Monday, March 31, 2008

Newspaper Searches for Those Turned to a "Life of Crime" by Video Games

I'm wondering just how real this is, but on a casting site for "online talent" there appears to be an advertisement searching for people pushed into crime by video games.

The advertisement reads:
A national newspaper wants your story and will pay hundreds of pounds to the right person.

Write a few lines about how computer games turned you to crime and if it's something we like, we'll call you straight back.

Payment details: paid role

Created: 27 March 2008
Applications accepted for at least another month
Application criteria: Males & Females aged 0 to 60 from UK
Since this is a casting site, it makes one wonder if they are asking for factual or fictitious stories. After all it says paid "role." Of course, there are various tabloids that might be willing to pay for something like this.

My question is: does downloading games (piracy) count as a life of crime?

Documentary to Reveal Japan's Dolphin Slaughter to the World

Japan's whale hunts are well-known, but its dolphin hunts may not be so familiar to people. A documentary slated for release in late summer of this year aims to reveal to the world the horrific slaughter.

The film is tentatively called The Rising, and is the first documentary by the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS). As the film's website says:
An annual dolphin massacre in a secret cove in Taiji, Japan suggests a microcosm of a larger picture, man’s disregard for life. The theme broadens – coal-burning facilities multiply across the planet, leading to high mercury levels in seafood, man’s primary source of protein.
I've complained about this before: we humans seem to think we can do anything, kill anything, eradicated anything because we are human. We forget that the world is an ecosystem, and the elimination of a species damages that ecosystem as a whole.

A story exclusive to the Japan Times outlines the secrecy involved in the operation; cameras secreted in the "killing cove" produced graphic and horrific images. The actual operation occurs as follows:
First, hunter boats from the Taiji Isana Union (numbering at most 13 skiffs, with two crewmen each) head out to sea and surround pods of dolphins or pilot whales (which are actually large dolphins). Then they drive them into a "capture cove" by banging on long metal bell-ended poles placed in the water to disrupt the dolphins' sonar, causing them to become completely disorientated and panic.

After these animals have spent a night supposedly relaxing in the netted-off capture cove (in an attempt by the whalers to make their meat more tender), they are driven to the neighboring "killing cove." There, behind huge blue tarps strung across the cove to keep prying eyes away — in much the same way that Japanese police cordon off crime scenes — the dolphins meet their gruesome predawn end.

It is a gory spectacle that Taiji has long striven to keep anyone from seeing — and one that is crucially fueled by the lucrative, worldwide dolphin captivity and display industry.
There is also a Save Japan Dolphins Campaign associated with the OPS.

What's even worse, for those who may recall Minamata disease, which was brought on by eating mercury-contaminated shellfish and fish, is that the dolphins frm Taiji have higher mercury content than in Minamata. As the Save Japan Dolphins website says:
Mercury in the bodies of dolphins in Taiji today is higher than it was in the fish when Minamata disease first struck. Recent independent studies at supermarkets in several areas of Japan show that the meat of dolphins and other whales range from about four times higher to nearly 36 times higher than the Health Ministry’s safe level of 0.04ppm (parts per million).
Yet this information seems to be withheld from the Japanese people.

I don't think I will be able to bring myself to go to see The Rising. The still picture above is enough horror for me. But even if you don't go, I encourage you to contribute to the Save Japan Dolphins campaign.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Self-Milking Cow Amazes Farmers

Radha, a cow in India, is able to milk herself. What happens is every time she is fed, milk starts flowing almost immediately. No, I'm not pulling on your udder, er, leg.

Farm worker Manoj Bhargav said,"This cow named Radha, whenever it is fed, it starts milking the same moment. It delivers approximately eight litres of milk both in the morning and evening that is four litres each time. I think it's a miracle. I have never witnessed such a miracle ever."

Doubtful they can find a way to breed this teat, I mean trait, true but it's still udderly amazing.

Watch the video:

Karl Rove Admits He's "The Devil"

During a speech Friday night at George Washington University, Karl Rove was asked by a student "Why is it you think you evoke such a visceral reaction in many of your detractors? What exactly do you think this says that you generate not so much necessarily a 'maybe the policies you advocate are wrong response' so much as 'you're a fundamentally bad human being as a result of them'?"

Rove said, "First of all, the tail and the horns are retractable. I don't know. Look, I'm a myth. I mean, I'm like Grendel of Beowulf. I'm not often seen but people talk about me a lot."

What gets me is many of the students seemed to be supporters of Rove. There were protesters, but when they were escorted out, others shouted "Tase 'em."

Watch the video:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Call Me When the Manager Gets In, So I Can Come Back and Rob You

This deserves to be on some reality TV show about the world's most stupid criminals. No one can accuse Ruben Zarate, 18, of being a brain surgeon.

He tried to rob Mufflers for Less in Chicago on Monday morning. Unfortunately, there wasn't any money in the cash register (guess he was too early), and employees told him only the manager had the combination to the safe.

So, did Zarate try robbing a different store? Nope, he told employees to call him when the manager showed up, and gave them his cell phone number.

Employees called him, but of course it was a set-up. Still, there was obvious danger, as Zarate was armed. Upon his return Zarate confronted a plainclothes officer, who told him he was a police officer - but as Zarate didn't drop his weapon, the officer was forced to shoot Zarate, striking him in the leg.

''No one could make this up,'' 25th Police District Lt. Scott Schwieger said.

Yep, you can't make up stuff this good.

Tiger Attack Victim Arrested for Theft

The night before Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and his older brother Kulbir, 24, filed a claim against the city of San Francisco alleging serious injury and emotional harm, the younger Dhaliwal was arrested on suspicion of theft. The brothers filed the claim on Friday, also alleging that the PR firm the zoo hired defamed and humiliated them.

The text of their claim is available here (.PDF).

