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BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')

01 Aug 07 - 02:51 PM (#2116716)
Subject: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This is a new thread for posting topical news stories. The long-running "I Read it in the Newspaper" was of late frequented by a very determined spammer and I see that Joe closed it earlier this week. All 834 entries in that thread are here. It contains interesting, odd, funny, or bizarre articles that a regular core of folks find in our online browsing and want to share, and I started this thread to continue the tradition.

Since it is hard to know whether online newspaper links are durable or not, I usually paste the article and add a link. If the article is very long I post an excerpt and direct readers to follow the link for the rest.

This first article comes under the heading of "they didn't talk about this in my Defensive Driving class." Some hazards are difficult to anticipate. --SRS

Driver Killed by Flying Pizza Shop Roof

August 1, 2007
A powerful wind gust blew off a section of a pizza shop roof, killing a passing motorist when it slammed into his car, state police said Wednesday.

Michael Brandon Hess, 19, of Glade Springs was traveling on Route 58 Tuesday evening when the roof and possibly remnants of an air conditioning unit landed on his Ford Mustang, Sgt. Michael Conroy said.

Conroy said he suspects the roof was ripped off by a microburst, caused by air descending from a thunderstorm. Scattered damage to some homes was also reported in this southwest Virginia community.

Hess was driving alone and was pronounced dead at the scene. There were no reports of injuries in the pizza shop, Conroy said.

01 Aug 07 - 04:30 PM (#2116794)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Georgiansilver

A man, driving his BMW estate car home after a day at the races in York, was badly injured and in shock after a pole came flying through the windscreen of his car. Andreas Pilanovic appeared from nowhere said the Manchester man who was driving the car...etc etc............

01 Aug 07 - 06:50 PM (#2116895)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

When you post an article please give the link or enough of the story so we can make sense of it. (As it happens, that is all there was of the first article I found, and it was an AP story that appeared in several places).


02 Aug 07 - 06:21 PM (#2117760)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Geordie-Peorgie

Southampton, UK


The police today named a man found dead in Pizza Hut in Hedge End.

Albert Postlethwaite (27) was found covered in tomato sauce, pepperoni, ham, pineapple and cheese.

Police are not treating the death as suspicious and think he may have topped himself

02 Aug 07 - 07:15 PM (#2117814)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

You know, this isn't quite going the way the last "I Read it in the Newspaper" thread did. We seem to be off to a slow start.

02 Aug 07 - 07:43 PM (#2117839)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Well, damn. Another zealot got another god reference in. But this is Texas, so I shouldn't be surprised. You'd think someone would have complained about this move so a few of us could have said "don't do it." My son is in high school, and I'll be writing a note that more or less says "Phuck the pledge" and gives good and lucid reasons why saying the pledge is nonsense and adding these words is an abomination.

Students must remember 'God' in Texas pledge

This year's Legislature added the phrase "one state under God" to the pledge, which is part of a required morning ritual in Texas public schools along with the pledge to the U.S. flag and a moment of silence.

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, who sponsored the bill, said it had always bothered her that God was omitted in the state's pledge.

"Personally, I felt like the Texas pledge had a big old hole in it, and it occurred to me, 'You know what? We need to fix that,' " said Riddle, R-Tomball. "Our Texas pledge is perfectly OK like it is with the exception of acknowledging that just as we are one nation under God, we are one state under God as well."

By law, students who object to saying the pledge or making the reference to God can bring a written note from home excusing them from participating.

But adding that phrase has drawn criticism from some who say it's unnecessary and potentially harmful to children who don't share the same religious beliefs. "Most Texans do not need to say this new version of the pledge in order to be either patriotic or religious," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "This is the kind of politicking of religion that disturbs many Americans, including those who are deeply religious."

The revised wording in the Texas pledge took effect on June 15, and the Texas Education Agency sent an e-mail reminding school districts about the change earlier this week.

Officials with Houston-area districts say they will notify schools and parents about the new requirement.

Rebecca Suarez, spokeswoman for the Houston Independent School District, said a letter about the change will be sent home to parents when their children return to school. And a flier with the pledge's revised wording will be sent to each campus before classes start.

Texas has had a pledge of allegiance since 1933. In 2003, the Legislature required all schools to pledge allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags and observe a moment of silence every morning at the beginning of classes.

Texas isn't the only state that has its own pledge of allegiance. Other states include Michigan, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky.

Mississippi and Louisiana mention God in their pledges. And Kentucky lays claim to being blessed with "grace from on High."

02 Aug 07 - 08:56 PM (#2117869)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: frogprince

I've been in Michigan for 23 years, and had no idea that MI or any other state had a state pledge of allegiance. What drivel.

02 Aug 07 - 09:58 PM (#2117905)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

The Canada lynx has recently been re-introduced into Colorado. Several of the cats have moved into in New Mexico, and an article about their protection appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Canada lynx

03 Aug 07 - 12:20 AM (#2117977)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Here's that story:

Groups seek more protections for lynx

ALBUQUERQUE — Conservation groups from three states are asking federal wildlife officials to provide endangered species protections for the Canada lynx throughout its range in Northern New Mexico.

The elusive, long-haired cats are federally threatened in several states in the West, but not in New Mexico. They are even considered endangered by state officials in neighboring Colorado, where more than 200 lynx have been reintroduced since 1999.

Some of the cats have drifted south into New Mexico, and conservationists argue they should be protected here as well.

The groups sent a petition seeking protections Wednesday to the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Matthew Bishop, a New Mexico attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, which is representing the conservationists.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service has never once used an artificial state boundary or county boundary or any boundary below the international level … to divide one biological grouping or population of a species," Bishop said in an interview. "This would be the first time."

Bishop said the petition seeks to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a decision on the lynx's status in New Mexico since the cats have been spotted in the state.

Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Elizabeth Slown said Wednesday that the agency had not seen the petition. She said the agency will likely have 60 days to review the document and decide if federal biologists need to do more research on whether the lynx should be listed in New Mexico.

If the agency were to deny the petition, Bishop said, his clients would immediately challenge the ruling in court. "Any decision not to protect the lynx in New Mexico would be seen as arbitrary and capricious," he said. "The lynx needs more habitat, not less."

While the Fish and Wildlife Service doesn't consider New Mexico as part of the lynx's historic range, conservationists contend in the petition that the finding is irrelevant because research shows some 80 lynx have been located in Northern New Mexico and several have been found dead in the state since the reintroduction program began in southern Colorado.

Bishop also noted lynx habitat and the snowshoe hares the cats feed on don't stop at Colorado's southern border, but continue into New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges.

"I've seen conservation maps, and it just drives you crazy. There's a straight line (at the Colorado border)," he said. "It drives you crazy because you just know that suitable habitat stretches down into New Mexico."

The groups that signed the petition include Santa Fe-based Forest Guardians; the Center for Native Ecosystems in Paonia, Colo.; Animal Protection of New Mexico; Carson Forest Watch of Llano, N.M.; Sinapu of Boulder, Colo.; and the Animal Protection Institute of Sacramento, Calif.

03 Aug 07 - 01:15 AM (#2117996)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sam L

There's enough of the flying pole story to make sense of it, just enough.

03 Aug 07 - 05:10 PM (#2118579)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

I remember from reading about the Lewis and Clark Expedition that they brought back plant and animal specimens. They tried to bring back some small animals and birds live; just two survived the trip- a prairie dog and a magpie.
I was reminded by this conservation story about the blacktailed prairie dog. Once the prairie dogs were abundant and widespread, but now only small patches of habitat are left. Again, from the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Prairie Dog

06 Aug 07 - 06:51 PM (#2120495)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Woman Lives After Pickup Plunges 150 Ft.

August 06, 2007

EL PASO, Texas - A pickup truck hit a boulder and tumbled over a 150-foot cliff, but the 71-year-old driver survived, officials said.

"It was a miracle that someone saw her vehicle," Sheriff's spokesman Rick Glancey said. "It is one of these days when God was on her side."

Helene Crosser told authorities that she was driving on Loop 375 to watch the sunrise early Sunday when her shoe fell off and got jammed beneath the brake pedal.

Crosser said she tried to pull off the road, but couldn't slow down because the shoe stopped the brake from fully working.

She was trapped in the Texas heat for seven hours until a driver spotted glint of light reflecting from afar and called 911. Authorities said Crosser didn't have a cell phone with her.

Crosser was taken to a hospital with dehydration and non-life-threatening injuries.

07 Aug 07 - 06:53 AM (#2120735)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Anne Lister

I'm sorry, I'm not going to transcribe the story because really it's summed up in the headline, but I was very taken with the way it featured in our local newspaper (the South Wales Argus):


07 Aug 07 - 10:39 AM (#2120808)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Tabster, most of these are read in online newspapers. Perhaps your local rag as an Internet component?

Anyway, here's an oddity today:

Woman Has Pencil Removed From Head
August 07, 2007

BERLIN - After being plagued for 55 years with the torment of a pencil lodged in her head, a German woman has finally had it removed.

Margaret Wegner, now 59, was 4 years old when she fell while carrying the 3.15 inch-long pencil, which went through her cheek and into her brain.

"It bored right through the skin and disappeared into my head," Wegner told Germany's best-selling newspaper, Bild. "It hurt like crazy."

At the time the technology did not exist to safely remove the pencil, so Wegner had to live with it - and the chronic headaches and nosebleeds that it brought - for the next five-and-a-half decades.

But on Friday, Dr. Hans Behrbohm, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Berlin's Park-Klinik Weissensee, was able to use modern techniques to identify the exact location of the pencil so that he could accurately determine that the risks of removing it, and then take most of it out.

The operation was particularly difficult because of the way the pencil had shifted as Wegner grew, Behrbohm told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"This was something unique because the trauma was so old," said Behrbohm, who has also operated to remove bullets from the brains of shooting victims, and glass from the brains of people involved in car accidents.

Though a 0.79-inch piece of the pencil could not be removed, Behrbohm said it does not present a danger.

And now Wegner, the wife of German boxing coach Ulli Wegner, will no longer have the headaches and nosebleeds, and her sense of smell should also return soon, Behrbohm said.

"She shouldn't suffer any longer," he said.

07 Aug 07 - 10:56 AM (#2120819)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Eight-million-year-old bug is alive and growing

12:12 07 August 2007

An 8-million-year-old bacterium that was extracted from the oldest known ice on Earth is now growing in a laboratory, claim researchers.

If confirmed, this means ancient bacteria and viruses will come back to life as ice melts due to global warming. This is nothing to worry about, say experts, because the process has been going on for billions of years and the bugs are unlikely to cause human disease.

Kay Bidle of Rutgers University in New Jersey, US, and his colleagues extracted DNA and bacteria from ice found between 3 and 5 metres beneath the surface of a glacier in the Beacon and Mullins valleys of Antarctica. The ice gets older as it flows down the valleys and the researchers took five samples that were between 100,000 and 8 million years old.

They then attempted to resuscitate the organisms in the oldest and the youngest samples. "We tried to grow them in media, and the young stuff grew really fast. We could plate them and isolate colonies," says Bidle. The cultures grown from organisms found in the 100,000-year-old ice doubled in size every 7 days on average.

08 Aug 07 - 10:12 AM (#2121661)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: GUEST,Shimrod

'The Independent' (UK newspaper), 8th Aug 2007


"...the Yangtze river dolphin which today is declared extinct. It is the first large mammal to be wiped from the planet for 50 years, and only the fourth entire mammal family (sic) to disappear in 500 years. And it was driven to its death by mankind ..."

" After more than 20 million years on the planet, the Yangtse river dolphin is today officially declared extinct, the first species of cetacean (whale, dolphin or porpoise) to be driven from this planet by human activity.
An intensive six-week search by an international team of marine biologists involving two boats that ploughed up and down the world's busiest river last December failed to find a single specimen."

"The Yangtse fresh-water dolphin was a remarkable creature that separated from all other species so many millions of years ago, and had become so distinct, that it qualified as a mammal family in its own right."

Apparently, the last captive specimen died in 2002.

08 Aug 07 - 11:24 AM (#2121700)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Thanks for posting that.

It seems like we must have driven some other cetaceans from the planet before this. Quite a few are hovering at the brink, but I thought humans had offed a few in the early 20th century. Hmmmm. Will have to look into that.


08 Aug 07 - 02:58 PM (#2121896)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Linguistic phenomenology from Scientific

"The Simpsons Movie debuted this weekend to higher-than-expected sales, bearing testament to the show's enduring popularity. If you needed any convincing that after 18 years on the air The Simpsons has thoroughly penetrated the popular consciousness, consider the following usage of the word "embiggen," one of the many fine references with which one Simpsons fan can detect another.

The term comes from the 1996 episode Lisa the Iconoclast, in which we learn that a young Jebediah Springfield is supposed to have spoken it after wrestling a bison, or "land cow."

Jebediah: [on film] A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

Edna: Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield!

Ms. Hoover: I don't know why. It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Here is the word in a rather different context:

"While in both cases for P anti-D3-branes the probe approximation is clearly not good, in the set up of this paper we could argue that there is a competing effect which can overcome the desire of the anti-D3s to embiggen, namely their attraction towards the wrapped D5s. Hence, also on the gravity side, the non-supersymmetric states would naively be meta-stable."

That's string theory-ese, for the uninitiated.

This passage comes from a paper by Stanford University physicist Shamit Kachru and three colleagues, entitled (duh) Gauge/gravity duality and meta-stable dynamical supersymmetry breaking. [Hat tip to by way of the illustrious Chris Mims.]

String theory is physicists' best guess at how to unify quantum mechanics with gravity, which ought to be swell for understanding what happens inside black holes and before the big bang, as well as why nature has the different forces it does. Unfortunately, researchers have had a hard time putting it to the test because it is consistent with many different possible universes, of which more later.

I emailed Kachru, one of the most prominent younger researchers working on string theory, to get the back-story. Here's what he told me, in Q-and-A form. (Hint: it only has to do with the biggest development in string theory in the last 10 years.)

SA: How did you come across the word embiggen?

SK: I first came across this word in "The Simpsons," a source of knowledge for all serious theoretical physicists. It was used in the sentence "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." So by context I assume it means "to enlarge or expand in size."

The passage deals with something called a D-brane. What is that, exactly, and why is it important?

"You can imagine two types of strings, closed loops and "open strings" (like jump ropes, with two ends). The open strings can only end on objects called D-branes, which are objects in the theory that can have any spatial dimension from 0 (a point) to 9 (filling all 10 spacetime dimensions). So e.g. a 2-brane is like a sheet of paper, on which open strings are allowed to end.

In many string theories, although gravity arises "for free," the only way to get gauge interactions [i.e., other forces--ed.] analogous to electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces, is by having D-branes present in the vacuum [meaning spacetime].

A 3-brane could fill all of our observed 3 spatial dimensions, and if the right gauge interactions arise on it from careful study of the open strings, we could even imagine that we live on such a D3 brane.

Later, in my research (starting in [this 2001 paper]), I encountered a phenomenon where D-branes in certain string backgrounds [or shapes of spacetime] like to expand into "larger" D-branes (which is known in general as the Myers effect). A rough analogue is the behavior of an atom in an electric field: although the atom is electrically neutral, the field polarizes the constituent electrons and protons, and pulls the atom apart a little bit, making it bigger. (I.e. there is [what is called] a dipole moment [or an overall separation of positive and negative charge]).

Similarly, D-branes in string theory can carry dipoles of higher D-brane charges. The relevant case for us was that a D3 brane can carry D5 dipole charge; in the right circumstances, background fields (analogous to the electric field above) then cause it to "expand" into a D5 brane wrapping some two-dimensional curve in the geometry.

You can see that in this situation, it is ideal to use the phrase "...the
anti-D3 brane embiggens into a D5 brane wrapping..." and that is roughly the context in which we used the phrase."

08 Aug 07 - 03:23 PM (#2121919)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The search continues for a 350-pound brown bear that escaped overnight from an Ontario zoo.

The Niagara Regional Police say it happened shortly before midnight at ZooZ Animal Zoo in Stevensville.

The bear, named "Willy," is a five-year-old brown bear, not a 700-pound grizzly bear as first reported by police.

Police, employees from ZooZ and a local veterinarian are all on scene assisting in the search.

A helicopter from the Niagara County Sheriff's Department is also in the air looking for the bear.

Niagara Regional Police say they are holding a tight perimeter around the zoo and that there have been no confirmed sightings since early Wednesday morning.

The owner of the zoo said the bear escaped sometime after 11pm, and was soon spotted by a resident who lives nearby.

She notified police.

The zoo owner said the cage the bear escaped from has a 9-foot fence, with an electric fence inside it as well.

She wouldn't say if the fence was damaged.

The zoo owner they don't believe the bear is dangerous to humans, because he's primarily a vegetarian.

However, police are advising people not to approach the bear and bring pets inside.

08 Aug 07 - 03:43 PM (#2121936)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Woman runs over driving instructor

Published August 6, 2007

NAPLES, FL - A man giving a 30-year-old woman a driving lesson had to be airlifted to a hospital after the woman accidentally ran over him, the Collier County Sheriff's Office said.

David Tanner, 51, was teaching Victoria Hosner how to drive Thursday night when she accidentally hit the gas pedal and accelerated backward, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Tanner was standing near the vehicle and was knocked to the ground. Victoria Hosner then ran over Tanner's leg.

"It was totally an accident," Victoria Hosner's husband, David Hosner, said.

Victoria Hosner continued to drive in reverse and caused about $6,000 worth of damage, authorities estimated.

Tanner was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers. He was discharged by Sunday, according to hospital records.

A deputy thought Hosner's eyes were bloodshot and her breath smelled of alcohol, according to the Sheriff's Office. A test measured her blood-alcohol level at .146, above .08, at which the state presumes a driver impaired.

Hosner faces charges of driving under the influence, three counts of driving under the influence with damage to property or to a person and driving without a license.

She was released on $4,250 bail Friday, according to jail records.

08 Aug 07 - 04:46 PM (#2121992)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That's a strange one, isn't it? You'd think the instructor would notice sometime like that before he even lets her in the car.

The bear, named "Willy," is a five-year-old brown bear, not a 700-pound grizzly bear as first reported by police.

A brown bear IS a grizzly bear, the brown bears on Kodiak Island are a subset of the grizzly group. (I think it's Kodiak Island where they are found).


08 Aug 07 - 04:56 PM (#2122000)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Yes, you would think the instructor would have noticed she was drunk.

I like that she was charged with driving without a licence.

09 Aug 07 - 06:44 AM (#2122355)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JennyO

I'm wondering what he was doing outside the car. Surely as a driving instructor, he should be inside the car, next to her. A learner driver isn't allowed to drive without a licensed driver next to them, isn't this so? It certainly is here in Oz. The instructor might be in trouble too.

09 Aug 07 - 08:39 AM (#2122413)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie

"A learner driver isn't allowed to drive without a licensed driver next to them, isn't this so?
That'll be why she was charged with driving without a licence, I suppose...

09 Aug 07 - 09:18 AM (#2122431)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

I'm guessing he either had not yet gotten into the car or had stepped out for a moment. No, you are not supposed to drive w/o the instructor in a case like this. Of course you are not supposed to drive while drunk in any case. You aren't supposed to run over things to the tune of $6,000 in damage either.

I wonder if he is a professional driving instructor or just a friend doing her a favor. Either way, running over the instructor isn't a very good idea.

09 Aug 07 - 11:02 AM (#2122485)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: jeffp

Heard on NPR this morning. Sorry the details escape me, but a turtle escaped from its cage in a zoo, sparking a 7-hour search. The turtle was found 20 yards from its cage. It must have been running as fast as it could.

09 Aug 07 - 11:11 AM (#2122492)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I found a link to the story here:

A Tortoise's Great Escape

Morning Edition, August 9, 2007 · A rare tortoise disappeared from a Virginia zoo. It's not clear whether a visitor freed it or it slipped out on its own, but it was gone. The Burmese Mountain Tortoise raced away with the speed a tortoise is famous for. Zoo staff found it seven hours later in a patch of bamboo just 20 yards from its pen.

09 Aug 07 - 11:35 AM (#2122508)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: jeffp

That's the one. Thanks Stilly!

09 Aug 07 - 11:38 AM (#2122509)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Sounds like they used the same search method my boys do.

09 Aug 07 - 02:15 PM (#2122626)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Yeah--walk around long enough and you'll trip over what you were looking for. My 15-year-old employs that method.

09 Aug 07 - 07:28 PM (#2122804)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

In other news news, a courageous group of enterprising idealists is starting a RealNews network which promises intelligence and timely reports on the world unsuppressed by large commercial interests.

I like their style.


11 Aug 07 - 06:50 AM (#2123590)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: TheSnail

"Explorer John Blashford-Snell has just returned from an expedition into the Bolivian jungle in search of a 5-mile wide meteorite crater and an extraordinary looking dog."

I say. I say. My dogs got two noses.
How does it smell?
Bloody marvellous.

13 Aug 07 - 09:05 PM (#2124895)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm not finding anything at that link. It apparently changes daily, isn't durable. I looked him up. Here is a link: Very interesting. Double the nose prints on the glass door at his house!

Double-nosed dog not to be sniffed at

Explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell has had close encounters with vampire bats and angry bees, but his latest brush has been with a rather odd dog. He spotted a rare breed of Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound, which has two noses, on a recent trip to Bolivia. The chairman of the Scientific Exploration Society said the dog, named Xingu, was "not terribly handsome".

He said: "This breed could be used for sniffing out mines or narcotics because they have an enhanced sense of smell."

Colonel Blashford-Snell first encountered a Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound called Bella in 2005 when he was carrying out reconnaissance for this year's expedition in the area near Ojaki. He told Radio 4's Today programme: "While we were there, sitting by the fire one night, I saw an extraordinary-looking dog that appeared to have two noses. "I was sober at the time, and then I remembered the story that the legendary explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett came back with in 1913 of seeing such strange dogs in the Amazon jungle. "Nobody believed him, they laughed him out of court."

The dog seen two years ago was Bella, and on a second trip to the area, which began in May and has just ended, the explorer discovered her son Xingu in the village of Ojaki. He had just produced a litter of puppies with a bitch that had a single nose. Two of their offspring had double noses, and two had the normal quantity, but the double-nosed pups died after three days.

A veterinary expert with the group examined Xingu to see if he had a cleft palate, but this was not the case. "There is a chance that these dogs came from a breed with double noses that's known in Spain as Pachon Navarro, which were hunting dogs at the time of the Conquistadors," said Colonel Blashford-Snell. "I think it's highly likely some of these were taken to South America and they continued to breed. They're good hunting dogs." He added that Xingu was "quite an aggressive little chap" who stood about 16 inches in height and loved salt biscuits but "wasn't a terribly handsome dog".

Xingu's best friend is apparently a wild pig called Gregory, and the two animals "rule the roost" in their village. "Other dogs snarl at Xingu, because they can sense he's different. He's the smallest dog there but he sees the other dogs off," Colonel Blashford-Snell said. "He's very intelligent and with a wonderful sense of smell, as you might think. "The Bolivian Army came and took DNA samples because they're interested in the breed. He's not the only dog like this, there are others in the area."

The Scientific Exploration Society was in Bolivia to investigate a shallow crater about five miles in width. According to Colonel Blashford-Snell, he has now found evidence that this was caused by a giant meteorite, which struck the Bolivian Amazon Basin up to 30,000 years ago.

He says he has found evidence of human habitation within 50 miles of the blast zone, and believes these people were wiped out as a result of the meteor's impact.

The explorers also carried with them a church organ from Dorset as a gift to local Bolivians in order to secure their help with finding the meteorite.

- - - -

That was quite a remarkable trip! First the dog, then the crater, then the organ transplant!

13 Aug 07 - 09:08 PM (#2124897)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I originally pulled out this thread to post the following story. No point in adding it to the double-nose one, it would get lost in there.

This from my local paper today:

Playground fire prompts Arlington schools to action

ARLINGTON -- School Superintendent Mac Bernd has called a 3 p.m. news conference today to brief the public on what the district is calling the "critical issue" of spontaneous combustion of engineered wood fiber on playgrounds. [I'll say!]

On Thursday, playground equipment was melted by the heat of a small fire on the playground at Anderson Elementary School in east Arlington. Though the fire was quickly extinguished, school and fire officials are addressing the unusual circumstances that caused the play surface to spontaneously combust.

Check back for more details.

You bet! We don't want to see another headline "Child dies of smoke inhalation while on the playground."


13 Aug 07 - 09:43 PM (#2124912)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: dick greenhaus

And the Ontario paper today had the headline: Bush loses "Brain"

13 Aug 07 - 10:09 PM (#2124927)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: frogprince

Was that his left brain, or his right brain? Which side did Rove sit on, and which side was Cheney on?

13 Aug 07 - 10:39 PM (#2124937)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Cougar breaks into jewelry store.

This story, "Officers nab cougar in Plaza shop, was printed in the Santa Fe New Mexican, August 12, 2007.
I have shortened the article.

This happened in downtown Santa Fe, not in the outskirts. About one AM, police got word of a big cat roaming downtown. Officers located the cougar inside a jewelry store on the Plaza after finding a large hole in the glass door of the store. An officer confronted the cat in a dark hallway and fired a slug from a 12-gauge shotgun. The police retreated and called the State Dept. of Game and Fish. The Game and Fish Officer, John Zamora, drove two hours from Tierra Amarilla. He found the cat in the last stall of a restroom. No blood, so the shotgun had missed.
He loaded his dartgun, crawled into the restroom to about eight feet of the cougar. Zamora said he had to lay flat on his stomach so he could shoot under the stall door. He hit him in the shoulder area.
The cat reacted wildly to the dart, tranquilizer darts explode on impact to drive the drugs into the animal. Zamora and a policeman raced to get out and closed the door.
After 15 minutes, the 100 pound cat was tranquilized and placed in a large dog kennel.
Zamora took the cat back to a wilderness area near Chama, some 2 hours north and west of Santa Fe, where it was tagged and released into the wild.

Why a jewelry store? A cafe two doors down.

13 Aug 07 - 11:11 PM (#2124950)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

It was a female.


14 Aug 07 - 12:35 AM (#2124984)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

More (not "the rest") of the story:

'Spontaneous' fire prompts AISD to close 20 playgrounds

ARLINGTON -- Arlington school district officials on Monday closed playgrounds at 20 elementary campuses after an unusual spontaneous combustion fire on a playground at Anderson Elementary School last week, officials said. Fire officials say the sudden blaze originated in the soft wood fiber surface underneath the play structures.

School Superintendent Mac Bernd said the district will replace all wood-chip playgrounds in the district with pea gravel within two weeks. Bernd, who called a news conference on Monday to announce the closings, said that no children were at the playground when the fire broke out, and that warning signals would have included heat, discoloration of the surface and finally smoke before flames would have broken out.

Bernd said the Anderson playground equipment, which was constructed of metal and plastic components, melted and has to be replaced.

The equipment sustained about $35,000 in damage. The district will pay another $200,000 to replace the wood fiber with pea gravel, Bernd said.

Fire department and school district officials reviewed surveillance video of the fire and determined that it was not caused by vandalism or arson, but spontaneous combustion, Bernd said. Officials likened the fire to the combustion that can occur with organic material in a compost pile if it is not turned regularly. The material on the ground at the school became saturated with rainwater over the summer, then began to decompose under the elevated summer heat. As the temperature climbed on Thursday afternoon it ignited the dry chips on the surface.

"It was a very unusual occurrence," Bernd said.

Arlington Deputy Fire Marshal Keith Ebel called it a "perfect storm" of circumstances. "Everything had to be just right for this to occur," he said.

- - - - -

This isn't surprising at all. I have to clean the wet grass out from under my mower before I put it away because I can smell it composting in the garage otherwise (and it rusts out the mower). With this odd weather year, a compost fire burning down the garage would round out the weird season!


14 Aug 07 - 04:19 AM (#2125056)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas


Booze shortage dampens spirits in Bali

Import problems has hotels, bars on Indonesian resort island worrying

Updated: 1:11 p.m. CT Aug 13, 2007
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Hotels and bars on Indonesia's resort island of Bali have been hit by an alcohol shortage due to an import problem, officials said Monday.

The tourism industry is worried that the shortages could impact the number of foreign visitors, said Djinaldi Gosana, executive director of the Bali Hotel Association.

Tourism in the predominantly Hindu island of Bali in mostly Muslim Indonesia is starting to recover after suicide bombers attacked the island in October 2005, killing 20 people. The attacks came after more than 200 died in nightclub bombings by Islamic militants in 2002.
A trade ministry official said the state-owned firm responsible for importing alcohol for hotels and restaurants had not applied for quotas, which must be renewed every six months. The official, who declined to be identified, did not elaborate.

Bali's Denpasar Post newspaper reported that the shortages followed the discovery of an alcohol smuggling ring using falsified duty stamps.

"Our members are complaining of a shortage of wines and spirits over the past two months. Apparently there's a reorganization at the customs department after the discovery of a smuggling ring," Gosana said, adding he was not clear if other parts of Indonesia were also affected.

He said some outlets on the resort island had been forced to close because of the shortage.

"It's an even bigger blow for hotels that offer all-inclusive packages. Their reputation is suffering," he said.

According to government data, tourist arrivals in Bali rose 34 percent to 781,059 in the first half of 2007 from a year ago.
The island will host a number of major international meetings this year, including a key U.N. conference on climate change in December.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited

Let's all drink one for them ... (?)


14 Aug 07 - 09:57 AM (#2125181)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: frogprince

Ya know...I'm not a prohibitionist; I have a drink now and again. But: if anyone cancels plans to spend vacation (or "holiday") time in some beautiful, exotic place, because the supply of alcohol there might be limited, I think it says something about his priorities, if not about his denial of an alcohol problem.

14 Aug 07 - 10:07 AM (#2125185)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: bobad

"And I don't have a drinking problem, 'cept when I can't get a

Tom Waits - Bad Liver And A Broken Heart

14 Aug 07 - 10:53 AM (#2125204)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Japanese biker fails to notice missing leg

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- A Japanese biker failed to notice his leg had been severed below the knee when he hit a safety barrier, and rode on for 2 km (1.2 miles), leaving a friend to pick up the missing limb.

The 54-year-old office worker was out on his motorcycle with a group of friends in the city of Hamamatsu, west of Tokyo, on Monday, when he was unable to negotiate a curve in the road and bumped into the central barrier, the Mainichi Shimbun said.

He felt excruciating pain, but did not notice that his right leg was missing until he stopped at the next junction, the paper quoted local police as saying.

The man and his leg were taken to hospital, but the limb had been crushed in the collision, the paper said.

14 Aug 07 - 11:19 AM (#2125222)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: frogprince

"I'm a three-legged man, with a two-legged woman,
Being chased accross the country, by a one-legged fool..."

14 Aug 07 - 12:44 PM (#2125278)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

He must have coasted that distance. And he didn't stop with such excruciating pain? There's more to this story than made it into the papers, methinks.


14 Aug 07 - 12:52 PM (#2125285)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

"There's more to this story than made it into the papers, methinks."

Could be. I have to think I would have stopped to see what had happened if I suffered excruciating pain like that. Especially if the pain was from running into something. I have tried to picture the scene, it conjures an odd image.

That is all there was in the article, though. It was a short article so I just copied the whole thing rather than adding a link. It came from

14 Aug 07 - 01:22 PM (#2125321)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: EBarnacle

I wonder what a tox screen would have shown.

14 Aug 07 - 01:42 PM (#2125337)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage


14 Aug 07 - 01:47 PM (#2125342)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Didn't have to be coasting -- he was on a motorcycle where acceleration is controlled by the hand.


14 Aug 07 - 02:07 PM (#2125365)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Okay, after the first reference to "biker" I skimmed it and thought bicycle. Makes slightly more sense. But not stopping? I'd still check the lab work.

On another note: Women hunting men poaching bears.

Two Silvana men arrested in bear-hunting case
August 14, 2007

VERLOT - She sniffed them out. The sickly sweet smell of rancid oil deep in the woods was the first clue. The discovery of corn, oats and barley in bear scat was confirmation. There were hunters illegally using bait to lure black bears.

Deep in the woods as the sun set Friday night, state Fish & Wildlife officers Julie Cook and Jennifer Maurstad tracked down their quarry. One man was up a tree on a hunting stand, another about 50 yards away. The pair, both from Silvana and in their 40s, were arrested for allegedly bear-bait hunting.

"This is a very effective manner of hunting bears, but it is illegal," Cook said. In bait hunting, animals are lured to an area with aromatic food, then ambushed by nearby hunters. Bear bait typically is sweet and high in fat. Doughnuts are often used.

Unfortunately for the hunters, bear-bait hunting is illegal in all but 10 states, Cook said. "Bear baiting is egregiously unsporting and inhumane and violators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said Andrew Page, spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States.

The society tries to get states to ban bear-baiting or at least phase out the practice. It's been outlawed in Washington since 1996. But bear baiting allows hunters to avoid killing sows with cubs, according to enthusiast Web sites.

Still, bait hunting can acclimate bears to human food, Cook said. Once a bear becomes used to the taste, it continues to seek it out, often putting people at risk. Typically, the bear then needs to be killed. "If they start showing up at campgrounds and are aggressive," they need to be put down, Cook said.

Since Aug. 1, state game officers have been looking for bait hunters east of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway. "It's bear season, and we've had complaints about bait hunters in the past," Cook said. About a week ago, she saw evidence not far from Coal Lake Road: rancid, used fryer oil smeared near the base of trees, then licked clean by the bears. There also were empty beer cans, which were not bear bait.

Every morning and evening Cook patrolled the area looking for signs of hunters. On Friday, a pickup truck was parked at a trailhead. Along with Maurstad, the officers set out for their catch.

Tracking armed hunters deep in the woods is terrifying, Cook said. "We're out in the middle of nowhere with no backup," she said. The armed officers quietly approached and then started making lots of noise, so the hunters didn't mistake them for an animal. "Police!" the officers shouted. The men were taken into custody without incident.

Officers seized their expensive hunting bows, an oil can filled with oats and rancid grease, and their Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. They also found a wheelbarrow smeared with blood, and in the truck's bed, the windpipe from a slain animal. There was a sticker on the back of the truck cab advertising PETA: "People Eating Tasty Animals." The men told officers they hadn't taken a bear, but evidence suggests otherwise, Cook said. The men claimed they had hauled an animal for another hunter.

Cook said the men knew what they were doing was wrong, but they had the opportunity and were going to take it. They wanted a prize animal, she said. "It's very selective," Cook said. State Fish & Wildlife agents continue to investigate. More people may be involved, Cook said.

Bear-bait hunting is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and thousands of dollars in fines, said Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Randy Lambert. People also are banned from hunting in most Western states for two years. For every bear a hunter kills illegally, they are assessed a mandatory $2,000 fine.

Cook, who has been a wildlife agent for 16 years, said it's a once-in-a-blue-moon experience to catch poachers still in their stands, up in a tree. Typically, tracking people illegally hunting can take weeks and months. "It was really satisfying and exciting to catch them in only a week," she said. As for anyone considering using bait to catch a prize bear, Cook has a warning. "You never know when the game warden is watching."

14 Aug 07 - 08:54 PM (#2125647)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Re the Arlington story- One wing of an apartment complex not far from my neighbourhood burned, and about 80 people are homeless in a city with almost no vacancies. At first, a barbecue unit was thought to be to blame, but investigators found that spontaneous combustion of peat moss had been the cause. Several fires each summer are caused by improperly stored peat moss.

15 Aug 07 - 01:17 AM (#2125758)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I did a doubletake on your remarks, Q--I grew up in Washington near Silvana, which is near the town of Arlington. But now I work in Arlington, Texas. At least, now, as an adult, I'm not confused about which Arlington George Washington was from. :)

The state (Texas) has been running big convoys of equipment to do Interstate highway road work now, lots of flashing lights and traffic routed off onto fewer lanes or the shoulder, and various police vehicles embedded with the convoy that includes large vehicles to act as buffers and lots of flashing lights. It doesn't seem to have helped this poor guy much:

Road worker injured by car
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A road construction worker in McKinney was severely hurt early this morning when he was struck by a vehicle on the city's north side, police said. The incident was reported at about 1:15 a.m. on southbound U.S. 75 near its intersection with Bloomdale Road on the north side of McKinney, a police dispatcher said.

KRLD radio reported that a woman lost control of her vehicle and hit the worker, who landed in hot asphalt.

The station reported that the woman tried to flee, but the man's fellow workers stopped her and turned her over to police, who found a beer can in her vehicle.

The woman failed a field sobriety test and was taken to jail, KRLD reported.

15 Aug 07 - 07:39 AM (#2125902)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: TheSnail

Stilly River Sage

I grew up in Washington near Silvana, which is near the town of Arlington. But now I work in Arlington, Texas. At least, now, as an adult, I'm not confused about which Arlington George Washington was from. :)

Couldn't resist bringing this in from another thread.

Arlington is in East Sussex, England, a few miles from Wilmington about twelve miles east of Lewes.

I think William Penn lived around here for a while.

15 Aug 07 - 09:01 PM (#2126552)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: GUEST,petr

a few years ago.. here in Vancouver someone was cleaning the ovens in a pizza shop (with gasoline), the fumes ignited and the explosion blew out the windows and blew the employee into the street. (minor injuries)
the place was called aptly enough Dynamite Pizza..

17 Aug 07 - 05:30 PM (#2128211)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Mother cuts off 61-year-old son's allowance

ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- A Sicilian mother took away her 61-year-old son's house keys, cut off his allowance and hauled him to the police station because he stayed out late.

Tired of her son's misbehavior, the pensioner in the central Sicilian city of Caltagirone turned to the police to "convince this blockhead" to behave properly, La Sicilia, one of Sicily's leading newspapers, reported on Thursday. The son responded by saying his mother did not give him a big enough weekly allowance and did not know how to cook.

"My son does not respect me, he doesn't tell me where he's going in the evenings and returns home late," the woman was quoted as saying. "He is never happy with the food I make and always complains. This can't go on."

Police helped the squabbling duo make up and the two returned home together, with the son's house keys and daily allowance restored. Most Italian men still live at home late into their 30s, enjoying their "mamma's" cooking, washing and ironing. E-mail to a friend

17 Aug 07 - 06:42 PM (#2128244)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Becca72

And here I thought his career ended because he can't act his way out of a paper bag...

Seagal says FBI probe ruined career Fri Aug 17, 3:11 PM ET

Steven Seagal, whose action movies once were major box-office attractions, believes false allegations by FBI agents ruined his career, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday.

The comments in the Times are the first Seagal has made publicly about an investigation begun some five years ago by the FBI into accusations he intimidated a reporter and had ties to organized crime.

The Times said Seagal is demanding an apology from the FBI. A spokesman for the actor was not immediately available on Friday.

"False FBI accusations fueled thousands of articles saying that I terrorize journalists and associate with the Mafia," Seagal told the newspaper. "These kinds of inflammatory allegations scare studio heads and independent producers -- and kill careers."

Seagal, 56, was once a major star of action movies such as 1992's "Under Siege," which earned $156 million at worldwide box offices, but now he makes straight-to-DVD releases such as "Flight of Fury and "Attack Force."

The FBI investigation stemmed from Seagal's ties to former private detective Anthony Pellicano, who once was employed by many Hollywood stars, directors and producers, but is now in federal prison awaiting trial on wire-tapping and other charges.

The Pellicano investigation dates to 2002 when a free-lance reporter for the Los Angeles Times found a dead fish, a red rose and a note saying "Stop!" on her car. At the time, the reporter was researching Seagal and a former business partner.

Seagal told the Times that he and Pellicano had not been on speaking terms since the 1990s and the Times' story said his lawyers told FBI agents that by 2002, Seagal and Pellicano had become rivals in a bitter legal dispute.

The actor said in October 2004, an FBI official told him that federal agents knew he had nothing to do with the Pellicano investigation. Still, Seagal claims they have not publicly exonerated him.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment "because of the ongoing nature of the investigation" and referred calls to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney was not immediately available to comment.

18 Aug 07 - 12:01 AM (#2128365)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This one doesn't merit its own thread, no point in attacking the child, even if she had the bad luck/taste to be born into the Bush family. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as they say:

Jenna gonna wed ex-Rove intern

WASHINGTON - Wild Jenna Bush is getting married - to a former Karl Rove intern!

The 25-year-old First Daughter was engaged Wednesday to Henry Hager, 29, a former White House and Commerce Department aide and son of Virginia's Republican Party chairman.

Hager, who also worked for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, popped the question in Maine, where Jenna is staying at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport. Twin sister Barbara, who is still single, also was seen at the compound recently.

A White House statement yesterday said, "No wedding date has been set."

It could be a lengthy engagement, since Hager returns to the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business this fall.

"He's a great guy," said a Bush insider who first met Hager when he was an intern working for Rove. "He had a lot of friends at the White House, the campaign and over at Commerce."

see the rest at the link.

18 Aug 07 - 01:23 PM (#2128646)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Feds pay $80,000 to pair arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts
The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The federal government has agreed to pay $80,000 to a Texas couple arrested and charged with trespassing in 2004 after they refused to cover up homemade T-shirts with anti-Bush slogans.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, announced the settlement on Thursday.

The Ranks were handcuffed, removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at the state Capitol and held in police custody for between one and two hours.

"This settlement is a real victory not only for our clients but for the First Amendment," said Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of West Virginia. "As a result of the Ranks' courageous stand, public officials will think twice before they eject peaceful protesters from public events for exercising their right to dissent."

An order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

"We are pleased that this matter has been concluded," said White House spokesman Blair Jones. "The parties understand that this settlement is a compromise of disputed claims to avoid the expenses and risks of litigation and is not an admission of fault, liability, or wrongful conduct."

The recent revelation of the existence of a presidential advance manual made it clear that the government tries to exclude dissenters from the president's presidential appearances, the ACLU said in a prepared statement. "As a last resort," the manual says, "security should remove the demonstrators from the event."

The front of the Ranks' T-shirts bore the international symbol for "no" superimposed over the word "Bush." The back of Nicole Rank's T-shirt said "Love America, Hate Bush." On the back of Jeffery Rank's T-shirt was the message "Regime Change Starts at Home."

Jeffery Rank, who was a Republican who disagreed with Bush, said he found it ironic that the government manual encourages event organizers to use young Republicans as "rally squads to oppose messages like ours at presidential appearances." Rank has since changed his party affiliation, the ACLU notes in its release.

19 Aug 07 - 04:37 PM (#2129273)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

From the Herald (Everett, WA), Aug. 19, 2007


The fiddler on the sidewalk

EVERETT - Sometimes it's a melancholy tune that drifts on the breeze outside the Snohomish County courthouse. But wait a while and hear it shift to a hopeful reel, something almost foot-stomping. Trace it back to its source and you'll find Fred Weisz.

His eyes are focused in concentration. He wrings music from four passive strings. The violin sings. The melodies are simple. His violin case stands open. "Tips appreciated." Two women huddle and search their purses. They muster $10.

"Oh wow ... thank you so much!" Weisz said, surprised by their generosity. After they leave, he says, "That's great. That'll buy, well, almost ... I'm trying to make enough today to buy my vitamins. That really helps." Few would suspect that Fred Weisz is an urban folk legend. And playing tunes on a downtown Everett sidewalk is a long way from playing on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Forced to play

Weisz had little choice but to play the violin. "My parents were from Vienna and loved music and the violin," Weisz said. "My father forced me into playing the violin." Weisz was born in 1944 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, a safe harbor after his Jewish parents fled Vienna in 1938. Adolf Hitler had joined Germany and Austria and the family was no longer safe. "It was either join the German Army or be killed," said Weisz, who practices "middle-of-the-road Judaism." "We were running from Hitler and that (Trinidad) was one of the only places you could go."

In 1947, the family moved to New York City on a medical visa for Weisz's mother. "My mother's eyesight was failing and she needed some operations," he said. Soon, the family settled in the nice Jewish community of Passaic, N.J., Weisz said, about 12 miles from the Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan. In this town, Weisz was forever changed.

"I started playing music when I was 11," he said. "I started by taking classical violin lessons." But one day, he put Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys on a record player in the hallway of his parent's home. He heard Chubby Wise and Monroe, the father of bluegrass, playing "Can't Ya Hear Me Calling." They didn't play violin. They played fiddle.

"When I first heard bluegrass, it was like magic," Weisz said. "It knocked me out. I hunted out bluegrass records and bluegrass shows, and they were sparse," he added. "I was thirsty for bluegrass music."

Jug band craze

The once-forced marriage between Fred and the violin blossomed into a love that has lasted more than four decades. In his teens, Weisz learned to play guitar and banjo, and vowed to be the best bass player in the metropolitan area of New York and New Jersey. "I think I did it," he said. "I got a lot of work - two, three, four bands - and did a lot of playing." In Passaic, Weisz went to school with David Grisman, who went on to become a famous mandolin player. The two eagerly hopped on the urban folk music craze of the early 1960s. They and the rest of the world also fell under the sway of Beatlemania. Even so, Weisz and other musicians donned matching vests and played in jug bands alongside ragtime piano, the twang of a bluegrass fiddle and washtub basses. Between the Beatles and bluegrass, "everything was so magical in those days," Weisz said.

Flyin' Fred

Weisz turned 63 on Friday. He lives a few blocks from the county courthouse in a modest studio apartment. The place is decorated with photos from his heyday. There's a framed copy of the Even Dozen Jug Band album, and black and white photos of him playing with his earliest bands. When the mood strikes him on a sunny day, he ventures out to claim a piece of sidewalk in the shade outside the county's justice hub. When he's not smiling or giving a friendly hello, his attention is riveted on the melody, the four strings, the fingerboard.

In his suspenders, T-shirt and sneakers, few would recognize him from his close-up on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1970. "That was the highlight of my musical career," Weisz said wistfully. Back then, he was "Flyin' Fred," a fiddler with Goose Creek Symphony and at the peak of his game.

"He's my favorite fiddle player of all time," said Charlie Gearhart, the man behind Goose Creek Symphony. "He's Mr. Soul, Mr. Wonderful." Gearhart invited Weisz to Phoenix to try out as a banjo player. Things went OK, but during a break he took out his fiddle and started playing. "He blew everybody away," Gearhart said by phone from Nashville. "That's when all the magic came together. Right there. When Fred came to the band, that's when we knew what the band was and where we were going."

The band had a cutting-edge sound that mixed bluegrass, country and rock. Weisz toured with the band in three-week stints. That proved hard, he said. "You drive to the show, play the show, get back in the bus and travel 500 miles in the middle of the night," Weisz said. "You wake up and the bus is still moving. It was hard for me.

"Just playing a good show made it worth it. We had a good time." Fiddlers who play with Goose Creek these days still have to learn Weisz' licks, Gearhart said.

A 'really big shew'

Weisz and Goose Creek toured eight months with Miss Bobbie Gentry in 1970. After backing her up at a show at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, the band got big news. The phone rang: Gentry and Goose Creek were booked on The Ed Sullivan Show. "She picked up a half dozen Goose people, myself included, and we did The Ed Sullivan Show, " Weisz said.

Weisz played the classic fiddle song "Fire on the Mountain." America saw Weisz in bib overalls with thick black rimmed glasses, he said. "There was at least a minute of me, close up," Weisz said. "Ed complimented me and Charlie. We were walking upstairs and he was coming down and he said to us 'You boys are mighty fine.' All I could think of was it's the very stage the Beatles played on. It was a tremendous high."

It's been years since he saw the performance. "I'm trying to locate it now, but no luck yet," he said. Weisz and Goose Creek also opened for guitarist Jimi Hendrix at the Atlanta Pop Festival, and saw him perform from just a few feet away. "When he walked past, I said, 'Hey man, you're beautiful.' He had his turquoise blue Corvette outside, and he was great. Me and David said we'd go deaf to hear Jimi Hendrix play."

A slower pace

For decades, Weisz made his living playing music, but he has struggled with mental health problems every step of the way. A nervous breakdown temporarily pulled him out of music in the 1970s, but he rejoined Goose Creek for his third and final album with them in 1975. Since then, he said he's played with other bands, on other albums.

Weisz said he came to accept that he has bipolar manic depression. "Sometimes I think I'm just normal, but I have this illness and have had it since I was 18," he said. "It's come and gone. For being in and out of hospitals, I still managed to make my mark."

He doesn't complain. He says everyone has problems. "This stretch has been particularly rewarding," he said. "I've been out six or seven years now. I feel good." In 1993, Weisz began collecting disability checks from Social Security. Things are at a slower pace he can manage. Throughout, the music has sustained him, he said.

"It's wonderful that I can play at all, and people still like my playing." Despite the drift of time, his skilled vibrato persists. His fingers still know the technical positions of dozens of tunes, but sometimes fall prey to a tremor in his hands. "Some days it's worse than others," he said. "The more I play, the better it gets."

A bad reaction to medication about six or seven years ago robbed him of some of his sense of time and rhythm, Weisz said. "I don't like to dwell on that. My tempo has slowed down quite a bit. I'd love to play bluegrass," he added, "but my tremor stops me from playing traditional bluegrass music. It calls for up-tempo playing. I just can't do it."

At the courthouse, his audience is mostly friendly, sometimes generous. "I come up here to play, make a few dollars and meet some nice people," he said. "I pretty much volunteer music. That's why I'm grateful for a few bucks. A few bucks is a few bucks." Four years ago, he raked in enough to buy himself a new guitar. But things slacked off.

"The other day I was out here in the afternoon and something clicked and I made $31," Weisz said. "So I said I'm coming back tomorrow. I did and only made like $10." In addition to his spot outside the courthouse, Weisz plays regularly with two bands that perform at Temple Beth Or and senior centers.

"I find a lot of beauty in music. It's carried me. I pretty much have it made. Like my friend David told me: We all get older, you just play the best you can and that's it."

20 Aug 07 - 10:32 AM (#2129660)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Bears eat man at beer festival

BELGRADE, Serbia (Reuters) -- A 23-year old Serb was found dead and half-eaten in the bear cage of Belgrade Zoo at the weekend during the annual beer festival.

The man was found naked, with his clothes lying intact inside the cage. Two adult bears, Masha and Misha, had dragged the body to their feeding corner and reacted angrily when keepers tried to recover it.

"There's a good chance he was drunk or drugged. Only an idiot would jump into the bear cage," zoo director Vuk Bojovic told Reuters.

Local media reported that police found several mobile phones inside the cage, as well as bricks, stones and beer cans.

21 Aug 07 - 03:53 PM (#2130587)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Today I found a bunch of photos they posted after the article about Fred Weisz. Here they are.

21 Aug 07 - 11:11 PM (#2130831)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Bird Grilled, but Lives to Tell Tale
August 21, 2007 (AP)

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A wild bird is little worse for wear after being hit by a car while crossing a road, then spending two days trapped behind the car's grille. Connie Ankli said she unknowingly drove around with the bird, believed to be a quail, inside her vehicle's front end. "Oh, I love grilled poultry. But I usually buy it at the store," she said.

The bird was recovering from its experience at the home of Frank Filmore, a technician at Kepner's Precision Auto Krafters in Berrien County's Benton Township, about 175 miles west of Detroit.

Ankli said she was taking her daughter to her piano lesson Aug. 13 when she saw an animal on a road in Royalton Township. "I didn't want to hit it, so I straddled it," she told The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph. "When I was just about on top of it, it moved. I heard a thump, saw feathers out the back window, but no bird."

Two nights later, she said she noticed movement in the front of the vehicle. "I bent down and looked," she said, and saw a bird "peering out from behind the grille."

Auto shop manager Tim Markham said the bird had broken through the honeycomb-style, plastic grille, which then bent back and trapped the bird. Markham said the bird would be released or turned over to a nature center.

22 Aug 07 - 11:49 AM (#2131157)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Bee-dubya-ell

Mattel sues to keep Barbie off porn site

From the Associated Press
August 22, 2007

Toy maker Mattel Inc. went to court Tuesday to declare that the name of its clean-cut Barbie dolls doesn't belong on a model's pornographic website.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Mattel said the website for an adult entertainer named China Barbie has tried to benefit from El Segundo-based Mattel's success with the doll.

China Barbie's site says she is a "cordial young lady" who worked at some of the world's leading investment banking firms and ad agencies before getting into porn.

The site is registered to Global China Networks and operated by Terri Gibson of Hollywood, Fla., the suit said. It said Global China Networks used a domain name containing the word "barbie" in a "bad faith attempt to profit from Mattel's Barbie trademarks."


Seems a bit odd to me that, through the years, a number of adult models and performers have used "Barbie" as part of their stage names, but Mattel is choosing to sue this "Barbie" now. Surely they were all trying to "benefit from... Mattel's success with the doll". Must have more to do with the domain name than the stage name.

22 Aug 07 - 07:06 PM (#2131513)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Actually, I think China Barbie is prettier. Here's a fan song written for her by some drooler:

Chinese Barbie Girl Song Lyric
(Sing to the tune of Barbie Girl by Aqua)

Hiya liang nui!
Hi liang jai!
Want to ride in my Honda?
Sure liang jai!
Jump in!

* I'm a Chinese girl, in a Chinese world
Eating wonton, it's perfection
I have light brown hair, Sanrio everywhere
Frustration, in my generation.

Come on bb, let's go drink tea.

I'm a Chinese girl, in a Chinese world
Playing mahjong, nothing is wrong
I have tons of flares, tight shirts everywhere
Looking cocky, just can't stop me.

I'm Chinese, Asian girl, in a white-people world
Egg foo young, just for fun, I do laundry.

You're so tall, Chinese doll, eat some jook and chow mein,
No FOBS here, egg rolls there, fortune cookie.

Eat cha siu, eat bok choi, you can say I love Sam's club.

Repeat *

Come on bb, let's go drink tea.
Ai ai ai yah.
Come on bb, let's go drink tea.
Ooh ooh

Make me cook, make me clean, do whatever is mean
I can do some kung-fu, I have loads of bamboo.

Come jump in, let's play pool, cruise around just again,
Look and stare, dye your hair, rent some movies.

Gung jai mein, I'm jook seng, I go to the library
Bot paw girls are so jean, you can say I grow string beans.


Oh, that guy, kui tai mut gwai?
Well liang nui, I'll use my martial arts.
Oh I love you liang jai!

Credits: Author unknown.

(I can't even imagine the tune....)

22 Aug 07 - 07:35 PM (#2131528)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: TheSnail

Manchester Evening News

Boy in court for throwing sausage
Mike Keegan and Stan Miller
22/ 8/2007

A BOY of 12 has been hauled before a court and charged with assault - with a sausage.

He was accused of throwing the cocktail sausage at an elderly neighbour. It allegedly hit him on the shoulder.

When the boy appeared at a youth court in Manchester, the judge said he couldn't believe the case had been brought before him and questioned the decision to take legal action. The boy's lawyer said the decision to prosecute `beggars belief'.

The boy entered a not guilty plea. It is understood the case has already cost several thousand pounds.

District Judge Tim Devas adjourned the case and urged the Crown Prosecution Service to reconsider. He compared the incident to a story from boys' adventure book Just William. William was a mischievous schoolboy who often found himself in trouble for minor instances of misbehaviour.

The judge said: "I was brought up in the era of Just William. You may not remember it but this incident sounds similar.

"Clearly there are certain things that should be done with a 12-year-old and you shouldn't be bringing them into the court system unless it's absolutely necessary. If he has done what was suggested it is very bad behaviour. But is it in the public interest to prosecute a 12-year-old boy who threw a sausage?"

The alleged incident is said to have taken place on August 11 in Wythenshawe when the victim was walking home after visiting a pub.

He claims that after a disagreement the boy threw the sausage, which hit him on the shoulder.

The boy cannot be named for legal reasons. His mother, who was by his side in court, said he was unable to sleep on the night before the case and `worried sick that he would be sent to prison'.

She said she was furious at seeing her son `dragged into court for something like this'.

The mother added: "It's beyond belief. An absolute joke, and I'm disgusted by it. The lad has been in bits panicking about it."

Defence lawyer Oliver Gardner also criticised the move. He said: "It's crazy - they are criminalising children.

"Where is the discretion or logic on the police's behalf when they charge a 12-year-old with assault with a cocktail sausage?

"It beggars belief that they have put this boy through the trauma of the criminal justice system, locking him up at the police station and then hauling him before the court.

"Where is the sense of such an exercise?"

Prosecutor Dianne Oliver said she would take the case to her superiors who would review the charge.

22 Aug 07 - 08:28 PM (#2131567)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

"Where's the Beef?"

23 Aug 07 - 12:02 AM (#2131702)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This has been making the rounds of college campuses for the fall semester getting ready to start:

Mindset List 2011


Most of the students entering College this fall, members of the Class of 2011, were born in 1989. For them, Alvin Ailey, Andrei Sakharov, Huey Newton, Emperor Hirohito, Ted Bundy, Abbie Hoffman, and Don the Beachcomber have always been dead.

1.   What Berlin wall?
2.   Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the public.
3.   Rush Limbaugh and the "Dittoheads" have always been lambasting liberals.
4.   They never "rolled down" a car window.
5.   Michael Moore has always been angry and funny.
6.   They may confuse the Keating Five with a rock group.
7.   They have grown up with bottled water.
8.   General Motors has always been working on an electric car.
9.   Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
10. Pete Rose has never played baseball.
11. Rap music has always been mainstream.
12. Religious leaders have always been telling politicians what to do, or else!
13. "Off the hook" has never had anything to do with a telephone.
14. Music has always been "unplugged."
15. Russia has always had a multi-party political system.
16. Women have always been police chiefs in major cities.
17. They were born the year Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama announced he might run for office some day.
18. The NBA season has always gone on and on and on and on.
19. Classmates could include Michelle Wie, Jordin Sparks, and Bart Simpson.
20. Half of them may have been members of the Baby-sitters Club.
21. Eastern Airlines has never "earned their wings" in their lifetime.
22. No one has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of "liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
23. Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always employed more workers than GM.
24. Being "lame" has to do with being dumb or inarticulate, not disabled.
25. Wolf Blitzer has always been serving up the news on CNN.
26. Katie Couric has always had screen cred.
27. Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.
28. They never found a prize in a Coca-Cola "MagiCan."
29. They were too young to understand Judas Priest's subliminal messages.
30. When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a possibility.
31. Multigrain chips have always provided healthful junk food.
32. They grew up in Wayne's World.
33. U2 has always been more than a spy plane.
34. They were introduced to Jack Nicholson as "The Joker."
35. Stadiums, rock tours and sporting events have always had corporate names.
36. American rock groups have always appeared in Moscow.
37. Commercial product placements have been the norm in films and on TV.
38. On Parents' Day on campus, their folks could be mixing it up with Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz with daughter Zöe, or Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford with son Cody.
39. Fox has always been a major network.
40. They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-Head laugh.
41. The "Blue Man Group" has always been everywhere.
42. Women's studies majors have always been offered on campus.
43. Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.
44. Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real time.
45. They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike Lee.
46. Most phone calls have never been private.
47. High definition television has always been available.
48. Microbreweries have always been ubiquitous.
49. Virtual reality has always been available when the real thing failed.
50. Smoking has never been allowed in public spaces in France.
51. China has always been more interested in making money than in reeducation.
52. Time has always worked with Warner.
53. Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre.
54. The purchase of ivory has always been banned.
55. MTV has never featured music videos.
56. The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.
57. Jerry Springer has always been lowering the level of discourse on TV.
58. They get much more information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert than from the newspaper.
59. They're always texting 1 n other.
60. They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male professors in the classroom.
61. They never saw Johnny Carson live on television.
62. They have no idea who Rusty Jones was or why he said "goodbye to rusty cars."
63. Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.
64. Chavez has nothing to do with iceberg lettuce and everything to do with oil.
65. Illinois has been trying to ban smoking since the year they were born.
66. The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.
67. Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been debilitating and controversial.
68. Burma has always been Myanmar.
69. Dilbert has always been ridiculing cubicle culture.
70. Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.

23 Aug 07 - 12:43 AM (#2131716)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Wow. Every year older I get, the stage grows a foot wider. Amazing.


23 Aug 07 - 11:27 AM (#2132018)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Tribes win key ruling; others will have to pay

It will be left to the state and counties to correct culverts that block fish, but the full effect of the decision isn't yet known.

August 23, 2007
The Herald

SEATTLE — Indians will have a much greater role in deciding how and where the state and other governments build culverts that impede salmon migration, following a federal court ruling Wednesday siding with the Tulalips and many other Washington tribes. In their federal lawsuit, the tribes said that state and local government has an obligation under the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot to protect salmon habitat by not hindering fish passage with narrow or blocking culverts. The written decision by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez "declares that the right of taking fish secured to the tribes in the Stevens Treaties imposes a duty upon the state to refrain from building or operating culverts .... that hinder fish passage." Martinez also found that the state "currently owns and operates culverts that violate this duty."

The full effect of the decision is not known. The ruling was good news for the Tulalip Tribes, which is in the forefront of asserting their treaty rights. "This is a clear step for the tribes to enter into discussions with the state in terms of the impact to our tribal culture," Tulalip fisheries commissioner Terry Williams said.

The tribes alleged in their lawsuit that fish don't have access to 249 miles of streams that they should have, preventing the production of potentially 200,000 fish for tribal harvest. "This is very significant," Williams said. "Obviously we have to wait to see the detail of the judge's comments, but clearly what is being said is when the fish are impaired by habitat problems, that affects the reserved rights of the tribes."

The 152-year-old Point Elliot Treaty, also known as the Stevens Treaties, gave the tribes the right to take fish "at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations." That's key to this lawsuit, as it was to the landmark tribal fisheries decision of federal Judge George Boldt in 1974. "For (fish) to exist, they have to have habitat," Williams said. " The treaty right is hollow without the habitat to sustain our culture. This is a treaty obligation. That's what this comes from."

Janelle Guthrie, spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office, said the lawsuit is not over. "The court said the Stevens Treaties say the state has to make sure our culverts allow fish to pass. While we currently have some culverts that don't allow fish to pass, the state has plans in place to improve or replace these culverts," Guthrie said. "The next step in the process is for the court to determine its remedy. The court has set a status conference for next Wednesday."

Whatever the remedy, it will have an effect on Snohomish County government. "How this ruling is going to affect our current business, I'm not sure," said Steve Thomson, Snohomish County public works director. "I'm sure it will have some impact. I just can't say right now." The county works with state fisheries officials on new road projects near streams, and occasionally gets grants to restore older culverts that block salmon.

The state didn't dispute that some culverts block returning salmon. According to documents, the state found 18 percent of the culverts on land managed by the Department of Natural Resources were identified as barriers to fish in a 2000 inventory. The state's attorneys argued that since 1991 the state Department of Transportation's culvert projects have also opened access to more than 410 miles of salmon habitat, Guthrie said. They also argued that there is no evidence the state is diminishing the number of fish for the tribal harvest.

23 Aug 07 - 12:00 PM (#2132042)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

ATLANTA - Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs would be illegal under a proposed amendment to Atlanta's indecency laws.

The amendment, sponsored by city councilman C.T. Martin, states that sagging pants are an "epidemic" that is becoming a "major concern" around the country.

"Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it's the in thing," Martin said Wednesday. "I don't want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future."

The proposed ordinance would also bar women from showing the strap of a thong beneath their pants. They would also be prohibited from wearing jogging bras in public or show a bra strap, said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

The proposed ordinance states that "the indecent exposure of his or her undergarments" would be unlawful in a public place. It would go in the same portion of the city code that outlaws sex in public and the exposure or fondling of genitals.

The penalty would be a fine in an amount to be determined, Martin said.

But Seagraves said any legislation that creates a dress code would not survive a court challenge. She said the law could not be enforced in a nondiscriminatory way because it targets something that came out of the black youth culture.

"This is a racial profiling bill that promotes and establishes a framework for an additional type of racial profiling," Seagraves said.

I am glad to see that the elected representatives in Atlanta are keeping their eye on the important things in public life.


23 Aug 07 - 01:20 PM (#2132094)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Bee-dubya-ell

They would also be prohibited from... show(ing) a bra strap.

This is GREAT news! It means young women who choose to wear tank tops and spaghetti straps are going to be required to go braless!

23 Aug 07 - 05:55 PM (#2132269)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

My tax dollars at work (seems to me that a slap on the bum is no big deal considering the trouble these two could have gotten into):


Officer accused of slapping woman's behind

FORT WORTH -- A Fort Worth police officer was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he slapped the rear of a woman he caught engaging in sexual conduct in a car in Oakhurst Park in June. Officer Craig Murrah, who has been with the department since 2001, was arrested on a warrant for "official oppression," a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in a county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Murrah is on restricted duty pending a review of the case by the Tarrant County district attorney's office.

According to a news release by the Fort Worth Police Department, the incident occurred about 1 a.m. June 22 after Murrah found a couple engaging in sexual conduct inside a vehicle at the park at 2300 Daisy Lane in north Fort Worth.

The officer directed the couple out of the car. The 18-year-old woman, nude from the waist down, got out and was placed in the back of his patrol car, the release said. Sometime during the investigation, Murrah allegedly slapped the woman on the rear, the release said.

The woman said the officer then let the couple go with only a warning. The woman told her boyfriend what the officer had done upon getting in the car, prompting him to call 911.

A subsequent internal investigation determined there was sufficient evidence to support the woman's claims, and an arrest warrant for the officer was issued.

24 Aug 07 - 11:58 AM (#2132752)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Charley Noble

So is Officer Craig Murrah still getting behind in his patrol work? Inquiring minds with little else to amuse them would like to know.

Charley Noble

24 Aug 07 - 12:54 PM (#2132837)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

It's a bum rap.

24 Aug 07 - 01:10 PM (#2132845)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Well, it certainly looks that way, but I am sure there is another side to the story.


24 Aug 07 - 01:11 PM (#2132847)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Whatever happened to 'turn the other cheek?'

24 Aug 07 - 02:37 PM (#2132893)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Charley Noble

As we go strolling through the park,
Goosing statues in the dark,
If Sherman's horse can take it,
Why can't you?

So says Justice en Lieu!

Charley Noble

24 Aug 07 - 07:12 PM (#2133014)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Could chicken houses be a terrorist target?
By Joseph Gidjunis
Staff Writer

      WASHINGTON -- Chicken houses across the country are one step
away from being named the newest terrorist targets demanding stricter
access and regulation, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland

      As part of the DHS Chemical Security Anti-Terrorism Standards,
facilities with more than 7,500 pounds of propane gas -- 1,785
gallons -- could be considered high-risk. To determine if a facility
is a security risk, operators must process complete "Top Screen"
safety measures, including vulnerability assessments, develop site
security plans and implement protective measures approved by DHS.

      U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Tom
Carper, D-Del., have co-authored a letter to Homeland Security
Secretary Michael Chertoff demanding answers for what they describe
as a waste of government time and money.

      The rule affects nearly every poultry grower across the
Delmarva peninsula, and as many as 20,000 sites across the country,
because propane gas is the most popular chicken house heating method.
One house typically has a 1,000 gallon to 1,500 gallon tank attached
to it. There could be more than 50,000 facilities subjected to the
report in the United States, according to the National Propane Gas

      "We appreciate the fact that Homeland Security does have a
responsibility to the security of this nation, but in terms of what
is considered a threat, I would think chicken houses would be so far
down on the list that nobody would ever find it," said Worcester
County farmer Virgil Shockley, who has 9,000 gallons heating six
chicken houses. ...

25 Aug 07 - 12:08 PM (#2133339)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

"In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnation without government permission."

-- Newsweek, Aug 20

I wonder who gets the authority to sign the passes? Maybe someone from a past dynasty?


25 Aug 07 - 03:06 PM (#2133410)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

I have always believed there was something seriously missing about this Universe of ours. Now, I know:

Astronomers find gaping hole in the Universe

University of Minnesota astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies and gas, as well as the mysterious, unseen "dark matter." While earlier studies have shown holes, or voids, in the large-scale structure of the Universe, this new discovery dwarfs them all.

"Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size," said Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota astronomy professor. Rudnick, along with grad student Shea Brown and associate professor Liliya Williams, also of the University of Minnesota, reported their findings in a paper accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.

Astronomers have known for years that, on large scales, the Universe has voids largely empty of matter. However, most of these voids are much smaller than the one found by Rudnick and his colleagues. In addition, the number of discovered voids decreases as the size increases.

"What we've found is not normal, based on either observational studies or on computer simulations of the large-scale evolution of the Universe," Williams said.

The astronomers drew their conclusion by studying data from the NRAO VLA Sky Survey (NVSS), a project that imaged the entire sky visible to the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope, part of the National Science Foundation's National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Their study of the NVSS data showed a remarkable drop in the number of galaxies in a region of sky in the constellation Eridanus, southwest of Orion.

"We already knew there was something different about this spot in the sky," Rudnick said. The region had been dubbed the "WMAP Cold Spot," because it stood out in a map of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation made by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotopy Probe (WMAP) satellite, launched by NASA in 2001. The CMB, faint radio waves that are the remnant radiation from the Big Bang, is the earliest "baby picture" available of the Universe. Irregularities in the CMB show structures that existed only a few hundred thousand years after the Big Bang.

26 Aug 07 - 08:29 AM (#2133799)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JennyO

Interesting stuff. However I couldn't help noticing that just after the first paragraph in the article, is inserted this:

Sponsored Links (Ads by Google)

Is there Really a God? - Does He exist? How can you know? What Is Life's Meaning and Purpose?

Those guys never miss an opportunity!

26 Aug 07 - 12:11 PM (#2133881)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I listen to a Sunday morning organic gardening program, and there are usually local garden center ads and the occasional Scott's Turf Builder (nasty stuff) ads inserted by folks hoping that non-discriminating listeners might think this is sanctioned (the program host slams these products any time the ad plays--advertisers are told they can't run these non-organic ads without comment). And then comes an your face loud, bossy church ad telling you how to celebrate the most famous and powerful man in history. . . yup. You got it, Mr. J. The ad is placed in such a way that it castigates anyone who is listening to a gardening show instead of sitting in a christian church.

I usually turn off the program about that point anyway. Too bad they lose listeners with that ad. It would be nice if the station would refuse that one.


27 Aug 07 - 11:13 AM (#2134494)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Aug 24, 12:54 PM (ET)

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) - A Northern Ireland man bit his girlfriend's pet snake in half during a fight and remarked that it "tasted lovely," lawyers testified Friday.

Shane Cooke, a 33-year-old bricklayer, was arraigned in Belfast High Court on charges of assaulting his girlfriend, Coleen McGleenon, and fatally torturing her royal python Aug. 4.

McGleenon's lawyers said he headbutted her twice and picked up her pet, put it in his mouth, and threw its severed head at her. "Your snake tasted lovely," he was quoted as saying.

27 Aug 07 - 07:17 PM (#2134892)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: The Fooles Troupe

7News exclusive - Aussie soliders using faulty weapons

By Michael McKinnon,
27 Aug 2007

Australian soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are using faulty weapons and ammunition with up to 70,000 of the standard issue Steyr rifles having flaws causing stoppages.

A Seven News investigation can also reveal long-range patrol vehicles could not fit heavy weaponry because of wrong specifications and snipers are forced to use a cleaning agent that hurts accuracy on rifles because of orders from headquarters.

There has also been a widespread recall of the 9mm pistols used by Special Forces, and faulty ammunition and weapons have rotted from storage in extreme heat according to Defence Department documents obtained using Freedom of Information laws.

The documents reveal widespread problems, for at least a year, with the soldier's standard issue 5.56mm Steyr rifle, also used by the navy and airforce as well as the New Zealand Defence Force, with flawed springs leaving the weapon unable to be loaded.

The revelations are a challenge to Prime Minister John Howard who personally promised less than two years ago that Australian troops would have the best possible equipment.

Launching the Defence White Paper in December 2005, Mr Howard said: "Our commitment, my commitment is that we will spend the additional resources that are necessary to give the ADF the resources it needs for the tasks it has, remembering at all times that our prime responsibility in a personal sense is to give our men and women the best possible chance if they are involved in combat.

"It is just not acceptable for a country as wealthy as Australia to send men and women into the field without them having the best possible equipment and we certainly intend to ensure that happens," he said at the time.

However, Australians soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have faced "constant problems" with the documents revealing the Austrian-designed Steyr including "locking...jamming...misfiring" because of "faulty springs".

The Army's chief weapons expert in Baghdad has warned the problem is so grave that "persistent weapons failures on operations quickly diminishes confidence in the weapon systems".

A Defence Materiel Organisation source yesterday confirmed there had been a "large number of complaints" about the springs in the Steyr both domestically and overseas.

"There are too many defect reports to ignore and field trials are now underway to try to fix the problem," he said.

The FOI documents also show that pistols issued to the SAS in Iraq and
Afghanistan were so unreliable the commanders have recommended: "All weapon use be suspended."

The documents also show snipers are being forced to damage weapon accuracy because of the cleaning agent. When cleaned with the issued Breakfree Bore Cleaner, the powerful .50 cal sniper rifle is found to have residue in the barrel affecting the "accuracy of any sniper weapons system".

Soldiers have found another cleaner, Hoppers Powder Solvent No 9, that cleans without damage but it cannot be used after the Joint Task Force Head Quarters said it was not an "authorised cleaning agent".

"The problem still exists in this organisation that the weapons arenot being cleaned to the required standard," the Defence documents state.

"It is common within sniper cells throughout the Army to use this product."

The documents also show problems with broken heavy machine guns being delivered to the front line, along with faulty and dud ammunition.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd yesterday called for an immediate inquiry into the weapons problems revealed by the ADF documents.

"The Prime Minister should order an immediate audit of the adequacy and effectiveness of all weaponry currently being used by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," the ALP leader said.

Opposition Defence spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said even with a $17 billion surplus, the Howard Government had failed soldiers on the frontline.

"This government can't even find the money to put proper quality control in place to ensure that our troops on the frontline have reliable weapons," he said.

Yesterday the Defence Minister Brendan Nelson was unavailable for comment however the Army Chief General Peter Leahy said the documents showed the Army's reporting system for problems was working well.

However, he said if systemic problems with the Steyr were revealed, the ADF would undertake an audit.


28 Aug 07 - 10:00 AM (#2135241)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

DAR ES SALAAM (AFP) - A traditional medicine man in Tanzania drowned after jumping in a river and promising to resurface three days later with relevations from ancestral spirits, police said Tuesday.

The local witch doctor, named as Nyasio Alfonso, staged his ill-fated stunt last week at the village of Masingo in the western Mpanda district near Lake Tanganyika, Rukwa regional police commander Daudi Siadi told AFP.

Dozens of villagers chanted and drummed as the fortune-teller dived to confer with the riverine spirits, he said.

"The incident was reported to us by the village leadership on Sunday, four days after Alfonso threw himself into the river," he said. "His decomposing body was fished out several metres downstream."


28 Aug 07 - 11:02 AM (#2135276)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Butt-biting bug munches on Japanese tush in a quest for the golden (be)hind

Sunday Mainichi (9/9)Japan is getting tickled pink by a little fairy that goes around biting people's bottoms and making them happy, according to Sunday Mainichi (9/9).

Oshiri Kajiri Mushi, literally the Butt-Biting Bug, has struck a chord with Japanese young and old in recent months.

The Butt-Biting Bug, which is actually supposed to be one of the Little People, first appeared in June on an NHK children's cartoon. The crunching creepy crawly -- who, perhaps unsurprisingly, has roots dating back to ancient Assyria -- skyrocketed to national fame following the release of a CD and DVD on July 27, with stocks of both quickly running out.

Sales and additional orders for both the music and movie have continued flooding in, and a catchy mobile phone ringtone taken from a song about the Butt-Biting Bug and its tush tasting exploits attracts six times more downloads than any other of the dozens available on NHK's site. A children's book starring the fairy came out last week.

Sunday Mainichi notes that the Butt-Biting Bug is actually a fairy, whose nibbles on people's cabooses are supposed to bring them enormous amounts of energy.

29 Aug 07 - 05:21 PM (#2136346)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Log airlift helps fish return to their roots
link (great photo with the story)

STANWOOD — The sprawling Stillaguamish River delta once was covered with toppled old-growth trees ripped out of mountain soil and washed down the river by raging winter floods. The giant logs would clump together and their roots would tangle, creating areas for young salmon to hide and forage before they headed out to sea. Those big old trees are gone now, leaving the delta devoid of anything but mud and grass. Salmon, especially endangered chinook, have few places to hide as they move through channels carved into the mud flats. On Tuesday, some of those logs came back, thanks to a helping hand from The Nature Conservancy and a Boeing Vertol 107-II helicopter.

The Nature Conservancy flew in 26 logs with roots intact and put them into six clumps. Fish experts say that at a minimum, the logs will re-create some of the long-lost habitat that young chinook and other salmon depend on, and at best, form the beginnings of some new logjams. "If there's no wood and no cover, there's no salmon," said Rick Rogers, a project coordinator for the Stillaguamish Tribe. "When there is wood, they congregate and hide underneath that."

The tribe twice tried to drop giant "lawn darts" — logs with plywood wings and weighted tips — into the same delta. The idea was to have the tree trunks sticking up out of the mud catch and trap wood debris that flow down the river. The first time, heavy winds blew the darts sideways. The second time, they shattered on impact. The Nature Conservancy's technique was to drop 1,000-pound blocks of concrete into the mud, and then to cable the logs to the blocks. Shaped like spinning tops, the concrete blocks sank into the mud with ease, some of them sinking several feet below the surface. "This worked a lot better," said Rogers, working on the crew that bolted the logs together on Tuesday.

Danelle Heatwole, a Nature Conservancy ecologist, spent a year planning the log drop. "I'm glad that today finally got here," Heatwole said. "I feel like it went really smoothly." Humans have degraded salmon habitat in many ways, but the near-shore habitat that fingerling salmon use before they head out to sea has seen perhaps the most impact, Heatwole said. This project is a way to get some of that back, she said.

The Nature Conservancy project is a good first step, said George Pess, a research fish biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northwest Fisheries Science Center. "The change in the amount of habitat is by far greatest in the estuarine habitat — 70 to 80 percent has been lost," Pess said. "It's a small step in the right direction. Obviously, you need to do things at a larger scale if you really want to see any significant change." The NOAA contributed most of the $70,000 in grants used to fund the log drop, said Robin Stanton, a spokeswoman for The Nature Conservancy.

29 Aug 07 - 07:20 PM (#2136427)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Bat Goddess

My sister (in San Francisco) just sent this to me -- our parents were originally from the Colby/Stetsonville area of Wisconsin (Taylor & Clark Counties) so that's why we keep an eye on news from there.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

TWO busted for drunk the same truck! At the same time!

Two Dorchester men driving one truck at the same time were arrested for drunken driving in the Abbotsford area about 170 miles northwest of Madison.

Harvey J. Miller, 43, who has no legs, steered the 1985 Chevrolet truck while Edwin H. Marzinske, 55, operated the brake and gas pedals, according to a report from the Colby/Abbotsford police.

Miller, who was sitting in the driver's seat, admitted he'd had too much to drink but argued that he wasn't really operating the truck since he had no legs to push the pedals, the report said. He received a citation for a third drunken driving offense.

Marzinske was cited for a second drunken driving offense. Both men also were cited for driving after their licenses had been revoked.

A third man in the truck, also drunk, walked himself home after the Aug. 18 traffic stop, police said.

Printed from:

30 Aug 07 - 10:34 AM (#2136882)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Interestng legal point. If steering, but not braking or accelerating a vehicle, is not "driving"; and simply stepping on the pedals is not "driving"; then both of them could get off scot-free by reason of a cunning division of responsibilities!!


30 Aug 07 - 04:11 PM (#2137050)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Texan is jailed as illegal immigrant

A native Texan spent the night in the Arlington Jail, missed her children's first day of school and feared being deported after authorities mistook her for an illegal immigrant. "I was told I was waiting for an [immigration] officer or Border Patrol officer to interview me and then move me to another location. It was very scary," the Mansfield woman said.

Arlington and federal immigration officials say they made a mistake and apologized. "This is very unusual," Arlington police spokeswoman Christy Gilfour said "We're not aware of this having happened before. We do realize that this is unfortunate, and we do regret that we made an error." Gilfour said police overlooked fingerprints that would have shown Rodriguez was not the illegal immigrant.

Rodriguez said she does not plan to sue, but apologies do not make up for what she was put through. "I think it's ridiculous. I think it was obvious that I wasn't an illegal immigrant," she said. Rodriguez's case demonstrates the need for a balanced approach between enforcement and immigration reform, said Marisol Perez, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. "We want to uphold the laws of the country, but we want to balance that with individual rights," she said.

Earlier this year, authorities wrongly deported U.S. citizen Pedro Guzman, a developmentally disabled man from California. It took his family three months to find him. Law enforcement experts say similar situations may happen again as the government creates more databases of names to fight illegal immigration, terrorism and other crimes.

"Part of the dynamic is when you identify the right person, they also say they didn't do it," said Jack McDevitt, associate criminal justice dean at Northeastern University in Boston. "So police are used to running into people who say, 'This isn't me, I didn't do it.'"

Identified as illegal

Arlington police pulled Rodriguez over and arrested her Sunday night after running her license-plate number. She had warrants from Dalworthington Gardens for having no insurance during a stop in that city and failure to appear in court for the insurance charge. [note: this is a common ploy/speed trap kind of setup in this tiny enclave town in Arlington, Texas. They try to get everyone on proof of insurance violations--it's how they fund the town.]

Rodriguez said the charges are valid, and she was willing to pay a fine and bail to get out of jail. But when she got to the jail, the Arlington police computer told officers that they had a woman who was in the country illegally. Gilfour said Rodriguez's name and date of birth matched. The height was off by an inch. The weight was off by 25 pounds, but the information was last updated in 1999.

Police arranged for Rodriguez to have a telephone interview with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rodriguez said the ICE officer was "very hostile" to her, refusing to believe her when she said she was born in Dallas. Rodriguez said the person on the other end of line sternly told her that she was speaking to a federal agent and had to answer truthfully or risk committing perjury. "At the time, I thought someone with my name had committed some horrible crime," Rodriguez said.

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said the illegal immigrant Alicia Rodriguez had at least three claims of false citizenship on her record. That record may have led officials to doubt the Alicia Rodriguez they had in custody when she said she was born in Dallas.

In jail overnight

Rodriguez's sister, Deborah Evans, came to the Arlington Jail with cash to pay any fines or bail only to learn that her sister was being held as an illegal immigrant. "I said, 'What do you mean? She's my sister. We were born here in Texas, in Dallas,'" Evans said. "I was shocked they were telling me this."

Rodriguez spent the night in jail sleeping on a mat on the floor with a cellmate. Another sister stayed with her three children, and her ex-husband took them to school the next day. On Monday, she was transferred to Dalworthington Gardens Jail, where she had a panic attack when authorities told her immigration officials would come pick her up -- eventually. "They told me it could take up to two days to move me to the next location which to me just meant it was going to be endless," Rodriguez said. She said police gave her oxygen to calm her hyperventilating.

Evans went to the Dalworthington Gardens Jail, showed officials her sister's birth certificate and tried again to convince officials that her sister was a U.S. citizen. "I was frightened that she was going to be deported right then" to Mexico, Evans said. "We don't speak Spanish. What was she going to do, and how was I going to get there?" After trying unsuccessfully to get her sister released, Evans said she left for an appointment.

Dalworthington Gardens Sgt. David Henderson said an officer there discovered Rodriguez had a driver's license and Social Security number. Dalworthington Gardens officials eventually started working for her release, Rodriguez said. [another note: the woman doesn't speak Spanish. She sounds like a Texan. And it took this long for them to figure out she had a driver's license and a SS card?]

They finally let her out at about 3 p.m. Monday. She walked about 3 miles to get her impounded car before her sister could pick her up. Rodriguez said the whole experience was a nightmare.

"I feel like it's a political byproduct of the whole illegal immigration thing," she said, "not that illegal immigrants shouldn't be dealt with, but I'm a citizen."

31 Aug 07 - 08:47 PM (#2138076)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

August 31, 2007

Texas town abuzz over sightings of mythical, bloodsucking 'chupacabras'

link (has a photo, looks like a dog)

CUERO, Texas (AP) - Phylis Canion lived in Africa for four years. She's been a hunter all her life and has the mounted heads of a zebra and other exotic animals in her house to prove it. But the roadkill she found last month outside her ranch was a new one even for her, worth putting in a freezer hidden from curious onlookers. Canion believes she may have the head of the mythical, bloodsucking chupacabra. "It is one ugly creature," Canion said, holding the head of the mammal, which has big ears, large fanged teeth and greyish-blue, mostly hairless skin.

Canion and some of her neighbours discovered the 18-kilogram bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 130 kilometres southeast of San Antonio. Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she can get to get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity. She suspects, as have many rural denizens over the years, that a chupacabra may have killed as many as 26 of her chickens in the past couple of years. "I've seen a lot of nasty stuff. I've never seen anything like this," she said.

What tipped Canion to the possibility that this was no ugly coyote, but perhaps the vampire-like beast, is that the chickens weren't eaten or carried off. All the blood was drained from them, she said. Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and it is said to have originated in Latin America, specifically Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Canion thinks recent heavy rains ran them right out of their dens. "I think it could have wolf in it," Canion said. "It has to be a cross between two or three different things." She said the finding has captured the imagination of locals, just like purported sightings of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster have elsewhere.

But what folks are calling a chupacabra is probably just a strange breed of dog, said veterinarian Travis Schaar of the Main Street Animal Hospital in nearby Victoria. "I'm not going to tell you that's not a chupacabra. I just think in my opinion a chupacabra is a dog," said Schaar, who has seen Canion's find. The "chupacabras" could have all been part of a mutated litter of dogs, or they may be a new kind of mutt, he said.

As for the bloodsucking, Schaar said that this particular canine may simply have a preference for blood, letting its prey bleed out and licking it up.

