Friday, November 24, 2017


"Go night night nigga. Go night night."

  Little Rock, AR
A Little Rock Police Department recruit that made a post on one of his Facebook pages that displayed his racial bias was outed by two Little Rock, AR bloggers known for their investigative blogs dealing with corruption and wrongdoing of government employees.

Bad City of Little Rock blog and Corruption Sucks blog broke the story about Brandon Schiefelbein, a current recruit in training for the Little Rock Police Department, and a complaint made about the social media post to LRPD Chief Kenton Tremar Buckner.  

These two bloggers also discovered that Schiefelbein is affiliated with two right wing extremist groups, 3 Percenters and American Resistance Movement.   

Schiefelbein's Facebook profile picture references the extremist groups.

Both extremist groups are displayed in the photo used as Schiefelbein's FB profile picture

Little Rock City officials and the Little Rock Police Department have not made any public statements about Schiefelbein, his racially charged post or his affiliation with the extremest groups. 

Several organizations in Little Rock have demanded the immediate resignation of the police chief and city manager and have cited incidents involving the two public officials that support allegations against them that justify their resignation or removal. 

Monday, November 20, 2017


The Federal Communications Commission voted on Nov. 16 to allow telephone carriers to block robocalls that appear to be fraudulent—a particularly annoying and costly problem that has mushroomed in recent years.

The ruling specifically targets calls that use so-called caller ID spoofing, which allows robocallers to manipulate information that shows up on caller ID to trick you into answering your phone. 

"If this will help protect consumers from getting illegal or unwanted robocalls, it's a good thing," says Maureen Mahoney, a policy analyst with Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumers Reports.

Besides being annoying, the calls can put you at risk. Scammers often make robocalls to perpetrate fraud. The spoofing can make calls appear to be from the IRS, for example. The caller might threaten you with arrest unless you fork over your credit card information or wire money to cover nonexistent outstanding taxes.

Mahoney says Thursday's decision by the FCC is a step in the right direction, but she points out that only a small percentage of the calls will end up being blocked.

Others agree. David Frankel, a California-based telecommunications professional who has taken up the fight against robocalls, says his analysis of 3.5 million robocall complaints to the Federal Trade Commission shows that the new rules would block only 10 percent of robocalls, at best. And that would probably last for only a short period, he says, as robocallers no doubt change the techniques they use. 

"After six months, this won't do anything, mostly because the robocallers will work around it," Frankel says.
Still, the FCC's commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, said at Thursday's meeting that the new rules were needed. "Will the adoption of today's report and order put an end to unlawful robocalls for good? Sadly, no, but doing nothing ensures that things will get worse," she said.

Robocalls have been a growing problem for consumers and telephone companies. There were 2.5 billion robocalls made nationally in October, compared with just 683 million in October 2015, according to estimates from YouMail, a provider of voicemail and call-blocking services.

They're called robocalls because scammers, telemarketers, and others use automatic dialing equipment to place potentially thousands of calls an hour. Those who answer may hear a recorded message or be transferred to a live person who may try to perpetrate a scam, sell a shoddy product or service, or collect a debt, among other possibilities.   

The FCC's ruling comes partly in response to a request from the telecommunications industry, which wanted to know whether it could block calls without breaking federal call completion rules, which bar phone companies from call blocking without customer authorization.

USTelecom, a trade association representing broadband service providers, supports the new rules.
"There’s no one solution to solving the robocall problem, but the FCC’s action today is another step in sweeping away the uncertainty about the tools available to providers to block these illegal calls," said a statement from the association's CEO, Jonathan Spalter.

Under the new rules, telephone companies can block some robocalls automatically without first getting approval from either the caller or those receiving the calls.

Among the calls that can be blocked are those showing numbers that have not been assigned to a phone carrier, are not in use, or are clearly invalid, such as those with nonexistent area codes.

In following the new rules, telephone carriers will have to be careful not to block legitimate calls. The FCC acknowledges that might be difficult because it's not always clear which telephone numbers are in use at any given time. Rather than make the rules mandatory, the FCC says it's hoping to encourage the industry to develop its own reliable blocking methods.

Frankel says that regulators could require carriers to place a cap on the number of calls a customer can place over a certain period without providing good reason. A single robocaller might make as many as a million calls a day, he says.