Paul Dhaliwal stuffed two Nintendo Wii controllers in his pants at the San Leandro Target store at approximately 6:30 PM Thursday night.

A police report said that plainclothes store security officer Michael Marucut witnessed the theft and followed Dhaliwal as he walked past the cash registers, "never making an attempt to pay for the concealed items."

According to Marucut, he and other guards confronted Dhaliwal, who "was uncooperative and immediately began to resist," according to a statement in the report.

Dhaliwal posted $1,500 bail shortly before 3 p.m. today, police said.

Although the claim by the brothers alleges defamation, it seems (as others have already stated) that the two aren't exactly angels. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the brothers have had several brushes with the law.

After that (Sept. 7, 2007) incident, both brothers were charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. Paul Dhaliwal was also charged with misdemeanor battery on a police officer.

Paul Dhaliwal is accused of hitting an officer in the chest with his forearm as the officer tried to restrain him, leading to the battery charge. He stopped resisting only when an officer held a stun gun to his neck and threatened to use it, according to a police report.

Kulbir Dhaliwal cursed at officers while kicking the security partition in a squad car, forcing police to pull him out and put him in leg restraints, the police report states.

In February, Paul Dhaliwal pleaded not guilty to marijuana possession after being cited Dec. 21 for allegedly having 1.8 grams of marijuana in his pocket while in the parking lot of a Milpitas hotel.

He had been placed on probation three days before that incident after pleading no contest to felony reckless driving and other charges for leading police on a 140-mph chase on April 28, court records show.

So ... defamation eh? Defamation of an already tarnished character?

I guess it wasn't Paul's fault. The walls around the video controllers should have been higher to prevent them from jumping into his pants.

Perhaps its PTSD from the tiger attack that caused Paul to shoplift? Except that doesn't explain the prior history of bad behavior. Anyone besides me look at Paul's picture (above) and dislike the glint in his eyes?

Despite any injuries suffered by these brothers as well as the death of Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, I'm sorry ... I can't think but feel more sorry for Tatiana the tiger than for them.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Missing Pastor Found - Inside Strip Club

Here's a place I wouldn't have thought to look, because typically they don't have children stripping in strip clubs. Yeah, yeah, I know that's hitting below the church belt.

A Lyndonville, New York pastor, who had been missing since Wednesday afternoon, was found early Friday morning in a strip club - in Ohio. The Rev. Craig Rhodenizer, 46, is pastor of the St. John's Lutheran Church in Lyndonville.

Originally it was thought Rhodenizer might have been kidnapped, and the FBI was even brought in on the case.

"When they had contact with him, he appeared to be very distraught and very emotional," Lewiston Sgt. Frank Previte said. "He told the officers that he did not know how he got there or where he was."

Now that's all interesting, because the dancers at the strip club sure remembered him, saying he had been there for several hours, drinking.

10% of Voters Think Obama is Muslim: Pew Research Poll

You can bet if Barack Obama becomes the Democratic nominee that the GOP and 527 groups will play off of this. Of course, they have already done so, emphasizing his middle name of Hussein at events, for example.

The results of a poll issued today by the Pew Research Center show 10% of voters believe that Barack Obama is Muslim. Between the parties, 14% of Republicans, 10% of Democrats and 8% of independents think he is Muslim.

In a way, this is strange, since the publicity over the comments made by Obama's ex-pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should have made more people aware of Obama's faith.

The Pew poll was conducted March 19-22. It involved telephone interviews with 1,503 adults, including 618 Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters. The margin of error was +/- 3% for all adults and 4.5% for Democratic voters.

Canadian McDonald's to Go Dark During Earth Hour

Earth Hour, if you haven't seen the commercials, is 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM on March 29th. During that period, you are encouraged to turn off your lights. And all the Canadian McDonald's restaurants will be doing so, as well.

My first question when I saw the ad on TV was: does that mean I need to turn off everything, or just the lights? Apparently McDonald's is going with the "just the lights" idea, and will be turning off their signs and lighted roof beams.

Estimated savings: 10,000 kWh in electricity, the same amount the average Canadian household uses in a year.

Hmmm. Let's turn out the lights of all the McDonald's around the world, every night, and we'll really see an impact. But just imagine: think of all the closed lit-up places you pass by every night, and think how much energy is wasted. It's sobering.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Woman Forced to Remove Nipple Rings Before Boarding Flight

Well, this is a new one. And it's attracted the attention of high-profile attorney Gloria Allred (pictured above left, with Mandi Hamlin) as well.

According to Allred, Mandi Hamlin was forced to remove her nipple rings by the TSA prior to boarding a flight. And, she was handed a pair of pliers to do so.

Interestingly, on the outbound portion of her round trip, Hamlin had no issues. It was on the way back that the incident happened. Strangely, according to a statement read by Allred at a live press conference on Thursday, the normal metal detector was not set off, but only when she was examined with a handheld detector were they detected.

Allred indicated during the press conference that TSA regulations indicate that standard procedure for piercings is a pat-down, with the OPTION of removal of the piercings instead of the pat-down. Of course, Hamlin wasn't informed of this option, and was instructed that she had to remove the piercings if she wanted to fly.

Allred also indicated that while the first piercing was removed easily, the second was not, and a pair of pliers was required. At the same time, while she was behind cover, Hamlin could hear a growing number of male TSA agents snickering outside.

When re-examined with the handheld detector, her navel ring set off the detector. In this case, the TSA agent told her it was OK, because he could see the ring. Allred thus asked why a visual inspection was OK for the navel ring but not for the nipple rings.

At this point Allred asked about vagina and penis piercings. She demanded an investigation, and also a public apology. It should also be noted that a) removal of the second piercing was painful, b) re-insertion of the piercings was painful as well, due to scar tissue. This was outlined at the live press conference.

At the same time the unspoken threat is definitely there: you can expect a lawsuit, deservedly so.