Chupacabra or not, the discovery has spawned a local and international craze. Canion has started selling T-shirts that read: "2007, The Summer of the Chupacabra, Cuero, Texas," accompanied by a caricature of the creature. The $5 shirts have gone all over the world, including Japan, Australia and Brunei. Schaar also said he has one.

"If everyone has a fun time with it, we'll keep doing it," she said. "It's good for Cuero."

04 Sep 07 - 02:23 PM (#2140733)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

LONDON, Aug. 30 The Metropolitan Police in London have agreed to pay compensation to a teenager who was put in a trash can by a police officer.

Anop Singh, 16, told The Daily Mail he agreed to the 4,000-pound ($8,000) settlement because his attorney told him he had no other recourse. The officer was given a written warning because his superiors decided that he did not act maliciously.

A teenage friend filmed the 2005 exchange between Singh and the constable. The two teenagers were filming the police response to an incident involving other young people when the constable told them to move on.

Anop Singh said he would have been jailed if he had assaulted the officer.

Gurdev Singh, the teen's father, was also angry.

"We are not satisfied and I will always be angry about the way my son was tossed around like a piece of rubbish," he said. "The officer should have been sacked."

04 Sep 07 - 07:46 PM (#2141035)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

irst kiss can make or break a couple's relationship
12:39 04 September 2007 news service
Rowan Hooper

Evolutionary Psychology vol 5, p 621
George Gallup, State University of New York, Albany

The first kiss can make or break a couple's relationship, suggests a new study.

A kiss may contain potentially important information about your kissing partner, says George Gallup at the State University of New York, Albany, US.

He surveyed 1041 students on their attitudes to kissing (Evolutionary Psychology, vol 5, p 612).

Some views verged on the predictable: women, for example, placed more emotional importance on a kiss, valuing kisses during and after sex, and throughout a relationship.

The men tended to see kissing as a means to an end – sex – and placed less importance on kissing as a relationship progresses. Just over half the men said they would have sex with someone without kissing, compared with 15% of women. And more men than women said that a good kiss was one with tongue contact, where the partner made moaning noises.

But Gallup says the first kiss a couple share could make or break the relationship. In a separate survey within the study, 59% of men and 66% of women reported on occasion finding themselves attracted to someone, only to lose interest after kissing them for the first time.

"The complicated exchange of information that occurs during a kiss may inform evolved, unconscious mechanisms about instances of possible genetic incompatibility," Gallup says.

05 Sep 07 - 10:49 AM (#2141530)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This is from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today. I would imagine that an uncataloged injury for the father is a broken heart. . .

Man killed in collision with father near home
A 20-year-old Godley man was killed Friday afternoon when his car and his father's pickup collided about a mile and a half from the family's home. James Daniel III was pronounced dead at the intersection of County Road 913A and 913B in northwest Johnson County, said Trooper David Riggs of the Texas Department of Public Safety. James Daniel II, 61, remained hospitalized Tuesday night with a punctured lung and broken ribs.

"Who would ever believe the odds of it happening?" said a family member, who returned a phone call to the Star-Telegram on Tuesday but said he did not want his name published. "It was a very tragic accident."

The father, who headed toward home on 913B about 1:30 p.m., stopped at the two-way sign at the intersection of 913A before turning, Riggs said. He "eased his way" into the intersection because weeds were high, making it hard to see around the corner.

His son had just left home and was driving his 2003 Nissan 350Z east on 913A, Riggs said. A witness said he appeared to be driving well over the 40 mph speed limit, Riggs said. The son's car crashed into the father's truck, he said. "It happened so fast there was nothing either of them could do," Riggs said. "The dad couldn't stop, and the son couldn't stop."

The mother arrived at the scene soon after the crash, he said, but later left to be with her husband at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, where he was flown by helicopter ambulance. The father was wearing his seat belt, Riggs said. His son was not.

The father recognized his son's car, Riggs said. "Of course, he was upset," Riggs said. "It was a real sad deal." The collision remains under investigation, Riggs said. "I have little doubt in my mind that if the son had been wearing his seat belt, he could have survived," Riggs said.

The younger Daniel was a graduate of Godley High School, where he played basketball on a team that narrowly lost in the regionals of the state tournament, said Ronnie Stephens, the school's athletic director, on Tuesday. "He was good basketball player and a fun-loving person," Stephens said. "A lot of people knew him around here." The Godley community is heartbroken, he said. "It was unbelievable," he said. "It happened to a real good family."

The Daniel family appreciates the support it has received, the family member said. James Daniel II "will be OK physically," he said. "But a tragedy like this is going to strike you in more ways than your health."

05 Sep 07 - 01:45 PM (#2141691)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Here's one a little more upbeat.

Photo link to the Herald (Everett, Wa)

A lumberjack for life
By Suzanne Schmid, Herald Photographer

There's no lumbering with this lumberjack. At 65, Alvie Marcellus of Spokane is still sawing trees with speedy finesse. In fact, he and his brother, Earl Marcellus, 63, who sawed with him at the Evergreen State Fair, began competing at 13 and 11 years old, and have won world championships.

In less than ten seconds, Alvie and Earl can blaze through a log with a saw that was once known as the mystery whip. "A lot of people think it's all arm, but there's a lot of leg and hip involved," Alvie explains.

When not performing for the International Lumberjack Show at the fair, Alvie coaches others in the art of sawing, chopping, and axe-throwing. "Technique is everything," he says.

Alvie recalls two students he once taught together. One was a 275-pound weightlifter and the other was a slim 138 pounds. After one month of training, the smaller student using correct method could out-saw the man with muscles. "A few ounces of pressure make all the difference," he says.

Performing three shows every day can leave Alvie with sore hands, but for a guy whose favorite hobby is chopping wood, Alvie has no interest in hanging up his blades. According to him, being a lumberjack is wonderful exercise. "I don't need any sleeping pills to get me to sleep."

05 Sep 07 - 04:06 PM (#2141795)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: TheSnail

Wandering water buffalo named Shakespeare dies in car accident

Martin Wainwright
Wednesday September 5, 2007
The Guardian

A pet water buffalo called William Shakespeare was a victim in a collision which left two car drivers and a passenger with minor injuries. The huge animal crumpled the front of a Fiat Punto after roaming on to the A590 where it skirts the Lake District at Dalton-in-Furness. Firefighters had to cut the car's 19-year-old driver free, although he escaped with bruises and a few cuts. Two other cars, a Ford Focus and a Nissan Micra, collided while trying to avoid the debris or because their drivers were distracted by the accident.

Article continues

The driver of the Nissan was taken with minor injuries to Furness general hospital in Barrow, where his woman passenger was treated for whiplash.
William Shakespeare, who died at the scene, weighed more than a tonne and belonged to an enthusiast in nearby Walney. He had a record of trying to escape. Cumbria police said: "William Shakespeare was very well known in the area, but he tragically sustained fatal injuries in the collision and died at the scene. There will be a normal police investigation into the collision."

Expertise in similar crashes is concentrated in Canada and the northern US, where even a relatively small state such as Massachusetts clocks up some 50 accidents involving cars and moose every year.

The collision rapidly made international headlines yesterday, including an informative piece in Pravda online, which explained to Russian readers that Cumbria "is better known for its herds of cattle and rugged hill-dwelling sheep".

05 Sep 07 - 08:05 PM (#2141992)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Connecticut Man Gets Anthrax From Drums
(this is an AP story. Another one is linked below)

DANBURY, Conn. - A musician and a family member both contracted a non-contagious form of anthrax, apparently from imported animal skins used to make drums, officials said Wednesday. Mayor Mark Boughton described one of the individuals as a renowned African drummer and drummaker who stored untanned animal hides obtained from areas of the world where anthrax is common.

A spokesman for the state Department of Public Health, Bill Gerrish, said a second member of the same family also had the disease. Both apparently had the cutaneous form of anthrax, which is not contagious and can usually be treated with antibiotics. The public's health is not threatened, Boughton said at a news conference.

Cutaneous anthrax, the most common form of the bacterial infection, can cause reddening and swelling of the skin. There usually are only one to two cases per year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

FBI agents were notified, but state public health officials were handling the investigation, said Marybeth Miklos, a spokeswoman for the FBI's New Haven field office. "We are aware of it, but as of right now it is not anything terrorism-related," Miklos said.

The state Department of Public Health took about a dozen hides that had been stored in a shed on the man's property. The drums were not finished, so officials said anthrax would not have spread beyond where the man had worked.

State officials said the hides were part of a recent shipment believed to be from Africa. The FBI and U.S. Department of Agriculture were working to determine whether hides from the same shipment had been sent elsewhere in the country.

The owner of the home, Donald Lombardo, identified the tenant as Ase-AmenRa Kariamu and said he has not seen Kariamu for several weeks. Kariamu is the director of the West Afrikan Drumming program at the Danbury Music Centre. His private phone number is unpublished. Messages seeking comment were left for him at the music center.

Dr. Gary Schleiter, chief of infectious diseases at Danbury Hospital, said the man went to his doctor a few weeks ago with what looked like a scab on his arm. When it didn't get better, he went to the hospital, where tests confirmed late Monday he had anthrax.

The other family member, who also was not identified, went to a pediatrician because of a similar spot. Both were treated and released and are fine now. There was an 80 percent chance they would have gotten better without treatment, Schleiter said.

In a similar case in February 2006, a New York City man contracted anthrax while handling drums he had covered with goat skin he brought from Ivory Coast. Health officials believe he inhaled anthrax spores while making the instruments.

Local Danbury newspaper link.

11 Sep 07 - 10:01 AM (#2146364)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Ben & Jerry's is offering five years worth of free ice cream for the arrest of a man caught on surveillance video stealing $160 from a tip jar at a store in Melbourne.

Police said a man was videotaped at the Melbourne Ben & Jerry's store located on Hibiscus Boulevard near the Premiere Theaters Oaks Stadium 10 reaching into the cow-shaped jar and removing the money.

"It's pretty despicable that someone would steal tip money from teenagers," store owner Matt Solomon told Local 6 News partner Florida Today. "These kids work hard behind this counter."

Ben & Jerry's is offering one free scoop of ice cream -- cone or cup -- every week for five years to anyone who provides information leading to an arrest. Solomon estimated the reward's value at $1,000.

11 Sep 07 - 10:08 AM (#2146371)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That happened to Moonglow and her friends at work one day also, at the local Dairy Queen. They were able to watch the surveillance camera and found the few frames where a mall maintenance worker walked past and grabbed the whole tip jar and made off with it. Guy was fired. Too bad he ditched the tip jar so they could never find it--it was a good one that people recognized and actually used. A cup on the counter with a hand-lettered word "tips" just doesn't work as well.


11 Sep 07 - 10:21 AM (#2146381)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Here we are again, moving into a new "decade" of interesting news stories.

14 Sep 07 - 06:01 PM (#2149477)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

These Okies and Texans, they're f**kin' nuts when it comes to football. Literally. From the Star-Telegram today.

OU fan accused of gruesome injury to man clad in UT shirt
The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- To some University of Oklahoma football fans, there are things that just aren't done in the heart of Sooner Nation, and one of them is to walk into a bar wearing a Texas Longhorns T-shirt. That's exactly what touched off a bloody skirmish that left a University of Texas fan nearly castrated and an Oklahoma fan facing aggravated assault charges that could put him in prison for up to five years.

The case has set off a raging debate in this football-crazed region about the extreme passions behind a bitter rivalry. Some legal observers even question whether this case could ever truly have an impartial jury. "I've actually heard callers on talk radio say that this guy deserved what he got for wearing a Texas T-shirt into a bar in the middle of Sooner country," said Irven Box, an attorney in this city 20 miles from OU's campus in Norman.

Police say Brian Christopher Thomas, 32, walked into Henry Hudson's Pub on June 17 wearing a Longhorns T-shirt and quickly became the focus of football trash talk from another regular, Sooners fan Allen Michael Beckett, 53. Thomas told police that when he went to the bar to pay his tab, Beckett grabbed him in the crotch, pulled him to the ground and wouldn't let go, even as other bar patrons tried to break it up. It took more than 60 stitches to close the wound, and police interviewed Thomas at a nearby hospital.

Beckett's attorney, Billy Bock, concedes that his client commented about Thomas' shirt but said that it was just good-natured ribbing and that he apologized to Thomas when it appeared to upset the Texas fan. Later, Bock said, Thomas approached his client at the bar and threatened him.

Thomas' attorney disputes Beckett's version. "That's total malarkey," Hughes said. "My client never said a word to him. He got up to pay and when he paid and left a tip, the guy grabbed him."

Beckett, a church deacon, federal auditor and former Army combat veteran, has pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance comes Oct. 4, two days before the Sooners and Longhorns tangle in their annual football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

15 Sep 07 - 12:36 AM (#2149670)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I heard about this from my friend Pam, who runs the parks in Ventura County. She did all of the leg work but her boss took the credit in all of the interviews. It's that kind of hierarchy.

story link

Blue Whale washes ashore near Ventura

The carcass of a 70-foot blue whale rolled gently with the incoming waves at a beach about 10 miles north of Ventura this morning as scientists from as far as the San Francisco area rushed to the scene.

Blue whales, the largest animal on earth, have been migrating through the Santa Barbara Channel. How the one that drifted into the rocks off Hobson Beach died will not be known until scientists have extracted tissues and examined its vast body.

Beached less than 100 feet from the Old Pacific Coast Highway, the whale has drawn dozens of spectators ambling on the roadside, taking photos and giving their children a rare glimpse of a huge marine mammal.

"Amazing!" said Terry Hewitt, a cook at Cal State Channel Islands who came to view the whale on her day off. "I was swimming out there yesterday, and if that thing had passed me in the water, well, Ohmigod!"

Authorities had been tracking the carcass for a couple of days before it ran ashore. Ron Barrett, an enviromental specialist for the Navy and a volunteer for a local wildlife group, said he could not recall a blue whale dying and washing ashore on the Ventura County coastline.

15 Sep 07 - 01:15 PM (#2149923)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

From the Star-Telegram this morning:

    Driver kills himself after police chase

    A 30-year-old man fatally shot himself early Saturday after trying to run over a Dallas police officer during a routine traffic stop, Dallas police said.

    The driver fled after the stop, which came at 12:55 a.m. near Fitzhugh and Capitol Aves., north of downtown Dallas.

    Officers chased him into Allen, Lt. Vernon Hale said in a statement.

    After about an hour, the man crashed his vehicle. At some point during the chase, he shot himself, Hale said. No other injuries were reported.

I suppose it is accurate to say "at some point," but it would be my guess that this shot occurred at the very end of the chase.


15 Sep 07 - 01:58 PM (#2149959)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Depends on where he hit, I suppose. If he lost consciousness gradually from blood loss rather than brain destruction, he might have made a few wild turns and swerves before he lost control,no?


15 Sep 07 - 03:14 PM (#2150005)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Mickey191

AP Story- Poughkeepsie,NY Journal:


Ossining,NY A bald man who stole 5 bottles of hair loss treatment was caught while running away. Police arrested Mark Hoousendove 42, on petty larceny charges. He had just dropped off friends at SING SING PRISON on Sunday when he went into pharmacy & stole $50.00 worth of the treatment. An officer nearbye chased & grabbed him."

There's gotta be a song in here somewhere.

18 Sep 07 - 10:51 AM (#2151916)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Someone Tries to Sell Belgium on eBay Sep 18 10:23 AM US/Eastern By PAUL AMES Associated Press Writer BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -

Hidden among the porcelain fox hounds and Burberry tablecloths on sale at this week was an unusual item: "For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts ... free premium: the king and his court (costs not included)."

The odd ad was posted by one disgruntled Belgian in protest at his country's political crisis which reached a 100-day landmark Tuesday with no end in sight to the squabbling between Flemish and Walloon politicians. "I wanted to attract attention,"...

18 Sep 07 - 11:00 AM (#2151920)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Posted on 09/18/2007 3:44:37 AM PDT by chessplayer

Villagers in southern Peru were struck by a mysterious illness after a meteorite made a fiery crash to Earth in their area, regional authorities said today.

Around midday Saturday, villagers were startled by an explosion and a fireball that many were convinced was an airplane crashing near their remote village, located in the high Andes department of Puno in the Desaguadero region, near the border with Bolivia.

Residents complained of headaches and vomiting brought on by a "strange odor," local health department official Jorge Lopez told Peruvian radio RPP.

Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said.

18 Sep 07 - 01:45 PM (#2152007)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Beat me to the eBay story, Amos.

link here to the rest of the story.

Someone Tries to Sell Belgium on eBay

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Hidden among the porcelain fox hounds and Burberry tablecloths on sale at this week was an unusual item: "For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts ... free premium: the king and his court (costs not included)."

The odd ad was posted by one disgruntled Belgian in protest at his country's political crisis which reached a 100-day landmark Tuesday with no end in sight to the squabbling between Flemish and Walloon politicians.

"I wanted to attract attention," said Gerrit Six, the teacher and former journalist who posted the ad. "You almost have to throw rock through a window to get attention for Belgium."

Six placed the advertisement on Saturday, offering free delivery, but pointing out that the country was coming secondhand and that potential buyers would have to take on over $300 billion (euro220 billion) in national debt.

Like many of Belgium's 10 million citizens, Six is exasperated that the power struggle between the county's French- or Dutch-speaking political parties has left Belgium in political limbo since June 10 elections.

Demands for more autonomy from the Dutch-speaking Flemish are resisted by the French-speaking Walloons, making it impossible to form a government coalition and triggering concern the kingdom is on the verge of a breakup.

Six decided to vent his frustration through the Internet ad.

"My proposal was to make it clear that Belgium was valuable, it's a masterpiece and we have to keep it," he told Associated Press Television News. "It's my country and I'm taking care of it, and with me are millions of Belgians."

Six' idea got a mixed reaction on the streets of Brussels.

"Very funny, typical Belgian humor," said Anne Graux. "It's ridiculous," snapped Nathalie Ginot, a Brussels resident who had her own pragmatic solution to Belgium's woes. "We think it would be good to split Belgium into the three and make Brussels a tax-haven, a capital exempt from all taxes," she said hopefully.

Six vaunted Belgium's attractions to potential buyers from art nouveau architecture to the headquarters of NATO and the European Union and some great beers. But he also warned of the pitfalls of taking on the cacophonous mix of Flemish nationalists, Walloon Socialists and the mayors of all 19 Brussels' boroughs.

EBay was happy to take Six' advertisement.

"It was a really fun listing made by a Belgian," Peter Burin, PR manager of eBay Belgium. "This person, in a very funny way, reminded the Belgians what a great country Belgium actually is and it would be a shame to sell it."

However, the company decided to pull the add Tuesday after receiving a bid of euro10 million ($14 million)

"We decided to take it down, just to avoid confusion," he told APTN.

18 Sep 07 - 09:35 PM (#2152325)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Lawn Case
link. There are a couple of photos.

OREM, Utah - A 70-year-old woman arrested in a dispute over her brown lawn pleaded not guilty Tuesday, then stood by as a Los Angeles lawyer waved handcuffs for the cameras outside court. "I ask the citizens of Orem: How many of you would like to have your great-grandmother taken from her home with bruises and blood and placed in handcuffs for failing to water her lawn?" Gloria Allred said. "Let's bring sanity back to law enforcement," she said.

Betty Perry is charged with resisting arrest and failing to maintain her landscaping, both misdemeanors. She was arrested July 6 after failing to give her name to a police officer who visited her home. During a struggle, Perry fell and injured her nose. She spent more than an hour in a holding cell before police released her.

The mayor and City Council apologized, and the police department said the incident could have been handled differently. But the city attorney still is pressing charges against Perry. She pleaded not guilty and will return to court Oct. 11.

Allred is a noted feminist who has been involved in several high-profile cases, including representing Amber Frey, the girlfriend of Scott Peterson, who was sentenced to death for the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci. A state investigation found Officer James Flygare acted properly in arresting Perry after trying to get her to cooperate.

Perry's water had been turned off for about nine months, at her request, although she was living at the house at the time of the arrest. Orem has a shut-off policy for people who are away for extended periods.

19 Sep 07 - 01:37 PM (#2152761)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Police: Irate Woman Throws Baby At Trooper

NORTH EAST, Md. -- A Maryland mother was arraigned on drug and child abuse charges after police said she threw her 6-month-old child across a room at a police officer.

According to court documents, the incident happened in late July at a home on Inverness Drive in Cecil County.

According to court documents, state troopers were called to a trailer on Inverness Drive to check on the well-being of Evelyn Doninger, 23, of North East, and her two small children.
Officers said that they smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the home, so they told Doninger they would be coming in. The court documents said that Doninger told police they had no right to enter her home.

Police said that they noticed a hand -rolled cigarette and a bag with what they believed was marijuana in it, as well as various drug paraphernalia. They also said they found two men inside the home and two children -- a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old.

Police said they told Doninger she was being arrested. The documents said she became "incredibly irate," stood up from a chair and threw the 6-month-old at least 5 feet at one of the troopers.

The child struck the trooper's chest and he caught the baby just before it hit the floor, according to court documents. Doninger then shoved the trooper, striking both him and the baby.

Neighbors who spoke with WBAL TV 11 News said that the allegations are shocking, but most turned away when 11 News asked them about it for fear of retaliation from drug dealers who the neighbors said have a strong presence in the area, according to 11 News reporter Lowell Melser.

A woman who neighbors said was Doninger's mother -- but would not identify herself to Melser -- said that there was some validity to the story, but would not give details.

Police said that the 6-month-old baby is doing fine.

Doninger has since been released from jail. She is facing eight different child abuse and drug charges.

A trial date has not been set.

19 Sep 07 - 01:45 PM (#2152767)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

Rove corruption investigation dropped due to lack of funds.

19 Sep 07 - 01:48 PM (#2152769)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

New US pain weapon renamed due to sounding like a former US President's name.

20 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM (#2153512)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Judge Orders Concord Man To Bury Mummified Baby

CONCORD, N.H. -- A judge has ordered a Concord man to lay an unusual family heirloom to rest.

Probate Judge Richard Hampe said the mummified baby known as "Baby John" passed down for generations through Charles Peavey's family must be buried because there is no DNA evidence proving kinship.

Peavey said Wednesday his family is disappointed but will not appeal the decision.

"I'm just washing my hands of it," said Peavey. "I'm disappointed it came to this."

Until police confiscated Baby John last year, the mummy had been on display on a bureau in Peavey's home. Relatives and friends treated the desiccated infant as a family member, giving it cards during holidays and even a dried fish as a pet. Authorities learned of the mummy's existence after Peavey's niece mentioned to day care staffers that her uncle kept a dead baby at his house.

Peavey said his family believes the mummy is the stillborn child of a great-great uncle.

Testing by the state concluded the baby died of natural causes shortly after its birth and confirmed the remains were decades old, but did not determine the mummy's age or origin. Peavey said he can't afford DNA testing, and the state won't release the remains unless there is proof of a family relationship.

"It's one of the few things from our family past that we have left," Peavey had written in a petition to the court. "And when I pass on, I was looking forward to passing it on to another family member, to keep some of the history for future family members."

In court, prosecutor Richard Head raised concerns about the family's treatment of the mummy if it were returned, pointing to Peavey's page on the social networking site MySpace that opens with the "The Addams Family" theme song and makes joking references to Baby John, including a photo of a small crypt and a suggestion that it may hold the remains of Baby John's sister.

Peavey said the page was created as a joke by his niece and he was going to ask her to take it down.

"I do not think this is a joke. I've never treated him like a joke. No weirdness was going on," he said.

article with picture

20 Sep 07 - 09:02 PM (#2153939)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: frogprince

That is way, way, beyond bizzare. Is that the family from the movie "The Hills Have Eyes"?

20 Sep 07 - 10:38 PM (#2154004)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

There have been some really wacko stories in the news the last couple of days. I've been too busy to post any, but that's probably just as well.


20 Sep 07 - 11:15 PM (#2154024)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This story has a "happy ending," but what on earth did this group think, leaving all of those valuables in a vehicle parked at a trailhead for 10 days? I used to work in that park, pass that trailhead frequently. It's easy pickings for the kind of folks who prey on hikers. Quick off the road, hit the cars, back on before anyone else comes along. NEVERNEVERNEVER leave valuables in a vehicle like that.

Returns happily accepted

GRANITE FALLS — An early September trip to the wilderness turned into a real-life crime drama for a group of university students visiting Washington from Montana. Just like on TV, this story ends happily. The cast includes a bad guy from Granite Falls, about a dozen University of Montana college students and a determined small-town police department.

It all started a few weeks ago when students stumbled out of the wilderness after a 10-day hiking trip to discover their van broken into and their property gone. "We were just kind of devastated," said sophomore Clara Schahczenski, 19, of Whitehall, Mont. The students thought for sure their backpacks, wallets, iPods and other belongings — including irreplaceable jewelry and school work — were gone for good.

But two days after reporting the thefts, Laurie Ashley, 32, a university instructor in the Wilderness and Civilization program, got a phone call from Granite Falls Police Chief Tony Domish. "It was like, oh, my God, something's happening," Ashley said Wednesday from Missoula. "It was the beginning of what turned into a cop TV-like drama for us."

For the students, it all ended Wednesday in Missoula after Domish and officer Win Matter drove more than 500 miles to return students' stolen property. "Normally a police department wouldn't have brought it back. But he was really sweet about it and took the time to get it and bring it back," Schahczenski said.

The group had come to hike in Washington because of wildfires in Montana. They arrived in Washington on Aug. 31 and chose to hike in the Mount Baker Wilderness in Skagit County. On Sept. 7, the students emerged from the woods in a bliss-like state, they said, only to discover that civilization had paid them a visit.

"It's a little bit too classic to have a really amazing wilderness experience and your first contact with civilization to be very negative," Ashley said. The students scrambled to cancel credit cards, lining up at a roadside pay phone. Until they could get credit and debit cards replaced, they borrowed money and begged friends to use their cell phones.

During the long ride back to Missoula, with glass on the floor of the van and a window busted out, the exhausted students were miserable. When Andrea Manes, 21, got back to campus, she had to walk back to her apartment dressed in dirty, pink long johns because her clean clothes were stolen. "I probably looked like a meth addict instead looking like being robbed," she said. The college junior had to crawl through a screen in her apartment until she could get the locks changed. Her car sat unusable in a campus parking lot, the keys stolen.

Meanwhile, in Granite Falls, police had stopped a man in his mid-40s on suspicion of driving with a suspended license. In the car, police found several other driver's licenses. Domish started making phone calls and learned they all belonged to the University of Montana students. Through interrogation, investigation and a lot of legwork, Domish began to unravel what happened.

The Granite Falls man police believe was responsible was driving his girlfriend to a court date in Omak. Along Highway 20, he apparently stopped at the Ross Lake trailhead where police believe he siphoned gas from the students' van, broke the window and stole their stuff. "Each one had a cell phone, iPod, thumb drives with dissertations ... irreplaceable stuff," Domish said. "They had to make it home with nothing, no credit cards, no phones."

In just a few days, police believe the suspect used the stolen credit cards to buy gas and used the cell phones to place calls, Domish said. The suspect filled gas cans paying with the stolen credit cards and then likely sold the gas for cash. For many students, the hiking trip was their first visit to Washington, and Domish didn't want their perceptions colored by the theft, he said.

He set out to find all the stolen property. "I was determined," he said. Domish recovered items in Granite Falls. Tips lead him to a trailer in Omak where he found more of the stolen property.

Domish called Ashley every few hours to give her updates. "I knew he was working very hard and that this was pretty intense. He was meeting with the bad guys, learning where everything was," she said. "I could tell it was important to him. It was clear that he had worked really hard on this case."

On Wednesday, Domish surprised the students by walking into class in Missoula with his arms full of their property. "He's amazing," Manes said. "I grew up in a law enforcement family. I've never seen this kind of effort for a car being broken into. The amount of progress they made in a couple of days is astonishing. It's good to know there are officers out there like that. It's pretty rare."

Domish shrugs off the praise. "It was great," he said on his way back to Granite Falls on Wednesday afternoon. "How often do you get to meet the victims and return their stuff?" The suspect is in Snohomish County Jail for investigation of four counts of identity theft. Snohomish County prosecutors may charge the man with additional crimes, Domish said.

Ashley said the university students were grateful. "We're super thankful to the Granite Falls Police Department," she said. "Whereas two weeks ago I didn't even know the town existed, now I feel very indebted."

21 Sep 07 - 04:50 AM (#2154106)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Loss from vehicles can occur anywhere, it has happened often enough to visitors here for the Calgary Stampede and off hiking in the Rockies. It happens to we locals as well.
The problem is that there is no really safe place to leave belongings.
They should have kept their credit cards and ID with them, however. That was dumb.

21 Sep 07 - 10:28 AM (#2154261)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

'God' responds to legislator's lawsuit

LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) -- A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response.

One of two court filings from "God" came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

"This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here -- poof!" Friend said.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha sued God last week, seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty for making terroristic threats, inspiring fear and causing "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."

Chambers, a self-proclaimed agnostic who often criticizes Christians, said his filing was triggered by a federal lawsuit he considers frivolous. He said he's trying to make the point that anybody can sue anybody.

Not so, says "God." His response argues that the defendant is immune from some earthly laws and the court lacks jurisdiction.

It adds that blaming God for human oppression and suffering misses an important point.

"I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you," according to the response, as read by Friend.

There was no contact information on the filing, although St. Michael the Archangel is listed as a witness, Friend said.

A second response from "God" disputing Chambers' allegations lists a phone number for a Corpus Christi law office. A message left for that office was not immediately returned Thursday.

Attempts to reach Chambers by phone and at his Capitol office Thursday were unsuccessful.

21 Sep 07 - 12:39 PM (#2154353)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The next step, obviously, is a suit filed by the "real God" charging identity theft against those who impersonated him to file these counters(?).

I'd guess it might have to be handled as a "class action" thing due to the number of self-proclaimed imitators (dozens in my own home town). That would be a quite novel development, as class action precedent largely is limited to classes of plaintiffs, and new processes might be needed to handle a mass class of defendants.


21 Sep 07 - 01:27 PM (#2154384)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Hindu gods could get a class action going pretty easily, I would think.

21 Sep 07 - 01:32 PM (#2154391)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

CARACAS (Reuters) - A Venezuelan man who had been declared dead woke up in the morgue in excruciating pain after medical examiners began their autopsy.

Carlos Camejo, 33, was declared dead after a highway accident and taken to the morgue, where examiners began an autopsy only to realize something was amiss when he started bleeding. They quickly sought to stitch up the incision on his face.

"I woke up because the pain was unbearable," Camejo said, according to a report on Friday in leading local newspaper El Universal.

His grieving wife turned up at the morgue to identify her husband's body only to find him moved into a corridor -- and alive.

Reuters could not immediately reach hospital officials to confirm the events. But Camejo showed the newspaper his facial scar and a document ordering the autopsy.

24 Sep 07 - 05:37 PM (#2156574)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: beardedbruce

Baha'i international leader dies

A longtime leader of the Baha'i religion, Ali-Muhammad Varqa, has died in Haifa, Israel. The Holy Land, particularly the cities of Haifa and Acre, are considered the spiritual home of Baha'i.

Dr. Varqa was appointed in the 1950s as one of the protectors and propagators of the faith by Shoghi Effendi, a descendant of the founder of Baha'i.

The Baha'i faith is based on the principle that all human beings are one family, and that humanity is nearing its goal of a peaceful and just world order. It has about 6 million followers.

Here's the full news release from Baha'i World News Service.


HAIFA, Israel, 24 September 2007 (BWNS) -- The worldwide Baha'i community has lost its most distinguished member with the death of Dr. Ali-Muhammad Varqa.

He passed away on the evening of 22 September 2007 at his home in Haifa.

In 1955, Dr. Varqa was appointed to the high rank of "Hand of the Cause" by Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Baha'i Faith. Dr. Varqa served in that capacity, on the international level, for 52 years until his passing. He was the last survivor of the 27 Hands of the Cause who were alive when Shoghi Effendi passed away in 1957.

Dr. Varqa came from a well-known Iranian family that has served the Baha'i Faith with distinction for generations. After obtaining a doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1950, he taught in Iran at the universities of Tabriz and Tehran and served the Baha'i community there in various administrative capacities. In 1979 he moved to Canada, and later established his residence in Haifa to serve at the Baha'i World Center.

He was born in 1912 in Tehran, Iran, and received his name from 'Abdu'l-Baha
in memory of his grandfather, who had been killed for being a follower of Baha'u'llah.

Dr. Varqa traveled to many countries as a representative first of Shoghi Effendi, then of the Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha'i Faith. In that capacity, Dr. Varqa attended the first national conventions held in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Congo, Mauritania, Central Africa Republic, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Czechoslovakia and Greenland.

Dr. Varqa is survived by three daughters and six siblings. His funeral was to take place the morning of 24 September, with burial in the Baha'i cemetery in Haifa.

To view the photos and additional features click here:

24 Sep 07 - 11:01 PM (#2156801)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: katlaughing

Not enough worker bees!

On September 19, the Fort Collins Coloradoan published a guest opinion credited to Lois Burnett suggesting that "[t]here would have been far less need or opportunity for foreign workers to come [to the United States] illegally" if during the last "34 years, the lives of 45-plus million babies" had not "been terminated by abortion." The op-ed further stated that, if not for abortion, "[s]ervicemen and women" serving in Iraq "would not have had to return for two or three deployments," adding, "It's very likely that there would have been far less casualties all around if the United States had the volume of forces needed to rapidly gain and keep control."

As Colorado Media Matters has noted, Douglas County Republican Party official Rick Murray reportedly made similar assertions at a May 25 GOP breakfast, saying that "[s]ince Roe v. Wade we have flushed 48 million babies down the toilet. So we have these jobs filled with illegal immigrants. Draw your own conclusions."

Burnett was arguing in favor of Senate Bill 351, which would amend Title X of the Public Health Service Act "to prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions." She wrote, "There has been recent (but not new) concern for shortages of farm workers, industry and construction laborers, military recruits, school teachers, and doctors and nurses in rural areas." Burnett then added, "For 34 years, the lives of 45-plus million babies have been terminated by abortion, babies who would have been these laborers, workers, servicemen and women, teachers, researchers, doctors, nurses, and the list goes on." She further claimed:

    There would have been far less need or opportunity for foreign workers to come here illegally. The masses of illegal immigration to our country have been a bitter pill to swallow. Can one dare to speculate that, in these 34 years, Mexican citizens may have united in their own country, forged positive change and great strides in their own economy and quality of life?

    I firmly believe, also, that a heavy deployment of armed forces, had they been available, to Iraq at an early time would have substantially improved their effectiveness and shortened our time in Iraq. Servicemen and women would not have had to return for two or three deployments. It's very likely that there would have been far less casualties all around if the United States had the volume of forces needed to rapidly gain and keep control.

The op-ed concluded with a reference to the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, asserting, "We are all paying a terrible price for one irrespective law of 1973. Let us at least stop financing the rogue Planned Parenthood with our tax monies."

Media Matters for America has noted similar claims by conservatives including convicted Watergate felon and Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Charles W. Colson. During the April 11, 2006, broadcast of his daily BreakPoint radio commentary, Colson claimed that legalized abortion created a labor shortage, forcing the United States to solicit undocumented workers from other countries to fill jobs that might have otherwise been occupied by the "40 million sacrificed since 1973."

24 Sep 07 - 11:20 PM (#2156811)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

[signed: The Pope]

24 Sep 07 - 11:36 PM (#2156819)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: katlaughing

[No kidding, SRS!]

24 Sep 07 - 11:39 PM (#2156821)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Wow!! Cannon Fodder of the masses is the Answer! We just need more flesh to pound! Obviously!! How blind we have been.

(Jaysus, some folks give stupidity a real bad name, ya know?).

W didn't write those letters, did he? Just askin'


25 Sep 07 - 08:57 AM (#2156989)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

In my local newsrag 24 SEP 2007
Estimate of human trafficking wildly off
Washington Post

WASHINGTON Outrage was mounting at the 1999 hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building, where legislators were learning about human trafficking.

A woman from Nepal testified that she had been drugged, abducted and forced to work at a brothel in Bombay. A Christian activist recounted tales of women overseas being beaten with electrical cords and raped.

A State Department official said Congress must act – 50,000 slaves were pouring into the United States every year, she said. Furious about the "tidal wave" of victims, Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., vowed to crack down on so-called modem-day slavery.

The next year, Congress passed a law, triggering a little-noticed worldwide war on human trafficking that began at the end of the Clinton administration and is now a top Bush administration priority. As part of the fight, President Bush has blanketed the nation with 42 Justice Department task forces and spent more than $150 million—all to find and help the estimated hundreds of thousands of victims of forced prostitution or labor in the United States.

But the government couldn't find them. Not in this country. The evidence and testimony presented to Congress pointed to a problem overseas. But in the seven years since the law was passed, human trafficking has not become a major domestic issue, according to the government's figures.

The administration has identified 1,362 victims of human trafficking brought into the United States since 2000, nowhere near the 50,000 a year the government had estimated. In addition, 148 federal cases have been brought nationwide.

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Congress last year that a much lower estimate in 2004 – 14,500 to 17,500 a year – might also have been overstated.

Yet the government spent $28.5 million in 2006 to fight human trafficking in the United States, a 13 percent increase over the previous year. The effort has attracted strong bipartisan support.

Steven Wagner, who helped HHS distribute millions of dollars in grants to community groups to find and assist victims, said "those funds were wasted." "Many of the organizations that received grants didn't really have to do anything," said Wagner, former head of HHS's anti-trafficking program. "They were available to help victims. There weren't any victims."

Deja vu?

On June 25, 1910, President William Howard Taft signed into law the White Slave Traffic Act. Named for its sponsor in Congress: the Mann Act.

The bill was aimed at the criminal traffic in women. But it also served as a rallying point for the social purity movement. As one supporter argued, those in favor of the bill included "every pure woman in the land, every priest and minister of the living God, and men who reverence womanhood and who set a priceless value upon female purity." On the other side of the bill, "you would find all the whoremongers and the pimps and the procurers and the keepers of bawdy houses. Upon that other side you would find all those who hate God and scoff at innocence and laugh at female virtue."

Stanley Finch, one of the first heads of the Bureau of Investigation, used the hysteria to build a personal fiefdom within the federal government. After he became Special Commissioner for the Suppression of White Slavery, he told audiences, "It is a fact that there are now scattered throughout practically every section of the U.S. a vast number of men and women whose sole occupation consists in enticing, tricking, or coercing young women and girls into immoral lives. Moreover, their methods have been so far developed and perfected that they seem to be able to ensnare almost any woman or girl whom they select for the purpose. This is indeed an extraordinary statement, and one almost passing belief, but that it is absolutely true no one can honestly doubt who reviews any considerable portion of the mass of evidence which is already in the possession of the Attorney General's Bureau of Investigation."

There was only one problem: No one could find a widespread, organized traffic in white slaves.

And is it déjà vu all over again?

Later, the honorable J. Edgar Hoover repeatedly cited FBI statistics showing that the number of young women forced into sexual slavery in the US each year exceeded the number entering high school in each of the same years … …

1 The Century of Sex, Petersen, 1999, ISBN 0-8021-1652-3

26 Sep 07 - 11:56 PM (#2158232)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Lab Tech Bites Boy, 3, During Blood Test
From Associated Press
September 26, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS - A laboratory technician was fired after the parents of a 3-year-old boy claimed she bit his shoulder during a blood test, a hospital spokesman said.

Faith Buntin took her son Victor to St. Vincent Hospital on Friday to have blood drawn because of recent recalls of toys involving lead. She said she saw the worker put her mouth on Victor's shoulder as she restrained him so another lab worker could draw the blood.

"I looked at her like that was the craziest thing that I'd ever seen," Faith Buntin said Tuesday. "She looked at me and smiled and said, 'Oh, it was just a play bite. He's not hurt.'"

Buntin said she saw teeth marks on the boy's left shoulder after they went home, and her husband drove the child back to the hospital, where he was prescribed antibiotics.

"Taking a bite out of him like he's an apple, this is heinous," said James Buntin, the boy's father.

St. Vincent is "reviewing the capabilities" of the employees of the subcontractor that does its blood work, hospital spokesman Johnny Smith said.

No charges have been filed.

27 Sep 07 - 12:00 AM (#2158240)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - Three Mexican minors detained in California on suspicion of smuggling drugs stole a U.S. Border Patrol car while still wearing handcuffs and drove it back across the border to Mexico.

Police in the Mexican border city of Mexicali said on Tuesday the three boys had been driving a pick-up truck on a remote Californian highway when a Border Patrol agent stopped them.

Suspicious they were carrying marijuana, he handcuffed them and put them in his patrol car while he searched their truck.

"As the agent was doing his search, he left the vehicle running and the keys in the ignition, so one of the lads, still wearing handcuffs, grabbed the steering wheel and they headed back to Mexico," a police spokesman said.

30 Sep 07 - 10:59 AM (#2160416)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

ID thief almost ties innocent woman to crimes
From the Everett Herald

Jean Nelson will never forget June 2002. It was her birthday month and her husband proposed to her. Another reason she won't forget: It was the month in which she became a victim of identity theft.

A childhood friend who knew her well used Nelson's birth date and other personal information to escape a theft charge in King County. Nelson was dragged through a Burien municipal court system insisting on her innocence, but even her own attorney accused her of lying, she said last week. "Every day since the first incident in 2002 not a day goes by that I'm not worried that somebody's going to use my identity again," she said.

Someone did. More than once. Nelson hopes a string of credit problems and brushes with the law will finally end with the sentencing of the old friend, Susan Michele Tate, 44, of Lake Stevens. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne on Tuesday sentenced Tate to prison for a little more than two years.

The case is just one of about 150 serious identity theft and fraud cases now being prosecuted by a small unit started up late last year by the Snohomish County prosecutor's office. The unit has identified nearly 670 people whose personal information wound up in the hands of identity thieves who have been convicted this year, lead deputy Halley Hupp said. Many more victims are associated with cases that have yet to be prosecuted.

The theft of Nelson's identity was a little unusual because it was personal, Hupp said. Tate twice used Nelson's identity to get out of trouble with the law: the theft case and a 2006 citation by Marysville police for not wearing a seat belt. Nelson received a $47 ticket in the mail from Marysville. A Marysville police officer figured out what was going on and arrested Tate. The ticket was erased.

In 2004, somebody opened an account was using Nelson's name and Social Security number. She was notified by Boeing Employees' Credit Union about it. Nelson also had bogus checks issued in her name in 2006, and she spent hours clearing her name. She and her husband are still banned from writing checks at Home Depot, she said.

Hupp's unit consists of himself, deputy prosecutor John Juhl and assistant Cheri Wantola. It started in November with the idea of tackling the most complex identity theft and fraud cases, and charging the thieves with somewhat near the number of crimes they actually committed. They tried to keep the number of cases they were juggling to about 100. But it hasn't worked out that way. The crime -- a less risky way for drug addicts to support their habit -- is mushrooming.

The prosecutors try to charge defendants with enough counts to get the most severe penalty possible, and to properly represent all the victims, Hupp said. For example, Edward Tom Brockavich Jr., 31, of Federal Way pleaded guilty to 23 counts of identity theft and was sentenced last week to more than two years in prison. On Wednesday, Nathan Dean May, 26, of Snohomish pleaded guilty to 16 identity theft charges. "We are only handling the more sophisticated cases, the ones with a large number of victims, those associated with a large financial loss and defendants with a history of identity theft," Hupp said.

Less complex identity theft cases are being prosecuted by other prosecutors in his office, he said. The unit has become a resource for police, helping to schedule tasks among agencies when several jurisdictions are involved in a case, and even training detectives to be alert for certain things. Hupp and Juhl frequently hold meetings with investigators from several police agencies to divvy up the work on complicated cases stretching across municipal boundaries.

"There's a lot of paperwork, and it's nice to have prosecutors who specialize in (identity theft), Everett police Sgt. Mark Thaker said.

The cases often are hard for the cops to get a full grasp of what's going on. The prosecutors follow the money and financial documents, Thaker said. "When they get a case, they know what to look for," Thaker said. "It's nice to have a unit in the prosecutor's office where we can gather to plan an investigation on a subject or group of subjects. We're understanding more clearly what the prosecutors need to make their cases."

The unit has closed nearly 140 cases so far this year. That includes a conviction of 89 individuals. Many had multiple cases, and multiple investigations by police. The result of the preparation and police interaction has been "well prepared cases that we can prosecute," Hupp said.

The cases are so well prepared that Hupp said he has not had to reduce charges to coax guilty pleas. When offenders plead guilty, they nearly always admit to the original charges, Hupp said. The unit also tries to notify people that personal information stolen from the mail or from some other source was found in a crook's hands. That's time consuming, and the unit doesn't have the personnel to notify everybody, Hupp said.

Victim Nelson is happy that Hupp's unit paid attention to Tate's activities. "I called Hupp when I was told that he may take an interest in my case. For the first time in over five years I finally found someone in the justice system that was willing to take notice," Nelson said. "It scares me the different way (Tate) could have ruined my life," she added. "I could have been the person going to prison now."

01 Oct 07 - 03:21 AM (#2160890)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

          Don't go to Michigan this week.

          The State is CLOSED

Michigan's state government partly shuts down

Lawmakers scramble to reach tax increase deal; essential services in place

The Associated Press, Updated: 1:02 a.m. CT Oct 1, 2007

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan's state government partially shut down early Monday as the new fiscal year began with no budget deal in place to plug a $1.75 billion deficit.

The Senate voted to raise the state's income tax from 3.9 percent to 4.35 percent, a key step toward implementing a budget deal, hours after the measure passed the House. It now heads to Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is expected to sign it.

Granholm was waiting for the income tax increase and a bill placing the state's 6 percent sales tax on a wide range of services before she would sign a 30-day continuation budget that would keep government running.

While the House earlier passed the bill expanding the sales tax, the Senate had not voted on the measure.

The House and Senate also approve a measure that would change the way some teacher and state worker health benefits are determined.

In one of the first signs a shutdown was looming, campers were asked to leave some Michigan state parks Sunday night. Some highway rest areas closed and some state troopers did not start their overnight shifts.

Services that protect public health and safety, including prisons and state police, kept running.

Without a budget deal in place, 35,000 of the state's roughly 53,000 workers were expected to be barred from going to work Monday morning.

© 2007 The Associated Press


01 Oct 07 - 03:32 AM (#2160894)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Woman gives birth to own grandchildren

Woman received four embryos from her daughter

The Associated Press
Updated: 9:22 p.m. CT Sept 30, 2007

SAO PAULO, Brazil - A 51-year-old surrogate mother for her daughter has given birth to her own twin grandchildren in northeastern Brazil, the delivery hospital said.

Rosinete Palmeira Serrao, a government health worker, gave birth to twin boys by Caesarean section on Thursday at the Santa Joana Hospital in the city of Recife, the hospital said in a statement on its Web site.

Hospital officials were not available for comment on Sunday, but press reports said the grandmother and twins were discharged on Saturday in excellent health. The Caesarean section was performed about two weeks ahead of time because Serrao was having trouble sleeping, the statement said.

Serrao decided to serve as a surrogate mother after four years of failed attempts at pregnancy by her 27-year-old daughter, Claudia Michelle de Brito.

Brazilian law stipulates that only close relatives can serve as surrogate mothers. De Brito is an only child and none of her cousins volunteered, so Serrao agreed to receive four embryos from her daughter.

©2007 The Associated Press

So these two boys are brothers
to the daughter who's their mother
and ... ?

I'm thoroughly confused, I think.


01 Oct 07 - 11:10 AM (#2161138)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Makes Chinatown look simple, doesn't it?

01 Oct 07 - 10:04 PM (#2161566)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

"Talk about sex toys is once again the buzz around Alabama. The United States Supreme Court refused to hear the Alabama sex toy case, ending a nine year battle for the right to keep and bear (well, more accurately, purchase) sex toys in the state. Sherri Williams provided the money quote in this AP article:"
An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as an unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. But the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, leaving intact a lower court ruling that upheld the law.
Sherri Williams, owner of Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur, said she was disappointed, but plans to sue again on First Amendment free speech grounds.

"My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand. I refuse to give up," she said.

Alabama's anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of "any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value."

01 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM (#2161574)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: bobad

The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.


01 Oct 07 - 11:10 PM (#2161600)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

The Albertson's stores around here (Texas) sell a massager (with a heater element) by the Wahl company, and continued to do so while a similar case was tried in the courts here (charges were eventually thrown out). This "massager" was designed specifically to be a vibrator, and this is the one that rates a 4 on the 1 - 5 rating at Good Vibrations ( The Wahl Coil (5 of 5) turns up in there every so often also--no warming element, just the basic attachments and a powerful, silent motor. I always chuckle when I walk past that aisle--they banned the Playboy magazines years ago, but left the sex toys. I wonder if any of my holier-than-though Baptist neighbors have slipped one into the shopping cart? :)

Antique Vibrator Museum.


02 Oct 07 - 12:39 AM (#2161622)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Holier-than-thou. They can buy vibrators also, even if I can't spell. :)

02 Oct 07 - 01:26 AM (#2161634)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

So, what shouldn't we be aware of now that it's October?

Welcome to October. And as you settle into this crisp new month, we offer this advice: Please be sure you are aware at all moments.

Aware of what? Just about everything.

Some journalists have labeled October "National Month Month" because it's been claimed by so many awareness campaigns that we don't know what to be aware of first. According to the National Health Information Center, October is second only to May for monthlong health awareness campaigns.

You probably know already that it's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with its pink ribbons and fundraising. But October is also the month we should be aware of — ready for this? — healthy lungs, eye injury prevention, dental hygiene, lupus, celiac disease, Down syndrome, spina bifida, sudden infant death syndrome, physical therapy, chiropractic health and Halloween safety. Among other issues. All month long.

Of course, there are plenty of other health issues that don't get the full month, so don't forget those. Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day. Oct. 22 is International Stuttering Awareness Day. And Oct. 31 is Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Day. (You probably wanted to dress up in some silly costume and trick-or-treat. Thoughtless.)

[There's a lot more to the story but the online version is truncated. If I can get my scanner to work (it has it's moments, and this is not one of them) I'll send the rest. Easier that having to read all of my typos.]


02 Oct 07 - 10:32 AM (#2161924)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Family Hit By Second Tornado In 9 Years

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Lynnville family is forced to pick up the pieces after their home is hit by a tornado for second time in nine years.

Tornadoes touched down Sunday in both Poweshiek and Jasper counties. High winds blew apart business and farm buildings.

They also damaged several homes, including one that's now been hit by a tornado twice in the last decade. Mark Hay saw his neighbor's farm get hit by a twister.

"I got down in the storm cellar and hear the lumber go 'brrrr,' and within about 15 seconds, it was all over with," he said.

The garage was destroyed, the roof blew off and the insulation was draped in trees.

"Here's where the tornado came right through here, hit the garage, went right across the field, missed my aunt Mildred over there, which I was very thankful," he said.

His family was safe, but his belongings are gone.

"Anything I had in the garage is gone. It's completely gone. It's strung out for about a mile clear across my whole field," he said.

Hay said the damage will probably take nine to 12 months to clean up. He knows because that's how long it took him last time.

"Last time, it came from Des Moines. Grimes got hit. It came right across here and just, same spot again. It must be tornado alley all I can figure out," he said.

Some people live their whole lives without having to experience severe weather such as tornadoes.

"I guess since it happened to us once. I'm always wondering," said Kendra Hay.

"I'm blessed. It's twice now and we both walked away from it, no scratches, not a lick, just a lot of sad memories of all your pictures are gone," Hay said.

The debris stretches for more than 15 miles. At least five farms got hit and so did a business.

Hay said the farmer he bought his property from lived there for 40 years and never had a tornado come through here. "I get here and I got whacked," he said.

Several people came out to help storm victims by either boarding up windows, building a temporary roof or hauling away debris.

The Hays said they think they'll be able to live in the basement while their home gets fixed and they're just hoping twice is enough.

02 Oct 07 - 01:11 PM (#2162098)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

I think it is a sorry reflection on mankind that National Mental health only gets one goddam day to be the Awareness Du Jour. It just goes to show ya, people got no sense of priorities. If National Mental Health had been the keynote for a whole YEAR, like, say, 1999, effing W would be shining shoes for a living in Potluck, Texarkana.


04 Oct 07 - 10:49 AM (#2163639)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Woman Claims She Was Sexually Assaulted By Devil

DETROIT -- The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to review a sex assault case involving allegations against a local pastor, and the devil.

The case surrounded Gennaro Piscopo, the 55-year-old pastor of Evangel Christian Church in Roseville.

In 2003, Piscopo was convicted of sexually assaulting a female church member during a deliverance ceremony in which Piscopo said he expelled the devil from the woman's body.

Michigan's high court has agreed to hear the case because a key piece of testimony, about the devil, was not allowed. According to court records, the woman indicated she "had been raped by a demon" and sexually assaulted by Satan himself, who she claimed was living in her attic at the time of the exorcism.

"Either way it's a reason to doubt the truth," said defense attorney George Michaels. "And it's reason to doubt whether or not there was a criminal sexual conduct."

The woman has also claimed that she was sexually assaulted, during a separate incident, by her own father, who also happens to be a minister. The allegation against the woman's father was not part of the Piscopo trial, but Michaels said it should have been. "The jury was out for five days. Had they had this information that would have gone toward her credibility."

Michaels also argued during Wednesday's appeal that the exorcism by Piscopo was performed in front of more than 100 people. According to Michaels, none of the witnesses said it was inappropriate to touch someone while performing an exorcism.

During the first trial Piscopo was convicted of fourth-degree sexual assault which refers to "unwanted touching without force." Piscopo is on probation during the appeals process. It is now up to the Michigan Supreme Court to decided if Piscopo gets a new trial.

04 Oct 07 - 10:58 AM (#2163648)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Lawmaker shows naked woman during school lecture

NORWALK, Ohio (AP) -- A state legislator surprised a high school class when the computer he was using projected a photo of a nude woman during a lecture on how a bill becomes a law.
State Rep. Matthew Barrett was giving a civics lesson Tuesday when he inserted a data memory stick into the school computer and the projected image of a topless woman appeared instead of the graphics presentation he had downloaded.

Police interviewed Barrett and school officials and seized the data memory stick and the computer to determine where the image came from, a state highway patrol spokesman said.

Barrett said there were a few snickers from the approximately 20 students in the senior government class at Norwalk High School when the image appeared. He said he immediately pulled the memory stick out of the computer.

The legislator said he finished his lecture using printouts and then met with the school's principal and technology staff, who examined the stick. He said the school's technology director determined the stick had a directory of nude images in addition to Barrett's presentation on civics lessons.

"I have no idea where these came from," the Democrat said.

Barrett said the data memory stick was a gift he received about three weeks ago from a legislative liaison from the state Library of Ohio.

04 Oct 07 - 03:20 PM (#2163867)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The Associated Press
Updated: 4:56 p.m. CT Oct 3, 2007

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man accused of drunken driving reportedly tried to outrun the police, but his vehicle wasn't up to the task.

Michael Ginevan of Bunker Hill was driving a riding lawnmower on Runnymeade Road about a mile from his home when a Berkeley County sheriff's deputy attempted to pull him over. Ginevan, 39, allegedly sped away, and Deputy J.H. Jenkins stopped his cruiser and gave chase on foot, according to magistrate court records.

Jenkins caught up to the lawnmower after a short chase, but Ginevan allegedly wouldn't stop, so the deputy pulled him off the machine. Ginevan refused to take a field sobriety test and was arrested. Jenkins then found a case of beer strapped to the lawnmower's front, court records show.

Ginevan was charged with fleeing while driving under the influence and obstructing an officer. He was being held Tuesday at the Eastern Regional Jail on $7,500 bond.

A person who answered the phone at the jail did not know whether Ginevan had hired an attorney. There was no telephone listing for Ginevan in the Bunker Hill area.

© 2007 The Associated Press.

So get a turbocharger on that mower before you take it out.


05 Oct 07 - 09:44 AM (#2164404)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Wesley S

His silence mistaken, deaf man is attacked
Star-Telegram staff writer

FORT WORTH -- A store cashier struck a deaf customer in the head with a crowbar after he mistook the man's silence for rudeness and disrespect, police said.

The cashier, Ricky Benard Young, 20, faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The customer, Cody Goodnight, 31, suffered "a large knot" on his head during the incident, which occurred Saturday at the Family Dollar Store at 4117 E. Lancaster Ave.

"I can't believe someone would hit him for not speaking," said Goodnight's mother, Kay Goodnight. "When you're deaf, you don't make a point of starting conversations with people."

Young's defense attorney, Mark Scott, said Thursday that he was recently assigned the case and declined to comment.

Kay Goodnight called police after her injured son returned home from the store late Saturday morning. Family members translated Cody Goodnight's story to officers using sign language.

Goodnight said went to the Family Dollar several blocks from their house to buy a soft drink for his 5-year-old son. Inside the store, he put the soda on the counter to pay.

The cashier tried to speak to him but got angry when Goodnight didn't respond, Goodnight told police. The cashier threw Goodnight's change at him, scattering it on the floor.

As Goodnight picked it up, the cashier hit him in the side of the head with the crowbar, Goodnight said.

Officers went to the store, where Young immediately asked if they were there about what "happened earlier," said Lt. Dean Sullivan, a police spokesman. The cashier told officers that he had tried to start a friendly conversation with Goodnight but that Goodnight wouldn't acknowledge him.

At one point, Young told officers, Goodnight mumbled something that Young thought was racial in nature, Sullivan said. Young told officers he struck Goodnight because he thought Goodnight was going to assault him.

After officers told Young that Goodnight was deaf and unable to communicate verbally, Young responded "Oh," Sullivan said.

"Upon further investigation, it appeared the suspect became frustrated when the victim wouldn't respond or acknowledge his attempts to converse," Sullivan said. "He became outraged and struck the victim in an unwarranted attack."

The store's surveillance tape was erased or taped over prior to officers' arrival, Sullivan said.

A corporate spokesman for the Family Dollar Store did not return a phone message Thursday.

Cody Goodnight was treated at the hospital for his injury but still has pain in his head and neck, Kay Goodnight said Thursday.

Deaf since the age of 2, when he suffered a high fever, Goodnight speaks in guttural sounds -- "deaf speak" as his mother calls it.

His stepfather, Barry Adair, said Goodnight doesn't like talking to people he doesn't know.

"He gets embarrassed because people make fun of the way he talks," Adair said. "He's not trying to be rude or unfriendly. You just can't understand him unless you're around him a lot."

Emily Robinson, a Fort Worth deafness resource specialist, said that while it is unusual for a deaf person to be attacked physically, misunderstandings are common. People sometimes take deaf people for rude when they are unresponsive, she said.

"It is a really big problem," Robinson said. "Businesses should be professional and sensitive to deaf people. There are training workshops about the deaf culture and what to expect in interactions with us."

05 Oct 07 - 10:19 AM (#2164429)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Wesley, I saw that story on the front page this morning. I'm working on getting my 15-year-old son in the habit of reading the paper (he's beginning to catch on) so I read that one out loud while he ate because he was in a hurry and wanted to know what the story was. That clerk has some anti-social problems, to say the least.


05 Oct 07 - 10:55 AM (#2164461)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

No sh*t. To be annoyed is one thing, but hitting the guy with a crow bar, good lord.

05 Oct 07 - 10:58 AM (#2164466)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

The store's surveillance tape was erased or taped over prior to officers' arrival, Sullivan said.

That's the guilty act that is going to get him when he appears in court.

05 Oct 07 - 11:09 AM (#2164475)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Wesley S

It bothers me that - so far as I can tell - Dollar General hasn't announced the employee's dismissal.

05 Oct 07 - 01:55 PM (#2164580)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Early Halloween is their treat for an ailing girl

FORT WORTH -- For two hours Thursday night, 7-year-old Trinity Rhyan Bright, in costume as a baby holding a big bottle, went trick-or-treating in her northwest Fort Worth neighborhood. For most children, Halloween's not for four more weeks. Didn't matter. Trinity's family and friends just want to make her happy and Trinity loves Halloween. The first-grader has diffuse pontine glioma, an inoperable brain cancer.

A neighbor, Scott Nipp, said the idea for an early Halloween started recently when Trinity's parents, John and Angel Bright, asked neighbors if they would hand out candy during a mock night of trick-or-treating. Nipp said his wife, Rhonda, and other neighbors quickly organized a much bigger celebration. "Everyone has been touched by her story," Trina Booker said. "If we can just make one day special for Trinity and her family, we'd stop at nothing to do that."

Fire trucks, police cars and clowns showed up in the neighborhood near the corner of Boat Club and Ten Mile Bridge roads. Friends dressed in elaborate costumes and more than a dozen neighbors decorated their homes and handed out treats. Activities included a bean bag toss and fishing for toys. "We're excited to see all of the people who were here for her," said Trinity's mother, Angel, who wore a black-and-white striped prison costume. "This was good because she loves to dress up and she loves candy."

The Brights' Web site describes the family's shock at the sudden onset of the cancer. Trinity first experienced double vision March 3; by March 13, an oncologist at Cook Children's Medical Center was giving the parents the devastating news that their daughter has a rare cancer that is hard to treat. Most patients live only six to 12 months after diagnosis.

"At this time we are currently seeking treatment options around the world. There have been no reported cases of anyone beating this disease, but we want to," they write on the Web site. Thursday night, Trinity's wheelchair was pushed mostly by her father, John, who also wore prison stripes.

Trinity's speech was slow and slurred. She is swollen from steroid medications, her mother said. But she was taking it all in. "It was fun because I got to see Trinity," 8-year-old schoolmate Alycia Savage said. "She was happy and she smiled at me."

Sydney King, 7, another schoolmate, said: "It's fun, exciting and inspirational."

"We wanted to make it the most memorable Halloween that any kid could hope for," Scott Nipp said.

How to help

Donations can be made to Trinity Bright and her family at these banks:

First Bank, account No. 1313766

Bank of America, account No. 488003556995

To find out more about Trinity, go to:

05 Oct 07 - 02:20 PM (#2164599)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: beardedbruce

Ig Nobel awards celebrate the sillier side of science

Story Highlights
Argentina teams finds that Viagra cuts jet lag recovery time for hamsters

World's first comprehensive study of sword-swallowing injuries finds the obvious

Researchers discover "a very simple formula" can explain sheet, skin wrinkling

Though the research sound silly, some could help solve real problems

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- Good news for your Viagra-using hamster: On his next trip to Europe, he'll bounce back from jet lag faster than his unmedicated friends.

The researchers who revealed that bizarre fact earned one of 10 Ig Nobel prizes awarded Thursday night for quirky, funny and sometimes legitimate scientific achievements, from the mathematics of wrinkled sheets to U.S. military efforts to make a "gay bomb."

The recipients of the annual award handed out by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine were honored at Harvard University's Sanders Theater.

A team at Quilmes National University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, came up with the jet-lag study, which found that hamsters given the anti-impotence drug needed 50 percent less time to recover from a six-hour time zone change. They didn't fly rodents to Paris, incidentally -- they just turned the lights off and on at different times.

Odd as it might be, that research might have implications for millions of humans. The same cannot be said for another winning report, "Sword Swallowing and its Side Effects," published in the British Medical Journal last year.

It was the world's first comprehensive study of sword-swallowing injuries, said co-author Dan Meyer of Antioch, Tennessee, one of only a few dozen active sword swallowers in the world. Not surprisingly, throat abrasions, perforated esophagi and punctured blood vessels were the most common injuries.

"Most sword-swallowing injuries happen either after another smaller injury when the throat is tender and swollen, or while doing something out of the ordinary, like swallowing multiple swords," said Meyer, who went a month without solid food after doing the latter in 2005.

The Ig Nobel for nutrition went to a concept that sounds like a restaurant marketing ploy: a bottomless bowl of soup.

Cornell University professor Brian Wansink used bowls rigged with tubes that slowly and imperceptibly refilled them with creamy tomato soup to see if test subjects ate more than they would with a regular bowl.

"We found that people eating from the refillable soup bowls ended up eating 73 percent more soup, but they never rated themselves as any more full," said Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior and applied economics. "They thought 'How can I be full when the bowl has so much left in it?' "

His conclusion: "We as Americans judge satiety with our eyes, not with our stomachs."

Harvard professor of applied mathematics L. Mahadevan and professor Enrique Cerda Villablanca of Universidad de Santiago in Chile won for their studies on a problem that has vexed anyone who ever made up a bed: wrinkled sheets.

The wrinkle patterns seen on sheets are replicated in nature on human and animal skin, in science and in technology.

"We showed that you can understand all of them using a very simple formula," Mahadevan said.

His research, he says, shows that "there's no reason good science can't be fun."

Other winners include a Dutch researcher who conducted a census of all the creepy-crawlies that share our beds, and a man who patented a Batman-like device that drops a net over bank robbers.

This year's planned Ig Nobel program included a two-minute speech by keynote speaker Doug Zongker consisting only of the word "chicken," and a mini-opera entitled "Chicken versus Egg," performed by professional mother-daughter opera singers Gail Kilkelly and Maggie McNeil.

Most winners are more than happy to accept their awards from real Nobel laureates at the typically rowdy ceremony, including seven of the 10 winners this year. But there are still a few sticks-in-the-mud, magazine editor Marc Abrahams said.

The U.S. Air Force won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize this year for its proposal to develop a "gay bomb" -- a chemical weapon that would make enemy soldiers want to make love with each other, not war with the enemy.

Abrahams talked to a number of retired and active Air Force personnel to try and get someone to accept the prize in person on behalf of the military. None would.

"Who in their right mind would turn something like this down?" Wansink said.

06 Oct 07 - 03:38 PM (#2165333)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Orangutan prefers tattooed blondes

Sibu pesters keepers who hoped primate would breed with his own species

Updated: 9:55 p.m. CT Oct 5, 2007

AMSTERDAM - Sibu the Orangutan has miffed his Dutch keepers by refusing to mate with females and showing sexual interest only in tattooed human blondes.

Apenheul Primate Park hoped Sibu would become its breeding male when he arrived two years ago, but orangutans aren't his type.

"He chases them, or ignores them, but he doesn't do what he should do," said a spokeswoman for the park.

Instead, Sibu has fancied his female keepers — especially blondes. The spokeswoman said Sibu also has a fetish for tattoos, harking back to a heavily tattooed keeper who reared him.

"Orangutans have special interests in special subjects. Sibu happens to like tattoos," she said.

The park hasn't given up on Sibu. The primate once showed an amorous interest in a female orangutan while living in England, and keepers hope he will find love when reunited with her in a new enclosure in Chester, England.

© 2007 Reuters Limited

A new argument when your female kid wants to get a tattoo?


06 Oct 07 - 06:20 PM (#2165463)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

The neighbors timed their early Halloween perfectly. I see in the coroner's report today that Trinity Bright died this morning at 6am.


12 Oct 07 - 10:40 AM (#2169553)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

A slice of life in rural America. . .

Tractor driver booked for DUI

Arlington man's rig allegedly was all over the road

The Herald link

ARLINGTON -- It's a story that started with cars, bikes and planes. It ended Thursday when an Arlington man was arrested for allegedly driving a tractor while drunk. The man, 59, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of driving under the influence, Washington State Patrol trooper Kirk Rudeen said. "This is the first time I've been working that we've had a DUI on a tractor," the 18-year veteran trooper said.

The whole thing started when a man flagged down a trooper to say he thought someone was driving drunk. He told the trooper he'd helped a man pull his car out of a ditch. About an hour later, he saw the same man with the same car in a different ditch. Police dispatched a State Patrol airplane to look for the suspected drunken driver and troopers in the air quickly zeroed in on the Kubota tractor, Rudeen said.

The tractor was swerving all over the road, he said. "The guy almost went into the ditch again driving the tractor," Rudeen said. By the time troopers caught up with the man about 12:45 p.m. near Rose Road and 288th Street NW, he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, Rudeen said.

Police think this is what happened. The man drove his car into a ditch for the second time that morning. He walked home. He got his tractor and used it to pull the car out of the ditch. After driving his car home, the man hopped on a bicycle and pedaled back to retrieve the tractor.

The man was at the wheel of the tractor, swerving along a country road, when troopers found him, Rudeen said. Driving a huge piece of farm machinery while drunk is no laughing matter, Rudeen said.
n accident between a car and the tractor likely would have been catastrophic, he said.

"A front-end loader is not going to give like a car would. It's going to peel the car open like a can opener, not to mention what's going to happen to the occupant," Rudeen said.

The man was cited and booked into the county jail Thursday afternoon. He was being held on $5,000 bail. "This is a person we definitively needed to get off the roadway," Rudeen said.

12 Oct 07 - 11:53 AM (#2169624)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

My in-laws live just south of Atlanta. They told us the other day that if the drought doesn't let up soon there will be no water when they turn on the tap.

Mayor Begs Residents To Conserve Water

ATLANTA -- The commissioner of Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management made a plea for conservation today because of the severe drought that has forced restrictions on 61 counties in north Georgia.

Robert J. Hunter called it a drought "of historic magnitude." He said everyone must come together to protect and conserve limited water resources.

The storage for Atlanta's water supply is Lake Lanier, located north of the city. Hunter said it provides water for one-third of the residents of Georgia.

He said that now there is enough water in Lanier to serve the area for 121 days.

Hunter joined Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin at a news conference at City Hall to urge citizens in Atlanta and the surrounding area to do everything possible to conserve water.
The 61 counties were placed under Drought Restriction Level Four on September 28 by the director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, which essentially is a ban on all outdoor watering. Hunter said a level four is called "exceptional, which is beyond extreme."

Both Hunter and Franklin strongly endorsed better use of water in the home, such as having a plumber check for leaks. Franklin said the city is steadily making improvements on an outdated city water system, averaging about 700 repaired leaks a month.

U.S. Drought Monitor Survey Released

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor survey released today shows the drought is getting worse. Basically, the eastern half of Alabama remains under the worst drought conditions on the scale -- that's approximately 58 percent of the state under D-4 condition. All the state is under D-1 status or worse.

61 percent of Tennessee is under D-4 or exceptional condition. In Georgia, 27 percent of that state is under the worse category. Other states under D-4 classification includes parts of Kentucky, North and South Carolina and Virginia.

The long range forecast calls for the drought to persist in much of the region through December.

13 Oct 07 - 09:38 PM (#2170614)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Tip to copper wire thieves:

          Not the live ones

10,000-volt shock leaves cable thief to be ID'd by prints from severed hand

Updated: 4:32 p.m. CT Oct 8, 2007

BERLIN - A thief in Germany was charred beyond recognition by a 10,000-volt electric shock when he tried to steal a live copper cable, authorities said Monday.

Police in the western city of Duisburg found the 32-year-old man's blackened remains by a set of cable cutters and a pile of cables he had already stolen.

Only because one of his hands survived incineration were officers able to identify the man as a German of Kazakh origin.

"His fingerprints were already logged on police files," a local police spokesman said. "The force of the shock was so great that the hand was severed from his body."

© 2007 Reuters Limited.


14 Oct 07 - 09:12 PM (#2171239)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Blood-Spattered Yacht Tells Few Tales

The Associated Press
Sunday, October 14, 2007

MIAMI -- Unlike most boats returning from the high seas, the sport fisher Joe Cool had no tales to tell. Three days earlier, the 47-foot boat had departed for the island of Bimini, four crew members and two passengers aboard. A day earlier, it had been found, doing circles and dragging anchor, on a lonely stretch of the Florida Straits about 30 miles north of Cuba.

With no crew.

And no passengers.

As a Coast Guard cutter towed it slowly back into Biscayne Bay, a hush fell over its home, the Miami Beach Marina.

In the slips, men ceased buffing the pearly hulls of multimillion-dollar yachts. Dock boys stopped zipping about in EZGO carts. Even the Shih Tzu-walkers in their Gucci sunglasses and clogs paused as the white vessel glided without a murmur up the channel.

Along the docks and the palm-lined pier, "Everyone stood there and followed the boat with their eyes," Valerie Kevorkian, a dive shop operator and scuba instructor, recalled, "and then there was only emptiness ... a ghostly feeling."

Indeed, the Joe Cool had returned with no souls or story _ only clues, tantalizing to be sure, to a high-seas mystery full of twists, discrepancies, revelations and contradictions.

As on an episode of "CSI," investigators would pluck from the vessel some valuable evidence: four 9 mm shell casings; a tiny key that might or might not unlock handcuffs; splotches of human blood, inside and outside the cabin.

They would also find, drifting in an orange life raft 12 miles north of the ghost ship, two seemingly incongruous men who had chartered the Joe Cool _ a 35-year-old, suspected thief on the run from police in Arkansas, and a clean-cut, 19-year-old Cuban-American training to become a private security guard.

They would interrogate these survivors, take down a story that three pirates had hijacked the boat and coldly shot each crew member, and then, for some reason, let these two go in a life raft with their luggage and about $2,200 in cash.

Investigators didn't buy the story. On Wednesday, prosecutors charged the suspects with first-degree murder in the high-seas killing of the Joe Cool's young, four-member crew: the captain, Jake Branam, 27; his wife, Kelley, 30; Jake's half-brother, Scott Gamble, 35, and their friend and first mate, Samuel Kairy, 27.

What law enforcement would not immediately provide _ may never fully provide, perhaps _ are what the relatives and friends of the four most desire: Answers and, by extension, closure.

For a week after its return, the Joe Cool sat in dock at a Coast Guard station directly across the channel from the marina. No one was allowed near the vessel _ except the forensics experts who combed it for clues _ but the boat's graceful hull and vaulting flybridge were visible, and haunting, to all.

"This could have happened to any one of us, and whenever you looked at that boat over there, it reminded of you of that," said Greg Love, 51, who runs Club Nautico South Beach, one of the marina's five charter businesses.

Kevorkian, whose dive shop is next door, caught herself many times that week, gazing beyond the boat lifts at the tied-up Joe Cool.

"It just looked empty. Like a shell," she said. "There was no feeling, no soul in it anymore."


As with many sea mysteries, this one starts on land _ in central Arkansas, to be precise.

It features a fellow named Kirby Logan Archer, who, by the age of 35, had been described as a loner, a romantic, a sensitive son, a vindictive husband, a loving father, a gay man.

According to a WANTED flier from the Independence County sheriff's office, Archer stands 6 feet tall and weighs 190 pounds. His mugshot reveals a no-nonsense squint and a grown-out crewcut _ a throwback, maybe, to his Army days. (He had been a Military Police investigator at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the Cuban Rafter Crisis, which began in 1994. He went AWOL four years ago, receiving an "other-than-honorable" discharge, court records show.)

Arkansas prosecutors have accused Archer of robbing the Wal-Mart in Batesville, where he worked for less than a year as a customer service manager.

On a Friday night this January, they allege, Archer used a cart to collect the money trays from cash registers, part of his normal duties, and wheeled it to a back room.

Next, they say, he stashed $92,620.66 in cash and checks in a microwave oven and re-sealed the box. A surveillance video showed that Archer strolled out the front doors with the box at 10:25 p.m., after paying for the microwave at the front checkout counter.

"He even used his employee discount," Keith Bowers, sheriff of Independence County, said in a phone interview.

By the time a court had issued a warrant for his arrest the following morning, Archer had fled the state.

He left behind a wife, two children and, apparently, a troubled home life. Though his current wife, Michelle, has described him as a "wonderful father," his previous wife, Michelle Rowe, says Archer was quite the opposite.

Allegations leveled during the couple's divorce and child custody proceedings paint a lurid picture: that Rowe was sexually involved with another woman; that Archer had a gay lover; that Rowe suffered an "accidental overdose" of migraine medication; that Archer once gave Rowe a black eye; and more.

At the time Archer went on the lam, he was the subject of a child molestation investigation _ and still is, though no charges have been filed, says Sgt. David Huffmaster of the Sharp County, Ark., sheriff's office. (In 1993, while living in Tucson, Ariz., Archer was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of "contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a minor.")

Allan Kaiser, a lawyer appointed to defend Archer in Miami, says the allegations come mainly "from an ex-wife who is pretty unbalanced."

A little more than an hour after leaving Wal-Mart for good, Archer was stopped by police in Bono, Ark., 90 miles away, because one headlight of his 1991 Dodge Caravan was out. He was cited and sent on his way since the all-points bulletin on him hadn't yet been posted.

"It's a shame," says Lance Suttles, Bono's police chief. "We could have stopped this whole mess right there, if only we'd have known about him."


For nearly eight months, Archer lay low. When next he surfaced, he was in the Miami area, spending time with a 19-year-old Cuban immigrant with a weight lifter's torso and a close-cropped, dark beard: Guillermo Zarabozo.

To his neighbors in Hialeah, Zarabozo was sociable, respectful, well-behaved. He lived with his mother, sister, stepfather and pet dog in a second-floor walkup.

Did he drink, smoke, use drugs? No, the neighbors say. Was he in trouble with the law? Never, they insist.

Gaby Lopez, 19, a Hialeah High School classmate, knew him as "an easygoing" student who excelled in science and math and was in the school's Junior ROTC.

"Guillermo worked out a lot, was a sports nut," says Nelson Palenzuela, 60, a downstairs neighbor. "He had a Cuban girlfriend, but he never came home late."

"He's a boy any mother would want to have," said another neighbor, Belkis Diaz, 38.

Until recently, Zarabozo worked for private investigation and security companies and held a state permit to carry three types of handguns.

But if Zarabozo got along so well with his neighbors, why did he install a video surveillance camera in the hall outside of his family's apartment? And if, as Zarabozo's neighbors and friends attest, Archer never visited Zarabozo at home, school, or work, how and when did they meet?

Archer's attorney, Allan Kaiser, said the two were introduced in Florida six months ago by "people they knew mutually."

Zarabozo's mother, Francisca Alonso, said in a TV interview that her son's father had been stationed at Guantanamo in 1995, when Archer was an MP officer there. (Archer briefly mentioned "a boy from Cuba whose family he apparently befriended while stationed in Cuba," according to his ex-wife, Rowe.)

Zarabozo came to the United States in 1999, after winning a visa lottery in Cuba, said his mother.

"I believe in my son. I trust him completely," she told The Associated Press.

However the pair came together, Archer and Zarabozo shared a number of traits: Both spoke fluent Spanish and had lived in Cuba; both were fastidious, very attentive to their physiques, and well-trained in the use of handguns.

And, on a breezy Saturday, the last day of summer, both boarded the Joe Cool.


The travelers initially approached the charter boat's first mate, Sammy Kairy.

They wanted a ride to Bimini. They'd met a couple of lovely young ladies and were supposed to rendezvous with them in the Bahamas. It would be a one-way trip.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary about the two men, according to people at the marina that day and the next. The pair seemed polite. One spoke in a slow, Southern drawl. He seemed friendly. He was willing to pay cash.

It was still the slow season for chartering. The snowbirds, the corporate types, they wouldn't start flocking to Florida to fish the Gulf Stream for another month or two. A charter a week was good money that time of year.

Kairy gave them the business number of the boat's owner.

The next afternoon, Saturday, Sept. 21, Archer and Zarabozo turned up at slip D-30, where the Joe Cool was docked. They had six black bags. The vessel's owner, Jeff Branam, a stout man with sun-bleached gray hair, helped carry their luggage aboard.

Archer told him they worked for a survey company, had finished early, and were off to the Big Game Resort and Yacht Club on Bimini. Branam said a boat trip would set them back $4,000. The crew, after all, would have to sail back to Miami, and gas cost money.

With little more than a nod, Archer pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket, peeled off 40 $100 notes, and held them out.

Why didn't they just take a plane? Branam asked. A one-way ticket would cost $150, tops.

Haven't got my passport, Archer told him. Girlfriend packed it in her luggage and went on ahead. She's going to meet us at the dock.

Branam took the money.

There was no reason to feel funny about it. Another outfit in the marina charged $3,500-$4,900 for a full day fishing on yachts about the size of the Joe Cool. Miami Beach was a rich man's playground. Some of these folks garaged their Ferraris to go grocery shopping in their Mercedes.

About 4:30 p.m., under sunny skies, the Joe Cool sailed into the light chop of Biscayne Bay, on its first-ever charter to the Bahamas.

The captain, Jake Branam, with a $1,000 share and plans to fish for yellowfin tuna on the return, couldn't have been happier. His wife, Kelley, an "outdoor girl" who nurtured a pet raccoon at home, didn't usually tag along; she had a 3-year-old daughter, Taylor, and an infant son, Morgan, to look after.

But this time, she was able to leave the kids with Jake's grandfather. Besides, it was the weekend and this was only a one-way job.


What happened next, according to criminal complaints filed in federal court against Archer and Zarabozo, is this:

The Joe Cool was expected to return the following noon to prepare for a Monday charter. By 4 p.m. that Sunday, with no word from his nephew, Jeff Branam contacted the Coast Guard. Within two hours, the sport fisher was spotted, drifting.

But it was 160 miles south of Bimini, on the Cay Sal Banks _ just a short sail from Cuba.

Coast Guard officers boarded the vessel, finding it "in disarray." Investigators discovered six marijuana cigarettes, a cellular telephone, luggage, cameras, a laptop computer, Zarabozo's Florida ID card, a small key, four spent shell casings _ and blood, in the stern and cabin.

They noted the boat's navigational equipment and electronics had been left untouched, along with some expensive fishing gear. But they found no life raft, no guns, no bullets or slugs.

And no bodies.

The boat's Global Positioning System indicated the Joe Cool had started off heading due east toward Bimini. Then, halfway to its destination, it had veered 190 degrees south. Why the drastic change in course, which pointed straight toward Cuba?

Two cutters, a C-130 plane, a P-3 Orion patrol plane and helicopters swept the Gulf Stream, searching more than 10,000 square miles. On foot, searchers checked out dozens of small, uninhabited cays.

Still they found no crew.

They did, however, spot a life raft, drifting northward with the Gulf Stream current. In it were Archer and Zarabozo, with a supply of water, their luggage, and some other curious objects: a blow gun, darts, several knives, and 22 $100 bills.

What were they doing out there?

During the trip back, Zarabozo told investigators that pirates had hijacked the Joe Cool. They shot the captain dead, he recounted, and then killed his wife the same way "because she was hysterical." The hijackers then ordered the remaining crew to throw the bodies overboard, shooting them, too, when they refused, he said.

When the pirates told him to dump the bodies, Zarabozo said he complied and, at gunpoint, cleaned the boat. Then, he claimed, the invaders commandeered the vessel and sailed it south until it ran out of fuel. Ultimately, a third boat picked up the hijackers, who spared him and Archer the crew's fate.


The survivors' version of what happened appeared highly suspicious to prosecutors.

They say:

_No radio transmissions or maydays about a hijacking came from the boat. There was a "distress" button on the VHF radio, which, when pressed, would send the Coast Guard the sport fisher's position.

_Four spent shell casings had stamps matching ammunition purchased by Zarabozo in February.

_There were no scratches or marks on the Joe Cool's hull, typically left by a boarding vessel.

_Though Archer and Zarabozo say they were going to rendezvous with girlfriends on Bimini, no women have come forward.

_Although the survivors told investigators the killings occurred on the boat's exterior deck, human blood and three of the four shell casings were found inside, in the main cabin.

_Cuba, just beyond where the men were picked up, has no extradition treaty with the U.S.; that fact led Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Tsai to say in court that Archer and Zarabozo were attempting "a one-way trip out of the country."

Still, without a murder weapon, a confession, bodies, bullets _ or any witnesses beyond the accused _ proving that Archer and Zarabozo plotted and committed first-degree murder won't be easy, veteran defense lawyers say.

"That's a fairly thin case," says James Cohen, a criminal law professor at Fordham University. Proceeding without bodies can be done but "it's much more difficult," he said.

Indeed, without the victims' bodies, what can DNA evidence on the Joe Cool prove?

It doesn't have eyes, or ears, or memory.

And it doesn't tell secrets.


At the Miami Beach Marina, the news of murder charges brought no elation from those who knew the crew of the Joe Cool. Relief, perhaps. And hope that the crime would not go unpunished.

Wayne Conn, 57, a boat captain who's a fixture at the marina, met Jake Branam 15 years ago, when he was just an adolescent with floppy hair and dreams of skippering a boat. Conn showed him the ropes. He knew that they shared an attachment to their vessels and to the sea.

Now Conn knows something else.

"Grieving takes a long time to get through."

16 Oct 07 - 11:26 PM (#2172707)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Seems to me this "agency" is a bit high and mighty in the dog adoption business. This isn't a child they're talking about, and DeGeneres found a good alternate home after hers didn't work. If the agency is truly interested in the welfare of the dog they should know that children that age are not a hazard to a dog and should be grateful that it had a good home.

Sounds like they're hoping to get some press out of it--but it isn't turning out the way they hoped.

Agency Wants to Keep DeGeneres' Dog
October 16, 2007 (AP)

LOS ANGELES - Ellen DeGeneres' doggy drama intensified Tuesday when the agency that took the talk show host's adopted dog back said they were keeping it. The dog adopted by DeGeneres and later given to her hairstylist's family in violation of an animal rescue agency's rules will not be going back to the family, a spokesman said, amid threats of violence against the agency.

DeGeneres made a tearful plea on her talk show that aired Tuesday for the owners of Mutts and Moms to give Iggy, a Brussels Griffon mix terrier, back to her hairstylist's family.

The dog was removed from the hairstylist's home Sunday. The owners of Mutts and Moms claimed that DeGeneres violated the adoption agreement by not informing them that she was giving the dog away. Mutts and Moms owners Marina Batkis and Vanessa Chekroun were in possession of the dog and will not be giving it back, attorney Keith A. Fink told The Associated Press. "She (Marina) is not going to give them the dog," said Fink, who is not legally representing the owners but is authorized to speak on their behalf.

