Rotten Reporting:Featureless Thug Knocks Over White Horse Tobacco Shop

At least the intrepid CaseyVaughn got a description of the events leading up to the robbery, but yet again police are asking for help identifying a person reporters stubbornly refuse to describe. Anyone else see a problem with that?

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Deputies said a man robbed a tobacco store at knife-point Tuesday morning and fled on foot, but they have yet to find him.

Greenville County deputies said the Tobacco Jungle at 3113 White Horse Rd. was robbed about 9 a.m. by a white male armed with a knife.

FOX Carolina spoke with the clerk and a cook at the K & S restaurant next door who said the power was out at the time of the robbery.

Investigators at the scene were out searching for the suspect about 9:45 a.m. and had found a knife that may have been dropped by the suspect as he fled.

The suspect took money out of the register and fled on foot, running towards Big Lots, deputies said. Deputies’ canine units went out to look for him.

The suspect had dark hair, was wearing jean shorts and a white T-shirt, deputies said.

People with dark hair narrows things down to about 65-70% of people you’ll see today so stay alert.

Update: An eagle eyed reader points out they do say the robber was White which I missed but in my defense I’m 41 and old people have bad eyesight. However even with the race this is a pretty thin description. White guy with dark hair in South Carolina doesn’t exactly narrow it down.

At Least We’re Not Chicago

Someone told me the kids in these parts were getting kind of bold. Mouthing off to people isn’t bold – planning a night of random arson is bold. Via Breitbart:

Michael Arnett and Ronald Brown: Two Evil Degenerates Caught With Child Snuff Porn

This is one of the most horrible stories I’ve ever come across. Michael D. Arnett was caught a while back when Boston authorites found child porn on some scumbags computers. That led to the discovery of his stash of child porn which included photos of his family members including one of a toddler trussed up and sitting in a roasting pan.

Yeah, this story goes where you think.

Recent reports show that Arnett was chatting with a man named Ronald William Brown online. Their favorite subject was raping, murdering and cannibalizing children:

KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) – Two men in graphic details discussed in chat rooms their desire to kidnap young children, sexually abuse them and eat them alive, federal prosecutors said in court documents.

Authorities allege they found pictures of decapitated children that had been bound and cooked on one of the men’s computer.

Other lewd pictures of children engaged in bondage were allegedly found inside the man’s home in Largo, FL, following a raid on July 19. A missing child’s flyer was allegedly found inside the home.

One of the men accused of the heinous discussions is from Roeland Park. He was working as a paramedic and was charged earlier this year.

Michael D. Arnett, then 38 years old, was accused of taking photographs of young boys with their private parts exposed. The boys were toddlers with clothes wrapped around their heads and their mouths gagged. One of the boys, who was 1 to 2 years old, was in a roasting plan displayed in an open oven, according to court documents.

Another child was in a roasting pan on the floor. Other sexually explicit photos of young boys were taken throughout Arnett’s home, according to court documents.

Family members, including the mother of one of the alleged victims, said Arnett did not do anything untoward and that the roasting pan pictures were meant to be funny.

Yeah, what’s funnier than having your relative who masturbates to dead children take novelty photos of your kids where it looks like they’re about to be cooked. The family members who defend this monster should be horsewhipped

A lot of the reports are glossing over this but authorities found pictures of decapitated children who had been roasted. I understand that Al-Qaeda is known to have done this to kids in Iraq as punishment for the families for co-operating with Americans. It’s possible that’s where the pictures come from, but I’ve got a sinking feeling we’re going to find out that these two where living out there fantasies or knew people who did. As it is one of the cretin is claiming the pictures came from Germany:

Brown repeatedly denied that he would actually kill and dismember children, but admitted to liking pictures from morgues. He said the photos of dead children came from someone he believes lives in Germany, according to court documents.

Police in Florida have come into contact with him twice before for predatory behavior but never arrested him. I’m sure they’re regretting that now.

Now for those of you with strong stomachs here’s a little example of the conversations these two were having online that Arnett’s family says is no big deal:

In one of the chat rooms, Arnett asked how a child was doing, prosecutors said.