At the same time, TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird. Baird said he did not know of the incident Allred mentioned in her statement.

"I'd be really curious to know what this woman had in her nipples," Baird said. "Sometimes they have a chain between their nipples, or a chain between their nipples and their belly button. It would have to be made of heavy metal to be detected."

What do you readers think? This was really overkill. And there were female TSA officers present; why did they not just visually inspect the piercings? And, as Allred indicated in the press conference, the last time she checked nipples were not a dangerous weapon.

Swan Petra to Be Reunited With Her Wooden Beau

How sad. Earlier I wrote that Petra, the swan who had become enamored of a wooden pedal boat in Germany, had found a real swan to mate with. But despite the fact that swans mate for life, that swan, who had been named Paul, left Petra for the company of other black swans.

Since that day, last Saturday Petra "appears to feel lonely" and is "swimming around agitatedly," according to the Muenster Zoo.

Because of this, the zoo plans to reunite Petra and her wooden beau on Friday. The zoo had previously given the pedal boat away, thinking there was no longer any need for it, but it appears they were premature in their thinking.

Hillary Didn't Lie: Secret Bosnian Footage Unveiled

You'll recall Hillary Clinton's recent speech in which she attempted to play up her foreign policy experience by recounting her "harrowing" 1996 trip to Bosnia.
"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."
Well, mainstream media has discounted that account, and such luminaries as comedian Sinbad have chimed in as well.

It appears, however, that Clinton caved in too soon when she admitted overstating the dangers, as Barely Political has uncovered secret footage of that dangerous landing.

Watch and judge for yourself:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

IRS Uses YouTube to "Get Out the Word" on Rebates

The tax rebates that are supposed to inject a stimulus into the U.S. economy, as I hope you realize, will only come to those who file taxes this year. And the IRS wants to make sure you know about it. So they've taken an unprecedented step. They have posted a video on YouTube (below) advertising it.

This includes those who might not usually file taxes. If you want that economic stimulus package, you have to file.

The thing is: who looks on YouTube for information like this? If it wasn't covered in the media, I doubt anyone would know about it. The video's been viewed only 2,890 times (as of this writing), despite the fact it was posted on 3/21.

Anyway, watch and learn.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Whoops! U.S. Sent ICBM Parts to Taiwan

You might wonder why this would be such a big deal, but remember how China feels about Taiwan: Beijing deems Taiwan to be part of China and thus any U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are (quite naturally) looked askance at.

Although the U.S. government has a "One China" policy, which states that Taiwan, though self-governing, is a part of China, it still is one of Taiwan's biggest financial backers. After all, where would much of our electronics come from otherwise? Photobucket

The Pentagon indicated on Tuesday that in 2006 it accidentally shipped ICBM triggers for nuclear missiles to Taiwan. Interestingly, the order had been for replacement helicopters batteries. It should be emphasized that the parts themselves were non-nuclear (and I'm sure China is verrrrry interested in that fact). The parts were already returned, BTW.

China has already been informed, according to the Pentagon. But if this happened in 2006, when was China informed? For that matter, when was Bush informed?

Cheney: "Bush Carries the Biggest Burden" in U.S. Troop Deaths

The death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq has just past 4,000. As such, both Bush and Cheney spent the day trying to show a reasonable amount of remorse. Today, in an ABC News interview, VP Dick Cheney told us who's most affected by the deaths: not the soldiers themselves, or even the families, but Bush.
The president carries the biggest burden, obviously. He’s the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm’s way for the rest of us.
Yes, of course, and we recall that recently Bush said that he envied the troops, saying
If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."

"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks."
I must admit, I will miss the foot-in-mouth disease of both Cheney and Bush, but won't miss them - at all.

Watch the video of Cheney's interview:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Students Expelled - for Touching a BB Gun

Wow, can you imagine what could have happened to Ralphie in A Christmas Story? He actually shot the darn thing, and almost took his eye out, too.

In Georgia, three seventh-grade students have been expelled from school - for touching a BB gun. All right, all right, one of them actually brought the gun onto a school bus.

Andre Bussey, Alfred Burns and Darius Allen were expelled when Allen brought a BB gun onto a Cowan Road Middle School bus. Burns and Bussey touched the gun. When Spalding County school administrators found out, all three were expelled.

A school tribunal kicked Allen out of the school system. Bussey and Burns were given more lenient punishment - expelled for a year and a half for touching the gun.

"And just being put out of school for just touching a gun, I don't think that fair at all," said Burns' mother Audrey Hightower. However, a school spokesman said the boys committed a serious violation and that the school stands behind the punishment.

What do you readers think? Over the top, if you ask me.

Gun Discharges on US Airways Flight; Don't Worry, It Was Just the Pilot's

You may have heard of the Transportation Safety Administration's (TSA)Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program, which trains and certifies pilots to carry firearms on planes. It's a post 9/11 program. In this case, I'm wondering if the pilot in question needs some remedial training.

Saturday, on Flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte, a gun carried by the pilot accidentally discharged. No one was injured, and the TSA issued a statement saying the gun did indeed discharge in the Airbus A319's cockpit, but did not release the pilot’s name or information on how the gun was being carried. They also stated that the pilot last requalified in the FFDO program last November.

So, how safe do you travelers feel now?

Buddhist Dog Prays - for Treats

Take a look at Conan (pictured). He sure looks like he's praying, with his "palms" seemingly clasped together. A pet at the Jigenin Temple on the southern island of Okinawa, Conan has learned to imitate the worshippers around him.

"Conan started to pose in prayer like us whenever he wanted treats," said Joei Yoshikuni, a priest at the temple. "Clasping hands is a basic action of Buddhist prayer to show appreciation. He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks."

Conan is a two-year old long-haired Chihuahua. During services, he sits next to Yoshikuni in front of the altar. As the priest starts chanting and raises his clasped hands, Conan also raises his paws and joins them at the tip of his nose.