"She doesn't think this is the type of family that should have the dog. She is adamant that she is not going to be bullied around by the Ellen DeGenereses of the world ... They are using their power, position and wealth to try to get what it is they want." DeGeneres' attorney, Kevin Yorn, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

However, on her talk show taped Tuesday and airing Wednesday, a serious DeGeneres reiterated to her audience that "the dog needs to go to the family." It "just needs to be in a good home," she continued, according to a transcript given to the AP. "All that you're supposed to do is put a dog in a loving home."

Fink said DeGeneres' partner, actress Portia de Rossi, signed the agreement. DeGeneres originally said on her show that she (DeGeneres) had signed it. DeGeneres' publicist Kelly Bush confirmed De Rossi signed the agreement, although DeGeneres' name also was listed. "She (Ellen) was wrong by not reading the agreement," Bush told the AP in a phone interview. "She thought she was doing a good thing. She's notorious for rescuing animals and finding them good homes. She found the dog a wonderful, wonderful home."

Fink asserted that DeGeneres and De Rossi breached the agreement. "If you adopt a dog and you no longer want the dog, you can't unilaterally decide who you want to give the dog to," he said. "She's trying to tell a story to make herself look good."

As a result of the ensuing publicity, Fink said Batkis and Chekroun had received voice- and e-mail threats of death and arson, and their Paws Boutique store in Pasadena was besieged by media Tuesday, disrupting business. The women handle the volunteer, nonprofit Mutts and Moms rescue agency out of the store. "It's very upsetting to hear that someone is getting those kind of calls," Bush said. "Ellen just wants the dog reunited with the family."

DeGeneres had said her hairdresser's daughters, ages 11 and 12, had bonded with Iggy and were heartbroken when the dog was taken away. Fink said Moms and Mutts has a rule that families with children under 14 are not allowed to adopt small dogs. "It's for the protection of the dog," he said.

DeGeneres said on her Tuesday show that she spent $3,000 having the dog neutered and trained to be with her cats, but Iggy did not mix well with the cats so she gave him away. "She got rid of the dog not because it didn't get along with the cats," Fink said. "She didn't like the dog."

Not true, according to Bush."She loved the dog," the publicist said. Four-month-old Iggy was trained by Zack Grey at his UrbanTales pet store in Los Angeles. "Ellen and Portia followed the process every single day," he said. "It just didn't work. It had nothing to do with not loving the puppy."

17 Oct 07 - 12:01 PM (#2173045)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Comedian Colbert joins race for White House
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post
Article Launched: 10/17/2007 01:33:10 AM PDT

WASHINGTON - It has become something of a cliche: politicians launching their electoral campaigns on late-night talk shows, in a calculated attempt at hipness.

But a late-night comic announcing his presidential candidacy on a late-night talk show - now that is a hall-of-mirrors maneuver worthy of Stephen Colbert. The man known to viewers for his portrayal of a fulminating right-wing blowhard said on Comedy Central on Tuesday night that he will be a candidate in his native South Carolina.

Asked if he plans to give up his show, Colbert said: "Do you think I'm a fool? Now that I'm a candidate, you people are going to be gunning for me, like you do for everybody." Not only will the program enable him to bite back at the press, he pointed out, but "you know what it pays to be a presidential candidate? Not well."

As for the inconvenient truth that he hasn't lived in the Palmetto State for years, the host of "The Colbert Report" went negative, daring the other candidates to match his appeal back home: "John Edwards left South Carolina when he was 1 year old. He had his chance. Saying his parents moved him - that's the easy answer."

Colbert told Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" that he planned to announce soon on a more prestigious program - and minutes later, on his own show, said he was taking the plunge, triggering a big balloon drop.

Colbert, who in real life is a Democrat, said he would file papers to run in both parties' primaries.

He seems to have an unorthodox fundraising strategy: "I'd really like to get some corporate sponsorship. Some sort of salty snack."

17 Oct 07 - 04:48 PM (#2173172)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

He has tough competition from a dead man: will he come close to what Pat Paulson was able to do with his "campaigns" over the years?


18 Oct 07 - 10:11 AM (#2173615)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A 10-week-old kitten used up one of its nine lives when it survived a 20-minute ordeal in a washing machine.

Molly was saved when 11-year-old owner Bethany Hall saw the helpless animal clawing at the inside of the washing machine door at her County Durham home.

The pet, which had crawled into the machine at the Hall family home in Meadomsley, near Consett, suffered eye damage and had breathing difficulties.

But after a course of antibiotics and physiotherapy, Molly recovered.

Bethany's mother Sonia Hall, said: "I was in a state of panic when I saw her, but thankfully we have one of those machines that switches off easily.

18 Oct 07 - 10:17 AM (#2173619)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A woman posing as Lady Godiva swapped a white horse for a mobility scooter to protest at plans to close care homes.
Simone Christiaan went almost naked to pretend to be an elderly version of the Anglo-Saxon campaigner at Stafford's county council building.

Ms Christiaan, 41, is the guardian of a resident in Springhill Home in Leek, one of the homes under threat.

The council said no decision has been made and it is still consulting those affected.

Ms Christiaan, who only had two plasters to cover her modesty, said that during the protest on Wednesday morning she was nearly arrested by a police officer.

She said: "They said just covering the nipple part was not good enough, it had to cover the whole breast. I said that if I was wearing a bikini I would've shown more.

"I nearly got slightly arrested and had to cover up a bit."

'Meaningful discussions'

According to legend, Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry in protest at her husband's heavy taxes.

Ms Christiaan said she hoped her re-enactment would raise awareness of her campaign.

She said: "If this is what's needed to help change the council's minds it's worth it.

"The council is trying to take everything

18 Oct 07 - 10:20 AM (#2173623)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

In the "Not Doing it Quite Right..." department:

Mumbai, India (AHN) -- Doctors in India have removed a 3-inch toothbrush lodged inside the nose of a 31-year old woman, a local paper reported.

The report said that the housewife went to a hospital in Mumbai two months ago suffering from severe pain.

During a CT scan, doctors were shocked to find the broken toothbrush prompting them to order an immediate surgery.

"I was brushing my teeth, my husband accidentally pushed me and the toothbrush in my hand broke,"| said the woman. "I was left holding the lower portion of the brush but couldn't locate the rest of it."

"Soon after, I started bleeding profusely from the nose," she added. "But since that day, I began getting breathless and a foul-smelling discharge began to come out of my nose."

"The odor from her nose was so bad that it could be smelt from a distance of two feet," said Kaushal Sheth, the doctor who performed the surgery. "If the object had fallen into her windpipe, she could have choked to death."

18 Oct 07 - 12:31 PM (#2173725)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Man swipes pug in Largo, pushes puppy down his pants

LARGO (FLA) -– In the annals of puppy theft, is there any technique more crafty than stuffing a brown pug puppy down your pants?

That's exactly what a man did in a Largo pet store Monday -– in front of a surveillance camera.

According to Largo police, three or four men, a woman, and a child walked into All About Puppies pet store at 7190 Ulmerton Road. They hovered around the puppy-filled cages. Then one man grabbed hold of the brown pug.

Retail value: $900.

He put it in his shirt at first, according to police, but then he looked for a better place to conceal it.

The unnamed man tried farther south, stowing the dog in the front of his pants.

Then he left the store. The group followed.

All told, the theft took six minutes.

But the puppy is implanted with a tracking chip, according to police, so next time it goes to the vet it will be recognized as stolen.

19 Oct 07 - 09:58 AM (#2174459)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Whacky Notes from All Over:

Hospital gives man drip-feed of vodka
From the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 10, 2007
BRISBANE, Australia -- Doctors plugged an Italian tourist into a drip-feed of vodka to save him at a hospital in Australia that ran out of the medicinal alcohol it would normally have used for treatment.

The 24-year-old Italian, who was not further identified, was brought to Mackay Base Hospital in northeastern Queesland state and was diagnosed as having ingested a large quantity of ethylene glycol, a common ingredient of antifreeze that can cause renal failure.

Dog saves family from fire blamed on cat

From the Associated Press
October 11, 2007
GREENVILLE, Maine -- Thumper, a black Labrador retriever, is getting credit for saving a Greenville man when a fire swept through his home.

Roland Cote said his wife and their 7-year-old grandson were away when the blaze started early Sunday in a converted two-story garage. He said Thumper grabbed him by the arm to wake him, leaving just enough time for him to dial 911 before fleeing the fast-moving fire.

While the dog is the hero, a cat is the bad guy in this story.

Cote said the fire marshal investigator believes the blaze was started when Princess, the family cat, tipped over a kerosene lantern. Cote says he and his pets escaped safely, but he says Princess did get her tail singed by the flames.

Cambodian police take cow in to custody for causing traffic accidents

From the Associated Press
October 9, 2007
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- A Cambodian cow was taken into police custody for causing traffic accidents that resulted in the deaths of at least six people this year, a police official said Tuesday.

The cow's owner could also face a six-month prison term under a new traffic law that holds people responsible for accidents caused by their animals, said Pin Doman, a police chief on the outskirts of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

The white, 1.5-meter (5-foot) tall cow was standing in the middle of a main road Monday night when a 66-year-old motorcyclist crashed into the animal and died. Most Cambodian roads are dark at night.

Earlier this year, the same cow was responsible for another traffic accident that resulted in the death of five people and several injuries, when a truck veered off the road and crashed as its driver tried to avoid the animal.

Pin Doman said he was holding the cow at his police station.

He said the cow's owner had been warned four times in the past to keep his cattle leashed and could face prison time if relatives of those who died initiate legal proceedings.

(Note -- the cow has seen been butchered.)

Man jailed for trying to pass $1M bill

From the Associated Press
6:44 AM PDT, October 9, 2007
PITTSBURGH -- Change for a million? That's what a man was seeking Saturday when he handed a $1 million bill to a cashier at a Pittsburgh supermarket. But when the Giant Eagle employee refused and a manager confiscated the bogus bill, the man flew into a rage, police said.

The man slammed an electronic funds-transfer machine into the counter and reached for a scanner gun, police said.

Police arrested the man, who was not carrying identification and has refused to give his name to authorities. He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.

Since 1969, the $100 bill is the largest note in circulation.

Police believe the $1 million note seized at the supermarket may have originated at a Dallas-based ministry. Last year, the ministry distributed thousands of religious pamphlets with a picture of President Grover Cleveland on a $1 million bill.

Actor Cage confronts naked intruder

Robert Dennis Furo, who was arrested on suspicion of residential burglary. Police said he was found naked inside actor Nicolas Cage's Newport Beach home early Monday.
By Dave McKibben, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 4, 2007

A naked tailor allegedly found inside actor Nicolas Cage's Newport Beach home has pleaded not guilty to felony burglary.

Police said Cage discovered Robert Dennis Furo, 45, of San Pedro in a bathroom doorway at 1:30 a.m. Monday, wearing only a leather jacket belonging to the actor.

Police said Furo removed the jacket and Cage escorted him outside, where he was arrested.

Lt. Craig Fox of the Newport Beach Police Department said Cage did not know Furo, who was not carrying a weapon.

"There was no assault to Mr. Cage," and the suspect "didn't resist him or the officers," Fox said.

(My only question: when a man is naked, how do you know he is a tailor?)

19 Oct 07 - 10:41 AM (#2174493)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

At least you can be sure he isn't carrying a concealed weapon (mostly sure anyway, I'd rather not go there).

19 Oct 07 - 11:49 PM (#2175048)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

        Hit 'Em One for Me, Granny!

Woman, 75, fined for hammering Comcast office

Her fury with cable company led to attacks on keyboard, monitor, phone

The Associated Press
Updated: 12:29 p.m. CT Oct 19, 2007

BRISTOW, Virginia - She was fined and got a suspended jail sentence, but Mona Shaw says she has no regrets about using a hammer to vent her frustration at a cable company.

"I stand by my actions even more so after getting all these telephone calls and hearing other people's complaints," she told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.

Shaw, 75, and her husband, Don, say they had an appointment in August for a Comcast technician to come to their Bristow home to install the company's heavily advertised Triple Play phone, Internet and cable service.

The Shaws say no one came all day, and the technician who showed up two days later left without finishing the setup. Two days after that, Comcast cut off all their service.

At the Comcast office in Manassas later that day, they waited for a manager for two hours before being told the manager had left for the day, the Shaws say.

Shaw, a churchgoing secretary of the local AARP branch, returned the next Monday _ with a hammer.

"I smashed a keyboard, knocked over a monitor ... and I went to hit the telephone," Shaw said. "I figured, 'Hey, my telephone is screwed up, so is yours.'"

Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company, disputes Shaw's version of its customer service record and calls Shaw's hammer fit on Aug. 20 an "inappropriate situation."

"Nothing justifies this sort of dangerous behavior," Comcast spokeswoman Beth Bacha said.

Police arrested Shaw for disorderly conduct. She received a three-month suspended sentence, was fined $345 and and is barred from going near the Comcast offices for a year.

The Shaws did eventually get phone and television service _ with Verizon and DirecTV.

She said many people have called her a hero. "But no, I'm just an old lady who got mad. I had a hissy fit," she said.

© 2007 The Associated Press


20 Oct 07 - 12:02 AM (#2175054)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Sorry, but this is a rather long article:

Comcast blocks some Internet traffic

Tests confirm data discrimination by number 2 U.S. service provider

By Peter Svensson
The Associated Press
Updated: 8:36 a.m. CT Oct 19, 2007

NEW YORK - Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.

The interference, which The Associated Press confirmed through nationwide tests, is the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider. It involves company computers masquerading as those of its users.

If widely applied by other ISPs, the technology Comcast is using would be a crippling blow to the BitTorrent, eDonkey and Gnutella file-sharing networks. While these are mainly known as sources of copyright music, software and movies, BitTorrent in particular is emerging as a legitimate tool for quickly disseminating legal content.
The principle of equal treatment of traffic, called "Net Neutrality" by proponents, is not enshrined in law but supported by some regulations. Most of the debate around the issue has centered on tentative plans, now postponed, by large Internet carriers to offer preferential treatment of traffic from certain content providers for a fee.

Comcast's interference, on the other hand, appears to be an aggressive way of managing its network to keep file-sharing traffic from swallowing too much bandwidth and affecting the Internet speeds of other subscribers.

Comcast, the nation's largest cable TV operator and No. 2 Internet provider, would not specifically address the practice, but spokesman Charlie Douglas confirmed that it uses sophisticated methods to keep Net connections running smoothly.

"Comcast does not block access to any applications, including BitTorrent," he said.

Douglas would not specify what the company means by "access" — Comcast subscribers can download BitTorrent files without hindrance. Only uploads of complete files are blocked or delayed by the company, as indicated by AP tests.

But with "peer-to-peer" technology, users exchange files with each other, and one person's upload is another's download. That means Comcast's blocking of certain uploads has repercussions in the global network of file sharers.

Comcast's technology kicks in, though not consistently, when one BitTorrent user attempts to share a complete file with another user.
Each PC gets a message invisible to the user that looks like it comes from the other computer, telling it to stop communicating. But neither message originated from the other computer — it comes from Comcast. If it were a telephone conversation, it would be like the operator breaking into the conversation, telling each talker in the voice of the other: "Sorry, I have to hang up. Good bye." [highlight added - isn't this "identity theft" when a user is impersonated by the ISP?]

Matthew Elvey, a Comcast subscriber in the San Francisco area who has noticed BitTorrent uploads being stifled, acknowledged that the company has the right to manage its network, but disapproves of the method, saying it appears to be deceptive.

"There's the wrong way of going about that and the right way," said Elvey, who is a computer consultant.

Comcast's interference affects all types of content, meaning that, for instance, an independent movie producer who wanted to distribute his work using BitTorrent and his Comcast connection could find that difficult or impossible — as would someone pirating music.

Internet service providers have long complained about the vast amounts of traffic generated by a small number of subscribers who are avid users of file-sharing programs. Peer-to-peer applications account for between 50 percent and 90 percent of overall Internet traffic, according to a survey this year by ipoque GmbH, a German vendor of traffic-management equipment.

"We have a responsibility to manage our network to ensure all our customers have the best broadband experience possible," Douglas said. "This means we use the latest technologies to manage our network to provide a quality experience for all Comcast subscribers."
The practice of managing the flow of Internet data is known as "traffic shaping," and is already widespread among Internet service providers. It usually involves slowing down some forms of traffic, like file-sharing, while giving others priority. Other ISPs have attempted to block some file-sharing application by so-called "port filtering," but that method is easily circumvented and now largely ineffective.

Comcast's approach to traffic shaping is different because of the drastic effect it has on one type of traffic — in some cases blocking it rather than slowing it down — and the method used, which is difficult to circumvent and involves the company falsifying network traffic.

The "Net Neutrality" debate erupted in 2005, when AT&T Inc. suggested it would like to charge some Web companies more for preferential treatment of their traffic. Consumer advocates and Web heavyweights like Google Inc. and Amazon Inc. cried foul, saying it's a bedrock principle of the Internet that all traffic be treated equally.

To get its acquisition of BellSouth Corp. approved by the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T agreed in late 2006 not to implement such plans or prioritize traffic based on its origin for two and a half years. However, it did not make any commitments not to prioritize traffic based on its type, which is what Comcast is doing.
The FCC's stance on traffic shaping is not clear. A 2005 policy statement says that "consumers are entitled to run applications and services of their choice," but that principle is "subject to reasonable network management." Spokeswoman Mary Diamond would not elaborate.

Free Press, a Washington-based public interest group that advocates Net Neutrality, opposes the kind of filtering applied by Comcast.
"We don't believe that any Internet provider should be able to discriminate, block or impair their consumers ability to send or receive legal content over the Internet," said Free Press spokeswoman Jen Howard.

Paul "Tony" Watson, a network security engineer at Google Inc. who has previously studied ways hackers could disrupt Internet traffic in manner similar to the method Comcast is using, said the cable company was probably acting within its legal rights.

"It's their network and they can do what they want," said Watson. "My concern is the precedent. In the past, when people got an ISP connection, they were getting a connection to the Internet. The only determination was price and bandwidth. Now they're going to have to make much more complicated decisions such as price, bandwidth, and what services I can get over the Internet."

Several companies have sprung up that rely on peer-to-peer technology, including BitTorrent Inc., founded by the creator of the BitTorrent software (which exists in several versions freely distributed by different groups and companies).

Ashwin Navin, the company's president and co-founder, confirmed that it has noticed interference from Comcast, in addition to some Canadian Internet service providers.

"They're using sophisticated technology to degrade service, which probably costs them a lot of money. It would be better to see them use that money to improve service," Navin said, noting that BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer applications are a major reason consumers sign up for broadband.

BitTorrent Inc. announced Oct. 9 that it was teaming up with online video companies to use its technology to distribute legal content.
Affecting others

Other companies that rely on peer-to-peer technology, and could be affected if Comcast decides to expand the range of applications it filters, include Internet TV service Joost, eBay Inc.'s Skype video-conferencing program and movie download appliance Vudu. There is no sign that Comcast is hampering those services.

Comcast subscriber Robb Topolski, a former software quality engineer at Intel Corp., started noticing the interference when trying to upload with file-sharing programs Gnutella and eDonkey early this year.

In August, Topolski began to see reports on Internet forum from other Comcast users with the same problem. He now believes that his home town of Hillsboro, Ore., was a test market for the technology that was later widely applied in other Comcast service areas.

Topolski agrees that Comcast has a right to manage its network and slow down traffic that affects other subscribers, but disapproves of their method.

"By Comcast not acknowledging that they do this at all, there's no way to report any problems with it," Topolski said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press

20 Oct 07 - 01:49 AM (#2175092)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

On a lighter note:

Let turtles be roadkill, lawmaker says

He opposes $318,000 fence aimed at protecting species, avoiding crashes

The Associated Press
Updated: 9:57 a.m. CT Oct 19, 2007

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A congressman disputes the state's contention that it's worth $318,000 in federal money to keep turtles from becoming roadkill.

Installation is expected to begin this week on a 2-mile-long fence along both sides of U.S. 31 in Muskegon, in west-central Michigan. It is intended to prevent hundreds of turtles, some of them protected species, from being killed as they migrate to nesting sites along the Muskegon River, which the highway crosses.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., questions why the Michigan Department of Transportation did not consider using the money on other projects "more related to the movement of people and products."
"Serious times require a serious approach to the very real problems Michigan faces," Hoekstra said in a news release.

The 4-foot-high chain-link fence has been planned for two years. State officials consider it a relatively inexpensive solution to a problem that affects traffic safety and the environment of rare turtle species.

The fence will cover a stretch of road that is Michigan's deadliest for turtles and one of the nation's worst for the reptiles, Tim Judge, manager of a Transportation Department service center in Muskegon, said Thursday.

Two state-protected species — the wood turtle and Blanding's turtle — are common traffic victims, as are snapper, painted, box and map turtles.

Department spokeswoman Dawn Garner didn't know whether any drivers swerving to avoid turtles have gotten into crashes, but said: "There is definitely the potential for improving the safety of motorists."

The barrier is being financed through the federal government's transportation-enhancement program. Money from the program must be used to improve the public's traveling experience but cannot be spent on building or repairing roads.

Hoekstra, who has questioned the fence project since it was proposed, said the state should have petitioned federal officials to use the money for road construction.

"The state has not requested greater flexibility in how to spend federal highway dollars, and Lansing bureaucrats need to begin to think more creatively in how they address our state's problems," he said.

© 2007 The Associated Press

In a GAO study [.pdf] of highway construction costs by state, the Fed agency lamented that "the states don't tell us so we don't know" but reported results of a survey of "comparable states" done by Washington state, in which Michigan reported a median highway construction cost, 'way back in 2002, of $1,454,000 per lane mile.

So the $318,000 that this legislator is quibbling over would build 1,154.77 feet of one lane of "median quality" road. (That's 0.22 mile, or about two city blocks of one-lane street in most US cities?)

Can we all pucker up and say "STUPID" – or is the word just "politics."


21 Oct 07 - 06:04 PM (#2176045)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

SUNCION (Reuters) - A bereaved widow's story about her husband being devoured by a boa constrictor made headlines in Paraguay on Thursday, but it turned out to be a tall tale by a woman who felt abandoned.

Maria Estela Lima, a housewife in the small town of Puerto Piasco, 370 miles north of Paraguay's capital, Asuncion, on Wednesday told a local radio station how a giant boa had eaten her husband.

She said a 10-yard-long (10-meter-long) snake had grabbed her husband from a boat on the Paraguay river, and wrapped him up before swallowing him.

She said two local men killed the boa to remove her husband's remains, and she asked the community for help to maintain her three small children.

The story spread quickly and was on the front covers of Paraguay's newspapers, but Pedro Palacio, a state prosecutor who looked into the case told reporters the husband had been found in perfect health working on a ranch.

Palacio said Lima made up the story to get attention and because she felt abandoned.

22 Oct 07 - 06:46 PM (#2176842)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

NASA refuses to disclose air safety survey

[Small snips below from the longer article at the link]

The Associated Press
Updated: 3:41 p.m. CT Oct 22, 2007

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - Anxious to avoid upsetting air travelers, NASA is withholding results from an unprecedented national survey of pilots that found safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than the government previously recognized.

NASA gathered the information under an $8.5 million safety project, through telephone interviews with roughly 24,000 commercial and general aviation pilots over nearly four years. Since ending the interviews at the beginning of 2005 and shutting down the project completely more than one year ago, the space agency has refused to divulge the results publicly.

Just last week, NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the survey to purge all related data from its computers.

A senior NASA official, associate administrator Thomas S. Luedtke, said revealing the findings could damage the public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits. Luedtke acknowledged that the survey results "present a comprehensive picture of certain aspects of the U.S. commercial aviation industry."

The AP sought to obtain the survey data over 14 months under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

"Release of the requested data, which are sensitive and safety-related, could materially affect the public confidence in, and the commercial welfare of, the air carriers and general aviation companies whose pilots participated in the survey," Luedtke wrote in a final denial letter to the AP. NASA also cited pilot confidentiality as a reason, although no airlines were identified in the survey, nor were the identities of pilots, all of whom were promised anonymity.

Among other results, the pilots reported at least twice as many bird strikes, near mid-air collisions and runway incursions as other government monitoring systems show, according to a person familiar with the results who was not authorized to discuss them publicly.
The survey also revealed higher-than-expected numbers of pilots who experienced "in-close approach changes" — potentially dangerous, last-minute instructions to alter landing plans.

"If the airlines aren't safe I want to know about it," said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., chairman of the House Science and Technology investigations and oversight subcommittee. "I would rather not feel a false sense of security because they don't tell us." Discussing NASA's decision not to release the survey data, the congressman said: "There is a faint odor about it all."

Miller asked NASA last week to provide his oversight committee with information on the survey and the decision to withhold data.
"The data appears to have great value to aviation safety, but not on a shelf at NASA," he wrote to NASA's administrator Michael Griffin.

NASA directed its contractor Battelle Memorial Institute, along with subcontractors, on Thursday to return any project information and then purge it from their computers before Oct. 30.


23 Oct 07 - 06:30 PM (#2177625)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

US people may be interested in the separate thread:

BS: US Do Not Call List

The topic seemed to deserve its own thread, but people may look here for "old news."

The report is that the FTC has announced that numbers registered on the US Do Not Call List will NOT be deleted after five years as originally planned.

Deletions would have begun ca. June 2008, with the requirement that everyone re-register.


24 Oct 07 - 12:16 AM (#2177799)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Couple gets photos 27 years later

Photographer finds album, tracks down bride who couldn't pay for it in 1980

The Associated Press
Updated: 8:54 p.m. CT Oct 23, 2007

MANSFIELD, Ohio - A couple won't mark their 27th anniversary until Thursday, but they've already received the perfect gift: the wedding pictures they couldn't afford when they married as teenagers.

Their photographer showed up last week at the diner where Karen Cline works and surprised her with a photo album from her big day in 1980.
"About a month ago, I was just cleaning out some of my old things and I found it," said photographer Jim Wagner, who's now 80. "I knew she didn't have any money back then, and I just thought she might like to have it."

"I just stood there and cried and cried and hugged him," Cline said afterward, tearing up again.

She recalled being a new bride at 18 and admiring the pictures but feeling heartsick because she and her husband, Mark, who was 19 at the time, didn't have $150 to pay for them.

All these years, the Clines have had just one wedding picture that someone else took, of her walking down the aisle.

Wagner said he was able to track down Karen Cline after running into her stepfather a few weeks ago.

When the photographer showed up in the diner, she wrote him a check for the long-awaited $150 — and that's when he cried, she said.

© 2007 The Associated Press


24 Oct 07 - 11:11 PM (#2178620)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I heard that story about the photos on the news this morning.

What are the odds, not only that he'd find them, but that they're still married?!

25 Oct 07 - 06:35 AM (#2178721)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Stilly -

If he is - or was - a pro photographer, odds he'd find the album should have been very good, assuming he got sentimental enough and had the time to "reflect on his career" by going through the older stuff.

Odds that they'd still be married probably a little less.

Odds that he'd bother to look for them, close to zero - except for the mention that he "was reminded by a chance meeting" with one of their relatives. (?)

But with all the odds stacked against them, it's still a very happy little story.


25 Oct 07 - 02:07 PM (#2179093)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This kid sounds like a delusional trust fund baby zealot. I've watched candidates here in Texas do the juggle between working and campaigning--it's a difficult job, and at the end of the campaign if they don't win they have all the more need for their regular employment.

Student Hounds Prof Running for Office
October 25, 2007

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - A politically conservative student armed with a video camera and a Web site is trying to force a Democratic congressional candidate out of his teaching job at Central Michigan University. Dennis Lennox, a 23-year-old junior, has posted videos on YouTube of himself questioning assistant professor Gary Peters about campaigning for office while holding a prestigious position at the university.

Some say Lennox is persistent. Others accuse him of pandering for attention.

"What I'm doing isn't about getting media attention," said Lennox, a political science major. "I'm speaking for the hundreds of students, alumni, taxpayers and even legislators who have complained because Gary Peters won't pick between Congress and campus."

In one video Lennox posted online, Peters is seen walking to his car while Lennox asks him several questions, including whether he is angry about his campaign not getting "positive press." Peters doesn't respond.

Peters said in an interview this week with The Associated Press that his university position is part-time and privately funded. "The bottom line is that people who run for public office still need to pay the bills and still need to work," he said. He drives 130 miles from a Detroit suburb to Mount Pleasant to teach class once a week.

Peters, 48, is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg in Oakland County, one of the top congressional targets for Democrats nationally in 2008. "If I was running for Congress in a seat where I had no chance of winning, I probably wouldn't have any attention put on me at all," said Peters, a former state senator who lost a close race for Michigan attorney general in 2002.

He acknowledges it would be difficult to keep his $65,000-a-year job at the university if he gets elected to Congress, but says he will worry about that if he wins. Peters holds the Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government - named for a former Republican U.S. senator and Michigan Supreme Court justice. Lennox helped start the group Students Against Gary Peters and created a Web site for what he calls "Petersgate." He insists that he isn't targeting Peters because he's a Democrat.

But some see it differently.

"Basically, he's just an extreme partisan. Anybody that's a Democrat, he's going to try to get at," said fellow political science major Eric Schulz. Lennox's anti-Peters campaign shows no sign of slowing down, though his tactics have generated complaints.

Both Lennox and college Dean Pamela Gates filed police complaints against each other after Lennox requested Peters' e-mails under the Freedom of Information Act. At one point in the brief video, also posted online, Gates it seen gesturing into the camera at close range, and it then goes out of focus, as if it has been struck. Lennox is heard saying, "Don't touch my camera," suggesting that Gates either touched it or attempted to.

Lennox said he started videotaping Gates after she refused to take the request and ordered him out of her office. "She accosted, assaulted and battered me," Lennox said. "Whether you're a liberal or conservative, we all have to live and play by the same rules. I seemed to learn something in first grade that you keep your hands to yourself."

No charges have been filed and the university is investigating the incident. But spokesman Steve Smith said that "people get very uncomfortable when a camera is shoved in their face. Employees and students have a reasonable expectation to privacy." When the school told Lennox he couldn't record employees or students without their permission, he filed a censorship complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is reviewing it.

Peters says requiring permission before filming is reasonable when it involves students' privacy, though he stops short of saying it should apply to public figures such as himself. "When you run for public office, you've got to have a thick skin," he said.

Peters says somewhat ruefully that he has fulfilled his job description of bringing practical politics to campus. "Students are definitely seeing what happens when somebody runs for public office in a high-profile race, the types of things they have to confront," he said.


On the Net:

Gary Peters for Congress:

The Peters Report:

Central Michigan University:

YouTube videos:;;

26 Oct 07 - 10:30 AM (#2179695)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

"When the school told Lennox he couldn't record employees or students without their permission, he filed a censorship complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union"

I could be wrong about this but I would expect Lennox to have an extremely unfavorable opinion of the ACLU, until he decides they might be able to help him out. And they might, which is why I think they provide an invaluable service, even though I don't always agree with what they do.

26 Oct 07 - 10:32 AM (#2179696)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

2 Arguing On Ramp To Highway Fatally Struck By Car

DAVIE, Fla. -- Authorities say two people standing and arguing on a highway ramp in Davie were fatally struck by a car.

Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky says the man and woman were hit on the State Road 7 northbound ramp to Interstate 595.
FHP says 20-year-old Ramon Perez, of Port St. Lucie, and 36-year-old Marie Mary, of Lauderdale Lakes, got out of their car and fell to the ground in a violent struggle.

A northbound 2007 Toyota entering the highway from State Road 7 struck the pair.

Both victims died at the scene.

The driver of the Toyota, 20-year-old Amanda Dumont, of Plantation, wasn't injured.

It's not clear what the two were fighting about.

27 Oct 07 - 03:34 AM (#2180292)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

FEMA can't even fake it right?

FEMA workers masquerade as reporters

Employees asked questions at last-minute California wildfire briefing

The Associated Press
Updated: 5:00 p.m. CT Oct 26, 2007

WASHINGTON - The White House scolded the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday for staging a phony news conference about assistance to victims of wildfires in southern California.

The agency — much maligned for its sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina over two years ago — arranged to have FEMA employees play the part of independent reporters Tuesday and ask questions of Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the agency's deputy director.

The questions were predictably soft and gratuitous.

"I'm very happy with FEMA's response," Johnson said in reply to one query from an agency employee.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said it was not appropriate that the questions were posed by agency staffers instead of reporters. FEMA was responsible for the "error in judgment," she said, adding that the White House did not know about it beforehand and did not condone it.

"FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error in judgment when they were attempting to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regard to the wildfires in California," Perino said. "It's not something I would have condoned. And they — I'm sure — will not do it again."

She said the agency was just trying to provide information to the public, through the press, because there were so many questions.
"I don't think that there was any mal-intent," Perino said "It was just a bad way to handle it, and they know that."

FEMA gave real reporters only 15 minutes notice about Tuesday's news conference . But because there was so little advance notice, the agency made available an 800 number so reporters could call in. And many did, although it was a listen-only arrangement.

On Tuesday, FEMA employees had played the part of reporters. Johnson issued a statement Friday, saying that FEMA's goal was "to get information out as soon as possible, and in trying to do so we made an error in judgment."

"Our intent was to provide useful information and be responsive to the many questions we have received," he said. "We can and must do better."

Officials at the Homeland Security Department, which includes FEMA, expressed their concern.

"This is simply inexcusable and offensive to the secretary that such a mistake could be made," Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura Keehner said Friday, referring to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. "Stunts such as this will not be tolerated or repeated."

Keehner said senior leadership is considering whether a punishment is necessary.

© 2007 The Associated Press



29 Oct 07 - 11:19 PM (#2182403)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Many Teens Don't Know the Law About Sex
October 29, 2007

ATLANTA - The tough Georgia law that sent Genarlow Wilson to prison for having oral sex with a fellow teenager has been watered down. But in Georgia - and in many other states - it's still a crime for teenagers to have sex, even if they're close in age. Legal experts say it's rare for prosecutors to seek charges. But, as the Wilson case illustrates, they can and sometimes do.

And the rising popularity of sex offender registries can often mean that a teen nabbed for nonviolent contact with someone a year or two younger might face the same public stigma as a dangerous sexual predator. "It's ludicrous," Wilson's lawyer B.J. Bernstein said. "In order to look tough on crime they (lawmakers) are criminalizing teen sex."

Wilson was freed Friday after the Georgia Supreme Court found that the 10-year mandatory sentence he received for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl at a New Year's Eve party in 2003 when he was 17 was cruel and unusual punishment. He had served almost three years in prison. Georgia's law has since been rewritten to make the same act a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.

Across the country, ages of consent range from 14 to 18. Lawyers and health educators say most teens - and even many parents - are unaware that even consensual teenage sex is often a crime. The patchwork of laws and ages from state to state leaves many confused and critics say more education is badly needed. "We do a disgraceful job of educating kids about the very real consequences that they face," said J. Tom Morgan, a former DeKalb County district attorney who has a new book coming out called Ignorance Is No Defense: A Teenagers Guide to Georgia Law. "If society is going to punish them as adults," said Morgan, "then society ought to educate them."

What schools teach in sex-education classes varies from district to district, but Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association, said those that receive federal funds for abstinence-from-sex education programs are encouraged to teach age of consent laws as part of their classes.

Trudy Higgins-Edison is one such teacher. She began asking a police officer to teach a class on sex and the law to high schoolers at her Sugar Land, Texas, school two years ago. She said it's probably her most popular class. "The kids are really engaged and ask a lot of questions," Higgins-Edison said. "And most of them are completely amazed that they could actually be arrested."

Some states have moved in recent months to craft so-called Romeo and Juliet exceptions to prevent sexually active teenagers from being lumped together with child molesters. Indiana changed its law so that teens in "dating relationships" would not be prosecuted. Exactly what that means is unclear, said Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council. "I think there is a view now that 'hey, maybe we overdid it on the sex offender registry,'" Landis said.

Connecticut changed its law to stop prosecuting teens if the age gap is three years or less. And Texas has changed the way it classifies sex offenders so that some low-risk teens will no longer have to register. Wilson said in an interview Monday that he hopes to use his newfound celebrity to raise awareness among high school and college students. He said sex education classes are lacking.

"Most of the time they just tell kids, 'Use condoms,'" Wilson told The Associated Press. "That's not the only thing they need to know about sex. They need to know that they can actually go to jail."

Wilson will appear on behalf of an organization set up by his lawyer to help teens learn their rights.

30 Oct 07 - 01:07 PM (#2182725)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

British cop says pack of vicious cows almost killed him

British media claim that a pack of vicious cows attacked a British police officer while he was walking his golden retriever, Zak, across a field earlier this month.

Yes, you read that right, the perps were cows.

"Suddenly, one cow started mooing and then others began running towards me. There were about 50 of them, some were cows with calves but all were fully grown," Chris Poole, 50, tells The Worthing Herald. "We were surrounded but I wasn't scared and waved and shooed them away as they came close. They were focused on Zak and became more agitated as they got nearer and nearer. Then I felt this cow butt me hard in the back. I fell to the ground and let go of Zak's lead. There were hooves all around me and I was being repeatedly head butted as I lay there."

Poole spent 11 days in the hospital, were the Beeb says doctors treated him for broken ribs, a punctured lung and severed artery.

"It was unlucky the cows attacked... it is very rare but obviously it can happen," Poole tells BBC news.

The Daily Mail says cows are blamed for killing at least eight people in the last 10 years.

31 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM (#2183614)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Couple dead serious about selling house

Fed up with no offers, will refund entire purchase price upon their deaths

The Associated Press
updated 2:53 p.m. CT, Tues., Oct. 30, 2007

WEXFORD, Pa. - It could be the deal of a lifetime.

A Pittsburgh-area couple, Bob and Ricki Husick, are offering anyone who buys their home full cash-back upon their death and even their full inheritance, currently worth at least $500,000.

The Husicks have been trying to sell their home for almost a year, but have failed to do so in the current shaky market.

Bob Husick said he's asking $399,900 for the four-bedroom, three and a half bath home about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh.

According to the Husicks' offer, the buyer would get the money back when the couple dies. And if the buyer agrees to care for them in old age, they could also inherit their retirement home in Arizona, bringing the estate's current value to about $500,000.

© 2007 The Associated Press

[Doesn't say how old they are?]


31 Oct 07 - 02:00 PM (#2183620)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Judge: Speeding not 'as bad' in miles

Court lowers sentence for driver going 180 kph — it was only 112 mph

The Associated Press
updated 9:24 a.m. CT, Wed., Oct. 31, 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland - When police caught driver David Clarke flying down a road at 180 kilometers per hour this month, he looked likely to lose his license.

But a country judge reduced the charge and let the 31-year-old information technology worker stay on the road after concluding the speed did not look as bad when converted into miles, or 112 mph.

"I am not excusing his driving. He should not have been traveling at that speed," District Court Judge Denis McLoughlin said in his verdict, delivered Tuesday in County Donegal, northwest Ireland.
McLoughlin suggested it was relatively safe to have shattered the legal road limit at the time, citing good weather, light traffic and the road's unusual straightness.

McLoughlin was quoted as saying the speed seemed "very excessive," but did not look "as bad" when converted into miles. He lowered the charge from to driving carelessly, and fined him 1,000 euros ($1,450); if convicted of the tougher charge of driving dangerously, Clarke would have lost his license.

The episode underscored Ireland's slow mental conversion to metric. Ireland switched its speed limits from miles to kilometers in January 2005, but most cars still display speeds principally in miles.
Clarke, a Dubliner, had been traveling to a Donegal wedding Oct. 13 when he was clocked by a police checkpoint going 180 kph (112 mph) in a 100 kph (62 mph) zone.

Law enforcement on Ireland's roads is notoriously lax, and judges frequently acquit offending drivers because of loopholes and vagaries in the law.

Over the past week, the government has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn over its plan to close the biggest loophole of all — a law that allows people to fail a first driving test but still receive a license and drive unsupervised.

The government had made Tuesday a deadline for police to begin citing some 150,000 people for driving alone despite failing the test, but pushed the deadline back to mid-2008 after test-flunkers complained they would lose their jobs if barred from the roads.

One in six Irish drivers has never passed an on-the-road test, according to Transport Department statistics.

© 2007 The Associated Press



31 Oct 07 - 02:02 PM (#2183623)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Apologies for my speeding. The last post above failed due to a "collision" on first attempt. I had to clear the wreckage and repost.

And I'm not really "all that Irish."


04 Nov 07 - 02:16 PM (#2186338)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Prairie Dog Problem Deliciously Resolved-
Prairie Dog Guinea Pig Kebabs
Editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Dept. Transportation has delayed work on the Rail Runner commuter route until a colony of Gunnison's prairie dogs comes out of hibernation.
At that time they will be removed to another loation.

The Rail Runner project cost is in the hundreds of millions. One way Secretary of Transportation Faught planned to make up her department's shortfall was the sale of prairie-dog kebabs to train passengers.
Objections to the sale of the cuddly critters caused her to come up with a solution that is a combination of civil, social and genetic engineering.
Her solution- a cuy (guinea pig)- prairie dog hybrid; "easily fitted on a bamboo skewer, yet far more al gusto" than the rather stringy (and ratty) pure Prairie dog.
"They will be bred and raised in the comfort of southern New Mexico, and prepared for the palate by chefs famed for Santa Fe dining. And they'll command premium prices from train customers bored out of their minds by the snail pace of a conveyance that's anything but the bullet train former Gov. Anaya envisioned,..."

Editorial from the always reliable Santa Fe New Mexican (Nov. 3, 2007).

06 Nov 07 - 03:07 PM (#2187750)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Posted on Tue, Nov. 06, 2007
Flier appears to be attempt to lower Hispanic turnout

Star-Telegram link
A bogus election flier that gives the wrong day for Election Day raised alarm bells among local officials Monday. Featuring the county logo and the county Elections Office "Tarrant Votes" logo, the flier urges voters in English and Spanish to vote on Saturday, Nov. 10. Election Day is today.

The flier is marked "Official Notice" across the top and specifically mentions the state's constitutional amendments and the Fort Worth City Council District 9 race. The flier has been distributed to voters in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods of Rosemont and Worth Heights in south Fort Worth, county officials said. Both neighborhoods are in District 9.

Six candidates are running to represent District 9 in a special election. Councilwoman Wendy Davis resigned over the summer to pursue a state Senate seat.

The Tarrant County district attorney's office has assigned two investigators to collect information on who distributed the flier, said Marvin Collins, chief of the office's civil division. So far, county officials have very little information. "If the intent was to confuse people, then that was a despicable thing to do," Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said.

The city of Fort Worth is contacting the neighborhoods' homeowners associations and encouraging them to notify voters that Election Day is today.

For years, reports of the use of fliers with inaccurate information to suppress voter turnout have cropped up around the country. In 2002, a flier distributed in African-American neighborhoods in Baltimore reportedly gave the wrong Election Day date and said voters must pay any parking tickets and overdue rent before voting. "To my knowledge, this is a first in Tarrant County," Raborn said.

Alonzo Aguilar of Worth Heights found the flier in his yard Sunday morning. He was instantly confused by what he read, he said, and wondered whether it was possible that the election date had changed.

Collins urged anyone with information on who made or distributed the flier to call the economic crimes section of the district attorney's office at 817-884-1661.

07 Nov 07 - 07:26 PM (#2188654)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

LOS ANGELES — A pregnant woman was killed and two others injured after a brawl broke out involving as many as 30 young women, authorities said.

The fight began about 2:30 p.m. Monday in South Los Angeles. Police said one of the women jumped into her car and struck the three victims. The woman killed was eight months pregnant and another victim was in critical condition and expected to lose her leg, authorities said. None of the victims' identities were released.

Unique Bishop, 21, fled but turned herself into authorities and was booked for investigation of murder, police said. She is being held on $1 million bail.

Police said the cause of the dispute is unclear, but was part of a planned confrontation between two groups of women in their early 20s. Witnesses told police they saw women shout at each other and fighting at a parking lot for a discount store. The fight then moved its way onto the street and into a gas station.

Dozens gathered at the gas station and watched as Bishop get into her convertible vehicle and drive it into the group. One of the victims was pinned against another car, police said.

"It was totally an intentional act to kill the woman. It was the driver's way of settling the dispute. It was a horrific act," said LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck.

Police believe the fight involved only women, which was "very unusual," said police Cmdr. Pat Gannon.

"We have seen women around gangs before, but we haven't seen anything like this event before," he said.

08 Nov 07 - 12:12 AM (#2188739)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

So it's not just the LEAD any more?

Toys linked to date-rape drug recalled

Chinese-made beads for children metabolize into GHB when ingested
The Associated Press

updated 5:47 p.m. CT, Wed., Nov. 7, 2007

WASHINGTON - Millions of Chinese-made children's toys have been pulled from shelves in North America and Australia after scientists found it contained a chemical that converts into a powerful "date rape" drug when ingested.

Two children in the U.S. and three in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing the beads. In the United States, the toy goes by the name Aqua Dots, which are distributed by Spin Master Toys based in Toronto.

The beads are sold in general merchandise stores for use in arts and crafts projects. They can be arranged into designs and fuse together when sprayed with water.

Scientists say the beads contain a chemical that the human body metabolizes into the so-called date rape drug Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate. When eaten, the compound — made from common and easily available ingredients — can induce unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.

The recall was announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Friday several hours after it was announced in Australia.

© 2007 The Associated Press

09 Nov 07 - 10:00 AM (#2189782)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Couple Rescues Driver From Train Tracks
November 09, 2007

MINEOLA, N.Y. - An off-duty police officer and her husband, a volunteer fire chief, rescued a woman from her stalled car seconds before a train smashed into it, police said. The 63-year-old driver apparently mistook the Long Island Rail Road tracks for a road Thursday evening, authorities said. Her car became stuck on the rails with a train fast approaching. She screamed that she couldn't get out of the car and needed help, said witness Jennifer Freiermuth, 28.

Randi LoCicero, off duty from her job at the New York Police Department, and Anthony LoCicero ran to the car as the crossing gates came down, Randi LoCicero said. As the train's horn blared, the couple yanked open the door and pulled out the driver, who needed crutches to walk, Randi LoCicero said.

Moments later, a train plowed into the car, overturning it and dragging it a short distance. Neither the woman nor anyone on the train was hurt, authorities said. "She was a little mad we didn't get her pocketbook, but you know, that's life," Randi LoCicero said. The driver wasn't identified.

LoCicero, 34, has been a New York police officer for nearly 10 years, the NYPD said. Her husband, 33, is a chief in the volunteer fire department in Franklin Square on Long Island.

"We are very grateful for the quick thinking and fast actions of these two heroes," LIRR spokeswoman Susan McGowan said.

09 Nov 07 - 12:53 PM (#2189933)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I referred to this story in another thread, but I don't want to hijack that obit, so I'll post the whole story here. The Star-Telegram shifts stories over to a fee status after a little while.

Starmaker on Center Street


Marvin Blum's spirits sank when he drove up to the Arlington Music Hall.

Johnnie High's Country Music Revue was staging an open audition that weekend morning, eight years ago, and hundreds of hopeful performers -- many of them youngsters, in Western costume -- formed a line that snaked around the building.

The Fort Worth tax attorney turned to his 13-year-old.

Elizabeth Blum wasn't a country singer. She knew Tchaikovsky, not Tammy Wynette. Twice monthly she and her parents and grandparents attended the Fort Worth Symphony. At home her dad listened to classical music and Broadway show tunes. But the child desperately wanted to sing -- to entertain -- and her father had told Elizabeth, promised, that once she completed her Hebrew studies in preparation for her bat mitzvah he would help her pursue her dream.

Even so, the elder Blum knew this was a bad idea.

"Lizzie, this isn't your world," he said as they sat in the car. "You don't belong here ... Let's go home."

"Dad, we're already here," she replied. "Let me try."

And so, reluctantly, he parked among the pickups and trailers, some with performers' names spelled out on the sides. Father and daughter took their place at the end of the line. Inside the hall, Marvin Blum's apprehension grew as he listened to the voices, a roll call of talented, accomplished singers belting out country songs. The sound of a steel guitar was as foreign to him as cowboy boots.

At noon, Elizabeth still was waiting her turn, so they went to a fast-food restaurant, where over lunch Blum again tried to dissuade his child. "I just don't want you to be hurt ... You're going to leave in tears."

Finally, late in the day, the determined child stood nervously before the judges.

She sang one of her favorites, Tomorrow, from the musical Annie, with a taped accompaniment.

After the final note, she waited to hear what every performer before her had heard, a polite "Thank you, we'll be back in touch."

Instead, Johnnie High wanted to hear the song again, without accompaniment.

The founder and host of the weekly show -- now in its 34th consecutive year -- is blessed with an eye and ear for talent. He put LeAnn Rimes onstage when she was 6. High's 21-year-old granddaughter, Ashley Smith, sang You Are My Sunshine on the show at age 4. She still performs and now co-hosts the show.

High is a people person, gracious, generous, empathetic, nurturing. He can't watch American Idol. "They tear 'em down for entertainment purposes," he said of the harsh judging. "There's no way of knowing how many kids' lives [Simon Cowell] has screwed up."

High won't berate auditioners. He offers words of encouragement, and his show has opened doors to future stars, such as Rimes, Lee Ann Womack, Linda Davis, Gary Morris and Steve Holy. Gutsiness and perseverance are qualities High admires.

That afternoon Johnnie smiled at Elizabeth and asked, "Do you know any country songs?"

"No," she told him, "but I can learn one."

High gave her the title of a number to practice and, to her surprise, invited her to return and appear on his show.

The protective father was right about Lizzie's tears.

"I was crying," his daughter, now 22, said, reliving what she calls the happiest and most important day in her life.

A month later, the teen walked out and bravely faced an audience in the 1,200-seat music hall. As the closing act, she sang an old Brenda Lee song, Sweet Nothin's. As she turned to leave the stage, washed in applause, High pulled her back and together they stepped forward, hand in hand, and happily told the crowd goodnight.

Blum regularly appeared on High's show until she finished high school. Now a senior at New York University, she studies music and sings country music, and jazz, at Manhattan nightclubs. Part of her heart remains in Texas and belongs to the person who provided her a safe training ground and helped her believe in herself.

"There's no one better," she said. "Johnnie High changed my life. And I'm just one of many stories."

Country to the core

In his mind he can see Lizzie Blum's debut, as clearly as if May 1999 were yesterday.

"It's amazing -- he remembers everything,"marveled his daughter, Luanne Dorman.

"Except what I had for breakfast," High joked and flashed his bright smile.

A child of the Depression, High grew up in the 1930s in rural Central Texas, near McGregor. His family, High is fond of saying, was what the poor people called poor. Their home had no electricity. For entertainment Johnnie sat next to a battery-operated radio on Saturday nights and drew a mental picture of Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff and the "fiddle bands" of that era as they performed live from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The lively, heartfelt music -- such as Acuff's songs The Wabash Cannonball and The Great Speckled Bird -- became part of the common bond that united rural folks across the country.

When High was about 12, he spotted a used guitar at a Waco pawn shop. Price: $6.50.

The boy had $6 cash, earned the hard way, in the farmland fields chopping cotton for $1 a day.

"You really want that guitar, don't you?" his dad said, after they had left the shop.

His father fished into his pocket and loaned Johnnie 50 cents.

At 14, High began singing and picking as host of a 15-minute morning radio show in Waco, earning $25 a week.

After an Army stint, he worked two decades as a sales manager for a hand-lotion company, but country music remained as dear to him as his teenage sweetheart, Wanda. The couple has been married 60 years.

In 1974 he started his country show in Grapevine, thanks largely to the generosity of a benefactor, Susie Slaughter (known as "Aunt" Susie). High's revue, which showcases local talent of all ages and offers an evening of family entertainment, moved to Fort Worth's Will Rogers Auditorium and later to Haltom City before reopening in 1995 at its current location, a remodeled 1950s-era movie theater in downtown Arlington, near Center and Division streets.

Many years, High lost money producing the show. To stay afloat, he sold his home. He sold his office space. He sold his stocks -- "Exxon, would you believe."

The singer/musician/songwriter and businessman could have quit, but determination and resiliency are part of his DNA.

High never considered giving up, not even after he received a phone call on the morning of a scheduled Friday-night show informing him that Will Rogers had closed. A worker, he was told, had discovered asbestos in the building. After leasing the venue for 15 years, High was given no warning. When he drove to the auditorium, he grew angry. All his sound equipment had been dumped in the parking lot.

High set up chairs next door, at the coliseum. Staff members telephoned every season-ticket holder informing them of the venue change.

A way of life

High's life and career are testimony to the old theatrical credo that the show must go on.

In 1983, High was introducing an act when he felt a burning sensation in his chest. After he left the stage, High's doctor, seated in the audience, was summoned. The host was having a heart attack and needed hospital care.

Dressed in a rhinestone-crusted, Western-cut suit, his lanky 6-foot-3 frame stretched out atop a grand piano backstage, High said he didn't want the ambulance to pull away with lights flashing and siren wailing. Don't tell the crowd, he insisted. Ticket holders weren't informed of the medical emergency until the end of the performance.

The outpouring of concern from audience members helped High recognize that his wealth far exceeds his bank account. He considers himself blessed by the incalculable riches of friendship, people like Patsy Seeton of Arlington, who has attended every show.

"I just loved it from the start," Seeton said. "Getting to know Johnnie and Wanda, going to the show every week, has become part of my life. I can't imagine Saturday night without Johnnie High. It's like family."

That family includes the host's seven-member band and a popular cast of regulars.

Singer Mike Stewart joined High's group 20 years ago and can't say enough about his friend's selflessness.

"People have walked up and said, 'Johnnie, I sure like your shirt,'" Stewart said. "I've seen him take it off and give it to them."

After an evening show at Six Flags Over Texas, High and some of his cast met at a restaurant for a late dinner. The place was packed. Stewart stuck a fake set of buck teeth into his mouth, buttoned his collar and put on a ball cap. High asked to speak with the maitre d'.

"I want you to meet someone," High told the headwaiter.

Keeping a straight face, he turned toward Stewart.

"This here is ... Earl," High said, picking a name. "He only gets out twice a year, for his birthday and Christmas. This is his birthday, and he's gotta be back in by midnight."

"They felt real sorry for me," Stewart recalled.

The restaurant set up tables for the group, tied party balloons to Earl's chair and brought him dessert.

That's how Stewart's comic persona -- Earl makes a brief appearance during most shows -- was created.

The jokes, with High as straight man, are hokey but in keeping with the host's pledge to provide G-rated entertainment.

"You've got to set boundaries and stick to 'em, or your reputation and credibility aren't worth a flip," High said. "I have a ground rule. I tell [first-time performers], 'As best I know, my grandmother never said 'hell' in her life. She certainly never said 'damn.' I want you to assume my little grandmother is sittin' in the audience. Keep that in mind. Don't embarrass me.'"

Lecil Martin, performing as hobo singer Boxcar Willie, once told an off-color joke onstage. High interrupted the act.

"Nobody apologizes for me," Boxcar told High.

"Well, I do," the host shot back. High's close friend didn't speak to him for two years.

In the 1980s, High booked singer Engelbert Humperdinck and a 40-piece orchestra for a sold-out show at the Tarrant County Convention Center. Beforehand, he issued a very clear warning to the 1960s pop-music star and his manager. This wasn't to be a Las Vegas act. No alcohol onstage. No women onstage. No offensive language.

"I guess he decided he was going to show me something," High said, picking up the story. "He started telling off-color jokes. He had someone bring him a glass of whatever it was. Then he got a lady onstage. He put a scarf in his pants and asked her to take it out. That's when I stopped the show."

From the wings, High walked out, apologized to the audience and restated his commitment to offering a clean show.

Humperdinck left town -- that night.

"Madder," High said, "than two wet hens."

Big plans

At age 78, he has survived three heart surgeries. Four years ago he was flown to Houston and underwent a life-saving operation to repair an aneurysm.

High opened a show last month by informing his audience that he had been to his doctor. A severe pain in his big toe was a new ailment.

"I got the gout," he announced.

Ashley Smith knows her grandfather doesn't feel good some nights, but no one would know it by his cheerfulness.

On Saturdays, he arrives at the music hall hours before the 5 p.m. rehearsal, as high-spirited as the show's mascot, a tiny white Maltese dog, Sammy, that prances along the building's hallways behind him.

High says he wants to keep working for as long as he is able, and he has never felt more optimistic, more enthusiastic, about the show's future.

As a teenager in the 1940s, he thought anyone who owned a Cadillac was rich. He often introduced himself to people who drove the luxury sedans and asked them for a moment of their time. He wanted to know what made them successful. What he learned -- the importance of persistence and determination -- finally is paying off in his own life.

"The worm," High said, "is starting to turn."

This fall, High's country show is being telecast nationally on RFD, a 24-hour satellite and cable network. He also is partnering with longtime friend Burk Collins, a commercial real-estate developer and country-music fan. Collins is planning a $30 million project that includes remodeling the downtown music hall and enlarging the stage to accommodate Symphony Arlington. A Babe's Chicken Dinner House restaurant will open next door and is expected to help attract showgoers.

"I'm really proud for him," said Ashley, who one day will assume High's role and host the show that, she says, will continue to bear her grandfather's name.

On this evening, as 7:30 neared, the master of ceremonies changed shirts and slipped into a white sports coat.

He headed down a flight of stairs, past a row of autographed photos of Rimes.

On one, the Grammy-winning star had written, "You will forever hold a special place in my heart!"

The band members were seated, the technicians and singers in place.

"Are we ready?" he asked backstage.

Parting a red velvet curtain, High and his granddaughter stepped into the circular spotlight, all smiles.

Ashley gazed admiringly at her "Pa-Paw" as he turned on his charm and primed the audience, telling the folks, "Y'all please be enthusiastic tonight, 'cause that's what we thrive on!"

If you go

Johnnie High's Country Music Revue

224 N. Center St., Arlington

817-226-4400 or 888-544-2686

Tickets $13-$16, $8 for children 11 and younger

Christmas show tickets $20 for adults, $10 for children 11 and younger

Memorable performances

Joey Floyd -- "He was about 5 years old. His grandpa brought him in for an audition. I asked to hear something, and he started singing, 'This old highway she's hotter'n nine kinds of hell ...' I stopped him and told him he can't use that word on our show. We're like church. He said, 'What's wrong with hail? It's just ice.' He thought 'hell' was 'hail.'

"Joey later played Willie Nelson's son in Honeysuckle Rose. Now he's a guitar player and backup singer for Toby Keith."

Merle Travis -- "Merle had a stroke. They said he'd never play again. I said, 'Merle, make me a promise. When you think you can do it, and I know you're going to, I want to be the first one to book you.' We were at Tarrant County Convention Center theater that night. It was incredible to see him perform again. He died later of a heart attack."

Danny Cooksey -- "A guy from Oklahoma I knew and trusted called me and said there's a boy he wanted to have sing on the show. I asked how old he was. He said 4. I said, 'You gotta be kidding?' He was a little red-headed turkey. I've been doing this 34 years, and no one has gotten the ovation Danny Cooksey did that night. He sang Old Chunk of Coal. The audience just exploded. Next thing you know he was making commercials and got the part of Sam on the TV show Diff'rent Strokes."

LeAnn Rimes -- "To me, on a scale of 1 to 10, she was an 8 1/2. I didn't realize how good she was until she'd been on four or five times. I realized then the kid had something special. When she was 7 or 8 we lined up in the lobby to greet people after the show. A little old lady patted LeAnn on the head and said, 'Honey, what you want be when you grow up?' LeAnn looked shocked. She said, 'I'm gonna be a star.' She knew it from dadgum day one. That's the attitude you've got to have."

Boxcar Willie -- "His name was Lecil Martin. I first met him in Nashville. He said he lived in Grand Prairie. I told him we had a show in Grapevine. I told him I only could pay him $30. He said, 'I don't care, I just want to sing.' He did train songs. I had him on pretty regularly. I got him a gig singing and playing in England for 30 days, making $100 a night. He was an immediate success. Later he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and bought his own theater in Branson [Missouri]. So I guess I had a little bit to do with his success."

Shoji Tabuchi -- "He's a Japanese fiddler. Shoji had a pickup with a camper. He would pull up behind our building and ask, 'Johnnie, can I plug in?' I told him, 'No, you come and sleep at my house.' He had $500 in his pocket and was living off hot dogs. We had him on and he was incredible. Absolutely magic. To give you an idea of where he stands today, he's doing 100 Christmas shows in Branson. Every one is sold out, at $47 a ticket. He's by far the biggest success there."

Johnnie High's advice for young performers

1. "If you really want to do it, don't listen to anybody else. You're going to get put down, maybe by your own parents, I'm sorry to say. You've got to have tunnel vision, like a racehorse with blinders on. That's LeAnn Rimes exactly. She never gave up."

2. "Practice. Say you're a banjo player. While you're practicing an hour a day, remember there's someone in Kansas practicing two hours a day. You've got to consider that. This ain't a little circle here. It's the whole country. You've got to get better than they are. Nothing comes easily."

3. "If you're hired to sing some place, whether you're paid or not, ask some questions first. No. 1, who are the people I'm singing for? What age are they? What percentage are women? What percentage are men? If they're all over 50, you can't go wrong singing Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, people like that. It's very, very important to know your audience."

09 Nov 07 - 01:09 PM (#2189951)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

<3>Blair 'converting to Catholicism'
Press Association
Friday November 9, 2007 5:48 PM

Tony Blair is to convert to Roman Catholicism within weeks, it has been claimed.

The former prime minister, whose wife Cherie and four children are Catholic, has long been expected to join the church after quitting Downing Street.

According to The Tablet, a Catholic magazine, he is to be received into the church shortly by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster.

Mr Blair is thought to have delayed converting until after leaving Number 10 because of the potential constitutional complications of a Catholic prime minister.

He was also advised to avoid religion in public by his former chief spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who famously commented: "We don't do God."

13 Nov 07 - 06:54 AM (#2192572)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Is that you, Shane?

Man uses shotgun to loosen lug nut

Wash. state man uses shotgun to loosen lug nut; effort does not go well

MSNBC staff and news service reports
updated 2:44 p.m. CT, Mon., Nov. 12, 2007

SOUTHWORTH, Wash. - A man trying to loosen a stubborn lug nut blasted the wheel with a 12-gauge shotgun, injuring himself badly in both legs, sheriff's deputies said.

The 66-year-old man had been repairing a Lincoln Continental for two weeks at his home in Kitsap County northwest of Southworth, about 10 miles southwest of Seattle, and had gotten all but one of the lug nuts off the right rear wheel by Saturday afternoon, Kitsap County Deputy Scott Wilson said.

"He's bound and determined to get that lug nut off," Wilson said.

From about arm's length, the man fired the shotgun at the wheel and was "peppered" in both legs with buckshot and debris, with some injuries as high as his chin, according to a sheriff's office report.

"Nobody else was there, and he wasn't intoxicated," Wilson said.

The man was taken to Tacoma General Hospital with injuries Wilson described as severe but not life-threatening.

The deputies did not take a statement from the man beyond what they were able to gather while he was being treated by medics, The Kitsap Sun reported on its Web site.

"I don't think he was in any condition to say anything," Wilson said, according to The Sun. "The pain was so severe, and the shock."

It was not immediately clear whether the shotgun blast loosened the lug nut.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

[I'd bet on that nut (on the lug) still bein' quite firmly attached, although the nut with the shotgun maybe shouldn't be runnin' 'round loose.]


15 Nov 07 - 06:08 PM (#2194839)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

MOSCOW (Reuters) - At least 30 members of a Russian doomsday cult have barricaded themselves in a remote cave to await the end of the world and are threatening to commit suicide if police intervene, officials and media said Thursday.

"They have covered the entrance and refuse to come out and are threatening to blow themselves up," an official in the local prosecutor's office told Reuters by telephone. "They threaten to detonate a gas tank and blow themselves up."

The cult members, who include 29 adults and four children, are hidden inside a snow-covered hillside in the Penza region of central Russia. A Penza police spokeswoman said they had moved into the dug-out on November 7.

"No one wants to take on the responsibility of provoking them ... because our information is that there are children among them," said the official.

They are thought to have taken food and fuel supplies in with them and Russian television pictures from the scene showed smoke or steam coming out of a hole in the snow-covered ravine where it was built.

A police patrol was guarding the area to prevent anyone provoking them.

"They are simple Christians," a local priest, Father Georgy, told NTV television station. "They say: 'The church is doing a bad job, the end of the world is coming soon and we are all saving ourselves'."

Media reports said the cult members believed the world would end sometime in May next year. Police expected them to emerge when their supplies ran out

15 Nov 07 - 08:17 PM (#2194942)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Mel Brooks Starts Nonprofit Foundation To Save Word 'Schmuck'

November 2, 2007 |
NEW YORK—Saying he could no longer stand idly by while a vital part of American culture is lost forever, activist and Broadway producer Mel Brooks has founded a private nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the word "schmuck."

An emotional Brooks stopped short of kvetching at a schmuck fundraiser Monday.

"Schmuck is dying," a sobe r Brooks said during a 2,000-person rally held in his hometown of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Monday. "For many of us, saying 'schmuck' is a way of life. Yet when I walk down the street and see people behaving in foolish, pathetic, or otherwise schmucky ways, I hear only the words 'prick' and 'douche bag.' I just shake my head and think, 'I don't want to live in a world like this.'"

The nonprofit, Schmucks For Schmuck, has compiled schmuck-related data from the past 80 years and conducted its own independent research on contemporary "schmuck" usage. According to Brooks, the statistics are frightening: Utterances of the word "schmuck" have declined every year since its peak in 1951, and in 2006, the word was spoken a mere 28 times—17 of these times by Brooks himself. The study indicates that today, when faced with a situation in which one can use a targeted or self-deprecating insult to convey a general feeling of disgust, people are 50 times more likely to use the word "jerk" tha n "schmuck," 100 times more likely to use "dick," and 15,000 times more likely to use "fucking asshole."

Perhaps more startling, only 23 percent of men know what schmuck means, and only 1.2 percent of these men are under the age of 78. If such trends continue, Brooks estimates that by 2011, such lesser-used terms as "imbecile," "dummy," "schlub," and "contemptible ne'er-do-well" will all surpass schmuck, which is projected to completely disappear by the year 2020 or whenever Brooks dies.

"We must save this word!" Brooks said to thunderous applause as those in attendance began chanting "Schmuck! Schmuck! Schmuck!" "How will we be able to charmingly describe someone who acts in an inappropriate manner? Especially given the tragic loss of the word 'schmegeggie' in 2001. So I urge you: Tonight, when you get home, please, call up your family, your friends, your loved ones, and tell them they're a bunch of schmucks."

15 Nov 07 - 08:56 PM (#2194962)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

old news that will never go away

16 Nov 07 - 12:53 AM (#2195051)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Washington Post article about grazing dinosaurs:

The Dinosaur That Peacefully Grazed
Perfectly Adapted Creature Kept Its Head Down, Got New Teeth Once a Month

Friday, November 16, 2007; Page A15

Could an elephant-size dinosaur with a skull so thin that a karate chop would have split it in two, teeth it shed once a month and a brain that, yes, was the size of a walnut, ever be considered one of evolution's success stories?

Paul C. Sereno thinks so.

The University of Chicago paleontologist yesterday unveiled Nigersaurus taqueti, a strange creature that is helping rewrite theories about how long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs looked and behaved.

Nigersaurus appears to have spent a lifetime with its head in a hangdog position. Using a broad, tooth-filled mouth, it grazed on ferns and horsetails growing at most a couple of feet high. It couldn't even raise its head to horizontal. Getting at trees was out of the question.

Many other dinosaurs -- including the more famous and less bizarre Diplodocus -- probably behaved similarly, using their long necks as ground-mowing booms, not treetop cherry pickers, Sereno believes.

"It took an extreme dinosaur to open our eyes to this cow-like behavior," he said yesterday at the National Geographic Society's headquarters in the District, where a reconstruction of Nigersaurus was mounted. "It is sort of silly to think that something wasn't doing this. But we had missed the cows of the Mesozoic."

Other paleontologists agreed that the new dinosaur will further dispel the notion that long-necked dinosaurs were the prehistoric equivalent of giraffes, holding their heads high overhead.

"It would be hard to imagine a more compelling argument against" that view, said Kent A. Stevens, a computer scientist at the University of Oregon who has done extensive research on dinosaur posture.

(see the rest by following the link)

There is a major argument against a dinosaur that kept its head down to graze on grass. GRASS is a quite modern plant, and hadn't evolved at the time of the dinos. Maybe this dino ate sphagnum moss or ferns, but it wasn't grazing on grass.


18 Nov 07 - 09:12 PM (#2197152)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Janie

Chesapeake Bay's crab population ebbs
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON | The Chesapeake Bay's famous blue crabs — feisty crustaceans that are both a regional symbol and a multimillion-dollar catch — are hovering at historically low population levels, scientists say, as pollution, climate change and overfishing threaten the bay's ultimate survivor.

This fall, a committee of federal and state scientists found that the crab's population was at its second-lowest level in the past 17 years, having fallen to about one-third the population of 1993. They forecast that the current crabbing season, which ends Dec. 15 in Maryland, will produce one of the lowest harvests since 1945.

This year's numbers are particularly distressing, scientists say, because they signal that a baywide effort to save the crab begun in 2001 is falling short.

Governments promised to clean the Chesapeake's waters by 2010. But that effort is far off track, leaving "dead zones" where crabs can't breathe.

Maryland and Virginia have changed their laws to cut back the bay's crab harvest. But watermen have repeatedly been allowed to take too many of the valuable shellfish, scientists say. The watermen, meanwhile, say they're being unfairly blamed.

"Now it appears that even the hardy blue crab is approaching its breaking point," said Howard Ernst, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and a critic of government efforts to protect the Chesapeake. If the crab's population drops further, Ernst said, "what we ultimately lose is not only a resource, but a unique and irreplaceable cultural heritage."

Continued at

20 Nov 07 - 11:07 PM (#2198938)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Corn Bin Collapses, Burying Iowa Family
November 20, 2007

DES MOINES, Iowa - A grain bin collapsed and sent a tidal wave of corn into a home, sweeping it off its foundation, trapping a family of four and shaking the ground for miles.

One man was taken to a hospital after being buried for hours in grain and debris in Hillsboro in southeast Iowa.

The bin - about 100 feet in diameter, 90 feet high and containing more than 500,000 bushels of corn - collapsed Monday evening. The force of the grain broke the walls of Jesse and Jennifer Kellett's home and sent the roof crashing down.

"The force actually took the house with the corn and shoved it and crushed it," Dan Wesely, Henry County chief sheriff's deputy, said Tuesday.

The Kelletts and their children, Jordan Walter, 11, and Sheyanne Walter, 9, were trapped. Jennifer Kellett and her daughter crawled out, but her husband and son - pinned by walls, wood and corn - had to be rescued.

Many residents of the town of 200 said they could hear the bin's rivets giving way, sounding like machine-gun fire. Farmers miles away reported feeling the ground shake. The bin was about 20 feet away from the house, authorities said.

The grain bin is owned by Chem Gro. The bin was new, Wesely said, and officials are investigating the cause of the collapse. A telephone message left with the company Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Emergency crews reached Jesse and Jordan Walters and supplied them with oxygen lines.

"The thing was they had to move this corn, and it kept rolling in. They had to move a lot of corn back before they could get down and find out what was holding them in. That would be the lumber, walls and different things," Wesely said.

Once free, Jordan Walters walked to an ambulance, where he was found to be uninjured. His father, rescued after about four hours, was taken to a hospital, which declined to release information about his condition.

"When it happened, my house shook, and I'm clear on the other end of this town," Hillsboro resident Naomi Sanderson told the Hawk Eye newspaper of Burlington.

21 Nov 07 - 09:36 AM (#2199174)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Getting a 'do in Alaska

Woman crashes into hair salon

Alaskan loses control of vehicle, crashes into salon's front window

The Associated Press
updated 11:12 p.m. CT, Fri., Nov. 16, 2007

SOLDOTNA, Alaska - A woman on her way to hair appointment crashed her car through the hair salon.

Della Miller, 73, crashed into Tina's Hair Pros' windows Wednesday, knocking one customer six feet across the room, Soldotna police officer Marvin Towle said.

The parking area in front of the salon was snow-covered.

Miranda Nelson, a stylist, said she was in the back room when she heard the crash.

"I thought a bomb had gone off," Nelson said.

Two large plate-glass windows were destroyed, walls were damaged, and the stonework front outside the salon was smashed, police said. Towle estimated damage to the building to be at least $15,000, and the car at $2,500 more.

Miller, who was not injured, was not cited for the crash.

She proceeded with her hair appointment.

© 2007 The Associated Press

Well now, what would you have done?

Picture at link. Bystanders look mostly bored.


21 Nov 07 - 09:43 AM (#2199177)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Hey, she came to get her hair done. Right? Right. I like a person with focus.

Too bad she couldn't focus on finding the damn brake pedal.


22 Nov 07 - 01:46 AM (#2199709)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Jellyfish wipe out salmon farm

More than $2 million in fish destroyed in 'unprecedented' N. Ireland attack

The Associated Press
updated 8:55 p.m. CT, Wed., Nov. 21, 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland - The only salmon farm in Northern Ireland has lost its entire population of more than 100,000 fish, worth some $2 million, to a spectacular jellyfish attack, its owners said Wednesday.
The Northern Salmon Co. Ltd. said billions of jellyfish — in a dense pack of about 10 square miles and 35 feet deep — overwhelmed the fish last week in two net pens about a mile off the coast of the Glens of Antrim, north of Belfast.

Managing director John Russell said the company's dozen workers tried to rescue the salmon, but their three boats struggled for hours to push their way through the mass of jellyfish. All the fish were dead or dying from stings and stress by the time the boats reached the pens, he said.

Russell, who previously worked at Scottish salmon farms and took the Northern Ireland job just three days before the attack, said he had never seen anything like it in 30 years in the business.

"It was unprecedented, absolutely amazing. The sea was red with these jellyfish and there was nothing we could do about it, absolutely nothing," he said.

The species of jellyfish responsible, Pelagia nocticula — popularly known as the mauve stinger — is noted for its purplish night-time glow and its propensity for terrorizing bathers in the warmer Mediterranean Sea. Until the past decade, the mauve stinger has rarely been spotted so far north in British or Irish waters, and scientists cite this as evidence of global warming.

Russell said the company, which bills its salmon as organic and exports to France, Belgium, Germany and the United States, faces likely closure unless it receives emergency aid from the British government.

"It's a disaster," he said.

© 2007 The Associated Press.


25 Nov 07 - 01:29 PM (#2201879)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I don't want to start a separate thread for this, but this is a story on Reuters. This may allow for some academic discussions, now that one can use the word "intertextuality" in the same sentence as "Disney."

Enchanted pays homage to other Disney films
Nov 23, 2007

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Enchanted" is a loving homage to many classic Disney princess movies of yore.

The movie, which opened Wednesday, starts out in a traditional 2-D animated world, where a fairy-tale princess (voiced by Amy Adams) about to marry her prince is thrust into the real world by an evil queen. The real world is represented by New York, and once there, the princess (now a flesh-and-blood Adams) begins to change her views on life and love when she meets a cynical divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey).

The movie references many Disney movies in obvious and subtle ways, but many of the references weren't in the initial script. "That was all (director) Kevin Lima's doing," producer Barry Josephson said.

Lima, a veteran Disney animator who also co-directed the company's 1999 feature "Tarzan," came on board the project two years ago, and from the first meeting with screenwriter Bill Kelly began peppering the script with homages.

"I have a lifetime of references running through my head," Lima said. "From the time I was 5 years old and I saw 'Jungle Book,' and my mom swears by this story, I turned to her and said, 'Mom I'm going to be a Disney animator when I grow up."'

The most obvious references involve slippers and poison apples, dragons and little people. But throwaways and background activities go beyond readily recognizable symbols and images.

A seedy motel is named the Grand Duke, which is the name of a character from "Cinderella." A restaurant is called Bella Note, a nod to "Lady and the Tramp." A woman Adams encounters in Central Park asks her if she wants to feed the birds, "just a dollar a bag." That's dialogue from "Mary Poppins," subbing out the word "tuppins."

Going a bit deeper, you'll find that Mary Ilene Caselotti, the reporter on TV, is named after the actresses who voiced Princess Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty" (Mary Costa), Cinderella (Ilene Woods) and Snow White (Adriana Caselotti). The Banks, a couple getting divorced in the movie, are named after the family in "Mary Poppins." And Churchill, Harline and Smith, the name of Dempsey's law firm, is named after the songwriters from "Snow White": Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline and Paul Smith.

In the law firm sequence, Giselle looks at a fish tank while the Muzak in the background plays "Part of Your World," a song from "The Little Mermaid."

A couple of the new songs in the movie -- from Disney's Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who between them have worked on many Disney animated films from the '90s -- hark back to songs in "Snow White" and "Beauty and the Beast."

To give the 2-D animated scenes the Disney feel, Lima turned to the James Baxter Studio, whose president James Baxter did the animated work on Rafiki in "The Lion King," Belle in "Beauty and the Beast," and Quasimodo in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

"I'm not embarrassed by the source material," Lima said, "which makes it really easy to embrace it."

26 Nov 07 - 10:43 AM (#2202449)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Dear me...this is beginning to get into the Jesuitical range of cross referencing fantasies and myths therefrom derived. I suppose we will have to have a 'cyclopedia (e-n-c-y-c-l-o-p-E-d-i-a....) next, and then perhaps a battery of bishops to refine interpretative standards.

Who's the leader of the band that's made for you and me? That's what I want to know...


26 Nov 07 - 12:16 PM (#2202507)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

my interpretation:
It looks like China freezing all credit for the next 40 days is what is keeping the biggest economic bubble from bursting before Christmas. China's gas bills are going way up due to the US dollar as well as peak oil supply on the near horizon.

Panic sell off of US notes, T bills, money market funds and other Wall street instruments can be delayed but soon US stock market computer program sell offs will be triggered at the 12,000 mark.

Some will call it the WW Depression and others will call it the biggest transfer of wealth to the wealthy in history.

OF all of Dick Cheney's lies the one that may go down in history is "deficits don't matter"

Within 4 years many experts see the perfect storm in full blow.

28 Nov 07 - 04:11 PM (#2204148)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Wesley S


From that paragon of truth - Fox News - a story of an auction for a skin covered book with a Guy Fawkes connection.

Human skin covered book

28 Nov 07 - 05:37 PM (#2204227)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

What a grisly and intriguing slice -- pardon the expression -- of history!!    Shades of the WW2 Volkswagen!


29 Nov 07 - 11:02 AM (#2204703)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Sometimes a guy just can't break even?

Lottery ticket unlucky for winner

Bank robber faces hearing over whether he violated his probation terms

The Associated Press
updated 4:00 a.m. CT, Thurs., Nov. 29, 2007

BOSTON - The winner of a $1 million lottery scratch ticket may not be so lucky after all: He's a convicted bank robber who isn't supposed to gamble.

Timothy Elliott faces a Dec. 7 court hearing over whether he violated his probation when he bought the $10 ticket for the $800 Million Spectacular game at a supermarket in Hyannis.

Elliott was placed on five years' probation after pleading guilty in October 2006 to unarmed robbery for a January 2006 heist at a bank on Cape Cod.

Under terms of his probation, he "may not gamble, purchase lottery tickets or visit an establishment where gaming is conducted, including restaurants where Keno may be played."

Elliott, 55, has collected the first of 20 annual $50,000 checks from the Massachusetts lottery commission. A picture of Elliott, holding his first check, was posted on the lottery's Web site Monday, though it was removed by Wednesday.

As part of his sentence, Elliott was put under the care of the state Mental Health Department and sent to a hospital for treatment, and state officials refused Wednesday to say whether he was still being treated.

A telephone number for Elliott could not immediately be located Wednesday, and it was not clear whether he had a lawyer.
The lottery routinely cross references the names of winners with the state Revenue Department to see if they owe back taxes or child support, lottery spokesman Dan Rosenfeld said. In those cases, winnings go straight to the Revenue Department.

But in this case, it will be up to the court to determine what will happen with Elliott's winnings.

"This is kind of new territory," he said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press


29 Nov 07 - 11:22 AM (#2204727)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Man...can't win, can't break even, and can't even walk away from the table!! Talk about tough luck!!

So..lessee..if it WAS a parole violation, that would invalidate his right to his winnings? This could go way too far. For example, if I parked illegally while buying a lotto ticket, and it won, would I have to surrender the winnings because I was out of grace, legally speaking, at the time of purchase?

Oh, tempora, oh, mores!


29 Nov 07 - 01:38 PM (#2204822)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Perhaps they could send him back to jail for the parole violation, but put the $50,000/year payout in the bank for when he gets out. It might make "rehabilitation" a lot easier if he had something to look forward to.

It's actually not that unusual a situation, as people in states where lotteries are/were illegal frequently buy/bought tickets "across the border" in states where they are legal. There surely is precedent - although probably not precedent that's gonna make this guy very happy.


29 Nov 07 - 06:08 PM (#2205092)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

As gambling goes, Lotto and scratch-off cards are pretty low key. It strikes me that if it's legal in the state for everyone else and doesn't contribute to crime, they ought to think twice about sanctioning him.

29 Nov 07 - 09:52 PM (#2205215)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Janie

Man reunited with ID bracelet after 25 years.     It was found in a chicken gizzard.

I knew there was some reason you are not supposed to eat that part!

29 Nov 07 - 11:43 PM (#2205272)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Wow! Amazing. He finally got his identity back after twenty-five years!! Maybe this means back wages due from Unemployment, huh?


30 Nov 07 - 06:00 AM (#2205387)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

So is Shane in Dublin?

Dublin thief seizes 180 Guinness kegs

Lone robber seizes nearly $100,000 worth of Ireland's trademark beer

updated 10:51 a.m. CT, Thurs., Nov. 29, 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland - A thief made off with 180 kegs of Guinness beer after smoothly driving into the Dublin brewery, which makes the black stout and snatching a trailer load of drink, police said Thursday.
The incident took place Wednesday at the Guinness brewery on the banks of Dublin's River Liffey where Ireland's trademark tipple has been brewed for almost 250 years.

The lone raider's haul also contained 180 kegs of Budweiser and 90 barrels of Carlsberg lager, police said.

"A man drove into the yard in a truck and took a trailer containing the drink which has an estimated value of 64,000 euros ($94,770)," a police spokesman said.

Copyright 2007 Reuters.

(But if it was Shane he was probably after the Bud.)


30 Nov 07 - 09:13 AM (#2205460)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Wesley S

The thief will just piss it all way - just watch.

02 Dec 07 - 10:44 PM (#2207261)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Toy firm debuts cuddly critter corpses

Shocking stocking stuffer
By Brian Tracey
Associate editor

Look into any child's toy box and you'll usually find at least one stuffed animal that has seen better days — a teddy bear with an eye missing or an arm nearly torn off. Now a British company wants to give you that look right out of the box with its line of "roadkill" plush toys.

The first to be launched is Twitch the Raccoon which comes with its own body bag, reports U.K newspaper Metro.

Twitch also has an identity tag revealing it was "run over over by a milk [delivery truck] last Thursday."

A zipper on each side of the toy allows the owner to remove Twitch's internal organs and stuff them back in again. A truck-tire print runs across its back.

The product's creators, Compost Communications, call themselves "toy terrorists."

"We squash and burn and bludgeon and maim," the company was quoted as saying on its Web site. "But we're also toy fanatics like you. We love toys."

Toy creator Adam Arber, 33, said: "I got the idea from looking at my mother-in-law's dog which is quite ugly and I thought it would make a great toy. A friend of mine had taken some pictures of road kill and the two things gelled into one idea."

He said he thought the toys, which cost $50, would appeal to people with a sense of humor and "probably not anyone easily upset".

Twitch is set to go on sale starting in December at London's Play Lounge toy store and online at Coming soon are other characters including Grind the rabbit, Splodge the hedgehog and Pop the weasel.

What, no baby deer called Slambi?

[The link is to a blog page with multiple articles. Read on down and enjoy(?)]


03 Dec 07 - 12:51 AM (#2207300)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

. . . deer called Slambi

Clever, John!

Sounds like something that will go to the (sick) gag gifts department, not the stuffed-toys-for-kiddoes dept.


03 Dec 07 - 02:06 AM (#2207317)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Actually Stilly I thought the third article was more interesting; but the one at the top fits the thread better.


03 Dec 07 - 11:01 PM (#2208018)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

They found some of the missing UK bank data and pin codes

04 Dec 07 - 02:49 PM (#2208504)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Tweety, Donald Duck Summoned to Court
From Associated Press
December 04, 2007

ROME - Tweety may get a chance to take the witness stand and sing like a canary. An Italian court ordered the animated bird, along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and his girlfriend Daisy, to testify in a counterfeiting case.

In what lawyers believe was a clerical error worthy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, a court in Naples sent a summons to the characters ordering them to appear Friday in a trial in the southern Italian city, officials said.

The court summons cites Titti, Paperino, Paperina, Topolino - the Italian names for the characters - as damaged parties in the criminal trial of a Chinese man accused of counterfeiting products of Disney and Warner Bros.

Instead of naming only the companies and their legal representatives, clerks also wrote in the witness list the names of the cartoons that decorated the toys and gadgets the man had reproduced, said Fiorenza Sorotto, vice president of Disney Company Italia.

"Unfortunately they cannot show up, as they are residents of Disneyland," Sorotto joked in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It certainly pleased us that the characters were considered real, because that's what we try to do."

The Naples court will have to rewrite the summons, although this will probably delay the trial, said Disney lawyer Cristina Ravelli.