“Sadly, he is doing well,” Brown said, according to court documents. “I wish I had him tied and gagged in the closet.”

“He would make a fine Easter feast,” Arnett allegedly replied.

The two men then proceeded to discuss graphically how they would cook him and imagine his terror before dying, according to court documents. Prosecutors said Brown asked Arnett to help him abduct and kill a child.

“I think I could handle the snuff easy,” Brown allegedly wrote. “It would be the catch and butcher that would be hard.”

Brown told authorities that he was just discussing his fantasies in a chat rooms, but “he would never really do this,” according to court documents. Brown said that Arnett was “into the killing and cannibalism of children, specifically toddlers,” according to court documents.

Yeah he’d never hurt a kid. As for that whole “I got the pictures from Germany” routine the chatlogs cast some doubt on this:

It is unclear from the court documents about whether federal prosecutors are investigating either Brown or Arnett for being involved in the deaths of children. Federal prosecutors in Kansas would only say Wednesday that their investigation of Arnett is ongoing.

Arnett allegedly described drowning a 2-year-old girl in a bathtub and her struggles to survive.

“She made a sweet little oven roast,” Arnett allegedly wrote. “She was better off being eaten anyhow rather than growing up any longer as another trailer park brat.”

Arnett advised Brown to trawl trailer parks and low-income housing complexes because they are “great breeding grounds for even small ones who aren’t as well watched,” according to court documents.

Like I said I’ve got a sinking feeling about this.

Thanks to Dodia Fae from Pagans Against Child Abuse for giving me nightmares.

14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Victimless Crime Files: 3-Year-Old Drowns While Mother Drinks

See stoners I go after the drunks too! Marian Brownfield Stringer was doing what ever mother who gets drinks in the middle of the afternoon does - neglecting her child. While drinking enough that responding officers could smell a “strong odor” of liquor coming off her Marian’s 3-year-old son ended up in her very large pool (video of the pool from the air is embedded in this WSPA report) and of course drowned. She has been charged with homicide by neglect.

Now, getting drunk is perfectly legal so let’s walk through my point about drug and alcohol use in general before people start complaining. It is the modification of behavior and perception that people who get drunk or high undergo that leads to most of these crimes not the legal status of the substance involved. People who say drug abuse is “victimless” are lying – there’s a victim dead right here.

What we need is better drug and alcohol education in this country and judging by the number of people who think they aren’t impaired while they’re drunk and high we just don’t have it. Surely that’s something all rational people can agree on?

Word on the Street: Don’t Buy Greenville Bonds

Fitch just rated the city of Greenville a AAA investment based largely on how pretty the rainbows and unicorns are in the downtown. Don’t be a sucker and buy these offerings unless you like high risk/high reward investments. First, via Reuters, we have some highlights of the report by Fitch. As you read this remember that the city of Greenville paid Fitch to make this report so Fitch is incentivize to paint a rosy picture with their data even though their report starts out by claiming Greenville has “moderately above-average” debt:

The city’s financial resources are healthy, following surplus results in four out of the past five fiscal years. Reserve levels have historically been in excess of the city’s prudent fund balance policy to maintain an unassigned fundbalance equal to no less than 20% of the following fiscal year budget. Fiscal2011 ended with a modest net surplus (after transfers) of $0.8 million or 1.3% of spending (operating expenditures and transfers out). The unrestricted fund balance (the sum of assigned, unassigned and committed fund balance under GASB 54) was $15.9 million or a strong 25.6% of spending.

Financial flexibility remains ample with modest expenditures cuts to date and stable revenue performance despite a weak national economy. The general fund revenue base consists largely of property taxes (approximately 50% of revenue) and business licenses (33%). The tax base has exhibited moderate growth through the recession, offsetting areas of revenue weakness related to economic conditions. Commercial and residential permit activity in 2012 is rebounding somewhat.

Tax collections have declined, which may be indicative of local economic and housing market strain. The city’s tax rate is competitive and has not been increased in at least the past 15 fiscal years. State law imposes a limitation on the millage levied for operational purposes to growth in the CPI and population. The limitation may be overridden in certain circumstances by vote of the city’s governing body.