Visitors find it amazing, and come to the temple to take pictures of Conan every weeek. The temple estimates that it receives 30% more visitors, especially young tourists, than it did prior to publicity over Conan.

"Namu Amida Butsu," Conan.

Congressman to Propose Legalization of Small Quantities of Marijuana This Week

Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) is preparing to introduce legislation this week which will eliminate federal penalties for possession and use of small quantities of marijuana. The bill be will be called the "Make Room for the Serious Criminals Bill."

In California and 11 other states medical marijuana is legal. Yet federal law does not recognize those laws, meaning users can be - and are - criminally prosecuted.

According to Frank, who spoke about this after being prompted by Bill Maher on Maher's Real Time show last Friday. Of course, he didn't really detail what "small" means. He was very clear that much of the reasoning behind his bill was due to the medical marijuana conflicts I outlined above.
... I now think it’s time for the politics in this one to catch up to the public. The notion that you lock people up for smoking marijuana is pretty silly, and it’s especially now – I was going to call it – you got a name for it – the “make room for the serious criminals” bill. Because you’ve got people taking up – taking up space in the jails.
Marijuana has been shown to sometimes be the only way to relieve pain among patients suffering from certain diseases, including terminal ones such as cancer. There was also a study late last year that suggested marijuana may inhibit invasive cancer growth.

What do you readers think? Watch the video, from Real Time, about 3 minutes in.


Bill Maher: McCain's the "Old Fogey of War"

Friday on his Real Time show, Bill Maher discussed John McCain, the "old fogey of war." I have to admit, some of the statements McCain has been making of late, where he repetitively has made misstatements about Iran and Al Qaida, have reminded me of nothing less than the "errors" made prior to the Iraq invasion.

Just prior to that, however, Maher also pointed out something I've often wondered about: why do these politicians who have affairs and other dalliances embarrass their wives by having them stand next to them as they "apologize."
New Rule: On the day you face the press about your extra-maritable – extra-maritable? – extra-marital sexual escapades, leave the wife at home. She’s already humiliated. And now you’re going to drag her in front of every legitimate media outlet known to man. And Fox News?! Besides, these pictures don’t say, "Look at my wife, still by my side." They say, "Look at my wife. Can you blame me?" You’ll get over it.
Well, the part about "can you blame me" is a little harsh, and I still feel for these poor wives. Right after that was the McCain commentary.
And finally, New Rule. Old soldiers never die. They get young soldiers killed. This week, John McCain said for the third time in two days that Iran, a Shiite stronghold, was training Al Qaeda, a militant Sunni organization. That the Hatfields of the Muslim world would be working with the McCoys, is so not true even Dick Cheney hasn’t said it.

Now, the press, which loves McCain because he feeds them barbecue dismissed this as just one of those senior moments – not to worry, he’s only going to have his finger on the nuclear trigger.

But, it’s not just a gaffe. It’s what McCain really thinks. And therein lies the paradox of this campaign. McCain’s strength is really his weakness. He’s a warrior who’s dumb about war.

Now, if you ever read The Art of War, chapter three of The Art of War says, “Know thy enemy.” And John McCain plainly doesn’t. He thinks the solution is our presence in the Middle East. No, the problem is our presence in the Middle East. That’s why I don’t care if John McCain is better than Bush on global warming or torture or campaign finance, because he’s exactly the same as Bush on the war. They both don’t get the same thing.

That, as long as we’re setting up shop in the heart of the Arab world, we’re not keeping America safer. Bin Laden goes ballistic over cartoons in Danish newspapers. And “Goober” and “Grandpa” want to put up a Hooters in Fallujah.

They don’t hate us for our freedom. They hate us for our fiefdom. Winning the war on terror comes down to this: what will make us safer from pissed-off Arab teenagers who are willing to die? There are a number of good answers to that question, but occupying their land for the next hundred years is not one of them.

Some people look at McCain and see a tough guy who’s going to protect us from the Islamofascists. I look at him and see a walking Tom Clancy action figure who’s going to get us all killed.

And yet a new poll shows that a majority of Americans believe John McCain is the candidate best qualified to answer when that red phone rings at three a.m. Because he’d be up anyway trying to pee.

Yes, 55% of Americans think it’s McCain who should answer that phone, because they know John McCain is a warrior. He will not waver or hesitate. He will answer that phone and give the order that sends men to die. And it will turn out to be a recording asking him if he’s happy with his mortgage.
Let's be honest: McCain has military experience. He doesn't have a lot of foreign policy experience. Are these Al Qaeda references mere slips of the tongue, ot what he really believes? Watch the video; the fun begins slightly more than 2 minutes in.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Oreo Blamed for Driver's Speeding Offense

People give all sorts of reasons for speeding - they're late, they didn't realize they were going so fast - but in this case the driver said it was a poorly dunked Oreo that caused him to speed.

Justin Vonkummer, 28, of Millerton, N.Y., told police that an Oreo had just slipped from his fingers as he dunked it in a cup of milk, and that he was trying to fish it out when he lost control of his car.

Ah, I see.

Is it time to ban driving while eating, as some states are trying to do with talking on cell phones unless using a hands-free setup?

Sure, sure, Justin, but what about driving on a suspended license, the second charge in the case? Did the cookie make you do that, too?

New Ad Says 'Merci, McCain," the Hero of France

Why would the French be thanking John McCain? Well, for backing the US Air Force decision to award a huge contract for air refueling tankers to Europe's Airbus. The ad, by the Campaign for America's Future, open with a banner draped over the Arc de Triomphe with the words "John McCain - Hero De La France" emblazoned on it. It says it's a "Message of thanks to John McCain from the French people."