"Let's hope the characters will not be prosecuted for failing to appear," Ravelli quipped.

Calls seeking comment from Warner Bros. in Milan were not immediately returned. Phones at the Naples court were not answered Tuesday.

04 Dec 07 - 02:52 PM (#2208507)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Dear Gawd, that is scary in some deep way.

I can understand when maps and territory get confused in honest language, and forgive it.

But when cartoon characters start getting called up as witnesses to the wrongs done to their artists, the world is definitely sliding off its center. The mind boggles...


04 Dec 07 - 04:50 PM (#2208590)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Divorce pains the planet
Posted by Elsa Wenzel
CJNet News

As if the burden of divorce weren't bad enough, people with failed marriages can be blamed for global warming, according to a study by Michigan State University.

Divorced couples use up more space in their respective homes, which amounts to to 38 million more rooms worldwide to light, heat and cool, noted the report.

And people who divorced used 73 billion kilowatt-hours more of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water than they would otherwise in 2005.

Dissolving a marriage also means doubling possessions, from the lowly can opener to the SUV. The report, however, did not estimate how many more natural resources the children of shared-custody parents consume by getting birthday and holiday gifts twice.

Nor did it count the greenhouse gases spent to shuttle kids between their pair of energy-hogging households. (Tip for carbon offsetting services: the domain name is available.).

The research suggests that singletons who shack up with someone again can undo the ecological damage. Although it might be inferred that "living in sin" is also eco-friendly, the findings did not necessarily endorse the practice of unmarried couples living together.

Rates of divorce are rising around the world, while dropping in North America along with those of marriage, according to the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University.

Divorce ends 46 percent of marriages in the United States, the seventh highest rate in the world, according to Divorce Magazine. The top world record is held by Sweden, where 55 percent of marriages end by divorce. On the other end is Guatemala, with a mere .13 percent divorce rate.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and funded partly by the National Institutes of Health.



04 Dec 07 - 08:03 PM (#2208734)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Police attempt to solve mystery of the canoeist who came back from the dead
By Terri Judd
Published: 04 December 2007
John Darwin, the Hartlepool canoeist who went missing five years ago and reappeared at the weekend to declare himself a missing person, was due to face questioning by detectives today as speculation mounted over the circumstances of his disappearance.

Mr Darwin, 57, who was last seen preparing to set out to sea in his canoe in March 2002, walked into West Central police station in London on Saturday, telling officers: "I think I am a missing person."

His family remained behind closed doors yesterday at the home of his son Anthony in Hampshire. Cleveland Police said they remained as baffled as anyone else and would be looking for an explanation when they started interviewing the former prison officer today. All avenues of inquiry would be explored, the force said.

Mr Darwin's elderly father, Ronald, said he had always believed that his son would turn up one day. Blaming a head injury that his son had suffered when he was knocked down by a car in his youth, Mr Darwin Snr, 91, from Blackhall Colliery, County Durham, said he was convinced that John had suffered some form of amnesia. "Now he's got his memory back," he said. " When I speak to him, I will ask him where he has been these last few years and I'll ask 'Why didn't you make arrangements to see me before now?' I'll tell him a lot more too, but I'm extremely happy now."

His brother David, 54, added: "It is the best Christmas present any family could wish for."

Mr Darwin was last seen preparing his canoe for the water near his home in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, at 9am on 21 March 2002. He had appeared in high spirits only the day before, according to a friend, Bill Rodriguez, who had lived near Mr Darwin and his wife Anne since they moved from the Durham area two years earlier.

Just weeks before he vanished the former science teacher wrote on the Friends Reunited website: "Taught in Derwentside for 18 years before leaving teaching to join Barclays Bank. At present work for Prison Service and have portfolio of properties. Married to a convent girl Anne Stephenson, we have two grown-up sons and two dogs. Recently moved to Seaton Carew where I hope to retire soon."

An oar believed to belong to Mr Darwin's canoe was washed up just off Seal Sands a day after he vanished. Weeks later, the smashed remains of his canoe were found. His wife of 28 years watched from her living-room window as the police and Humber Coastguard searched the area to no avail. They described it as "looking for a needle in a haystack".

Meanwhile, this poor bloke's wife, apparently giving him up for dead, sold off their houses and moved away, address unknown, possibly to Panama or some such.

He's been reunited with his two sons, now in their late 20's.

A most bizarre story.


04 Dec 07 - 09:47 PM (#2208786)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Bee-dubya-ell

...the police and Humber Coastguard searched the area to no avail.

Humber, huh? That would be the Humber Estuary, I suppose. Isn't that where Hull is? Mystery solved. The guy met some of the Mudcatters who live there and has been on a five-year drunk.

11 Dec 07 - 03:27 PM (#2213296)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos
Selection Spurred Recent Evolution, Researchers Say
New York Times - 16 hours ago

By NICHOLAS WADE Researchers analyzing variation in the human genome have concluded that human evolution accelerated enormously in the last 40000 years under the force of natural selection.

18 Dec 07 - 10:46 AM (#2218126)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Zipit Wi-Fi Device Adds Text Messaging
December 18, 2007

NEW YORK - A small South Carolina company says it has a cure for the modern plague of budget-busting cell-phone charges racked up by teenagers: a gadget for text-messaging that isn't a cell phone.

Zipit Wireless Inc. plans to announce Tuesday that it will make available a text-messaging plan for its Zipit Wireless Messenger 2, a device the size of fat wallet that uses Wi-Fi hotspots to do free instant messaging with AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.

Zipit users who sign up for a text-messaging plan will now be able to contact cell-phone users, as well as communicate by instant message.

The plan will cost $4.99 for up to 3,000 messages per month when it formally launches in February. Between Dec. 20 and the launch, text messaging is free on the device.

Cell-phone carriers typically charge 10 or 15 cents per text message, or $15 a month to add 1,500 or "unlimited" text messages to a calling plan. The service costs almost nothing to provide, making it "one of the most profitable applications known to man," according to Morgan Stanley's telecommunications analyst, Simon Flannery.

The Zipit 2 itself costs $149.99. It has a color screen and launched in November as a follow-up to the monochrome original Zipit, which came out in 2004.

The Zipit 2 will be able to receive as well as send text messages. But unlike a cell phone, the Zipit won't accept text messages from numbers that haven't been added to an approved list by the user, which should make it immune to spam sent as text messages. Also unlike a cell phone, it won't be able to send text messages to more than one recipient at a time.

The Zipit belongs to a small category of devices that have attempted to capitalize on the craze for instant messaging by making it available off the computer. Sony Corp.'s Mylo device, which was aimed at the college-aged, is another example.

Neither the Zipit nor the Mylo has found audiences as big as instant messaging has generally. Frank Greer, chief executive of Greenville, S.C.-based Zipit Wireless, said "tens of thousands" of the original Zipit have sold, though he would not give sales figures.

The relatively slow pace of sales probably is due to the difficulty of marketing a wireless messaging device to people who already have one - the cell phone. Both the Zipit and the Mylo also need to be in a Wi-Fi hotspot to function.

But Zipit 2's text-messaging feature - which can be added through a downloaded software update - will help close the gap with cell phones.

The original Zipit is not upgradeable.

The PC version of AOL Instant Messenger already allows text messaging to cell-phone users, who can also reply to the AIM user.

18 Dec 07 - 09:25 PM (#2218622)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Navy Saves Gravely Ill Girl on Cruise
December 18, 2007

SAN DIEGO - A teenager whose appendix ruptured at sea, hundreds of miles from help, got safely to shore Tuesday after an unusual rescue in which the Navy airlifted her from a cruise ship for emergency surgery.

Laura Montero, 14, fell ill aboard the Dawn Princess cruise ship off the coast of Baja California. The Bahamian-registered ship sent out a distress call Friday that was answered by the USS Ronald Reagan, which was on training maneuvers about 500 miles away.

Montero, a fair-haired girl with bright blue eyes, appeared to be doing well as she gave a brief interview with reporters at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.

"I'd like to thank the captain of the Dawn Princess, the surgeon and the crew and everyone on the USS Ronald Reagan," she said quietly, then flashed a shy grin. She said she was usually "a tiny bit" scared of heights but hadn't been nervous when she was hoisted on a flat stretcher into the helicopter that came to fetch her.

"I was in pain," she said.

The Reagan, a nuclear carrier, was the closest ship with a hospital facility, according to a news release from the Navy. It steamed overnight toward the cruise ship, which was about 250 miles northwest of Cabo San Lucas when the call went out.

A helicopter took off from the Reagan around 5 a.m. Saturday to close the final 175-mile gap between the ships. The crew arrived after a 45-minute flight and lowered a medic onto the cruise ship deck in a basket because there wasn't space to land, said Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Leland, the pilot.

Montero, who was on an antibiotic drip, was loaded into a litter basket, lifted into the helicopter and flown back to the Reagan for an appendectomy. Her mother stayed aboard the cruise ship.

"We practice this all the time, but this is the first time I've pulled a civilian off a cruise ship," Leland said.

A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, which operates the Dawn Princess, said the ship's captain called the Coast Guard for help because he felt that would be faster than diverting to the nearest Mexican port.

"Where the ship was, where the land was and the fact that the Ronald Reagan had (a surgical facility) on board were all factors that came into play," said Julie Benson. "The option is to go to the nearest medical facility that can treat the patient."

The Dawn Princess returned to its home port of San Diego over the weekend from its regular weeklong run along the Baja California coast to the resorts of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The Reagan, which carries as many as 6,000 crew members and costs about $2.5 million a day to operate while under way, returned Tuesday morning, its scheduled return from the training tour.

Montero, of Albion, Ill., is expected to make a full recovery. A doctor at the children's hospital said he anticipated she would be back home by Christmas.

22 Dec 07 - 10:23 PM (#2221190)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: bobad

10 Minutes Of Staring at Boobs Daily Prolongs Man's Life by 5 Years...
- The beneficial starlets
By: Stefan Anitei, Science Editor

Listen, guys, now we know why Pamela Anderson made her transplants: to make us healthier. "Angels of mercy" like Jordan just prolong our life and Hugh Hefner knows it.

A German research published in New England Journal of Medicine and Weekly World News said that men staring at women's breasts in fact prolong their lives with years.

"Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female such as Baywatch actress Pamela Lee is equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out," said author Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist.

The team led by Weatherby was made up of researchers at three hospitals in Frankfurt, Germany, and found this results after monitoring for 5 years the health of 200 male subjects, half of whom were asked to look at busty females daily, while the other half had to abstain from doing so.

For five years, the boob oglers presented a lower blood pressure, slower resting pulse rates and decreased risk of coronary artery disease.

"Sexual excitement gets the heart pumping and improves blood circulation. There's no question: Gazing at large breasts makes men healthier. Our study indicates that engaging in this activity a few minutes daily cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack in half." said Weatherby, who even recommended that men aged over 40 should spend at least 10 minutes daily admiring breasts sized "D-cup" or larger.

She said that this was as healthy as going to the gym for 30 minutes daily and prolonged a man's life by five years.

"We believe that by doing so consistently, the average man can extend his life four to five years." said Weatherby.

This is indeed a very serious reason for men to enjoy without shame those midnight TV shows, download low-budget women-in-prison movies and collect such instructive and health beneficial magazines like Playboy and Hustler.

23 Dec 07 - 01:42 AM (#2221222)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos


The Board of Directors has asked me to express to you their deep gratitude for bringing this important scientific work to our attention, as it is of great importance in our ongoing work of transforming the place of boob-meditation from the secular to the divine in every walk of life.

Humbly and gratefully yours,

Fr. Tacitus Perfectus, Director of Advanced Study
Temple of the Golden Globes

23 Dec 07 - 02:21 AM (#2221233)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The article is at
and you're welcome to read it and several related ones it links to (it's part of a multipart series).

The "newsworthy" part though:

[in quotes]

A short while ago, while reporting on Medicare fraud – an outrageous $60 billion a year pilferage of America's social safety net for 43 million seniors and the disabled – I took one of those phone calls that stop you right in your tracks.

The caller was a federal law enforcement official who has spent much of his career fighting health care theft. He said a man that he and other authorities had been chasing for allegedly running a crooked medical supply company and bilking Medicare had just had an unfortunate run-in with police near Miami.

He and another man were confronted by officers who suspected them of breaking into cars outside a gaming resort. The other man was arrested, but, according to authorities, the one suspected of Medicare theft ran and dove into a lake, where he was promptly attacked and killed by an alligator! What??

Of course, upon hearing this I thought it was a joke and shouted, "You've got to be kidding!" He wasn't. It was true – the sort of morality tale, it seems, you can only hear in Florida.

[end quotes]

Another article in the same series of reports indicates that:


Federal law enforcement officials investigating in Miami-Dade and Broward counties found that from 2002 to present Medicare paid for 89,803 artificial limbs.
... ... ...

Sadly, the situation could be even worse. Although $95 million in taxpayer dollars was the amount paid to the people making those outlandish claims, the amount they actually submitted to Medicare in hopes of payment was a stunning $615 million (for a total of 305,935 limbs). In other words, more than $500 million in claims were rejected. A lot of people must have really worked overtime to come up with that many phony bills.


I wonder what the population of Florida is now.

Maybe all those missing limbs have something to do with the alligators?


23 Dec 07 - 01:12 PM (#2221407)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Here's an AP story:

GI Saves Iraqi Boy in Unlikely Adoption
December 23, 2007

MAUSTON, Wis. - Capt. Scott Southworth knew he'd face violence, political strife and blistering heat when he was deployed to one of Baghdad's most dangerous areas. But he didn't expect Ala'a Eddeen. Ala'a was 9 years old, strong of will but weak of body - he suffered from cerebral palsy and weighed just 55 pounds. He lived among about 20 kids with physical or mental disabilities at the Mother Teresa orphanage, under the care of nuns who preserved this small oasis in a dangerous place.

On Sept. 6, 2003, halfway through his 13-month deployment, Southworth and his military police unit paid a visit to the orphanage. They played and chatted with the children; Southworth was talking with one little girl when Ala'a dragged his body to the soldier's side. Black haired and brown eyed, Ala'a spoke to the 31-year-old American in the limited English he had learned from the sisters. He recalled the bombs that struck government buildings across the Tigris River.

"Bomb-Bing! Bomb-Bing!" Ala'a said, raising and lowering his fist.

"I'm here now. You're fine," the captain said.

Over the next 10 months, the unit returned to the orphanage again and again. The soldiers would race kids in their wheelchairs, sit them in Humvees and help the sisters feed them. To Southworth, Ala'a was like a little brother. But Ala'a - who had longed for a soldier to rescue him - secretly began referring to Southworth as "Baba," Arabic for "Daddy." Then, around Christmas, a sister told Southworth that Ala'a was getting too big. He would have to move to a government-run facility within a year.

"Best case scenario was that he would stare at a blank wall for the rest of his life," Southworth said. To this day, he recalls the moment when he resolved that that would not happen. "I'll adopt him," he said.


Before Southworth left for Iraq, he was chief of staff for a state representative. He was single, worked long days and squeezed in his service as a national guardsman - military service was a family tradition. His great-great-greatgrandfather served in the Civil War, his grandfather in World War II, his father in Vietnam.

The family had lived in the tiny central Wisconsin city of New Lisbon for 150 years. Scott was raised as an evangelical Christian; he attended law school with a goal of public service, running unsuccessfully for state Assembly at the age of 25.

There were so many reasons why he couldn't bring a handicapped Iraqi boy into his world. He had no wife or home; he knew nothing of raising a disabled child; he had little money and planned to run for district attorney in his home county. Just as important, Iraqi law prohibits foreigners from adopting Iraqi children. Southworth prayed and talked with family and friends.

His mother, who had cared for many disabled children, explained the difficulty. She also told him to take one step at a time and let God work. Southworth's decision was cemented in spring 2004, while he and his comrades watched Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ." Jesus Christ's sacrifice moved him. He imagined meeting Christ and Ala'a in heaven, where Ala'a asked: "Baba, why didn't you ever come back to get me?"

"Everything that I came up with as a response I felt ashamed. I wouldn't want to stand in the presence of Jesus and Ala'a and say those things to him." And so, in his last weeks in Iraq, Southworth got approval from Iraq's Minister of Labor to take Ala'a to the United States for medical care.


His parents had filed signatures so he wouldn't miss the cutoff to run for district attorney. He knocked on doors, telling people he wanted to be tough on criminals who committed injustices against children. He never mentioned his intention to adopt Ala'a. He won office - securing a job and an income.

Everything seemed to be in place. But when Southworth contacted an immigration attorney, he was told it would be nearly impossible to bring Ala'a to the United States. Undaunted, Southworth and the attorney started the paperwork to bring Ala'a over on humanitarian parole, used for urgent reasons or significant public benefit. A local doctor, a cerebral palsy expert, a Minneapolis hospital, all said they would provide Ala'a free care. Other letters of support came from a minister, the school district, the lieutenant governor, a congressman, chaplain, a sister at the orphanage and an Iraqi doctor. "We crossed political boundaries. We crossed religious boundaries. There was just a massive effort - all on behalf of this little boy who desperately needed people to actually take some action and not just feel sorry for him," Southworth says.

He mailed the packet on Dec. 16, 2004, to the Department of Homeland Security. On New Year's Eve, his cell phone rang. It was Ala'a.

"What are you doing?" Scott asked him.

"I was praying,'" Ala'a responded.

"Well, what were you praying for?"

"I prayed that you would come to take me to America," Ala'a said.

Southworth almost dropped the phone. Ala'a knew nothing of his efforts, and he couldn't tell him yet for fear that the boy might inadvertently tell the wrong person, upending the delicate process.

By mid-January, Homeland Security called Southworth's attorney to say it had approved humanitarian parole. Within three hours, Southworth had plane tickets. He hardly slept as he worked the phones to make arrangements, calling the American embassy, hotels and the orphanage. His Iraqi translator agreed to risk his life to get Ala'a to the embassy to obtain documentation. Like a dream, all the pieces fell into place.

Southworth returned to Iraq for the first time since a deployment that left him emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted. His unit had trained Iraqi police from sunup to sundown; he saw the devastation wrought by two car bombings, and counted dead bodies. Mortar and rocket attacks were routine. Some 20 in his unit were wounded, and one died. He knew that nothing could be taken for granted in Baghdad. So when he saw Ala'a in the airport for the first time since leaving Iraq, he was relieved. "He was in my custody then. I could hug him. I could hold him. I could protect him.

"And forever started."

They made it to Wisconsin late Jan. 20, 2005. The next morning, Ala'a awoke to his first sight of snow. He closed his eyes and grimaced. "Baba! Baba! The water is getting all over me!"

"It's not water, it's snooooow," Southworth told him.


Police found Ala'a abandoned on a Baghdad street at around 3 years old. No one knows where he came from. In all his life in Iraq, Ala'a saw a doctor 10 times. He surpassed that in his first six months in the United States. Ala'a's cerebral palsy causes low muscle tone, spastic muscles in the legs, arms and face. It hinders him when he tries to crawl, walk or grasping objects. He needs a wheelchair to get around, often rests his head on his shoulder and can't easily sit up.

Physical therapy has helped him control his head and other muscles. He can now maneuver his way out of his van seat and stabilize his legs on the ground. "I'm not the same guy I used to be," he says. He clearly has thrived. At 13, he's doubled his weight to 111 pounds.

Ala'a's condition doesn't affect his mind, although he's still childlike - he wants to be a Spiderman when he grows up. Ala'a's English has improved and he loves music and school, math and reading especially. He gets mad when snow keeps him home, even though it's his second favorite thing, after his father.

At first, he didn't want to talk about Iraq; he would grow angry when someone tried to talk to him in Arabic. But in the fall of 2006, Scott showed Ala'a's classmates an Arabic version of "Sesame Street" and boasted how Ala'a knew two languages and could teach them. Soon he was teaching his aide and his grandmother, LaVone.

LaVone is a fixture in Ala'a's life, supporting her son as he juggles his career and fatherhood. One day, she asked Ala'a if he missed his friends in Iraq. Would he like to visit them?

Big tears filled his eyes.

"Well, honey, what's the matter?" asked LaVone.

"Oh, no, Grandma. No. Baba says that I can come to live with him forever," he pleaded.

"Oh, no, no," he grandmother said, crying as well. "We would never take you back and leave you there forever. We want you to be Baba's boy forever."


Southworth knew once he got Ala'a out of Iraq, the hardest part would be over. Iraq had bigger problems to deal with than the whereabouts of a single orphan. On June 4, Ala'a officially became Southworth's son. Though he was born in the spring of 1994, they decided to celebrate his birthday as the day they met - Sept. 6.

Life has settled into a routine. Father and son have moved into a new house with an intercom system, a chair lift to the basement and toilet handles. Southworth showers him, brushes his teeth and washes his hands. He has traded in his Chrysler Concorde for a minivan - it was too hard to lift his son out of the car.

In October, the Wisconsin's deputy adjunct general gave Southworth, now a major, permission to change units because of Ala'a. His former unit was going to Guantanamo Bay for a one-year deployment, and he didn't want to leave his son behind, at least for now.

He hopes one day to marry to his longtime girlfriend and have more children. He may run for Congress or governor someday - he's already won re-election once, and plans to run again next fall. Not everything is perfect. Ala'a never encountered thunderstorms in Baghdad, and the flash-boom reminds him of bombs. He is starting to get over it, although he still weeps during violent storms.

But Ala'a - who picked out his own name, which means to be near God - knows he's where he belongs. Southworth always says Ala'a picked him, not the other way around. They were brought together, Southworth believes, by a "web of miracles."

Ala'a likes to sing Sarah McLachlan's song, "Ordinary Miracle," from "Charlotte's Web," one of his favorite movies. His head and body lean to one side as he sings off-key. "It's just another ordinary miracle today. Life is like a gift they say. Wrapped up for you everyday."

24 Dec 07 - 01:27 AM (#2221724)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Scientists inscribe Bible on pinhead

Israelis use particle beam to make what could be smallest Old Testament

The Associated Press
updated 5:44 p.m. CT, Sun., Dec. 23, 2007

JERUSALEM - Israeli scientists have inscribed the entire Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible onto a space less than half the size of grain of sugar.

The nanotechnology experts at the Technion institute in Haifa say the text measures less than 0.01 square inch surface. They chose the Jewish Bible to highlight how vast quantities of information can be stored in minimum amounts of space.

"It took us about an hour to etch the 300,000 words of the Bible onto a tiny silicon surface," Ohad Zohar, the university's scientific adviser for educational programs, told the Associated Press.
The Technion's microscopic bible was created by blasting tiny particles called gallium ions at an object that then rebounded, causing an etching affect.

"When a particle beam is directed toward a point on the surface, the gold atoms bounce off and expose the silicon layer underneath just like a hammer and chisel," Zohar said.

Zohar said the technology will in the future be used as a way to store vast amounts of data on bio-molecules and DNA.

The tiny Bible appears to be the world's smallest.

The previous smallest known copy of the Bible measured 1.1 x 1.3 x 0.4 inches, weighing 0.4 ounces and containing 1,514 pages, according to Guinness World Records spokeswoman Amarilis Espinoza. The tiny text, obtained by an Indian professor in November 2001, is believed to have originated in Australia.

© 2007 The Associated Press.

But isn't it kind of cheating to pick a language that leaves out all the vowels? It seems like an old latin text with all the "uminums" and "ominariums" would have been more impressive - as a "scientific demonstration."


24 Dec 07 - 03:01 AM (#2221735)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

It'll still take more than a pair of bifocals to be able to read the thing. . .

24 Dec 07 - 04:47 AM (#2221766)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

A picture at the link shows the "Bible" on a disk that just about matches a single "fingerprint ridge" on the finger that's holding it. One hopes the finger is clean so it doesn't smudge the print.


24 Dec 07 - 09:44 AM (#2221882)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Hmm .... why not "The Descent of Man" or the works of Shakespeare?


24 Dec 07 - 01:18 PM (#2221981)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

It's because the creationist argument. How many monkeys in a room with typewriters created the complete works of Shakespeare. . . they want something from god's head to someone's fingerprint, apparently. It doesn't seem to have been argued that those self-same monkeys could have typed the bible. Monkeys/bible--a bad combination.

Or not. I'm fuzzy. Terribly busy, but stopping in for a quick mudcat break.

24 Dec 07 - 01:27 PM (#2221990)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The last time they tried that experiment, the monkeys had been at it for fourteen years, when finally the chief researcher stopped by one of the typewriters and yelled out, "HEY!! I think we've got some thing here....!!!" He read from the monkey's output page in trembling tones, "To be, or not to be, that is GRYldyterwquibbbbmmmm".

Those who thus discard the acheivement of evolutionary theory do not understand its mechanisms. They ignore selection, they ignore how modifications get preserved, they ignore the math, they ignore the evidence. Sheesh.


24 Dec 07 - 05:36 PM (#2222104)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Los Angeles is on track to end the year with fewer than 400 homicides for the first time in nearly four decades -- a hopeful milestone for a city so long associated with gangs, drive-by shootings and sometimes random violence.

With 386 killings recorded as of this morning, the city has experienced one-third the number of homicides it did in 1992. The last year with a comparably low figure was 1970, when Los Angeles had a million fewer residents, guns were far less prevalent and street gangs were a much smaller part of life in urban neighborhoods.

25 Dec 07 - 04:30 PM (#2222463)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Jet Crash Survivors Honor Airboat Hero
December 25, 2007

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - An airboat speeding across the sawgrass and mud. A ringing in the ears when the engine was cut. Moaning. Screams for help. Desperate gasps at the water's surface. Helicopters in the distance. Christmas carols. These are the sounds Bud Marquis heard in the black swamp that night.

Then, for more than three decades, there was mostly silence about the Dec. 29, 1972, crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 in the Everglades. Investigators and reporters stopped calling. His airboat rusted in the yard. A rubber boot that had squished through swampwater and jet fuel deteriorated on the back porch, right where he took it off.

Marquis sat alone on his front porch in Homestead, on the Florida peninsula's southern tip. Acquaintances described a prickly old man in failing health. Sudden interest in the 35-year-old crash disturbed his quiet. He had saved lives, but he wasn't used to people asking about it.

But admirers and some of the 77 people who survived the crash wanted to rebuild his airboat and make sure he finally heard thanks. "I didn't feel it was any great, heroic thing," Marquis said. "I accept the award because they said I deserved it. I figure I didn't do anything that anybody else wouldn't have done."

Even today, as metropolitan Miami swallows more of the Everglades, getting to the Flight 401 crash site is a half-hour airboat ride over sharp sawgrass. No road stretches that deep into the alligator-infested swamp.

On that moonless night, Marquis was teaching a friend how to gig frogs from his airboat. Miami was just a distant pinpoint of light. All Marquis saw were the stars and the frogs' silver eyes before his headlamp.

Above him, Capt. Robert Loft, First Officer Albert Stockstill and Second Officer Donald Repo steered Flight 401 toward Miami International Airport after an uneventful flight from New York. The jumbo jet carried 163 passengers and 13 crew members.

As they began their approach just after 11:30 p.m., the pilots informed the tower they would have to circle - the light indicating whether the plane's nose gear was down hadn't illuminated. Controllers gave their OK and told the crew to maintain an altitude of 2,000 feet.

The pilots engaged the autopilot, and Repo went below the cockpit to inspect the gear. No one noticed when one of them bumped a steering column, disengaging the autopilot and sending Flight 401 into a slow descent. A half-second chime indicating a change in altitude went unnoticed. About 20 miles west of the airport, the crew received permission to turn back and make another approach. It was then the pilots realized they were just feet above the Everglades. Seven seconds later, the plane's left wing dug into the swamp at 227 mph, sending it pinwheeling.

From 10 miles away, Marquis and his friend saw a fiery orange flash and speeded toward it. Marquis had recently turned to commercial frogging after years as a state game officer. He knew how to pick out island silhouettes in the dark, to feel the changing terrain beneath his boat. Fifteen minutes later, he reached a levee where he'd thought he'd seen the flash.

Marquis heard a voice: "I can't hold my head up anymore!" Jet fuel seeped into his boots when he jumped into the water to yank the man up. All around, he could see people still strapped in their seats, some turned face down in the water.

"I'm one person in the midst of all this," Marquis said. "I'm no doctor. I didn't know what to do." Flight attendant Beverly Raposa was gathering survivors around her when she heard the airboat. She started singing Christmas carols, so rescuers would hear them. "I knew they would find us," said Raposa, now 60 and living in Sunrise.

Helicopters swooped just south of the wreckage. The pilots couldn't see the site - the fire extinguished in the swamp. Marquis turned his headlamp skyward, waving them toward a nearby levee. Petty Officer 2nd Class Don Schneck was aboard a Coast Guard helicopter that followed Marquis' light. He dashed to the airboat, carrying only a flashlight, a radio and a hatchet. Marquis ferried him deeper into the wreckage, as far as he could go without running over victims. Schneck waded out alone toward the cockpit; he was the last person to see Loft alive. "I couldn't even see the crash. It was pitch dark," Schneck said from his Arkansas home.

Marquis pulled survivors from the water and ferried rescuers. At one point, he stopped near Raposa, who had found fellow flight attendant Mercedes "Mercy" Ruiz still strapped into her seat. "We could see the tail of the airplane, white in the darkness. I said, 'It looks like a ghost,'" said Ruiz, who still bears a faint scar above her right eyebrow. Ruiz had serious back and pelvic injuries, but she refused to be airlifted - she was done with flying. To calm her screams, the rescuers carried her to Marquis' airboat.

She begged Marquis not to let the alligators eat her. Marquis chuckled at the memory. Any gator would have been frightened away by the crash and the jet fuel's stench.

Ninety-four passengers, the three pilots and two flight attendants were dead. Investigators marveled that anyone, let alone 77, survived. Marquis, now age 78, greets visitors with a firm handshake and twinkling eyes. Hardly anyone has stopped by in 35 years to discuss the crash. One survivor, certain Marquis carried him to safety, once showed up with a $1,000 check.

Eastern Airlines, mistakenly believing they'd hired Marquis for the rescue, sent him $125. Marquis went to the now-defunct airline's Miami headquarters to return it. "I was angry about the form letter," Marquis said. "They thought they hired me. They should have gotten my name as the first one that was there."

News clippings Marquis had kept flew out his broken windows when Hurricane Andrew blew through Homestead in 1992, but he is lucky: the storm destroyed the five houses across the street. Hurricane Wilma brought back the crash. Talking to a roofer fixing his home after the 2005 storm, their conversation turned to the crash. The roofer posted an online message in June 2006 about Marquis' plight to a Flight 401 crash forum.

Another forum for airboat enthusiasts picked up the discussion and rallied to raise funds for Marquis and restore his airboat. Meanwhile, separate efforts began to recognize the rescuers and bring the survivors together with victims' families.

Marquis met Ruiz, Raposa and other survivors for the first time at a Dec. 3 ceremony. The man he heard struggling to stay above water thanked him. "Had it not been for Bud, there would not have been a grandpa for the children, there would not have been a grandpa to share the good times in life with," said David Kaplan, now 71 and living in Delray Beach.

On Saturday, 60 airboats will carry survivors and victims' relatives to the crash site. Marquis, in his reconditioned craft, will lead. The survivors hope to build a memorial near the site. "Hopefully this will help the people that haven't been there" since 1972, Marquis said. "They can see what a vast area it is."

Passenger Ron Infantino will join him. He remembers the sound of Marquis' engine. He strained to hear his wife's voice, but she never answered his cries. She had died, 20 days after they married. "I need to do it. I never was able to see my wife. I need to go back there," said Infantino, a 61-year-old Miami insurance agent. "I always said to myself, 'I don't know where to go.' I've always wanted some kind of recognition for the people who've lost their lives."


On the Net:

Eastern Flight 401 crash information and discussion:

25 Dec 07 - 07:35 PM (#2222522)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

TOKYO (Reuters) - A debate over flying saucers has kept Japanese politicians occupied for much of this week, ensnaring top officials and drawing a promise from the defense minister to send out the army if Godzilla goes on a rampage.

"There are debates over what makes UFOs fly, but it would be difficult to say it's an encroachment of air space," Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba told a news conference Thursday.

"If Godzilla were to show up, it would be a dispatch for disaster relief."

His remarks came after the top government spokesman was asked Tuesday about an opposition politician's demand that the government confirm the existence of unidentified flying objects.

"Personally, I definitely believe they exist," chief cabinet secretary Nobutaka Machimura said, drawing laughter from reporters.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda took a more guarded stance later in the day, saying he has yet to confirm their existence.

The debate started Tuesday when the cabinet issued a statement in response to the opposition lawmaker's question, saying it could not confirm any cases of UFO sightings.

25 Dec 07 - 08:33 PM (#2222532)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The more detailed reports of the "Japanese incident" relate that "a politician" has demanded an investigation of the "thousands of reports from Japanese military and airline pilots" of UFOs.

The government spokesman replied that there have been NO OFFICIAL REPORTS BY ANY JAPANESE MILITARY OR CIVILIAN PILOTS OF ANY UFOs IN JAPANESE AIRSPACE for several years, by way of implying that there really was nothing to investigate.

A "tag" to the comment was in the sense of, as I read it:

"But yessiree, by golly you betcha I for shore do really by gosh believe that them things are really by gosh out there fer sure."

In other words, sarcasm - as clearly and plainly as it is permissible for an "official spokesman" to convey "BULLSHIT" in "politically correct" diplomatese referring to another politician.

Translations of what actually was said do vary slightly depending on the source; but from all sources in which an apparently "literal" description of the event are given, the clear appearance - to me at least - was the intention to clearly imply an "absence of actual belief" on the part of the official who has been widely MISQUOTED.

Of course I could be misinterpreting the translations I've seen; but despite strong evidence to the contrary for the general population, I have met one or two Japanese who do seem to have at least a rudimentary, if a bit puerile, sense of humor.


26 Dec 07 - 11:44 AM (#2222733)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Christmas came a day late for astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) with the successful Wednesday arrival of a Russian cargo ship bearing gifts and fresh supplies.

The unmanned Progress 27 space freighter arrived at the station's Russian-built Pirs docking compartment after a three-day chase to catch up to the high-flying orbital laboratory.
"Everything is nominal," said veteran cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, an Expedition 16 flight engineer aboard the ISS, as the cargo ship neared the outpost. "Okay, we feel the contact."

Malenchenko stood ready to take remote control of Progress 27 should its automated systems fail during today's docking. But the cargo ship smoothly moored itself to its Pirs port at 3:14 a.m. EST (0814 GMT) as both spacecraft flew about 200 miles (321 kilometers) above southern Europe.

Tucked aboard the Progress 27 are about 2.5 tons of propellant, oxygen, fresh fruit, equipment and other vital supplies for the station's three-astronaut crew. Included in that cargo are Christmas presents for Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani, as well as birthday gifts for Malenchenko, who turned 46 on Saturday.

29 Dec 07 - 12:44 AM (#2224127)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

I haven't seen "news article" on it, but an MSNBC video newsbroadcast(?) describes a change in UK laws. (A link was copied, but they apparently change the news at that link at least hourly, and I can't find the original at the site.)

The undated video says that "being distracted by GPS, texting, or cell phone use would be an aggravating offense under a charge of "distracted driving" in the UK. Addition of the aggravating offense would permit ugrading a "distracted driving offense" (a $100? - $200? fine?) to "dangerous driving" with up to a 2-year prison sentence. "Causing a death while distracted" could result in a life sentence, apparently without ruling whether the distraction was a contributing factor in the accident.

Note: It appeared that nearly all the "distracted drivers" flashed on-screen during the report were driving "US Branded" SUVs. I thought everybody in the UK drove Morris Minors or smaller, from opinions expressed at the 'cat.

I would assume(?) that there have been more complete reports in UK news(?).


29 Dec 07 - 11:53 AM (#2224359)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Here's one that makes me ecstatic: I can finally go eat out on Fort Worth without developing a headache and smelling the stink of cigarettes. Even places that had "non-smoking" sections really didn't seem like non-smoking sections, you could smell the smoke.

Smokers put out by new city law


FORT WORTH -- Puffing away on a cigarette between bites of hash browns, Ed Hillers gripes about a new city ordinance that will ban smoking in most public places, including his beloved Ol' South Pancake House on South University Drive near Interstate 30. "I've been coming here since 1984," said Hillers, 39, a musician from Fort Worth. "If they want to take away our freedom of choice, I'll have to find some diner in another city where I can eat and smoke."

On the other hand, Maria Perez, who asked for a seat as far from the smoking section as possible, is eager for the rules to take effect. "I just want to eat pancakes, not pancakes that taste like cigarettes," said Perez, 28, of Fort Worth. "I guess the smokers will just have to wait until they leave to light up."

Paulet Lowery, who has worked at Ol' South for 18 years, said many of the iconic breakfast joint's older customers are upset about the ordinance, which was passed by the Fort Worth City Council in August after a series of public meetings and extensive debate. "The younger generation seems pretty happy about it, but our longtime customers come here to eat and then smoke and drink coffee," said Lowery, a smoker herself. "The sad thing is that many of our regular customers say they won't be coming back. They said they'll find some place in Burleson or White Settlement."

Other changes in Fort Worth for 2008

The new year will also bring water rates designed to promote conservation and a requirement for rental properties with three or more units to register with the city.

Water rates: The new rates are expected to raise the average residential bill by $1.78 a month -- 96 cents for water and 82 cents for wastewater, according to the Fort Worth Water Department. But because the rates include a new tier for large-volume users, the increase will probably be much bigger for customers who use lots of water.

Rental registration: Owners of rental properties with three or more units will be required to fill out a registration form and pay an annual fee of $24 for the first unit and $8 for each additional unit. The ordinance spares owners of single-family homes and duplexes, unless they have two or more obvious code violations.

New smoking ordinance

The smoking ban in Fort Worth will take effect Tuesday for most public places including restaurants, and within 20 feet of the doors of businesses. There are exceptions for bars, restaurants with outdoor patios, private clubs, private meeting rooms, designated smoking rooms in hotels and motels, and bingo halls that bar people under 18.

30 Dec 07 - 09:25 PM (#2225221)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Doug Chadwick

Members of rival Christian orders have traded blows at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, with four people reported wounded in the fray.

Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests were sweeping up at the church following the Christmas rites of the Western churches earlier in the week. Reports say some Orthodox faithful encroached on the Armenian section, prompting pitched battles with brooms.

Peace and goodwill to all men


30 Dec 07 - 09:52 PM (#2225236)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

We just stopped at a nice restaurant in San Luis Obispo, which is attached to an inn. The management posted an announcement in the restrooms that they were operating an experimental wastewater system by means of which their graywater from dishwashers and sinks was routed through a filtration and purifying system and then used to flush the toilets throughout the restaurant and hotel. It saved them millions of gallons a year. One small local innovation.

Made me proud!


30 Dec 07 - 10:16 PM (#2225243)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The Times carries an interesting rundown on the folly of airport security practices. for your reading enjoyment.


30 Dec 07 - 11:33 PM (#2225275)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

Pat Robertson supports forced Abortions

not that I would want to encourage the fundamentalist evangelicals in the US to become more frenzied over the choice issue, but I wonder how they reconcile their Walmart China purchases.
Perhaps they just don't know, and if they do know then they must value a 15% discount on socks and toys more than the abortion issue.

npr has some good articles on this issue as well.

31 Dec 07 - 12:00 AM (#2225287)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

what a great way for terrorists to blow up airport check points... by setting off the dreaded dangerous dastardly confiscation barrels ;-} of course we all know the shampoo and toothpaste are phoney balogna confiscations in the first place.
So was my beloved yet confiscated 1 inch nail file that my mother gave me 2 years before she passed.
But the stupid confiscations do help train us to obey idiocy in the name of authority and security.

I recall...
They refused to allow a medal of honor winner to board a United flight unless he surrender the medal of honor that he unfortunatly chose to wear that day.

When things of value are checked they are more easily stolen. Lost luggage is up 22% over the last 2 years.

08 Jan 08 - 11:10 AM (#2231165)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Boy Scout Saves Maldives Leader
AP story

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The president of Maldives was saved from assassination Tuesday when a boy scout grabbed the knife of an attacker who had jumped out of a crowd greeting the leader, an official said. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was not hurt, but his shirt was ripped when the attacker tried to stab him before the boy and security guards intervened during the event on the small island of Horafushi, said government spokesman Mohammad Shareef.

"This fellow in the crowd with a knife in his hand attempted to stab the president in his stomach," Shareef said by telephone from Male, the capital of Maldives. "But a 15-year-old boy came in the way, and grabbed the knife. One brave boy saved the president's life."

The scout was identified as Mohamed Jaisham Ibrahim, who had lined up to welcome Gayoom, according to the Web site of the Maldives president. The boy was injured in the hand by the knife. "His wound was stitched but later he complained that he could not move some of his fingers, so he was flown by a sea plane to Male," Shareef said. "There was blood on the president's shirt, but it was not his but the boy's. Still we got a physician to examine him," Shareef said.

A photograph of the boy on the Web site of the Haveeru daily showed him wearing a blue scouting uniform with a blue kerchief around his neck waiting in line to greet the president.

Boy scouts in Maldives are similar to their U.S. counterparts, receiving training in first aid and participating in activities such as camping. Like in the U.S., their motto is "Be prepared."

The attacker had wrapped the knife in a Maldives national flag as he stood among a crowd waiting for Gayoom, 70. Shareef did not identify a suspect.

After the attack, Gayoom addressed the nation by radio, thanking the teenager and calling for calm, according to the Web site of the Minivan newspaper. "We should not resort to violence even if we have differences between the parties," Gayoom was quoted as saying.

Gayoom has ruled this Indian Ocean atoll of 1,190 coral islands since 1978 and helped turn it into a major destination for tourists seeking a quiet vacation on virgin beaches surrounded by crystal blue waters. However, the country of 350,000 people has also had its share of turmoil in recent months. On Sept. 29, a homemade bomb blamed on Islamic militants exploded in a Male park, wounding 12 tourists. A week later, police and soldiers raided an island that was a reputed insurgent stronghold, sparking a battle with masked men armed with clubs and fishing spears that wounded more than 30 security officers.

Gayoom has also faced opposition protests to his previously unchallenged rule in recent years. Under the pressure, he legalized opposition parties and agreed to hold the nation's first truly democratic election later this year.

Meanwhile, New Maldives Movement, a new opposition coalition formed to challenge Gayoom's three decades of rule in upcoming elections, condemned the attempted assassination. "The NMM calls for an independent and speedy investigation into the attack and stresses the importance of making the results of the investigation public," the group said.

08 Jan 08 - 04:47 PM (#2231463)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Man With Knives in Pants Stabs Himself
From Associated Press
January 08, 2008

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A man who hid hunting knives in his pants to try to steal them from a western Michigan store tripped while fleeing and stabbed himself in the abdomen, police say. The suspect was hospitalized after Monday night's attempted theft from a Meijer Inc. superstore in Grand Rapids and is expected to face a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, police say. The wounds did not appear to be life-threatening, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

The man had put about $300 worth of hunting knives in his waistband, police told WZZM-TV. Police say he tried to leave the store, but Meijer employees confronted him and a scuffle followed. The man then fell and was stabbed by the knives he had hidden in his clothing, police said. They said it happened about 5:40 p.m. "The man was taken to the hospital," said Meijer spokesman Frank Giuliano. "We are cooperating with the investigation by police." Police said the suspect has a record of retail fraud.

"I saw a man laying down on the mat by the carts, a knife by him with blood on the full blade of the knife," shopper Heather Dodd told WOOD-TV. "It was not a dull kitchen knife or a sharp butcher's knife, it was somewhere in between. "Someone was holding him down so I just walked around him, grabbed my cart, made sure everything was OK and got out of the way."

09 Jan 08 - 10:44 AM (#2232065)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Corpse Wheeled to Check-Cashing Store Leads to 2 Arrests


Published: January 9, 2008

Even for the once-notorious Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, it may have been a first: Two men were arrested on Tuesday after pushing a corpse, seated in an office chair, along the sidewalk to a check-cashing store to cash the dead man's Social Security check, the police said.

When Virgilio Cintron, 66, died at his apartment at 436 West 52nd Street recently, his roommate and a friend saw an opportunity to cash his $355 check, the police said.

They did not go about it the easy way, the police said, choosing a ruse that resembled the plot of "Weekend at Bernie's," a film about two young men who prop up their dead employer to pretend that he is alive.

"Hell's Kitchen has a rich history," said Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, "but this is one for the books."

There was no sign of foul play in Mr. Cintron's death, he added.

The roommate, James P. O'Hare, and his friend, David J. Dalaia, both 65 and unemployed, placed Mr. Cintron's body in the chair and wheeled it around the corner, south along Ninth Avenue on Tuesday afternoon, the police said. The men parked the chair with the corpse in front of Pay-O-Matic at 763 Ninth Avenue, a check-cashing business that Mr. Cintron had patronized.

They went inside to present the check, but a clerk said Mr. Cintron would have to cash it himself, and asked where he was, the police said.

"He is outside," Mr. O'Hare said, indicating the body in the chair, according to Mr. Browne.

The two men started to bring the chair inside, but it was too late.

Their sidewalk procession had already attracted the stares of passers-by who were startled by the sight of the body flopping from side to side as the two men tried to prop it up, the police said. The late Mr. Cintron was dressed in a faded black T-shirt and blue-and-white sneakers. His pants were pulled up part of the way, and his midsection was covered by a jacket, the police said. While the two men were inside the check-cashing office, a small crowd had gathered around the chair. A detective, Travis Rapp, eating a late lunch at a nearby Empanada Mama saw the crowd and notified the Midtown North station house.

Police officers and an ambulance arrived as the two men were trying to maneuver the corpse and chair into the check-cashing office.

The two men were taken into custody and questioned. The police said they were considering charging them with check-cashing fraud.

Mr. Cintron's body was taken to a hospital morgue. The medical examiner's office said its preliminary assessment was that he had died of natural causes within the past 24 hours.

Al Baker contributed reporting.

09 Jan 08 - 06:57 PM (#2232552)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

'I was dumbfounded. I thought I was dreaming,'

updated 9:01 a.m. CT, Wed., Jan. 9, 2008

WARSAW, Poland - A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees.

Polish tabloid Super Express said the woman had been making some extra money on the side while telling her husband she worked at a store in a nearby town.

"I was dumbfounded. I thought I was dreaming," the husband told the newspaper on Wednesday.

The couple, married for 14 years, are now divorcing, the newspaper reported.

Copyright 2008 Reuters

[A number of comments come to mind, but I guess I'll refrain.]


09 Jan 08 - 07:05 PM (#2232555)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Amos, your story about the check cashers fills in some gaps--thanks. I read a short version of that this morning.

And the guy in the brothel--oy!

10 Jan 08 - 11:04 AM (#2233002)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Glad to help. That poor Polish guy -- here he thought he was cheating on his wife, and blam!!. He's lucky it wasn't Random Draw night at the house or he might have ended up paying her double! :D


10 Jan 08 - 01:01 PM (#2233084)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I guess you'd know about that. . .

10 Jan 08 - 02:22 PM (#2233172)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

No, ma'am, neither I nor my wife have ever entered such a place, upon my honor.

But I know the costs and benefits of married life! :D


10 Jan 08 - 02:45 PM (#2233206)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

As a patron of a place of that kind, he's quite probably one who considers it "honest work." He was probably just put off by the obvious(?) conclusion that she was making more money than she was telling him about(?).

[please note: extreme level of sarcastic content.]

(and chalk one up in the "disappearing posts" column, as my first "Submit" for this comment vaporised completely. Trying again.)


11 Jan 08 - 01:18 PM (#2234035)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A farmer in Kenya writes in the NY TImes:

"The world knows of Kenya's vote-rigging scandal — of the rioting in Nairobi; the police assaults on the supporters of the opposition leader, Raila Odinga; the pogroms against traders and farmers of President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe. But we've watched it unfold in real time in our corner of central Kenya.

When the Kikuyus fled the village up the road from us, local food supplies quickly dried up, hunger set in among the mob and rioting flared again. Then a Samburu witch doctor announced that it was time for his warriors, supporters of Mr. Odinga, to advance on the Pokot tribesmen, who had backed Mr. Kibaki. He said he had found a way to turn Pokot bullets into rain — a promise that evidently precipitated the clashes erupting around me. (EMphasis added.)

Over the last two weeks, we've stuck to our daily routines, as if it somehow might make the nightmare of what was unfolding over the horizon recede. Still, I devised an evacuation plan for our workers who were from the "wrong" tribes. We dug up the lawn to plant extra vegetables, not knowing how much livestock we'll have down the road

I find it mind boggling that such a medieval stunt is still succeeding today. Oh, ye of little faith!


12 Jan 08 - 04:52 AM (#2234576)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

FBI wiretaps cut off due to unpaid bills

Half of 990 FBI bills were not paid on time; one bill totaled $66,000

The Associated Press
updated 12:16 p.m. CT, Thurs., Jan. 10, 2008

WASHINGTON - Telephone companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals because of the bureau's repeated failures to pay phone bills on time.

A Justice Department audit released Thursday blamed the lost connections on the FBI's lax oversight of money used in undercover investigations. Poor supervision of the program also allowed one agent to steal $25,000, the audit said.

In at least one case, a wiretap used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation "was halted due to untimely payment," the audit found. FISA wiretaps are used in the government's most sensitive and secretive criminal investigations, and allow eavesdropping on suspected terrorists or spies.

"We also found that late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence," according to the audit by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.

More than half of 990 bills to pay for telecommunication surveillance in five unidentified FBI field offices were not paid on time, the report shows. In one office alone, unpaid costs for wiretaps from one phone company totaled $66,000.

The FBI did not have an immediate comment.

[End quote]

There is a bit more at the link.

My local rag added a comment not at the link, to the effect that the action by the phone companies raises questions about their conduct in releasing records to the FBI - to the effect of:

"They're willing to believe the FBI that "The warrant's in the mail" but don't believe "The check's in the mail."


18 Jan 08 - 10:36 AM (#2239248)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Puget Sound a rising threat, UW study says
Water levels may rise as much as 4 feet this century, according to a climate change study.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Much of the Snohomish and Stillaguamish river deltas could be awash in water and the coastline along western Snohomish County could shift inland slightly by the end of this century, according to a new University of Washington study. Climate change modeling by scientists at the university suggests the sea level in Puget Sound could rise by 4 feet by the year 2100, according to the study released on Thursday. The scientists put together a "worst case" model to help emergency responders and planners prepare for the potential impacts of climate change. A more moderate -- and likely -- scenario suggests sea levels will rise by about 2 feet by 2100.

"Some people may want a worse case scenario for planning," said Philip Mote, a UW research scientist. "This is the worst-case scenario. We can't rule out higher rates of sea-level rise, but given what we know now, they seem improbable." Local emergency planners intend to review the new projections, especially along the Snohomish River, which is affected by the regular ebb and flow of tides all the way up to Snohomish.

"We'll take a look at it and see if we can incorporate it into our own decision making process," said Steve Thomsen, the county's public works director. County officials will pass their findings along to the diking districts that manage levees along the Snohomish River. There's a possibility those levees would have to be raised, Thomsen said. Local emergency responders say they worry that higher sea levels could be a problem when flooding occurs at high tide. Snohomish County officials this year plan to figure out what they need to do to prepare for the effects of climate change. "The executive and the County Council set aside some money for a climate change vulnerability assessment," said Christopher Schwarzen, spokesman for County Executive Aaron Reardon. "We would use the UW report as one of our baselines of information to then go out and do this assessment."

The report was put together by the UW's climate impact group and the state Department of Ecology. Looking at the near future -- 2050 -- the report suggests that sea levels could climb between 6 and 22 inches by 2050, and between 14 and 50 inches by 2100. Local leaders will have to sort out finer details of the effects of a rising sea, said Sascha Petersen, a costal research scientist at the UW Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Group. In Snohomish County, they might want to estimate how the shoreline would recede, whose property would be inundated and how much damage would be caused -- and what it would cost.

The study found that "the middle of the road" climate change model, which is used by most around the world, suggests that sea levels will rise 23 inches by 2100, Mote said. The "most likely scenario" doesn't account for the possibility of things going as badly as possible, he said. The UW scientists got to their "50 inch" number by assuming that nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed for trapping heat in the atmosphere. That, climate experts project, is contributing to a fast rise in global temperatures.

The researchers also added in other factors that a commonly used international climate model left out, such as the continued melting of glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica and the geologic uplift of plate tectonics displacing ocean water, Mote said. And it's the worst-case scenario that emergency planners worry about. "If you have a high-value project and a low risk tolerance, then you want to plan for the worst-case scenario," he said.

18 Jan 08 - 02:50 PM (#2239436)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Here's another story about Fred Weisz. Looks like he ought to have a thread of his own. I published a long story about him (also from the Herald) some months ago.

To friends, he's still the famous fiddler
Street musician Fred Weisz relives his time in the spotlight
Friday, January 18, 2008
link to the Herald (Everett)

EVERETT -- Bluegrass fiddler and folk legend Fred Weisz bowed deeply to the standing ovation and roar of applause. "Welcome to a night to honor Fred Weisz! Let's hear it for Fred!" With that, longtime musician Flyin' Fred was airborne again. About 85 of his friends and fellow musicians from around the region packed Temple Beth Or. They all came to cheer Weisz and see him in two rare television clips from "Hootenanny" in 1964 and "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1970.

People at Saturday's gathering were excited to see how famous Weisz had been long before he started playing for spare change outside the Snohomish County Courthouse. "Wow! That's our Fred," said Ron Green, head of membership at Temple Beth Or. Weisz was about 20 years old when he appeared with the Even Dozen Jug Band on "Hootenanny." A camera zoomed in for a black and white close-up of a fiddle solo played by Weisz. "He was so handsome!" a woman yelled.

By 1970, Weisz was playing with Goose Creek Symphony, and they backed up country star Bobbie Gentry on Sullivan's show. In bib overalls, plaid shirt and black-rimmed glasses, Weisz played during a medley of songs with the long-legged, bare-midriffed Gentry. The Everett audience leapt to their feet after Weisz finished his fiddle solo, a challenging classic called "Fire on the Mountain."

For years, Weisz, 63, yearned to see the old clip. He got his wish when amateur filmmaker Adam Martin of Athens, Tenn., last August read a story on Weisz on Martin, a lifelong fan of Goose Creek Symphony, knew he could help. In October, Martin mailed a copy of "The Ed Sullivan Show" he had purchased for a documentary he's making about the band. Supporters at the Everett synagogue started work on a celebration and agreed to film Weisz's reaction for Martin's documentary.

Weisz waited patiently for those months, promising not to peek at the 10 minutes of footage he'd long wanted to see. On Saturday, his satisfaction was clear. "It was great!" Weisz said after seeing the clip. "To me, it was the biggest accomplishment of my career as a musician, playing on the same stage as The Beatles."

His memory of the event had clouded with the passage of time, he said. "I was so surprised when I saw that clip," Weisz said.

After the show was recorded, Weisz and bandmate Charlie Gearhart ran into Ed Sullivan in a stairway. He told them "You boys are mighty fine," Weisz said. Martin has already received a call and thanks from Weisz. "He called me Sunday morning and he was on cloud nine," said Martin, who hopes to finish his documentary this summer. "I'm tickled to death to provide something that brings some happiness to his life."

Weisz played fiddle, bass, banjo and guitar professionally starting in the 1960s. He's slowed down in recent years but still plays outside the courthouse when the weather is nice and travels to Burlington on Tuesdays for a regular bluegrass jam. Weisz takes medication for bipolar manic depression. A recent change in his dosage helped reduce the tremors that had slowed his playing. He says he's playing faster than he has in years. He also plays regular lunchtime gigs at Compass Health on Broadway.

Weisz comes across as a regular guy who doesn't brag about his past, Green said. Everyone agreed Weisz deserves the praise. Old friends came into town to surprise him for the showing. "He's got such a great crowd of friends," said Les Peterson of Lake Stevens. "He taught me a lot about musicianship."

Paul Vexler of Machias brought to the celebration a copy of the Even Dozen Jug Band album he bought in Freehold, NJ, in the 1960s. He was a fan of Fred decades before the two met at temple. "It's amazing how paths cross," he said. The event celebrated Weisz's contribution to the world of music and the local community, he said.

For the celebration, Weisz traded his trademark jeans, suspenders and sneakers for a white dress shirt, sport coat and slacks. At Weisz's request, the crowd dined on cheesecake, pineapple and chocolate milk as part of a friendly potluck organized by Carolyn Wexler. "He's just a wonderful guy who has a wonderful talent," said Barb Ingrain of Edmonds. "It's nice to see him honored."

After the accolades, more than a dozen bluegrass musicians from the Tuesday night jams pulled out their guitars, mandolins and a banjo and played in the temple for more than an hour. Fred's fiddle rang through on foot-stomping reels.

Marc Daniel of Mount Vernon has known Weisz since about 1980, when he used to book concerts. "It's good to see him still playing," he said Saturday. "Everybody adores Fred," said Steve Stolpe of Mount Vernon, a friend of Weisz for 30 years. "They like Fred's authenticity. He's real down-home."

Weisz basked in the adulation and said he was grateful. "I'm just delighted to see everyone," Weisz said. "All my friends are above average in a lot of ways. I value every friend I have."

19 Jan 08 - 01:09 PM (#2240066)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A young woman heard burglars breaking in, ran and hid in the upstairs closet, and called 911 from her cellphone. When the cops started to close in, one of the burglars hid in the same closet within kissing distance of the frightened woman and never even saw her. When the cops entered the room she called out and told them he was in the closet, and the young thug was dumfounded to discover there had been someone in the closet with im!! The 911 operator who talked her through her ordeal was a champ.

Details here.


19 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM (#2240072)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Now that's a close call! (pardon the pun. . .)

19 Jan 08 - 01:42 PM (#2240086)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

It looks like FOX is up to its old tricks.

Since about 1030 this morning, PST, they have had a story posted asserting that Romney won the Nevada primaries on the Republican side. This while no other news source has predicted any win because the caucusing is still going on.

This is rampantly unethical.

Unless my facts are wrong it constitutes messing with the democratic process, blatantly and manipulatively by disseminating false information.

Are my facts off here?




19 Jan 08 - 03:22 PM (#2240133)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Bee-dubya-ell

The Congress of the United States could do us all a big favor and make it illegal for any media outlet to broadcast winner projections in any political contest or issue until all relevant voting has ended. Say with fines of $1,000,000 for each minute before the polls close for a first offense and loss of FCC license for the second one. Yeah, it would mean no presidential projections until Hawaiians had finished voting, So what? We're gonna have to put up with whomever wins for at least four years. We can't wait a few hours?

Of course, there's no telling how many of the current congressional crop skated in to office by virtue of voters jumping on the bandwagon after having been projected winners. They aren't going to bite the hand that feeds 'em.

(Damn, I'm feeling cynical today! Must be the rain.)

19 Jan 08 - 04:12 PM (#2240169)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: wysiwyg

And she was complaining that her sister wouldn't LEAVE? Called cops for help, knowing she had outstanding warrants of her own, pending?[shaking head] :~)

Alcohol MUST have been involved:

Sister beaten with prosthetic leg, police say
By Patti Dobranski
Saturday, January 19, 2008

A North Huntingdon woman is accused of taking the prosthetic leg of her older sister and beating her on the head with it at their township home.
Donna Sturkie-Anthony, 41, of 13489 Route 30, Lincoln Mobile Home Trailer Park, is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment for allegedly striking her 43-year-old sister, Sherrie Lynn Gibson, in the head and face several times early Wednesday morning.

A township police dispatcher received a request for an ambulance at the suspect's mobile home at 12:36 a.m. Wednesday, but the caller refused to describe the emergency, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said they found Sturkie-Anthony standing outside the home complaining about her sister and asking police to remove her. Sturkie-Anthony gave police permission to enter the mobile home. Police said they found blood on the floor and around a couch where Gibson was lying, still conscious and bleeding from wounds on her head and face.

Gibson told police her sister had beaten her with her prosthetic leg, and police said Sturkie-Anthony then repeatedly admitted doing so.
Police said Gibson was taken to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment. A hospital spokesman said Friday there was no information about Gibson's condition because she may already have been released.

Sturkie-Anthony was taken to the township police station and then transported by sheriff's deputies to Westmoreland County Prison on previous warrants. She was jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail and faces a preliminary hearing before District Judge Douglas Weimer on Jan. 25.


20 Jan 08 - 12:55 AM (#2240401)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

6:51 18 January 2008 news service
Michael Day

A "smart" dashboard that reduces the amount of information displayed to drivers during stressful periods on the road could be available in just five years, say German engineers.
A team from the Technical University of Berlin found they could improve reaction times in real driving conditions by monitoring drivers' brains and reducing distractions during periods of high brain activity.

They were able to speed up driver's reactions by as much as 100 milliseconds. It might not sound much, but this is enough to reduce breaking distance by nearly 3 metres when travelling at 100 kilometres per hour, says team leader Klaus-Robert MŸller.
"In a real life situation this could be enough to prevent an accident or stop someone being injured, or worse," he says. "We now have the brain-interface technology to make this a reality."

Squirrels 'fake it' to fool would-be thieves
19 January 2008
Magazine issue 2639

Squirrels seem to realise that the trees have eyes. To protect their food from would-be thieves, the rodents put on a great show of "hiding" non-existent nuts.
When squirrels have spare morsels they bury them, digging a separate hole for each tasty titbit. But up to 20 per cent of the time they are merely faking it, says Michael Steele of Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The squirrels act as if they are thrusting something into the pit, and the deception even extends to covering the fake cache with soil and leaves (Animal Behaviour, DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.07.026).

Squirrels show fake-cacheing behaviour when they are being watched, even by humans, so Steele recruited a group of undergraduates who did their best to see where the squirrels actually deposited their food. Fake burials increased after the squirrels saw team members raiding their caches, suggesting, Steele says, an understanding of the intention .

20 Jan 08 - 12:26 PM (#2240641)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A Silicon Valley firm has developed a new nanotechnology process that permanently inscribes high-resolution photos on any diamond or other gemstone. The unique process used by Gemory LLC, does not harm the diamond in any way, preserving its original quality and customers' memories forever.
Immortalize the treasured moments of your life - any event or occasion can be preserved forever with high-resolution photo inscription from Gemoryª. Events and the emotions tied to them are only temporary, but now you can maintain memories of them forever by inscribing photos on your diamond. Even inscribe family photos side by side in a perpetual family album. Future generations can add their own photos and create a lasting record of family lineage. Diamonds are forever, and now, with Gemoryª, so are memories.

The patent-pending PureDiamondª process from Gemory uses nanotechnology to inscribe photos in high resolution on the surface of any diamond, pearl or other gem. Although microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, the photos can be viewed at any time using GemmaViewª, Gemory's proprietary portable viewing device.

20 Jan 08 - 04:48 PM (#2240814)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Three short articles from the same news blog:

By Brian Tracey
Associate editor
updated 5:29 p.m. CT, Thurs., Jan. 17, 2008


We've encountered the occasional mistake on our paychecks, but this really boggles the mind: A man was arrested this week after he allegedly received $469,000 in electronic payroll deposits from a company he never worked for.

Anthony Armatys of Palatine, Ill., was arrested Wednesday on theft charges after officials at Avaya Inc., a telecommunications provider located in Basking Ridge, N.J., discovered checks had been mistakenly direct deposited into his account for nearly five years, according to the Somerset County prosecutor's office.

Armatys, 34, had accepted a position with Avaya years ago, authorities said, but he rescinded the acceptance before he ever started working. However, a system error resulted in checks being deposited into Armatys' bank account from the fall of 2002 to March of 2007, when the company discovered the error, officials said.
During that time, Armatys collected the more than nearly half million dollars in "pay" and even withdrew approximately $1,900 from an Avaya-sponsored retirement account administered by Fidelity Investments, authorities said.

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest said it took investigators 11 months to do a thorough investigation, which resulted in the time gap between the discovery of the error and Armatys' arrest.


Here's some more banking buffoonery: Britain's Barclays sheepishly admitted last week it had inadvertently issued a credit card to a con man posing as the lender's chairman of the board.

Several British newspapers reported that an account held by the top executive, Marcus Agius, was pilfered of nearly $20,000 after a man called Barclays' customer service center claiming to be the banker after apparently finding some of his personal information online.

Agius played down the theft and sought to reassure customers who may have been alarmed at the notion that a chairman of a bank could become prey to identity theft.

"Credit card fraud is an issue which our industry continues to confront," he was quoted as saying. "Barclays is resolved to do everything possible on behalf of our customers, to minimize its impact." The bank added that every client, not just the chairman, are fully reimbursed if these types of thefts occur.


Mmm, mouse foot

A woman living in Slovenia who found a mouse foot in a jar of pickles was shocked to be told, in effect, that it was perfectly good to eat.

Lenka Komparova contacted the Health Ministry as she prepared to sue the company producing the food, according to the Ananova Web portal.
But instead of backing her claim, officials said she should consider the rodent appendage as a "special additive."

Ministry spokeswoman Vivijan Potocnik said: "It is completely normal in big factories to have mice wandering around, and yes, every now and then they get caught amongst the machines and do get bottled, seasoned, preserved and even make it in one piece to consumers.

"Although not very pleasant to see, however, they pose no health threat at all," Potocnik was quoted as saying. "During the preservation process, even traces of any salmonella bacteria are eliminated in food. A [mouse foot] therefore could be classified as a special additive to the pickles."

Komparova said: "I couldn't believe it. I don't know what they eat at the ministry — but finding dead animals in jars of food isn't normal."

Yes, it's a delicacy!

Do we need a vote on which is the most ridiculous?


20 Jan 08 - 05:45 PM (#2240860)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I heard that one about the man being paid all of that money. I wonder, if he had simply saved it in an otherwise unused account, could he have legally kept the interest?

20 Jan 08 - 07:13 PM (#2240898)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

She should be glad they didn't charge her extra for the specialty treat! :D


20 Jan 08 - 07:31 PM (#2240910)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Stilly - A crime is committed if the accused derives undeserved "benefit" from something in which there's "participation." Withdrawing the interest would be a "participation" and any interest would be a "benefit."

IF HE HAD all the money and the interest he might have significant "negotiating power" for a plea bargain or for a waiver of prosecution. He might even be able to say "I didn't know what to do with it. How much is the reward?"


22 Jan 08 - 06:13 PM (#2242404)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')

Trust me, that lady lives two doors down from me. Alcohol may have been involved, but she's like that on a regular basis.

22 Jan 08 - 07:37 PM (#2242476)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Twins Unwittingly Got Married in Britain

By Thomas Wagner, Associated Press
posted: 11 January 2008 03:25 pm ET

LONDON (AP) Ñ Twins who were separated at birth got married without realizing they were brother and sister, a lawmaker said, urging more information be provided on birth certificates for adopted children.

A court annulled the British couple's union after they discovered their true relationship, Lord David Alton said.

"Everyone has a right to knowledge about their lineage, genealogy and identity. And if they don't, then it will lead to cases of incest,'' Alton told The Associated Press during a telephone interview Friday.

Alton first revealed details of the unusual case last month during a five-hour debate about a bill that would change regulations about human embryology.

"I was recently involved in a conversation with a High Court judge who was telling me of a case he had dealt with,'' Alton said according to a transcript of the Dec. 10 debate. "It involved the normal birth of twins who were separated at birth and adopted by separate parents.

"They were never told that they were twins. They met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction, and the judge had to deal with the consequences of the marriage that they entered into and all the issues of their separation.''

Alton gave no additional details and would not reveal the name of the judge who told him about the case.

The High Court's Family Division declined to discuss or confirm Alton's account about the twins.

Alton, an independent legislator who works at Liverpool's John Moores University, said the siblings' inadvertent marriage raises the wider issue of the importance of strengthening the rights of children to know the identities of their biological parents, including kids who were born through in vitro fertilization.

23 Jan 08 - 09:57 AM (#2242796)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Bert

Today's headline...

"Study: Bush issued false statements"

Or maybe this should be in the "jokes" thread.

23 Jan 08 - 11:51 AM (#2242878)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Airport security being what it is, you'd think someone was comparing the checked tag with the luggage tag. And this guy thought they might keep the cat--because it didn't have a home? Sheesh. Fort Worth schools have turned out at least one guy who isn't a deep thinker (even if he did finally do the right thing and call the owner).

Cat Stowaway Makes It Home Again
(AP) January 23, 2008

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Some kitty math: How many lives did little tabby Gracie Mae use up when she crawled into her owner's suitcase, went through an airport X-ray machine, got loaded onto a plane, thrown onto a baggage belt and mistakenly picked up by a stranger far from home?

"She's got to be at four or five now," Seth Levy said after his 10-month-old pet was returned Sunday night by a kind stranger who went home to Fort Worth, Texas, with the wrong bag and Gracie inside to boot.

The last time Levy's wife, Kelly, saw Gracie was before she took her husband to the airport. The 24-year-old went back to her house in Palm Beach Gardens late Friday to find the bottom step, where Gracie would usually be waiting, empty.

She tore the house apart looking for the cat, who had been spayed just days before. She and her dad took out bathroom tiles and part of a cabinet to check a crawl space and papered the neighborhood with "lost cat" signs.

Then she got a phone call.

"Hi, you're not going to believe this, but I am calling from Fort Worth, Texas, and I accidentally picked up your husband's luggage. And when I opened the luggage, a cat jumped out," Kelly Levy quoted the caller saying.

Rob Carter said he made it home with the suitcase before realizing it wasn't his - and there was a big surprise inside.

"I went to unpack and saw some of the clothes and saw it wasn't my suitcase," he said. "I was going to close it, and a kitten jumped out and ran under the bed. I screamed like a little girl."

Carter said that he eventually was able to get the cat to come out from under the bed.

"In the morning, I got close enough to see its collar and the phone number on it," he said. "So I called the number and got a hold of the crying wife of the traveler."

The tabby made the 1,300-mile trip home on an $80 plane ticket. Carter said he considered keeping the cat before he knew she had a home.

"We were going to name it Suitcase," he said.

23 Jan 08 - 01:00 PM (#2242926)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Great!! LOL!!! Suitcase!!! This guy has a sense of humor.


24 Jan 08 - 07:16 AM (#2243485)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Rogue trader to cost bank $7 billion

Country's second-largest bank says it plans to seek $8 billion in new capital

The Associated Press
updated 5:03 a.m. CT, Thurs., Jan. 24, 2008

PARIS - French bank Societe Generale said Thursday it has uncovered a $7.14 billion fraud — one of history's biggest — by a single futures trader who fooled investors and overstepped his authority.

The fraud destabilized a major bank already exposed to the subprime crisis. France's second- largest bank by market value said it would be forced to seek $8.02 billion in new capital.

Trading in Societe Generale's shares, which have lost nearly half their value over the past six months, was suspended on the Paris bourse. It was unclear when trading would resume.

Single weekend of fraud

The bank said it detected the fraud at its French markets division the weekend of Jan. 19-20. In a statement announcing the discovery, it called the fraud "exceptional in its size and nature."

It said a trader at the futures desk had misled investors in 2007 and 2008 through a "scheme of elaborate fictitious transactions."
The trader, who was not named, used his knowledge of the group's security systems to conceal his fraudulent positions, a statement from the bank said.


24 Jan 08 - 09:27 PM (#2244141)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The world's fastest street-legal car

Boutique automaker unveils a 1,183-horsepower road rocket
By Stuart Schwartzapfel
Business Week
updated 2:33 p.m. CT, Thurs., Jan. 24, 2008

On Sept. 13, 2007, the Shelby SuperCars' Ultimate Aero became the fastest production car in the world. The event took place on a temporarily closed, two-lane stretch of public highway in Washington State. In accordance with Guinness World Records' strict policies, the car had to drive down the highway, turn around, and make a second pass in the opposite direction within one hour.

The Ultimate Aero posted 257.41 mph on the first pass and 254.88 mph on the second for an average of 256.18 mph. Official data were collected via a GPS tracking system from Austrian data acquisition company Dewetron. Guinness World Records later verified data for an official top-speed announcement on Oct. 9, 2007. At that speed the Ultimate Aero broke the official record held by the Koenigsegg CCR (242 mph) and the unofficial record (253 mph) held by Volkswagen's $1.6 million Bugatti.

A nice picture and some specs at the link. List price only $600,000 but the car used for the test is reportedly the only one (of 50 planned for this model) ready for sale to a customer. Get your order in now!!!!


25 Jan 08 - 09:23 AM (#2244448)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Scientists Take New Step Toward Man-Made Life

Published: January 24, 2008

Taking a significant step toward the creation of man-made forms of life, researchers reported Thursday that they had manufactured the entire genome of a bacterium by painstakingly stitching together its chemical components.

Complete Chemical Synthesis, Assembly, and Cloning of a Mycoplasma genitalium Genome (Science Express)While scientists had previously synthesized the complete DNA of viruses, this is the first time it has been done for bacteria, which are much more complex. The genome is more than 10 times as long as the longest piece of DNA ever previously synthesized.

The feat is a watershed for the emerging field called synthetic biology, which involves the design of organisms to perform particular tasks, such as making biofuels. Synthetic biologists envision being able one day to design an organism on a computer, press the "print" button to have the necessary DNA made, and then put that DNA into a cell to produce a custom-made creature.

"What we are doing with the synthetic chromosome is going to be the design process of the future," said Dr. J. Craig Venter, the boundary-pushing gene scientist. He assembled the team that made the bacterial genome as part of his well publicized quest to create the first synthetic organism. The work was published online Thursday by the journal Science.

25 Jan 08 - 10:16 AM (#2244489)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Posing As Girl, Retired Cop Nabs Prey
January 25, 2008

DIAMOND, Mo. - No one will ever confuse Jim Murray with a teenager. His tall frame, broad shoulders and clipped gray hair give him away for the grandfather he is. But the 69-year-old retired police chief of this small Missouri town cuts a credible figure as a 13-year-old girl surfing the Web, looking for friends. He knows all the instant-messaging shorthand, the emoticons.

Murray's retirement job from a rural home office has netted 20 arrests since he started in 2002. His latest catch was the biggest: four felony enticement charges against a town mayor, who after his arrest called Murray up and begged him to make the case go away. Nineteen other defendants have included a Missouri furniture company executive, an Arkansas professor and a Tulsa, Okla., school security guard. Ten of those men have been convicted and sent to prison. One was deported. The other cases are still pending. The defendants ranged in age from 24 to 62, with an average age of 39.4 years, and mainly come from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, Diamond police said.

Internet child safety experts say police officers like Murray are heroes who do good work at the cost of wading through the muck of online pedophile fantasies. "He's a trailblazer. 2002 was very early for smaller police departments to start doing this," said Parry Aftab, executive director of, a children's Internet safety group.

Murray, who taught elementary school for 27 years before switching to police work, is more humble. "This is really about the kids," he said. The first thing he hands a reporter at the start of an interview is a neat packet of newspaper stories about Kacie Woody, a 13-year-old girl in neighboring Arkansas who was abducted, raped and killed by a man she met online. It's not a case Murray worked on. Instead, he said, it's "a motivator."

Murray said he manages to shake the online conversations out of his head after a while, but they can still make him angry. "There'll be times when you just want to reach through the screen and choke them or slap them," he said. "To think they could talk that way to a girl."

The latest defendant is Allen Kauffman, 63, who resigned as mayor of Collins and pastor of Temple Lot Church after he was arrested Jan. 11 at home in his small town about 110 miles southeast of Kansas City. Kauffman declined Wednesday to discuss the specifics of his case, including how he plans to plea and his lawyer did not return a phone message.

Kauffman did not propose an actual meeting in any of the exchanges listed in the charging documents. But according to court documents, prosecutors say Murray was logged into a Yahoo! chat room as a 13-year-old girl named "cindyndiamond" using the screen name "Cin" when he was first contacted Nov. 15 by "duke dukead," who prosecutors allege was Kauffman.

Duke contacted Cindy again the next day and said he was 55 years old. The exchange included:

Cin: i like to french kiss ... senior boy taught me.

duke dukeadk: but it depends on where you want to be kissed at lol.

In at least five instant-message sessions through mid-December, Duke allegedly went on to tell Cindy he wanted to have sex with her, asked for nude photos of her and suggested Cindy have sex with another girl in front of a Webcam so that Duke could watch.

Murray has arrested other men arriving for trysts they believed they were setting up with the detective's teenage persona.

Murray was chief of police in the farm town of Diamond from 1995 to 2000. He got a personal computer after retiring and discovered chat rooms and was angered when he was offered pictures of young girls. He contacted experts in the field of Internet sting operation and got training from the National White Collar Crime Center on basic computer data recovery. Now, Murray patrols the Web from a cramped home office divided between his police computer and a personal computer ringed with photos of his six grandchildren and three adult kids.

Murray remains a detective on reserve status with the Diamond police but he donates his investigation time. He says he only spends about 30 minutes a week on average in chats but several hours more going over hard drives of arrested suspects looking for contacts with other potential victims. "Several people have stopped me at Wal-Mart and the filling station and said they appreciate what we're doing on the Internet stuff. And that's a good feeling."

27 Jan 08 - 05:10 PM (#2246481)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas


Long Island-New England tunnel proposed

A brief excerpt from the article:

Drivers would pay $25 for shortcut, but towns worry about extra traffic
The Associated Press
updated 12:22 p.m. CT, Sun., Jan. 27, 2008

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. - It would be the world's longest highway tunnel, running more than 16 miles under the west end of Long Island Sound.
The cost is estimated at $10 billion — and it wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime. A developer wants to build the tunnel with private money, recouping his costs by charging drivers $25 each way and by selling advertising.


Whoever wrote the headline didn't read the article and/or is totally ignorant of US geography.

An 18 mile long tunnel is proposed from Long Island, NY to Rye, NY.

The closest "New England" town to New York City (that shows on a normal highway map) is Hopkinton, RI which is 138 miles from NYC. (And there's not really much reason anyone would want to go there.)

The "developer" proposing this project states with fair accuracy:

Developer Vincent Polimeni says the tunnel between Oyster Bay and Rye on the New York mainland would let travelers going between Long Island and New England avoid crowded New York City highways and help alleviate traffic congestion.

Comment: The existing "preferred route" from Oyster Bay (Long Island) to Rye, NY is about 40 miles, so the 18 mile tunnel would be shorter. HOWEVER, Oyster Bay is now nearly 20 miles via "city streets" from the nearest "highway." (For the arithmetically lazy: 20 miles on back streets + 18 miles in the tunnel = 38 miles vs 40 miles on existing major arteries) So the developer is apparently expecting NY State to provide 20 miles of new "superhighways" to feed his tunnel on the Oyster Bay end. Infrastructure required to support feeding/dumping traffic at the other end would be somewhat less, but would still require significant "new roadwork" - from public funds and not included in the developer's "no cost to the public, privately funded project."

Response from "public officialdom" reportedly has been "tepid" at best.


27 Jan 08 - 06:24 PM (#2246521)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Personally, I wouldn't travel that far in a tunnel like that. Gives me the creeps. There are several ferries that run from places on Long Island to places along the coast northeast of New York City. I've been on a couple of them myself. Orient Point (northwest of Montauk) to New London, near Mystic, CT, is a pleasant and very efficient trip.


27 Jan 08 - 07:31 PM (#2246587)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

A standard question on freshman math tests when I was in college was "a real tunnel." A straight-line tunnel from Washington DC to Boston (430 miles) would of course be sloped down for the first half of the distance and then rise for the rest of the way to the end. A "train" starting at one end would thus accelerate going downhill for the first half of the distance and then coast uphill, losing speed to come to a stop at the other end. (Friction and wind resistance are generally ignored for freshman spot-tests. Sophomores get a tougher test.)

The usual questions included calculating how deep the tunnel would be at the center, maximum speed at the half-way point, and how long it would take the train to make the trip. For extra credit sometimes one could calculate how much shorter the tunnel was than a "great circle" route on the surface.

Recollection is that it would be about a half hour trip (a simple pendulum period calculation). Speed at the center was "very fast" but I don't recall just how many zeros were in the answer, and I'm too lazy to work it out again.

That would be closer to a real New York to New England tunnel, although New York to Boston is only about half as long (210 miles?).


27 Jan 08 - 10:32 PM (#2246703)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos


It may have escaped your attention that the New England states included the Nutmeg state, which borders New York State right up from Rye.


27 Jan 08 - 11:57 PM (#2246725)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I thought nutmegs were tropical things. You're telling me they're from Connecticut? (Assuming that's what you mean--it connects to NY--I used to go there all the time when I lived in Brooklyn and my great aunt lived in Ansonia, near New Haven.)


28 Jan 08 - 12:59 AM (#2246729)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Amos - I guess I was using the Boston definition for New England. I do vaguely recall one of the Boston locals admitting that CN was part of New England, but he sort of dismissed it as "but nobody ever goes there" so I forgot about it.

(Of course if you had relatives, there might be a reason to go(?).

It's still quite a ways past the end of the proposed tunnel, and still needs a bunch of public highway work to make a connecti(cut)on to anyplace.


28 Jan 08 - 01:26 AM (#2246735)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

It was not named for growing them but for the wandering peddlars who used to sell them, I think. I have forgot. Or perhaps they used to counterfeit them -- carving imitations out of wood. One historical reference site says:

"Nutmeg, the powder used for seasoning foods, is ground from the seed of the fruit of the Nutmeg Tree, Myristica fragans. A couple of stories exist as to the origin of this nickname. One story has it that this nickname came about as a comment on the ingenuity and shrewdness of the citizens of the state. In a story, perhaps originated by Sam Slick, it is claimed that the people of Connecticut were so ingenious and shrewd that they were able to make and sell "wooden" nutmegs to unsuspecting buyers. A variation on this story maintains that purchasers did not know that the seed must be ground to obtain the spice and may have accused yankee peddlars, unfairly, of selling worthless "wooden" nutmegs. It may be that these wooden nutmegs were whittled by idle sailors on ships coming from the spice island and sold as souvenirs."


28 Jan 08 - 01:53 PM (#2247179)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

It's CT, not CN.

That story must have made quite a lot of headlines to "stick" in such a way that it became an identifier for the state. Seems a little shaky to me.

The state library offers these two possibilities (maybe Amos was here already)

The "Nutmeg State"
According to the book State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1941):

"The sobriquet, the Nutmeg State, is applied to Connecticut because its early inhabitants had the reputation of being so ingenious and shrewd that they were able to make and sell wooden nutmegs. Sam Slick (Judge Halliburton) seems to be the originator of this story. Some claim that wooden nutmegs were actually sold, but they do not give either the time or the place."

Yankee peddlers from Connecticut sold nutmegs, and an alternative story is that:

"Unknowing buyers may have failed to grate nutmegs, thinking they had to be cracked like a walnut. Nutmegs are wood, and bounce when struck. If southern customers did not grate them, they may very well have accused the Yankees of selling useless "wooden" nutmegs, unaware that they wear down to a pungent powder to season pies and breads." Elizabeth Abbe, Librarian, the Connecticut Historical Society; Connecticut Magazine, April 1980.

Hmmm. The name "Halliburton" creeps into it. Light is dawning. . .

28 Jan 08 - 02:11 PM (#2247201)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

IN any case, no Hahvahde smahty has any right to not include Connecticut in the collective of New England. We shall not have our place in history belittled, adulterated, lifted from us nor denied!!!


28 Jan 08 - 07:12 PM (#2247460)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I found the guy--his eBay id is Idd1863. Link to page (I don't know how long this will stick around. It is item number 290198663242.)

I clicked on his name for listings and then selected "completed listings" to see that he has over $3000 in sales in the past 10 days. It's pretty scary when you let a fox guard the hen house.

Man arrested in eBay sale of historic documents
Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:21pm EST
By Christopher Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York state employee who had access to government-owned archives has been arrested on suspicion of stealing hundreds of historic documents, many of which he sold on eBay, authorities said on Monday.

Among the missing documents were an 1823 letter by U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun and copies of the Davy Crockett Almanacs, pamphlets written by the frontiersman who died at the Alamo in Texas.

Daniel Lorello, 54, of Rensselaer, New York, was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and fraud. He pleaded innocent in Albany City Court on Monday.

He was found out by an alert history buff who saw the items posted on the online auction site and alerted authorities, the state attorney general's office said in a statement.

Lorello, a department of education archivist, pleaded not guilty to the charges although he previously admitted in a written statement to stealing documents and artifacts since 2002. The attorney general's office released a copy of his statement.

In 2007 alone, Lorello stated he took 300 to 400 items, including the four-page Calhoun letter, which drew bids of more than $1,700 while investigators were monitoring the sale.

Officials recovered some 400 items from his upstate New York home, which Lorello estimated was 90 percent of everything he had taken, but they have yet to determine how many items were sold online.

The state library's extensive collection includes an original first draft of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and complete set of autographs from the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

EBay auctions posted by Lorello included a Currier & Ives lithograph that he described as "in excellent condition." The Calhoun letter auction said "100 percent satisfaction is guaranteed."

Other items Lorello admitted in his statement to stealing and selling included an 1835 Davey Crockett Almanac, which fetched $3,200, and a Poor Richard's Almanac which went for $1,001.

EBay was cooperating with state officials in the probe.

04 Feb 08 - 11:56 AM (#2253214)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Feds Nab Woman Accused of ID Thefts
February 04, 2008

TINLEY PARK, Ill. - A woman suspected of stealing other people's identities and duping some of the country's top universities into admitting her and giving her student loans has been arrested in a Chicago suburb, federal investigators say.

Esther Elizabeth Reed, 29, was arrested on a federal warrant Saturday in Tinley Park, said Malcolm Wiley, spokesman for the Secret Service.

Reed, who had been one of the Secret Service's most wanted fugitives, was indicted in September by a federal grand jury in Greenville, S.C., on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, false identification documents and aggravated identity theft.