Consumers Union has been urging phone companies to offer their customers free call-blocking services such as Nomorobo, which intercepts calls that come from a list of known robocallers. Those services are becoming increasing available.
However, the proposal sounds almost identical to the regulations passed in 2015, which triggered AT&T (in part) to come up with its Call Protect app, which is free. So it remains unclear just exactly how the new provisions are different from the 2015 rules.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


A hibiscus plant on the left and marijuana on the right.

Sarver, PA
A couple who say they were handcuffed for hours in a police patrol car after their hibiscus plants were confused for marijuana are suing the police and an insurance company.
Edward and Audrey Cramer say in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that a Nationwide Insurance Co. agent investigating a fallen tree at their Buffalo Township home sent photos of their flowering plant to police. The lawsuit alleges that Buffalo Township police officers with assault rifles went to their home on Oct. 7 to investigate.

Audrey Cramer, 66, said she was partially dressed when she went to the door and police would not let her put on pants before she was handcuffed.

"I was not treated as though I was a human being," she said. "I was just something they were going to push aside."

Edward Cramer, 69, said he returned home a half-hour later to find his wife in the back of a police cruiser and officers pointing guns at him. He also was placed in the cruiser despite trying to convince the officers the plants were hibiscus, not marijuana.

"They actually ignored me," he said. "They wouldn't even listen. I said, 'I can show you pictures on the internet.'"

The Cramers eventually were released without charges. They are seeking monetary and compensatory damages and court costs.

Nationwide Insurance declined to comment on Friday, citing the litigation. Township police also declined to comment.


Oklahoma City, OK
Former state Sen. Ralph Shortey has agreed to plead guilty to a child sex trafficking offense for offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for sexual "stuff" last March.

Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey pictured with Donald Trump, Jr.

In exchange for his guilty plea, U.S. prosecutors have agreed to drop three child pornography counts against him.

His jury trial had been set to begin Dec. 5 in Oklahoma City federal court. He is now scheduled to plead guilty Nov. 30 instead.

By making a deal, Shortey, 35, hopes to avoid being locked up for most of the rest of his life. Still, he will be required to serve at least a 10-year prison term, the mandatory minimum time for child sex trafficking.

The maximum time for the offense is life in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti will decide the punishment at a sentencing next year.

"It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family," Shortey wrote on plea paperwork signed Monday. He remains married to his high school sweetheart, his defense attorney said. They have four daughters.

The defense attorney, Ed Blau, negotiated the plea agreement for Shortey after reviewing the evidence and applicable case law.

"Mr. Shortey feels this is a necessary step in putting this painful and humiliating ordeal behind him, for both himself, his family and for the state of Oklahoma," the attorney said Friday.

Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, was first elected in 2010 and was known for his offbeat legislative proposals that at times attracted national attention. He resigned March 22.

Shortey — who once planned to be a missionary — was investigated first by Moore police and then the FBI after being found with the teenager at the Super 8 in Moore about 1 a.m. March 9.

The teenager's girlfriend had followed them to the hotel after seeing Shortey pick him up. She then alerted the teenager's father who called police.

Police reported Shortey and the victim had carried on a conversation about sex using the messaging app Kik before going to the hotel. Their conversation had turned graphic when the teenager wrote, "I need money for spring break," according to police.

Shortey had replied, "I don't really have any legitimate things I need help with right now. Would you be interested in 'sexual' stuff?" The teenager then wrote, "Yes," according to police.
Officers reported finding an open box of condoms in Shortey's backpack and a bottle of lotion in the teenager's backpack.

The victim "confirmed that he and Shortey intended to have sexual contact and that they had agreed Shortey would pay him for the contact," an FBI agent reported in a court affidavit. Both beds were described as unmade.

The two had met a year before through a Craigslist ad.

The investigation of Shortey uncovered evidence he had led a secret life. The FBI reported he used fake names to post Craigslist ads seeking sex with young males and on an email account to send and receive pornography.

"Shortey used those pseudonyms almost exclusively for illicit and illegal sexual interests or encounters, several of which included communications and exchanges of pornography with underage males, and/or the sharing of child pornography," the FBI agent wrote in the court affidavit.

A federal grand jury indicted Shortey in September.

He was accused in the child sex trafficking count of knowingly recruiting the underage male to engage in a commercial sex act.