The ad, completely in French with English subtitles, says
A big thanks to John McCain.
Thankyou for all the jobs.
Thanks for helping the US military ...
... choose a French company, Airbus!
Tens of thousands of jobs for the French.
And thousands fewer for Americans, ha, ha, ha!
It's a good day to be French!
It's a great day for France!
Long live John McCain!
And long live France!
It should be noted that the ad was released to coincide with his visit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. A meeting between friends?

It should be noted that such a bidding process is not supposed to take American jobs into account, but once the decision was made, there was a huge eruption among citizens and politicians.

As the Campaign for America's Future said in their blog post accompanying the video:
McCain has been wresting with the Air Force over the tanker deal since 2001, when he spotted a $30 billion earmark for Boeing in a defense appropriations bill and argued that the contract should have been competitively bid. In 2004, McCain again helped scuttle a contract deal and exposed improper dealings between a top Air Force official and Boeing.

But the relationships that McCain has developed with lobbyists for Airbus cast a dark shadow over his good government image. Despite McCain's claim that he never weighed in for or against anybody that competed for the contract, McCain has received over $14,000 from EADS employees—more than any other member of Congress. In addition, many of McCain’s top advisers lobbied for EADS to win the Air Force contract.
Watch the video.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Illinois-Shaped Corn Flake Sells for $1,350

Why anyone would pay more than $1,000 for a corn flake shaped like Illinois is beyond me, but here it is. The eBay auction I wrote about earlier has concluded, with the proud winner paying $1,350 for the privilege of owning a corn flake.

Shipping costs on the item are listed as $.50, but even if you can ship it safely, my question is ... why? Why would anyone spend $1,350 for a corn flake?

The new owner, Monty Kerr of Austin, Texas wants to add the corn flake to a traveling museum.

"We're starting a collection of pop culture and Americana items," he said. "We thought this was a fantastic one."

Kerr owns TriviaMania.com and said he will likely send someone to Virginia to pick up the flake by hand, so it won't be damaged.

You can bet that Melissa McIntire, 23, and her sister Emily, 15, of Chesapeake, Virginia are really happy right now.

Cheney: Who Cares About the "Will of the People?"

On Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, ABC’s Good Morning America aired an interview with Vice President Cheney on the war. During the segment, Cheney basically said that the government shouldn't listen to the "will of the people."

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.

CHENEY: So?

RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.
Whoa, American democracy is founded on the principle of the "will of the people." Yet Cheney doesn't care about it. This isn't a fluctuation. American people have been solidly against the war for a long time - and it hasn't fluctuated back in forth; rather, the percentage against the war has been steadily rising.

Watch the video from the March 21st GMA:

video

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Donut Truck May Not Be the Best Getaway Vehicle

Echoes of the past; I previously wrote about officers tracking down a perp in a stolen donut truck ... with video even. I mean, if it were you, do you really think you could get away in a donut truck?

I mean, just throw donuts out the back to slow them down. Yes, yes, I know it's all a big joke and an urban legend, but still.

In Iowa, Frank Alvarado, 46, discovered donut fans don't make good getaway vehicles Thursday morning after leading nine officers from four different agencies in a high-speed chase through Benton and Tama counties.

Alvarado stole the Donut Delite van around 5 a.m. when a delivery driver was making a stop at the Rock Island Hospital. A sheriff’s deputy spotted him heading west on Highway 30, and the deputy was soon joined by two more sheriff’s cars and a Belle Plaine city officer in the chase, which reached speeds of up to 100 MPH.

Rich Vander Mey, assistant Tama County Attorney was in the mood for a little fun. "What strikes me as a bit out of the ordinary in this case is the number of officers who were able to respond. I don’t know whether the fact that the stolen vehicle contained donuts has anything to do with that."

Perhaps it was the possibility of the reward. Sharon Wainwright, manager of Delite Donuts, said the bakery donated their goods to the officers involved in the chase.

Alvarado was charged with first-degree theft, a Class C felony; eluding police officers, a Class D felony; and numerous traffic violations.

Playgirl to Spitzer: Get Naked for Us

You know that just about everyone has been trying to get Ashley Dupre, AKA Eliot Spitzer's call girl, to pose for them. Apparently Playgirl feels that the fairer sex should get equal time, as they have openly asked Eliot Spitzer to pose for them.

Yep, in a blog post that I have to assume is tongue-in-cheek, Playgirl told Spitzer basically that if Dupre could make some cash, why not him? After all, he's got plenty of time on his, ahem, hands.
How about making some loot back, by showing us what you saved for such a select few? How about strutting your sexuality, and defending your right to get down for the magazine and Playgirl.com? Couldn’t you use a little rent money right about now? Seriously—get in touch with us. We’re ready to make you a very attractive offer. Someone get Spitzer on the line: Playgirl needs him naked, now.
I don't know, Playgirl, if you really want to work with him. After all, some of the call girls he had, er, relations with, said he was difficult to deal with.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Scooter" Libby Disbarred

Former White House adviser Lewis "Scooter" Libby, convicted last year for lying to a grand jury and federal agents probing the leak of Valerie Plame's identity, was disbarred from practicing law in the nation’s capital on Thursday.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals said in a judgment (.PDF) that it was:
ORDERED that I. Lewis Libby, Jr. is disbarred from the practice of law in the District of Columbia, and his name shall be stricken from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice before this court.
Additionally, they said:
"When convictions on more than one count are involved, disbarment is mandated if any one of them involves moral turpitude."
I'm still trying to figure out if this really makes me feel good or not. After all, it's not like he needs the money. It's not like he needs the money he had to pay as part of the judgment against him. And he still has friends in high places (as evidenced by his sentence being commuted).

It may hurt his pride, but Libby personally? Nah.

Whoops! Dupre Underage in GGW Videos?