Reed used sophisticated scams to steal identities she used to gain entrance to California State University at Fullerton, Harvard and Columbia University, where she studied criminology and psychology, investigators said.

Reed also used the stolen identities to obtain more than $100,000 in student loans, according to the Secret Service.

She attended Columbia for two years as a graduate student under the name Brooke Henson before investigators discovered her identity was false, the Secret Service said. The real Henson, of Travelers Rest, S.C., has been missing since 1999., but investigators have said they do not believe Reed had anything to do with Henson's disappearance.

Wiley did not know when Reed would next appear in court.

08 Feb 08 - 10:46 PM (#2257418)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Half of U.K. men would swap sex for 50-inch TV

LONDON - Nearly half of British men surveyed would give up sex for six months in return for a 50-inch plasma TV, a survey — perhaps unsurprisingly carried out for a firm selling televisions — said on Friday.

Electrical retailer Comet surveyed 2,000 Britons, asking them what they would give up for a large television, one of the latest consumer "must-haves."

The firm found 47 percent of men would give up sex for half a year, compared to just over a third of women.

"It seems that size really does matter more for men than women," the firm said.

A quarter of people said they would give up ... ... chocolate.


12 Feb 08 - 02:26 PM (#2260602)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

BlackBerry out of service in North America Next Article in Technology

NEW YORK (AP) -- An outage has disconnected BlackBerry smart phones across North America.

AT&T Inc. says the disruption Monday is affecting all wireless carriers. AT&T first learned about the problem at about 3:30 p.m. ET.

There's no word on the cause or when the problem might be fixed.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion did not immediately return a phone call.

I love the last sentence.

12 Feb 08 - 03:58 PM (#2260735)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

More on BlackBerry:

Outages could damage BlackBerry's icon status: Two major service interruptions occur in less than a year

Cause of BlackBerry outage still unknown: Disruption left subscribers in U.S., Canada without service on Monday

The previous BlackBerry outages have prompted angry backlashes against RIM because of the company's lengthy silences about what caused them and the cryptic and jargon-laden explanations that eventually emerge.

RIM waited two days after the April outage before telling customers what happened.

The last major failures were nearly two years before that. The company angered users by waiting hours before confirming the problem, then issuing a confusing technological description of what happened.

'BlackBerry blackouts' aim for balance: Canadian government ministry urges employees to limit use of devices

(This last one simply says that one Canadian ministry thinks BlackBerry users should "get a life.")


14 Feb 08 - 03:17 PM (#2262500)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Researchers: Why are thousands of hibernating bats dying in NY and Vermont?
February 14, 2008

ROSENDALE, New York - Scientists in hazmat suits are crawling into dank caves to find out why bats in New York and Vermont are mysteriously dying off by the thousands, often with a white ring of fungus around their noses. "White nose syndrome," as the killer has been dubbed, is spreading at an alarming rate, with researchers calling it the gravest threat in memory to bats in the U.S. "This is definitely unprecedented," said Lori Pruitt, an endangered-species biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bloomington, Indiana. "The hugest concern at this point is that we do not know what it is."

A significant loss of bats is chilling in itself to wildlife experts. But - like the mysterious mass die-offs around the country of bees that pollinate all sorts of vital fruits and vegetables - the bat deaths could have economic implications. Bats feed on insects that can damage dozens of crops, including wheat and apples. "Without large populations of bats, there would certainly be an impact on agriculture," said Barbara French of Bat Conservation International of Austin, Texas.

White nose syndrome has afflicted at least four species of hibernating bats, spreading from a cluster of four caves near Albany last winter to more than a dozen caverns up to 130 miles (210 kilometers) away. Alan Hicks, a wildlife biologist with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, said he fears a catastrophic collapse of the region's bat population and is urgently enlisting experts around the country to find the cause.

It is not even clear if the fungus around the bats' noses - something scientists say they have never seen before - is a cause or a symptom. It may be a sign the bats are too sick to groom themselves, said Beth Buckles, a veterinary pathologist at Cornell University. The deaths could be caused by bacteria or a virus. Or the bats could be reacting to some toxin or other environmental factor. Whatever it is, afflicted bats are burning through their winter stores of fat before hibernation ends in the spring, and appear to be starving.

The Northeast has generally had mild winters in recent years. But Hicks said he doubts that is the culprit in some way, since there are no reports of large die-offs in warmer states. Nor are there any known links between what is wiping out the bees and what is killing the bats. The cause of the bee deaths is still a mystery, though scientists are looking at pesticides, parasites and a virus not previously seen in the U.S.

Researchers said there is no evidence the mysterious killer is any threat to humans. Scientists venturing into the caves wear hazardous-materials suits and breathing masks primarily to protect the bats, not themselves. Hicks said it is possible that a cave explorer introduced the problem in the Albany-area caves and that it spread from there. "It could have been some caver in Tanzania with a little mud on his boot and a week later he's in a cave in New York," he said. New York officials are asking people to stay out of bat caves in case humans are unwittingly spreading the problem. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking people not to enter caves with gear or clothing used in any New York and Vermont cave within the past two years.

The first inkling of trouble came in January 2007, when a cave explorer spotted an unusual number of bat carcasses around the mouth of a cave in the hills west of Albany. Within a month, people in the area were calling in with reports of bats flying outside in the middle of the day. "We didn't know anything other than bats were coming out and they were just dying on the landscape," Hicks said. "They were crashing into snow banks, crawling into wood piles and dying." By winter's end, 8,000 to 11,000 bats were presumed dead in the four caves. The mystery affliction has spread much farther this winter. Death counts are not in yet for this winter since affected bats die slowly. But Hicks said there are 200,000 or more bats hibernating in caves where white nose has been detected.

Hicks recently led a team of scientists into an abandoned mine in this Hudson Valley town about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of New York City. He directed his headlamp on a cluster of seven brown bats, smaller than mice, hanging high on the limestone wall. Four had the telltale white flecks on their muzzles.

He tapped one of the afflicted bats with a long stick, and it fell, already dead. Another groggily spread its papery wings on Hicks' gloved hand. The sickly bat was put into a cardboard takeout-soup container to be put to death and studied, since it was doomed anyway.

A group of Indiana bats, a federally protected endangered species, was spotted hanging lower down in the mine for cooler air, a common strategy for sick bats.

Hicks whispered grimly: "These guys are toast."


On the Net:

14 Feb 08 - 03:41 PM (#2262522)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Researchers have discovered two planets in a solar system 5,000 light-years away that appears to be structured in some important ways like our own.

The planets are gas giants similar to but smaller than Jupiter and Saturn, and their relative sizes are also similar. In addition, they circle their star at a distance proportional to the distances of Jupiter and Saturn from the sun.

"This is the first time we've found a Jupiter-like planet in the same system as a Saturn planet," said Scott Gaudi of Ohio State University, lead investigator on the project. "There's reason now to believe there are probably many more solar systems like it."

The discovery, published today in the online edition of the journal Science, lends support to the long-held belief of many astronomers that there are many planets orbiting their stars in ways similar to our solar system. Most of the more than 260 planets discovered so far have orbited their suns far more closely than theorized, and the planets have been larger than expected.

Gaudi said that was most likely a result of the techniques used to search for the planets, techniques that work best at finding large planets that orbit close in. His group used a different method -- called gravitational micro-lensing -- that required collaboration with professional and amateur astronomers from around the world.

14 Feb 08 - 07:35 PM (#2262696)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas


Chinese acrobats stranded in shelter

Stranded by circus promoter, 16 young performers get stuck in Dallas

The Associated Press
updated 9:59 a.m. CT, Thurs., Feb. 14, 2008

DALLAS - A team of 16 young Chinese acrobats arrived here ready to dazzle Americans with their backflips, cartwheels and human pyramids, but their U.S. tour began with two nights at a homeless shelter.
A mysterious circus promoter from Wisconsin failed to meet the performers when they arrived Monday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Instead, he called Bill Thompson, executive director of the Union Gospel Mission homeless shelter.

The promoter, who gave only his first name, Gary, told Thompson he had run out of money and needed someone to pick up the acrobats, who range in age from 13 to 20.

"He sounded desperate, no doubt," Thompson said. "From what I know, it seems to be poor planning more than anything else."

Thompson and other shelter workers arrived at the airport in three vans and no clue how to find the troupe. Thompson finally found a group of 18 people who fit the bill -- 16 acrobats and two adults -- and broke through the language barrier by saying "the one word we could all agree on: acrobat."

The Shanghai-based Guanhua Acrobatic team spent two nights at the mission, but first, Thompson took them to a McDonald's. "They all ordered the No. 9: grilled chicken," Thompson said.

The troupe put on an impromptu show for reporters Wednesday, tossing straw hats like boomerangs and performing acrobatic moves with ease. They also seemed remarkably sanguine about their situation, saying it was status quo for circus performers.

The acrobats, who planned a 10-month U.S. tour, said through a translator that they were looking forward to possible performances in the Dallas area, Chicago, Wisconsin and Las Vegas.

'We're used to waiting'

"I have a confidence we can find a tour in the U.S.," said Wenbin Gao, one of the adults traveling with the acrobats. "We're used to it. We're used to waiting."

Contacted by The Associated Press, the circus promoter refused to give his last name during a telephone interview. He called the mistake "a little scheduling snafu," saying trailers he purchased for the group never arrived in Texas because of recent snowstorms in the Midwest.

The promoter said he has lined up performances for the troupe, but refused to give specifics.

"Nobody is trying to do anything shifty," he said. "I'm trying to do something nice, not something dastardly. It's already fixed."

By Wednesday afternoon, the promoter said he arranged for the group to stay at a ranch near Dallas owned by another performer. Thompson confirmed they had left.

"They are going to another performer's place and they are warm and getting fed," the promoter said. "We're going to get them performing and get them happy."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press


14 Feb 08 - 08:34 PM (#2262730)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I just sent the link and a note to my boss. Maybe we should try to get a performance set up on my university campus (at Arlington, TX, about 30 miles from Dallas).


15 Feb 08 - 02:36 PM (#2263328)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Public: Faith trumps science

Proposed teaching standards are at odds with what most Floridians believe.
By Ron Matus and Donna Winchester, Times Staff Writers
Published February 15, 2008

Florida parents don't have much faith in evolution.

Only 22 percent want public schools to teach an evolution-only curriculum, while 50 percent want only faith-based theories such as creationism or intelligent design, according to a new St. Petersburg Times survey.

"I have a very firm religious background," said Betty Lininger of Lecanto, who is raising her 15-year-old niece and thinks public schools should teach intelligent design but not evolution. "I can't just shove it out the door."

The survey findings stand in stark contrast to the state's proposed new science standards, which describe evolution as the pillar of modern biology and do not include alternative theories.

If the state Board of Education approves them Tuesday, the new standards will guide what Florida students are taught and tested on.

The Times survey - which included questions about evolution and a host of other education issues - was administered to 702 registered voters Feb. 6-10, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

It revealed a huge gulf between scientists and the public.

While the vast majority of scientists consider evolution to be backed by strong evidence, nearly two-thirds of those polled were skeptical.

Twenty-nine percent said evolution is one of several valid theories. Another 16 percent said evolution is not backed up by enough evidence. And 19 percent said evolution is not valid because it is at odds with the Bible.

"It just shows we have a lot of work to do," said Christopher D'Elia, a marine biologist who is an interim vice chancellor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Fundamentalist Christians, often portrayed as the heart of the antievolution opposition, weren't the only ones who expressed doubt. While only 9 percent of respondents who described themselves as evangelicals or fundamentalists wanted an evolution-only curriculum, the numbers still weren't very high for Protestants overall 16 percent or Catholics (21 percent).

15 Feb 08 - 02:46 PM (#2263336)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

That is so dumb. Why can't they have full-tilt education in CHristian traditions in the humanities department, or the religion department while they teach evidence-based reasoning in the science department?

Folks YOU CAN HAVE BOTH!!! Jaysus. Makes me want to stamp my li'l foot.


15 Feb 08 - 02:47 PM (#2263341)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Looks like the indoctrination was successful in Florida.

There's a reason for separating chuch and state. It helps protect children from other children's stupid parents. :-/



15 Feb 08 - 02:48 PM (#2263343)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Oh, well, close.

15 Feb 08 - 03:20 PM (#2263367)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Metchosin

Well I've heard of having two left feet, but in the waters off the east coast of our Island, we seem to have an excess of right ones. Now what would be the statistical probability of something like this happening?

Another mysterious right foot floats ashore in Gulf Islands
CBC News

For the third time in six months, a right foot wearing a sneaker has washed up on the shores of the Gulf Islands, in the Strait of Georgia.

The latest foot was found on the east side of Valdez Island, near Nanaimo.

Last August two other right feet, both male and both wearing size 12 sneakers, washed ashore on nearby Gabriola and Jedediah Islands.

Those cases are still under investigation, and so far no links between the three discoveries have been established, police said.

The latest appendage has been turned over to the B.C. Coroner's Service, and the RCMP is reviewing missing-persons files that could shed light on its discovery.

Two feet found in August

Police have yet to determine whether foul play had anything to do with the feet.

The discovery of the first two feet last summer prompted speculation that they might have belonged to men who died in a plane or boating accident.

The first was discovered Aug. 20 on Jedediah Island by a 12-year-old girl from Washington state, who found a black-and-white Adidas shoe with a sock and foot still inside.

The second was found six days later on Gabriola Island by a Vancouver couple who were hiking along the beach when they came upon a Reebok running shoe with human remains inside.

"We have been informed that it looks like both feet had separated from the body by natural decomposition, possibly while in the water,'' Cpl. Garry Cox of Oceanside RCMP on Vancouver Island said in August.

Cox said a cleanly cut foot would have been very suspicious, but natural decomposition suggests the victims might have drowned.

15 Feb 08 - 03:23 PM (#2263371)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Metchosin

There's gotta be a song somewhere in this....a morbid one, but a song nevertheless.

15 Feb 08 - 03:32 PM (#2263376)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE THING (from Phil Harris)
From: Metchosin

Aha! Perhaps one has already been written.

Maybe this was what The Thing was all about, only over the years the box has disappeared.

The Thing

While I was walking down the beach one bright and sunny day
I saw a great big wooden box a-floatin' in the bay
I pulled it in and opened it up and much to my surprise
Oh!, I discovered a (boom-boom-boom) right before my eyes
Oh!, I discovered a (boom-boom-boom) right before my eyes.

I picked it up and ran to town as happy as a king
I took it to a guy I knew who'd buy 'most anything
But this is what he hollered at me as I walked in his shop
"Oh!, get out of here with that (boom-boom-boom) before I call a cop!
Oh!, get out of here with that (boom-boom-boom) before I call a cop!"

I turned around and got right out, a-running for my life
And then I took it home with me to give it to my wife
But this is what she hollered at me as I walked in the door
"Oh!, get out of here with that (boom-boom-boom) and don't come back no more!
Oh!, get out of here with that (boom-boom-boom) and don't come back no more!"

I wandered all around the town until I chanced to meet
A hobo who was looking for a handout on the street
He said he'd take 'most any old thing - he was a desperate man
But when I showed 'im the (boom-boom-boom) he turned around and ran
Oh!, when I showed 'im the (boom-boom-boom) he turned around and ran.

I wandered on for many years, a victim of my fate
Until one day I came upon St. Peter at the gate
And when I tried to take it inside, he told me where to go
"Get out of here with that (boom-boom-boom) and take it down below!
Oh, get out of here with that (boom-boom-boom) and take it down below!"

The moral of this story is if you're out on the beach
And you should see a great big box and it's within your reach
Don't ever stop and open it up - that's my advice to you
'Cause you'll never get rid of the (boom-boom-boom) no matter what you do
Oh, you'll never get rid of the (boom-boom-boom) no matter what you do

15 Feb 08 - 04:01 PM (#2263394)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

YEah. Or maybe..."You put your right foot in..." BLAM!


15 Feb 08 - 06:00 PM (#2263481)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

It's traditional that the chain goes around the left ankle isn't it?

So the left foot is anchored until the crabs dispose of it completely, but the right one is free to float away as soon as they gnaw off enough to loosen it.

Simple, really.


15 Feb 08 - 07:54 PM (#2263540)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Metchosin

Well I don't know what is traditional for the placement of the the chain, but I do know that this has probably spoiled my appetite for local dungeness crab for a very long time.

15 Feb 08 - 10:37 PM (#2263589)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Something's afoot.

16 Feb 08 - 05:11 AM (#2263671)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: TheSnail

But how do they dispose of the remains? Should you give a foot a Christian burial?

Do feet have souls?


16 Feb 08 - 02:00 PM (#2263935)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Woman Says She's Tired Of Being Declared Dead

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A Nashville woman said that having to prove sheÕs alive over and over is ruining her life.

Laura Todd said an 8-year-old typo is affecting everything from her credit to her tax return.

"I don't think people realize how difficult it is to be dead when you're not,Ó she said.
She said her problems started when someone in Florida died and her Social Security number was accidentally typed in.

Todd said she thought the problem had been straightened out, but when she went to refinance her house in 2002, ÒSunTrust called and said, ÔYour credit report says you're dead.Õ"

She straightened that incident out, but in 2006 the Internal Revenue Service refused to process her return.

"The IRS says IÕm dead. Everybody says I'm dead,Ó she said.

She said being dead off and on has made everyday life a hassle. She said her bank closed her credit card account and attached a note of sympathy: ÒPlease accept our condolences on the death of Laura Todd.Ó

She said the last straw came recently when the IRS once again refused to let her file her taxes electronically because she's dead.

She said that at one point it was funny, but now itÕs getting old. ÒI'm tired. I've been fighting this for eight years, and it never ends,Ó she said. ÒI'm very much alive, and would like to live out my life in peace without having this problem."

21 Feb 08 - 06:16 PM (#2268986)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

An Upstart Web Catalog Challenges an Academic-Library Giant
From the Chronicle of Higher Education


At only 21, Aaron Swartz is attempting to turn the library world upside down. He is taking on the subscription-based WorldCat, the largest bibliographic database on the planet, by building a free online book catalog that anyone can update.

Many academic librarians are wary of Mr. Swartz's project because it will allow nonlibrarians, who may be prone to errors, to catalog books. But some young librarians are rallying around the precocious entrepreneur because his work may make their collections more visible on the Web. "It really provides the potential for libraries to leap forward in terms of working with electronic books and collections of electronic books," said Jeremy A. Frumkin, director of emerging technologies and services at Oregon State University.

Mr. Swartz does have a track record that inspires hope. At 14 he helped write RSS, a popular Web tool used to alert people to new blog posts. While still a teenager he became wealthy after Condé Nast Publications bought Reddit, the Web site he had helped build that lets users rank news and other electronic content.

Now his passion is a modern library. "I saw all these great books locked up in the stacks of libraries," Mr. Swartz said. "But nobody ever found out about them, because they didn't have a spot on the Web, and people weren't browsing the stacks anymore."

The new catalog project, Open Library, is set to go live in early March with records on 20 million books. The goal is to create a comprehensive Web page about any book ever published. Each page will include not just author, title, and publisher but also links that direct users to the nearest library with a copy and to related books. Other links will allow users to buy a book online or write a review of it.

The pages will be created or updated by anyone, in the style of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Some Web pages will also connect to the full text when its copyright has expired. Or users will be able to pay about 10 cents a page to have an unscanned out-of-copyright book at a college library digitized. The Open Library is backed by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, which gave the project $300,000 this year and will provide the full texts of materials in its own collection. (The Open Content Alliance, a book-digitization project, is another partner.)

Pushing Books on the Web

The project is similar to WorldCat, which is owned by OCLC, a nonprofit group that promotes technology in libraries. But it seeks to be bigger. While WorldCat has catalog records only from libraries — including about 10,000 academic libraries — that pay to be part of OCLC, the Open Library will include records from anywhere, free of charge. And while librarians maintain WorldCat, the public would maintain Open Library.

Mr. Swartz also wants to integrate his database with Wikipedia so that a citation of a book on the popular encyclopedia links to the book's page on Open Library. Another idea is to integrate Open Library with LibraryThing, a site that helps people catalog and share their own books. Eventually, Open Library may expand to include journal articles, too.

Should all those connections help increase Open Library's holdings close to the 72 million unique book records in WorldCat, Mr. Swartz's enterprise could upend the way libraries maintain records. Librarians could choose to bypass WorldCat and contribute catalog data to Open Library, jeopardizing OCLC's membership of more than 60,000 libraries and threatening a big chunk of its $235-million annual revenue.

It would be an amazing feat, especially since, at the moment, Open Library is struggling to get libraries to contribute. Librarians are not just uneasy having nonlibrarians edit catalogs; they are also afraid of offending OCLC. They rely on the organization as a broker for interlibrary loans and other crucial services. And libraries' contracts with OCLC prevent them from sharing their catalog information with for-profit institutions. That doesn't appear to be a problem for Open Library itself, because the group is nonprofit. But since there is nothing to stop Google or any other business from using Open Library's records for commercial gain, many librarians are holding back.

Striking a Deal with OCLC

Publicly, OCLC has stated that WorldCat and Open Library are complementary databases and should work together. "We have an interest in synchronizing WorldCat with digital libraries that are of interest to our member organizations, and Open Library is certainly one of those," said Chip Nilges, vice president for business development at OCLC. But one OCLC official, speaking on the condition that he not be identified, said Open Library was a waste of time and resources, and predicted it would fail.

Mr. Swartz plays down the competition between Open Library and World Cat, aware that highlighting the tension won't bring librarians to his project. A beta version of Open Library even provides links to WorldCat for users seeking to find a book at a local library. "We're not in opposition with OCLC," said Mr. Swartz. "It's just that because they've built this structure over time, dependent on a particular business model, it's much harder for them to move on to the Internet than it is for a new group like us."

Most of the Open Library records to date have come from the Library of Congress and various publishers. The University of North Carolina system has provided Open Library with 4.2 million records. Additional records have come from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Talis, a British library cooperative. Mr. Swartz said he was talking with a few other academic libraries, including the University of California's, about obtaining their records.

Jessamyn C. West, a librarian based in Bethel, Vt., who runs a popular blog,, wants Open Library to flourish. The small libraries she counsels can't afford subscriptions to WorldCat. As a result, their holdings are invisible to Vermonters searching online. She acknowledges, though, that contributing to Open Library would be difficult for many. "The library community is comfortable having a vendor," said Ms. West, "even if the vendor is not doing exactly what they want."

23 Feb 08 - 10:18 AM (#2270293)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Man's quest to document black history

As a child, Blockson was told that black people made no contributions

The Associated Press
updated 7:15 a.m. CT, Sat., Feb. 23, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - As a child growing up in the 1940s, Charles Blockson was once told by a white teacher that black people had made no contributions to history.

Even as a fourth-grader, Blockson, who is black, knew better. So he began collecting proof.

Today, the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University contains more than 30,000 historical items, some dating to the 16th century. It includes Paul Robeson's sheet music, African Bibles, rare letters and manuscripts, slave narratives, correspondence of Haitian revolutionaries and a first-edition book by W.E.B DuBois.

"It's really invaluable," curator Diane Turner said. "The materials are just so wonderful and unique."

The collection has grown so much since Temple acquired it 25 years ago that it moved into a larger space on campus this month.

Blockson, 74, is a historian, lecturer and author who began amassing his collection as a boy living in the Philadelphia suburb of Norristown. His quest began after he asked a substitute teacher about famous black people in history. She replied that there weren't any.

"I set out to prove her wrong," Blockson said.

... [additional at the link]


23 Feb 08 - 11:27 AM (#2270338)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I have to stir the gray matter--I remember a story with similar elements about a home-grown collection out in California. I probably even posted the story and a link. I'll have to look back. I don't remember the subject area, but it was a similarly narrow focus.


23 Feb 08 - 11:53 AM (#2270361)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Stilly -

Possibly you're remembering:

Mayme Clayton Collection headed to better quarters posted in a thread titled "Some New Black History" Dec 06.

I think I also remember another collection that got some press a little more recently; but it will take about an hour for my WinXP to run a full "content" search to see if anything else comes up.


23 Feb 08 - 11:58 AM (#2270368)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Doing a full content search on this thread is like setting out in a peagreen boat to make your way around   Cape Horn in mid-winter. Not a pleasant prospect....


23 Feb 08 - 01:10 PM (#2270422)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That's it, I'm sure. I knew that the collection wasn't housed only in her garage any more, that it was stored remotely as well. I sent this one to my boss (Dean of the Library, who used to be head of Special Collections--for an archivist this story is a dream, with some nightmarish moments thrown in for effect.)

I wonder if there is a similar collection somewhere for American Indian history? Chinese history? It's amazing what dedicated amateurs can come up with--but it takes someone equally insightful to recognise it for what it is and put it somewhere safe.


23 Feb 08 - 05:06 PM (#2270546)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Amos -

I wasn't talking about searching this thread. I meant searching my X:\ drive where I keep all my web notes, including in full all the threads I've posted to here. (I got 'whelmed by curiosity a while back.)

It apparently hasn't caught much notice on the internet, but a local flap has been ongoing for a couple of years about the "Gordon Parks Collection."

Gordon Parks was a black filmaker and photographer who died in 2006 at age 93 and left his personal stuff sort of up for grabs. A "Gordon Parks Foundation" in New York city has been looking for a keeper for his collections and personal artifacts, and apparently - from an article in the local newsrag today - the "Wichita State University Ablah Library" has acquired "113 boxes" of his works and personal belongings. The story indicates that the first 6 boxes were opened at a "celebration" for donors, and if the contents described are representative it should make a very interesting archive.

So far as I've seen, there hasn't been an announcement of how the Library intends to use - or make available - the Parks collection. Since Parks was a very successful black person, and has an established reputation that's pretty well known, it's likely that this collection will have a rather different "personality" than a collection gathered by an "unknown," with emphasis specifically on Mr Parks.

"Gordon Parks" in Google will get quite a lot of info. Either a general or "image" search may be useful for anyone interested.


23 Feb 08 - 10:14 PM (#2270736)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese man was arrested for trespassing this week after turning up at a high school dressed in a girl's uniform and a long wig, local police said.

Thirty-nine-year-old Tetsunori Nanpei told police he had bought the uniform over the Internet and put it on to take a stroll near the school in Saitama, north of Tokyo, on Wednesday, the daily Asahi Shimbun said.

When students standing outside the gates started to scream at the sight of him, he dashed inside the school grounds, hoping to blend in with the crowds of teenagers, the paper said.

They also screamed, forcing the man to flee, losing his wig in the process. A school clerk pursued him and stopped him at a nearby riverbank, the paper said.

Police confirmed the arrest of the man in school uniform and wig but declined to give further details.

25 Feb 08 - 09:30 AM (#2271747)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

German Police Dogs to Wear Shoes
From AP
February 25, 2008

BERLIN - Police dogs in the western city of Duesseldorf will no longer get their feet dirty when on patrol - the entire dog unit will soon be equipped with blue plastic fiber shoes, a police spokesman said Monday. "All 20 of our police dogs - German and Belgian shepherds - are currently being trained to walk in these shoes," Andre Hartwich said. "I'm not sure they like it, but they'll have to get used to it."

The unusual footwear is not a fashion statement, Hartwich said, but rather a necessity due to the high rate of paw injuries on duty. Especially in the city's historical old town - famous for both its pubs and drunken revelers - the dogs often step into broken beer bottles. "Even the street-cleaning doesn't manage to remove all the glass pieces from between the streets' cobble stones," Hartwich said, adding that the dogs frequently get injured by little pieces sticking deep in their paws. The dogs will start wearing the shoes this spring but only during operations that demand special foot protection. The shoes comes in sizes small, medium and large and were ordered in blue to match the officers uniforms, Hartwich said.

"Now we just have to teach the dogs how to tie their shoes," he joked.

26 Feb 08 - 03:57 AM (#2272523)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

'Lost,' ABC shows to be available on demand

The Associated Press
updated 8:54 p.m. CT, Mon., Feb. 25, 2008

LOS ANGELES - ABC said Monday it will release hit shows like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" for free over video-on-demand cable services, with the hitch that viewers will have to sit through commercials without being able to fast-forward.

The Walt Disney Co., parent company of the network, is aiming to profit from ads sold for the video-on-demand offerings while expanding its digital strategy beyond programs distributed on its Web site,

[even on free TV ya' gotta have the popups.]


26 Feb 08 - 04:25 AM (#2272538)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The Running of the ........Reindeer?

Alaska's largest city holds first reindeer run

The Associated Press
updated 9:51 a.m. CT, Mon., Feb. 25, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - From sausages to stews, reindeer are usually a main dish in Alaska.

But the antlered animals were the main event at Anchorage's first annual running of the reindeer.

A cheering crowd of hundreds lined snow-packed Fourth Avenue on Sunday to watch what was touted as Alaska's version of Spain's famed running of the bulls.

"Normally we just eat them," said Mark Berg, a spectator who has lived in Alaska since 1967. "I just made some jambalaya the other day out of reindeer sausage. I've eaten more of their cousins than they want to know."

Seven little reindeer, looking a bit bewildered, stood next to their handlers as a crowd of roughly 1,000 costumed runners chatted excitedly at the start.

The reindeer were lined up behind the first heat of runners — several hundred women in costume. One had taped a paper bulls-eye to her back. Others masqueraded as carrots and lichen, both favorite foods of reindeer.

At the signal to go, the reindeer stampeded into the crowd. Passing tourist shops, the downtown federal building and a stand selling reindeer hotdogs, the animals were well out in front by the halfway point.

"We thought, 'OK, they're just going to mosey along,' but they took off running," said Amanda Pelkola, who dressed as a carrot with a friend. "We got smoked by the reindeer."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press

26 Feb 08 - 10:22 AM (#2272721)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

LOL!! SOmeone forgot to explain the game to the reindeer!!


27 Feb 08 - 02:22 AM (#2273389)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Physicists Demonstrate Qubit-Qutrit Entanglement
By Lisa Zyga

For the first time, physicists have entangled a qubit with a ÒqutritÓ Ð the 3D version of the 2D qubit. Qubit-qutrit entanglement could lead to advantages in quantum computing, such as increased security and more efficient quantum gates, as well as enable novel tests of quantum mechanics.

The research team, composed of physicists from the University of Queensland, the University of Bristol, and the University of Waterloo, has published its results in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters. The researchers made qutrits with biphotons (two correlated photons), resulting in Òbiphotonic qutrits.Ó Then, they entangled these qutrits with photonic qubits (made with one photon) using a combination of linear optic elements and measurements.

A qutrit, just as it sounds, is the quantum information analogue of the classical trit. Due to its quantum mechanical nature, a qutrit can exist in superpositions of its three basis states. This is similar to how a qubit can exist in superpositions of its two states. Because of the qutritÕs 3D nature, though, it can carry much more information than the qubit. (A string of n classical bits holds 1n states, a string of n qubits holds 2n states, and a string of n qutrits holds 3n states.)

27 Feb 08 - 05:36 AM (#2273509)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Air Car could Come to America

On the first take the notion of a car that runs on the same air we breathe sounds like something just short of a miracle. Even the MDI inventor and former Formula One engineer Guy Negre admits that only the likes of Jules Verne mused of such a vehicle.

It is no wonder then that Verne and Negre share the same birthday. For the principle behind air-driven propulsion is fairly basic. A tank with compressed air, most likely pressurized to about 4500 psi, sets the wheels in motion by delivering force directly to the pistons with little or no internal combustion. The result is a zero-emissions vehicle that can travel about 120 miles at a top speed of 70 mph.

Tata, India's largest automaker, and a number of unnamed Japanese investors have already licensed the technology. There are also unconfirmed reports that the upcoming model of MDI might even make its way stateside in the next 2 years and go for around $17,800.

At the top link you'll find the text quoted, and a video "sales pitch." (The YouTube video didn't start automatically for me, so dialuppers can click safely.) Nothing particularly revolutionary about using compressed air to run an airmotor. The pitch makes pretty good sense until about the last fifteen seconds of the video.


27 Feb 08 - 10:31 AM (#2273696)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

YEah, but you still have to use coal-based grid electricity or gasoline-driven generators to compress air in the first place.

How many miles do you get from an air car per 35 kWhrs, or per 115K BTU, or per 120.6 megajoules of energy used in running the compression system to fuel it?

These values (IIRC) are approximately the energy equivalents of one gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.


27 Feb 08 - 11:08 AM (#2273728)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Noting that earlier post from Anchorage, one guesses that when you're dressed like a carrot you're safe from being gored?

Oh, wait, that Pamplona action wasn't part of the Alaska event.

27 Feb 08 - 11:47 AM (#2273761)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Warrantless Searches Removed From Legislation in Mexico

Published: February 27, 2008
MEXICO CITY — Mexican lawmakers on Tuesday stripped a controversial provision from their plan to overhaul the country's judiciary that would have given police officers, who are widely mistrusted here, the ability to enter homes without obtaining warrants beforehand.

Warrantless searches would have been allowed only in emergencies and in cases of hot pursuit of criminal suspects. But human rights groups had strongly opposed the measure, fearing that a police force notorious for corruption would abuse the authority.

Does anyone know the tune to "The World Turned Upside Down"?

One newspaper labeled the plan the "Gestapo law."

The last-minute change, approved overwhelmingly by the House of Deputies, delays passage of a revamping of the country's judicial system that is meant to speed up trials that now stretch on for years and to better equip the country in its battle against narcotics traffickers.

27 Feb 08 - 05:26 PM (#2274106)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)


Santa Fe, NM, remains a state capital without air service.
Tribal leaders at Santo Domingo Pueblo have objected to commercial flights from Los Angeles to Santa Fe because they would fly over Santo Domingo lands. As a result, a Federal environment assessment is required.
Not only would overflights be objectionable for noise and privacy reasons, but passengers might take photographs of their Pueblo and lands.
Airlines applying for permission to service Santa Fe are Delta and American Eagle. Article Feb 27, 2008.

27 Feb 08 - 06:00 PM (#2274134)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Does anyone know the tune to "The World Turned Upside Down"?

I'm assuming that is a rhetorical question?

28 Feb 08 - 10:53 AM (#2274768)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

As I was watching the news (CBS I believe) while getting ready for work this morning they did a story on the US economy. The housing crisis, fears of inflation and the credit crunch were all mentioned. One of the comments about the credit crunch just floored me. They were saying that banks have tightened up their lending practices which makes it more difficult for poeple to get loans. Then they said that "if people can't borrow, they can't spend."

28 Feb 08 - 11:11 AM (#2274789)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Scary thought, isn't it? But I suppose in that context of buying a home, where most people don't have the price of a house up front, you do have to "borrow to spend."

Let me go check those numbers on last night's lotto ticket. . .

28 Feb 08 - 11:37 AM (#2274826)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

In the context of a home loan then cleary it is true for most people (my in-laws paid cash). I like to think that is what was meant but they didn't say so explicitly. The phrase really caught my ear though, whatever they actually meant.

28 Feb 08 - 11:40 AM (#2274829)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

By the by, they could pay cash because they are tight as a drum.

28 Feb 08 - 12:58 PM (#2274907)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Except for our house, we have paid cash for everything we have -- well, we did a few home improvement jobs on time, but with zero per cent interest for 12 months, and we made damn sure to pay them off completely before any interest became due. We buy week-to-week on credit card and pay the full amount off each billing period, and refuse to pay interest if we can possibly avoid it.

Still, it was a rhetorical question in ligth of the fact that Mexico, notorious for corruption and authoritarian priveleged leadership, is now making laws constraining warrantless search while our administration is demanding the right for warrantless search.


29 Feb 08 - 07:02 PM (#2276157)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Note to all non-critical thinkers out there: When books suggest that a 4 to 8 year old child lived in Europe with wild wolves then trekked 1,900 miles across many nations to find her parents, don't believe it.

From the following article is this paragraph:

She didn't live with a pack of wolves to escape the Nazis. She didn't trek 1,900 miles across Europe in search of her deported parents, nor kill a German soldier in self-defense. She's not even Jewish.

I haven't read this book. If I did, I wouldn't read this as nonfiction. This falls in the category of "memoir," in which a fanciful re-telling of a life is conducted by the author. Some people confuse "memoir" with "autobiography." Apparently a lot of people do, if they translated it as often and sold as many as this article says.

I wonder also that "Sharon Sergeant, a genealogical researcher in Waltham" should go to such great lengths to track all of this stuff down? Why didn't she simply say "this is utter nonsense. Prove it or call it fiction or memoir."

No common sense in this entire episode. It looks like everyone got what they diserved. At the end of the story there is a line Lee, of Newton, muttered "Oh my God" when told Defonseca made up her childhood and was not Jewish. Really? You really believed that an 8-year-old child trekked 1,900 miles and lived with wolves? Really? I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like you to invest in. . .

Writer Admits Holocaust Book Is Not True
February 29, 2008

BOSTON - Almost nothing Misha Defonseca wrote about herself or her horrific childhood during the Holocaust was true.

She didn't live with a pack of wolves to escape the Nazis. She didn't trek 1,900 miles across Europe in search of her deported parents, nor kill a German soldier in self-defense. She's not even Jewish.

Defonseca, a Belgian writer now living in Massachusetts, admitted through her lawyers this week that her best-selling book, "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years," was an elaborate fantasy she kept repeating, even as the book was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France.

"This story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of surviving," Defonseca said in a statement given by her lawyers to The Associated Press.

"I ask forgiveness to all who felt betrayed. I beg you to put yourself in my place, of a 4-year-old girl who was very lost," the statement said.

Defonseca, 71, has an unlisted number in Dudley, about 50 miles southwest of Boston. Her husband, Maurice, told The Boston Globe on Thursday that she would not comment.

Defonseca wrote in her book that Nazis seized her parents when she was a child, forcing her to wander the forests and villages of Europe alone for four years. She claimed she found herself trapped in the Warsaw ghetto and was adopted by a pack of wolves that protected her.

Her two Brussels-based lawyers said the author acknowledged her story was not autobiographical. In the statement, Defonseca said she never fled her home in Brussels during the war to find her parents.

Defonseca says her real name is Monique De Wael and that her parents were arrested and killed by Nazis as Belgian resistance fighters.

The statement said her parents were arrested when she was 4 and she was taken care of by her grandfather and uncle. She said she was poorly treated by her adopted family, called a "daughter of a traitor" because of her parents' role in the resistance, which she said led her to "feel Jewish."

She said there were moments when she "found it difficult to differentiate between what was real and what was part of my imagination."

Pressure on the author to defend the accuracy of her book had grown in recent weeks, after the release of evidence found by Sharon Sergeant, a genealogical researcher in Waltham. Sergeant said she found clues in the unpublished U.S. version of the book, including Defonseca's maiden name "De Wael" - which was changed in the French version - and photos.

After a few months of research, she found Defonseca's Belgian baptismal certificate and school record, as well as information that showed her parents were members of the Belgian resistance.

"Each piece was plausible, but the difficulty was when you put it all together," Sergeant said.

Others also had doubts.

"I'm not an expert on relations between humans and wolves, but I am a specialist of the persecution of Jews, and they (Defonseca's family) can't be found in the archives," Belgian historian Maxime Steinberg told RTL television. "The De Wael family is not Jewish nor were they registered as Jewish."

Defonseca's attorneys, siblings Nathalie and Marc Uyttendaele, contacted the author last weekend to show her evidence published in the Belgian daily Le Soir, which also questioned her story.

"We gave her this information and it was very difficult. She was confronted with a reality that is different from what she has been living for 70 years," Nathalie Uyttendaele said.

Defonseca's admission is just the latest controversy surrounding her 1997 book, which also spawned a multimillion dollar legal battle between the woman, her co-author and the book's U.S. publisher.

Defonseca had been asked to write the book by publisher Jane Daniel in the 1990s, after Daniel heard the writer tell the story in a Massachusetts synagogue.

Daniel and Defonseca fell out over profits received from the best-selling book, which led to a lawsuit. In 2005, a Boston court ordered Daniel to pay Defonseca and her ghost writer Vera Lee $22.5 million. Defonseca's lawyers said Daniel has not yet paid the court-ordered sum.

Daniel said Friday she felt vindicated by Defonseca's admission and would try to get the judgment overturned. She said she could not fully research Defonseca's story before it was published because the woman claimed she did not know her parents' names, her birthday or where she was born.

"There was nothing to go on to research," she said.

Lee, of Newton, muttered "Oh my God" when told Defonseca made up her childhood and was not Jewish. She said she always believed the stories the woman told her as they prepared to write the book, and no research she did gave her a reason not to.

"She always maintained that this was truth as she recalled it, and I trusted that that was the case," Lee said. "I was just totally bowled over by the news."

29 Feb 08 - 07:07 PM (#2276163)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

"We always paid for everything except our house"
I'm one up on you Amos

10 Mar 08 - 04:19 PM (#2284621)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Thou shall not pollute the Earth. Thou shall beware genetic manipulation. Modern times bring with them modern sins. So the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight.

The guidance came at the weekend when Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, the Vatican's number two man in the sometimes murky area of sins and penance, spoke of modern evils.

Asked what he believed were today's "new sins," he told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the greatest danger zone for the modern soul was the largely uncharted world of bioethics.

"(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control," he said.

The Vatican opposes stem cell research that involves destruction of embryos and has warned against the prospect of human cloning.

Girotti, in an interview headlined "New Forms of Social Sin," also listed "ecological" offences as modern evils.

In recent months, Pope Benedict has made several strong appeals for the protection of the environment, saying issues such as climate change had become gravely important for the entire human race.

10 Mar 08 - 04:25 PM (#2284624)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian tank crashed through a villager's house after the crew stopped to buy more vodka at a nearby shop.

Footage from a mobile phone camera showed the tank hitting a corner of the house and a laughing, and apparently drunk, driver awkwardly trying to clamber aboard with two bottles of vodka.

"Get him out of the tank," screamed a woman in the village in the Urals.

The army promised Friday to pay compensation and said the tank must have been broken and fallen behind a column heading to a test site for exercises. Earlier it said the vehicle slid on melting ice.

"Of course, there were violations but the crew acted in good faith to catch up with its unit," said Colonel Konstantin Lazutkin, spokesman for Russia's Volga-Urals Military District.

"Thank God, they didn't shoot," the house owner said on the video.

10 Mar 08 - 08:44 PM (#2284907)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I heard about the tank on the news this morning. We have lots of tanked drivers here too, it's nothing new, drivers hitting houses. There is one guy a few miles from here who has had to rebuild his garage TWICE because of drunk drivers.

My mother told a story about a relative's house that was situated on a corner out in a rural part of the county road apporaching the tiny town of Silvana, in Washington State. He had a big lilac hedge around that corner, and every so often a drunk driver would plow into it. He would fine them for damaging his hedge.


10 Mar 08 - 10:48 PM (#2284989)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos


Our house is paid for; we just didn't have the price in cash to hand when we bought it, so we used a mortgage and paid down principle on alternate 15 day intervals until it was paid off.


10 Mar 08 - 10:52 PM (#2284991)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

We have one house in Wichita that was repeatedly slammed by inattentive drivers. It's at a "T" intersection where a "one-way" street dead-ends and a turn is required. Lots of cars didn't make the turn.

After the fifth or sixth rebuild, and inadequate compensation from city and insurers, the owner erected a four foot tall by four foot thick brick (faced) wall reinforced with railroad track in place of normal Re-Bar. He was subsequently forced to install heavy plantings to "slow them down" before impact to avoid a "growth of ugliness" in the wall.

The city threatened to sue on grounds that the wall was a "hazard to motorists," but in recent years have cooperated by not repairing any potholes in the three or four blocks approacing the intersection, and with the resulting slow-down in traffic there have been no recent reports of further crashes.


10 Mar 08 - 10:57 PM (#2284993)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm the target in a T intersection, and have been slowly building a berm in the front yard right there at that point. It isn't very big yet, might send a car airborn if it's going very fast. But I'm working on it. There is a tree in front of it, but the last one was a dud and has about died. I'll plant a new one this spring.


11 Mar 08 - 11:35 AM (#2285339)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

BOULDER, Colo. -- A Boulder woman said she will fight a $1,000 fine she was given for coloring her miniature poodle pink.

Joy Douglas said she colored Cici pink to help raise awareness for breast cancer. The salon owner said she has used beet juice -- and occasionally Kool-Aid -- for four years now to "stain" her dog.

Officials at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley told the Daily Camera Douglas was warned several times before she was issued the ticket on March 1.

Douglas is accused of violating the city's code that says "No person shall dye or color live fowl, rabbits, or any other animals." It's a code meant to keep people from dyeing rabbits and chicks at Easter...

12 Mar 08 - 01:23 AM (#2286027)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Today, March 11, has been a historical day.

The people of Mississippi turned out in record numbers to vote for a balck President.

And the House decided to improve itself ethically:

WASHINGTON Ñ In the wake of a string of Congressional misconduct and corruption cases, the House on Tuesday created an independent panel to investigate suspected wrongdoing by lawmakers, despite deep reservations from rank-and-file lawmakers from both parties.

The new Office of Congressional Ethics was promoted by Democratic leaders as a way to restore credibility to an internal policing process that had been seen as largely ineffective in recent years, even as individual lawmakers were indicted, rebuked and jailed for various offenses. The vote to establish the office was 229 to 182.

By creating a panel of six people of Òexceptional public standing,Ó the House, for the first time, delegated the authority for regulating behavior in the House to nonlawmakers. Current members of the House, federal employees and anyone who has been a registered lobbyist in the past year would be ineligible.

12 Mar 08 - 09:31 AM (#2286258)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Actress from 'Gilligan's Island' serving probation under plea

DRIGGS, Idaho (AP) -- Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island," is serving six months' unsupervised probation after allegedly being caught with marijuana in her car.

She was sentenced February 29 to five days in jail, fined $410.50 and placed on probation after pleading guilty to one count of reckless driving.

Under a plea agreement, three misdemeanor counts -- driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance -- were dropped.

On October 18, Teton County sheriff's Deputy Joseph Gutierrez arrested Wells as she was driving home from a surprise birthday party that was held for her.

According to the sheriff's office report, Gutierrez pulled Wells over after noticing her swerve and repeatedly speed up and slow down. When Gutierrez asked about a marijuana smell, Wells said she'd just given a ride to three hitchhikers and had dropped them off when they began smoking something. Gutierrez found half-smoked joints and two small cases used to store marijuana.
The 69-year-old Wells, founder of the Idaho Film and Television Institute and organizer of the region's annual family movie festival called the Spud Fest, then failed a sobriety test.

Wells' lawyer, Ron Swafford, said that a friend of Wells testified he'd left a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle after using it that day, and that Wells was unaware of it. Swafford also said several witnesses were prepared to testify that Wells had very little to drink at the party and was not intoxicated when she left. He said she was swerving on the road because she was trying to find the heater controls in her new car.

12 Mar 08 - 10:52 AM (#2286345)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

MaryAnn is 69? How can that be?

12 Mar 08 - 01:15 PM (#2286529)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Jeb's charter could close

   When it opened in 1996, the Liberty City Charter School sparked a movement.

Headed by Jeb Bush , not yet governor, and T. Willard Fair , not yet State Board of Education chairman, the school in an impoverished section of Miami signaled the beginning of Florida's new initiative in which private groups would get public funds to run schools and be held to state accountability measures.

''Our opening had national implications,'' principal Katrina Wilson-Davis recalled to the Miami Herald. "I remember CNN and MSNBC coming down to our school site. Everybody wanted to see what accountability was all about. We were leading the charge.''

Hundreds of other charters followed, as did the rise in state politics for Bush and Fair.

Today, the charter movement continues. But the Miami-Dade School Board will consider shutting down Liberty City Charter, the Miami Herald reports. The school has faced a "financial emergency" for two years.

"I understand the position that the School Board is in, but I wish they would give us a little more time to get our finances in order,'' Wilson-Davis told the Herald. "We've done enough good work over the last 12 years to merit a second look.''

If not, the school's 200 or so students will be transferred to other schools in the district.

12 Mar 08 - 03:50 PM (#2286689)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Weird. Just plain weird. I'd have them both taken in for examination. This is a low-functioning couple, no doubt about it.

Sheriff: US woman sat on boyfriend's toilet for 2 years; didn't want to leave bathroom
March 12, 2008

WICHITA, Kansas - Deputies say a woman in western Kansas became stuck on her boyfriend's toilet after sitting on it for two years. Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said it appeared the 35-year-old woman's skin had grown around the seat. She initially refused emergency medical services but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked out at a hospital.

"We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital," Whipple said. "The hospital removed it."

Whipple said investigators planned to present their report Wednesday to the county attorney, who will determine whether any charges should be filed against the woman's 36-year-old boyfriend. "She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body," Whipple said. "It is hard to imagine. ... I still have a hard time imagining it myself."

He told investigators he brought his girlfriend food and water, and asked her every day to come out of the bathroom.

"And her reply would be, `Maybe tomorrow,'" Whipple said. "According to him, she did not want to leave the bathroom."

The house had another bathroom he could use.

The boyfriend called police on Feb. 27 to report that "there was something wrong with his girlfriend," Whipple said, adding that he never explained why it took him two years to call.

Police found the clothed woman sitting on the toilet, her sweat pants down to her mid-thigh. She was "somewhat disoriented," and her legs looked like they had atrophied, Whipple said.

"She said that she didn't need any help, that she was OK and did not want to leave," he said.

She was taken to a hospital in Wichita, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of their home in Ness City. She was listed in fair condition. Whipple said she has refused to cooperate with medical providers or law enforcement investigators.

Authorities said they did not know if she was mentally or physically disabled.

Police have declined to release the couple's names, but the house where authorities say the incident happened is listed in public records as the residence of Kory McFarren. No one answered his home phone number.

The case has been the buzz of Ness City, said James Ellis, a neighbor.

"I don't think anybody can make any sense out of it," he said.

Ellis said he had known the woman since she was a child but that he had not seen her for at least six years.

He said she had a tough childhood after her mother died at a young age and apparently was usually kept inside the house as she grew up. At one time the woman worked for a long-term care facility, he said, but he did not know what kind of work she did there.

"It really doesn't surprise me," Ellis said of the bathroom incident. "What surprises me is somebody wasn't called in a bit earlier."

12 Mar 08 - 03:58 PM (#2286696)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

So...lemme see if I have this right...she refused to get off the throne for TWO YEARS before he finally figured it had gone on long enough??? Jaysus... some folks have a really, really, long lag as far as responding to events.

I guess in another two years, he'll probably notice she's gone.


12 Mar 08 - 04:24 PM (#2286719)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

That has got to be one of the strangest ever and I don't make that statement lightly. Two years on the pot. My wife thinks I take too long and I don't even read a whole magazine article.

12 Mar 08 - 04:57 PM (#2286750)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Student suspended for buying Skittles at school

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) -- Contraband candy has led to big trouble for an eighth-grade honors student in Connecticut.

Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate.

School spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo says the New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy.

Michael's suspension has been reduced from three days to one, but he has not been reinstated as class vice president.

He says he didn't realize his candy purchase was against the rules -- although he did notice the student selling the Skittles on February 26 was being secretive.

12 Mar 08 - 10:16 PM (#2286998)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That bathroom story is a head-scratcher, but I don't have the heart to make it into a thread of its own. Those people are to be pitied, not ridiculed.


13 Mar 08 - 09:35 AM (#2287297)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Those people are to be pitied, not ridiculed.

Couldn't agree more. Just too strange.

13 Mar 08 - 09:46 AM (#2287308)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

On a more uplifting note:

School clears kids in contraband candy caper

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) -- School officials have decided to go light on an eighth-grader caught with contraband candy in New Haven, Connecticut.

Michael Sheridan, an eighth-grade honors student who was suspended for a day, barred from attending an honors dinner and stripped of his title as class vice president after he was caught with a bag of Skittles candy in school will get his student council post back, school officials said.

Superintendent Reginald Mayo said in a statement late Wednesday that he and principal Eleanor Turner met with student Michael's parents and that Turner decided to clear the boy's record and restore him to his student council post.

Michael was disciplined after he was caught buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate. The classmate's suspension also will be expunged, school officials said.
The New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy, school spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo said.

"I am sorry this has happened," Turner said in a statement. "My hope is that we can get back to the normal school routine, especially since we are in the middle of taking the Connecticut mastery test."

Turner said she should have reinforced in writing the verbal warnings against candy transactions.

Michael had said that he didn't realize his candy purchase was against the rules, but he did notice that the student selling the Skittles on February 26 was being secretive.

13 Mar 08 - 05:23 PM (#2287724)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Glass Baby Bottles Make a Comeback
From Associated Press
March 13, 2008

NEW YORK - Meg Robustelli had heard reports that a chemical in most plastic baby bottles could be dangerous, but she had not done anything about it. That's when her mother stepped in and bought her glass bottles. "She's an alarmist, but I'm grateful," said Robustelli, whose daughter, Mia, is 14 months old. "I switched because of all the concerns about the plastic."

She made the change about six months ago, becoming one of a relatively small but growing number of parents turning to glass bottles amid concerns over a chemical used to make plastic bottles, bisphenol A. "I wish I was using glass from the beginning, so I could have avoided any exposure," said Robustelli, of Stamford, Conn.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a manmade chemical used in polycarbonate plastic, the material used to make most baby bottles and other shatterproof plastic food containers. Americans are widely exposed to BPA, but opinions on its safety are mixed.

The Food and Drug Administration says current uses with food are safe. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says animal testing has shown that BPA has hormone-like effects on the reproductive system. The CDC says more study is needed to see if it could be harming people.

Some pediatricians advise families to use alternatives to polycarbonate bottles to be on the safe side.

"I can't assure parents that it's safe, and I would not use that for my own babies," said Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician and author of "Raising Baby Green." "There are a number of BPA-free bottles, and I also love glass bottles."

As parents turn to glass, manufacturers are responding with new versions of the old-fashioned favorite.

Babies "R" Us had a dramatic increase in glass bottle sales in the spring of 2007 and current sales are more than five times what they were a year ago, the company said, without releasing figures.

Dr. Brown's, which has been making a polycarbonate bottle for about a decade, introduced a glass version in early January because of customer demand, said Carolyn Hentschell, president of Handi-Craft Co./Dr. Brown's Natural Flow.

"If you're a mom and you have concerns (about BPA), here's an obvious choice*," she said. "We don't want them to feel like they have to go to another baby bottle." *Funny, I used the "other" other choice, the breast, and never had any of these problems.

Evenflo, which has made glass bottles for the last 70 years, said sales shot up by more than 100 percent between 2006 and 2007, and continue to climb this year. Evenflo and Dr. Brown's, who say glass bottles still make up less than 10 percent of bottle sales, give parents a choice of bottles. A few other companies are staying away from BPA altogether.

BornFree, a Florida company that started a few years ago with BPA-free bottles and cups, added glass bottles about a year ago. "From day one, we were free of polycarbonate products," said company President Ron Vigdor. "We saw a need for that." Glass generally costs more. A three-pack of 8 oz. Dr. Brown's polycarbonate bottles has a suggested price of $12.99, the same price recommended for a two-pack of the company's glass bottles.

Glass, of course, can break, and parents need to be careful. Once babies can hold their own bottles or walk, they should not be given a glass bottle to drink on their own, experts say.

Greene said the bottles are a great choice for parents with the youngest babies, still being safely held while they are fed. "By the time the child is big enough to be walking around, I prefer it'd be a sippy cup," he said. (Several BPA-free plastic cups are being made.)

Robustelli, the Connecticut mom, said Mia broke one bottle, which shattered when it hit the ceramic tile floor at a restaurant. "She throws them* here on the regular linoleum tile in our kitchen and on the wood floor and carpet and they are always fine," Robustelli said. "They don't break at home." *Never had a problem with breasts being thrown on the kitchen OR restaurant floor, and they never broke!

As far as cleaning, the bottles can be boiled, go in the dishwasher or a sterilizer, just like plastic. I never ever boiled my nipples. What a lot of nonsense!!! ;-D

"A lot of people think it's going to be a hassle, but they really are treated the same," said Evenflo's Frost. As for maintaining the bottles, they should be checked regularly for nicks or cracks, and replaced if any are found, manufacturers say.

Some bottle makers are also making new versions.

In November, two California companies introduced a glass bottle sheathed in a protective silicone sleeve.

"The sleeve helps protect the bottle from breakage and bumping into articles in your purse or diaper bag," said Pam Marcus, co-founder of Babylife, which makes the WeeGo bottle. "The silicone is a good insulator and provides a great tactile surface for babies' hands."

The other is the Siliskin bottle, made by Silikids.

While the research into BPA continues, the move toward glass bottles has taken hold, at least among some parents. "If I have more children, from the get-go I'll start with the glass," Robustelli said. "It seems like a no-brainer to me now."

Geez, Louise, what a lot of trouble they're going to.


On the Net:

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences BPA Fact Sheet:

Dr. Alan Greene:


13 Mar 08 - 08:49 PM (#2287875)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese bride burned her new husband to death after he got into bed after a drunken argument without washing his feet, state media reported on Wednesday.

"Wang and his wife, Luo, were married on February 2. The couple, however, frequently fought over trivial things while still on their honeymoon," the official Xinhua news agency quoted a local newspaper as saying.

The couple, from the central province of Hubei, had another fight on the night of March 4, "and in frustration they together drank a bottle of liquor to ease their anger."

"At about 10 p.m., Luo watched her husband get into bed without cleaning or washing his feet. In a fit of anger and intoxication, she set fire to the sheet he was sleeping in," the report said.

"When he awoke, the two began fighting before a very drunk Wang collapsed. As fire engulfed the bedroom. Luo escaped to the living room, leaving her other half to burn," it added.

The woman has been arrested, Xinhua said.

13 Mar 08 - 11:38 PM (#2287990)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Another marriage up in smoke.

14 Mar 08 - 05:54 AM (#2288082)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Sham audits may have hid theft from GOP

NRCC treasurer accused of siphoning off thousands meant for House races

By Neil A. Lewis
The New York Times
updated 12:18 a.m. CT, Fri., March. 14, 2008

WASHINGTON - The former treasurer of a Republican Congressional fund-raising committee may have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars by submitting elaborately forged audit reports for five years using the letterhead of a legitimate auditing firm, a lawyer for the committee said Thursday.

Robert K. Kelner, a lawyer with Covington & Burling, who was brought in by the National Republican Congressional Committee to investigate accounting irregularities, said a new audit showed that the committee had $740,000 less on hand than it believed. Mr. Kelner said it was unclear whether that amount represented money siphoned off by the former treasurer, Christopher J. Ward.

Mr. Ward, who is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had the authority to make transfers of committee money on his own, Mr. Kelner said.

He said an investigation with the help of PricewaterhouseCoopers had "found a pattern in which Mr. Ward would transfer funds by wire out of the N.R.C.C. to outside committees." From those outside committees, Mr. Kelner said, money was then transferred to "personal and business accounts of Mr. Ward."

Mr. Kelner said that all of this was discovered on Jan. 28 after the current chairman of the committee's auditing panel, Representative Michael K. Conaway of Texas, a certified public accountant, made repeated requests to speak to the committee's outside auditors.

Mr. Conaway has said that after he was repeatedly put off by Mr. Ward, a meeting supposedly with the auditors was scheduled for that day.

But 30 minutes before it was to take place, Mr. Ward sent an e-mail message to colleagues saying that there had, in fact, been no outside audit. Party officials notified the F.B.I. and the Federal Election Commission.

Mr. Kelner said subsequent investigation showed that the five previous audits submitted to the committee by Mr. Ward for the years 2002 through 2006 were bogus. "The last genuine audit was in 2001," he said.

The audit reports, Mr. Kelner said, "looked very genuine" and carried the logotype of a recognized auditing firm that he declined to name. He said they might have appeared real to most people who were not sophisticated readers of such reports.

Ronald Machen, Mr. Ward's lawyer, declined to comment.

The committee is the chief fund-raising arm for Republicans running for the House.

Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, its chairman, briefed the Republican Congressional leadership on Thursday. In a statement, Mr. Cole said he had told them that "the information we have today indicates we have been deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual."

Mr. Ward was named treasurer of the national Republican committee in 2003 after serving for several years as an assistant treasurer. He had also been a partner in a political consulting firm, Political Compliance Services, that worked in 2004 on behalf of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group behind advertisements attacking the military record of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee.

Mr. Kelner lamented the fact that the finances of the Republican committee had been set up to allow Mr. Ward to authorize wire transfers of money unilaterally.

"In hindsight, it would have been better to have had tighter controls," he said.

Copyright © 2008 The New York Times

16 Mar 08 - 12:38 AM (#2289479)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Man arrested for 'having sex with lamp-post'
By Bonnie Malkin
Last Updated: 1:38am GMT 07/03/2008 (U.K. Telegraph)

A 32-year-old man has been arrested in Wiltshire for allegedly simulating a sex act with a lamp-post.

The incident is the latest in a spate of bizarre sex crimes involving inanimate objects.


The incident was witnessed by children
A police spokesman said officers were called to a road in the town of Westbury on February 16 after they received a report of a man acting indecently outside a block of flats "occupied by several young women".

When they arrived they arrested him on suspicion of outraging public decency.

The man was released on bail, but following an investigation into the incident and several interviews with witnesses - including children - he was recalled for questioning. He has since been re-released pending further inquiries.

The Wiltshire police spokesman said: "We are awaiting a decision as to whether there should be a prosecution".

The incident echoes a similar case last week when a Polish contractor was caught on his knees with a vacuum cleaner in a hospital staff canteen.

A security guard walked in on the man in the middle of a compromising act with the Henry Hoover appliance. He later claimed he was cleaning his underpants. He has now been fired.

Last year, Robert Stewart was placed on probation for three years after being caught trying to have sex with a bicycle.

The 51-year-old was naked from the waist down when two cleaners walked in on him at the Aberley House Hostel in south west Scotland.

He paused only to ask, "What is it, hen?", before continuing to "move his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex".

In 1993, Karl Watkins, an electrician, was jailed for having sex with pavements in Redditch, Worcs.

16 Mar 08 - 12:42 AM (#2289480)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

ST. LUCIE COUNTY Ñ Authorities said a man charged with exposure of sexual organs was showing a lot more than that on a stretch of U.S. 1 Thursday morning.

Callers told 911 dispatchers that David John Campbell, 41, of Fort Pierce was walking completely naked on northbound U.S. 1 near Kitterman Road. A deputy caught up with Campbell at 6 a.m. in the 6400 block of U.S. 1 as school buses were on the road, according to Campbell's arrest affidavit.

Campbell said he was under instructions from Jesus to take the nude stroll, the report said.

16 Mar 08 - 12:50 AM (#2289484)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

And from WIsconsin:

FRIDAY, March 14, 2008, 11:38 a.m.
By Linda Spice
Naked run on $30 bet costs plenty more
A man ran naked across frozen Silver Lake on a $30 bet yesterday, but the cold streak cost him much more when he was busted by a Kenosha County sheriff's deputy watching from a nearby boat launch.

In this report released today, Sgt. Gil Benn, public information officer for the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department, wrote:

"The long winter has finally taken its toll.

"On 3-13-08 at approx. 1620 hrs., Dep. Zarletti was parked by the Silver Lake DNR boat launch when he was alerted by a citizen that a male was running across the frozen lake in the nude. Dep. Zarletti located the subject and identified him as John F. Greely (18) a local resident. Greely was wearing nothing but socks, and he was sober. He reported that he streaked on a 30 dollar bet. Dep. Zarletti issued him a county ordinance citation ($753.00 bond) for lewd and lascivious behavior. It's unknown whether he recovered on his bet.

"Spring is juuuuust around the corner."

16 Mar 08 - 01:21 AM (#2289496)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Amos, where do you have your browser pointed today? I detect a trend.

16 Mar 08 - 01:32 AM (#2289500)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Too smart, Stilly -- someone sent me a link to Fark, where they collect this sort of thing.


16 Mar 08 - 12:12 PM (#2289761)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Interesting. Still doesn't explain your one-track mind, from all of those stories, but I can see where you found them.


16 Mar 08 - 12:34 PM (#2289778)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Lies My Government Told Me about the economy.

A keen, if sad, analysis. What do you say when the Bush administration tells you energy costs have gone down in February?


16 Mar 08 - 11:01 PM (#2290248)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

GLOUCESTER, Mass. Ñ A meat thief is no match for an angry restaurant owner swinging a ham.

Joe Scola said he heard a noise in his Scola's Place restaurant in Gloucester and saw a man trying to get away with his arms full of meat taken from the restaurant freezer.

Scola said that when he caught up with the man and started taking back his stock, the man raised a 5-pound log of frozen Italian meat over his head as if to use it as a weapon.

The restaurant owner had a frozen ham in his hand and slammed it into the man's face, making a gash. The stunned thief dropped his loot and ran.

Police said they haven't found the man responsible for the Wednesday confrontation.

18 Mar 08 - 04:51 AM (#2291410)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Suspected Arsonist Arrested

The Associated Press
updated 2:48 a.m. CT, Tues., March. 18, 2008


Officers were placed around homes currently under construction after police had gotten two arson complaints within the past week.

Several officers, including Detective Thomas Redmond, watched the 17-year-old walk away from his Lambertville home early Sunday carrying a bucket before he approached ... a ... vehicle.

Police say the teen unscrewed the gas cap and started siphoning the fuel before Redmond got out of the car* and chased him.

Authorities say the teen later admitted to the two arsons as well as three other arsons in 2006.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press

* Yep, that's right. He was siphoning the gas out of the car driven and occupied by the cop who was looking for the arsonist.


18 Mar 08 - 08:24 AM (#2291484)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Satellite turns 50 years old ... in orbit!

Oldest artificial object still in space

By James Oberg
NBC News space analyst
updated 2:07 p.m. CT, Mon., March. 17, 2008

HOUSTON - The oldest surviving artificial Earth satellite, Vanguard 1, turned 50 years old on Monday — and continued to turn in its orbit, just as it has done since its launch at the dawn of the Space Age. The craft is in a high orbit that promises to be stable for centuries. Circling there, it has outlived almost all of the human beings who created it.

The satellite already has completed more than 197,000 Earth orbits, racking up more than 6 billion miles (10 billion kilometers) of travel. Only the Pioneer and Voyager probes, currently speeding away on the edge of the solar system, have gone farther.

Vanguard 1's current orbit ranges from 400 to 2,400 miles (653 to 3,839 kilometers) in altitude, and the high point has dropped only about 60 miles (100 kilometers) in the past half-century. It reliably records one additional orbit every 133 minutes. But the craft's orbital stability is guaranteed only as long as there's no outside interference. And now there's a chance that America's longest-lived spacefarer could have another round of "space pioneering" ahead of it.


The article is fairly lengthy, but well worth clicking over to read for any who remember - or think they do - the "good old days" of early space flight.

Recovery of the satellite to exhibit in a museum is speculatively proposed. Maybe there should be a vote(?).


18 Mar 08 - 08:36 AM (#2291492)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

Fark fanantics fuel favorite fumers.

20 Mar 08 - 10:45 AM (#2293554)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

Watching from what seems to be a dashboard camera we watch a car racing to hit a pedestrian in broad daylight, the car careens into an apartment house playground and wham hits the black man running on foot. In another dash cam video we see a country road at night and a black man fleeing on foot as the car swerves back and forth acceserating and finally hitting the man who flys way into the air. Am I playing a Grand Theft Auto video game, no I am watching the South Carolina State Trooper dash cam footage of their current policy to run down suspects. as seen on CNN

20 Mar 08 - 02:08 PM (#2293794)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I didn't find that story, Don, but I did find this one:

For amputees, an unlikely painkiller: Mirrors

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Army Sgt. Nick Paupore was in the lead Humvee in a convoy rolling through Kirkuk City, Iraq, when the vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.

Paupore says it wasn't a very big explosion, more like a loud firecracker. He could feel the rush going through the vehicle, the change of pressure, smoke filling the cab. He felt a burning sensation in the back of his legs, but he wasn't in pain, and he could actually move his legs. He felt lucky. He was alive. He got out of the vehicle, intending to help the others, and passed out.

When he regained consciousness, medics were working on him. The blast had ripped out a chunk of his leg, including 6 to 8 inches of an artery, and he was bleeding out. By the time they had stanched the flow, he had less than two pints of blood left. The average person has 10 pints of blood.

Paupore was flown to Germany, where doctors fought to save his life. He survived, but they couldn't save his leg.

And he was in excruciating pain -- in the leg he no longer had.

Dr. Jack Tsao, a Navy neurologist with the Uniform Services University, was looking for ways to help soldiers like Paupore. He remembered reading in graduate school a paper by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran that talked about an unusual treatment for amputees suffering "phantom limb pain," using a simple $20 mirror.

The mirror tricks the brain into "seeing" the amputated leg, overriding mismatched nerve signals.

Here's how it works: The patient sits on a flat surface with his or her remaining leg straight out and then puts a 6-foot mirror lengthwise facing the limb. The patient moves the leg, flexing it, and watches the movement in the mirror. The reflection creates the illusion of two legs moving together.

Paupore was one of the first to give it a try. At first, he was skeptical. When approached about joining a clinical trial at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to test Tsao's theory, he declined. But sometimes his phantom pains were coming five to six times an hour and lasting up to a minute.

"I was laying in bed and it just, all of a sudden, it felt like I was getting shocked," he said. "I called the nurse, 'cause I was like, 'What's going on?' " The nurse told him, "This is probably your phantom pain."

Tsao explains it this way: "It's the sensation that the limb is still present, and phantom pain in particular is the sensation that the limb is experiencing pain of some form."

That pain is intense, and often medication brings very little relief. For Paupore, it was relentless.

"All of a sudden, it was like someone kept turning on and off the Taser, and my whole leg started twitching. ... I sat up, and I was holding on to my stump, and it just wouldn't stop. At that time, I was hooked up to the Dilaudid [a powerful narcotic], and I was pushing it. But you can push all the medicine in the world, and it won't stop it."

Paupore and 17 other amputees who joined Tsao's mirror therapy trial were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group used the mirror to look at their reflected image as they tried to move both legs. The second group used a covered mirror and did the same. And members of the third group were asked to visualize moving their amputated limbs.

After a month of treatment, all of the patients in the mirror group had significantly less phantom pain. In the covered mirror group, only one patient experienced a decrease in pain, and for half of those patients, the pain worsened. Sixty-seven percent of the patients visualizing their limbs got worse instead of better. The pain decreased in almost 90 percent of the patients who then switched to mirror therapy.

It worked wonders for Paupore, 32. Within five months, he was off painkillers completely. Tsao says the difference is like night and day.

"To see him walking, he's able to drive his car; he works downtown; I mean, that is incredibly gratifying!"

Phantom limb pain plagues as many as 95 percent of amputees, Tsao said.

He says even though phantom pain dates to Civil War days, no one knows what causes it. The current thinking is that it has to do with how the brain interprets signals from the pain pathways that are left after amputation.

The neurons that control leg movement are still there, but in the absence of a limb, they are not sure what they're supposed to do and begin firing randomly. Proprioception, the body's ability to sense the position of a limb, tells the body that the limb is still there, sending mismatched signals to the brain.

"The visual neurons are still intact, and they're firing off, telling the brain one thing," Tsao said. "The propriaceptive neurons are firing off, telling the brain something else. ...My thinking is that there is some sort of center in the brain that coordinates these signals. ... Somehow, this mismatched feedback is what's generating the sensation that the limb is frozen or in pain."

Since the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq began, more than 750 amputees have returned home from that area. Walter Reed has treated more than 550 of them. On any given day, between 100 and 125 amputees are there, working to rebuild their lives.

At Reed, mirror therapy is now offered routinely. Tsao says this treatment has the potential to benefit amputees worldwide, and the best part is, no special training is required to do it. He gives interested parties instructions over the phone or by e-mail.

And he's already taken this therapy halfway around the world to Cambodia, a country Tsao says has a large and growing amputee population because of mines left over from its civil war.

Saundra Young is a senior producer with CNN Medical News.

21 Mar 08 - 09:49 AM (#2294398)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Early Wednesday morning, a spot of light just barely visible to the human eye (about fifth magnitude in astronomical parlance) appeared in the constellation Bootës. Astronomers say it was the toasted remains of one of the most titanic examples yet of the explosions known as gamma-ray bursts. News about the burst, in a galaxy seven billion light years away, began circulating by e-mail in the astronomical community when it was detected by NASA's Swift satellite on March 19.

Gamma ray bursts are some of the most violent and enigmatic events in nature. Astronomers surmise that they might mark the implosion of a massive star into a black hole, or the collision of a pair of dense neutron stars.

The visible glow from this burst, said Neil Gehrels of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, was 10 million times as bright as a supernova at that same distance. The universe is some 14 billion years old, which means that the news of this cataclysm has been on its way to us for half the age of the universe. Whatever stars went to their grave then have been dead since before the Sun and Earth were born.

21 Mar 08 - 11:36 AM (#2294481)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Will it gradually get brighter for us, do you think? Interesting.

21 Mar 08 - 12:29 PM (#2294536)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A recently declassified US Army report on the biological effects of non-lethal weapons reveals outlandish plans for "ray gun" devices, which would cause artificial fevers or beam voices into people's heads.

The report titled "Bioeffects Of Selected Nonlethal Weapons" was released under the US Freedom of Information Act and is available on this website (pdf). The DoD has confirmed to New Scientist that it released the documents, which detail five different "maturing non-lethal technologies" using microwaves, lasers and sound.
Released by US Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Meade, Maryland, US, the 1998 report gives an overview of what was then the state of the art in directed energy weapons for crowd control and other applications.

A word in your earSome of the technologies are conceptual, such as an electromagnetic pulse that causes a seizure like those experienced by people with epilepsy. Other ideas, like a microwave gun to "beam" words directly into people's ears, have been tested. It is claimed that the so-called "Frey Effect" – using close-range microwaves to produce audible sounds in a person's ears – has been used to project the spoken numbers 1 to 10 across a lab to volunteers'.

In 2004 the US Navy funded research into using the Frey effect to project sound that caused "discomfort" into the ears of crowds.
The report also discusses a microwave weapon able to produce a disabling "artificial fever" by heating a person's body. While tests of the idea are not mentioned, the report notes that the necessary equipment "is available today". It adds that while it would take at least fifteen minutes to achieve the desired "fever" effect, it could be used to incapacitate people for almost "any desired period consistent with safety."

Less exotic technologies discussed include laser dazzlers and a sound source loud enough to disturb the sense of balance. Both have been realised in the years since the report was written. The US army uses laser dazzlers in Iraq, while the Long Range Acoustic Device has military and civilian users, and has been used on one occasion to repel pirates off Somalia.

However, the report does not mention any trials of weapons for producing artificial fever or seizures, or beaming voices into people's heads.

21 Mar 08 - 02:56 PM (#2294646)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

From The Onion:

Rock-Bottom Loser Entertaining Offers From Several Religions

FINDLAY, OH—Local resident Owen Pritchard's recent downward spiral into drug addiction, unemployment, and complete and utter hopelessness has sparked the intense interest of several top world religions, each of which is vying for his services as a devotee, the 39-year-old uncommitted prospective convert reported Monday.

"I've finally reached a point in my life where all the big religions want me," said Pritchard, whose two failed marriages and mounting gambling debts have left him penniless and in a state of blind despair. "Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism—you name it, they've come to me. I have no job, no family, no direction whatsoever. So right now, I'm totally in the driver's seat."

Some top faiths have noticed Pritchard's ability to plummet to the very depths of depravity.

After declaring his intention to drink himself into oblivion two months ago, Pritchard received pamphlets, letters, and VHS tapes from various religions, all urging him to join their faith. Most deals reportedly guarantee a lifetime of salvation, with additional incentives such as entrance into paradise, the promise of a new and better life, and the ineffable reward of union with a supreme deity. Christianity emerged as an early favorite to land Pritchard Tuesday, after confirming that it had offered him an eternity-length contract with a signing bonus of everlasting bliss.

Pritchard, however, said he was in no rush to accept just any offer, as he expects to remain at the end of his rope for a long time.

"Obviously, I bring a lot to the table," Pritchard said. "I'm a broken shell of a man with nowhere else to turn and I will believe just about anything at this point, so if a religion really wants me, they're going to have to sweeten the pot. For instance, Hinduism is promising me rebirth as a king and the unlocking of all the secrets of the universe. But at this stage, that's not enough. How about throwing in some final redemption, or a car, or complete and total spiritual transcendence?"

"You're going to have to do better than eternal life," Pritchard added. "Everyone's offering that."...

22 Mar 08 - 01:17 PM (#2295221)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Two sisters from Virginia sold their Illinois-shaped cornflake on eBay Friday night for $1,350.

Two sisters from Virginia sold this cornflake for $1,350 on eBay.

"We were biting our nails all the way up to the finish, seeing what would happen," said Melissa McIntire, 23. "There's a lot of relief involved."

The winner of the auction, which lasted more than a week, is the owner of a trivia Web site who wants to add the cornflake to a traveling museum.

"We're starting a collection of pop culture and Americana items," said Monty Kerr of Austin, Texas. "We thought this was a fantastic one." See another oddly shaped food item È

Kerr owns and said he will likely send someone to Virginia to pick up the flake by hand, so it won't be damaged.

This isn't the first cornflake that Kerr has tried to buy. He said he purchased a flake billed as the world's largest, but that by the time it was delivered it had crumbled into three pieces.

McIntire and her sister Emily, 15, listed the cornflake on eBay last week, but eBay canceled the auction, saying it violated the Web site's policy against selling food.

The sisters restarted their eBay auction, advertising a coupon redeemable for their cornflake instead of the cereal itself.

The McIntires said they'll likely use the money for a family vacation.

Copycat items have popped up on eBay, including cornflakes shaped like Hawaii and Virginia. There's also been a potato chip shaped like Florida, and Illinois cornflake paraphernalia, including T-shirts and buttons.

22 Mar 08 - 02:08 PM (#2295271)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I looked at that corn flake and the copy-cats. eBay is a great place for some lowest-common-denominator commerce. :)

23 Mar 08 - 06:43 AM (#2295715)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Horse tries to drop in on hospital patient

The Associated Press
updated 4:40 a.m. CT, Sun., March. 23, 2008

LIHUE, Hawaii - A man hoping to cheer up an ailing relative at Wilcox Memorial Hospital hadn't considered one of the visitation rules: No horses allowed.

The man thought the patient would enjoy seeing his stallion, said Lani Yukimura, a spokeswoman at the hospital. He and the horse entered the hospital earlier this month and rode an elevator up to the third floor, where they were met and stopped by security personnel.

Security managed to get the man and the horse out of the hospital, with "just a few scuff marks," she said.

The hospital has a pet visitation policy, but it's for dogs and cats, not horses.

"On Kauai, we have a very warm inviting atmosphere at Wilcox," Yukimura said. "We just hope people understand this is not a place for a horse."

The man's good intentions were further dashed when his relative was brought out to see the horse.

"That's not my horse," the patient said to hospital staff.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press

23 Mar 08 - 08:54 PM (#2296208)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A Cheeto Cheese Puff in the form of Jesus has been named "Cheesus".


24 Mar 08 - 12:13 AM (#2296301)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Naw, it's just a Smurf with a hard-on. :)

01 Apr 08 - 01:38 AM (#2302923)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Faith the two-legged dog.

Her name could also be Patience, considering all of the people she sees in a visit.


01 Apr 08 - 08:49 PM (#2304035)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Bee-dubya-ell

I have a piece of paper that's shaped like Colorado. Wonder what I can get for it?

01 Apr 08 - 08:54 PM (#2304040)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Peace

Another 49 States and ya jus' might have somethin' there.

01 Apr 08 - 08:57 PM (#2304041)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Peace

(That's wasn't meant to denigrate Colorado.)

01 Apr 08 - 10:21 PM (#2304113)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Hey, BWL, long time no see. Have you been making pots all winter? Coming out for a breath of fresh air and planning your tornado season strategy?


03 Apr 08 - 04:47 PM (#2305821)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Wesley S

Is that a Fender Strat in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

Stratocaster shoplifted

08 Apr 08 - 01:13 PM (#2310233)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Baby with 2 faces born in north India

Associated Press Writer

SAINI SUNPURA, India (AP) -- A baby with two faces was born in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.

The baby, Lali, apparently has an extremely rare condition known as craniofacial duplication, where a single head has two faces. Except for her ears, all of Lali's facial features are duplicated - she has two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes.

"My daughter is fine - like any other child," said Vinod Singh, 23, a poor farm worker.

Lali has caused a sensation in the dusty village of Saini Sunpura, 25 miles east of New Delhi. When she left the hospital, eight hours after a normal delivery on March 11, she was swarmed by villagers, said Sabir Ali, the director of Saifi Hospital.

"She drinks milk from her two mouths and opens and shuts all the four eyes at one time," Ali said.

Rural India is deeply superstitious and the little girl is being hailed as a return of the Hindu goddess of valor, Durga, a fiery deity traditionally depicted with three eyes and many arms.

Up to 100 people have been visiting Lali at her home every day to touch her feet out of respect, offer money and receive blessings, Singh told The Associated Press.

"Lali is God's gift to us," said Jaipal Singh, a member of the local village council. "She has brought fame to our village."

Village chief Daulat Ram said he planned to build a temple to Durga in the village.

"I am writing to the state government to provide money to build the temple and help the parents look after their daughter," Ram said.

Lali's condition is often linked to serious health complications, but the doctor said she was doing well.

"She is leading a normal life with no breathing difficulties," said Ali, adding that he saw no need for surgery.

Lali's parents were married in February 2007. Lali is their first child.

Singh said he took his daughter to a hospital in New Delhi where doctors suggested a CT scan to determine whether her internal organs were normal, but Singh said he felt it was unnecessary.

"I don't feel the need of that at this stage as my daughter is behaving like a normal child, posing no problems," he said.

Blue Clicky

Click on the picture in the story and it will enlarge.

08 Apr 08 - 01:18 PM (#2310240)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Looks like she is a chimera, though there usually isn't an outward sign of the double faces. There was a story on NPR on one of the weekend programs about this condition a couple of weeks ago. It amounts to being your own twin, having absorbed a Siamese twin that might have formed.


08 Apr 08 - 01:27 PM (#2310258)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

I can't but wonder what she will be like as she grows older (assuming she survives). Will both mouths be able to eat, speak and breathe? Will all four eyes work? All controlled by a single brain or is there some split there as well? I wish her well.

08 Apr 08 - 09:08 PM (#2310721)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

67 Bodies Secretly Exhumed From NM Grave
AP link. It's from the AP site itself so I don't know how durable it is, but there are a couple of photos.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Working in secret, federal archaeologists have dug up the remains of dozens of soldiers and children near a Civil War-era fort after an informant tipped them off about widespread grave-looting.

The exhumations, conducted from August to October, removed 67 skeletons from the parched desert soil around Fort Craig — 39 men, two women and 26 infants and children, according to two federal archaeologists who helped with the dig.

They also found scores of empty graves and determined 20 had been looted.

The government kept its exhumation of the unmarked cemetery near the historic New Mexico fort out of the public's eye for months to prevent more thefts.

The investigation began with a tip about an amateur historian who had displayed the mummified remains of a black soldier, draped in a Civil War-era uniform, in his house.

Investigators say the historian, Dee Brecheisen, may have been a prolific looter who spotted historical sites from his plane. Brecheisen died in 2004 and although it was not clear whether the looting continued after his death, authorities exhumed the unprotected site to prevent future thefts.

"As an archaeologist, you want to leave a site in place for preservation ... but we couldn't do that because it could be looted again," Jeffery Hanson, of the Bureau of Reclamation, told The Associated Press.

The remains are being studied by Bureau of Reclamation scientists, who are piecing together information on their identities. They will eventually be reburied at other national cemeteries.

Most of the men are believed to have been soldiers — Fort Craig protected settlers in the West from American Indian raids and played a role in the Civil War. Union troops stationed there fought the Confederacy as it moved into New Mexico from Texas in 1862.

The children buried there may have been local residents treated by doctors at the former frontier outpost, officials said.

Federal officials learned of the looting in November 2004, when Don Alberts, a retired historian for Kirtland Air Force Base, tipped them off about a macabre possession he'd seen at Brecheisen's home about 30 years earlier.

Alberts described seeing the mummified remains of a black soldier with patches of brown flesh clinging to facial bones and curly hair on top of its skull. Alberts said the body had come from Fort Craig.

"The first thing we did was laughed because who would believe such a story," Hanson said. "But then we quickly decided we better go down and check it out."

Weeks later, Hanson and fellow archaeologist Mark Hungerford surveyed the cemetery site and found numerous holes — evidence of unauthorized digging.

While records show the cemetery had been disinterred twice by the Army in the late 1800s, it wasn't known how many bodies remained. Hanson said ground-penetrating radar revealed the Army left behind about one-third of the bodies.

A lack of funding and various federal procedures delayed the excavation until last summer.

Brecheisen's son told authorities where the mummified remains from his father's home were, and a person who hasn't been publicly identified handed over a more-than-century-old skull packaged in a brown paper bag. Alberts said that skull, which still had hair attached, was the one he'd seen years earlier.

Authorities also found some Civil War and American Indian artifacts in Brecheisen's home, but the display rooms that showcased Brecheisen's collections had already been emptied out and auctioned off by his family after his death, Hanson said.

Investigators believe Brecheisen did most of his looting alone, but they also know he dug with close friends and family at the Fort Craig site. Some who accompanied him led authorities to the grave sites, Hanson said.

Brecheisen was a decorated Vietnam veteran and flew for the Air National Guard during a 26-year military career. His family described him as "one of the state's foremost preservationists of historical facts and sites" in his obituary.

Those close to Brecheisen said his looting may have been motivated by anger toward the Bureau of Land Management, but no further details were available. Alberts described him as a collector; it wasn't clear whether Brecheisen sold any of the items.