He was accused in one of the child pornography counts of persuading that teenager to send him an inappropriate photo in 2016. He was accused in the other child pornography counts of emailing sexually explicit videos to two individuals in October 2013.

The plea agreement calls for federal prosecutors to ask the judge at sentencing to dismiss the child pornography counts. Also, according to the deal, Shortey "will not be further prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma for any crimes related to his transportation, possession or production of child pornography or child sex trafficking during the period from October 2013 through March 9, 2017."

Shortey had also faced a child prostitution charge in Cleveland County District Court. That felony case was dismissed after he was indicted in federal court.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


 Amherst, ND

The Keystone Pipeline, the subject of one of the largest environmental campaigns in North American history has sprung a leak. TransCanada, the pipeline's owner has admitted that 5,000 barrels of oil, or 800,000 liters (210,000 gallons), has escaped. A spill is classed as significant if more than 50 barrels of oil escape.

The Keystone Pipeline brings diluted bitumen from the tar sands of Alberta, supplemented with light crude oil from Montana and North Dakota to refineries in Illinois and Texas, from where gasoline can be sold to the world. Although the Obama administration vetoed the pipeline's expansion Keystone XL in 2015, it is nevertheless capable of transporting 590,000 barrels a day. Most of the opposition to the pipeline was motivated by the extraordinary greenhouse intensity of the oil being transported, but there was also extensive concern about the likelihood leaks would occur. Just as with the Dakota 

Access pipeline, which attracted intense protests last year, the owners dismissed these fears as unfounded.

At 5:30am local time on Thursday TransCanada detected a drop in pressure near the town of Amherst South Dakota. According to TransCanada the pipeline was shut off within 15 minutes, but the largest leak in the Keystone's history had already occurred. South Dakota government officials were alerted five hours later. Updates are being reported on the company's website

The leak has taken place away from surface water, improving the chances that the effects will be localized to the grazing land on which it occurred. However, Ruth Hopkins, a Lakota writer and activist has noted the location appears to be close to the aquifer on which the Lake Traverse Reservation depends.

Even if the spill does not pollute the aquifer, it will stoke opposition to Keystone XL, now back on the agenda since President Trump overturned Obama's ban. It is also bad news for other oil pipelines, like the nearby Dakota Access, which had a much smaller leak of its own back in May.

New oil pipelines need state approval as well as federal, and Nebraska's Public Service Commission is to vote in the next few days over whether to allow Keystone XL to proceed across the state. The proposed route through Nebraska has already been changed to avoid the sensitive Sandhills region, and the leak could inspire a second rejection. An analysis of Keystone XL's dangers considered a worst-case scenario to be a Nebraskan spill 36 times the size of this one.

The northern pipeline from Alberta to Illinois via Nebraska remains shut off at time of writing while attempts are made to fix the leak, but the southern stretch continues to operate.

Friday, November 17, 2017



 Little Rock, AR

The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission announced today that Saline County Circuit Court Judge Bobby McCallister had agreed to resign and that his resignation would have the "same legal effect as removal."

This announcement was made by David Sachar, the Executive Director of the JDDC, at a meeting of the Commission this morning.


Scant details were made available as evidenced in a short press release handed out after the meeting.

McCallister will continue to draw a paycheck until December 15th. He still faces a criminal trial in state courts and the IRS has apparently chosen to seek a civil judgment and let him slide on criminal penalties.

McCallister had filed no more than four returns in 22 years. He faces more than $100,000 in federal tax liens for years in private practice.



 Little Rock / Ft. Smith, AR

Jim O'Hern, a Sebastian County Arkansas District Court Judge,  currently under investigation by the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission after a December 2016 arrest in Little Rock in connection with methamphetamine being found in a hotel room he rented for his self-proclaimed escort girlfriend, is possibly facing a second investigation by the JDDC.

Russ Racop, publisher of Bad Government in Arkansas blog has filed a complaint against O'Hern and three other individuals with the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

Racop's complaint states that O'Hern and his cohorts violated Arkansas Code 7-6-203 when a monetary contribution of $3, 875 was made by Sam and Susan Fiori under the guise of a trust. 

The maximum campaign monetary contribution limit in Arkansas is $2,700.

The full complaint can be viewed by clicking here.

If found to have committed the alleged violation of Arkansas law by the Ethics Commission, O'Hern and the others named in the complaint could face a public written warning/reprimand  and a fine.