Raw video March 2013 from Texas, where law enforcement chased Colorado fugitive Evan Ebel and engaged him in a gunfight that ended with Ebel’s death.
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California has regained its status as a ‘magnet state,’ according to the new Allied Van Lines’ annual Magnet States Report that shows California back on the inbound list after a decade on the outbound. Once again, waves of people are moving to California for perfect weather, endless opportunities and unrestricted personal freedom — in record numbers. The 2011 Allied U.S. migration pattern tracking report shows the Golden State skyrocketing up 33 positions to #7 in the nation as the fellow magnet state of Texas shows its momentum slowing. California is the Allied report’s shocker of the year. After dismal performance on the inbound list for more than a decade (and being the #1 outbound state twice during the same period), California has made a giant leap onto the inbound list at #7. California’s dramatic turnaround back to a strong inbound state is attributed to the state’s increase in company expansions and strong overall job growth. “In the last year, one out of every six new jobs created in the U.S. was created in California, which is more than any other state in the nation,” declared Deputy Director Brook Taylor of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. California also regained its title as the “most mobile state” with 12,000 interstate moves and the biggest volume of inbound and outbound shipments by Allied Van Lines . Additionally, the company’s report shows a strong demand for moving vans by ex-Californians wanting to move back to California from many states, including Texas. “We see the news from California as a bellwether for positive movement in the future for states that have seen hard times in this economy,” said Allied Van Lines Vice President Bill Lyon , who called 2011 “a turning point year for California.” California, Here They Come! Follow this link: Migration to California Explodes
ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Delfino Aldama was fixing a customer’s brakes this month when his smartphone chimed with a text message that tipped him to a police checkpoint more than an hour before officers began stopping motorists. The self-employed auto mechanic frantically called friends with the location and drove an alternate route home. The Mexico native had reason to be alarmed: He does not have a driver’s license because he is in the United States illegally, and it would cost about $1,400 to get his Nissan Frontier pickup back from the towing company. He has breathed a little easier since he began getting blast text messages two years ago from activists who scour streets to find checkpoints as they are being set up. The cat-and-mouse game ends Jan. 1 when a new law takes effect in California to prohibit police from impounding cars at sobriety checkpoints if a motorist’s only offense is being an unlicensed driver. Thousands of cars are towed each year in the state under those circumstances, hitting pocketbooks of illegal immigrants especially hard. When Aldama’s 1992 Honda Civic was towed from a checkpoint years ago, he quit his job frying chickens at a fast-food restaurant because he had no way to make the 40-mile round trip to work. He abandoned the car rather than pay about $1,200 in fees. “A car is a necessity, it’s not a luxury,” said the 35-year-old Aldama, who lives in Escondido with his wife, who is a legal resident, and their 5-year-old son, a U.S. citizen. Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, a Los Angeles Democrat who tried unsuccessfully to restore driver licenses to illegal immigrants after California revoked the privilege in 1993, said he introduced the bill to ban towing after learning the notoriously corrupt city of Bell raked in big fees from unlicensed drivers at checkpoints. A sharp increase in federally funded sobriety checkpoints in California has fueled controversy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration paid for 2,553 checkpoints last year, which authorities say helps explain why deaths caused by drunken drivers dropped to an all-time low in the state. Police also ask for drivers’ licenses at the sobriety checkpoints. Supporters of the vehicle impounds say unlicensed drivers are also a roadside hazard and that the new law is misguided. “It’s a terrible law, really disappointing,” said Jim Maher, who sharply expanded checkpoints in Escondido after being named police chief in 2006. All but three U.S. states – New Mexico, Utah and Washington – deny driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants but controversy over checkpoints has been strongest in California. Cedillo believes that’s because a 1995 state law has allowed police to impound vehicles from unlicensed drivers for 30 days, resulting in fees that can easily top $1,000. Towing practices vary widely across the state. San Francisco allows 20 minutes to find a licensed driver to claim a vehicle at a checkpoint. The Los Angeles Police Department eased rules on 30-day impounds in March. Checkpoints have divided Escondido, a city of 144,000 people near San Diego whose Latino population has surged in the last 30 years. Latinos moved into aging neighborhoods near downtown as newer subdivisions gradually spread to avocado orchards, vineyards and citrus groves. Nearly half the signs at a big strip mall near City Hall are in Spanish. Like Hazleton, Pa., and Farmers Branch, Texas, authorities in Escondido have tackled illegal immigration on their own. In 2006, the City Council voted to require landlords to check tenants’ immigration status but a federal