Drugs, Guns, Cash Found At Day-Care Center

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building blocks, cocaine and hand gun
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The Skinny is Keach Hagey's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.


Sure, decent child care is hard to find these days. But the Los Angeles Times has a story this morning that will make you think twice before you complain about the quality of yours.

When police raided a day-care facility in Los Angeles yesterday, they found some interesting items nestled amid the children's toys: 14 kilos of cocaine, 50 pounds of marijuana, a stash of firearms and $300,000 cash.

They arrested the owner, Maria Castellon, 47, and are holding her on $2.03-million bail. Oh yes, and then they went to the other half of the duplex she operated out of and found more bundles of cash where two children under 5 were sleeping.

But it's not as if this place - thought by police to be "a significant source for drugs sales in and around skid row" - was a complete den of iniquity. The Times reports that the narcotics stashed in suitases, a safe and a sprots bag were "neatly wrapped in parcels." Because, you know, it's never too early to teach the importance of tidiness.

19,000 Iraqi Insurgents Killed Since '03

The U.S. military learned its lesson the hard way in Vietnam: Bragging about how many enemies it kills is not a very good way of keeping up homefront support for an unpopular war. Nor are those numbers likely to be very accurate if they are forced to be the so-called benchmarks of progress.

That's why you haven't read a lot of big headlines about how many Iraqi insurgents the U.S. military has been killing - until now. USA Today requested the statistics through Freedom of Information, and today reports on the military's first disclosure of its enemy body count in Iraq: 19,429 militants killed in clashes with coalition forces since the end of the invasion in 2003.

The stats show that the surge has been "working" at least on one level: 4,882 militants were killed in clashes with coalition forces so far this year, a 25 percent increase over all of last year. However, military officials note that an increasingly large percentage of this tally (no word on how big) are suicide bombers who die with no help from American weaponry.

Probably the most interesting aspect of all this is the hint it gives to the actual size of the insurgency. And how it's been low-balled by other military leaders in the past.

Last year, Gen. John Abizaid, then commander of forces in the region, estimated the Sunni insurgency to be 10,000 to 20,000 fighters, and the Shiite militia members to be in the "low thousands."

As there are 25,000 detainees in U.S. military custody, according to the military, USA Today points out that "the numbers of enemy killed and detained would exceed the estimate given last year of the size of the insurgency."

A Moving 9/11 Survivor Tale That Turned Out To Be Bunk

The six-year anniversary is, apparently, when the gloves come off.

The New York Times has a brutal take-down of a 9/11 survivor activist whose sob story of lost love and heroic escape in the flames of the crumbling World Trace Center appears to be almost entirely bunk.

Tania Head - possibly not even her real name - sure did have a good story, though. She said she survived the terror attack on the World Trade Center despite having been badly burned when the plane crashed in the upper floors of the south tower. Crawling through the chaos, she said she encountered a dying man who handed her his wedding ring, which she later returned to his widow. Her own life was saved, she said, by a selfless volunteer who put out the flames on her clothes and carried her down the stairs.

She was only able to make it, she said, by imagining the beautiful white dress she would wear at her coming marriage to a man named Dave. But later she discovered that Dave, her fiancé, perished in the north tower, she said.

It turns out that almost none of the story could be corroborated once the Times reporters began picking it apart - nor could most of the biographical details she has put forward.

As a result of the paper's prying, this week the Survivors Network booted her from her position as president and a director of the nonprofit group. Officials at the Tribute Center said they'd no longer let her volunteer as a tour guide.

Saddest of all, the family of Dave, who refused to disclose their last name, say they've never heard of her, and none of their lost loved one's email correspondence suggests there was a relationship.


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