Investigators believe he also dug up grave sites in Fort Thorn and Fort Conrad in southern New Mexico as well as prehistoric American Indian burial sites in the Four Corners region.

Hungerford said they also believe he may have taken the Fort Craig burial plot map, which is missing from the National Archives.

The criminal case against Brecheisen was closed upon his death and there are no plans to investigate his family members, assistant U.S. Attorney Mary McCulloch said.

Alberts said he asked Brecheisen to come clean.

"I had urged him to simply return the remains, about 10, 15 years before he got ill. I offered to act as an honest broker to the deal and see that they were returned, but I didn't get a response," Alberts said. "I didn't want to get a friend in trouble."

He added: "But you look back and think you would have done everything differently if you would have known everything was going to disappear."

09 Apr 08 - 12:02 PM (#2311159)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

'Darwin chip' brings evolution into the classroom
10:58 08 April 2008 news service
Ewen Callaway

A new "Darwin chip" could make evolution as easy as pressing play.

Researchers have created an automated device that evolves a biological molecule on a chip filled with hundreds of miniature chambers.

The molecule, which stitches together strands of RNA, became 90 times more efficient after just 70 hours of evolution.

"It's survival of the fittest," says Brian Paegel, a biochemist at the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, California, who led the study with colleague Gerald Joyce.

The experiment could be used in the future to evolve molecules – or even cells – to sense environmental pollutants, Paegel says.

Dispelling doubts

And by demonstrating natural selection in real-time, the device could also help dispel doubts over evolution in the classroom and beyond, says Joyce. "There's a whole bunch of people who think evolution is only theory, including some former presidential candidates."

While Darwin used natural selection to explain differences between species, his principles also work at the level of molecules.

RNA is usually used to create proteins from genes. But some kinds of RNA can perform tasks similar to protein enzymes. Paegel's team used just such an RNA molecule, or ligase, in their work.

In the process, the ligase sews another strand of RNA to itself and is then duplicated by a pair of proteins.

Because of occasional errors in copying, the new ligase molecule might work differently from its predecessor – sometimes better, and sometimes worse. Paegel's team wanted to see if they could evolve a better ligase by natural selection.

Evolving ability
To do this, they took a form of ligase that is not very good at recognising RNA molecules, and dumped it in a pool of RNA. After letting it duplicate for a while, the researchers gradually reduced the number of RNA molecules in the pool, meaning that only the more efficient copies of the ligase could survive.

All the reactions occurred in a miniature chamber on the "evolution chip". After reaching a specified level of efficiency, a miniature pump automatically sucked up a small amount of the contents and plopped it into a new chamber. This started another round of selection.

After 70 hours and billions of duplications, Paegel's team stopped the reaction and analysed the last few batches. The ligase molecules they pulled out were able to find and stitch RNA molecules 90 times more efficiently than the ligase the team started with.

10 Apr 08 - 09:48 AM (#2312017)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Decomposing body found in dead woman's closet

CHARLES TOWN, West Virginia (AP) -- The daughter of a woman made a gruesome discovery while going through her bedroom closet after she'd died -- the decomposing body of another woman wrapped in plastic, blankets and a sleeping bag.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is trying to identify the corpse found April 3, a day after Beatrice Magaha suffered a stroke outside her home and hit her head. She died on the way to the hospital.

The next day, the daughter and her husband called police after being overwhelmed by the smell coming from the closet. Sgt. R.S. Sell said Wednesday he found the body of an elderly woman wrapped in layers on the closet floor.

The body appeared to have been there for a while. While an autopsy turned up no evidence of foul play, the death is being treated as suspicious.

DNA samples were taken from the body in an attempt to identify the remains. It could be several weeks before lab results are available, Sell said.

Sell said another woman had lived with Magaha but family members had not seen her for a year or two. The couple told Sell that whenever they visited Magaha, she would not allow them inside her home, about 15 miles south of Martinsburg.

11 Apr 08 - 12:49 PM (#2313071)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Lake Stevens teen's pregnancy hoax fools teachers, friends

LAKE STEVENS -- In December, Danica Esau started to complain about sore breasts and feet. The Lake Stevens High School senior ate pickle, tofu and banana sandwiches for lunch in front of her grossed-out classmates. She just craved them, she explained.

Over the weeks, as her belly grew, she traded jeans for elastic maternity pants, evading classmates' questions as long as she could. Are you going to keep the baby? When are you due? What does your boyfriend think?

In February, she broke down and told everyone she was pregnant.

Then last month she told the truth: It was all a hoax.

"I just wanted to see what it would be like," said Esau, 18. "I'm very dramatic, so this was perfect. It was like a big Danica play for four months."

Every day, she wrapped T-shirts around her belly to create a baby bump believable enough to fool friends, co-workers at Target and strangers she passed on the street. She rarely went out without it.

People who knew her were shocked. A student leader, active in several school groups, Esau also is a very vocal, and controversial, supporter of safe sex.

Known as the "condom lady," she takes orders for prophylactics and delivers them in brown paper bags to boys and girls at school. She gets the condoms free from a sexual health organization she volunteers with.

"I'm a condom dealer," said Esau, pulling a condom out of her gray clutch purse. " 'Danica Esau,' at my school, is related to free condoms and free information about sex ed."

District policy on sexual education is abstinence based, spokeswoman Arlene Hulten said. Administrators did not know of the fake pregnancy, or that Esau was handing out condoms at school, something they now will tell her to stop. "Our procedure does not warrant providing condoms for students," Hulten said.

During her fake pregnancy, Esau was always acting.

A veteran of school plays, she consulted Web sites on how to fake pregnancies, learned to sit and walk like a pregnant woman and ate salt to make herself bloated.

She shopped with friends for maternity clothes when the baggier outfits wouldn't do any more. She ran to the bathroom when anyone walked by with strong perfume. When she missed school because of laryngitis, she said she "had appointments."

Some friends were really excited and offered to organize baby showers.

"One of the first things I said was, 'I'll totally baby-sit,'" said Tatiana Bogdanoff, a senior who believed the ruse. "It wasn't like everyone was talking about it, but it got around."

Others talked behind Esau's back or confronted her boyfriend.

Senior Kyle Alford agreed to play along because his girlfriend was so excited to try her experiment. So he'd rub her belly in class and said he kept the truth to himself.

He didn't think it was a big deal, until his family complained that people were questioning them about the pregnancy. That put an end to the ruse, which Esau originally hoped to carry to full term.

"I have a younger sister, and she was hearing crap about it," Alford said. "Lake Stevens isn't that big of a town. It spread quickly. My dad works in Lake Stevens and people would confront him about it. Since he's my dad, he went along with it, too.

"Eventually it got to the point where my parents weren't too happy about it," Alford said. "It brought unneeded drama to my family in general and unneeded attention."

Bibiana Esau said she couldn't walk outside without people questioning her about her daughter's pregnancy.

She struggled to keep her mouth shut when parents of girls who had grown up with her daughter offered sympathy.

She believed in her daughter's cause but feared retribution. Their home was egged last summer after Danica wrote a letter to a local newspaper about sex education.

"When this first came up, it took the wind out of my sails," said the divorced mother of two. "I thought, 'What are you trying to do to our family? Do you want the house to get burned down?' But I had to back her up."

Bibiana Esau was unmarried and 20 years old when she had Danica. Her pregnancy scandalized her neighborhood, and she remembers the pain well.

Danica Esau said she now understands her mother's distress. While she didn't find much overt discrimination, some people treated her differently and shot her dirty looks.

Since she's come clean about the pregnancy experiment, Esau said she's lost friends and had people accuse her of trying to get attention or of mocking pregnant teens.

"I don't want people to look at it as an attention-getter," she said. "There's so many other ways I could get attention than to be bad-mouthed for three months."

She insists she staged the pregnancy to help girls who are going through the real thing.

In 2006, 4.2 percent of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in the U.S. gave birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pat Paluzzi, president and chief executive of the Healthy Teen Network in Washington, D.C., said this is the first time she's heard of a teen faking pregnancy.

Paluzzi liked the idea.

Though federal law prohibits schools from discriminating against pregnant students, some schools encourage pregnant girls to transfer to alternative schools or don't give them desks big enough for their growing bellies, she said. The Healthy Teen Network, a national teen pregnancy organization, has tried to study this discrimination but has struggled to get reliable data, she said.

"If she really thought she was seeing discrimination at her school and she really wanted to see and experience that firsthand by going undercover and deceiving people -- if that was her intent -- I don't suppose that's a horrible, horrible thing," Paluzzi said. "I think it's kind of interesting and I'd like to talk to her."

Students do sometimes get pregnant, and Esau's experiment has the potential to shed some light on the issues those teens face, said Micheal Furoy, who teaches TV and video production at Lake Stevens High School.

"I kind of saw it more as a story that would be a great story," he said. "People will try to be African-American or they'll try to be white if they're African-American and try to live in each others' shoes. I thought it was kind of interesting."

Esau plans to film a documentary about her experience for Viking TV, the school's internal station. Standing in her bedroom, Esau, a fan of MTV's "The Real World," filmed video diary entries about her pregnancy.

Before faking her pregnancy, Esau envisioned herself giving birth early and becoming a young, chic mom.

Not anymore.

Being a fake teen mom was difficult enough.

She's not ready for the real thing.

24 Apr 08 - 12:29 PM (#2324421)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

1,600 cases of beer stolen; thirsty thieves sought

April 24, 2008

TAMPA -- If someone shows up at a party with 1,600 cases of Icehouse longnecks, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office would like you to give them a call.

Deputies said an entire Great Dane semitrailer truck containing the beer was stolen sometime between 8 a.m. and midnight on April 21 from 6408 Causeway Blvd. The owner of the cab parks on the leased lot and reported the truck stolen.

Deputies said the trailer is white with red stripes along the top and bottom and is valued at $10,000. The cab is a white 1993 Freightliner model valued at $15,000. Deputies provided a picture (left) of a similar cab.

Authorities valued the hooch at $20,000.

Deputies ask anyone with information to call (813) 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8744.

28 Apr 08 - 01:07 AM (#2327318)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Police say Austrian man raped daughter, fathered 6 children
April 27, 2008 From Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria - A woman who went missing in 1984 was found by police over the weekend and told investigators that she had been held by her father in a cellar, where she was repeatedly raped and gave birth to at least six children, police said Sunday.

Authorities said that the father may have told acquaintances and relatives that his daughter had joined a cult and disappeared.

Franz Polzer, head of the Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs, told reporters that the father, identified as Josef F., had been taken into custody. Police said Josef and his wife had been raising three of their daughter's children. The other three grew up in the cellar.

"We are being confronted with an unfathomable crime," Interior Minister Guenther Platter said.

The case unfolded after a gravely ill teenager was found unconscious on April 19 in the building where her grandparents live, and taken to a hospital in the town of Amstetten. Told that the sick 19-year-old's mother was missing, authorities publicly appealed for her to come forward.

Officers received a tip and picked up the mother near the hospital on Saturday, police said.

The mother, whom authorities identified as Elisabeth F., told officers that she had just been released after two decades of captivity at the hands of her father. She said that on Aug. 28, 1984 her father had sedated her, handcuffed her and locked her in a room in the cellar of the family's apartment building.

In an interview with AP Television News, Polzer said that Josef F. had given police a code to unlock a hidden door, revealing the area where Elisabeth and the children had been held.

It had several rooms, an uneven floor and a very narrow hallway, Polzer said, adding that the door was very small, and that one had to bend one's head to get through.

"Everything is very, very narrow and the victim herself ... told us that this was being continually enlarged over the years," Polzer said.

The area also contained sanitary facilities and small hot plates for cooking, Polzer said.

On its Web site, ORF reported that the rooms were at most 5.6 feet high and that the area had a TV.

The area also included a "padded cell," Hans-Heinz Lenze, a senior Amstetten district official, said in remarks broadcast late Sunday.

Elisabeth said her father had been sexually abusing her since she was 11. According to the police statement, Elisabeth said that she and her children got food and clothing only from her father and her mother, Rosemarie, had not been involved.

Police said Elisabeth F. appeared "greatly disturbed" during questioning and agreed to talk only after authorities assured her she would no longer have to have contact with her father and that her children would be cared for.

Police said Josef, 73, and Rosemarie had raised three of Elisabeth's children in their apartment in a two-story building in Amstetten, a small town about 80 miles west of Vienna.

Josef and Rosemarie registered the children with authorities, saying that they had found them outside their home in 1993, 1994 and 1997, at least one with a note from Elisabeth saying she could not care for the child.

The three other children apparently remained in the cellar with Elisabeth, police said.

"Elisabeth F. taught them how to speak," Polzer was quoted as saying by the Austria Press Agency.

Police said the sick 19-year-old, Kerstin, had been found unconscious on April 19 in the apartment building, with a handwritten note purportedly signed by Elisabeth, asking that she be given care.

After Kerstin was hospitalized, police said, Josef F. freed Elisabeth and the two remaining children from the cellar and told his wife that their daughter and the children had come back to them.

The Austria Press Agency reported that, in addition to Kerstin, three of the children are boys and two are girls, the youngest of whom is 5.

All are in psychiatric care, along with Elisabeth and Rosemarie, police said. DNA tests are expected to determine whether Josef F. is the father.

Police cited Elisabeth as saying that she gave birth to twins in 1996 but one died several days later because it was not properly cared for, according to police, who said they are investigating.

Josef, the alleged abuser, then apparently removed the corpse from the cellar and burned it, the police statement said. It was not immediately clear if the twin who allegedly died was included in the police total of six children.

Sunday's developments are reminiscent of the case of Natascha Kampusch, which shocked Austrians less than two years ago.

Kampusch was 10 years old when she was kidnapped in Vienna on her way to school in March 1998. She was held for the next 8 1/2 years by Wolfgang Priklopil, who largely confined her to a tiny underground dungeon in his home in a quiet Vienna suburb. Priklopil threw himself in front of a train just hours after Kampusch's dramatic escape on Aug. 23, 2006.

29 Apr 08 - 01:51 PM (#2328843)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

"Three days after a high-speed train accident caused by sheep on the line, a German regional train has hit a herd of cattle. No passengers are dead, but eight cows have lost their lives. The accidents have raised concerns about safety on the German rail system.

A train rumbling between the villages of Arnstadt and Ilmenau in rural Thüringia, central Germany, plowed into a herd of cows at a rail crossing late on Tuesday morning, said a police spokesman in the nearby town of Gotha. "We don't know any other details, the accident just occurred at 11 a.m.," the spokesman said.

The accident comes three days after a higher-profile derailment caused by a herd of sheep near Fulda, in the state of Hesse. That train was travelling at 220 kilometers per hour when it struck the animals and hopped the rail in a tunnel between Fulda and Würzburg on Saturday evening. Nineteen people were injured, and twenty sheep killed. "



01 May 08 - 03:31 PM (#2330856)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

HONOLULU (AP) — A group of Native Hawaiians on Wednesday locked the gates of Iolani Palace, the former home of Hawaiian royalty, and took over the grounds.

The group, Hawaiian Kingdom Government, said it would occupy the palace grounds indefinitely and start carrying out the business of what it considers the legitimate government of the Hawaiian Islands.

State deputy sheriffs were not allowing anyone else to enter the palace grounds as unarmed security guards from the group blocked all gates to the palace, a major tourist attraction in downtown Honolulu.

Workers inside the palace itself had locked the doors and were not letting the group inside.

The group said it learned from Police Chief Boisse Correa, who is a Native Hawaiian, that arrest warrants were being prepared with the expectation they would be served on the 60 or so protesters.

Protest leaders said they were prepared to be arrested and would go peacefully.

The group's leader, Mahealani Kahau, said the group did not recognize Hawaii as an American state.

The group is one of several Hawaiian sovereignty organizations in the islands, which became the 50th state in 1959.

02 May 08 - 01:51 PM (#2331349)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A neo-Nazi rally of about 700 people in Hamburg sparked a violent counterreaction from anti-Nazi left-wingers which ended up in riots worse than any previously seen in Hamburg. CArs were burned, stones were flung, arrests were made.

Spiegel has photos of the unrest, demonstrations and street violence.

02 May 08 - 08:19 PM (#2331648)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Leadfingers

I heard on Mudcat that there is someone trying for Double zero posts !

03 May 08 - 06:11 AM (#2331868)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Criminals claim 'copyright' malware

Virus writers selling software with a detailed licensing agreement

By Jordan Robertson
The Associated Press
updated 5:58 p.m. CT, Wed., April. 30, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - Even criminal hackers want to protect their intellectual property, and they've come up with a method akin to copyrighting — with an appropriate dash of Internet thuggery thrown in.

Professional virus writers are now selling a suite of software on the Internet with an unusual attachment: a detailed licensing agreement that promises penalties for redistributing the malicious code without permission.


Symantec researchers noticed a Russian-language example floating around the Internet and wrote about it on the company's official blog this week.

The software is used to infect computers and control them remotely. The zombie machines can be used to pump out spam, launch more attacks or steal personal information ... .

Networks of zombie machines — known as "bot nets" — can be extremely lucrative, sometimes bringing millions of dollars in profit for their authors and their distributors. To maximize that profit, the software analyzed by Symantec's researchers contained the following rules:

The customer can't resell the product, examine its underlying coding, use it to control other bot nets or submit it to antivirus companies and agrees to pay the seller a fee for product updates.

The threat:

Violate the terms, and we'll report you ourselves to the antivirus companies by giving them information about how to dismantle your bot network or prevent it from growing bigger.

[Zulfikar Ramzan, senior principal security researcher with Symantec Corp] said: "What's funny is they put more effort into their EULA (end-user license agreement) than traditional software companies might."

The ultimate rub? Apparently the threat was not only hollow but unheeded. Symantec said the program that's accompanied by the novel rules is being traded freely online — and so far its authors haven't called Symantec to make good on their threat.

©2008 The Associated Press.


Don't think for a moment that it isn't big business.


06 May 08 - 10:08 PM (#2334516)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

80 and 90 year-old scoff laws. . .

Indiana nuns lacking ID denied at poll by fellow sister

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow sister because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.

Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow members of Saint Mary's Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.

The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn't get one but came to the precinct anyway.

"One came down this morning, and she was 98, and she said, 'I don't want to go do that,'" Sister McGuire said. Some showed up with outdated passports. None of them drives.

The convent will make "a very concerted effort" to get proper identification for the nuns in time for the general election. "We're going to take from now until November to get them out and get this done.

"You can't do this like school kids on a bus," she said. "I wish we could."

Late Tuesday, Secretary of State Todd Rokita was unapologetic.

"Indiana's Voter ID Law applies to everyone. From all accounts that we've heard, the sisters were aware of the photo ID requirements and chose not to follow them," he said in a statement released by his office.

follow the link for the rest

17 May 08 - 11:00 PM (#2343335)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Friday May 16, 2008, 11:01 PM

Dorothy Scanlon's Friday morning wake-up call came with antlers and hoofs.

A young deer crashed through the Muskegon woman's room at the Christian Care Nursing Center around 6:45 a.m. The deer, which broke its two front legs and received several cuts, proceeded to crawl around the home's hall, leaving a trail of blood in its wake.

"I heard the loud boom and I thought the furnace blew up, but then I saw the deer head and I was so startled I started screaming," Scanlon said. "Luckily I didn't get hit because I sleep rolled up in a ball."

Nancy Mckinney, inservice director at the home at 1275 Kenneth, was relieved no one was hurt during one of the "biggest things to happen here within the last year."

18 May 08 - 12:13 PM (#2343658)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

How unusual? Dinner delivered itself!


18 May 08 - 02:56 PM (#2343758)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Oh, bring something to eat, would you? There's a deer...


19 May 08 - 07:43 PM (#2344748)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Police woman nurses orphaned babies in this front page photo they mentioned on NPR today. If you read Chinese, here is the front page.


19 May 08 - 08:04 PM (#2344758)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Well, all I can say is 个婴儿:奶几个娃没啥好讲(图.


19 May 08 - 08:29 PM (#2344775)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Should I read that left to right or right to left?

20 May 08 - 10:42 AM (#2345163)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

I think right to left and top down.


21 May 08 - 09:58 AM (#2346040)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: bobad

8-year-old girl asks for divorce in court
By: Hamed Thabet

SANA'A, April 9 - An eight-year-old girl decided last week to go the Sana'a West Court to prosecute her father, who forced her to marry a 30-year-old man.

Nojoud Muhammed Nasser arrived at court by herself on Wednesday, April 2, looking for a judge to handle her case against her father, Muhammed Nasser, who forced her two months ago to marry Faez Ali Thamer, a man 22 years her senior. The child also asked for a divorce, accusing her husband of sexual and domestic abuse.

According to Yemeni law, Nojoud cannot prosecute, as she is underage. However, court judge Muhammed Al-Qathi heard her complaint and subsequently ordered the arrests of both her father and husband.

"My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me. I refused but I couldn't stop the marriage," Nojoud Nasser told the Yemen Times. "I asked and begged my mother, father, and aunt to help me to get divorced. They answered, 'We can do nothing. If you want you can go to court by yourself.' So this is what I have done," she said.

Nasser said that she was exposed to sexual abuse and domestic violence by her husband. "He used to do bad things to me, and I had no idea as to what a marriage is. I would run from one room to another in order to escape, but in the end he would catch me and beat me and then continued to do what he wanted. I cried so much but no one listened to me. One day I ran away from him and came to the court and talked to them."

"Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him. This lasted for two months," added Nasser. "He was too tough with me, and whenever I asked him for mercy, he beat me and slapped me and then used me. I just want to have a respectful life and divorce him."

Nasser's uncle, who does not want to reveal his name, is following the case now as her guardian. According to her uncle, after Muhammed Nasser, the girl's father, lost his job as a garbage truck driver in Hajjah, he became a beggar, and soon after suffered from mental problems.

Thamer is in jail now. "Yes I was intimate with her, but I have done nothing wrong, as she is my wife and I have the right and no one can stop me," he said. "But if the judge or other people insist that I divorce her, I will do it, it's ok."

So far, no accusations have been made against her father, who was later released due to health problems, or Nasser's husband, who will remain in jail for further investigation.

"So far there is no case and no charges, as Nojoud arrived by herself to court asking just for a divorce," said Shatha Ali Nasser, a lawyer in the Supreme Court who is following Nojoud Nasser's story.

Shatha Ali Nasser confirmed that item number 15 in Yemeni civil law reads that "no girl or boy can get married before the age of 15." However, this item was amended in 1998 so parents could make a contract of marriage between their children even if they are under the age of 15. But the husband cannot be intimate with her until she is ready or mature," said Nasser."This law is highly dangerous because it brings an end to a young girl's happiness and future fruitful life. Nojoud did not get married, but she was raped by a 30-year old man."

Nasser confirmed that Nojoud Nasser's case is not the first of its kind in Yemen, but it is the first time that a girl went to court by herself to ask for a divorce.

"We are not planning to return Nojoud to her family. Who knows? Maybe after a few years the same thing will happen to her again," said Shatha Ali Nasser. "We are planning to put her in Dar Al-Rahama [an non-governmental organization that works with children], where she can have a better life and education. We do not want her family to pay her expenses, as they are poor."
21 May 08 - 11:25 AM (#2346127)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Notice how the victim is photographed but the criminal has some protective alteration of the photo of him. She is a tiny little thing, but has a great heart. I hope they do well for her at the new institution.


21 May 08 - 11:44 AM (#2346143)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

MORRIS, Ill. (AP) — Traffic's backed up in northern Illinois after a trailer loaded with 14 tons of double-stuffed Oreos overturned, spilling boxes of cookies into the median and roadway.

Illinois State Police Sergeant Brian Mahoney says the truck's driver was traveling on I-80 near Morris around 4 a.m. Monday when he fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into the median, spilling some of the 28,000 pounds of treats.

The crash about 50 miles southwest of Chicago remains under investigation.

Mahoney says no charges have been filed but both lanes of traffic remain closed while authorities remove the cookies.

21 May 08 - 12:48 PM (#2346191)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Next you'll post news of a hijacked milk truck.

25 May 08 - 11:39 PM (#2349138)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos


A traffic advisory is in effect for a man who was killed after running into traffic on northbound Interstate 5 near Clairemont Drive in the Bay Park neighborhood of San Diego, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The man ran onto the freeway for unknown reasons and was hit by a Jeep towing a trailer at about 3 p.m., the CHP said.

What did the advisory say? "Be more careful running onto busy freeways, next life-time, and look both ways."???


26 May 08 - 10:53 AM (#2349364)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Cat hired as station chief brings passengers back to debt-ridden Japanese train company

TOKYO - A money-losing Japanese train company has found the purr-fect mascot to draw crowds and bring back business - tabby Tama.

All the 9-year-old female cat has to do is sit by the entrance of western Japan's Kishi Station, wearing a black uniform cap and posing for photos for the tourists who are now flocking in from across the nation.

Her job makes cultural sense in Japan, where cats are considered good luck and are believed to bring in business.

Tama has done such a good job of raising revenue for the troubled Kishikawa train line that she was recently promoted to "super-station-master."

"She never complains, even though passengers touch her all over the place. She is an amazing cat. She has patience and charisma," said Wakayama Electric Railway Co. spokeswoman Yoshiko Yamaki. "She is the perfect station master."

People have been snatching up novelty goods - postcards, notebooks and erasers - bearing Tama's photos.

The cat had been about to lose her place to live, with the nearby store where she was raised being torn down. Now, the station is home.

The Kishikawa line had been losing $4.9 million a year as passenger numbers fell steadily to as low as about 5,000 a day, or some 1.9 million a year.

After Tama's appointment last year passenger numbers have risen by 10 percent to about 2.1 million a year.

In December Tama was rewarded with bonus pay - all in cat food.

26 May 08 - 11:45 AM (#2349385)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Road workers in a small New Zealand town got their wish granted when a woman stripped saying she was fed up with their wolf-whistles.

The Israeli tourist was about to use an ATM in the main street of Kerikeri, in the far north of the country, when the men whistled, the New Zealand Press Association reported.

She calmly stripped off, used the cash machine, before getting dressed and walking away.

The woman told police she didn't take too kindly to the whistling from the men repairing the road.

"She said she had thought 'bugger them, I'll show them what I've got'," Police Sergeant Peter Masters told NZPA.

"She gave the explanation that she had been ... pestered by New Zealand men. She's not an unattractive looking lady," Masters said.

"She was taken back to the police station and spoken to and told that was inappropriate in New Zealand."

29 May 08 - 12:58 PM (#2352140)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

May 27, 2008

Nude maid cleans Cheval house, including the jewelry

TAMPA — A 50-year-old Lutz man hired a nude maid to clean his 2,281-square foot home Friday.

The woman arrived at the Cheval home in a one-piece light colored dress. She took off the one-piece light colored dress. She cleaned the house per their $100-per-hour agreement. Four bedrooms, three baths.

She redressed and left.

Shortly after, the man's wife came home from vacation to discover $40,000 in jewelry missing from their bedroom.

The man told Hillsborough Sheriff's deputies he'd only left the maid alone in the bedroom a short while, spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

Deputies are investigating. The nude maid, whom the man found on the Internet, is described as a white female, age 21 to 24.

29 May 08 - 01:56 PM (#2352191)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

That's what he gets for leaving a naked 20-something alone in the bedroom, man. Hell, anybody coulda tole him that!


29 May 08 - 02:32 PM (#2352222)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

I have been imagining the conversation the fella had with his wife. I think he has a bit of explaining to do.

I have also been imagining how she got the jewelry out of the house.

29 May 08 - 03:18 PM (#2352279)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Tucked underneath her arm, of course...


29 May 08 - 05:35 PM (#2352436)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Dunkin' Donuts pulls Rachael Ray ad

The coffee and donut chain says it yanked online spot to avoid 'misperception'; professor says links to extremism are narrow-minded and even racist.

BOSTON (AP) -- Dunkin' Donuts has pulled an online advertisement featuring Rachael Ray after complaints that a fringed black-and-white scarf that the celebrity chef wore in the ad offers symbolic support for Muslim extremism and terrorism.

The coffee and baked goods chain said the ad that began appearing online May 7 was pulled over the past weekend because "the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee."

In the spot, Ray holds an iced coffee while standing in front of trees with pink blossoms.

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin complained that the scarf wrapped around her looked like a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress. ''The kaffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad,'' Malkin wrote in her syndicated column.

"Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not-so-ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities, and left-wing icons," she said.

A statement issued Wednesday by Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands Inc., however, said the scarf had a paisley design, and was selected by a stylist for the advertising shoot.

"Absolutely no symbolism was intended," the company said.

Dunkin' spokeswoman Michelle King said the ad appeared on the chain's Web site, as well as other commercial sites.

Amahl Bishara, an anthropology lecturer at the University of Chicago who specializes in media matters relating to the Middle East, said complaints about the scarf's use in the ad demonstrate misunderstandings of Arab culture and the multiple meanings that symbols can take on depending on someone's perspective.

"I think that a right-wing blogger making an association between a kaffiyeh and terrorism is just an example of how so much of the complexity of Arab culture has been reduced to a very narrow vision of the Arab world on the part of some people in the U.S.," Bishara said in a phone interview. "Kaffiyehs are worn every day on the street by Palestinians and other people in the Middle East - by people going to work, going to school, taking care of their families, and just trying to keep warm."

While some extremists and terrorists may wear kaffiyehs, "To reduce their meaning to support for terrorism has a tacit racist tone to it," Bishara said.

Malkin, in a posting following up on last week's column, said of Dunkin's decision to pull the ad, "It's refreshing to see an American company show sensitivity to the concerns of Americans opposed to Islamic jihad and its apologists."

Ray, host of the Food Network television program "30 Minute Meals" as well as a syndicated daytime talk show, began appearing in ads for Dunkin' Donuts in March 2007. When Dunkin' announced the partnership, it said Ray would be featured in TV, print, radio and online spots in a campaign running through 2010.

29 May 08 - 06:14 PM (#2352484)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

That is the most ridiculous pea-brained thing I have heard in months.


30 May 08 - 12:26 PM (#2353054)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad

Don't think, just believe. Would we lie to you?

Reminds me of the flap over the Proctor & Gamble logo a few years back. Remember that? The logo they had used for something like 100 years had to go because some folks decided it had satanic images in it (something like that anyway).

30 May 08 - 08:01 PM (#2353426)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Low Caste battles for the Right to be "Untouchables"

India's centuries-old controversy over caste and discrimination brought parts of Delhi to a halt yesterday as thousands of members of an ethnic group demanded that their official status be lowered in order to provide them with better access to jobs and education. Members of the Gujjar tribe blocked major roads and highways into Delhi in sit-down protests and set fire to tyres as they vowed to create gridlock across India's capital and the surrounding area.

Some train services were suspended and many IT and outsourcing companies with offices in Delhi's satellite cities sent staff home early. In some locations, police fired tear gas at the stone-throwing demonstrators. "This will go on until our demands are met," Surjit Singh, a Gujjar protester who was standing in front of hundreds of cars, told reporters.

According to Indian law, the Gujjars Ð many of whom live in the nearby desert state of Rajasthan Ð are classified as belonging to the country's second-lowest group, known as Other Backward Classes (OBC).

In the complex, divisive system this category is one step up from the lowest level known as Scheduled Tribes and Castes (STC) otherwise known as Dalits, or "Untouchables".

The Gujjars say they have been discriminated against in terms of jobs, health care and education Ð particularly in Rajasthan Ð but say that by being reclassified as STC they will be eligible for government positions and university places that are reserved for that group.

The Indian government reserves about half of all seats in state colleges and universities for lower castes and tribal groups Ð a massive affirmative-action plan it says is designed to counter centuries of discrimination. Many have criticised the quota system, however, saying that it accentuates caste differences at a time when India is seeking to modernise and develop economically and socially.

A government panel that was set up to look into the Gujjars' claims, recommended that a £40m aid package be set aside for their community but ruled out reclassifying the tribe. That plan has not satisfied the Gujjars.

01 Jun 08 - 10:40 AM (#2354327)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: bobad

Homeless Japanese woman evicted from closet

TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- A homeless woman who sneaked into a man's house and lived undetected in his closet for a year was arrested in Japan after he became suspicious when food began disappearing.

Police found the 58-year-old woman Thursday hiding in the top compartment of the man's closet and arrested her for trespassing, police spokesman Hiroki Itakura from southern Kasuya town said Friday.

The resident of the home installed security cameras that transmitted images to his mobile phone after becoming puzzled by food disappearing from his kitchen over the past several months.

One of the cameras captured someone moving inside his home Thursday after he had left, and he called police, believing it was a burglar. However, when they arrived, they found the door locked and all windows closed.

"We searched the house ... checking everywhere someone could possibly hide," Itakura said. "When we slid open the shelf closet, there she was, nervously curled up on her side."

The woman told police she had no place to live and first sneaked into the man's house about a year ago when he left it unlocked.

The closet is part of a Japanese-style room, one of several rooms in his one-story house where the man lived alone -- or so he had thought.

Police were investigating how she managed to go in and out of the house unnoticed, as well as details of her life inside the closet and whether she had taken anything else besides food.

She had moved a mattress into the small closet space and apparently even took showers, Itakura said, calling the woman "neat and clean."

01 Jun 08 - 12:10 PM (#2354387)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That sounds like the beginning of an interesting short story, doesn't it?


08 Jun 08 - 03:40 PM (#2360867)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Fire guts Texas governor's mansion

150-year-old Texas mansion was undergoing $10 million in renovations

The Associated Press
updated 12:17 p.m. CT, Sun., June. 8, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas - Arson is suspected in the fire that struck the historic Texas Governor's Mansion early Sunday, causing damage that state officials described as "bordering on catastrophic," the state fire marshal said.


A photo at the link shows quite a lot of damage. Fortunately, no one is in residence, and historical artifacts had been removed - both due to the in-process renovation. The extent of visible damage suggests that it will take some major investigation to determine whether the historic building can be salvaged.


09 Jun 08 - 10:17 AM (#2361396)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This morning's newspaper with the article is on the kitchen table waiting to be read. Big photo above the fold. Arson? You'd think they'd have a security plan for a place like this.


11 Jun 08 - 11:06 PM (#2363904)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Man walks 25 miles for DUI sentencing

He says his brother didn't show up to give him a ride

The Associated Press
updated 8:07 p.m. CT, Wed., June. 11, 2008

CARLISLE, Pa. - A Pennsylvania man says he had one alternative when his brother didn't show up to give him a ride to court: start walking. Stephen Shoemaker of Shippensburg was scheduled to appear at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for sentencing on a 2007 drunken-driving conviction.

Shoemaker, 33, doesn't have a car or driver's license. So he started walking to the Cumberland County Courthouse in Carlisle at dawn. He kept walking for about 25 miles in 90-plus-degree heat.

Shoemaker arrived about 3:30 p.m., after a detour to Carlisle Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for dehydration.

Judge Edward Guido had issued an arrest warrant when Shoemaker failed to appear. Instead he agreed to defer sentencing until July. Guido says he hesitated only because "that means he'll have to walk back to Shippensburg."

Deputy Public Defender Anthony Adams volunteered to give Shoemaker a ride home.

© 2008 The Associated Press.


11 Jun 08 - 11:08 PM (#2363908)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That's interesting! Clearly he got the message!

12 Jun 08 - 10:27 PM (#2364738)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A casualty of powerful storms that hit the Kansas State University campus on Wednesday was the Wind Erosion Lab, which the university said was destroyed by an apparent tornado.

"The damage on campus is extensive," said Tom Rawson, the university's vice president for administration and finance. "The Wind Erosion Lab is gone. There is significant damage to the engineering complex."

Storms and tornadoes raked Kansas overnight and caused an estimated $20 million damage at the university campus in Manhattan. No one was injured, a spokeswoman said.

"Roofs have been damaged or torn off, windows have been blown out in many buildings," Rawson said in a statement.

One of the damaged buildings housed the university's nuclear reactor, but the reactor remains unharmed, the university said.

Wait, wait!! You can't blow me away!! I'm here to study wind erosion!!


18 Jun 08 - 11:20 AM (#2368863)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

BANGKOK, Thailand — For teen boys who prefer to dress as girls at one rural high school in Thailand, taking a bathroom break no longer means choosing between "male" and "female" restrooms. There's now a "transvestite toilet."

The Kampang School in northeastern Thailand conducted a survey last term that showed more than 200 of the school's 2,600 students considered themselves transgender, said school director Sitisak Sumontha.

So, when classes resumed in May, the school unveiled a unisex restroom designated by a human figure split in half — part man in blue and part woman in red. Below it are the words "Transvestite Toilet."

Three transgender students praised the new restroom as they plucked their eyebrows and applied face powder in front of the mirror outside the stalls.

19 Jun 08 - 01:16 PM (#2369972)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

I want to know what is up with the floating feet that have been washing up on the western shore of Canada. I mean, what is UP with these feet??

" Investigators are pursuing a variety of theories in their quest to unravel the mystery of six human feet that have washed up on the shores of the Canadian province of British Columbia in the last 11 months.

The sixth foot turned up Wednesday -- a right foot in a man's size 10 black Adidas athletic shoe, police said. As in the previous cases, however, immediate answers as to the foot's origin eluded detectives.

"We are exploring the possibility that it could be people who may have drowned," said Annie Linteau, a spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. "It could be missing fishermen. It could be the remains of people who may have died in a plane crash."

When asked about the suspicion of foul play, Linteau noted that the first four feet contained no tool marks and were therefore deemed not to have been severed. Watch woman describe finding severed foot »

It is too early to say how the foot found Wednesday was separated from a body, and Linteau did not address the question of how the fifth foot came to be detached.

"It is certainly a very unusual situation," she said. "We have to explore all avenues and investigate all theories."

The coroner's office plans to examine DNA from the foot found Wednesday to try to identify the person to whom it belonged, she said. The authorities also are combing through missing persons reports and trying to determine when and where the shoe was manufactured and sold.

" (CNN)

19 Jun 08 - 08:33 PM (#2370350)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

CBD chaos as Apple Store opens (Sydney, Australia)

while the link works, have a look at the great pic of the new store!

June 19, 2008

Hundreds of Apple fans and onlookers clogged the pavements of George Street in the heart of Sydney's CBD tonight to witness the opening of Australia's first Apple Store.

Fifteen minutes before the allotted hour of 5pm, the queue to enter the store stretched from the corner of George and King Streets, around the block and back down York Street, almost to Market Street.

In places the line was five deep and police, City of Sydney council officials and private security guards had their job cut out keeping order as workers spilled out of their offices and merged into the streets with late night shoppers.

With fans penned in by metal barricades and flashbulbs illuminating York Street, passers-by could have been forgiven for thinking an international movie star had just arrived on a red carpet for a movie premiere.

Inside the store as zero hour approached, Apple Store staff faced the massive, 15m high glass atrium that frames the store and began singing, dancing an clapping.

For the people at the head of the queue, 5pm marked the end of a 30-plus hour vigil that earned them nothing more than a free t-shirt and the right to say they were among the first customers to visit the new $15 million store.

Although none of the first three in line bought anything, other's behind them were not so frugal and soon after the doors were open Apple's tills were ringing.

By about 4.25pm the streets resembled the home stretch of a marathon as scores of Apple employees poured out of the store ran a lap of the block, high-fiving members of the cheering crowds as thanks for their devotion.

"It's pretty incredible; far more than I expected," said Brisbane inventor and self-confessed Apple geek Moyzschya Belle, who slept out overnight with scores of other enthusiasts and was among the first wave to enter the store.

"But right now, I'm going home to have a hot shower and snuggle up to my sweetie."

Gary Allen from Berkeley in California, who writes a blog about Apple Stores and has attended some 30 store openings, also camped outside the store overnight.

He rates the Sydney store as among the top five in the world in terms of design and presentation.

For Anthony Agius from Melbourne who runs the MacTalk forum website, the best part of the overnight experience was the camaraderie. "We just spent all night talking about Macs," he said.

Apple's executive were also very pleased with themselves. The turnout had been better than expected and was achieved without any large-scale advertising or paid promotion.

"They all magnificent, but there's something very special about this [opening]," said Steve Cano, Apple's senior director of international retail, as the crowd poured in to the store. "There's a real energy."


I saw the beginning of the event on Wednesday afternoon - a few folks sitting on fold-up chairs outside the backlit newly unveiled shop, folks in the new store pottered around & a cleaner polished the railing on the second floor while city workers went about their business.

sandra (bemused Mac owner)

19 Jun 08 - 11:08 PM (#2370411)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

You want to slap this young mother upside the head and see if there is any brain inside. This is an AP story.

Girl finds teen sister's premature baby, abandoned but alive

BRECKENRIDGE (Texas)— A premature baby was found alive between a mattress and door several days after a teenage mother gave birth, hid the infant there and went on a trip, police said.
The teen's younger sister found the baby girl Saturday morning when she heard faint cries coming from a bedroom, opened the door and found a newborn completely wrapped in two towels between a mattress and bathroom door, Breckenridge Police Chief Larry Mahan said.

"Her sister heard whimpering and didn't know what it was, thought it was an animal and went in her sister's bedroom," Mahan said.

The girl immediately called authorities, who took the baby to a hospital in Fort Worth, about 100 miles east of Breckenridge, a town of about 6,000. The infant remained hospitalized, but her condition was unavailable Wednesday.

Lauren Renee McDonald, 19, of Breckenridge was charged with child abandonment and endangerment after she returned from her trip Sunday. She has since been released from jail on $10,000 bail.

Her attorney, David Wimberley, did not immediately return a call Wednesday afternoon from The Associated Press.

If convicted, she faces up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Investigators believe McDonald, who had hidden her pregnancy from her friends and family, gave birth one or two days before she left June 12 to visit a relative in West Virginia, Mahan said.

Texas has a "safe haven" law that allows a mother who does not want her baby to leave the child at a hospital, fire station or other designated place without being questioned or arrested.

20 Jun 08 - 01:43 AM (#2370459)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Enema of the people: Statue unveiled

Spa director: 'An enema is almost a symbol of our region'

The Associated Press
updated 12:04 p.m. CT, Thurs., June. 19, 2008

MOSCOW - A monument to the enema, a procedure many people would rather not think about, has been unveiled at a spa in the southern Russian city of Zheleznovodsk.

The bronze syringe bulb, which weighs 800 pounds and is held by three angels, was unveiled at the Mashuk-Akva Term spa, the spa's director said Thursday.

"There is no kitsch or obscenity, it is a successful work of art," Alexander Kharchenko told The Associated Press. "An enema is almost a symbol of our region."

The Caucasus Mountains region is known for dozens of spas where enemas with water from mineral springs are routinely administered to treat digestive and other complaints.

Kharchenko, 50, said the monument cost $42,000 and was installed in a square in front of his spa on Wednesday. A banner declaring: "Let's beat constipation and sloppiness with enemas" — an allusion to a line from "The Twelve Chairs," a famous Soviet film comedy — was posted on one of the spa's walls.

Sculptor Svetlana Avakina said she designed the 5-foot-high monument with "irony and humor" and modeled the angels on those in works by Italian Renaissance painter Alessandro Botticelli.

"This device is eternal, it will never change," she told the AP. "We could promote this brand, turn it into a franchise with souvenirs and awards for medical doctors."

Dozens of monuments dedicated to characters from tall tales and popular jokes have been erected in post-Soviet Russia.

©2008 The Associated Press.

[Photo at link]


20 Jun 08 - 09:43 AM (#2370671)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

It's a political statement, right?


20 Jun 08 - 06:59 PM (#2371097)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

National Bathroom Reading Month was just announced on NPR. It seems appropriate, after the last item.

"Would you like a free bathroom reader?" the woman featured in the news piece asks as she hands out articles and stories. She says people are shy about admitting to reading in the john.

I don't think they should be encouraging lengthy reading retreats to users of the public johns in NYC (that's where this promotion took place). They're needed by more than four people an hour (15 minutes max per user.) Read somewhere else--like on the subway.


23 Jun 08 - 03:01 PM (#2372665)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

IRS agent allegedly was too amorous
The agent was removed from the Everett Housing Authority's audit after reported innuendo and suggestions of IRS penalties.

EVERETT -- An IRS agent was kicked out of an audit of the Everett Housing Authority after he allegedly asked about a female employee's perfume, invaded her personal space and talked about the two being "alone again."

The agent was three days into a weeklong audit in April when the Housing Authority employee told a manager that she no longer wanted to meet privately with the auditor.

"My first reaction was, 'We are done with three days, we've got a couple more days, can't we just get through this?' " said Bud Alkire, the Housing Authority's executive director. "As the discussion went on and we learned about the (IRS agent's) conduct, we couldn't let this persist."

The Housing Authority employee was assigned the task of providing the IRS agent with the authority's payroll and other financial records, according to an e-mail obtained by The Herald through public records laws.

The employee told managers the agent positioned himself close to her while talking, leaned in toward her and asked if he was making her "uncomfortable." She described the IRS agent as "slimey" (sic), according to a letter sent by Alkire to the IRS.

The agent also reportedly made several references to the woman about the penalties the IRS could bring down on the Housing Authority if he found problems.

Citing privacy concerns, the Housing Authority is not disclosing the employee's name.

Reached at home and at work last week, the IRS agent declined to comment. He said he is forbidden to discuss with the press any topic regarding his employment. The Herald is not naming him.

IRS spokeswoman Judy Monahan in Seattle and spokesman Jesse Weller in Oakland, Calif., said they could not comment on the allegations or even confirm the IRS audited the Housing Authority. The IRS agent's behavior was egregious, created a potentially hostile workplace and opened the possibility of a sexual harassment complaint for the IRS and Housing Authority, Alkire said in his letter to the IRS.

"Interspersed with personal comments were extensive remarks ... about the fines and penalties the IRS could impose," he wrote. "(The employee) was intimidated by the sexual innuendo in the tone and content of (the IRS agent's) comments, and by the remarks about penalties."

After being asked to leave on April 9, the agent stayed and attempted to discuss the matter. He warned the IRS would react by subpoenaing the Housing Authority's records and reviewing them at its Bellevue offices, according to Alkire's letter.

The agent works as an auditor with the IRS's Federal, State and Local Governments unit.

Two days after the agent was sent away, a criminal investigator with the U.S. Department of Treasury was sent to Everett. The Treasury Department investigates allegations of abuse by the IRS.

The agent wanted to interview the woman but was thwarted after Alkire questioned whether he was qualified to handle the investigation, records show.

Alkire told him that it wasn't a criminal matter but an "issue of violation of discrimination laws." The investigator told Alkire that he would decide that. Alkire wanted to have the Housing Authority's female attorney sit in on the interview. The investigator left after the pair could not agree on how the interview should occur, records show.

Treasury Department spokesman David Barnes said it's against policy to confirm or discuss investigations.

This month, the IRS flew out a second auditor from its Nevada offices who completed the review, Alkire said in an interview last week.

The auditor reviewed payroll records and policies on the personal use of Housing Authority cell phones, laptop computers, cars and employer-provided meals. Tax forms sent to landlords who participate in the housing voucher program, known as Section 8, also were inspected.

A few irregularities were uncovered, but nothing serious enough to trigger fines, Housing Authority officials say.

Everett Housing Authority commissioner Lyle Ryan -- one of six appointed by Everett's mayor to oversee the public agency -- said the incident was unusual and he believes Housing Authority managers handled the complaint appropriately.

The Housing Authority, which operates mostly on grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has an annual budget of about $30 million. It has more than 100 employees, assists 2,400 households through its housing voucher program and another 1,000 families that live in public housing units in Everett.

The special IRS unit that inspects government agencies for tax compliance is taking a closer look at community colleges and housing authorities this year.

27 Jun 08 - 07:26 PM (#2375900)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

HEre's a cousin of ours who prefers very close friends to enemas:

"The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most volatile and hostile countries on the planet, yet its dark interior is home to a group of pacifists who look like refugees from the Summer of Love. Pygmy chimps or bonobos are both literally and metaphorically our kissing cousins. If you know them at all, it is probably as the most highly sexed of all the apes, but they are also considered by many to be our closest living relative - closer even than the common chimp. Bonobos seem to live by the principle "make love, not war". They are very docile towards one another, never aggressive or murderous, and possess many of the psychological traits we value most, including altruism, compassion, empathy, kindness, patience and sensitivity. How did they get to be so nice?
Think of it this way. Somewhere between 6 and 8 million years ago, our ancestors split from the line that would become today's two species of chimps. Then around 2.5 million years ago, bonobos and common chimpanzees went their separate ways. Today our human world is characterised by war, oppression and terror. Common chimps also have a reputation for aggression and bloodshed. And then you have the bonobos. Which poses a few questions. How come they have taken such a different evolutionary path? Can they teach us to be more tolerant? What would it take to turn on our inner bonobo?
The question of how bonobos got to be the way they are has long baffled primatologists. Nobody has been able to put their finger on exactly what makes this ape so different. What is becoming clear now though is that its behaviour is influenced less by its nature - the genes - and more by its environment, culture and learning. What bonobos eat, how they structure their social interactions, and their ability to pass on certain psychological attitudes from one generation to another all seem to play a part. That being so, there may indeed be lessons we can draw about how to make human society more peaceable.
At most, there are a few hundred thousand bonobos left in the wild. They live only in the rainforests of the central Congo basin in DRC. Although their exact distribution is still unknown, the northern extent of their territory is bounded by a loop in the Congo river that forms an impassable barrier. On the face of it, their habitat looks very similar to a chimpanzee's, although the latter are much more widely distributed (see Map). The habits of the two species couldn't be more different, though.
When communities of bonobos from different areas of a forest meet, the females of each tribe initiate sex with males from the other. When chimp tribes meet, the encounters are extremely violent and it isn't unusual for at least a few individuals to end up mauled or even dead. Chimps create despotic male-controlled societies where males beat up females to display dominance. Bonobo society is egalitarian, until it is time to feed, at which point females tend to get preferential access. Tool use is another huge disparity between the two species. Chimps make use of varying tools in different regions to obtain and prepare food. To date, wild bonobos have never been observed using even a single tool.
ÒBonobos are very docile towards one another, never aggressive or murderousÓ
Then there is the sex. Bonobos are famous for it. Aside from the typical male/female activity, they also engage in more "creative" behaviours: wet kissing, masturbation, oral sex, female/female and male/male couplings, group activities, the list goes on and on. The only restriction seems to be incest between mothers and their children. Chimps by contrast restrict themselves almost entirely to male/female sex and don't have nearly as much of it as bonobos. What's more, males are dominant, frequently use food to lure females into having sex with them, and sometimes beat uncooperative females"

See New Scientist for complete article. Apparently it all boils down to protein.


29 Jun 08 - 03:22 PM (#2376830)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Socialism, as any right-wingnut knows, can go entirely too far. An example:

"An eight-year-old boy has sparked an unlikely outcry in Sweden after failing to invite two of his classmates to his birthday party.

The boy's school says he has violated the children's rights and has complained to the Swedish Parliament.

The school, in Lund, southern Sweden, argues that if invitations are handed out on school premises then it must ensure there is no discrimination.

The boy's father has lodged a complaint with the parliamentary ombudsman.
He says the two children were left out because one did not invite his son to his own party and he had fallen out with the other one.

The boy handed out his birthday invitations during class-time and when the teacher spotted that two children had not received one the invitations were confiscated.
"My son has taken it pretty hard," the boy's father told the newspaper Sydsvenskan.
"No one has the right to confiscate someone's property in this way, it's like taking someone's post," he added.

A verdict on the matter is likely to be reached in September, in time for the next school year. " (BBC News)

29 Jun 08 - 03:42 PM (#2376841)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The US dentist who masterminded thefts from hundreds of human corpses from funeral homes will serve between 18 and 54 years in jail, a judge has ruled.
Michael Mastromarino's ring stole parts from more than 1,000 bodies, including that of BBC presenter Alistair Cooke.
The group then sold the parts to doctors who transplanted them into patients in a scam worth $4.6m (£2.3m).
Mastromarino, 44, had pleaded guilty to body stealing, reckless endangerment and enterprise corruption in March.
The organs, extracted from bodies which had not been medically screened, were stolen from funeral homes in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania between 2001 and 2005.
They were sold around the country for 10,000 surgical procedures including knee and hip replacements, as well as dental implants. (BBC)

30 Jun 08 - 11:52 AM (#2377435)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Irish Town Honors His Goatness

In the town of Killorglin in County Kerry, the reins of power are handed to a wild billy goat once a year. It's an opportunity for the people to let out their inner beast -- and for tourists to party the night away, writes reader Desmond F. Kelly.

The crowning of a king has always been cause for celebration. In the small town of Killorglin in the south-west corner of Ireland, it still is -- with a hitch. The king in question is a goat.

"King Puck" is one of the last regents of Ireland, though his reign is a short one -- from August 10 to 12 every year. Nevertheless, the small Irish town of Killorglin (about 100 km. from Cork) has been crowing King Puck since (officially) 1610. The goat-fawning fair is one of the oldest of Ireland's traditional rural celebrations -- and one of its better known.

Still, despite the fair's fame, its origins are somewhat unclear. One theory has the fair dating back to pagan times. Puck, as the male goat is called, could have been seen as a symbol of fertility for a late summer harvest festival.

The more modern theory is that King Puck is a celebration of the fact that a herd of goats, which had been grazing in the countryside nearby, were scared up by pillaging "Roundheads," the soldiers of Oliver Cromwell. One goat galloped off towards the town in a state of fear, thus alerting the townspeople to the approaching danger. (A third, and less romantic, version involves legal loopholes, greedy landlords and tax evasion.)

Whatever its origins, it has grown to be an interesting collection of traditions and customs. Some days before the fair begins, a group of the most fearless and strong lads from the town head off into the McGillycuddy's Reeks (as the nearby hills are called) and attempt to corner and capture one of the wild goats grazing there. Bumps, cuts and bruises suffered during the chase are, of course, worn as badges of honor.

While their fathers and brothers are off traipsing through the hills, the young girls of the town compete to be crowned as "Queen Puck." The competition entails them writing essays and giving interviews about why they want to be queen, and why they think that they are the best choice for the role -- a rather gruelling selection process.

Once the goat has been wrestled down from the heights, he is paraded through the town on what is known as "Gathering Day," the day before the fair starts. The goat is then placed onto the lowest tier of a three-tiered platform. The Queen then delivers the Puck Proclamation and crowns her new king. The newly crowned king is then elevated to the topmost tier of the platform, there to look down on, and survey his subjects below for the next 3 days. Three days of trading and drinking, and singing, and drinking, and storytelling, and drinking follow -- giving rise to the saying, "Where a goat acts the king, the people can act the goat!"

For the town of Killorglin -- population 1,359 -- the goat festival has turned into a cash cow. More than 100,000 people pass through during the three days of the fair, and festival organizers estimate the event is worth over €6 million to the local economy. Puck Fair is one of the only places, and times, of the year in Ireland that the pubs are allowed to stay open till three in the morning. At the end of it all, the king is dethroned (in a nice way) and returned to the wild to rejoin his comrades on the foothills of Ireland's highest mountain.

Submitted by Desmond F. Kelly in Karlsruhe, Germany

30 Jun 08 - 12:01 PM (#2377448)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

The aspect of Carnival isn't mentioned directly in that piece but is clearly at play to a large degree in that town.

30 Jun 08 - 12:11 PM (#2377460)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Well, yeehaw. That's what I say!


30 Jun 08 - 01:17 PM (#2377529)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Why optimism is good for you, especially when young:

"MRI study suggests novelty is its own reward
By John Timmer | Published: June 30, 2008 - 08:28AM CT

Humans frequently face a straightforward dilemma: stick with something that has a known benefit or try something new and face the unknown. The ability to choose novelty over a known quantity can help us find new and more rewarding experiences, and it adds a wildcard to human behavior. An open access study published in the journal Neuron looks into how the brain processes decisions between options with unknown and expected outcomes, and it finds that the brain responds to the unknown in the same way that it anticipates a positive outcome.

Clearly, exploring novel options is a necessity, since otherwise people would never be able to optimize their behavior. The authors discuss how behavioral models performed on computers have attempted to approximate this through a mathematical analysis of past instances where an unknown was chosen—apparently, this becomes computationally expensive once the number of instances gets large. Instead, many models simply perform an approximation where the novel choice is given a slight positive value, which approximates real behavior quite well. So well, in fact, that the authors decided to test whether this is actually the way the brain operates.

To do so, they set up a test where subjects were asked to choose one of four pictures displayed at the same time. Each one of those was assigned a permanent reward frequency; whenever it was picked, it had a set probability of winning the subject £1. Each image would appear an average of 20 times in succession, allowing the subject a chance of getting a feel for its odds. Whenever an image was dropped, a new one would replace it with its own distinct odds of rewards. Over extensive repetitions, the test offered the subjects many chances to choose a novel photo or stick with a known risk. The subjects also underwent functional MRI imaging in order to examine the regions of the brain that were active during the test.

With the statistics in hand, the authors sought to figure out the parameters that gave the best approximation of the test subjects' behavior and found that people do appear to assign a value to novel picture options. Given the fact that a successful choice was worth £1, researchers could actually calculate a price for the value of novelty: four pence.

In the brain, neural activity associated with a novel choice occurred in an area identical to that activated when a known image triggered the expectation of a positive result. In essence, the test subjects chose novelty because their brains—specifically, the right ventral striatum—interpreted it in a manner similar to a known positive result.

To confirm that this was specific to novelty, the authors determined that the degree of activity in specific test subjects correlated with the frequency that they choose a previously unknown image. The activity also correlated with novelty-seeking behavior when the subjects filled out a personality survey. Overall, the researchers build a pretty compelling case that people try the new in part because they view a novel choice as its own reward.

In their discussion, the authors note that there are limits to this behavior. Nearly any animal humans have tested will learn to avoid novelty if it is frequently associated with negative outcomes. The discussion also points out that novelty seeking may not always be rewarding, as it can be associated with substance abuse. Still, behavior indicates that novelty is prized in a variety of animals, suggesting it's an old evolutionary adaptation and therefore a major influence on human development. " (Ars Technica)

30 Jun 08 - 06:10 PM (#2377796)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Budweiser, the toast of Belgium

America's most famous beer may taste like water, but if InBev succeeds in taking over its brewer the US will lose a national symbol

From the Guardian (UK) Ian Williams Thursday June 26, 2008

There is probably a graph somewhere correlating the decline in the strength of American beer and the value of its dollar. If so, it would likely feature Budweiser, the archetypal American beer. There are many mysteries about the US for non-Americans, but few so imponderable as their attraction for the fizzy, aqueous substance.

The old Q&A sums it up. Why is drinking Bud like making love in a canoe? Because it's f*ing close to water!

There is surely a thesis to be written about what happened to hundreds of varieties of cheese, beer and sausage taken by European emigrants to the US in the 19th century. By the time they reached Ellis Island, only the frankfurter, Wisconsin cheddar and Budweiser were left.

Somewhere around the mid-Atlantic ridge, will future marine archaeologists discover, preserved in the cold dark depths, a huge depositary of tasty, nutritious brands dumped overboard to ensure tasteless homogeneity on arrival?

So there is multiple irony in the threatened InBev takeover of the iconic American brand. InBev is mostly owned by a company from Brazil, home to one of the world's strongest liquors, cachacas, but it is itself from Belgium, a thoroughly heterogeneous country whose one unifying factor is an attachment to hundreds of tasty and strong varieties of beer.

However, Budweiser has the seeds of hope, emblematic of the new world. In a sense, it is already very cosmopolitan. In total defiance of the ancient Nuremburg laws on brewing, it is made with rice, so in one sense, it is America's most popular brand of sake, thus anticipating Asian domination of the US economy, and a Belgian takeover would somehow bring in the theme of Euro-power.

It is also a pleasant counterpart to the deranged, reactionary Coors brewing empire, bankers to all the causes that led us into Iraq and may yet lead us into teetotal Iran – probably with compulsory beer consumption as part of the occupation agenda.

And we really should cheer a company that gets "Pinko George Clooney", in the words of one Christian conservative blogger, to do their voiceover work. "I mean, come on, has this country gotten so pathetic where an American beer company can hire a radical liberal pansy to be its spokesperson," he continued, wondering why middle America was not "so freaked out that they have to fire him and issue an apology within two weeks!?"

Let us hope that InBev continues the good work – and, if the takeover is successful, improves the strength of flavour of its new brand so that the Bud blossoms at last toward the flavoursomeness of its Bohemian Budovar origins.

30 Jun 08 - 06:22 PM (#2377804)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Federal Appeals Court Compares Military Evidence To Lewis Carroll Poem

Judges cite nonsense poem in Gitmo case

Ruling says Chinese Muslim was improperly labeled as enemy combatant

The Associated Press
updated 1:54 p.m. CT, Mon., June. 30, 2008

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court reviewing evidence at Guantanamo Bay compared a Bush administration legal argument to one made by a hapless, dimwitted character in a 19th century nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit cited the 1876 poem, "The Hunting of the Snark," in ruling that the military improperly labeled a Chinese Muslim as an enemy combatant. The ruling was issued last week but an unclassified version of the opinion was released only Monday.

It was the first time a court has reviewed the military's decision-making and considered whether a detainee should be held. The ruling provides guidance to federal district judges, who are about to begin reviewing dozens of such cases now that the Supreme Court says detainees can challenge their detention in federal court.

The appeals court said military review panels, known as Combatant Status Review Tribunals, were unable to assess much of the evidence against the detainee, Huzaifa Parhat, and at times treated accusations as evidence.

"The big issue now is, can any CSRT decision survive this kind of scrutiny?" Parhat's lawyer, Susan Baker Manning said.


Check the link for background that may help explain how Alice (of Wonderland fame) appears also to have been involved in US "secret detentions." It appears there may be several non-enemy-combatants who, now being identified and their whereabouts known, have no place safe to go if released. Maybe we'll have to grant them US asylum(?) (if we ever get an immigration act that accomplishes anything).


30 Jun 08 - 11:20 PM (#2377932)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

You should have pasted the entire thing, John, you left out the best part:

    The U.S. says it has classified intelligence that ETIM is affiliated with al-Qaida, though officials have not identified the source of that intelligence. The judges said there's credible evidence that the source is the Chinese government, "which may be less than objective with respect to the Uighurs."

    The three-member court, which was made up of two Republican judges and one Democrat, was particularly pointed in its criticism of the argument that evidence is reliable because it appears on multiple documents.

    "The government insists that the statements made in the documents are reliable because the State and Defense Departments would not have put them in intelligence documents were that not the case," the court wrote. "This comes perilously close to suggesting that whatever the government says must be treated as true."

    The judges compared the argument to the logic in Carroll's nonsense poem, in which a hapless crew hunts for a creature that is never quite defined. The Bellman, the ship's leader, led his men across the ocean, guided by a map that was just a blank piece of paper. He rallied and reassured his crew simply by repeating himself.

    "I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true," the Bellman says in the poem.

    "Lewis Carroll notwithstanding, the fact that the government has 'said it thrice' does not make an allegation true," the court wrote.

    The court said Parhat deserved a new hearing or should be released — though it didn't say to where he would be released. The U.S. does not want to send him to China for fear he will be tortured.

Guantanamo isn't torture?

As an aside, isn't there a community in the U.S. of these Chinese Moslems, who fled after WWII or maybe Korea? They helped the U.S. during the war. I don't think it was as late as Vietnam, but I won't rule it out. They were persecuted and some were allowed to immigrate.


01 Jul 08 - 11:58 AM (#2378320)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm glad I don't live near this guy.

Man Cleared for Killing Neighbor's Burglars
'Castle Doctrine' Gives Texans Unprecedented Authority to Take Action Against Intruders

A Texas man who shot and killed two men he believed to be burglars while he was talking to a 911 dispatcher won't be going to trial. A grand jury on Monday declined to indict Joe Horn, a 61-year-old computer technician who lives in Pasadena, Texas, just outside Houston.

Before making its decision, the grand jury listened to the dramatic 911 tapes from Nov. 14, 2007, when Horn called to say two burglars were robbing his neighbor's home. Horn ignored the dispatcher's pleas not to open fire.

Joe Horn: "I've got a shotgun; you want me to stop him?"

Dispatcher: "Nope. Don't do that. Ain't no property worth shooting somebody over, OK?"

Joe Horn: "Hurry up, man, catch these guys, will you? Because I ain't gonna let them go. I'm gonna kill him."

Dispatcher: "OK, stay in the house."

Joe Horn: "They're getting away!"

Dispatcher: "That's alright."

Joe Horn: (Shouts to suspects) "Move, you're dead."

Three gunshots can be heard on the tape. Both suspects were shot in the back and were pronounced dead at the scene.

Harris County District Attorney Kenneth Magidson stood by the grand jury's decision.

"I understand the concerns of some in the community regarding Mr. Horn's conduct," Magidson told reporters at the courthouse. "The use of deadly force is carefully limited in Texas law to certain circumstances. ... In this case, however, the grand jury concluded that Mr. Horn's use of deadly force did not rise to a criminal offense."

The dead men, Diego Ortiz and Miguel de Jesus, were two illegal immigrants from Colombia. Family and friends wanted to see Horn prosecuted. "This man took the law into his own hands," Stephanie Storey, De Jesus' fiancée, told ABC News just after the shootings. "He shot two individuals in the back after having been told over and over to stay inside. It was his choice to go outside and his choice to take two lives."

Monday's decision ignited a firestorm in Houston on both sides of the issue. Debate raged on local talk radio, on street corners and on blogs. One resident, Keith Sabharwal, said, "That's what I want my neighbor to do; I really don't think he should have gotten into trouble for it."

But another resident, Ronald Elkins, disagreed. "His actions were rash and he did not take into account [what] the consequences of his actions were going to be".

The same debate raged on Timberline Drive, where Horn still lives. "I think it's a good thing," Diana Null, who lives nearby, said. "I mean, people come in and try to rob us. I mean, we're just protecting our homes." But Josie Karaze disagrees. "He had no right, and he had been told not to do it."

And law enforcement officials and law experts have been debating the merits of Castle Law since it was passed. "There's too many imponderables in this law, whereas the previous law was working just fine," said Warren Diepraam, the Harris County Assistant District Attorney, told ABC a few months ago. "Frankly, life is precious."

The critical legal question hinged on whether Horn acted in a reasonable way to defend his neighbor's property. "You cannot take another person's life in defense of their property unless you're somehow given permission by the other person to protect their property," Diepraam said.

On that 911 call, the dispatcher asked Horn directly about the owners of the house that was being burglarized and whether he knew them.

"I really don't know these neighbors," Horn said. "I know the neighbors on the other side really well … I can assure you if it had been their house, I'd already have done something."

Still, Lambright, Horn attorney told ABC News that his client "absolutely" had his neighbors' permission.

"There's no question about it," he said. "They'd tell you today that they are very happy that he was there and that he was watching out. Every neighbor in the state of Texas watches out for one another."

Reporters Kevin Quinn, Christine Dobbyn and Katisha Cosley from ABC's KTRK-TV in Houston contributed to this story.

01 Jul 08 - 12:07 PM (#2378329)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Man, that was one mellerdramatic phone call. Whew!!! HElluva thing--blowing two guys out of the water. Damn.


01 Jul 08 - 10:19 PM (#2378760)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A drunken 78-year-old Swede stole a dinghy after a night out in the Danish town of Helsingor and tried to row back to Sweden, but fell asleep halfway, Danish police said.

When the man discovered he lacked the necessary funds to pay for the ferry from Helsingor to Helsingborg in Sweden on Saturday, he decided to row the three miles across the strait of Oresund that separates the two.

He quickly grew tired and, trusting fortune and the currents to see him safely home, took a snooze at the bottom of the boat, where Danish police later found him out at sea, still asleep.

The strait is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Police said the owner of the dinghy had decided not to press charges.

05 Jul 08 - 05:35 PM (#2381948)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Adventurer flies on lawn chair lifted by 150 balloons

BEND, Oregon (AP) -- Riding a green lawn chair supported by a rainbow array of more than 150 helium-filled party balloons, Kent Couch took off Saturday in a third bid to fly from central Oregon all the way to Idaho.
Kent Couch gets ready for his flight Saturday. He carries 15-gallon barrels of Kool-Aid for ballast.
1 of 3

Couch kissed his wife and kids goodbye, and patted their shivering Chihuahua, Isabella, before his ground crew gave him a push so he could clear surrounding light poles and a coffee cart.

Then, clutching a big mug of coffee, Couch rose out of the parking lot of his gas station into the bright blue morning sky, cheered by a crowd of spectators.

"If I had the time and money and people, I'd do this every weekend," Couch said before getting into the chair. "Things just look different from up there. You're moving so slowly. The best thing is the peace, the serenity.

"You can hear a dog bark at 15,000 feet."

"He's crazy," said his wife, Susan. "It's never been a dull moment since I married him."

Couch hoped to ride the prevailing wind to the area of McCall, Idaho, about 230 miles east. He travels at about 20 mph.

Each balloon gives four pounds of lift. The chair was about 400 pounds, and Couch and his parachute 200 more. Watch Kent Couch explain why balloon flying is "a beautiful thing" È

"I'd go to 30,000 feet if I didn't shoot a balloon down periodically," Couch said.

For that job he carried a Red Ryder BB gun and a blow gun equipped with steel darts. He also had a pole with a hook for pulling in balloons, Global Positioning System tracking devices, an altimeter and a satellite phone.

It was his third flight. In 2006, he had to parachute out after popping too many balloons. Last year, he flew 193 miles to the sagebrush of northeastern Oregon, short of his goal.

"I'm not stopping till I get out of state," he said.

Couch had to dump some of the 45 gallons of cherry Kool-Aid he carried as ballast before he was able to disappear into the distance. "We wanted some color, and it kind of reminded me of kid days," he said of the ballast.

Couch was inspired by a TV show about the 1982 lawn chair flight over Los Angeles, California, by truck driver Larry Walters, who gained folk hero fame but was fined $1,500 for violating air traffic rules.

05 Jul 08 - 05:37 PM (#2381949)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- A man raced into Berlin's Madame Tussauds wax museum Saturday and ripped the head off a waxwork of Adolf Hitler, police said.

A wax likeness of Adolf Hitler sits in Berlin's Madame Tussaud's wax museum before Saturday's attack.

Police said the 41-year-old entered the exhibit shortly after the museum doors opened and "made for the Hitler figure," scuffling with a guard assigned to protect it and the manager before tearing the head off the life-size statue.

The man was arrested and is now in custody, Berlin police spokeswoman Uwe Kozelnik said. He told officers he wanted to protest the figure being included in the museum.

Museum official Nathalie Ruoss said organizers would decide Monday what to do about the figure.

Saturday was the opening day of the Berlin branch of the famous Madame Tussauds wax museum.

The presence of the waxwork, which depicted the Nazi dictator sitting at his desk in his bunker shortly before he committed suicide in 1945, in the new museum led to criticism in German media over recent weeks. But the museum's defenders argued Hitler's role in German history must not be ignored.

05 Jul 08 - 05:48 PM (#2381954)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

SYRACUSE, New York (AP) -- A vast collection of 78 rpm records is being donated to Syracuse University by the estate of a prominent New York City record shop owner.

Customers go through bins of 78 rpm records at a collectibles show last year in Wayne, New Jersey.

The more than 200,000 records represented the entire inventory of "Records Revisited," a landmark Manhattan store owned by Morton Savada, who died in February of lung cancer at age 85.

The collection, valued at $1 million, weighs 50 tons and represents more than a half-century of American music history.

Included are recordings from 1895 to the 1950s, with big band, jazz, country, blues, gospel, polka, folk, Broadway, Hawaiian and Latin among the genres. The collection also contains spoken-word, comedy and broadcast recordings, and "V-disks," which were distributed as entertainment to the U.S. military during World War II.

"It's a treasure trove of that era," said Joe Lauro, founder of Historic Film Archive, whose holdings include more than 40,000 musical performance clips and which holds exclusive rights to such famous shows as "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert."

"In terms of individual records at high prices ... there's not a lot of that in there. The value is that it's the largest massing of recordings from one particular era," said Lauro, who was befriended by Savada as a teenager and visited his store often during their 35-year-long friendship.

Even though they don't yet know what gems await them in Savada's collection, university officials were ecstatic about the donation, which boosts the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive's collection of 78 rpm records to about 400,000 -- second in the United States only to the Library of Congress collection. His family also donated Savada's collection of catalogs, discographies and other materials.

05 Jul 08 - 09:46 PM (#2382087)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Wow. Fifty tons. Think of the industrial shelving that university library must have in place.

06 Jul 08 - 02:21 AM (#2382177)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Woman: Renovation plan halted by city 'bullying'

DALLAS — A woman's passionate plan to renovate a piece of Dallas history has met with an end after a city's decision to tear down a building.

However, it isn't just her plan that has gone down the drain — it's also her investment.

Jane Bryant said she fell in love as soon as she saw an abandoned apartment structure that was built in the '20s on Davis Street. The building sits near the Bishops Arts District in north Oak Cliff.

While she bought the building last August in hopes to restore it, her dreams were dashed when the city decided to tear it down.

"I want to utilize this property and save it for its historical reference to the neighborhood," she said.

Bryant said after she bought the building, she was almost immediately asked to sell by the prominent Dallas real estate investment firm called INCAP. The company wanted the building to complete a large track purchase for a development on the block.

"Their broker was aggressively contacting me," Bryant said. "And again, I told the broker I wasn't interested in selling the property."

She says just days after turning down the offer she got a call from the Dallas City Attorney's office saying her property was out of code compliance.

"It seems awfully coincidental to me that the only time I receive any communication from the city and its threatening communication, is within days of me turning down a prominent developer in the area.

She said a few weeks after she was initially contacted, INCAP made a final offer for her building, which she once again denied.

Three days later, on March 5, the city of Dallas sued her in Municipal Court without ever issuing her a citation. The city gave her 30 days to fully repair her building or have it demolished.

"I lose all of my investment," she said of the consequences if the city bulldozes the building.

Even more upsetting, Bryant said, was the inaccuracies contained in the suit.

"Failure to remove visible graffiti," high "weeds or grass," and "accumulations of bricks and lumber" are all elements Bryant said she already addressed.

Just days ago in court, the city produced photographs of garbage and broken windows, which she said are no longer a threat.

"It's totally inaccurate," she said. "The entire lawsuit is inaccurate. It's fraudulent as far as I'm concerned."

However, the city says otherwise.

"She can complain all she wants, but she's had since October to fix the property and she just hasn't," said Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Richie.

Richie said the property at 600 Elsbeth has been in substandard, unfit condition for years. She said only now has the city gotten around to holding owners responsible.

Yet to date, no code violations have ever been issued on the property and the city can't provide documentation showing the property was ever a threat, until now.

INCAP Fund Director Alan McDonald said his efforts to buy the property have no relation to the city's attempt to tear it down.

"We don't talk to the city attorney," McDonald said. "I don't even know how their condemnation process works, and I don't think the city plays those kinds of games."

But Bryant said she finds the whole situation suspicious.

"I feel like I'm being bullied," she said. "I'm being intimidated. I'm being threatened. It's just wrong."

Unless Bryant can immediately come up with the money to restore her investment, she must sell.

10 Jul 08 - 02:23 PM (#2385905)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The recently reported launch of several missiles by Iran receives comment in an MSNBC "Photoblog" at:

Too many missiles

"As the media editor working the home page yesterday, I was frustrated with the quality of a fuzzy video image we published of the Iranian missile launch. So I was thrilled when the top image crossed the news wires. Today, I learned that the image was apparently manipulated, possibly to hide the fact that one missile failed. Many major U.S. newspapers and news websites ran the photo as well."

The above bit provides a link to more detail at:

In an Iranian Image, a Missile Too Many

July 10, 2008, 9:16 am
By Mike Nizza and Patrick Witty

Lovely pictures at the second link, although reader comments are unsophisticated.


14 Jul 08 - 09:04 PM (#2389195)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Police seek 28-year-old man in fatal traffic circle beating

King County [Seattle] prosecutors have charged a 28-year-old man in connection with last week's beating death of a 60-year-old Rainier Beach man who was gardening inside a traffic circle in front of his house.

James "Jage" Paroline, 60, died Thursday, a day after the police say that Brian Brown punched him in the head during a dispute in the street. Police say that Brown struck Paroline while the Rainier Beach man was arguing with three teenage girls who were upset with him for blocking traffic while he gardened in the traffic circle.

Brown was charged today with second-degree murder. Police are looking for Brown and prosecutors have issued a warrant for $500,000. Brown has prior convictions for third-degree assault, drug possession and obstructing a law enforcement officer, theft and criminal trespassing.

Neighbors and police said that Paroline was gardening in the traffic circle at 61st Avenue South and South Cooper Street around 8 p.m. and had set up traffic cones to keep cars from driving over a garden hose. Three teenage girls in a car stopped and told him to remove the traffic cones, but Paroline refused, neighbors said.

A video of the attack, shot by a neighbor, showed Paroline attempting to ignore the girls until they threw water on him from water jug, according to charging papers. Police said the teenagers then removed the cones and Paroline sprayed them with water from the hose.

Several minutes later Brown pulled up in a car and punched Paroline.

The girls first told police that they didn't know the man who struck Paroline, according to charging papers. The girls later admitted that they knew Brown, who is the boyfriend of someone they know, charging papers say.

Brown pleaded guilty to assault in 2005 after police said he attacked a woman in her Renton apartment. The victim said that Brown choked and head-butted her, according to court charging papers.

Brown was sentenced to four months in jail for the attack.

Paroline's brother-in-law, Greg Goodwin, said today that his family is still struggling to understand why anyone would harm him.

Goodwin said that Paroline "had a connection" with the traffic circle because he lobbied to have it constructed after a car crashed into his house.

Paroline adopted the circle as an extension of his colorful yard — weeding, watering and tending to the purple, yellow and pink flowers that soon sprouted there.

His death has drawn the concern of hundreds of fellow Rainier Beach residents, many of whom plan to attend a community meeting Tuesday night to share their concerns about crime in the area.

Yolanda Gill, of the Rainier Beach Joint Block Watch, said that Paroline's death was the catalyst for the meeting at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church.

"Folks want to come together and they want to come up with some solutions on how to curb crime," Gill said. "We are seeing gang activity, graffiti, incidents where people are mugged and a number of things."

Goodwin said that the slain man's relatives plan to attend the meeting.

14 Jul 08 - 09:18 PM (#2389199)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Emma B


An Oklahoma church canceled a controversial gun giveaway for teenagers at a weekend youth conference.

Windsor Hills Baptist had planned to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle until one of the event's organizers was unable to attend.

The church's youth pastor, Bob Ross, said it's a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event. The church expected hundreds of teenagers from as far away as Canada.

A gun giveaway was part of the event last year. This year, organizers included it in their marketing.


14 Jul 08 - 11:32 PM (#2389253)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Obviously the heat is getting to people.


25 Jul 08 - 10:10 AM (#2397587)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Boy bites pitbull dog

An 11-YEAR-OLD boy is enjoying a flash of fame in Brazil after biting a pitbull terrier that attacked him as he played in his uncle's back yard.

Gabriel Almeida, who lives on the outskirts of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais, broke a canine tooth when he bit into the dog's neck to fend off an attack. Since then, he has been pampered in several TV stations, where he has been recounting his ordeal.

"I grabbed him by the neck and bit," he told O Globo newspaper. "It's better to lose a tooth than to lose your life."

29 Jul 08 - 10:25 AM (#2400298)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

LIMA (Reuters) - A naked model photographed using Peru's flag as a saddle while mounted on a horse will face charges that could put her in jail for up to four years for offending patriotic symbols, the country's defence minister said on Wednesday.

The suggestive shot of Leysi Suarez, whose main job is dancing for the band Alma Bella, or Beautiful Soul, was splashed on the cover of DFarandula magazine and has caused a political uproar as Peru prepares to celebrate the 187th anniversary of its independence from Spain on Monday.

"These are patriotic symbols that demand total respect, and using them improperly requires punishment," defence Minister Antero Flores told reporters. "This is an offence."

Flores has ordered a public prosecutor to take up the case and file charges.

Suarez said it was patriotic to pose for the photo.

"I haven't committed a crime. I love Peru and show it with my body and soul," the dancer said on RPP radio.

Mario Amoretti, a well-known lawyer, said it depends in part on how Peru's red-and-white flag was used.

"It's one thing to cover your body with the flag, but quite another thing to be naked and using it as a horse's saddle," he said.

29 Jul 08 - 06:26 PM (#2400758)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

LIMA, Peru - Doctors in a coastal town in northwestern Peru have rescued the innards of a 38-year-old man by removing 17 metal objects Ñ among them nails, a watch clasp and a knife Ñ that he ate.

Luis Zarate was taken to the regional hospital of Trujillo earlier this week by his family after complaining of sharp stomach pains. Doctors took X-rays of his chest that showed his insides littered with screws.

"There were 17 strange objects found at the level of his stomach and colon," said Dr. Julio Acevedo, one of the surgeons who operated on Zarate.

29 Jul 08 - 06:30 PM (#2400762)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

How do you suppose he managed to eat all of that stuff? Dementia?

29 Jul 08 - 06:34 PM (#2400766)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Very hard teeth?


29 Jul 08 - 07:22 PM (#2400805)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

I knew an old lady who swallowed a fly ....
Maybe she'll die.

The "pique" of swallowing strange objects is not too common but not actually what could be called "rare." Most settle for things like coins or marbles and such that go down fairly easily, although paper clips and small nails seem to have some favor among practitioners.

Now if the kid in the previous post had swallowed the pit bull, that would probably be real NEWS.


03 Aug 08 - 03:57 PM (#2404450)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Posted on Sat, Aug. 02, 2008
'Little yard sale' to help WWII vet turns into outpouring of support


FORT WORTH — Lidia Perez's prayers were answered.

And answered. And answered. And answered.

The blessings showered on 88-year-old John Martinek — a World War II veteran who has been living in her back bedroom since his house burned down in May — have made Perez feel a bit like a waitress at the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

"I was going to have a little yard sale," she said Friday after an all-day crush of people on her lawn handing over twenties, fifties and hundreds to benefit Martinek. "I am so surprised. But I knew the Lord heard my prayers."

Perez, a 53-year-old hairdresser who lives in a house built by Habitat for Humanity, opened her home to Martinek 12 weeks ago when she found him living in a camper behind his charred house in north Fort Worth and learned that he'd been washing up in a McDonald's.

He is a widower, has no children and gets only $550 a month from Social Security. He had no homeowner's insurance.

Perez had been struggling to find ways to help Martinek, both with immediate needs and more permanent housing. That is, until a reader contacted the Star-Telegram, which published an article about their friendship Thursday and highlighted Perez's garage sale Friday and today.

The outpouring from North Texans since then has been nothing less than extraordinary. The first day of the garage sale brought in close to $13,000.

"When you go through life day after day, you don't think about anything like this, and you don't realize there are so many nice people," Martinek said, resting in the shade, his eyes brimming with tears and his voice catching. "It's amazing."

At 7:30 a.m. Thursday, a young man showed up at Perez's house with a full bed and sheets. (Martinek had been sleeping on the floor because Perez could not afford a bed.)

People brought items for Perez's garage sale. Veterans groups offered to help him get benefits. Someone brought him a new cap that said WORLD WAR II VET in big, bold letters. Readers called to find out how to donate to his Wells Fargo account. People such as Jim and Jane Cox, who live in Keller, and Debbra Ledbetter from Arlington showed up at 6 a.m. to help and stayed most of the day.

Shoppers, such as Teresa Weaver and her 10-year-old daughter Cori, drove from Saginaw to buy a couple of small items and grossly overpay. Weaver ended up crying with Martinek in the yard.

"What [Lidia] was willing to do for him means that we all have to do what we can to help," she said.

Many people said they were as touched by Perez's generosity as they were by Martinek's misfortune.

Marcus Hernandez, who also lives in Keller, came to the garage sale early Friday to have Perez's Ford Explorer fixed. The vehicle has been without air conditioning for months.

"She refused me, repeatedly," he said. "She said this is about Mr. Martinek, not her."

Perez does not want to be part of the story, although her wish to be left out has yet to be granted.

"From my deepest heart, I have already been blessed by having this experience with Mr. Martinek," she said.

Leaders of the Trinity Habitat for Humanity also went to the garage sale and looked at Martinek's property. Martinek has so little monthly income that he does not qualify for a Habitat house, which requires some financial buy-in from the homeowner.

But Gage Yager, the executive director, said his organization would do all it could in the coming days to find a solution.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Texas Veterans Commission are also looking into what benefits or pensions Martinek is entitled to for his combat service in the Army.

But with the $13,000 donated Friday, Martinek's financial picture and his wish for a new home has brightened considerably.

"It's going to happen now," Perez said.


When you go through life day after day, you don't think about anything like this, and you don't realize there are so many nice people. It's amazing."
John Martinek

03 Aug 08 - 06:25 PM (#2404553)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

SOmetimes a power moves upon the waters greater than one mind can conceive.


06 Aug 08 - 12:42 PM (#2406677)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

From The Onion:

HAZEL PARK, MI—In a statement made to reporters earlier this afternoon, local idiot Brandon Mylenek, 26, announced that at approximately 2:30 a.m. tonight, he plans to post an idiotic comment beneath a video on an Internet website.

"Later this evening, I intend to watch the video in question, click the 'reply' link above the box reserved for user comments, and draft a response, being careful to put as little thought into it as possible, while making sure to use all capital letters and incorrect punctuation," Mylenek said. "Although I do not yet know exactly what my comment will entail, I can say with a great degree of certainty that it will be incredibly stupid."

Mylenek, who rarely in his life has been capable of formulating an idea or opinion worth the amount of oxygen required to express it, went on to guarantee that the text of his comment would be misspelled to the point of incomprehension, that it would defy the laws of both logic and grammar, and that it would allege that several elements of the video are homosexual in nature.