Joe Francis, founder of "Girls Gone Wild," had to be patting his wallet over his $1 million savings when it was discovered his firm already had archival footage of Ashley Dupre, AKA Spitzer's Call Girl, as I reported earlier. But now Dupre's attorney is saying she was underage (17) in the footage. Oops.

Miami-based defense attorney Roy Kahn told AP, however, that "Just taking nude video or photographs alone in a public place wouldn't be illegal if the person is 17. It doesn't violate lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor."

However, just yesterday Francis said that Dupre had signed "legal papers" and that he had seven full-length tapes with her nude and in same-sex encounters. Hmmm.

Naturally, GGW has decided to pause before posting the videos, to make sure things are all legal.

BTW, is it just me? I really don't find this woman all that attractive, particularly in her later photos. I will admit, she's pretty hot in the teaser footage that GGW has already released (see my prior post for some of it).

eBay Cancels Corn Flake Auction

You probably heard that Melissa McIntire, 23, and her sister Emily, 15, of Chesapeake, Virginia had been auctioning a corn flake in the shape of Illinois on eBay - but they were surprised to find that the auction had been canceled by eBay.

Apparently the state-shaped cereal was in violation of the site's food policy.

The flake came from a box of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and measures 2" x 1 3/8".

The sisters have relisted the flake, but this time they are auctioning off a coupon redeemable for the flake, to avoid the policy. At the time of this writing the new auction is up to $1,025.

The coupon listing specifies that the corn flake is "NOT edible," which, according to eBay, was the main concern with the original auction. "We just had to make sure that it made that clear," spokeswoman Nichola Sharpe said Wednesday.

Sounds corny to me.

What I find hysterical, is that at the same time, there are many copycat and sarcastically similar auctions, like the "Corn Flake Dime" auction, purportedly selling the dime in the picture above.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Girls Gone Wild": Spitzer's Call Girl Already on Tape

Say goodbye to that million-dollar offer from "Girls Gone Wild." Founder Joe Francis had made that offer to "Spitzer's call girl," Ashley Dupre, if she would appear in a non-nude spread for his company's new magazine, as well as join the "Girls Gone Wild" tour bus. But ...

Someone had the bright idea to check the video archives. And Dupre was there.

"It'll save me a million bucks," Francis told AP. "It's kind of like finding a winning lottery ticket in the cushions of your couch."

Naturally the offer came off the table, and naturally the company plans to put the footage on its website for subscribers.

According to a "Girls Gone Wild" press release, Dupre was in Miami in 2003 to celebrate her 18th birthday. After signing the "necessary paperwork," she spent a full week on the "Girls Gone Wild" bus, filming seven full-length tapes which include nudity and same-sex encounters.

Quite honestly, this woman is going to rake in the $$$. Even without the million, Hustler wants her (for another million) and you can bet tons of other offers are rolling in. So, for being a call girl, she's going to be set for life (as long as she doesn't "go wild" and "blow" all the money - pun intended).

Watch a video story with some cleaned-up, but still interesting footage of Dupre.


Swan's Wooden Ex-Heartthrob Given Away

You may recall I wrote about Petra and her pedal boat mate in November. Well, after moving into their digs for the second year, Petra decided that a real swan was more to her liking.

I'm sad and confused as most swans mate for life. But apparently she's dumped her wooden ex-.

Since Petra and Paul, as local news agencies have named her new mate, seem joined at the er, wing, the zoo decided it was time to divest itself of her ex-heartthrob pedal boat.

"Clearly, a lifeless plastic partner no longer plays a role in the life of the tragic swan," the zoo told German news agency DPA.

But don't worry, the boat isn't being put out to pasture; it's been given to a nearby boat rental service, where it will be used as the weather warms.

Petra doesn't seem to have noticed her former beau is missing, enamored as she is of Paul.

Wine Taster's Nose Insured by Lloyd's of London

On Tuesday Lloyd's of London stated that it had insured the nose of Ilja Gort, the Dutch owner of Chateau de la Garde in Bordeaux, producer of Tulipe Wines, for 5 million euros. That's nearly $7.9 million.

According to Lloyd's, his nose can distinguish millions of different scents and was essential to guarantee the quality of his wines. Gort is considered both a leading wine taster as well as wine maker.

In the past, Lloyd's has insured such offbeat items as Mary Hart's legs, the hands of the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards. and another nose: Jimmy Durante's.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Use for Cell Phones: Ear Warmer

California's hands-free requirement for cell phones will begin this summer. Other states and countries already have such laws, including Germany. However, a German trucker was able to talk his way out of a ticket when he convinced a judge he wasn't talking on his cell phone, but using it as an ear warmer.

Walter Klein, 43, said "I had an earache and it was being made worse because the cab had not heated up yet - it takes a while on a big rig. So I grabbed the phone that had been on charge and put it to my ear, and that was when I was stopped by police."

After Klein produced an itemized bill indicating he was not on the phone at the time he was stopped, the case was dismissed.

However, who's to say he wasn't about to dial a number when he was stopped, eh?

St. Patrick's Day Hair Doesn't Sit Well With School Administrators

A South Carolina high school teacher was sent home after dying his hair green on St. Patrick's Day. Michael Rice, of Lower Richland High School, was called into the office of the principal, Marvin Byers and told his green hair color was "over the top."

Hey, he could have
  • been channeling Dennis Rodman
  • been trying to avoid getting pinched
Cut him some slack. At any rate, Rice said, "You know, I think it was in good taste. I don't see where it was worthy of me getting sent home. With all the things going on in the world today, I get sent home for hair coloring."

On the other hand, Rice also gave the real reason he agreed to go home. "I want to keep my job," Rice said.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Heather Mills to Get $48.6M Divorce Settlement from McCartney

Talk about long and contentious. The divorce proceedings between Heather Mills and Paul McCartney were anything but "civil." But it appears to be over, as a judge awarded Mills $33M in addition to the $15.6M in assets she currently holds.