So 50% of the operation budget of the city comes from property taxes which are down sharply. But hey don’t worry, the city government can vote to raise your property taxes above the rate currently allowed by state law – which would not drive people out at all!

Ready to invest?

But wait, there’s more:

Management is forecasting a $1 million addition to reserves in fiscal 2012 due to favorable variances to budget for expenditures. During the year employees received a 2 % salary increase, and the general fund restored transfers for capital which had been deferred in recent years. The city did not freeze open positions nor did it make layoffs.

The adopted fiscal 2013 budget appropriates $600,000 of general fund balance for capital projects. Fitch believes reserve levels will remain healthy despite this planned draw. The city plans to give all employees a 2% cost of living adjustment and to increase pay-go funding by approximately $1 million relative to the fiscal 2012 budget. The city has no plans to increase its millage rate.

Uh-huh. The city claims another million bucks is going to magically appear so they’re passing out raises and building a bunch of stuff. Fitch thinks this means the reserves will remain healthy. How’s that work? Because they have a magical “downtown” which is crowded with rich kids and drunks so it produces money:

The majority of recent economic development activities have focused on the redevelopment of the city’s downtown area, further enhancing its regional draw. Notably, ‘ONE,’ a $100 million downtown office and retail project, is currently under development and has secured large tenants, such as CertusBank and Anthropologie, the first national retailer to open in downtown Greenville. Fitch notes that the city’s local hospitality and accommodations taxes, which can be seen as indicators of the city’s economic activity, have proven resilient during the recession and are projected to post sizeable year-over-year gains of 9% and 11.4%, respectively, in fiscal 2012.

Economic indicators are generally positive. The city’s unemployment rate in May 2012 was 7.4%, which compares favorably to that of the nation (7.9%) and the state (9.3%). Median household income is below that of the state and nation, but per capita indicators exceed national levels.

Greenville’s local economy has diversified in recent years away from its traditional basis in manufacturing, with robust growth in professional/business services, education/health services, and leisure/hospitality. The biotech industry has grown measurably in recent years as well, through collaborative projects at the Greenville Hospital System (GHS). Once home to a two-year residency program, GHS has recently developed into a four-year medical program in conjunction with the University of South Carolina Medical School. Classes will begin in mid-September of this calendar year. GHS also houses the Institute for Oncology Research and the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas for orthopedics, both of which work extensively with local biotechnology firms on R&D in their respective medical areas.

The local economy also benefits from the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). The Center houses Clemson’s graduate automotive engineering center, a 250-acre advanced-technology research campus that is home to BMW, Michelin, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, and others that have invested over $200 million to date.

For those of you that don’t know Anthropologie is a hideously expensive version of Pier One designed to appeal to people who are extremely wealthy. It seems like a large part of the fiscal plans of Greenville rely on rich north-easterners and higher ed students. Of course both groups come to Greenville to save money so …

But here’s where the laughter starts:

Pension costs for fiscal 2011 represented an average 6.9% of spending ($4.3 million). General city employees and police officers participate in state-administered plans and firefighters in a city-administered plan. The city fully funds its pension obligation to both state plans. Annual contributions to the fire department pension plan consistently exceed the annual required contribution (ARC), however, despite this commitment the plan’s funded ratio has regressed in recent periods due to market losses. The most recent funded ratio remains satisfactory at 75% assuming a Fitch-adjusted 7% rate of return. Fitch notes that funding level for the state pension plan for general city employees is weak between 60% and 70%, applying the same 7% rate of return, which could translate to higher local contributions in the future.

Where is anyone getting a 7% rate of return these days? This entire house of cards is predicated on the imaginary returns of a booming stock market. How’s that worked out pension funds so far? If anyone out there knows where i can get 7% shoot me an email because I’ll dump everything in to it.

I’m thinking that I’d like to keep my money somewhere safer than in the bonds issued by people who think there’s some way they’re earning 7% on every dollar in this economy. You should do the same.

 

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