"The result will be an astonishing combination of ignorance, offensiveness, and sheer idiocy," Mylenek said.

06 Aug 08 - 05:25 PM (#2407000)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: beardedbruce

06 Aug 08 - 05:58 PM (#2407026)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

LOL!! "It's a treat top beat yer feet....".


07 Aug 08 - 12:59 AM (#2407276)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Janie

Talk about family jewels

11 Aug 08 - 11:19 AM (#2410585)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Spanish shopkeeper finds Homer Simpson euro
Fri Aug 8, 2008 1:46pm EDT   

MADRID (Reuters) - A one euro coin has turned up in Spain bearing the face of cartoon couch potato Homer Simpson instead of that of the country's king, a sweetshop owner told Reuters on Friday.

Jose Martinez was counting the cash in his till in the city of Aviles, northern Spain, when he came across the coin where Homer's bald head, big eyes and big nose had replaced the serious features of King Juan Carlos.

"The coin must have been done by a professional, the work is impressive," he told Reuters.

The comical carver had not taken his tools to the other side of the coin displaying the map of Europe. So far, no other coins of the hapless, beer-swilling oaf have been found in circulation.

"I've been offered 20 euros for it," said Martinez.

24 Aug 08 - 12:37 PM (#2421240)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

August 22, 2008
Wisconsin woman jailed for overdue library books

This story out of Wisconsin sort of resembles "The Library" episode from Seinfeld, specifically the part about the "library cop."

A Wisconsin woman was cuffed, fingerprinted and booked into jail in connection with her overdue library books.

The woman, 22-year-old Heidi Dalibor, told WISN-TV that she repeatedly ignored overdue notices from the library for two books she checked out last year.

She also ignored a police citation and a notice to appear in municipal court for her overdue books.

"I said, what could they possibly do? They can't arrest me for this ... I was wrong," she told WISN.

That's what led the Grafton (Wis.) Police Department to knock on her door, arrest warrant in hand, according to the report.

She was booked into the city jail and released after paying a $170 fine.

As for the books, Dalibor told the station she's still not giving them back.

25 Aug 08 - 01:16 PM (#2421858)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

"A squirrel looking for nuts in a power plant inadvertently caused an 80-minute power outage that shut down Switzerland's main television broadcaster just as the final ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was about to be shown.

A squirrel accidentally shut down the power supply to part of the Swiss city of Zurich and thereby prevented television viewers across Switzerland from watching the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics live.

The Zurich electricity company said the animal, which unfortunately fried to death in the incident, was to blame for an 80-minute power cut on Sunday afternoon that led to a complete outage for Swiss national television from 1:38 p.m., just as the Chinese were getting ready to stage their spectacular finale."

26 Aug 08 - 01:16 PM (#2422580)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: KB in Iowa

Man pulls knife at church for butter

OCALA, Fla. (AP) -- Authorities say an Ocala man pulled a knife on members of a church congregation who would not give him butter from their morning buffet.

When 48-year-old Frankie Lewis couldn't get any butter on Sunday from the buffet line, police say he pulled his knife on members and threatened to cut them.

Police say Lewis eventually went to put the knife away, but that's when a church member hit him with a wooden board. Lewis then rode away on a bicycle, but police quickly caught him.

Lewis was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was being held on $2,000 bail.

26 Aug 08 - 06:01 PM (#2422822)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Butter makes the battery better?

26 Aug 08 - 06:53 PM (#2422867)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

But the batterer still battles bitter betrayal from the battering with a batten.


29 Aug 08 - 06:52 AM (#2425274)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: curmudgeon

Man flees without his burning pants

YORK, Maine — It remains unknown if he was a liar, but on Wednesday police received a report of a man whose pants were on fire.

The man left the scene before members of the police and fire departments arrived.

"His pants were still there on the side of the road," Sgt. Steve Spofford said. "They were still smoldering."

The caller said the man was a redhead. The witness who called police said the man was out of his car and wearing boxer shorts. Then he abandoned the burning pants by the side of Old Post Road.

The man was reported to be driving a green Dodge pickup truck.

"We'd like to know what caused that," Spofford said. "I'm sure that wasn't very comfortable for a while."

29 Aug 08 - 11:41 AM (#2425509)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This is a BBC story, a friend emailed it but I don't have a link:

Swedish woman in airport muddle

An elderly Swedish woman tried to get herself on board an international flight by climbing onto an unmanned luggage belt after her suitcase.

The incident happened at Stockholm's Arlanda airport.

The unnamed 78-year-old thought she was just following instructions on how to check in for her flight.

She carefully lay down on the conveyor belt and was whisked into the baggage handling bay where she was rescued by surprised staff.

"It was a bit unfortunate," said Ari Kallonen of baggage handling firm Nordic Aero. "The little old lady arrived at the airport and had to take care of herself.

"Unfortunately, she did not understand when she was given check-in instructions. She took the belt together with her bag. Luckily it wasn't a long ride - only a couple of metres."

The woman did not reportedly suffer any injuries, managing to catch her flight to Germany, police said.

The airport does provide a service, on request, to help guide elderly or vulnerable people through the departures process.

02 Sep 08 - 12:41 PM (#2428883)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Drunk Wheelchair Driver Banned from the Roads

A German court has banned the driver of an electric wheelchair from using his vehicle for a month after he was caught twice with a blood alcohol level well over the legal limit
(Der Spiegel)

05 Sep 08 - 11:13 AM (#2431870)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

From the brilliant japes at the Onion:

DAYTON, TN—A steady stream of devoted evolutionists continued to gather in this small Tennessee town today to witness what many believe is an image of Charles Darwin—author of The Origin Of Species and founder of the modern evolutionary movement—made manifest on a concrete wall in downtown Dayton.

"I brought my baby to touch the wall, so that the power of Darwin can purify her genetic makeup of undesirable inherited traits," said Darlene Freiberg, one among a growing crowd assembled here to see the mysterious stain, which appeared last Monday on one side of the Rhea County Courthouse. The building was also the location of the famed "Scopes Monkey Trial" and is widely considered one of Darwinism's holiest sites. "Forgive me, O Charles, for ever doubting your Divine Evolution. After seeing this miracle of limestone pigmentation with my own eyes, my faith in empirical reasoning will never again be tested."

Added Freiberg, "Behold the power and glory of the scientific method!"

Since witnesses first reported the unexplained marking—which appears to resemble a 19th-century male figure with a high forehead and large beard—this normally quiet town has become a hotbed of biological zealotry. Thousands of pilgrims from as far away as Berkeley's paleoanthropology department have flocked to the site to lay wreaths of flowers, light devotional candles, read aloud from Darwin's works, and otherwise pay homage to the mysterious blue-green stain.

Capitalizing on the influx of empirical believers, street vendors have sprung up across Dayton, selling evolutionary relics and artwork to the thousands of pilgrims waiting to catch a glimpse of the image. Available for sale are everything from small wooden shards alleged to be fragments of the "One True Beagle"—the research vessel on which Darwin made his legendary voyage to the Galapagos Islands—to lecture notes purportedly touched by English evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace.

"I have never felt closer to Darwin's ideas," said zoologist Fred Granger, who waited in line for 16 hours to view the stain. "May his name be praised and his theories on natural selection echo in all the halls of naturalistic observation forever."

Despite the enthusiasm the so-called "Darwin Smudge" has generated among the evolutionary faithful, disagreement remains as to its origin. Some believe the image is actually closer to the visage of Stephen Jay Gould, longtime columnist for Natural History magazine and originator of the theory of punctuated equilibrium, and is therefore proof of rapid cladogenesis. A smaller minority contend it is the face of Carl Sagan, and should be viewed as a warning to those nonbelievers who have not yet seen his hit PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

Still others have attempted to discredit the miracle entirely, claiming that there are several alternate explanations for the appearance of the unexplained discoloration.

"It's a stain on a wall, and nothing more," said the Rev. Clement McCoy, a professor at Oral Roberts University and prominent opponent of evolutionary theory. "Anything else is the delusional fantasy of a fanatical evolutionist mindset that sees only what it wishes to see in the hopes of validating a baseless, illogical belief system. I only hope these heretics see the error of their ways before our Most Powerful God smites them all in His vengeance."


24 Sep 08 - 12:29 AM (#2448683)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

You'd think they'd have the sense to train bus drivers about what to do with spare kids, wouldn't you? This child was lucky to encounter the kindness of strangers.

Boy, 5, dumped by school bus driver in NYC streets
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A New York City mother wants to know why her first-grade son was left to wander the streets alone after being dropped off by a school bus driver at the end of the line.

School officials say they don't know who put 5-year-old Jaeden Vasquez on the bus Thursday -- especially since he wasn't even supposed to be on it. He lives across the street from the school in the Bronx.

His mother, Aileen Bonilla, says the school apologized but that isn't enough.

Five-year-old children aren't supposed to be let off school buses unless an adult is waiting. Jaeden says he was ordered off the bus at the last stop, two miles from his home. A stranger brought him home.

School officials say they are investigating.

24 Sep 08 - 02:57 PM (#2449122)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Deltona, Florida - An angry Deltona father whacked his teenage daughter's boyfriend with a metal pipe after finding the boy naked in his daughter's room.

Authorities say Raul Colon, 45, didn't even know his daughter had a boyfriend or that the youngster had been sneaking into the home for more than a year.

When he heard noises coming from his daughter's bedroom Thursday morning and saw a stranger standing naked on the girl's bed, he swung a metal pipe. He then chased the teen out the front door and called police.

The boy was taken to the hospital where doctors closed a head wound with staples.

Colon was arrested on allegations of aggravated battery on a child and bonded out on $10,000. The State Attorney's Office will decide whether to file formal charges in the case.

25 Sep 08 - 03:00 AM (#2449466)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

he nudists who have frequented Eastney beach in Portsmouth for more than a century thought they were on the way out.

Qinetiq, a British defence technology company, wants to build 131 luxury apartments there, potentially leaving the nudists very unwelcome.

But help is at hand, and it has taken the form of a tiny and rather rare friend. The Dartford warbler is one of the few species of warbler to winter in Britain. And now it is has come to the nudists' rescue.

Qinetiq had received planning permission to develop its flats on Eastney beach on the condition they widen an access road leading to the land. But at a special meeting of the city council earlier this week, protesters successfully pushed the council to carry out a further environmental study to see if the flats will endanger the bird's natural habitat.

As a result, the warbler may soon discover its safest haven is in the company of naked humans.

08 Oct 08 - 12:49 PM (#2460311)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm not going to start an obituary thread, but I'm going to link to and paste this one in here. It is simply the best obit I've read in many years. I had to write them when I worked at a local weekly paper, and I've read them for decades. This one is remarkable.

link (it won't stay long, maybe a month).

John Wayne Dappen
1920 – Oct. 1, 2008

If you're reading this, my family did not take my advice and is wasting money on me rather than giving it to someone who is alive and who could really use it. I'm a realist, however, and know I'm likely to be overruled so I've written some things down. It is, after all, MY life and, for once, I want the last word.

I was born in Kansas, raised in Iowa, graduated from Grinnell College (Iowa) in 1942, and received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Paper Chemistry (Wisconsin) in 1950. Interrupting my education was World War II and, for some of those years, I worked for the Manhattan Project (Tennessee) as a cog in the machinery that built the bombs that would end the war in the Pacific.

I leave behind my wife of 63 years, Glady; three children, Ann Manes (Bob), of Jacksonville, Oregon, Alan (Sara), of Vienna, Virginia, and Andy (Jan), of Wenatchee, Washington. My eldest son, Art (Linn), preceded me in death in 2006. Besides my children I leave behind 16 grandchildren and 13 (and counting) great-grandchildren. It's ironic that Glady and I worked for many years to raise money for Planned Parenthood.

My working years were spent with Scott Paper Company and we moved quite often. I lived and worked in Pennsylvania, New York, Mexico, and Pennsylvania (again). In 1968, I was sent to Everett where I spent the remainder of my career. Here some claim I met my Peter Principle managing the pulp mill. Others say my bluntness finally caught up with me because I was quick to call a spade a spade and a bad policy a bad policy.

After retirement my worst mistake was taking that bluntness into Glady's kitchen where a little constructive criticism landed me the job of cooking for 20 years. One way to minimize that chore was volunteering with the International Executive Service Corp—an organization that sent me on three-month stints to help improve paper or pulp operations in other countries. I worked in Brazil (twice), Egypt, Slovakia, and Zimbabwe (several times).

Throughout my life I've never been much of a joiner of organizations, churches, groups, or clubs. I'm so much of a non-joiner that I won't be attending the party that has been promised for my birthday. Those who knew me and feel inclined to eat, drink, and say a few final words – good or ill-- are invited to attend.
Also save your pennies on symbolic gestures like flowers which, to me, are wasted money. If you feel compelled to give something in my memory, donate to Planned Parenthood of Western Washington or Providence Hospice Care of Snohomish County.

Kids' Addition:

It's hard to be totally forthright when writing about yourself, so we're not going to give Dad the last word. For starters, it is true our father was quick to declare what he believed or thought best—usually in an elevated voice. Nonetheless when others disagreed or acted in a way that defied his logic, he had the humor and grace to accept people's differences without bitterness or ill will. He rarely judged and he never harbored a grudge. And while he might question a person's sanity to his face, Dad did not speak poorly of others behind their backs.

Some people knew our father to be a cheapskate and he cultivated that reputation by gleaning the food sales each week, fixing possessions with tape and glue, and wearing the same clothes year after year. He earned a good income and could have matched the self-indulging purchases of his peers. Instead, he paid for the undergraduate education of all his children at expensive liberal-arts colleges. He funded the graduate education of those of us who desired it, helped financially with the education of other children, helped support the family of his missionary son, and loaned money at below-market rates so his kids could afford homes. He gave generously to charities he believed in. Our father was stingy with himself, not with others.

Dad was also scrupulously honest, even in those situations where many of us turn to white lies for help. Ask him about religion and he'd say, "I don't know if there's a God, but I also don't know of a better code of behavior than Christ's example or the Golden Rule."
At least two of us kids remember learning about the Golden Rule in Mexico after we were hauled before our father for throwing stones at the workers building a home down the road. The Rule and its principles were patiently explained. We admitted that, had our positions been reversed, we would not have wanted stones chucked at us. And then a spanking seared that lesson to memory in a way we two still remember 50 years later.

Every father has anecdotes he's remembered by and here is one of the many that always raised a laugh in our family. After the creation of a new national holiday, Dad got in a heated 'discussion' with his kids who enjoyed these 'pseudo' holidays. "We've got too many darn holidays already," he argued. "What we need is a national get-back-to-work day."

Our father believed in hard work and he did all his jobs well, whether that was making paper for Scott, cooking for his wife, or raising his kids. We, his children, admire his many sterling qualities and we laugh together over his storied quirkiness. We will miss this sometimes odd but unusually wonderful man. And while we will miss him, we needn't go far to visit him. Whether the cause is nature or nurture, our spouses comment on our own values and quirky behavior with the quip, "You're just like your father."

A birthday party to celebrate Dad's life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m., on Saturday, October 25, 2008, at the family home. We hope to see his friends and neighbors there.

08 Oct 08 - 06:41 PM (#2460629)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Running it back up top. It's a great obit.

08 Oct 08 - 07:29 PM (#2460660)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: bobad

Don't mess with our hoummus, warn Lebanese

BEIRUT (AFP) — A battle over hoummus and tabbouleh is shaping up between Lebanon and Israel -- two neighbours still technically at war -- with efforts underway to clearly identify such dishes as exclusively Lebanese.

"In our mind tabbouleh and hoummus should belong to the Lebanese just as feta cheese belongs to the Greeks," said Fadi Abboud, president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association.

"Now when hoummus is known all over the world as an Israeli Kosher dip or a Greek dip, that's not fair," he added. "This and other foods like tabbouleh are all Lebanese specialities and they should be registered as such.

He said his group is preparing to go to the European Union to register the names of certain dishes as Lebanese.

Legislation is also pending in the Lebanese parliament to protect the names of certain geographical locations specific to Lebanon so that products cannot be marketed under the name of a town or region.

"What appals me with Israel is that they are (marketing) hoummus as a traditional Israeli product when it is clearly a Lebanese product," said Ramez Abi Nader, a member of the Lebanese Industrialists Association.

"What they are doing is misleading as hoummus is an Arabic not a Hebrew word... and everyone knows that tabbouleh is Lebanese."

Hoummus is a dip made of chick peas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic while tabbouleh is a salad made with parsley, bulgur wheat, spring onions and tomatoes.

Both dishes, as well as others such as baba ghannouj, an aubergine dip, are widely popular in Israel and around the globe.

Abboud and Abi Nader said they believe Lebanon has suffered millions of dollars in losses from such dishes being marketed in various countries without being produced in Lebanon.

They said said their case was similar to the one over feta cheese in which a European Union court ruled in 2002 that feta is exclusively Greek.

They also argue that just as France and Scotland have succeeded in protecting their geographical appelation rights for sparkling wine from Champagne and Scotch whisky, so should Lebanon for some of its dishes.

Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk El Tayeb, a farmer's market in Beirut, said it was unthinkable that tabbouleh or hoummus could be marketed as other than Lebanese.

"When one speaks of Italy the first thing that comes to mind is pizza and pasta, when you speak about the States it's hamburger and when you speak of Lebanon it should be tabbouleh and company," Mouzawak said.

"It's important that we protect our foods because they are part of our roots," he added. "When I want to recount my origins I do so through hoummus and tabbouleh rather than a history book.

"When one speaks about hoummus, they must think of Lebanon and when they speak of Lebanon they must think of hoummus."

08 Oct 08 - 08:18 PM (#2460682)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That's funny, especially since my daughter and I stepped into an Israeli restaurant in New York City (mid-town Manhattan) a few years back and order hummus. It was awful (too much tahini, not enough lemon or garlic), and we resolved to head to our favorite Lebanese restaurant in Brooklyn the next time we wanted it. :)


09 Oct 08 - 05:24 PM (#2461446)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I'll post the link because you have to see this one, not just read about it. Joe Biden obviously is not offended by the SNL skit about the debate--he can't stop laughing. And you can find a link to the skit at the bottom of the Washington Post article.


19 Oct 08 - 11:47 AM (#2469943)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Man arrested for sex act with vacuum in car wash
Associated Press
3:39 PM CDT, October 18, 2008

THOMAS TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Police say a Michigan man has been arrested after "receiving sexual favors from a vacuum" at a car wash.

The Saginaw News reports the 29-year-old Swan Creek Township man was arrested Thursday in Saginaw County's Thomas Township, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit.

Police Sgt. Gary Breidinger says a resident called to report suspicious activity at the car wash about 6:45 a.m. An officer approached on foot and caught the man in the act.

The suspect, whose name wasn't immediately released, is being held in the Saginaw County Jail.

19 Oct 08 - 12:42 PM (#2469985)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That guy must have been hard up.

20 Oct 08 - 11:02 AM (#2470754)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

I've received sexual favors from a vacuum, in my youth, but she was posing as human on the outside.


05 Nov 08 - 10:16 PM (#2486197)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Benbrook man says his bullet may have hit woman at Texas Motor Speedway

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 (Dallas Morning News)

Fort Worth police are investigating reports from a 49-year-old Benbrook man who says he may be responsible for the stray bullet that hit an Arlington woman Sunday morning at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kennith Jaramillo contacted Fort Worth police on Monday after hearing that Jill King Moss, 62, was hit in her arm by a .50-caliber bullet that pierced the roof of her RV, authorities said. Ms. Moss was taken to Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital and is expected to recover from her injuries.

Given the bullet's trajectory, Fort Worth police investigators believe the bullet came from far away.

Mr. Jaramillo told police he was target shooting five miles from Texas Motor Speedway between 10 and 11 a.m., said Lt. Paul Henderson, a Fort Worth police spokesman. Mr. Jaramillo fired five or six rounds at a berm, a mound of dirt, with his .50-caliber Vulcan single-shot rifle.

Fort Worth police took his weapon for ballistics tests. If tests confirm the bullet was fired from his weapon, Mr. Jaramillo could be charged with deadly conduct for recklessly firing a weapon, Lt. Henderson said.

Mr. Jaramillo has not been arrested or charged in the incident.

08 Nov 08 - 08:38 AM (#2488333)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Police: 90-Year-Old Living With 3 Siblings' Bodies

Published: November 8, 2008

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Police in a Chicago suburb say a 90-year-old woman apparently has been living in a house with the bodies of three siblings -- one of whom may have been dead since the early 1980s.

Evanston police Cmdr. Tom Guenther says the bodies were found Friday after authorities were called by a senior advocate.

Autopsies were planned but Guenther said police do not suspect foul play.

The 90-year-old woman's was taken to a hospital for observation. Her identity was not released.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the dead as Anita Bernstorff, who was last seen alive in May 2008, Frank Bernstorff, not seen alive since 2003, and Elaine Bernstorff, who was last seen alive in the early 1980s.

Anita Bernstorff was the eldest, born in 1910.

08 Nov 08 - 01:05 PM (#2488510)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I remember a Quincy, Medical Examiner episode that had a plot like that.

09 Nov 08 - 03:44 AM (#2488873)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Doug Chadwick

Blinded pilot guided to safe landing by RAF

Daily Telegraph – 8 Nov 2008

A pilot who was blinded by a suspected stroke whilst flying solo at 15,000ft has said he owes his life to the RAF after it scrambled an aircraft to guide him down to safety. Jim O'Neill, 65, made seven aborted attempts at emergency landings before he finally touched down in his Cessna thanks to the RAF pilot who flew alongside him, giving constant instructions and reassurance over his radio. Mr O'Neill, who is now being treated in hospital, said: "I should not be alive. I owe my life, and those of dozens of people I could have crash-landed on, to the RAF.


The drama unfolded on Friday last week when Mr O'Neill was 40 minutes into a flight from Prestwick, Glasgow, to Earls Colne, near Colchester, Essex, as he returned home from a family visit. When his vision suddenly failed, he initially thought he had been dazzled by the sun, but as he began to pass over North Yorkshire he alerted air traffic controllers, who in turn contacted RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York. The station's controllers talked to Mr O'Neill over the radio and he told them he had a problem and "would like to get down".

Mr Gerrard intercepted Mr O'Neill's Cessna 152 Skylane within minutes, flying just 500ft away so he could give the stricken pilot precise instructions on what to do. It was a further 45 minutes before Mr O'Neill finally touched down at his eighth attempt, bouncing twice before coming to a halt at the very end of the runway, where an ambulance was waiting.


09 Nov 08 - 02:06 PM (#2489161)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage


On a different topic, I was reading a list of "10 quick fixes" for security nightmares, and it included a list of scanning programs.

    Fix 10: Get Extra Cleaning Help for Stubborn Infections

    Sometimes even the best antivirus program misses an infection. And once a virus or Trojan horse gets in, removing it can be incredibly tough. If you suspect some nasty got past your defenses, then it's time to bring in extra help.

    Many antivirus makers offer free and easy online scans through your Web browser. The scan will take time, as the scanning service will need to download large Java or ActiveX components before it can get started, but they're easy to kick off. You can run them in addition to your already-installed antivirus application for a second (or third, or fourth) opinion. Here's the lowdown on your options.

    Trend Micro HouseCall: Will detect and remove malware; works with both IE and Firefox.

    BitDefender Online Scanner: Detects and removes malware; requires IE.

    Kaspersky Online Scanner: Detects malware, but doesn't remove it; works with IE and Firefox.

    F-Secure Online Virus Scanner: Detects and removes malware; requires IE.

    ESET Online Scanner: Detects and removes malware; requires IE.

The whole article is here.


09 Nov 08 - 07:41 PM (#2489421)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Decontee Williams was so excited by Barack Obama's victory on Tuesday night that she started jumping up and down — and went into labor. Twelve hours later, Barack Jeilah was born at Phoenix Baptist Hospital to Ms. Williams and Prince Jeilah. The baby was 8 pounds 9 ounces and had a full head of hair.

In Kisumu, an area in Kenya where relatives of Barack Obama live, at least 43 children have been named after the Obamas since Election Day, including Josephine Ochieng's newborn son.
"I love Barack Obama, and I love the name," said Ms. Williams, 31, who came to the United States as a refugee from Liberia in 2003. "In Africa, we call it a blessing. That is a good name."

In the last week, Barack, Obama, Michelle, Malia and Sasha have become inspirations for first and middle names across the United States, according to news reports. But the Obama baby boom has been even more pronounced in Kenya, particularly in Kisumu, an area in the western part of the country where relatives of Mr. Obama live.

13 Nov 08 - 11:23 AM (#2492802)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The Onion suggests:

NEW YORK—Stock analysts on Wall Street fled in terror after being spooked by the rare but deadly boar market that reared its head at closing bell Monday. "I have no idea what to expect," stock analyst Christopher Mattson said. "This market is highly unpredictable—tusked and savage and covered with coarse, bristly hair. I didn't know if I should buy, sell, or shoot." Mattson said he hopes stocks will soon perform again like they did two weeks ago, when brokers were soothed by the graceful movements of a swan market

13 Nov 08 - 05:28 PM (#2493135)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Good news! (for a little while, at least)

Hosting firm shutdown forces botnets to relocate
Criminals affected by plug-pulling already shifting operations, says researcher


The shutdown Tuesday of a California-based hosting company not only knocked down spam volumes but has also put a dent in malware-spreading botnets and other criminal activity, researchers said today.

While cybercriminals will face some short-term difficulties as they are forced to relocate their operations, the relief will be only temporary for the world's Internet users, the researchers added.

McColo Corp., the San Jose-based company that was cut off from the Web by its upstream Internet providers two days ago, hosted a staggering variety of cybercriminal activity, according to researchers familiar with its operation. Other than spewing out huge quantities of spam -- by some estimates, at times up to 75% of all spam -- McColo hosted the command-and-control servers of some of the biggest botnets, hosted child pornographic sites and domains that hustled users for money by scaring them into thinking that their PCs were infected with massive amounts of malware.

Among the world's largest botnets controlled from servers hosted by McColo, researchers have counted the Sinowal, Srizbi and Rustock networks.

The hosting service even harbored the server that RSA Security Inc. found that contained more than 500,000 stolen online bank and credit card accounts.

Paul Ferguson, a network architect at Trend Micro Inc., was one of 10 security researchers who put years of work into investigating McColo and documenting its criminal activities. "The work goes back two years," said Ferguson. "We did our due diligence and went through legitimate channels" in an attempt to get McColo to change its spots. "But they just played a shell game when they did respond, maybe change an IP address on one domain. They weren't serious. So we decided it was time to shine a light on the darkness."

Ferguson joined nine other researchers to publish a paper Wednesday called "McColo: Cyber Crime USA" that detailed their findings. The paper is available on the site (download PDF).

Spam levels remained significantly lower today than before McColo's shutdown -- according to IronPort, spam volumes are down about 58% Thursday from Monday's numbers.

Although the shutdown may stymie online criminal activity for a time, Ferguson and others were only cautiously optimistic.

"I completely expect the criminal operators that were 'pulling the strings' in McColo to redeploy their operations elsewhere," said Ferguson. "That's almost a given." He added that there are signs the criminals are already shifting their servers and domains to other hosting companies.

Ben Feinstein, director of operations for the counterthreat unit of SecureWorks Inc., an Atlanta-based security company, echoed Ferguson. "In the short term, this may have a positive effect in reducing online crime, but in the medium- and long-term, they'll reorganize and move to other hosting providers."

The move won't even be that hard, said Feinstein. "The real pioneers of cloud computing were these criminal organizations," he argued. "One of the features of a lot of these botnets is that they can push out updates to the bots to point them toward new command-and-control servers. So while they may lose some bots, they will be able to reconstruct their botnets."

That doesn't mean this week's takedown was for naught.

"There are two important byproducts of that [forced] redeployment," said Ferguson. "It increases the cost of doing business for them, and when they do move, we can observe and track them."

"It's definitely a positive take-away," said Feinstein. "This, and the Intercage takedown [in September] serve as examples that if you allow this kind of activity to run rampant on your network, or you're aiding and abetting criminals, there can be consequences."

Even then, however, Feinstein said there might be a dark lining to the cloud. "McColo's upstream providers were responsive in the end [to the evidence], but are you going to get that from other providers in other parts of the world? Unlikely. So big takedowns like this may get more difficult."

"I'm just taking solace in small victories," countered Ferguson. "What we have to try to do is raise the cost of doing business for these guys."

17 Nov 08 - 05:58 PM (#2496186)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This was sent out recently to staff members participating in a discussion forum. Interesting.

Serving the Niche
Viewing libraries through Chris Anderson's "Long Tail" lens

Library Journal, 7/15/2006

The increasingly famous "Long Tail" is essentially a modernized version of the 80/20 rule, something with which most of us have at least a passing familiarity. The rule (credited to Vilfredo Pareto, a 19th-century philosopher) hypothesized, for example, that 80 percent of the property in Italy was owned by 20 percent of its citizens. That rule is now turned on its head, Chris Anderson observed in his groundbreaking article "The Long Tail" in Wired magazine (10/05). For instance, he notes that only 20 percent of the films made this year will be released onto the mass market, and only 20 percent of those will become hits. When you and I go grocery shopping in the brick-and-mortar stores in our towns, only 20 percent of the products actually on the market will be on the shelves for us to purchase. The rest will be seen, read, and/or purchased through alternate online or niche avenues.

Since he published his article, Anderson has presented on the Long Tail at an OCLC symposium at the American Library Association's 2005 annual conference; he's been interviewed by Marylaine Block for Ex Libris; and, most recently, he has participated at a public forum held at the New York Public Library. It's clear that the Long Tail has captured the attention of the library world.

Noticing the niches

Anderson uses the Long Tail to describe the economic models of online businesses such as, NetFlix, and Rhapsody, which thrive on selling fewer of a larger variety of objects to more people than brick-and-mortar stores can. Librarians have taken note of Anderson's work because libraries were, in fact, among the first entities to ever serve niche markets.

When we visit virtual stores like, NetFlix, or Rhapsody, much more than 20 percent of the market is represented. Because online outlets do not have to grapple with the same issues that brick-and-mortar stores do (like limited shelf space, expensive overhead, and shipping for those offering downloadable products), they can afford to offer more selection than the current best-selling brands.

The rest is here.

10 Dec 08 - 01:29 AM (#2511394)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Cluin

Kiss of Deaf.

Kiss of deaf: woman loses hearing in passionate pucker

SHANGHAI (AFP) - A passionate kiss ruptured a young woman's eardrum in southern China, state media reported Monday, in what has been dubbed the "kiss of deaf".

The 20-something girl from Zhuhai city in Guangdong province was treated by hospital doctors after completely losing the hearing in her left ear, the China Daily reported, citing the Guangzhou Daily.

"The kiss reduced the pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear," the treating doctor, surnamed Li, was quoted as saying, adding the woman's hearing would likely recover in about two months.

The incident prompted newspapers to dispense kissing safety advice.

While kissing is normally very safe, doctors urge people to proceed with caution, the China Daily reported.

"A strong kiss may cause an imbalance in air pressure between the two inner ears and lead to a broken ear drum," said the English-language Shanghai Daily in a story headlined "Kiss of deaf".

10 Dec 08 - 10:19 AM (#2511704)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That sounds bogus.

11 Dec 08 - 08:54 AM (#2512536)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas


IWF backs down over 'child porn' Wikipedia page

Controversial entry removed from blacklist

Juan Carlos Perez
December 10, 2008

A Wikipedia page blacklisted in the UK over child pornography concerns has been unblocked, a decision that also fully restores the ability of UK residents to edit articles on the online encyclopedia.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), the nonprofit group that blacklisted the web page, announced on Tuesday that it has reversed course on the matter, although it still believes the image is potentially illegal in the UK. The image in question is of a naked and possibly underage female on the cover of a 1976 album from German rock group The Scorpions titled 'Virgin Killer'.

"In light of the length of time the image has existed and its wide availability, the decision has been taken to remove this webpage from our list," the IWF said. About 95 percent of UK ISPs, by Wikimedia's estimate, block web pages based on IWF's list.

The chain of events started on December 4, when the IWF received a report from someone objecting to the Wikipedia article about the album that featured the cover image. Upon reviewing the user's complaint, the IWF, which works with law enforcement to block and remove child pornography online, decided to blacklist this web page. ISPs that block pages based on the IWF's list then took action to shut off access to the offending Wikipedia article.

Once Wikipedia landed on the IWF blacklist, UK ISPs adopting the block began routing access to Wikipedia through a transparent proxy server. This made all UK internet users indistinguishable by IP address, making them appear to Wikipedia as the same person. This in turn triggered a Wikipedia protective mechanism against abusive editing, leading the site to prevent these users from editing, according to Wikimedia.

Wikimedia estimates that there are "tens of thousands" of UK residents who regularly edit Wikipedia articles, amounting to about 25 percent of all edits to the English version of the encyclopedia.

[end quote]

An earlier report on the "blacklisting" is at the same site: ISPs block access to 'illegal' Wikipedia page (December 8, 2008).

UK editors may resume using their blue pencils (or whatever is the Wiki equivalent).


12 Dec 08 - 08:03 AM (#2513407)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Probably not a person appropriate for mention in the main threads, but possible still remembered some some:

An Obituary -

Pinup model Bettie Page dies in L.A. at 85

updated 10:02 p.m. CT, Thurs., Dec. 11, 2008

LOS ANGELES - Bettie Page, the 1950s secretary-turned-model whose controversial photographs in skimpy attire or none at all helped set the stage for the 1960s sexual revolution, died Thursday. She was 85.
Page suffered a heart attack last week in Los Angeles and never regained consciousness, her agent Mark Roesler said. Before the heart attack, Page had been hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia.
"She captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality," Roesler said. "She is the embodiment of beauty."

Page, who was also known as Betty, attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure in bikinis and see-through lingerie that were quickly tacked up on walls in military barracks, garages and elsewhere, where they remained for years.
Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, ...

[end quote]

I suspect that some who will not know her name still will recognize her from the photos (non risque) at the link.

I remember her well from a deck of scandalous playing cards hidden in a neighbor's garage rafters when I was about 9 - well before the 60s. (All the neighborhood boys knew where the cards were, of course.) It was several decades before I knew her name.


12 Dec 08 - 04:22 PM (#2513770)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

There is a thread, and actually, I think she is a figure worthy of discussion and even admiration. She modeled, did a very good job, seems to have survived the various possible distractions and pitfalls along the way, and is a great focal point in the porn vs art discussion. She did quite a bit of nude and semi-nude erotic modeling.


12 Dec 08 - 07:41 PM (#2513942)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — European nations on Friday dared the United States, Russia and China to follow their lead on global warming after agreeing on a plan to meet the so-called "20-20-20" targets: reducing greenhouse emissions by 20 percent and ensuring that 20 percent of energy comes from wind, sun and other renewable sources by 2020.
But activists said the plan was fatally weakened by a raft of concessions to eastern Europe and heavy industry at a time of worldwide economic crisis.

Stavros Dimas, the European environment commissioner, said the package put the 27-nation European Union on a path to a low-carbon economy.
"We are the only region in the world that is reducing emissions," Dimas said on the sidelines of a U.N. climate conference in Poznan, Poland, calling the bloc an example that others should follow.

Environmentalists said the concessions made the plan ineffective.
"The deal is a disaster, it's disgraceful," said Stephen Singer, a climate specialist for WWF International. "If the world follows the example of the EU, it is on a trajectory to disastrous climate change."

The plan increased the amount of emissions Europeans could offset by sponsoring green projects in developing countries. Armed with that opt-out, Singer said Europe's actual emissions reductions would be a mere 4 percent, not the 20 percent the EU claims.
The Brussels summit coincided with the end of a two-week, 190-nation U.N. conference in Poznan that worked on a global climate treaty to be adopted next year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The treaty would replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol, which required the EU and other industrial countries to cut carbon emissions by an average 5 percent by 2012.

18 Dec 08 - 09:38 AM (#2518843)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Fourteen city workers and one retired city worker in the western Ohio town of Piqua claimed a $207 million 12-state lottery prize Wednesday.

After five years of buying Mega Millions Lottery tickets, a group of 15 people in Ohio finally hit the jackpot.

The workers posed for pictures behind an oversized replica of the check, smiled for photographers and described their plans, which range from buying a new truck to quitting a job and traveling.

As they had done twice a week for the past five years, the group pooled their money to buy Mega Millions Lottery tickets.

Last Friday, a ticket bought at a Kroger supermarket in Piqua changed their lives. See what the winners have to say »

"I'm going to set my mom and dad up for life," said Loyal Davis, who bought the lottery ticket and then got the job of telling his co-workers they had won.

One of them was his father-in-law, Tom Hill.

"He goes, 'You won't believe it,' " Davis recalled. " 'Somebody hit the lottery at Kroger's in Piqua.' "

"You're kidding," Davis said he responded.

Then Hill asked what he would do if he won. Davis took out the ticket.

"Here you go, Tom, you're a millionaire," he recalled saying.

Hill erupted with excitement. His wife, Brenda, began crying.

Davis said he plans to continue working for the street department, where he has been employed for more than eight years.

19 Dec 08 - 06:27 PM (#2520194)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Three undersea cables cut: traffic greatly disturbed between Europe and Asia/Near East zone

3 cables cut this morning (Sea Me We3 partly + Sea Me We4 + FLAG)
France Telecom Marine cable ship about to depart

France Telecom observed today that 3 major underwater cables were cut: "Sea Me We 4" at 7:28am, "Sea Me We3" at 7:33am and FLAG at 8:06am.

The causes of the cut, which is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia, on sections linking Sicily to Egypt, remain unclear.

Most of the B to B traffic between Europe and Asia is rerouted through the USA.
Traffic from Europe to Algeria and Tunisia is not affected, but traffic from Europe to the Near East and Asia is interrupted to a greater or lesser extent (see country list below).
Part of the internet traffic towards Réunion is affected as well as 50% towards Jordan.
A first appraisal at 7:44 am UTC gave an estimate of the following impact on the voice traffic (in percentage of out of service capacity):

-    Saudi Arabia: 55% out of service
-    Djibouti: 71% out of service
-    Egypt: 52% out of service
-    United Arab Emirates: 68% out of service
-    India: 82% out of service
-    Lebanon: 16% out of service
-    Malaysia: 42% out of service
-    Maldives: 100% out of service
-    Pakistan: 51% out of service
-    Qatar: 73% out of service
-    Syria: 36% out of service
-    Taiwan: 39% out of service
-    Yemen: 38% out of service
-    Zambia: 62% out of service

France Telecom immediately alerted one of the two maintenance boats based in the Mediterranean area, the "Raymond Croze". This France Telecom Marine cable ship based at Seyne-sur-Mer has received its mobilization order early this afternoon and will cast off tonight at 3:00 am with 20 kilometers spare cable on board. It should be on location on Monday morning for a relief mission.
Priority will be given to the recovery of the Sea Me We4 cable, then on the Sea Me We3.
By December 25th, Sea Me We4 could be operating. By December 31st, the situation should be back to normal.

Ful story--a PDF file-- offered here.


19 Dec 08 - 06:52 PM (#2520205)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

There was a Gilligan's Island episode kind of like this. . .

19 Dec 08 - 09:25 PM (#2520302)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Solar-propelled cargo ship launches from Japan
Last Updated: Friday, December 19, 2008 | 11:06 AM ET Comments23Recommend20
CBC News

The world's first ship partially propelled by solar power took to the seas on Friday in Japan, with the aim to cut fuel costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Auriga Leader freighter took off from a shipyard in the western city of Kobe, according to a report Friday by Agence France-Presse.

The 200-metre freighter, which weighs about 60,000 tonnes, is the world's first large vessel with a solar-based propulsion system, according to its developers, shipping line Nippon Yusen K.K. and oil distributor Nippon Oil Corp.

Solar energy has previously been used to power lighting and electricity for crew's quarters on large cargo vessels, but hadn't been used for propulsion.

The energy provided by the ship's 328 solar panels, however, is minuscule compared to the propulsion needs of the ship. The panels are capable of generating 40 kilowatts, or 0.2 per cent of the ship's energy consumption.

The companies said the installation of the panels, done at a cost of 150 million yen ($2.06 million Cdn), represents the first test of whether solar panels can be successfully used on "the harsh shipboard environment."

The panels themselves are not attached to the ship directly, but are rather installed on the ship's car-carrier, which is capable of carrying 6,400 automobiles, and then connected to the onboard 440 volt electrical network.

The companies hope having the panels on the carrier will protect them from the stresses of the ship's environment, including salt-water damage, wind pressure, and vibrations.

Nippon Yusen, Japan's largest shipping company, has set a goal of halving its fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 2010.

19 Dec 08 - 09:44 PM (#2520308)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That's interesting! Thanks!

21 Dec 08 - 09:21 PM (#2521878)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Begin forwarded message:

From: No-Name
Date: December 20, 2008 2:46:21 PM EST
Subject: Maryland Students Use Speed Cameras for Revenge

Maryland Students Use Speed Cameras for Revenge
Students in Montgomery County, Maryland use fake license plates to send speed camera tickets to enemies.

Maryland plate, photo by Amy the Nurse/FlickrHigh school students in Maryland are using speed cameras as a tool to fine innocent drivers in a game, according to the Montgomery County Sentinel newspaper. Because photo enforcement devices will automatically mail out a ticket to any registered vehicle owner based solely on a photograph of a license plate, any driver could receive a ticket if someone else creates a duplicate of his license plate and drives quickly past a speed camera. The private companies that mail out the tickets often do not bother to verify whether vehicle registration information for the accused vehicle matches the photographed vehicle.

In the UK, this is known as number plate cloning, where thieves will find the license information of a vehicle similar in appearance to the one they wish to drive. They will use that information to purchase a real license plate from a private vendor using the other vehicle's numbers. This allows the "cloned" vehicle to avoid all automated punishment systems. According to the Sentinel, two Rockville, Maryland high schools call their version of cloning the "speed camera pimping game."

A speed camera is located out in front of Wootton High School, providing a convenient location for generating the false tickets. Instead of purchasing license plates, students have ready access to laser printers that can create duplicate license plates using glossy paper using readily available fonts. For example, the state name of "Maryland" appears on plates in a font similar to Garamond Number 5 Swash Italic. Once the camera flashes, the driver can quickly pull over and remove the fake paper plate. The victim will receive a $40 ticket in the mail weeks later. According to the Sentinel, students at Richard Montgomery High School have also participated, although Montgomery County officials deny having seen any evidence of faked speed camera tickets.

Source: Local teens claim pranks on countys Speed Cams (Montgomery County Sentinel (MD), 12/11/2008)

23 Dec 08 - 09:23 AM (#2522920)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Commercial electricity production began yesterday at what Sempra Energy calls the largest solar plant of its kind in North America, a unit that will power homes and businesses in Northern California for at least the next 20 years.

The 10-megawatt plant owned by Sempra subsidiary Sempra Generation covers 80 acres of desert in Boulder City, about 40 miles south of Las Vegas. It's next to a 480-megawatt gas-fired plant, also owned by Sempra Generation.

The plant was built in six months and is the first of many, said Michael Allman, Sempra Generation's chief executive.
"Our goal is to be the first company to own and operate 500 megawatts of solar power in the world," he said. "We expect that most of it will be in the Southwest."

San Diego-based Sempra said it has sold the plant's output until 2029 to San Francisco's Pacific Gas & Electric, which has about 15 million customers.

When running at peak capacity, the solar plant will power about 6,400 customers, Sempra said. Output of solar plants varies with the time of day and how brightly the sun is shining.

Overall, the 23.2 gigawatt-hours the plant is expected to generate a year will power about 3,400 customers, PG&E said.

The plant uses thin-film technology, which produces less electricity per panel than traditional silicon-based photovoltaic power but is cheaper to build.

Photovoltaic power converts light directly into electricity. Other solar technologies rely on heat from the sun to power generators.

23 Dec 08 - 10:48 AM (#2522977)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

They have their fingers crossed that they don't get a freak hail storm. :)

30 Dec 08 - 08:58 AM (#2527340)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Chicago police have arrested a man who allegedly robbed a bank using a threatening note written on the back of his own pay cheque.

Police say 40-year-old Thomas Infante walked into the bank and gave a staff member a note saying, "Be Quick...Give your cash or I'll shoot".

He got $400 (£270), but left behind half of his note as he fled.

Detectives found the rest of the slip - complete with his name and home address - outside the bank's front doors.

Mr Infante was later arrested at his home in Cary, Illinois. If convicted of bank robbery, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

30 Dec 08 - 09:56 AM (#2527384)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

250 earthquakes have been rumbling Yellowstone park this week, the largest being a 3.8

This is almost double the previous high number recorded.

30 Dec 08 - 11:49 AM (#2527489)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A family did not realize they had an unexpected Christmas guest until a man who had been in their attic for days emerged wearing their clothes, police said.

Stanley Carter surrendered Friday after police took a dog to search the home in Plains Township, a suburb of Wilkes-Barre about 100 miles north of Philadelphia. He was charged with several counts of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal trespass.

"When he came down from the attic, he was wearing my daughter's pants and my sweat shirt and sneakers," homeowner Stacy Ferrance said. "From what I gather, he was helping himself to my home, eating my food and stealing my clothes."

Police said the 21-year-old Carter had been staying with his friends, who are Ferrance's neighbors in a duplex. But when they told him to leave, he apparently accessed the shared attic through a trap door in a bedroom ceiling.

The friends said Carter went missing on Dec. 19 and they filed a missing person report a few days before Christmas.

Ferrance said she had heard noises but thought they were caused by her three children. She notified police on Christmas Day when cash, a laptop computer and an iPod disappeared, then called police again the next day when she found footprints in her bedroom closet, where the attic trap door is located.

Carter kept a list of everything he took, said Plains Township police Officer Michael Smith.

"When we were going through the inventory of what he did take, we found a note labeled 'Stanley's Christmas List' of all the items he had removed from the residence and donated to himself," Smith said.


02 Jan 09 - 06:51 PM (#2530056)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Doggy detective finds missing Fort Worth police canine
Friday, January 2, 2009

The Dallas Morning News

For anyone keeping score at home, here's the tally: Fort Worth police helicopter: 0, Godiva the search dog: 1.

Fort Worth police officers lost one of their own on New Years Day when Loki, a search and rescue canine, chewed through the fence of his handler's backyard and escaped into the streets of Fort Worth.

After searching for hours with a helicopter and police cruisers, Fort Worth police called in Godiva, a chocolate Labrador, from Dog Gone Detectives — a firm that specializes in finding lost pets.

Within 15 minutes, Godiva had hunted down Loki about a half mile away from the backyard where he escaped.

"Usually, it isn't that easy," said Kat Manning, the co-owner of Dog Gone Detectives. "We got on the trail. Then all of the sudden, I looked up and there he was. He was just hanging out."

Godiva, who is used only to locate pets, has an 85 percent success rate, but it usually takes several hours or even days to find missing pets, Manning said. Searches cost $300 to start and another $500 if the pet is found.

Manning donated Godiva's expertise to the Fort Worth Police Department. Media reports about the search have already helped boost business.

"We're getting pretty busy now," she said.

02 Jan 09 - 07:03 PM (#2530068)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

That is so like Texas!!! I mean, why couldn't the darn Police Dog find himself if he was so all-fired good?


02 Jan 09 - 08:39 PM (#2530131)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The cop dog was on an undercover assignement, secretely given to him as part of a special investigation known only to dog and the chief (or maybe it was the second in command) of the force's internal affairs department.

The cops, who may actually have been suspects in this covert investigation, have now blown the dog's cover, so that a new plan for the entire program will need to be developed.

It's all quite obvious, for anyone who'se observed Texas police beyond what's in the national newspapers. (The local media may be asked to withhold details, of course.)


02 Jan 09 - 08:57 PM (#2530137)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

LOL!!! John. your pellucid style has once again both enlightened and informed me. I feel so much better!! LOL!


03 Jan 09 - 08:23 PM (#2530875)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: paula t

Had to laugh at a News story on Ceefax yesterday. Apparently a burglar leapt out of a first floor window in terror when rushed by an angry resident - who had just returned from a New Year fancy dress party. I would have loved to see the burglar's face when confronted by "Thor - God of thunder!"

04 Jan 09 - 07:03 PM (#2531582)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

Bill Richardson
withdraws his nomination for cabinet post.

04 Jan 09 - 07:11 PM (#2531587)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Alice

Al Franken to be declared winner of senate seat, winning by 225 votes.

04 Jan 09 - 07:12 PM (#2531588)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

Siesmic activity that had doubled in Yellowsone Parklast week, has redoubled again this week. 500 quakes under Richter 4 occured compared to the average of 100.

CtoC news

The sun has had no sun spots for an extended period of time that has now broken the record of 50 years ago. Research findings that the Sun is dimming may be related to the absence of sunspots.

The 44,000 year cycle that brings the Earth slightly farther from the sun in a cyclical eliptical orbit, is also underway bringing a bit less sun to the Earth.

In my view this may help buy time to curb CO2 emissions that are most respondsible for global warming.

04 Jan 09 - 09:36 PM (#2531736)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

US NEws&World Report:

anuary 04, 2009 09:29 AM ET | James Pethokoukis | Permanent Link | Print
The earthquake swarm beneath Yellowstone National Park seems to have subsided for now. At least that is what the public data from the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory are telling us about the supervolcano beneath the park. Now lots of my blog's readers have raised questions as to whether we are being told the truth by the U.S. Geological Survey. (This is my chat with the head scientist at the YVO, Jacob Lowenstern.) I have been in touch this weekend with experts from around the world. Here is some of what they are telling me. (More to come. And here is a nice, though dated, piece from the Financial TImes.) First up is volcanologist Dr. R.B. Trombley of the International Volcano Research Centre:

What does the earthquake swarm mean?

It is our opinion, and in agreement with Dr. Robert Smith of the University of Utah, that the current events are more of a major seismic event rather than a major volcanic event. The Alert Status of Yellowstone continues, at this time, to remain at the Green Alert Level. We do not anticipate the Alert Level to be raised at this time.

Given the current data, might the swarm be a prelude to a major seismic event ?

It could be but the swarming is too "isolated", i.e., it is near the lake area only basically.

What would be worrisome signs that that we might be headed to a major volcanic event ?

Much greater magnitude earthquakes, over a larger area of the caldera.The caldera is approx. 32 mi long by 8 miles wide. I believe the gratest quake so far has only been a 3.9 and all of the 'quakes so far have been from 1 to 10 km of depth.

I also talked to a top Hawaii-based volcanologist who was relucatant to go into specifics on the record since the scientist had only web data to go on, unlike the folks at the YVO. But I think these comments are pertinent:

"Bob Smith, who is a seismologist and a great one, is a real straight shooter and is going to tell folks what he thinks, when he has enough information to think something. Ditto for Jake Lowenstern of the USGS. So I believe them when they say that they don't really know at this point what this swarm portends as Yellowstone is very seismically active. ... The odds of a big caldera forming eruption at Yellowstone are really infinitesimal during our lifetime. While the Discovery channel documentary did a fair job of portraying how an eruption might come down, it also did a better job of whipping up anxiety about a very unlikely event. You would be much more productive hiding in your closet avoiding lightning than worrying about a Yellowstone eruption. It's a wonderful thing to ponder and try to get a grip on some of the wild things that happen on our planet, but not something to stay awake about. The last rhyolite lava eruption was 80,000 years ago or so, that's 8 times as long as human civilization and represents roughly half the time modern humans have existed, just to put in perspective. Humans tend to be a bit egocentric thinking that all this stuff is happening to them personally, when it's just happening as part of nature. Anyway, Yellowstone while certainly doing stuff, is not in the same category of likely caldera eruption as Rabaul and Campi Flegrei. ... These quakes were much bigger than the Yellowstone swarm and many many more of them. And the final eruption from 2 volcanoes at the same time turned out to be relatively "small" though it buried the town in ash".

04 Jan 09 - 11:58 PM (#2531797)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Sick of cliches?

Take heart, scientists have discovered that people can have a love that lasts a lifetime.

Using brain scans, researchers at Stony Brook University in New York have discovered a small number of couples respond with as much passion after 20 years together as most people only do during the early throes of romance, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported.

The researchers scanned the brains of couples together for 20 years and compared them with results from new lovers, the Sunday Times said.

About 10 percent of the mature couples had the same chemical reactions when shown photographs of their loved ones as those just starting out.

Previous research has suggested that the first stages of romantic love fade within 15 months and after 10 years it has gone completely, the newspaper said.

"The findings go against the traditional view of romance -- that it drops off sharply in the first decade -- but we are sure it's real," said Arthur Aron, a psychologist at Stony Brook, told the Sunday Times.

08 Jan 09 - 04:20 PM (#2535420)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian court has issued a blunt warning about the sexual predators a young driver faces in jail if he does not stop speeding, as authorities struggle to stop teenagers street racing.

"You'll find big, ugly, hairy strong men (in jail) who've got faces only a mother could love that will pay a lot of attention to you -- and your anatomy," said Magistrate Brian Maloney.

The 19-year-old male appeared in Sydney's Downing Center Court on Monday charged with driving without a license, failing to stop at a police alcohol check point and driving dangerously.

It was his third time before the courts for driving offences, prompting the magistrate's warning he would be jailed next time.

Maloney barred the teenager from driving until 2013, placed him on a 12-month good behavior bond and ordered him to do 150 hours of community work.

Breaching any of these conditions would see the teenager jailed where he would "shower with the gorillas in the mist down at Long Bay jail," said Maloney, his comments confirmed by the court on Tuesday.

10 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM (#2537205)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Following the Money, After Its Swiss Exit

By PAUL SULLIVAN (New York Times)
Published: January 9, 2009
Swiss banking has a tradition of secrecy and service that dates back 250 years. But for one group of very rich Americans, that haven is at an end, with consequences for all United States citizens who have relied on secretive offshore accounts to keep their financial means private and their tax bill artificially low.

Americans holding such accounts at UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, are about to have their funds returned to them — an estimated $18 billion — under pressure from the Justice Department. Prosecutors say the bank has about 19,000 accounts that have enabled United States citizens to evade at least $300 million a year in taxes — not including interest and penalties for delinquency.

UBS has been under investigation ever since Bradley C. Birkenfeld, a Boston-born former director in the bank's Geneva office, began turning over information about the firm's offshore accounts after leaving the firm in 2006. His decision — arising from a bonus dispute — put UBS in a bind. One result is that the bank closed the division that catered to Americans with Swiss-based accounts that the Internal Revenue Service did not know about.

After tracking them down, UBS is poised to move their money into accounts the I.R.S. will see — into a new account at the bank, over to another bank or to them directly as a check in the mail. As my colleague Lynnley Browning pointed out Friday in her article reporting the UBS plan, these methods all raise the possibility of paper trails that will make it easer for the I.R.S. to track down the tax evaders.

13 Jan 09 - 12:43 AM (#2538623)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Finger length may predict financial success


By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
2 hrs 59 mins ago [12 Jan 2009]

WASHINGTON – The length of a man's ring finger may predict his success as a financial trader. Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England report that men with longer ring fingers, compared to their index fingers, tended to be more successful in the frantic high-frequency trading in the London financial district.

Indeed, the impact of biology on success was about equal to years of experience at the job, the team led by physiologist John M. Coates reports in Monday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The same ring-to-index finger ratio has previously been associated with success in competitive sports such as soccer and basketball, the researchers noted.

The length ratio between those two fingers is determined during the development of the fetus and the relatively longer ring finger indicates greater exposure to the male hormone androgen, the researchers noted.

Previous studies have found that such exposure can lead to increased confidence, risk preferences, search persistence, heightened vigilance and quickened reaction times.

[End quote, and projecting: And the bumps on your head predict criminality, the length of your nose indicates abnormal sexual proclivities, and if all your fingers a long enough you'll be a famous pianist. ... and the article suggests that if someone breaks off your middle finger because you "projected it" once too often you'll go broke?]


13 Jan 09 - 10:08 AM (#2538733)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I think you've put your finger on it, John!

How's Linn? We haven't heard from her in ages, at least, not on our decluttering threads. Ask her to stop by and say "hi!"


13 Jan 09 - 03:17 PM (#2539033)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Officials say two men in Iran have been stoned to death for adultery and murder, while another escaped death only by digging his way out of the hole where he was buried to face a similar fate, according to media reports.

The sentences follow sharp criticism by human rights groups of Iran's use of such punishments.

Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi Tuesday told reporters about the stonings, which took place in the northeastern city of Mashhad about 20 days ago, the reports said. According to the Mashhad prosecutor, the men had committed various crimes, including adultery and murder, Jamshidi said.

In the practice, the men are buried up to their chests and people pelt them with stones until they die. A third was supposed to have been stoned to death, however he went free by climbing out of the stone hole. He still awaits punishment.

"Stoning is a horrific practice, designed to increase the suffering of those facing execution, and it has no place in the modern world," Amnesty International said last year.

Jamshidi said that Iran's judiciary chief, Ayatollah Heshemi Shahroudi, had made recommendations that would ban the practice and said that a measure has been introduced in Parliament stopping the punishment.

But "until this measure is approved and becomes law, the judges have the independence not to pay heed to the recommendations of the Judiciary chief," Jamshidi said.

13 Jan 09 - 06:46 PM (#2539177)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Alice

Top 8 Morons of 2008


AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. He received a $26 million severance package. Perhaps it's not Walter who's lacking intelligence.

Police in Oakland, CA spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded him self inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them in the police line, shouting, 'Please come out and give yourself up.'

An Illinois man, pretending to have a gun, kidnapped a motorist and forced him to drive to two different automated teller machines, wherein the kidnapper proceeded to withdraw money from his own bank accounts.

A man walked into a Topeka, Kansas Kwik Stop and asked for all the money in the cash drawer. Apparently, the take was too small, so he tied up the store clerk and worked the counter himself for three hours until police showed up and grabbed him.

Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn't control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words: 'Give me all your money or I'll shoot', the man shouted, 'that's not what I said!'

A man spoke frantically into the phone: 'My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart'. 'Is this her first child?' the doctor asked. 'No!' the man shouted, 'This is her husband!'

In Modesto, CA, Steven Richard King was arrested for trying to hold up a Bank of America branch without a weapon. King used a thumb and a finger to simulate a gun. Unfortunately, he failed to keep his hand in his pocket. (hellooooooo)!

Last summer, down on Lake Isabella, located in the high desert, an hour east of Bakersfield, CA, some folks, new to boating, were having a problem. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn't get their brand new 22 foot boat, going. It was very sluggish in almost every maneuver, no matter how much power they applied. After about an hour of trying to make it go, they putted into a nearby marina, thinking someone there may be able to tell them what was wrong. A thorough topside check revealed everything in perfect working condition The engine ran fine, the out-drive went up and down, and the propeller was the correct size and pitch. So, one of the marina guys jumped in the water to check underneath. He came up choking on water, he was laughing so hard.
Under the boat, still strapped securely in place, was the trailer!

13 Jan 09 - 09:22 PM (#2539279)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

For future reference, this thread is for attributable newspaper stories (and we usually place a link and/or name the newspaper). There are humor threads where this would be better placed. Even in the MOAB it would be better placed, though not necessarily any more appreciated.

Not to be rude, just to be frank. But since I've taken the plunge, why all of the individual caption threads? Why not bundle them all together? It seems to me to be a waste of bandwidth to start a new one every time a cute picture comes along. My opinion, of course. Some of us are lumpers, some of us are sorters.


14 Jan 09 - 04:07 PM (#2539818)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Rapparee

I didn't know whether to post this here or in MOAB. Here wins.

No. 1 (and 2?) with a bullet: Man's pistol blasts toilet to pieces
Accidental discharge » Cops confiscate handgun after incident in Carl's Jr. restroom

By Steve Gehrke

The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 01/14/2009 12:49:56 PM MST

The public toilet at Centerville's Carl's Jr. restaurant never knew what hit it. But police say it was a .40-caliber slug fired from a patron's handgun, which went off as he was hitching up his pants.

Centerville police confiscated the 26-year-old Salt Lake City man's firearm, for which he has a concealed weapons permit, after the incident Tuesday.

Police Lt. Paul Child said the bullet shattered the toilet and sent sharp shards into the man's arm. The minor injuries were treated at the scene.

The toilet? A total loss.

Police said the man told them his pistol fell out of the holster and fired into the toilet as he was pulling up his pants.

"The gun fell out of the holster, striking the tile floor," Child said. "When the gun hit the floor, it went off. ... The man was hit by some of the porcelain in the arm, causing some small lacerations."

No one else was injured in the accident, but a woman in an adjacent restroom reported chest pain after being frightened by the shot. She did not go to a hospital.

Police said the accident would have been prevented if the man had used a more secure holster.

"A good-quality firearm also should not fire if it is dropped," Child said.

No charges are being filed against the man, but Centerville police did take his firearm "for safe-keeping" while they review the incident.

"He was a little shook up, so we just wanted to take it right then and allow him time to gather himself before releasing it to him," Child said.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Cameron Roden said police commonly pull weapons permits after crimes of violence, felonies or convictions of weapons violations. But he said agencies also sometimes confiscate weapons for a short time as part of their investigation.

14 Jan 09 - 08:42 PM (#2539866)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

They didn't take him in for taking a pot shot, eh?

14 Jan 09 - 09:00 PM (#2539875)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

"It looks like in an act that defies common sense, a bill has been introduced in the South Carolina State Senate that seeks to outlaw the use of profanity. According to the bill it would become a felony (punishable by a fine up to $5000 or up to 5 years in prison) to "publish orally or in writing, exhibit, or otherwise make available material containing words, language, or actions of a profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent nature". I'm not sure if "in writing" could be applied to the internet, but in any event this is scary stuff."

(From Slashdot)

The actual Bill read into the State Legislature is here.


14 Jan 09 - 09:32 PM (#2539892)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Rapparee

Headline from Pocatello's Idaho State Journal, January 13, 2009, p. 1:

Man blames drinking problem for 8 DUIs

20 Jan 09 - 09:30 PM (#2544631)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

BOSTON (Reuters) - "America's Top Ranked Money Manager," read the 2003 headline in The Wall Street Digest, an investment newsletter.

Fast-forward six years: that money manager, Arthur Nadel, has vanished along with an estimated $350 million of his clients' money, and investors are fuming over the glowing report promoting the "unusual success" of the Florida hedge fund manager, who disappeared last Wednesday.

As a probe widens into Nadel, his burned investors are seeking answers. Some say they were blindsided by the losses. Others are quoted as saying they saw warning signs recently.

Some, like 68-year-old Tony Hagar, say they were drawn to his funds by The Wall Street Digest and the upbeat report by its editor, Donald Rowe, and now question how much due diligence the investment newsletter industry conducts.

"He seemed to indicate that they were a reasonable investment. They put out a letter that says these folks have done substantially well, and that Don Rowe had looked at them closely," said Hagar.

Hagar lost $1.5 million, nearly his entire retirement savings, along with any hope of retiring next year as planned from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he works as a professor in Daytona Beach, Florida.

"That's not going to happen," he said.

The FBI's Tampa office opened an investigation into Nadel on Tuesday, launching a search for the 76-year-old former New York jazz pianist whose disappearance has drawn parallels to last month's arrest of former Nasdaq Stock Market chairman Bernard Madoff.

21 Jan 09 - 01:38 PM (#2545280)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Stupidity in reporting:

Surveyed experts see human role in climate

You can read the article for yourself if interested. The point is that the reporter "extracted" key points supporting his conclusion, and reported (presumedly with a straight face):

The two key questions asked were:

"When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?" Ninety percent said yes.


Read the question carefully.

Can you say "tautology?"

3. Logic

a. a compound propositional form all of whose instances are ture, as "A or not A."
b. an instance of such a form, as "This candidate will win or will not win."
(Random House CD dictionary)

Of course either answer is equally correct, as those who answered "No" may have interpreted the OR as an XOR, and opined that it has done more than one of the possibilities named.

As a side topic, has anyone ever seen or responded to a survey that didn't include such "unanswerable," or otherwise meaningless questions?


21 Jan 09 - 02:10 PM (#2545304)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

A very funny *(and dull-witted) error.

But what is more interesting to me is that so many people (assuming this is what "yes" meant) agreed that planetary temps have risen significantly.


21 Jan 09 - 02:36 PM (#2545321)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

The article does imply that the survey was possibly valid, and it appears that the writer is the one who pulled out the question cited. I'd be amazed if it wasn't a multiple choice (choose one) on the actual survey.

As expected, climatologists are nearly all convinced. The writer seemed surprised that "meteorologists" were less convinced, but many of those take only the equivalent of the "weather" segment given in pilot training "ground school" before the let anyone close to an airplane; but they may have other critical attributes such as "nice hair" or "good cleavage." Some actually do study a bit (and there are a few academics), but that group is fairly small. Most "meteorologists" familiar to the public need only to be able to read the NOAA forcasts and pronounce local town names "almost correctly."

Also missing from the article was an easily traceable path to the actual survey results. ... although I could have missed it and didn't search because the conclusion has already be amply demonstrated.


23 Jan 09 - 10:31 AM (#2547005)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

A New Photographer in the White House
NY Times blog link

Looks like there's a digital camera enthusiast moving into the White House. President Barack Obama's oldest daughter, Malia, was busily snapping photos before the inauguration ceremony began. Her camera of choice (on this day) appeared to be a grape-colored $150 Kodak EasyShare M893.

But that may not be the only model in her camera bag. At several pre-inaugural events Malia was seen taking photos using a silver-colored point-and-shoot. On Saturday, she snapped photos in Philadelphia, although reported that she was using a loaner camera. At the Kid's Inaugural Concert last night, she was using a similar point and shoot to photograph the Jonas Brothers.

Let's hope she has a Flickr account.

28 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM (#2551232)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

SAN DIEGO – A robbery trial ended abruptly Monday when a defendant smeared feces on his lawyer and threw it at jurors, authorities said.

Weusi McGowan, 37, had apparently smuggled a plastic bag filled with excrement into the San Diego Superior Court building, said Paul Levikow, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office.

As the jurors stood to leave for their mid-morning break, McGowan smeared the feces in the face and hair of his attorney, Deputy Alternate Public Defender Jeffrey Martin, and threw it at the jury box. It did not hit any of the jurors.

Judge Jeffrey Fraser declared a mistrial.

Levikow said McGowan was apparently upset because the judge had previously denied his request to dismiss his lawyer.

McGowan faces charges including kidnapping and assault in connection with a robbery in Barrio Logan in October 2007. He is accused of hitting a 54-year-old man with a rock in a sock and demanding money and drugs.

McGowan is also accused of tying up the man, ransacking his apartment and stealing his 1994 Ford Taurus. (San Diego Union)

29 Jan 09 - 06:46 PM (#2552375)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

From a colleague on a list:

"More Silliness: Congressman Wants to Ban "Silent" Cell Phone


Greetings. As if there weren't enough truly important issues to worry
about, a U.S. Congressman has introduced the Camera Phone Predator
Alert Act (CPPAA) -- which would require all cell phones to make an
audible sound when snapping a photo
( ).

There's no evidence that illicit "underskirting" photography is a
significant problem outside of Japan and Korea, and the law would only
apply to phone cameras, not the vast range of other camera devices
available, many of which are far smaller and more easily used
surreptitiously than a cell phone.

And as for the vast number of situations where cell phones are used
legitimately to take photos where a notification sound would be
disruptive -- even dangerous -- well, better not to mention those
since they get in the way of the fantasy on which the CPPAA is

Also, given that many cell phones can now shoot video as well as still
photos, I wonder if this same Congressman would propose that all video
camera devices beep constantly when in video record mode -- just like
trucks backing up? That'll do wonders for the audio tracks, eh?

Never let the facts and reality get in the way of political

03 Feb 09 - 05:20 PM (#2556502)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: frogprince

Really messed up heading on an internet news article:

National Guardsman find 92-year old survivor of Ark. ice storms

1. Any survivor of the Ark would be way past 92 now.
2. Whatever ice storms had to do with it, they forgot to capitalize

26 Feb 09 - 05:02 PM (#2576724)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Netflix To Offer 'Streaming Only" Plans

Netflix Inc Chief Financial Officer Barry McCarthy said on Wednesday it plans to offer its online streaming service on a stand-alone basis.

"We're likely to do that in the foreseeable future," McCarthy said at the Jefferies 5th annual Internet and Media conference in New York.

Netflix customers currently pay a fixed monthly subscription fee for access to the company's popular by-mail DVD service, with about 100,000 titles, as well as its online streaming service, with more than 12,000 titles available for viewing.

Netflix recently said it had hit 10 million subscribers, and said last month its stronger-than-expected quarterly results were propelled by growth in its Web video streaming service.

The Watch Instantly streaming service was first available only on personal computers, but is now offered through various devices, including the Roku set-top boxes, Microsoft Corp's Xbox, and LG Electronics Inc products.

McCarthy stressed the company still remains focused on providing a bundled offering, but said he understands that some viewers will find a stand-alone streaming service to be compelling, particularly as more compatible devices become prevalent.

27 Feb 09 - 07:10 PM (#2577522)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

It's good to have rational people back in the White House.

White House set to reverse health care conscience clause

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama administration plans to reverse a regulation from late in the Bush administration allowing health-care workers to refuse to provide services based on moral objections, an official said Friday.

The Provider Refusal Rule was proposed by the Bush White House in August and enacted on January 20, the day President Barack Obama took office.

It expanded on a 30-year-old law establishing a "conscience clause" for "health-care professionals who don't want to perform abortions."

Under the rule, workers in health-care settings -- from doctors to janitors -- can refuse to provide services, information or advice to patients on subjects such as contraception, family planning, blood transfusions and even vaccine counseling if they are morally against it.

"We recognize and understand that some providers have objections to providing abortions, according to an official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The official declined to be identified because the policy change had not been announced. "We want to ensure that current law protects them.

"But we do not want to impose new limitations on services that would allow providers to refuse to provide to women and their families services like family planning and contraception that would actually help prevent the need for an abortion in the first place."

Many health-care organizations, including the American Medical Association, believe health-care providers have an obligation to their patients to advise them of the options despite their own beliefs. Critics of the current rule argue there are already laws on the books protecting health-care professionals when it comes to refusing care for personal reasons.

Dr. Suzanne T. Poppema, board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, praised Obama "for placing good health care above ideological demands."

"Physicians across the country were outraged when the Bush administration, in its final days, limited women's access to reproductive health care," she said. "Hundreds of doctors protested these midnight regulations and urged President Obama to repeal them quickly. We are thrilled that President Obama took the first steps today to ensure that our patients' health is once again protected."

But Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said, "Protecting the right of all health-care providers to make professional judgments based on moral convictions and ethical standards is foundational to federal law and is necessary to ensure that access to health care is not diminished, which will occur if health-care workers are forced out of their jobs because of their ethical stances.

"President's Obama's intention to change the language of these protections would result in the government becoming the conscience and not the individual. It is a person's right to exercise their moral judgment, not the government's to decide it for them."

An announcement reversing the current rule is expected early next week, the HHS official said. Any final action would have to be taken after a 30-day public comment period.

09 Mar 09 - 08:31 PM (#2585204)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

It's quite a detailed story with photos. link
I don't think this is anything new; when I was an Urban Park Ranger there was a baboon at the small zoo in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, that used throw his own poop at people. He couldn't get his hands on rocks in his concrete enclosure, so had to "make do," so to speak. :)

Thinking Man's Chimp Shows 1st Animal 'Planning'
Swedish zoo resident would secretly stash rocks, 'missiles' to hurl at visitors for his own amusement, report details.

For years, Santino, a male chimp at the Furuvik Zoo in Lund, Sweden, was in the habit of spending two hours before the zoo opened collecting rocks and other "ammunition" to hurl at the human gawkers who started gathering outside his enclosure around mid-morning.

He stored the items at various sites around the chimpanzee island, where zookeepers were unlikely to find them and where they could be easily extracted when he was ready to "display."

This deliberate collecting, storing, then launching of rock and concrete missiles may be among the first clear evidence that an animal that is not human can engage in planning, says the author of a paper published in the March 9 issue of Current Biology.

The explanation is made all the more compelling by the fact that the chimp was in an entirely different state of mind during the planning phase of his endeavor (calm) than during the implementation phase (agitated), said the study author, Mathias Orvath, of Lund University.

"These observations fit nicely with all sorts of things apes do. I have seen apes line up feces as future ammunition," said Frans B.M. de Waal, C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes Primate Center at Emory University in Atlanta. "This ape must have learned that during displays he would run out of things to throw and, from this, he must have extrapolated that it would be good to have a pile of projectiles at the ready."

"Apes in captivity enjoy pelting visitors and the excited shrieks and laughs they get as a reaction, which they do on a daily basis," de Waal added.

De Waal described one ape that gathered straw from inside a heated building, then took it outside for a warm nest during cold weather. This behavior only occurred in colder seasons.

"It's harder to see such clear examples in the wild although we strongly suspect this kind of thing is going on," said Anne Pusey, a professor of ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota, and director of Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies. "What's so nice about this [new research] is these stones have one purpose and they're collected in advance. This seems like a very clear-cut example."

Go to the web site for the rest of this.

10 Mar 09 - 11:32 AM (#2585639)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO â€" More prehistoric bones â€" this time, those of a giant sloth â€" have been found at the East Village construction site of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, the school said yesterday. But the bones are in poor shape and may not be salvageable.

The bones â€" part of a vertebra, as well as tooth and skull fragments â€" were unearthed Friday in a different part of the site from where whale and mammoth bones were found last month. The sloth bones were found at about the same depth as the whale bones, indicating the sloth lived about 600,000 years ago.

Paleontologist Pat Sena of the San Diego Natural History Museum, who found the sloth bones, said the bones are poorly preserved.

10 Mar 09 - 06:35 PM (#2585953)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: JohnInKansas

Re Stilly's thinking chimp:

Long ago (ca. 1952) the Wichita zoo, such as it was, had a lion who would periodically decide to "perform." His act was quite carefully and deliberately planned.

He would start by pacing back and forth for a bit, then would commence "roaring" and faster pacing.

When a sufficient audience had rushed to his cage to see what the commotion was all about, he would "frolic" for a bit to give them a bit of a show, then charge the front bars of his cage and P*SS on the audience.

It was quite likely a protest against the lack of proper toilet facilities, but so far as I know the zoo never provided him a "non-splash" facility.


11 Mar 09 - 03:37 PM (#2586581)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I enjoy watching the gorillas at the Fort Worth zoo when the primate house is empty of visitors. Turns out they hate being stared at, they prefer side glances and low posture. So if I go kind of squat or stoop down by the glass in the building where the gorilla male can see the posture, I can see him kind of "sneaking" glances, intrigued that someone is doing it his way. They usually turn their backs on gawking visitors, don't bother to try to watch them.

I've also gone through there carrying a baby and had a mother chimp come hang out on the other side of the glass with her baby. You can't have the kid in a plastic carrier or in a buggy, you have to have them tucked up against your stomach or chest so the chimp recognizes a similar of mother and child profile. And they do respond.


13 Mar 09 - 09:41 PM (#2588486)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Used couch for $27; cat included

SPOKANE -- The mysterious mewing in Vickie Mendenhall's home started about the time she bought a used couch for $27.

After days of searching for the source of the noise, she found a very hungry calico cat living in her sofa.

Her boyfriend, Chris Lund, was watching TV on Tuesday night and felt something move inside the couch. He pulled it away from the wall, lifted it up and there was the cat, which apparently crawled through a small hole on the underside.

Mendenhall contacted Value Village, where she bought the couch, but the store had no information on who donated it. So she took the cat to SpokAnimal CARE, the animal shelter where she works, so it could recover, and contacted media outlets in hopes of finding the owner.

Sure enough, Bob Killion of Spokane showed up to claim the cat on Thursday after an acquaintance alerted him to a TV story about it. Killion had donated a couch on Feb. 19, and his 9-year-old cat, Callie, disappeared at about the same time.

14 Mar 09 - 07:11 PM (#2588984)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

This story appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram but it was written by someone up at the Chicago Tribune.


Texas town's police seize valuables from black motorists

TENAHA — You can drive into this dusty fleck of a town near the Texas-Louisiana border if you're African-American, but you might not be able to drive out of it — at least not with your car, your cash, your jewelry or other valuables.

That's because the police here have allegedly found a way to strip motorists, many of them black, of their property without ever charging them with a crime. Instead, they offer out-of-towners a grim choice: voluntarily sign over your belongings to the town or face felony charges of money laundering or other serious crimes.

More than 140 people reluctantly accepted that deal from June 2006 to June 2008, according to court records. Among them were a black grandmother from Akron, Ohio, who surrendered $4,000 in cash after Tenaha police pulled her over, and an interracial couple from Houston, who gave up more than $6,000 after police threatened to seize their children and put them into foster care, the court documents show. Neither the grandmother nor the couple were charged with or convicted of any crime.

Officials in Tenaha, situated along a heavily traveled state highway connecting Houston with several popular gambling destinations in Louisiana, say they are engaged in a battle against drug trafficking, and they call the search-and-seizure practice a legitimate use of the state's asset-forfeiture law.

That law permits local police agencies to keep drug money and other property used in the commission of a crime and add the proceeds to their budgets.

"We try to enforce the law here," said George Bowers, mayor of the town of 1,046, where boarded-up businesses outnumber open ones and City Hall sports a broken window. "We're not doing this to raise money. That's all I'm going to say at this point."

But civil rights lawyers call Tenaha's practice something else: highway robbery. The lawyers have filed a federal class-action lawsuit to stop what they contend is an unconstitutional perversion of the law's intent, aimed primarily at African-Americans who have done nothing wrong.

Tenaha officials "have developed an illegal 'stop and seize' practice of targeting, stopping, detaining, searching and often seizing property from apparently nonwhite citizens and those traveling with nonwhite citizens," asserts the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas.

The property seizures are not just happening in Tenaha. In southern parts of Texas near the Mexican border, for example, Hispanics allege that they are being singled out.

A prominent Texas state legislator said police agencies across the state are wielding the asset-forfeiture law more aggressively to supplement their shrinking operating budgets.

"If used properly, it's a good law enforcement tool to see that crime doesn't pay," said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chairman of the Senate's Criminal Justice Committee. "But in this instance, where people are being pulled over and their property is taken with no charges filed and no convictions, I think that's theft."

David Guillory, a lawyer in Nacogdoches who filed the federal lawsuit, said he combed through Shelby County court records from 2006 to 2008 and discovered nearly 200 cases in which Tenaha police seized cash and property from motorists. In about 50 of the cases, suspects were charged with drug possession.

But in 147 others, Guillory said the court records showed that the police seized cash, jewelry, cellphones and sometimes even automobiles from motorists but never found any contraband or charged them with any crime.

Of those, Guillory said he managed to contact 40 of the motorists directly — and discovered all but one of them were black.

"The whole thing is disproportionately targeted toward minorities, particularly African-Americans," Guillory said. "Every one of these people is pulled over and told they did something, like, 'You drove too close to the white line.' That's not in the penal code, but it sounds plausible. None of these people have been charged with a crime, none were engaged in anything that looked criminal. The sole factor is that they had something that looked valuable."

In some cases, police used the fact that motorists were carrying large amounts of cash as evidence that they must have been involved in laundering drug money, even though Guillory said each of the drivers he contacted could account for where the money had come from and why they were carrying it, such as for a gambling trip to Shreveport or to buy a used car from a private seller.

Once the motorists were detained, the police and the Shelby County district attorney quickly drew up legal papers presenting them with an option: waive their rights to their cash and property or face felony charges for crimes such as money laundering — and the prospect of having to hire a lawyer and return to Shelby County multiple times to attend court sessions to contest the charges.

The process apparently is so routine in Tenaha that Guillory discovered presigned and prenotarized police affidavits with blank spaces left for an officer to fill in a description of the property being seized.

Jennifer Boatright, her husband and two young children — a mixed-race family — were traveling from Houston to visit relatives in East Texas in April 2007 when Tenaha police pulled them over, alleging that they were driving in a left-turn lane.

After searching the car, the officers discovered what Boatright said was a gift for her sister: a small, unused glass pipe made for smoking marijuana.

Although they found no drugs or other contraband, the police seized $6,037 that Boatright said the family was carrying to buy a used car and then threatened to turn their children, ages 10 and 1, over to Child Protective Services if the couple didn't agree to sign over their right to their cash.

"It was give them the money or they were taking our kids," Boatright said. "They suggested that we never bring it up again. We figured we better give them our cash and get the hell out of there."

Several months later, after Boatright and her husband contacted a lawyer, Tenaha officials returned their money but offered no explanation or apology. The couple remain plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.

Except for Tenaha's mayor, none of the defendants in the federal lawsuit, including Shelby County District Attorney Linda Russell and two Tenaha police officers, responded to requests from the Chicago Tribune for comment about their search-and-seizure practices. Lawyers for the defendants also declined to comment, as did several of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

But Whitmire says he doesn't need to await the suit's outcome to try to fix what he regards as a statewide problem.

On Monday, he introduced a bill in the state Legislature that would require police to go before a judge before attempting to seize property under the asset-forfeiture law — and Whitmire hopes to tighten the law so that law enforcement officials will be allowed to seize property only after a suspect is charged and convicted in a court.

"The law has gotten away from what was intended, which was to take the profits of a bad guy's crime spree and use it for additional crime fighting," Whitmire said. "Now it's largely being used to pay police salaries, and it's being abused because you don't even have to be a bad guy to lose your property."

15 Mar 09 - 01:51 AM (#2589112)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

March 12, 2009, Daily Show/Jim Cramer interview, Part 1

March 12, 2009, Daily Show/Jim Cramer interview, Part 2

March 12, 2009, Daily Show/Jim Cramer interview, Part3

15 Mar 09 - 04:18 AM (#2589136)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The Cramer interview is priceless.

In other news:

"And finally: "With the world swirling about it, the House took a moment Thursday to honor pi, the Greek letter symbolizing that great constant in mathematics representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter," reports Politico. "I'm kind of geeked up about it," said Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA). Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) was a little less into it, saying, "We were never good at math in my family. I thought I was voting for p-i-e." "

17 Mar 09 - 12:41 AM (#2590719)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

David Horsey cartoon.

Farewell, Seattle Post Intelligencer. It'll be online only, but I suspect it will be eviscerated.


21 Mar 09 - 01:50 AM (#2593868)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Bomb disposal teams were called in and a nearby pub evacuated after water company engineers mistook a Monty Python film prop for a hand grenade. After nearly an hour of examination by bomb experts, they counted to three. No more. No less. Three was the number they counted, and the number they counted was three. Four they did not count, nor two, except to proceed to three. Five was right out. Once the number three had been reached, being the third number, they declared that the grenade was actually a copy of the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" used in the film Monty Python And The Holy Grail. A police spokeswoman confirmed that the device was a toy and that it had been no danger to the public.

From The Telegraph.

21 Mar 09 - 11:24 AM (#2594025)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Local businesses criticised the police for taking so long to realise there was no threat.

Alberto Romanelli, owner of the Windmill put that was evacuated, said: "I lost a good hour's worth of business."


26 Mar 09 - 06:03 PM (#2598103)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

A classic case of profiling. link

Police delayed NFL player as relative died


A Dallas police officer who detained an NFL player in a hospital parking lot despite his pleas that his mother-in-law was dying inside has been placed on administrative leave.

Police Chief David Kunkle said Thursday that Officer Robert Powell will be placed on leave with pay pending an internal investigation over the March 18 incident with Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats.

The officer had pulled over Moats as he and relatives were hurrying to see his dying mother-in-law. Powell drew his gun, threatened the NFL player and held him in the parking lot, officials said. By the time Moats got inside, the woman had died.

Kunkle said the department is "embarrassed and disappointed."

26 Mar 09 - 06:23 PM (#2598125)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

More. . .

This page has a YouTube series with the traffic stop.

Here's an editorial. And there are quite a few other stories out there.

Officer's actions at hospital damage public trust, undercut colleagues

02:32 PM CDT on Thursday, March 26, 2009

It took 13 minutes for Dallas police Officer Robert Powell to shame his profession and his department, to give the city an embarrassing black eye and to set off an ugly, sullen public argument about cops and race.

Pretty fast work. But if you watch the 13-minute dash-cam video of Powell bullying and lecturing a driver whose mother-in-law was dying in a nearby hospital room, it seems to last forever.

It's painful viewing. You can feel Ryan Moats' helpless desperation as the minutes tick past.

You share his silent rage at this officious cop who is purposely detaining him as the precious minutes tick away.

You experience his disbelief that, in what is literally a life-and-death circumstance, the policeman cares only about making a show of who's the boss here, of who holds the high poker hand of ultimate authority.

You feel the enormous effort it must cost Moats to maintain his self-control, even though he is rightfully emotional and distraught.

It's too bad they don't have a screening process for this mindset at the outset, some police-academy Rorschach test that reveals which of these earnest rookies will turn into a petty street tyrant once equipped with badge and gun. Powell may have technically acted within the scope of his authority, but he did a lot of damage.

Moats, a Frisco resident and NFL running back, was held in a hospital parking lot while his mother-in-law passed away.

Even though hospital personnel told Powell that the woman, Jonetta Collinsworth, was dying, he was unsympathetic.

He treated Moats – who had run a red light while rushing to the hospital – as if he were a criminal. Worse, perhaps, he lectured him as though he were a child.

"Attitude's everything," he loftily catechized, finally wrapping up this long, long lesson in domination and control. "All you had to do was stop, tell me what was going on. More than likely, I would have let you go."

Hey, that would have been big of him, but it was too late. Jonetta Collinsworth, by then, was dead.

We trust police officers with a great deal beyond the authority to enforce the law. We give them a measure of discretion, the leeway to balance enforcement and compassion. We credit them with having enough street sense to make judgment calls, to consider the circumstances surrounding events.