"I'm so, so happy with this,'' Mills told reporters following the closed hearing. "I'm so glad it's over. It was an incredible result in the end to secure mine and my daughter's future and that of all the charities that I obviously plan on helping and making a difference with ... because you know it has been my life for 20 years,'' she said.

In addition their 4-year-old daughter Beatrice will receive a $70,000 annual payment, and McCartney will pay for the child's nanny and school fees.

It should be noted that Mills was asking for about $250M dollars, so it's a major comedown from her initial request.

Watch the video:

"Fox News Sunday" Starts "Obama Watch"

Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace started the "Obama Watch."

Wallace said that Obama had agreed to appear on Fox News Sunday in March 2006, thus the "Watch," according to Wallace, will continue until Obama appears. The "Watch" started at 730 days, 13 hours, 53 minutes and 9 seconds and counting.

Here's the text of his comment:
Now the first in what will be a weekly update on Barack Obama. Many of you have sent us emails asking why the senator won't come on Fox News Sunday and face tough questioning like every other candidate, including repeatedly Hillary Clinton. Back in March of 2006 I met with Obama and he promised me, face-to-face, he would come on this program. And so far he has not.

Well, as of today we are starting our Obama Watch. It has now been 730 days, 13 hours, 53 minutes and 9 seconds, no, 10 seconds and counting since Obama agreed to be a guest on Fox News Sunday. Senator, when are you coming on? Tune in next week for the latest.
Of course, I see no reason that Obama has to appear on Faux News, which is less news and more right-wing propaganda. Of course, the "Obama Watch" is a good marketing gimmick. And it shows how far Faux News will go to undermine the Democrats.

Girl Saves 40 Children, Gets Detention

In Seaside, California, Marina High School student Amanda Rouse was in the right place at the right time, saved 40 elementary school students, and apparently will be punished for it - because she was skipping school.

Rouse was on a bus with 40 elementary school students Wednesday morning after asking the driver for a ride because she "felt sick." The driver fell out of her seat after a turn and hit her head, and Rouse jumped up and applied the brakes, bringing the bus to a stop after hitting two parked cars. No one was injured, but without Rouse, they could have been.

Sally Correll, Rouse's grandmother said, "She is in trouble with school because she made the wrong decision. But I can't help but believe that she was where God wanted her to be."

I hope the school reconsiders the detention. I mean, she was in the wrong, but in the right as well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Don’t tase me bro" Up for YouTube Award

Earlier I reported that "Don't tase me, bro" won an award as the top quote of 2007. It's now also a nominee for the 2007 YouTube Video Awards.

YouTube announced its own picks earlier, but this set of awards is voted on by users.

The video of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer is one of six in the "Eyewitness" category. It's up against some tough competition, including Battle at Kruger, which was one of the top ten YouTube videos linked above.

Want to vote on this or any other video? Go here.

Watch the "Don't tase me, bro" video:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Londoner Looks to the Skies for Engagement Ring

I heard about this on NPR, and I really feel for the guy, for two reasons.

Lefkos Hajji, 28, was looking for a unique way to propose to his girlfriend. So, he decided to hide the engagement ring - a $12,000 one, no less - in a helium balloon, so that she could pop the balloon while he popped the question.

But as he left the shop, a gust of wind pulled the balloon from his hand and he watched the ring sail away. He tried searching for it in his car, but no luck.

"I couldn't believe it. I just watched as it went further and further into the air. I felt like such a plonker. It cost a fortune and I knew my girlfriend would kill me."

Well, she hasn't killed him, but according to the radio story, she won't speak to him until he gets her a new ring. So those are the two reasons I feel for him: he's out $12,000, and now his girlfriend won't speak to him.

Odds of finding it? Not good. Balloons could fly miles, or tens of miles, or even end up in the ocean, floating - who knows where.

It would be incredible if it could be found, however.

Bush is "a Little Envious" of the Troops

Is he serious? Nah, it just goes to show when he ad libs he creates problems for himself. His latest "Bushism" occurred Friday when on a videoconference. Bush heard from U.S. military and civilian personnel about the challenges of Afghanistan. His response?
"I must say, I'm a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."

"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks."

What a complete idiot. Romantic? What is he thinking?

I'm sure all the vets coming back with PTSD feel really romantic about now.

Man Accused of Rape of 5-Month-Old

An 18-year-old Greensburg, Pennsyvania man has been charged with raping a his girlfriend's 5-month-old baby girl. The baby had been left in the care of Scott Wade Smith while the mother was in class at her high school.

Authorities said the infant suffered severe injuries, requiring surgery. She was flown to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Smith has been charged with rape of a child, causing seriously bodily injury, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and endangering the welfare of children. He is being held at the Westmoreland County Prison on $1 million bail.

In Pennsylvania rape of a child with serious bodily injury under the age of 13 is punishable by life in prison, police are pushing for that sentence. Quite honestly, if this guy doesn't get that sentence, there's something wrong with the justice system in this country.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Amsterdam to Legalize Sex in Public Park

Well, Amsterdam is famous for its Red Light district, but here's something else that's going to draw attention. Alderman Paul van Grieken has plans to allow public sex as part of this summer's new rules of conduct for the country's best-known park, Vondelpark.

Vondel ... kinda sounds like fondle, but ...

What's stranger is they will also place new rules on dogs. Dogs have been able to freely roam the park, but at the same time that they institute the rules allowing public sex, they are also going to add a leash law.

From one dog owner:
"As long as the park has existed, we've been allowed to let our dogs run freely. It's outrageous that we will be punished from now on but public sex won't."
I can see his point. At least the park will be kept clean! Van Grieken said:
"There still are rules. They must take their garbage with them afterwards and never have intercourse near the playground. The sex must be limited to the evening hours and night."
What a comfort!

