the Army for MultiCam, according to Caleb Crye, the owner of CP.
Army officials even tried to buy the rights to MultiCam. Crye told the Army it would cost $25 million if the service wanted to buy the rights to the pattern, which would essentially put Crye Precision out of business, he said.
So with that option off the table, the Army is now going to use Scorpion since the service has owned it for the past 12 years. The pattern is very similar to MultiCam because Crye developed for the OFW program.
"MuliCam's appearance is slightly different for trademark purposes."
See the article for a comparison of what the Multicam and Scorpion camouflage patterns look like. They actually look a lot alike, as the employ the same colors. The muted pastel colors in Multicam seem to blend in better with the background more different environments than any other pattern. This is because there are really few bright colors in nature; most background colors, in soil and vegetation, are subdued . Multicam actually works better in forest and jungle than the "woodland" pattern , particularly when you are lying the forest floor, where there more browns and tans colors and fewer bright greens. The Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) for the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) was touted to work better than any other pattern when it was first fielded, on the grounds that the pixelated "digital" pattern was supposed to "fool the brain" and cause the pattern to blend into the background. In reality the color scheme of the UCP clashed with nearly every background and thus caused the ACU wearer to stand out like a blob to the observer. The Lesson Learned here is that for camouflaged combat uniforms, the colors used in the scheme matter much more than the geometry of the pattern when it comes to blending in with the terrain. As I suspected, the Army Brass went with the UCP over Multicam for the ACU originally because uniforms printed with UCP, designed by the Army's Natick Laboratory, would have a cheaper per unit price than ones printed with the copyrighted Multicam scheme. Another case of the services being penny wise and dollar foolish.
However, in the big scheme of things this is not the egregious waste of money that some in Congress and the media are touting. Many times in the past the Army invested considerable money on special purpose uniforms only to promptly discard them when the time passed for their use. For example, so far the Army has actually used the ACU with the UCP for at least a year longer than it used the Vietnam olive drab colored Jungle fatigues, the Vietnam Jungle "cammies" and the Vietnam Jungle boot as well. During the invasion of Normandy in World War II the Army deployed several Divisions wearing the "spot" camouflage fatigue uniform, like the one developed for use in the Pacific theater. The Army promptly replaced the "cammies" when our British Allies complained that they looked too much like the camouflage uniform worn by German Waffen SS soldiers. Anyway if you ever wondered where "SGT Saunders" on the old "Combat" TV series got his camouflage helmet cover from, well now you know.
Members of Congress have expressed the opinion that it doesn't make sense for the armed services to each have a different camouflage combat uniform. Actually in the 21st Century it makes perfect sense for each service to each its own unique combat uniform since each service operates in different environments and performs vastly different functions. What does not makes sense in the 21st century is for the services to spend millions of dollars on elaborate and archaic dress uniforms, for any troops save the handful performing ceremonial functions. After all the function of the military is first and foremost is to fight and win wars. Elaborate and brightly colored dress and service uniforms with neck ties and shiny shoes no longer serve a purpose in war fighting. For example, did the Viet Cong lose their war because they lacked fancy dress uniforms? In any event, I know that any proposal to do away with dress uniforms would be opposed by the service chiefs AND Congress and quickly dismissed on the grounds of "morale" and "tradition". But it no longer matters what our troops wear, as Columnist Mark Steyn accurately observed, America has lost the political and strategic will to win wars.
The Affordable Care Act included a way for insurance companies to recoup their losses from covering everyone regardless of their health If insurers lose money, the government's funds - taxpayer dollars - cover between 50 and 80 percent of the losses for three years Premiums for 2015 are expected to skyrocket before the November elections, and Democrats hope the payments will keep prices down
When the Obamacare law passed in 2010, it omitted the authority for the government to make these 'risk corridors' payments But in a bit of regulatory sleight-of-hand last week, the Health and Human Services Department quietly issued a regulation authorizing them
Health insurance companies are poised to have access to billions of taxpayer dollars in what Republicans are calling an Obamacare 'bailout.'
In a little-noticed regulation issued late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services authorized massive payments to insurers that lose money because of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that they cover even the oldest and sickest Americans.