Surely we expect them to know when somebody needs a lecture, and when they need a break.

A man who runs a light and is slow to pull over because he's trying to get his wife to the bedside of her dying mother is not in the same category with a smart aleck who needs a little verbal smack down for his cavalier treatment of the law. How hard is that to grasp?

And, as miserable fate would have it, Moats and his family are black, while Powell is white.

You may not believe that race didn't play any role in this encounter, but you're not going to change the minds of those who would believe otherwise.

What Powell has done is undercut all his colleagues who are above this kind of trivial abuse. He has reinforced the worst suspicions of those who automatically assume white cops will not give a black man a fair shake, that they take a malicious pleasure in humiliating prosperous, professional civilians of color.

Powell has made the job of those anxious to assure the public that most officers aren't like that a great deal more difficult. Every time he told Moats — who was desperately trying to explain his situation — to "shut your mouth," he dealt his own colleagues a setback.

His betrayal goes far beyond Ryan Moats.

27 Mar 09 - 03:14 PM (#2598761)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: VirginiaTam

GOOGLE EARTH 60ft penis painted on roof

Teenager painted 60 ft penis on roof of his parents £1,000,000 house.
Word is he will have to


rub it off.

29 Mar 09 - 11:45 AM (#2599823)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

MONTEREY, Calif. (AP) ―

A Monterey County jury has ordered the state to pay $8.6 million to a motorcyclist who was severely injured when he struck six wild boars on a state highway in 2003.

The jury ruled Friday that the state was responsible for Adam Rogers' injuries because officials knew that wild pigs regularly crossing a stretch of Highway 1 just south of the Carmel River were creating a dangerous situation, but they did nothing to address it.

Rogers, a 45-year-old former karate teacher and champion kickboxer, suffered serious injuries and is now confined to a wheelchair. He and his wife sued the state Department of Transportation in Monterey County Superior Court.

DOT attorneys argued that the state wasn't responsible for the actions of wild animals and said Rogers was under the influence when he struck them. A test found Rogers had a blood-alcohol level of more than .10 after the crash, but the jury concluded that wasn't a major factor in the crash.

Rogers' attorney, Larry Biegel, argued that the state knew the pigs were crossing the road to feed on vegetation in a nearby environmental restoration project. The state later put up a pig-crossing sign and used hunters to help control the pig population.

"This was a situation that they, the state, created, and then once they created it and saw what was happening they did nothing to stop it," Biegel said Saturday.

Most of the $8.6 million award will go toward Rogers' medical bills. Biegel said Rogers requires around-the-clock care and won't walk again. He said he still suffers from gaps in memory as a result of massive head injuries he suffered when he was thrown from his motorcycle.

03 Apr 09 - 04:06 PM (#2604110)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

N.H. police net alleged shrimp shoplifter

The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 24, 2009; 9:01 PM

SALEM, N.H. -- It appears that shrimp was his weakness. Police said a man wanted for crimes in two states was identified as a suspect in the disappearance of frozen shrimp from the same supermarket four times this month valued at over $500.

On Monday, managers at the Market Basket confronted a 46-year-old man, telling police he was attempting to take more shrimp and that he pushed a manager to try to get away. Police took the man into custody.

He was arrested on charges of shoplifting, simple assault and being a fugitive from justice. He was arraigned and held on $100,000 bail.

Police said the man was wanted in Oklahoma on a charge of drug trafficking and in Massachusetts on a larceny charge.

03 Apr 09 - 04:45 PM (#2604145)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

You're not going to tell use where he hid the shrimp? That much shrimp can't be easy to hide. ANYWHERE!

07 Apr 09 - 12:49 PM (#2606607)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: curmudgeon

This particular grocery chain sells gigantic frozen shrimp in two pound bags for $19.95.

Because of the lay-out of these stores, it would be possible for a miscreant to purchase a few cheap items, and then wheel his/her cart back around to get some single "forgotten" item, and while doing so, stuff two or three bags of shrimp into the bags holding the purchased items, and then check out again with something like a bottle of wine or a six-pack to go along with the shrimp. And if the person was using spacious reusable fabric shopping bags, which this chain sells for .99, it woud be even easier.

07 Apr 09 - 02:29 PM (#2606690)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

The grocery store I used to shop at regularly a few years back started arranging their carts to block all but one door at night. It seems very brazen shop-lifters used to stack toilet paper around the outside of a cart, fill the interior with expensive cuts of meat, then when they were near the door go flying out.


07 Apr 09 - 09:15 PM (#2606995)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Rapparee

PROVO, Utah (AP) -- About 18,500 issues of the Daily Universe student newspaper at Brigham Young University were pulled from newsstands because a photo caption on the front page misidentified leaders of the Mormon church as apostates instead of apostles.

An apostate is a person who has abandoned religious faith, principles or a cause.

The photo was of members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the weekend general conference.

The caption called the group the "Quorum of the Twelve Apostates."
The papers were replaced with corrected copies later Monday.

University spokeswoman Carri Jenkins says the typo, caused when a copy editor was running spell check, was an honest mistake. BYU is owned by the church.

07 Apr 09 - 09:28 PM (#2607005)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: curmudgeon

"...the typo, caused when a copy editor was running spell check, was an honest mistake."

More of a stupid mistake. Can't the copy editor read for himself? Not much of an education at that school - Tom

08 Apr 09 - 01:41 PM (#2607447)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

An American crew has seized back control of a container ship that was commandeered by pirates in the Indian Ocean today, according to the Pentagon.

The military official said the crew was holding one pirate in custody while the others were reported to "be in the water". The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, would not confirm how the Somalis found their way into the ocean.

Somali pirates hijacked the US-flagged container ship off the Horn of Africa, the first such attack on American interests.

John Reinhart, the CEO of Maersk, which owned the vessel, said the company was working to contact families of the crew. "Speculation is a dangerous thing when you're in a fluid environment. I will not confirm that the crew has overtaken this ship," he said.

All 20 American crew members aboard the Maersk Alabama were believed to be unharmed, according to Andrew Mwangura, who monitors piracy for the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme.

The ship was travelling to the Kenyan port of Mombasa and her cargo includes 232 containers of relief food destined for United Nations feeding programmes in Somalia and Uganda.

She was snatched after a sustained assault involving several pirate skiffs about 400 nautical miles east of Mogadishu. The attack lasted five hours as the ship tried unsuccessfully to evade the assault.

American officials said their first priority was the safety of the crew.

09 Apr 09 - 02:00 PM (#2608177)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Derrick Munoz, an Amityville (N.Y.) High School student, is expected to recover from head injuries he sustained when a woman leaped to her death and landed on him at a mall, Newsday said.

Derrick, 17, was on the first floor of the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst on Wednesday when the 56-year-old woman landed on him after jumping from a third-floor balcony, Munoz's family told WPIX/Channel 11. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"He was sitting there minding his own business," Derrick's father, Ruben Munoz, told WPIX. "It was pretty shocking."

Witnesses told the television station that the unidentified woman appeared to argue with other people, believed to be her relatives, before taking off her shoes and jacket and dropping her purse. She then dangled from a balcony railing and let go, witnesses said.

12 Apr 09 - 09:25 PM (#2609933)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Here is a story I am glad to see about the way the Obamas can get a good start with their new dog.

'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan's advice for First Dog Bo Obama

Now that we know the Obamas' pet is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog named Bo, we turned to dog trainer extraordinaire Cesar Millan for advice on how the Obamas can get off on the right foot with the dog. (It might help if the Obamas tuned in to Millan's show, Dog Whisperer, on National Geographic Channel Fridays at 8 p.m.)

The word is that Bo came from a Texas breeder, was sold to a family and then brought back. Knowing how spirited Portuguese water dogs can be, that makes us a little nervous for Bo. How can the dog make sure his first 100 days in the White House are a success? Millan had the answers:

1. Bo is going to be the world's most famous dog with nearly every bark and misbehavior chronicled. What are the most important training tips for a dog getting all that attention?

Establish leadership from day one! Start off with a nice, long walk. This is the best way to bond with the new dog. Make sure Bo is next to you or behind you. Canine pack leaders walk in front. Establish rules, boundaries and leadership right from the start, and be consistent. Don't send Bo a mixed message. Then, at the end of the day when he is in resting mode, you can share all that affection you've been storing up!

By starting off right, the family can help prevent bad behavior down the road, such as excessive barking, leash-pulling or biting White House reporters.

2. Bo is new, but the house is old and rich in history. How can the Obamas make sure that this new dog doesn't rough up the Lincoln bedroom or the new White House vegetable garden?
Set rules, boundaries and limitations. Let Bo know that certain places are off-limits by claiming the area. Use your body, your mind and your calm-assertive energy to create an invisible wall that the dog is not allowed to cross.

If the family decides an area is off-limits for the dog, the dog should always be supervised in those areas. He should never be left alone there, especially in the first six months.

3. What does Barack Obama's style of leadership as a president tell us about how he'll be as a pet owner?
President Obama is a calm and assertive leader. If he applies those skills to his relationship with Bo, he'll be on the right path and a great role model for the world!

4. The president and first lady have made a point of saying that their daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, will have responsibilities for walking and cleaning up after Bo. Is that realistic?
Absolutely! It is important for the whole family to be involved, and walking is one of the best ways to bond with Bo. It can also help the dog to see the girls as pack leaders, and of course, it is the humans' responsibility to clean up after the dog. The girls are definitely old enough to respect an agreement to walk Bo and clean up afterwards. I would keep the routine very simple and playful.

5. If the Obamas only took one piece of advice from you about raising Bo, what should it be?
Never work against Mother Nature, always work with her. I received this piece of advice from my grandfather, and I keep it in mind every day. Animals need a balanced pack leader, and when they live with us, we can all be balanced pack leaders!

13 Apr 09 - 12:49 PM (#2610245)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

SAN DIEGO -- Harbor police officers who pulled over a driver for vehicle towing code violations found nearly 600 pounds of marijuana on the boat he was pulling, authorities said Monday.

Police arrested Brualio DeJesus and Jacyln Cisneros, both 31, on suspicion of transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale, said San Diego harbor police Lt. James Jordan.

Harbor police officers tried to pull over DeJesus for vehicle code violations on the 1500 block of Rosecrans Street around 6:45 p.m. Sunday, Jordan said.

DeJesus refused to comply and instead drove several blocks while followed by light-flashing, siren-blaring police cars. DeJesus finally stopped but came out of the vehicle and ran away along Rosecrans Street, Jordan said, adding he was pursued and arrested a short time later.

A harbor police dog found 589.5 pounds of marijuana in the boat being towed, Jordan said.

DeJesus was taken to San Diego Central Jail, with bail set at $70,150, according to jail records. He's scheduled to make his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

Cisneros, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was arrested at the scene and taken to Las Colinas Detention Facility, with bail set at $60,150, according to jail records. Cosmeros is scheduled to make her first court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

13 Apr 09 - 05:05 PM (#2610437)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage


Geriatric porn star an inspiration for the old
Mon Apr 13, 2009

ICHIKAWA, Japan (Reuters) - He is a typical man of age -- a few white hairs cover his round head and he wears dentures.

But 75-year-old Shigeo Tokuda sat on a movie set on Monday wearing just a silk kimono and loin cloth about to have sex on film with a woman who is younger than his daughter.

Tokuda is Japan's oldest pornographic movie star and was shooting his latest film in which he portrayed a master of sex.

The director said the films showed people that their sex lives did not have to end with old age, and in 16 years of making such movies Tokuda has acted up with women ranging from their 20s to as old as himself.

"I debuted at 59, and have played in more than 200 porno movies since then," he said, using his screen name, not his real one in an interview on the set.

"I wanted to challenge what ordinary people did not, so I decided to be a porno actor."

In Monday's film he used vibrators, whips and candle lights to show the master satisfying a 36-year-old actress. The film was not scripted.

Tokuda turned to the pornographic industry late. He lived a typical Japanese office worker's life as a travel agent after graduating from one of Tokyo's elite colleges.

The career sideline came about because he was unsatisfied with a lack of story lines in sex movies he'd seen, which led to a discussion with a film producer about whether he could do better.

It took a couple of years of thinking about it but Tokuda eventually took his pants off for the camera.

Since then, he has became a popular figure in porn movies for rent in Japan, with its rapidly aging population and long life expectancy. One in five Japanese is over 65 years-old.

"Other old men think they can do it because he can. The elderly can feel secure and encouragement when they see his films," said Gaichi Kono, the director of Tokuda's latest film.

Japan's elderly are rejecting the idea that growing old means slowing down, said Chineko Araki, a professor of social welfare from Den-en Chofu University.

"More than 50 percent of men over 65 are eager to have a sexual relationship with their partners," she said in an email interview.

Tokuda's films will soon be offered to Japanese retirement homes, exports beckon and they may be shown on the Internet.

Tokuda says his wife and daughter pretend not to know and his friends will never guess.

"But my job makes me keep alive," he says, adding he plans to keep going at least till he hits 80 years old.

13 Apr 09 - 06:10 PM (#2610482)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Library patrons: no open drinks, no noise, no stink.

Public libraries: Poor hygiene might get you tossed
Schaumburg Township District Library adds 'offensive bodily odors' to its prohibitions

Chicago Tribune
April 13, 2009

Patrons of the Schaumburg Township District Library have never been allowed to bring in the noise. Now they can't bring in the funk.

The library recently added "offensive bodily odors" to its list of prohibitions, joining more traditional no-nos such as running, rowdiness or toting an uncovered beverage.

Director Stephanie Sarnoff said the aroma would have to be so overpowering that it interfered with others' use of the facility. And while the policy stemmed from complaints about an apparently homeless person, Sarnoff said it would apply just as much to an overuse of perfume as an underuse of soap.

"People who use libraries are usually very understanding about the foibles of others," she said. "So when one or more library users complain that another person's hygiene is of such poor quality that it is prohibiting them from pursuing what they want to do, their problem becomes our problem."

Though it's a new issue for the Schaumburg library, other book lenders around the Chicago area have long imposed such bans. They say they must balance their mission of welcoming all segments of society with the need to maintain an orderly building.

Advocates for the homeless, though, say it's not easy for a person living on the street to stay clean. Shelters can be full or far away, and places with sinks or showers are often unwilling to let the destitute use them.

"I really can't think of any cases where I've met someone who says, 'I like the fact that I smell,' " said Todd Stull, director of the HOPE Center in Palatine. "It really is a fact of not enough money and not enough places willing to help them stay clean. They sort of become these victims of circumstance."

Public libraries are bustling these days, thanks in part to the swelling ranks of the jobless, but they have always been a haven for people with nowhere else to go. In some towns, that includes a fair number of people with unpleasant hygiene.

Jim Johnston, director of the Joliet Public Library, said some visitors have reeked so mightily that they have literally prompted others to vomit. Less dramatic cases can still interfere with someone's right to use the library in peace, he said, and such patrons are told to leave until they clean up.

"We still try to be humane about it," he said. "The citizens have a right to use the library. That doesn't really depend on their economic status. But what you cannot do is keep someone else from using and enjoying the place."

Unpleasant odors were not a major concern at the Aurora Public Library until recently, when a rearranging of the furniture created a pod of comfy chairs around the magazines and newspapers.

"It has caused those patrons who had a problem with body odor to be congregating in groups," director Eva Luckinbill said.

The library's code of conduct is silent on the issue of hygiene, and Luckinbill said she might like to have an explicit guideline to which she could refer a quarrelsome patron. But she is conflicted about it.

She takes pride in the library's openness to all and has rejected calls from nearby businesses to bar the homeless from her building. But she said a minimal level of hygiene and decorum is not too much to ask, noting that some residents of a nearby shelter are model library patrons—quiet, respectful and tidily kept.

"As long as they obey the library code-of-conduct guidelines, we don't judge," she said.

When someone feels as though he is being judged, though, it can sting even years later. Antoine Smith, 25, who said he spent time on the streets after being kicked out of his home as a teenager, still recalls the humiliation of being told to leave the Legler branch of the Chicago Public Library.

"It's like people just picking on you for no reason," Smith said. "Like you're just there and they can do whatever they want. They don't care if you're human."

Aside from patrons with offensive hygiene, Chicago's public libraries ban those who carry more than two bags or who try to bathe, shave or wash their clothes on the premises. But spokeswoman Ruth Lednicer said those policies were not aimed at transients; the bag guideline, for instance, is meant to keep the aisles clear and has been invoked when out-of-town visitors bring in suitcases, she said.

The comparatively prosperous village of Schaumburg does not face such overt issues of homelessness. Some frequent visitors said they have never noticed a problem.

"I honestly think [the ban] is building on stereotypes, that we have to keep them away from the normal citizens," said Sittie Jackson, 27.

But Sarnoff, who said no one has gotten an odor warning since the policy was enacted in February, maintained that a librarian must balance everyone's rights. That extends far beyond olfactory matters.

The library will next address the propriety of sleeping amid the stacks (many libraries already ban extended snoozing). The staff also has had to tell a group that occasionally prayed in a stairwell that it would have to confine its worship to meeting rooms for safety reasons.

Even so, Sarnoff said, such issues are still relatively minor in a library that sees more than 1 million patrons a year.

"A bigger problem," she said, "is wheelie shoes."

13 Apr 09 - 10:35 PM (#2610660)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

DENVER - One Colorado woman's love for tofu has been judged X-rated by state officials.

Kelly Coffman-Lee wanted to tell the world about her fondness for bean curd by picking certain letters for her SUV's licence plate. Her suggestion for the plate: "ILVTOFU."

But the Division of Motor Vehicles blocked her plan because they thought the combination of letters could be interpreted as profane.

Says Department of Revenue spokesman Mark Couch: "We don't allow 'FU' because some people could read that as street language for sex."

Officials meet periodically to ensure state plates stay free of letters that abbreviate gang slang, drug terms or obscene phrases.

The 38-year-old Coffman-Lee says tofu is a staple of her family's diet because they are vegan and that the DMV misinterpreted her message.

14 Apr 09 - 10:12 AM (#2610943)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage Another story along the lines of Paul Potts.


14 Apr 09 - 07:27 PM (#2611322)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday claimed its own version of Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, after the birth of a cloned camel in Dubai this month.

"This is the first cloned camel in the world," said Dr Nisar Wani, researcher at the Camel Reproduction Centre.

Injaz, a female one-humped camel, was born on April 8 after more than five years of work by scientists at the Camel Reproduction Centre and the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, The National newspaper reported.

"This significant breakthrough in our research programme gives a means of preserving the valuable genetics of our elite racing and milk producing camels in the future," Dr Lulu Skidmore, scientific director at the Camel Reproduction Centre, said in a statement.
Injaz, whose name means achievement in Arabic, is the clone of a camel that was slaughtered for its meat in 2005, the National said.

Scientists used DNA extracted from cells in the ovaries of the slain animal and put it into an egg taken from the surrogate mother to create a reconstructed embryo, it said.

15 Apr 09 - 03:17 PM (#2611881)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- A carrier pigeon in Colombia gave new meaning to the term "jailbird" when officials discovered that it was trying to smuggle cell phone parts into a high-security prison, a news report said.

The carrier pigeon has Colombian authorities concerned there may be a new way to smuggle goods into prisons.

The carrier pigeon has Colombian authorities concerned there may be a new way to smuggle goods into prisons.

The bird was carrying the contraband on its back in a little suitcase, the Caracol news outlet said Monday.

Heavy rains prevented the plumed smuggler from entering the prison in north central Colombia, said the police chief in Boyaca state, Juan Carlos Polania.

Authorities are worried, Polania said, because this is a newly discovered way of smuggling goods into the prison, and officials have no way of combating it. They also are wondering whether any of the many pigeons that live in or near the prison are pulling double duty.

As for the miscreant bird, he was taken to an animal shelter in the city of Soraca.

17 Apr 09 - 12:42 PM (#2613185)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Renowned Pentagon tech-tomfoolery agency DARPA has announced a new plan to create mighty artificial intelligences. The so-called "Deep Learning" machines will be used to trawl through petabytes of video from robot aircraft prowling the skies - initially, apparently, seeking out threatening horses and cows.

According to DARPA boffinry chiefs, setting out the rationale for "Deep Learning" technology, the US military and spook communities are hip-deep in surveillance and intel data, and sinking fast. Hence the need for artificial intelligence (ha ha):

    A rapidly increasing volume of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) information is available to the Department of Defense (DOD) as a result of the increasing numbers, sophistication, and resolution of ISR resources and capabilities. The amount of video data produced annually by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) alone is in the petabyte range, and growing rapidly. Full exploitation of this information is a major challenge. Human observation and analysis of ISR assets is essential, but the training of humans is both expensive and time-consuming. Human performance also varies due to individuals' capabilities and training, fatigue, boredom, and human attentional capacity.

    One response to this situation is to employ machines ...

It seems there are already plenty of basic "shallow learning" AIs in use, including such Stone Age expedients as "Support Vector Machines (SVMs), two-layer Neural Networks (NNs), and Hidden Markov Models (HMMs)". But these are scarcely better than a human with poor "attentional capacity"*. The trouble with the shallow learners is that they can learn, erm, only at a shallow level:

    Shallow methods may be effective in creating simple internal representations ... A classification task such as recognizing a horse in an image will use these simple representations in many different configurations to recognize horses in various poses, orientations and sizes. Such a task requires large amounts of labelled images of horses and non-horses. This means that if the task were to change to recognizing cows, one would have to start nearly from scratch with a new, large set of labelled data.

In essence, a specialised horse-spotter machine unable to recognise a cow isn't much use for sorting the sheep from the goats. (We're plainly in the War On Livestock here.) That's why DARPA want "deeply layered" learning machines, able to apply horse sense to recognising cows, sheep and goats.

    Deeply layered methods should create richer representations that may include furry, four-legged mammals at higher levels, resulting in a head start for learning cows and thereby requiring much less labelled data when compared to a shallow method. A Deep Learning system exposed to unlabelled natural images will automatically create high-level concepts of four-legged mammals on its own, even without labels. (The Register)

18 Apr 09 - 12:22 PM (#2613868)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Invasion of New Mexico by Americans a worry 40 years before the Mexican War.

Zebulon Pike was sent to explore the southern limits of the Louisiana Purchase. Pike and his party wandered into Spanish Territory, south-central Colorado.
The party was arrested and taken to Santa Fe, held for a while, later sent to Chihuahua and released.
John Sparks, with Pike's expedition, told New Mexico governor Joaquin Real Alencaster, that Pike'a superior would assume capture and send a large party to New Mexico on a rescue expedition.
Gov. Alencaster took steps to challenge it and had a fort built to the east as a measure against the possible invaders.
The remains of a fort were briefly investigated in the 20th c, and in 1980 an aerial photograph showed a large cluster of small rooms surrounded by a wall with turrets (photo included in article).

The Santa Rosa dam flooded the area, and the site is under water, so further study is impossible.
The story is told in more detail by Marc Simmons, historian, in the Santa Fe New Mexican, 4/17/2009.

18 Apr 09 - 12:58 PM (#2613902)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Q, your link was to a printable page, and it tried to run my printer. :)

This link goes to the regular web page.

We have a lot of information about that territory and this ill-fated expedition at UT Arlington in Special Collections. There is a newsletter called Compass Rose in which I think we ran an article about a map that Sparks drew--we have a copy of it in our collection. It would have been from that expedition.


18 Apr 09 - 07:25 PM (#2614116)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

SRS, wasn't aware of printable pages doing that.

Some years ago, I visited the archives in Seville. When I saw this article, I wondered if there were some unseen reports from Alencaster there.
Everything in the archives has been filed carefully, but sometimes it is hard to find just how it was done.
When I was young, I remember a Santa Fe lawyer going there to check grants and titles with regard to a land dispute.

18 Apr 09 - 10:12 PM (#2614172)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

The article I posted about Zebulon Pike and Governor Alencastre (correct spelling, from other sources) caused me to check other sources in my library, esp. Major Z. M. Pike, 1810, "An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi, etc. etc. and a Tour through the Interior Parts of New Spain.... 1807," Binns, March of America Facsimile ser. 57; and R. E. Twitchell, 1911, "Leading Facts of New Mexico History," vol. one.

The story by Marc Simmons has errors, and parts are questionable.

Pike (mostly from his book) and his party were approached by the Spanish troops at his 'Fort' which Pike thought was near the headwaters of the Red River. The Spaniards told him it was near the headwaters of the Rio Grande del Norte, and that the Red River was some eight days hard march from Santa Fe; an escort there was offered, but his excellency (Alencastre) was anxious to see him in Santa Fe.
The escorted trip, though carried out with all courtesy, of course was mandatory. During his stay in Santa Fe, and later on the escorted journey to Chihuahua, his captive party was provided with food, clothing and animals for transport. Pike was questioned, but politely; the Spanish deprived him of his maps. Pike himself and some others were entertained at the homes of leading citizens, and Pike mentions the fine wines and gracious hospitality received in Alburquerque (original spelling).

As to the 'fort' described in Simmon's article, its origin and use is questionable.
1. It resembles a pueblo structure, esp. the clustered rooms; the round towers on the walls occur on some early pueblo-Anasazi settlements; at least one such tower is preserved at a still-active pueblo.
2. There is no mention in Spanish archives of such a structure; if Twitchell and subsequent historians had found any information, they would have noted the fact.
It seems likely that the 'fort' was an abandoned pueblo, but since it now is under water, proof is lacking. I do not have information on archaeological work in the area, but field studies may have been done there.

18 Apr 09 - 11:50 PM (#2614210)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The URL in Q's first link includes a call to an action called "PrintStory" which apparently calls up a printer-ready format of the story, and also issues a print command. It does this even on a Mac running Safari. First time I've seen that embedded in a URL.


19 Apr 09 - 12:30 AM (#2614221)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage


I went through a few issues and didn't find the map I remember seeing, or the article about it. But this link takes you to the Compass Rose newsletter and you'll find articles about a lot of our interesting acquisitions. If you visit the Special Collections finding aids page (here) you can look for a lot of interesting stuff.


19 Apr 09 - 01:40 PM (#2614484)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Thanks, SRS. Some interesting notes, and I bookmarked the finding aids- which seems very well organized.

27 Apr 09 - 06:05 PM (#2619978)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Thanks! You know how it is, librarians are the original search engines!

Meanwhile, a man, perhaps a contestant in the Darwin Awards, caused this stir:

Man set house on fire while trying to kill a spider with a lighter
A man had to be rescued after setting the front of his house on fire while trying to kill a spider with a lighter.
link (
Firefighters say the man, in his 40s, had been trying to set fire to the spider as it crawled up the front of the semi-detached property

But sparks reached material behind the cladding and caused a fire within the walls, shortly before midnight.

Three fire engines raced to the scene in Portsmouth, Hants, and found the man trying to put out the flames with a garden hose.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus removed the cladding and spent two hours putting the fire out.

Watch manager Steve Pearce said: "The man was trying to put the fire out with a garden hose when we arrived.

"The whole thing had clearly scared the life out of him.

"There was a gap in the cladding where he was trying to kill the spider and so the sparks got through to the material behind and started spreading upwards towards the roof.

"Our concern was that it would reach the roof and the property would be lost.

"We sent firefighters up into the loft to put it out and fortunately we were able to stop it in time.

"Surprisingly there wasn't much damage to the house other than to the cladding.

"We obviously had a chat with the man but I don't think he'll be doing this again."

30 Apr 09 - 10:13 AM (#2621908)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

For Dallas and Donna Keen, the mission is saving thoroughbreds
Star-Telegram link to story

GRAND PRAIRIE — He's so very tall and big and red, his eye so intense, that he easily could intimidate or even frighten. But instead he lowers his head to invite a friendly pat. If ignored, he nuzzles the turned-away shoulder as if to ask, please, for just another moment of attention.

He's Lights On Broadway, the Texas-bred Horse of the Year in 2001. He's remarkably gregarious and friendly for a former racehorse, especially considering what he's had to endure. And he's so gentle that it strains understanding to contemplate the motives and the insensitivity that could have compelled, or allowed, somebody to sell him by the pound. Sell him to be slaughtered.

But Lights On Broadway was rescued. The 12-year-old returned to Lone Star Park recently, just for a visit, before going to his new home and to, well, the sort of retirement he deserves.

Lights On Broadway earned $572,445 in his 83-race career. Running for six trainers and various owners, he won 15 races, including six stakes, half of those at Lone Star.

But by 2005, the champion had slipped into the claiming ranks. In other words, he was competing in races where all the horses were offered for sale. And indeed three times he was sold, or claimed, out of these races. The slip became a slide, then a tumble, and last year he dropped precipitately to the bottom, running for a claiming price of $2,500 at Fonner Park in Grand Island, Neb.

Shortly after that, Texas' former Horse of the Year stood helplessly in the back of a trailer on its way to a rendering plant. Just by chance, Gregg Sanders, a quarter horse trainer in Oklahoma who knew of the horse, happened upon the van. Later, the Fans of Barbaro became involved, along with an anonymous Samaritan who donated more than $2,000 to the cause, and Angelo Trosclair's Thoroughbred Transport, and Donna and Dallas Keen. They all took a stand against the insensitivity that had put Lights On Broadway in that position.

"A lot of people think thoroughbreds are too high-strung to be retrained," Donna Keen said. "But they're smart. They can do a lot of things."

The Keens, of course, have a large stable at Lone Star, where Dallas ranks among the all-time leading trainers. But they don't train only racehorses; they also have a farm in Burleson, where they prepare former racehorses for other careers. That's where Lights On Broadway went, for retraining, after his misadventures.

"He was so thin you could count his ribs," Dallas Keen said, recalling Lights On Broadway's arrival. "And he had abscesses in three of his feet."

But that's all behind him. Around the barn at Lone Star, people call him "Super Pony." He's so tractable that Donna can ride him without a bridle. He literally follows her around, like a faithful dog, and when she opens her arms, he hurries to put as much of himself between them as he can fit.

But he's just one of many success stories for the Keens.

For $500 at the Weatherford Cow Sale, Donna purchased the big gray horse, Wyatt. He has become her regular pony, and she rides him — without a bridle, of course — at the racetrack. Wyatt also went through a period of retraining. He's so smart, she explained, that he can unfasten latches and open doors. He once got out of his stall at the farm, she recalled, and let out all the other horses, too, except one, the ornery one. An escape artist, he loves to rummage through trash cans to look for doughnuts.

Dallas' pony, Eye Man Who, won his debut at Lone Star in 2006. He won two more races before an injury forced the end of his racing career. Thanks to the Keens, though, Eye Man Who still has a career. He's a saddle horse, a trick pony and a careful observer of human nature. He does just about everything but bring in the morning newspaper, and he'd probably do that, too, if he knew it contained race results.

Over the last two years, the Keens have rescued more than 35 horses. In many cases, these were former racehorses that the Keens retrained and then placed in a new home. With the arrival and placement of Lights On Broadway, the effort, Donna Keen said, has intensified.

And it now has a name, the Remember Me Rescue project.

Team Keen To learn more about the Keens' mission, their Remember Me Rescue organization or how to help retired race horses, visit

03 May 09 - 01:14 PM (#2623554)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Herald story about WASPs

Wartime pilot's service honored at long last

OAK HARBOR -- Marge Neyman Martin flew across the West during World War II, delivering aircraft parts and carrying classified military documents.

As a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, she was part of a wave of young women who took to the air to fly planes stateside while most male pilots were sent overseas on combat missions.

After her service, Martin returned to her job as a secretary.

Now, the 88-year-old former aviator could be in line for a Congressional Gold Medal.

Legislation designed to award the federal honor to Martin and other surviving WASPs throughout the country is before a Senate committee. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both D-Wash., are among the bill's sponsors.

"I think it's a wonderful idea," Martin said. "It gives a little recognition to the women who opened the doors back then."

The pioneering women aviators have received little acknowledgement for their wartime service. Of the 1,102 women who earned their wings as WASPs, about 300 are still alive. Twelve of those surviving pilots, including Martin, live in Washington state.

"These brave pilots have inspired decades of women service members who have followed in their footsteps," Murray said when the bill was introduced. "They took flight at a time when the idea of women aviators was thought not only improbable, but impossible. They risked their lives, but for too long their service has not been recognized."

Born in the early 1920s on Whidbey Island, Martin graduated from business school and was a secretary for Standard Oil Co. in Seattle when the United States entered World War II.

"It was a very patriotic time," Martin said. "We were all wondering what we could do to help the war effort."

When Martin read in a newspaper that the country had launched a program to train women to fly military aircraft in noncombat missions, she immediately requested a leave of absence from her job.

"Flying seemed like the thing to do to help because there was a shortage of male pilots at home," she said. "And it sounded terribly exciting."

Martin headed to Felts Field in Spokane to obtain her pilot's license. She bunked at the YWCA and in a few weeks had completed the required 35 hours of flight time. Back in Seattle, she took ground school courses and waited for the day she would be accepted into the WASP training program.

In January 1944, she arrived at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. As a native Northwesterner, Martin found the winter there harsh and the summer unbearably hot.

"Texas was terrible," she said. "But when you're young, you can manage those things."

The nine-month training program, with long days of studying and flying, was stressful physically and mentally. With the exception of combat and formation classes, the women got the same training their male counterparts received in two years of pilot preparation.

"You had to be the best you could be, because it was very competitive," Martin said. "I was always worried, wondering if I would make it or if I would wash out."

Of the 25,000 women who applied for the WASP program, only 2,000 were accepted for training and just half of those graduated and got flying assignments.

After getting her silver wings, Martin was sent to Douglas Army Airfield in Arizona. From there she flew many courier missions to California and up the West Coast.

The example set by the Women Airforce Service Pilots paved the way for the Pentagon to lift the ban on women attending military flight training in the 1970s, and eventually led to women becoming military pilots. Today, women fly every type of aircraft and mission, including fighter jets and the space shuttle.

When the war ended in 1945, the men began to return. The WASPs were told to go home, and they paid their own way to get there. The WASPs were never awarded full military status and were ineligible for officer status and veterans benefits.

The families of the 38 women who died in the line of duty were saddled with the costs of bringing home the bodies and arranging burials. It was not until 1977 that the WASPs were granted veteran status.

"I was heartbroken when we were deactivated," Martin said. "Everybody was."

She rejoined Standard Oil in San Francisco where she worked as the executive secretary in the aviation oils division. When her boss wanted to sell his private airplane, she flew it to demonstrate it for the buyers.

After marrying, Martin moved back to Whidbey Island to raise her family and occasionally flew with her husband, who also was a pilot.

When her four children were old enough, she returned to work at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. She retired in 1982 as secretary to the commanding officer at the base.

"It was a great job and my experience as a military pilot was a great help," Martin said. "People knew that I knew what I was talking about."

For many years Martin continued flying with her son, a Vietnam veteran. Now that arthritis keeps her behind a walker or in a wheelchair, she expects she's taken her last airplane ride.

Not even a public ceremony awarding her the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, D.C., would get the grandmother of four to fly.

"That doesn't mean I wouldn't be honored to get the medal," Martin said. "I just don't feel top drawer anymore. We worked hard."

04 May 09 - 04:51 AM (#2623809)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

No butts: Officials to smoke or be fined

Officials in a county in central China have been told to smoke nearly a quarter of a million packs of locally made cigarettes annually or risk being fined, state media reports.

The Gong'an county government in Hubei province has ordered its staff to puff their way through 230,000 packs of Hubei-produced cigarette brands a year, the Global Times said.

Departments that fail to meet their targets will be fined, the report said.

"The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax," said Chen Nianzu, a member of the Gong'an cigarette market supervision team, according to the paper.

The measure could also be a ploy to aid local cigarette brands such as Huanghelou, which are under severe pressure from competitors in neighbouring Hunan province, according to the paper.

China has 350 million smokers, of whom a million die of smoking-related diseases every year.

More than half of all male doctors in China smoke, but the Government is now trying harder to get them to kick the habit in order to set an example for others.

04 May 09 - 11:23 AM (#2623938)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

If they're looking for income, better to pay the fine than smoke the cigarettes and pay the tax. And die early.

04 May 09 - 11:37 PM (#2624389)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

This morning I heard an consultant who has worked with Chinese (national) health authorities on anti-smoking programs comment on this story. He said that the central authorities might put pressure on the regional govt. to change the policy.

05 May 09 - 08:35 PM (#2625070)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Donuel

Rose, I love your stories.

Man released from prison is re arrested and sent back to jail the same day, for wearing his prisoner T shirt outside the prison.

He was charged for being in possesion of stolen merchandise.

07 May 09 - 12:34 PM (#2626360)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Obama breaks from Bush on prayer day
link. About time!

President Obama's latest break from his predecessor is drawing some ire among some Christian groups.

While former President Bush held formal events in the White House each year to mark the National Day of Prayer, Obama is opting today for a private observance and will later issue an official proclamation.

"We are disappointed in the lack of participation by the Obama administration," Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, said in a statement. "At this time in our country's history, we would hope our president would recognize more fully the importance of prayer."

The theme for the 58th annual observance is "Prayer... America's Hope" and is based on Psalm 33:22: "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you."

But other religious groups praised Obama for dialing back the observance, and accused the task force of trying to exclude non-Christians. Dobson is the spouse of James Dobson of Focus on the Family, a politically active Christian conservative group.

"It is a shame that the National Day of Prayer Task Force seems to think it owns the National Day of Prayer," the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said in a statement. The alliance sent a letter to Obama urging him to make this year's observance more inclusive of other faiths.

"Once again, the Task Force is misrepresenting the purpose of this national observance," Gaddy added. "President Obama is not the pastor-in-chief of the nation and Shirley Dobson's Task Force is not the spiritual judge of the president's personal or official actions."

13 May 09 - 02:39 PM (#2631042)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Maine event: 'A moose fell from the sky'

It wasn't your typical morning commute today for one motorist in Clinton, Maine, according to assistant town clerk Shirley Bailey, who answered the phone a little after 8 a.m.

"I was driving under the bridge on Hinckley Road and a moose fell from the sky," the driver told Bailey, who described the unidentified man as "a little shook up."

"It was quite frightening, I guess," she told the Kennebec Journal.

The 500-pound yearling bull moose fell 18 feet to its death when it apparently became spooked by traffic on an Interstate 95 overpass and leaped a guardrail, police said.

A passing tow truck hauled the carcass away, the AP adds.

13 May 09 - 02:44 PM (#2631046)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Little Hawk

It's been known to rain meese in Blind River, Amos, but only on the rarest of occasions. Shane got caught in a moose shower once coming out of the Iron Horse Tavern after last call, and he was nearly killed.

13 May 09 - 05:37 PM (#2631144)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

LH just snagged 600.

And in his usual elevated state of enlightened non-involvement with terrestrial affairs, didn''t even mention it. What divine humility!!


15 May 09 - 03:59 PM (#2632761)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Trailer full of bees breaks down in Salt Lake City

By Steve Gehrke

The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 05/15/2009 10:46:00 AM MDT

A trucker, en route from California to South Dakota, had trouble getting a lift when his vehicle broke down in Salt Lake City on Thursday night.

Blame it on the bees.

"Tow truck companies weren't all that interested in picking up a trailer full of 300 active beehives," said Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Mark Bednarik.

The man was hauling bees and hives for the Sturgis Honey Company along Interstate 80. He had reached about 2500 West at 5:30 p.m. Thursday when the trailer's axle overheated and caught fire. Crews quickly doused the burned axle, Bednarik said.

Since it was hard to find a tow, a firefighter, who also does snow plow work, helped the man get his trailer into a salt fill where he keeps his plow equipment, Bednarik said.

The man was still at the Salt Lake City garage getting his trailer fixed Friday morning and expected to be back on the road by the afternoon.

Bednarik praised the fire employees for "going well above and beyond what's expected."

21 May 09 - 09:42 PM (#2638142)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Nebraska boy, 6, takes wheel after dad passes out

Thursday, May 21, 2009
(05-21) 18:18 PDT North Platte, Neb. (AP) --

Police say a 6-year-old boy grabbed the wheel of their pickup after his dad passed out from low blood sugar and kept them from crashing until a North Platte police officer could bring the truck to a halt.

Tustin Mains was in the back seat with his 3-year-old brother when he noticed that his dad, Phillip Mains, slumped down on Sunday evening while they were driving home from a restaurant.

"I remember getting up to about the mall — that was about 6:45," Phillip Mains told The North Platte Telegraph. "The next thing I remember was waking up to the officer and paramedics, and it was 8:15."

Tustin hopped up from the back seat to his father's lap so he could steer and see out the windshield.

His dad's foot had slipped off the accelerator, but even at idle the Chevrolet Avalanche was going an estimated 10-15 mph.

Other drivers noticed the boy driving the truck. Some maneuvered their vehicles in front or behind the pickup and turned on their emergency blinkers.

Tustin remained at the wheel for several blocks, even turning around when he got into a neighborhood he didn't recognize.

He was then spotted by North Platte officer Roger Freeze.

Freeze maneuvered his car near enough that he could stop, get out and run up to the pickup. The driver's side window was down, so Freeze reached in, grabbed the gearshift and rammed it into park.

North Platte Police Chief Martin Gutschenritter praised his officer and young Tustin.

"I will be issuing him a departmental citation for his quick, professional action on this case. That is also a very special young man. He was able to take quick action when his dad was incapacitated, and we are very proud of him, too," Gutschenritter said.

Tustin's dad was grateful to Freeze as well.

"To chase down a moving vehicle and get it stopped the way he did took a lot of nerve, and if it weren't for him, things could have turned out much worse."

For a kindergartner, Tustin did a pretty good job of driving. The pickup sustained only a minor scrape when it brushed a piece of a bridge as Tustin turned to head back into town.

When he saw his dad "fall asleep," Tustin said, he got scared, then got another fright when officer Freeze appeared at the driver's window.

But when Freeze brought the pickup to an abrupt halt?

"I was just happy," Tustin said.

21 May 09 - 10:10 PM (#2638165)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

What a great story!


23 May 09 - 04:01 PM (#2639480)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Just before CSUF graduation, a family reunites
Dad, 26-year-old adopted daughter get reacquainted in Fresno.
Published online on Friday, May. 22, 2009 link
By Chris Collins / The Fresno Bee

The phone rang.

Elizabeth Cox could tell from the caller ID that it was James Cliffe III -- a man she had never spoken to, but who shared the same name as her biological father. A father she had never met. Was this he?

With much hesitation, she answered.

Adopted at birth, Cox had only a handful of records with her parents' names and birth dates. For years, she debated whether she should try to find them. But what would she say? "Hi, I'm your daughter" -- it seemed too strange.

Instead, Cox endured the teasing and nagging that adopted children can go through -- "at least my parents wanted me," some of her peers told her.

That didn't stop the Clovis West High School graduate from living her life -- college, music, sports, art, traveling the world. She took it all in. At 17, she moved out on her own.

Independent and stubborn? She freely admits it.

But about a month ago -- as she was finishing up her classes and preparing to graduate from California State University, Fresno, so she could pursue a writing career -- Cox, 26, decided it was time. She was grateful for her adopted parents, Tim and Jodi Cox, but couldn't go through her whole life without knowing her flesh and blood.

She scoured the Internet and chased down a cell phone number for the Rev. James Cliffe III living in the Los Angeles area. There is no way my father is a reverend, she thought. But she called anyway. She got his voicemail.

"Hello, my name is Elizabeth Cox," she said. "Could you please call me back?"

About an hour and a half later, Cliffe called. Cox asked him if he knew a woman named Caroline Purra -- without mentioning that that was her mother's name.

For 15 seconds -- silence.

Then Cliffe's voice came through on the other end: "I've been looking for you for 26 years," he said.

For the next two hours, the father and daughter who had never met -- but had always wondered about each other -- talked about their lives, their pasts and their dreams. They raced to send photos of each other over Facebook.

Cliffe, 63, told Cox about the family she had never known -- including her older half-sister and older half-brother. He told her about his failed relationship with her mother. He told her that he had always loved her.

For the next month, neither had the chance to visit the other in person -- until Friday. Cox invited Cliffe to attend her graduation ceremony this weekend. He said he would be there.

As Cliffe drove from Los Angeles on Friday morning, Cox sat at a coffee shop fidgeting nervously. Her father -- her real father -- would be here soon.

"This is crazy. All those nights staying up wondering and questioning and thinking ... " she said, looking off into the distance and suddenly at a loss for words.

They agreed to meet at a restaurant near Fresno State. Cox went without any friends or family -- she wanted this to be her own thing.

Turning a corner, she came face to face with a slightly chubby, well-dressed man.

"There you are!" she said.

The father and daughter hugged. They took a look at each other. Then they hugged again.

"You're just like your sister," Cliffe said.

At the lunch table, the two swapped stories. The menus were left alone. When a waitress asked a third time if they were ready to order, Cox apologized.

"I'm sorry, I'm meeting my dad for the first time," she said, laughing.

Cliffe, it turns out, was not always a minister. He said he grew up in Illinois and moved to the Los Angeles area to sell insurance. He opened restaurants and bars and hired Purra at one of them.

They fell in love, but split up after about a year. The last time Cliffe saw Purra, she was eight months pregnant with his daughter. Neither he nor Cox had been able to find Purra.

Cliffe's life spiraled downward as he struggled with alcohol and drug addictions. He became homeless. Then, one night in October 1994, Cliffe said, he had a "spiritual experience" in which he felt compelled to get his life in order.

For the past 15 years, he said, he has been clean and sober.

Cliffe also went on to become a minister and start a $750,000-a-year program that provides housing and rehabilitation for parolees. His preaching became popular and he got his own television show, he said.

But throughout the years, Cliffe wondered about his daughter. Every once in a while, he would see someone who looked like she could be her, but never was. He checked hospital records, but found only dead ends.

When Cox called him last month, Cliffe said he kneeled down and thanked God.

Cliffe and Cox, it turns out, share more in common than their green eyes. They both are Dodgers fans, like sports, play pool and enjoy public speaking. And they aren't afraid to pursue life head-on.

"You'll find that as you get out into the world, you'll possess another quality of mine," Cliffe told his daughter. "Mind over matter: If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

By the end of lunch, Cliffe and Cox seemed to have known each other for years. They teased each other. No question was too personal. And when Cox warned her father that she tended to hold on to new friends and that he was "stuck with her now," Cliffe replied, "I don't feel stuck."

"It's not over," he said. "It's just the beginning."

23 May 09 - 04:24 PM (#2639504)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Dang, Sniff, also....


31 May 09 - 11:30 AM (#2644866)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Man Uses YouTube to help deliver baby

A British man put YouTube video tutorials to the test by using one to assist him in the birth of his baby.

Marc Stephens, a naval engineer from Cornwall, England decided to do a little research when his wife Jo started to feel a little discomfort.

    "I Googled how to deliver a baby, watched a few videos and basically swotted up, I can tell you one of them was called 'How to Deliver a Baby in a Taxicab.'" Mr Stephens said to the BBC.

Stephens phoned the midwife when his wife awoke having very regular contractions, but when no midwives available to come to the house, they were told to order an ambulance. When the ambulance didn't arrive in time, the YouTube tutorials kicked into gear.

    "The videos gave me peace of mind. I think I would have coped, but watching videos made things much easier," he added.

    "My youngest daughter woke up and was standing right behind me watching the whole thing!" he told the Telegraph.

To which Jo added:

    "I wasn't panicking at all. I have to say, out of all my four labors, that was the one I enjoyed the most."

If you're keen to learn yourself, you can find the 'taxi cab' video, actually created by ExpertVillage right here.

02 Jun 09 - 12:48 PM (#2646606)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

"Alberta Passes Law Allowing Parents to Pull Kids Out of Class," a story carried June 2 by The Canadian Press and the broadcasters.
"Written notice required when sex, sexual orientation, religion covered."

Many Alberta teachers are worried that the bill is a minefield, possibly opening them to suit by parents if Johnny complains to his parents about material inadvertently mentioned by the teacher and possibly covered by the broad strokes painted in the bill.

The government said the legislation is meant "to allow parents to be more involved in their children's schooling.
Frank Bruseker, president of the Alberta Teachers Association, "said he's advised the group's lawyers to prepare to defend any teachers who are brought before the human rights tribunal."
He said, "We'll need to review curricula right across all subjects and all grades to see if there might be a minefield, if you will, that a teacher might step in and suddenly find themselves in deep trouble."
Teachers worry that inclusion of evolution in biology courses violates the 'religion' coverage notification.

A group of gays in Edmonton demonstrated against the bill.

Legislators in Alberta thus are following those of some states in meddling in teaching curricula.

Article of May 27 discussing Bill 44:
Bill 44

02 Jun 09 - 01:20 PM (#2646646)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

The end of the human race won't be because of a huge meteor strike on the plant or a viral miasma taking out billions, it will be the increasing stupidity of the population as expectations are lower, the lowest common denominator becomes the favored teaching method, and zealots are allow to impose their wildly improbably world view on everyone else.

Depressing, isn't it?


02 Jun 09 - 01:53 PM (#2646667)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: heric

I wish I hadn't sent my virgin child to school last week to look at big screen images of genitalia in highly advanced stages of various STD's.

03 Jun 09 - 11:15 AM (#2647423)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

oops - "planet" not "plant."

heric, that sounds drastic. The sledgehammer approach to sex ed?

03 Jun 09 - 11:30 AM (#2647439)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos


If you haven't seen Idiocracy you might enjoy it, despite raunchy parts--it is based on your very premise about the decline of human ability.


03 Jun 09 - 02:40 PM (#2647575)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Has it declined? Or was giving the vote to the boobocracy behind the apparent decline?

Yes, a friend had some old "American Mercury" magazines and I have been reading H. L. Mencken.

An adv. in today's (June 3, 2009) online Santa Fe New Mexican-

"Receive trusted, up-to-the-minute neighborhood information directly from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office and Health Dept."

I guess that this is one way to cut expenses in a recession.

03 Jun 09 - 03:13 PM (#2647594)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The thesis of Idiocracy is that over the next century it will decline because of the higher breeding rate of the less educated. Probably not a true thesis in itself, but a funny premise for the movie.


03 Jun 09 - 04:26 PM (#2647646)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: heric

Yes, drastic. I wouldn't have expected it from that school, but I perhaps can't keep up with the modern world. Teaching abstinence by an entirely new and probably effective approach.

04 Jun 09 - 11:06 PM (#2648725)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: heric

All four prosecuting attorneys (two of the U.S. Attorney's office in Anchorage and two of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section in Washington) are under investigation for criminal contempt by a special prosecutor appointed by the judge in the failed trial of former Sen. Ted Stevens. Their bosses, Public Integrity Chief William Welch and his principal deputy, Brenda Morris, are also under investigation.

Well, today the U.S. Justice Department admitted to undisclosed prosecutorial errors in two more criminal cases targeting political corruption in Alaska and asked for two convicted state lawmakers to be released from jail.


Can you believe this crap? The government is here to help us, and knows what to do about preventing fraud, torturing no one but terrorists, saving the oceans, preventing and curing economic meltdown, guiding World Peace, etc. etc. It's all under control. We have "Public Integrity."

04 Jun 09 - 11:23 PM (#2648735)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

The Alaska case is interesting because it was the Bush administration shooting itself in the foot and taking out their own (old) man.


07 Jun 09 - 01:25 PM (#2650637)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage


Parents rammed cars into burning day care

HERMOSILLO, Mexico (CNN) -- Parents of the children trapped in a burning Mexican day care center rammed their vehicles into the building to try to free the trapped children, witnesses told CNN.

At least 41 children died when flames engulfed the building on Friday, Mexico's Public Health Ministry said Sunday. Dozens more are in hospitals in Mexico and the United States.

Neighbors described parents arriving at the day care center completely desperate, seeing it engulfed in flames and knowing there was no way to get the children out, CNN's Thelma Gutierrez reported from the scene. They say they could hear the cries of the children and the screams of their parents.

The building had two doors, but one was padlocked shut, officials said. Windows were too high for the children to reach.

"When we went out and ran towards the nursery, teachers already had many children outside, those who could walk properly," said one man at the scene, who did not give his name.

"A pickup truck broke down the walls. The dad of one of the kids broke down one of the walls with his car driving in reverse, and that helped us a bit," he said.

One mother waited hours for information about her son, she said.

"They didn't tell us anything, nothing until like 6 p.m.," she said, when she was finally told her son was at Chavez Hospital.

"We went there and we saw that he was badly burned, 75 percent of his body was burned." The woman said they operated on the boy, but he died.

The cause of Friday's blaze remains unknown, but investigators concluded that the fire did not start inside the ABC Day Care, said Eduardo Bours, the governor of Sonora state.

As of Saturday night, at least 23 children remained hospitalized, 15 of them in critical condition, Sonora spokesman Daniel Duran told CNN. Another 10 children had been transported to other hospitals: eight to Guadalajara, one to Ciudad Obregon, and two to Sacramento, California.

A team of 29 medical experts in Hermosillo was deciding whether any more victims would be moved to the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento, or elsewhere.

In addition, six adults were injured, Duran said.

"Without a doubt this is the worst disaster we've had," Bours told CNN.

President Felipe Calderon traveled to Hermosillo on Saturday.

The president arrived with Interior Secretary Fernando Gomez Mont and Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova to get firsthand updates from doctors and investigators, the state news agency Notimex reported.

Calderon ordered the nation's attorney general to investigate the blaze.

Most of the victims died from smoke inhalation and not burns, Bours said. But the fire was serious enough for the roof to collapse, he added.

At the time of the blaze, 142 children were inside the ABC Day Care. The day care is for children ages 2 to 4, but Bours confirmed that children even younger were among the victims.

All the children at the center had been accounted for by Saturday evening, Bours said.

A severely burned 3-year-old girl arrived Saturday at the Sacramento hospital -- where pediatric burn treatment is a specialty -- and was in critical condition, according to Dr. Tina Palmieri, assistant chief of the burn unit.

The child was burned over 80 percent of her body, the doctor told reporters. She said the hospital normally can save just over half of the children with burns that severe.

In Hermosillo, a large crowd gathered outside of the emergency entrance of the city's general hospital and many people consoled each other, video from the scene showed.

"They told me that this happened in a matter of five minutes," Hermosillo Mayor Ernesto Gandara told reporters after surveying the scene.

08 Jun 09 - 02:20 PM (#2651488)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Pedro Bites, Manager Gives Him the Finger...

Was it an accident, greed or revenge for being locked up? A chimpanzee called Pedro made a name for himself on Monday by biting off the forefinger of Berlin Zoo's director.

A chimpanzee called Pedro bit off the forefinger of Berlin Zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz on Monday as he was trying to feed him through the bars of his cage.

Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, the director of Berlin Zoo.
A spokeswoman for the zoo said Blaszkiewitz, 55, had been leading a group round the zoo and wanted to hand Pedro a snack through the bars when the chimp grabbed his arm and bit off almost all of his forefinger. "It was just hanging by a shred of skin," local daily "B.Z." quoted an eyewitness as saying.

Blaszkiewitz was rushed to hospital where doctors tried to sew his finger back on. Zookeepers said their boss hadn't stuck to the safety rules that he kept on reminding them about -- maintaining distance to the animals. Chimpanzees are known to be potentially dangerous.

Blaszkiewitz kept calm despite his wound. "He wasn't any more upset than if someone had trodden on his foot," the spokeswoman said.

The zoo couldn't immediately be reached on Monday evening to ascertain whether the operation was successful and whether Pedro has had his banana rations cut.

09 Jun 09 - 02:24 PM (#2652402)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: heric

On May 21, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries" because she believed it contained real fruit. The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that she had only recently learned to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls, and that although the product did contain some strawberry fruit concentrate, it was not otherwise redeemed by fruit. She sued, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated consumers, some of whom may believe that there are fields somewhere in our land thronged by crunchberry bushes.

09 Jun 09 - 02:51 PM (#2652430)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Are Women BornLike This???

09 Jun 09 - 03:14 PM (#2652446)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: curmudgeon

It won't play.

09 Jun 09 - 03:49 PM (#2652468)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Google the title. It's worth the trouble. (Although it plays fine for me and several others I sent it to).

If only every rescue were this easy. A Florida woman called 911 saying she was stuck inside her car with the windows up in a Walgreen's parking lot. Her engine wouldn't start, and it was getting hot. The 911 operator's advice? Unlock the door, and pull the handle. Presto.

09 Jun 09 - 05:16 PM (#2652597)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: curmudgeon

It played this time; budding auctioneer?

10 Jun 09 - 11:19 AM (#2653184)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

JERUSALEM — An Israeli woman mistakenly threw out a mattress she said had almost $1 million inside, setting off a frantic search through tons of garbage at a number of landfill sites on Wednesday.

The woman told The Associated Press that she bought her elderly mother a new mattress as a surprise present on Monday _ and threw out the old one.

The next day, she said, she remembered that she had hidden her life savings inside the old mattress. "I woke up in the morning screaming, when it hit me what happened," said the Tel Aviv woman, who asked not to be identified.

She went to look for the mattress, but it had already been hauled away by garbage collectors, she said. Searches at three different landfill sites turned up nothing.

She said the money was in U.S. dollars and Israeli shekels. She refused to say how she acquired such a large sum. "It was all my money in the world," she said. There was no way to verify her claims, and she refused to disclose key details.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he was not familiar with the case and no report had been filed.

The Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot published a picture of the woman searching through garbage at a dump in southern Israel. The picture shows the woman, dressed in a white top and black pants with her back to the camera, picking through a huge pile of trash that fills the frame about 10 feet in all directions.

Yitzhak Borba, the dump manager, told Army Radio that his staff was helping the woman, saying she appeared "totally desperate." He said the mattress was hard to find among the 2,500 tons of garbage that arrives at the site every day.

12 Jun 09 - 03:57 PM (#2655104)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Bush celebrates 85th by skydiving over Maine

By DAVID SHARP – 46 minutes ago

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) — Former President George H.W. Bush marked his 85th birthday on Friday the same way he did his 75th and 80th birthdays: He leaped from a plane and zoomed downward at more than 100 mph in freefall before parachuting safely to a spot near his oceanfront home.

Bush made the tandem jump from 10,500 feet with Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott of the Army's Golden Knights, who guided them to a gentle landing on the lawn of St. Ann's Church.

"Well, we made it. It was a great day in the air," Bush said after he was removed from his harness.

He said he enjoyed it so much that he planned to do it again when he turns 90.

When he was president, Bush was an avid jogger, speed golfer, fisherman and tennis player. He said he has slowed down since then, but he doesn't intend to stop moving.

He told reporters that he jumped Friday for two reasons: to experience the exhilaration of free-falling and to show that seniors can remain active and do fun things.

"Just because you're an old guy, you don't have to sit around drooling in the corner," he said. "Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life."

I'd like to emulate the guy, in this respect, twenty years from now.


22 Jun 09 - 11:12 AM (#2662118)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Wayward Cows Decide To Abandon Massachusetts Farm And Walk At Least 5 Miles To New Hampshire


(AP) Two wayward cows decided to abandon their Massachusetts farm and walk at least five miles into New Hampshire, generating 911 calls from drivers. Nashua Deputy Fire Chief Michael O'Brien said he and his partner spent 45 minutes with ropes in hand trying to chase down the cows Tuesday, WMUR reported.

One of the adolescent heifers was finally captured, found up to her neck in mud.

The farmer's daughter and son-in-law in Dunstable, Mass., are still searching for the second cow.

22 Jun 09 - 11:15 AM (#2662123)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Jeffersonville attorney Larry Wilder found asleep in trash can

City attorney was walked home, but no arrest made

Jeffersonville attorney Larry Wilder was found asleep by police in his neighbor's overturned city garbage can Wednesday morning, after neighbors called police when they woke to find their trash strewn on the ground and a man inside the receptacle.

Jeffersonville Police Chief Tim Deeringer said Wilder was cooperative when police arrived at the home on Elk Pointe Boulevard and was able to walk back to his home — next door.

Wilder's son and daughter, both adults, were home and able to take care of him from there, Deeringer said.

No arrest was made as a result of the incident.

"There was no crime committed," Deeringer said.

Although police records describe Wilder as "10-47" — police code for intoxicated — upon officers' arrival, no breath alcohol or sobriety test was administered. It's an officer's discretion on what actions to take in such situations, the chief said. Typically, if someone is that close to their home, they would just be escorted to their residence.

Police records show that officers arrived on the scene just before 7 a.m. Wednesday.

A neighbor, Roberta Embry, said her husband found Wilder inside the can when walking out of the house that morning.

"He (Wilder) took all the trash out and laid it (the trash can) on its side," she said.

Embry said she did not notice any drinking at Wilder's residence the night before, but said her husband had. Her husband declined to comment on the situation when called by a reporter.

Wilder represents the Jeffersonville City Council and has acted as the city's attorney on several high profile cases, including the legal wrangling regarding the city's annexation.

He recently presented arguments before the Indiana Court of Appeals in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Jeffersonville over a ban on sex offenders in city parks.

In 2008, he was the highest paid of Jeffersonville's six city attorneys, receiving $107,000 in tax dollars. That's four times more than the next highest-paid city attorney.

He's also attorney for the Greater Clark County Schools system, as well as operating his own private practice, located on Court Avenue in Jeffersonville.

Jeffersonville City Councilman Ron Grooms said the incident was "an embarrassment."

25 Jun 09 - 12:23 PM (#2664413)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Miracle adoption

Full story here.

The Harveys regard the entire saga of the white tigers and their canine foster mom as little less than a miracle. Last year, as gas prices soared and the economy soured, they watched attendance at the zoo dwindle alarmingly, along with their income.

They decided to give themselves until Aug. 1, 2008, for things to turn around. If they didn't, they saw no alternative to closing the park.

That's when a white Bengal tiger they had gave birth to the triplets. Within 15 hours, she abandoned the helpless cubs.

The "tiger teens" adopted by a golden retriever are still young enough to play with a ball — but they're getting too big to play with their surrogate mom.

Isabella was just a year old and was in the process of weaning her first litter of two pups. The Harveys decided to see if Izzy, as they call the dog, could be a surrogate mother for the tigers.

The cubs took to her and thrived on Izzy's milk. The story of the dog who adopted three tigers quickly spread. On Aug. 1, the deadline for either saving or closing the zoo, the Harveys, Isabella and the cubs found themselves on the TODAY show.

Hearts melted at the cute cubs and the gentle canine. People flocked to Caney to see them. The zoo was saved. ...

25 Jun 09 - 01:26 PM (#2664494)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Nice story, but it does indeed sound like it's time to separate the dogs and cats.

02 Jul 09 - 12:42 PM (#2669863)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: heric

You can upload photos to the Canada Postal Service and make custom stamps how cool is that?

02 Jul 09 - 01:41 PM (#2669906)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I think you can do that here in the U.S. also. It's a special software program and you print them from home.


02 Jul 09 - 03:32 PM (#2670022)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: heric

oh you're right same online deal. drats novelty is wearing off.

06 Jul 09 - 08:02 PM (#2673398)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

700yo child's skull washes up in Sydney

Police are looking for the owner of a 700-year-old human skull found washed up on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

The child's skull was found on September 12 last year at the Basin, north of Mona Vale Beach.

Investigators enlisted the help of anthropologists at New Zealand's University of Waikato, who used radiocarbon dating to conclude the skull was about 700 years old.

The experts concluded the skull belonged to a child between four and six years old, who was not Indigenous.

Northern Beaches detectives say the skull probably belongs to a private collector, a museum or a research facility.


Story as reported in Sept
Unlocking secrets of the skull found on Mona Vale beach

THERE is no name. The age is unclear.

Police are not even sure what gender the child was nor how long he or she has been dead. These are just some of the mysteries forensic experts hope to answer as they conduct various tests on a skull that was found after being washed up on Mona Vale beach.

As Glebe Coroner's Court began its investigations yesterday, a spokeswoman said: "The person could have been a missing person who has been in the water for a while. We don't even know if it's Australian.

Police Media Release Archive Police seek owner of human skull - Northern Beaches

06 Jul 09 - 08:10 PM (#2673404)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

ALso in ABC News for AUstralia:

"Police are looking for 30 crocodiles believed to have been stolen from a crocodile farm near Darwin.

Some of the saltwater crocodiles, which were taken from the Jenamba Crocodile Farm at Fogg Dam, are up to one metre long.

Farm manager Manual Cabrall says an audit yesterday revealed about 30 of the animals, which are used for skin and meat, to be missing.

He thinks they may have been taken to southern states, where he says live crocodiles can fetch up to $1000 each on the black market."

06 Jul 09 - 10:17 PM (#2673496)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Bee-dubya-ell

Well, if those Aussie folks would just send Chongo an airline ticket and a case of hootch, he'd solve both those mysteries for 'em.

13 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM (#2679194)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

The biggest solar energy project in the world is about to get off the drawing board. And leading German firm, Siemens, is just one of around a dozen organizations getting behind Desertec. SPIEGEL asked Siemens CEO Peter Löscher about his company's role in the project.

Top companies lined up on Monday to get behind the world's most ambitious solar energy project. They signed a memorandum of understanding in Munich to set up the Desertec Industrial Initiative which involves what is being called a "solar technology belt" across the Middle East and North Africa, with a huge undersea "super grid" then delivering the power back to Europe.

The CEO of Siemens AG, Peter Löscher, believes Europe is on the brink of anew era in energy production.

The aim of the €400 billion ($560 billion) project is to provide carbon-free energy that could supply up to 20 percent of European energy needs by 2050.

At first the Desertec project, which arose out of a feasibility study commissioned by the German Ministry of the Environment, looked as though it might not get much further than the drawing board because of its hefty price tag. But a consortium of some of Europe's heaviest financial hitters has come together to raise the required funds. Among others both governmental and non-governmental, this includes Deutsche Bank, energy giants RWE and E.ON, major insurer Munich Re and electro-engineering leader Siemens. ...

15 Jul 09 - 08:40 PM (#2681125)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

Man fixing airbed blows up apartment

A German man has blown up his apartment while trying to fix his leaky air mattress, his city's fire brigade said.

The man, 45, from Duesseldorf in Germany's west, used tyre-repair solvent to plug a hole in his airbed and left it overnight.

It blew up when he went to inflate it the next day.

"A spark from the electric air pump ignited it," a fire brigade spokesman said.

The blast pushed his living-room wall into the building's stairwell and caused extensive damage to walls, windows and furniture.

Fire fighters evacuated the 12-apartment building and a neighbouring housing block while they checked for structural damage.

The man suffered burns on his arms, while a three-year-old girl suffered first-degree burns.


15 Jul 09 - 11:57 PM (#2681191)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

The news has been so bizarre of late this thread has hardly been necessary. Maybe things will relax so we can get back to enjoying obscure little items. (Probably not--I just heard that Michael Jackson's death is being ruled a homicide. . . )


16 Jul 09 - 09:44 AM (#2681404)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- A New Hampshire man says he swiped his debit card at a gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes and was charged over 23 quadrillion dollars.

Josh Muszynski (Moo-SIN'-ski) checked his account online a few hours later and saw the 17-digit number -- a stunning $23,148,855,308,184,500 (twenty-three quadrillion, one hundred forty-eight trillion, eight hundred fifty-five billion, three hundred eight million, one hundred eighty-four thousand, five hundred dollars).

Muszynski says he spent two hours on the phone with Bank of America trying to sort out the string of numbers and the $15 overdraft fee.

The bank corrected the error the next day.

Bank of America tells WMUR-TV only the card issuer, Visa, could answer questions. Visa, in turn, referred questions to the bank.


16 Jul 09 - 10:27 AM (#2681429)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I heard an interview with him yesterday. His son suggested if they'd had that kind of money they could have bought season tickets to attend the Yankees games. His father responded that with that kind of money they could have purchase the Yankees team. . . can't find it in a scan of a few NPR programs. But it's out there.


20 Jul 09 - 01:48 PM (#2683968)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Man Stole More Than 1,000 Used Men's Underpants

German police have put a stop to a string of underpant thefts in the western town of Gelnhausen. A 56-year-old man faces uncomfortable charges after being caught trying to steal three pairs of underpants from a sports center. Police found more than a thousand pairs at his home.

A German man caught trying to steal three pairs of men's underpants from a sports hall was found to have amassed more than 1,000 pairs in his home, police said.

The Gelnhausen "underwear lover" has been caught.

The 56-year-old man was spotted stealing the underpants and managed to flee, but police identified him and paid him a visit.

"During the search of his home more than 1,000 underpants and around 100 tracksuit trousers were found, washed and neatly piled up," police in the western town of Gelnhausen near Frankfurt said in a statement. "Now the 'pants lover' faces charges of theft and misappropriation."

The police could not immediately be reached for comment on what the man wanted the pants for. (der Spiegel

28 Jul 09 - 12:47 PM (#2688849)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

(Der Spiegel):

Man Falls off Balcony in Cherry Stone Spitting Competition

The determination to spit a cherry stone further than his friends almost killed a German man at the weekend when he fell off his balcony in the process, police said.

A German man eager to win an informal cherry stone spitting contest made the mistake of taking an excessively long run-up and inadvertently hurled himself off his balcony, police said.

"He appears to have developed too much momentum," police in the western town of Rodgau said in a statement. "He lost his balance on the balcony railing and plunged down."

The man injured his hip and was taken to hospital where he is recovering from his exertions. It's unclear if he won the competition.

29 Jul 09 - 12:32 AM (#2689361)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Now that is the pits.

29 Jul 09 - 04:17 AM (#2689418)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

Orphaned gnomes sent to foster homes

About 1,500 garden gnomes have been saved from the scrapheap.

The collection of small cement people was left behind after the death of an elderly Cootamundra woman, with the new owners of her property not keen on keeping them hanging around.

But a solicitor acting for the deceased estate in southern NSW contacted the Australian Gnome Convention seeking advice on how to dispose of the garden ornaments.

The convention, established by the Lower Blue Mountains Rotary Club, is held annually in Glenbrook, west of Sydney, and has become the spiritual home for Australia's gnomes.

Convention organiser and "gnome master" David Cook said he did not hesitate in organising a rescue party.

"We didn't want to see them put in a skip and taken to the tip and all smashed up," Mr Cook said.

The four-member rescue team joined with Cootamundra locals, working for almost four hours to load "every square inch" of two vehicles and a trailer.

The gnomes will be fostered out to various locations across the Blue Mountains but will be reunited next Australia Day for the sixth annual Australian Gnome Convention.

30 Jul 09 - 02:42 PM (#2690480)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Jailhouse Rock?: Charles Manson Reaches out to Phil Spector

I suppose this IS music news, but it is the most bizarre thing around.

Jailhouse Rock?: Charles Manson Reaches Out to Phil Spector

When Rock Daily reported last month that famed producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector was being moved to Corcoran, California's California Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility, we noted that neighboring Corcoran State Prison is the home of musician and infamous Helter Skelter cult leader Charlie Manson. Apparently the proximity generated a creative spark: According to the New York Post's Page Six, Manson reached out to the "Wall of Sound" producer seeking a behind-bars musical meet-up. Earlier this year, Spector was found guilty of second-degree murder in a retrial of the death of actress Lana Clarkson and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison. Manson was convicted of murder and conspiracy in 1971.

"A guard brought Philip a note from Manson, who said he wanted him to come over to his [lockup]. He said he considers Philip the greatest producer who ever lived," Spector's wife Rachelle — a colorful personality who often bickered with the judge during Phil's murder trials — told Page Six. "It was creepy. Philip didn't respond." Added Spector's publicist Hal Lifson, "I think Manson wants to glean some musical advice from Phil, who was a '60s music god with his 'Wall of Sound.' But Phil's like, 'I used to pick up the phone and it was John Lennon or Celine Dion or Tina Turner, and now Charles Manson is trying to get a hold of me!' "

In related news, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Manson family murders, the History Channel will air a two-hour special titled Manson on September 7th, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The broadcast will feature the first interview in 20 years with Linda Kasabian, a member of the Manson Family who served as the driver during the Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969. Kasabian later served as a witness for the prosecution.

30 Jul 09 - 04:25 PM (#2690567)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

IT is bizarre that Charles Manson, having been behind bars for FORTY years, is a household name.


31 Jul 09 - 11:45 AM (#2691087)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Joe Windscheffel, a linebacker/safety for NCAA Division II power Pittsburg State, was working on a farm near Lawrence for the summer. To paint a fence along a pasture line, he had to move four zebras. The three females complied, but the male got overaggressive (typical), charged him and bit his arm. The zebra dragged the 6-foot-2, 225-pound man until two fellow farmhands came to his aid. He's left with a compound fracture

"You only see zebras on television getting eaten by lions, but they are stronger than they look," Windscheffel told the Pittsburg Morning Sun. "It was just a freak deal."

31 Jul 09 - 12:38 PM (#2691126)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

He seems to be a zebra of a different stripe, doesn't he?

31 Jul 09 - 02:41 PM (#2691196)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Perhaps the zebra was protesting being mistaken for a horse of a different color.


31 Jul 09 - 03:36 PM (#2691225)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

"The image of cows as placid, gentle creatures is a city slicker's fantasy, judging from an article published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that about 20 people a year are killed by cows in the United States. In some cases, the cows actually attack humans—ramming them, knocking them down, goring them, trampling them and kicking them in the head—resulting in fatal injuries to the head and chest.

Mother cows, like other animals, can be fiercely protective of their young, and dairy bulls, the report notes, are "especially possessive of their herd and occasionally disrupt feeding, cleaning, and milking routines."

The article, in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, discusses 21 cases in which people were killed by cattle from 2003 to 2007 in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

In 16 cases, "the animal was deemed to have purposefully struck the victim," the report states. In 5 other cases, people were crushed against walls or by gates shoved by the cattle. Ten of the attacks were by bulls, 6 by cows and 5 by "multiple cattle." A third of the deaths were caused by animals that had been aggressive in the past. ..." (NYT)

31 Jul 09 - 03:44 PM (#2691229)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

It's an animals sorta day:

"England (ChattahBox) - The buses in Devon has an unusual passenger to transport, who has been frequenting the lines on a daily basis.

Casper the cat has been catching the 10:55 AM bus line every morning for four years, hopping on, the moment the doors open, and sitting in the back seat. He rides the line to the end of the route, and then gets off back at his stop, his round trip lasting about an hour.

"Casper has always disappeared for hours at a time but I never understood where he was going," his owner, Susan Finden, tells The Telegraph.

"I called him Casper because he had a habit of vanishing like a ghost. But then some of the drivers told me he had been catching the bus. I couldn't believe it at first, but it explains a lot. He loves people and we have a bus stop right outside our house so that must be how he got started - just following everyone on.

"I used to catch the odd bus too so maybe he saw me and got curious what I was doing."

The bus drivers are so used to seeing old Casper that they have put a notice up in their main headquarters, alerting all driver to look after the furry passenger."


02 Aug 09 - 07:06 PM (#2692471)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

I started this thread so I could put interesting articles in one place, but I also started it with an eye to the attitudes of news content providers toward cut and paste or referrals.

Looks like the Associated Press is going to try to crack down on Facebook posting of their stories--not sure how they'll do that, but here is the gist at

    We've known that the Associated Press has some odd policies in regards to social media and the web for a while. The AP social media policy says that employees need to control not only what they said on Facebook (Facebook), but what their friends said as well. We also got wind last week of the AP's plan to find where anyone uses AP material online in an attempt to stop what it considers unauthorized use of its content. To say it's causing controversy would be an understatement.

    Part of the AP's plan is to charge for use of its articles if you quote 5 words or more. They signed a deal with iCopyright in April to accomplish this goal. iCopyright is a widget that handles not only print and email, but republishing as well. Well the widget's starting to get some attention, if only for the jaw-dropping starting price the AP is charging for quoting its stories: $2.50 per word.

If this is the case, then though I'll miss it, this, and the previous thread, are eligible to be deleted, of Mudcat is approached. And I'll make a point of linking and paraphrasing more, especially if it is AP stuff.

I should say that for what it's worth, I think the fair use provision of the copyright law won't let AP get so exclusive about it's content.


04 Aug 09 - 01:36 AM (#2693287)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

An update on the AP story appeared today at Mashable:

Associated Press: We Are Not Targeting Bloggers

Today, the Associated Press reached out to us to clarify their position on iCopyright (the product they're using to charge for content) and on licensing its content. They explained that the form has never been aimed at bloggers quoting content and that it's unrelated to the controversy surrounding the content registry system, which aims to find what it considers illegitimate use of its content on the web.

We asked for clarification and were referred to AP SVP Jane Seagrave's comments in the Columbia Journalism Review:
    "We want to stop wholesale misappropriation of our content which does occur right now—people who are copying and pasting or taking by RSS feeds dozens or hundreds of our stories." Seagrave tells me. "Are we going to worry about individuals using our stories here and there? That isn't our intent. That's being fueled by people who want to make us look silly. But we're not silly."

You'll find the rest at the top link.


04 Aug 09 - 01:39 AM (#2693288)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

So glad to hear they are not silly.!


04 Aug 09 - 11:34 AM (#2693526)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

"Reporting in the current issue of the journal Science, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School describe studies showing that the spleen is a reservoir for huge numbers of immune cells called monocytes, and that in the event of a serious trauma to the body like a heart attack, gashing wound or microbial invasion, the spleen will disgorge those monocyte multitudes into the bloodstream to tackle the crisis.

"The parallel in military terms is a standing army," said Matthias Nahrendorf, an author of the report. "You don't want to have to recruit an entire fighting force from the ground up every time you need it."

That researchers are only now discovering a major feature of a rather large organ they have been studying for at least 2,000 years demonstrates yet again that there is nothing so foreign as the place we call home.

"Often, if you come across something in the body that seems like a big deal, you think, 'Why didn't anybody check this before?' " Dr. Nahrendorf said. "But the more you learn, the more you realize that we're just scratching on the surface of life. We don't know the whole story about anything." "


04 Aug 09 - 01:05 PM (#2693591)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

Darn. Moonglow lost her spleen surgically a couple of years ago. It was killing off her red blood cells (spherocytosis). One must always weigh the pros and cons--possible severe liver damage due to a bad jaundice episode, or remove it.

04 Aug 09 - 01:52 PM (#2693641)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

WEll then, tell her no heart attacks and no knife fights for her! Sorry. Mom's rules. ;>)


04 Aug 09 - 02:21 PM (#2693668)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

On an even grimmer note:

" A Massachusetts mother was horrified when she found her 7-month-old child's photo on popular promotions site, Craigslist, advertising his own adoption.

MyFOXBoston reports that a stranger alerted Jenni Brennan of Abington, Mass. to the photo, which involved her 7-month-old son, Jake, in an online adoption scam. The ad read: "A CUTE BABY BOY FOR ADOPTION HE IS VERY HEALTHY AND READY FOR ADOPTION FOR MORE YOU COME BACK TO US."

Brennan responded to the ad, receiving an email describing her son as Canadian but currently living in an African orphanage.

She said the photo was from her family's blog.

"I know he wasn't being physically harmed and no one was going to come to our door and try to take him, but I felt like his likeness was being violated," she told MyFOXBoston.

She alerted the FBI and attorney general's office to the scam. Yahoo! has also removed the scammer's email addresses."

07 Aug 09 - 01:56 AM (#2695222)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

Here comes the bride, and 2km-long dress pic here!!

A Chinese bride has made a bid for the record books, turning up to her wedding wearing a 2,162-metre-long gown.

More than 200 guests took over three hours to unroll Lin Rong's wedding train, which stretched nearly 2.2 kilometres and pin on 9,999 red silk roses for her wedding, Xinhua news agency said.

Groom Zhao Peng said he wanted to challenge the current world record of 1,579 metres.

"Both the length of the dress and the number of silk roses pinned on the wedding dress can make history, but it doesn't matter whether I can successfully register it on Guinness," the 28-year-old railway worker from northeast Jilin province said.

Mr Zhao said he had sent an application to Guinness World Records and would also send a video of his wedding with his 25-year-old school teacher sweetheart.

"I do not want a cliche wedding parade or banquet," the groom said, "nor can I afford the extravagance of a hot balloon wedding."

But even so, his family was initially not too impressed at the far from frugal 40,000-yuan ($7,000) price tag.

"It is a waste of money in my opinion," his mother said. "Though I understand that he wants to show his love on the big day."

07 Aug 09 - 11:17 AM (#2695488)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

At least they didn't stretch that train out in one long straight line and expect her to drag it down the aisle!



07 Aug 09 - 11:27 AM (#2695493)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Amos

Humans will not stop being silly, no matter what...

14 Aug 09 - 08:27 PM (#2700609)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

awwwwww, how cute

click on link to see pics

Meet Koda, the little horse who could

By News Online's Sarah Collerton

Posted Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:00am AEST
Updated Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:52pm AEST

Koda was born to two normal-size miniature horses at a farm.

It is not uncommon for workplaces to have pets. Perhaps a fish or a bird, or at most a dog or cat roaming around the waiting room of a vet's clinic.

But the Yarrambat Veterinary Hospital, north of Melbourne, has its very own horse who trots around the surgery, nibbling rubbish in the bins and hanging off whoever he can.

But this horse is different from most.

At just 35 kilograms and 59 centimetres tall, 12-month-old Koda is said to be Australia's smallest horse.

He was born the size of a cat and he is still smaller than some dogs, but what he lacks in size he makes up for with his gigantic personality.

Dr Andy Lynch, who runs the clinic, says Koda - a miniature horse with dwarfism - is basking in his newfound celebrity.

"He absolutely loves the attention from people, he's just soaking it up," he told ABC News Online.

"Everywhere he goes he's instantly recognised and he loves it."

Australia's Mr Ed has a jam-packed schedule, with plenty of bookings from local schools and nursing homes as well as a few TV appearances and photo shoots here and there.

"He just had a visit from an elderly people's home," Dr Lynch said.

"A van came to visit and he walked through the van and they loved him.

"He's got a unique nature for a horse of his age. Normal-sized horses at 12 months can just be plain dangerous, but Koda is so trusting, he's fantastic.

"His very tiny stature isn't apparent to him, he just regards himself just like any other horse."

Health issues

But it's not all fun and games for lively little Koda, who has spent much of his short life immobilised and sadly faces an onslaught of ailments.

In fact when Dr Lynch first met Koda, he recommended that Koda be put down because of the severity of his health problems.

"He had very contorted, buckley limbs that went in all different directions when he tried to stand," Dr Lynch said.

"And his face was a little bit misshapen, with quite a dished nose and his nostrils were almost like a pig's snout."

But luckily vet nurse Karen Stephenson, 23, saw hope in the little guy and persevered.

"I fell in love with him straight away," she told ABC News Online.

"Provided he wasn't going to go through too much suffering, I wanted to do whatever I could to give him a chance."

Koda, who was born to two normal-size miniature horses at a farm, moved to Ms Stephenson's nearby Kinglake property, where he first came across normal-size horses.

"All the larger horses were hesitant at first, but now he's one of them but just the size of a dog," she said.

Costly treatment

But Koda's need for extensive treatment means he has had to relocate to a small stable at the Yarrambat clinic for now.

So far he has had two surgeries because of joint problems. At one stage his leg was in a cast and he faces more operations because his skull is too small for his teeth.

But "buoyant" Koda doesn't let the surgeries get him down, Dr Lynch says.

"He's very brave and he responds very well to pain relief," he said.

The medical costs have so far mounted to $10,000 and Dr Lynch expects Koda will rack up at a bill of at least $30,000 more.

"But he's well worth it," Dr Lynch said.

Future for Koda

And even though Koda's not expected to live a completely normal horse life, there is hope he will be around for at least a decade more.

"We would be happy with 10 years, bearing in mind a normal horse lives to 25 years," Dr Lynch said.

"We'd be thrilled with 20 years."

Dr Lynch says Koda will probably live at the Yarrambat clinic for a few more months at least, but then he will move back to Kinglake to "play with his other horse friends" again.

But this popular little horse isn't pining for his equine mates too much; he gets on with humans just as well.

"He just loves attention from everyone and he knows he's loved," Dr Lynch said.

"In the absence of other horses, we have become his herd and he responds to us like we're horses."

And Ms Stephenson even has an idea to cater for "cheeky" Koda's social needs and growing fame.

"He needs to go on tour around Australia," she said.

14 Aug 09 - 11:35 PM (#2700697)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: frogprince

I'm getting very punchy, and need to go to bed. I just "flipped" the thread, read the Koda story, and then read the two previous posts as comments on it:

"Humans will not stop being silly, no matter what..." seemed like a somewhat odd response.

But "At least they didn't stretch that train out in one long straight line and expect her to drag it down the aisle!" seemed a lot more so!
             Nighty night everybody; Dean

15 Aug 09 - 01:23 AM (#2700721)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Stilly River Sage

That's the William S. Burroughs approach to the thread. Makes for interesting reading.

29 Aug 09 - 11:00 PM (#2711886)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Alice

Gov't to thin wild horses in MT's Pryor Mountains

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Beginning next week, federal officials plan to thin by more than a third a wild horse herd that roams a mountain range along the Montana-Wyoming border.

The Bureau of Land Management wants to reduce the number of adult horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range from 190 to 120 animals.

Horse advocates said today that they'll ask a judge to stop the roundup. They say it could end up ruining one of the most genetically pure herds of Spanish colonial horses in the country.

The roundup will capture the range's entire population, with 70 adult horses and their foals to be kept for adoption. The remaining horses will be freed.

The BLM says the roundup is needed protect the range's ecological balance, which a spokesman for the agency said is threatened by overgrazing.

Genetic testing has shown the Pryor herd descends from horses used by Spanish conquistadors during their drive to colonize the American Southwest. The first to arrive in the Pryors were likely brought by Crow or Shoshone Indians in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

07 Sep 09 - 04:29 AM (#2717876)
Subject: RE: BS: News of Note (was 'I Read it . . .')
From: Sandra in Sydney

Trapped girls raised alarm on Facebook The South Australian Metropolit