Today's "Pressure Washing of Kids" Story Comes From Florida

At least this time it wasn't caught on camera at a car wash. A Florida woman, Kathleen Murray, 56, first accused two boys, ages 11 and 12, of egging her house, then sprayed them with a commercial pressure washer - and finally slapped them.

Murray has been charged with resisting arrest with violence and two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon for using the pressure washer.

"Thankfully it didn't require any medical attention, but there were some contusions and red marks on one of the boys shoulder area where he had gotten sprayed, and on the hand of the other child," said J.D. Callaway, a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Spokesperson.

Court records indicate that Murray has several prior arrests for alcohol-related offenses and was just released from probation last month on an previous assault charge.

High Gas Prices = More in the Congregation?

With the price of gasoline rising, a church in Ohio is looking to take advantage of the situation - to get more people in the seats.

Saturday, the Xenia Christian Center will pay 25 cents toward the price of every gallon of gas purchased at a local United Dairy Farmers convenience store.

Pastor Wesley Miller says the deal will be used to promote next weekend's Easter services while helping at the same time helping those hurt by the high cost of gasoline. According to the Energy Information Association, as of 3/10, the average price of gasoline in the U.S. is $3.225 per gallon.

Miller said the church won't mind if people show up purely for the gasoline discount - his church would like to reach them, too.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Woman Burns Husband Alive for Not Washing Feet

A newlywed woman in China burned her husband alive after a drunken argument when he got into bed - without washing his feet.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, Wang and his wife Luo were married on February 2nd, but they fought quite often. Their latest fight was on March 4th. Like most couples (not) they drank a bottle of liquor to sober up, er, I mean ease their anger.

At about 10 PM, Wang got into bed without washing his feet. Drunk as she was, Luo became angry and set fire to the sheets. Wang awoke but collapsed as he was very drunk. Meanwhile Luo escaped to the living room, "leaving her other half to burn," said Xinhua.

Luo has been arrested.

"You Never Said Bones Can't Be Carried On!"

A woman was detained at the Munich airport after a scan of her luggage showed a human skull and other bones. But she had a perfectly reasonable explanation, honest!

The 62-year-old woman and her 63-year-old friend were traveling to Italy from Brazil. It turns out that the woman was trying to fulfill the last wish of her brother to be buried in Italy. He had died 11 years previously in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

After she produced the proper papers, the woman and her skeletal carry-on were allowed to continue on to Naples.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Black Reporter Attacked On Camera by White Family in South Carolina

A reporter in South Carolina became part of a story herself, as while reporting on a murder - and while standing on a public street - she was attacked by the family of the accused murderer.

The family is white, the reporter was black, and the event took place in South Carolina. You can come to own conclusion, but I have mine - and it was reported that racial epithets were being flung at reporter Charmayne Brown all morning.

Tousha Smith, 31, Billie Joe Taylor, 31, and Trina Vinson, 48, were being held at a Union jail Tuesday evening on assault and battery charges, authorities said. South Carolina has no law allowing a hate crime charge.

Interestingly, reports have said the attackers were either relatives of the victim OR the assailant. Turns out it's both. The murder case involves 33-year-old Michael Shane Howell, who's accused of killing his grandfather, 73-year-old Tommy Howell.

Watch the video. You can hear the satellite truck operator calling 911. It should be noted that since the report below was broadcast, a fourth arrest, of Ronald Lee Harris, 30, was made.

"Client 9" T-Shirts All the Rage on the Web

That didn't take long. T-shirt designers, capitalizing on sites that let them upload designs, have seen the rapid appearance of "Client 9" T-shirts. Search for "Client 9" on Zazzle.com, and you'll find 567 designs (at the time of this writing). On CafePress.com you'll find 99 designs.

If you check out this shirt design, for example, the seller says that besides the t-shirt being ultra-soft, it
has a heavy dose of irony. This is a man who claimed to take the moral high ground but on the other hand his actions didn't reflect that. Of course this could also be what he said to his call girl. A little less conversation, a little more action.
Another t-shirt says "Spitzer: Witness for the prostitution."

Let's not forget that both these sites have itesms besides t-shirts. Oh, and I'm sure you'll find plenty of other sites hosting "Client 9" designs.

All in all, another politician bites the dust because morality-wise, he didn't make the best decisions.

Dr. Laura Blames Spitzer's Wife

Here's an interesting take on the Eliot Spitzer (governor of N.Y., in case you didn't know) scandal - or perhaps any time a husband cheats on a wife. On the Today Show Tuesday, Dr. Laura Schlessinger appeared in a segment called "Why do men cheat? (Undertanding Infidelity)."

Schlessinger argued that Spitzer cheated because his wife failed "make him feel like a man." Eh?

Dr. Laura: And when the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings — sexually, personally — to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like her hero, he’s very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs. And these days, women don't spend a lot of time thinking about how they can give their men what they need.

But you're saying that women should feel guilty like they somehow drove the mn to cheat?

Dr. Laura: You know what? The cheating was his decision to repair what’s damaged and to feed himself where he’s starving. But yes, I hold women accountable for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love and kindness and respect and attention they need.
Ah, yes, Schlessinger is a right-wing talk show host, in case you didn't know. And those attitudes are straight out of the middle ages. Whoa.

Watch the video from NBC's Today Show, broadcast 3/11/2008:

video

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Clinton Erases Spitzer Endorsement From Website

Faster than you could say "Client 9," Hillary Clinton erased Eliot Spitzer's endorsement from her website on Monday.

If you weren't under a rock Monday, you probably heard the revelations about Eliot Spitzer's foray into high-class prostitution. He was caught "arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation," the New York Times reported.

At the same time, once the news broke, the Clinton camp wasted no time with erasing his endorsement from her website. Spitzer endorsed her in May of 2007, but it only took her a few hours to erase all evidence of that.

Impressive, really, the speed of the reaction.