A provision of the Obamacare law known as 'risk corridors' provides the safety valve for insurance companies if they keep rate hikes modest but still wind up in the red.
According to that system, insurers whose claims in 2014 are 3 per cent higher than what was projected will recover half of the different from the government.
If claims are 8 per cent or more above projections, taxpayers cover 80 per cent of the company's losses.
An aide to a member of the House Republican leadership told MailOnline that the risk corridor system was calculated to cushion the blow of rate hikes until President Barack Obama is out of office.
'They set the risk corridors to expire in three years,' the staffer said. 'Guess who will be long gone from the White House by then?'
'This is just another taxpayer-funded subsidy for big businesses. If the Obamacare system were fair, it would force insurers to price their policies according to reality. Of course, if that happened, rates would double and you'd see well-deserved panic in the streets.'
'The American people are sick of Washington picking winners and losers, especially since the chosen losers often end up being taxpayers who foot the bills for Washington's mistakes,' Rubio said then.
Democrats have long feared that if rates jump too much and too quickly, consumers could abandon their insurance entirely and opt to pay modest fines instead. That could collapse the entire system.
The Los Angeles Times first reported on the new HHS regulations, and noted that the 2015 rates will be published just weeks before November's congressional midterm elections.
An HHS spokesman told The Wall Street Journal in January that the point of the risk corridors was to help smooth out some of the uncertainties associated with an entirely new pricing structure, and that the program was expected to be 'budget neutral.' That's because insurers that make more profit this year than they estimated will be forced to surrender a portion of their excess to the federal government - providing finds to reimburse their less fortunate competitors.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated in February that the government would actually reap a windfall, since insurers were more likely to aim high when pricing their policies under the new Obamacare requirements.
The CBO estimated that while the government would pay out $8 billion to underperforming insurers between 2015 and 2017, it would collect $16 billion from more successful companies.
But if CBO is wrong and a the gap remains, HHS intends to spend whatever it takes.
'We are confident this three-year program will not create a shortfall,' Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt said Wednesday in a statement. 'However, we want to be clear that in the highly unlikely event of a shortfall, HHS will use appropriations as available to fill it.'
Those funds could come from anywhere in the HHS budget, pilfering money from research programs, social services or public health programs.
When the law was passed in 2010, its framers omitted the authority for HHS to spend money on risk corridor payments.
Last week's regulation erases that mistake, authorizing HHS to write checks to insurers.
FYI: A "king-hit" is what we in America would call a "sucker punch", that is to say a surprise attack. Lately Australia has been plagued by its own version of the "knock-out game", leaving some victims dead or brain damaged. Although in Australia these king-hit attacks typically occur in and around night clubs and pubs.
A young man who recently visited Perth Australia told me that the bouncers in the night clubs in that city would record your name and address from your I.D. and even photograph you. Apparently this practice is intended to deter brawlers; nevertheless the young man reported that brawls were still frequent , including women fighting other women.
If this practice of taking names and pictures of pub and night club patrons (not to mention the use CCTV surveillance) is common throughout Australia, then it is puzzling that the Canberra police have been unable to make an apprehension in this particular assault. Could it be a case of "de-policing", that is to say ignoring offenses that do not violate political correctness?
"Police are yet to arrest the man, and CCTV vision appears to show the man was allowed to leave the scene. Mr Hinchey said that was a real concern."
But Mr Condi defended the actions of the nightclub's security guards, who were interviewed by police, saying one of the staff immediately rushed over to help the victim when he hit the ground.
"If there's ever an altercation we try and get in there and help," Mr Condi said. "Though we're very limited in what we can do. We have a no-violence policy and anything we see we try to dissolve right away."
Staff would review the venue's security procedures to prevent a similar incident from happening in future, Mr Condi said.
"Since it's been public we've posted a link to the police story on our Facebook page and we've been discussing with investigators whether we put signs up of the wanted man inside the club," he said.
"We're just trying to get as much information as we can."
"Mr Condi said it was difficult to say whether alcohol-related violence had spiked in the city's centre in recent years, as he hadn't noticed a rise in incidents. He said responsibility for alcohol-related violence rested on both licensed venues and individuals."
"Obviously as a venue we have to make sure people don't get too intoxicated, because we don't want that kind of violence in the venue," he said.