judge blocked the ordinance and it never took effect. Last year, Escondido police forged an unusually close alliance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has four agents at police headquarters to check the immigration status of people who are questioned at checkpoints or elsewhere. “It’s a never-ending battle,” said Concilman Ed Gallo, a New Jersey transplant who blames illegal immigration for overcrowded homes and schools. “We didn’t pay attention to it for 25 years and look what happened. It was a long, slow process.” Several residents and a labor union sued Escondido in state court this month to create City Council districts, a bid to increase Latino representation. The lawsuit says the council has pursued “aggressive anti-immigrant policies that have inflamed racial tensions.” Maher (pronounced mah-HAR’) said the partnership with ICE is aimed only at rooting out illegal immigrants who commit crimes after arriving in the United States, including being previously deported. Those whose only offense is being in the country illegally won’t be bothered by his officers, nor will any crime victims or witnesses. Police say they have turned over 670 people to ICE for immigration proceedings since the joint effort began in May 2010. Their most common offenses were previous convictions for driving under the influence and drugs, with lower numbers for theft and assault. “We certainly have enough of our own criminals. We don’t need someone else’s here,” Maher said. Escondido has impounded more than 3,200 vehicles since 2006, mostly at the federally funded sobriety checkpoints. The city had towed about 1,000 at driver-license-only checkpoints until the American Civil Liberties Union and El Grupo, a Latino advocacy group, threatened a lawsuit in 2009, contending they violated the state vehicle code. Maher insists he is targeting unlicensed drivers, not illegal immigrants or Latinos. Six towing companies each pay the city $75,000 a year to take turns at checkpoints, keeping impound fees for themselves. About one-third of the cars towed are believed to be abandoned, allowing the towing companies to auction them. “It was kind of like letting them steal cars,” said Olga Diaz, the only Hispanic on the City Council. Websites that have sprung up in the last two years quickly alert motorists to checkpoints through social media networks and smartphones, severely undermining their effectiveness. A few years ago, Escondido police impounded 50 or 60 vehicles a night. Now they typically get about 20. One of the final checkpoints before the new law takes effect was one of the slowest in memory for many of the 15 officers who stood under bright lights and encountered a December chill. Activists waved signs several blocks away, giving motorist an opportunity to turn away. Police impounded six vehicles – three for driving without a license and three for driving under the influence. Aldama, who paid a smuggler $1,300 to lead him through the mountains east of San Diego on a weeklong trek 13 years ago, was able to reach all his friends before the checkpoint began. One he didn’t call had his 1997 Ford Explorer towed at an Escondido checkpoint a few weeks earlier. The unemployed construction worker surrendered the SUV to the towing company because he couldn’t afford the fees. Link: No More Fear On The Road For Undocumented Immigrants
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The self-described right-hand man of cult leader Charles Manson, who was convicted of orchestrating the Tate-LaBianca slayings 42 years ago, has his latest parole hearing scheduled Wednesday in a California prison. Charles “Tex” Watson, 65, has been denied parole 13 times but will try again during a hearing at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, in the Sierra foothills 50 miles southeast of Sacramento. Four relatives of Watson’s victims plan to ask that his parole be denied for killing actress Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant, and four others at her Beverly Hills home on Aug. 9, 1969. The next night, he helped kill grocery owners Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. “There’s no question these were some of the most horrific crimes in California history in terms of the brutality, the multiple stab wounds, the gunshots, the large number of victims over a two-day period,” said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Sequeira. “For a group of people to just slaughter strangers in hopes of igniting a race war is extremely horrifying.” Watson’s attorney, Cheryl Montgomery, did not return repeated telephone messages. The website says he was raised in Copeville, Texas, north of Dallas, and headed to California in 1967 after dropping out of college. A brief biographical sketch on the site said Watson believed Manson “offered utopia, but in reality, he had a destructive world view, which Charles ended up believing in and acting upon. His participation in the 1969 Manson murders is a part of history that he deeply regrets.” A book he wrote while in prison is titled, “Manson’s Right-Hand Man Speaks Out!” In the past, Watson has argued that he is a changed man who has been a model prisoner and no longer is a danger to the public. He did not attend his last parole hearing in 2006 but was portrayed in a psychiatric evaluation at the time as “a very devout fundamentalist Christian … a young, naive and gullible man (who) got into drugs and bizarre company without appreciating the deviance of the company he was keeping.” Anthony DiMaria, a nephew of victim Jay Sebring, planned to contest that view of Watson and other Manson disciples. “They’ve often been portrayed as these victims of Manson, and