Once the bank is surrounded by TPD officers, a SWAT team, a police helicopter and special agents from the FBI, the suspect, who "appeared irrational and terminated communication" with hostage negotiators, shoots himself in the head, according to a TPD report.
The project faces deadline problems, because the government has run into problems acquiring all of the land needed for construction of the barrier.
"Since 2006, Congress has appropriated $2.7 billion for the fence," the AP notes. "But there's no estimate on how much the entire system--the physical fence and technology--will cost to build, let alone maintain."
WARM RELATIONS: The Tucson City Council moves forward with an ordinance that would prohibit parents and caretakers from leaving children unattended in cars. The ordinance, pushed by Councilwoman Nina Trasoff, would sock anyone who leaves a young'un alone in a car with a $1,000 fine, which could be waived if the offender agrees to take a parenting class. Assistant Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor says police already can act in cases where children are in danger under state law, but Trasoff says the new ordinance removes any "gray area."
In a report released today, Interior Department Inspector General Earl E. Devaney criticizes current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service's Royalty-in-Kind program, which manages the exchange of oil and gas in lieu of cash for drilling on public lands, for "effectively opting out of the Ethics in Government Act" while steering contracts to former employees and getting themselves on the payroll of oil companies.
Delivering a very long but juicy quote, Devaney notes that his staff "discovered a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity in the RIK program--both within the program, including a supervisor, Greg Smith, who engaged in illegal drug use and had sexual relations with subordinates, and in consort with industry. Internally, several staff admitted to illegal drug use as well as illicit sexual encounters. Alcohol abuse appears to have been a problem when RIK staff socialized with industry. For example, two RIK staff accepted lodging from industry after industry events because they were too intoxicated to drive home or to their hotel. These same RIK marketers also engaged in brief sexual relationships with industry contacts. Sexual relationships with prohibited sources cannot, by definition, be arms-length."
Oh, and at one point, they considered simply rewriting ethic rules that were hamstringing their fun and games.
Did we mention that this is the office that would be overseeing those offshore oil-drilling contracts that Republicans are so eager to move forward with?
Congressman Raúl Grijalva complains: "The report released today is emblematic of the Bush administration habit of working for the benefit of big oil companies and corporations and forgetting about the middle and working class in the country. Instead of working hard to defend the interests of the American taxpayers, the Minerals Management Service under President Bush has a culture of corruption which employees used to benefit themselves and the industry they are supposed to watchdog."
*Just to be clear, LPL scientists said nothing about sentient dust devils, which is purely speculative on our part. Doesn't it seem like it would be really, really cool?