they are killers. They’re mass murderers,” DiMaria said in a telephone interview before the hearing. He planned to attend the hearing with his mother and sister. Debra Tate also was expected to speak to the two-member panel of the California Board of Parole Hearings on behalf of her late sister, Sharon, who at the time was married to film director Roman Polanski. Watson was convicted in a separate trial after Manson and three female followers were found guilty of the seven murders. Their death sentences were commuted to life when the U.S. Supreme Court briefly outlawed the death penalty in 1972. DiMaria said his mother has considered it her mission to speak out on behalf of her brother. “I know that our family, myself included, feel no hatred, anger or vengeance toward them. We actually go out of love for the victims, and we also go out of justice. This is calculated, cold-blooded mass murder in which bodies were desecrated,” DiMaria said. “We want to bring the memories of the victims into the room as the commissioners deliberate on whether to parole the inmate.” Go here to see the original: Manson Follower Seeks Parole In California
It was Aaron Mankin’s first chance at combat in Iraq. As a part of Operation Matador, he was going door-to-door looking for traces of weapons or explosives in an effort to sweep the insurgency towards the Syrian border. On May 11, 2005, the seventh day of the mission, Mankin and 16 other marines riding inside a 26-ton track vehicle drove over a roadside bomb. “It threw us 10 feet in the air,” he said. “Seconds later, I realized I was on fire. I dove out of the back of the vehicle and dropped and rolled and rolled — so much so that I exhausted myself and just lay there burning. Thoughts of my family and friends went through my head as I laid there, waiting to die.” 6 of Mankin’s fellow marines were killed instantly by the roadside bomb. Everyone else in the vehicle was burned or otherwise wounded. Within 48 hours, Mankin had been transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and was surrounded by family and friends. “I had second and third-degree burns on both arms from my finger tips to shoulder blades. Every feature on my face was burned away,” he said. “Ears gone. Nose gone. My mouth detracted so far back that my mother had to feed me through a funnel for weeks … I wasn’t ready to look at myself for weeks. I would hold my arm up in front of my face so I could only see my eyes.” But after nearly 40 life-saving surgeries in San Antonio, Mankin was grateful to be alive and began to resign himself to looking the way that he did. And yet, he felt like he had “more to do, more to give back” — so he began speaking out about his experience. In November 2006, philanthropist Ron Katz, a board member at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and his late wife saw Mankin on CNN. “Aaron’s face was extraordinarily devastated; it was in shambles,” Katz recalled. “From all of that, which would be catastrophic to most people, there was this immense wonderful personality. He told CNN that he had gone through dozens of surgeries. When asked what he was going to do next, Aaron, with his facial skin to the bone, looked up and said, ‘I have to fix the beautiful part!’” Katz called it a “fortuitous” moment. Inspired by Mankin, Katz began to lay the groundwork for Operation Mend, a partnership program that flies patients from all over the country to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center to undergo face and hand reconstructive surgeries. “My wife and I soon realized that there were dozens of Aarons out there,” Katz said. “These men and women deserve not only the best that the Defense sector has to offer; they deserve the best that the private sector has to offer as well.” As it happened, Mankin became Operation Mend’s first patient. In September 2007, he flew to Los Angeles to begin a series of 20 facial reconstructive surgeries at UCLA. “They took the cartilage from what was left of my ears and put it onto my forehead. It looked like I had horns for several months,” Mankin said. “The cartilage became a ‘flap,’ which they peeled off, twisted over and folded down onto where my nose was supposed to be. Those horns became my nostrils. For several weeks, when I touched my new nose, I felt my forehead. Around my mouth, countless scar release procedures allowed me to have an adequate smile and eat a burger again.” Mankin also opted for prosthetic ears. “In the morning, I glue them on and, at night, I take them off,” he said. “Like contacts!” Mankin said that his new face has enabled him to be himself in public and regain a sense of who he was before his injuries occurred. Of the more than 50 other service members who have since undergone Operation Mend surgeries, he said, “Just look at their pictures and focus on the eyes. You can see a rejuvenated spirit behind those eyes.” A full-time single dad in San Antonio, Mankin lives with his 4-year-old daughter Maddie and 3-year-old son Hunter. Operation Mend “has shown my kids that Americans want to help,” he said. Mankin has another Operation Mend surgery scheduled for late November and anticipates it will be one of his last. “I guess I would say the marines, medical community, doctors and nurses saved my life,” he said. “My family kept me alive. And Operation Mend gave me a life worth living.” Operation Mend is entirely funded by private contributions; click here to donate. Katz told HuffPost that he strongly encourages any young men or women who are interested to contact the partnership. All photos courtesy of Operation Mend . The rest is here: ‘A Life Worth Living’: UCLA Gives Severely Burned Soldiers New Faces