Archive for November, 2009

There is a disturbing case out of England this week where a pub owner was fined £8,000 ($13,183) because someone unlawfully downloaded copyrighted material over its free Wi-Fi system. The fine against The Cloud Pub could spell trouble for free wi-fi access and should prompt legislators to look at the need for an intervention to protect this key public resource.
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Indonesian Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring has declared that he has isolated the cause for a string of natural disasters. It turns out that it is due to television and immoral programming.

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With karate chopping whales and conspiratorial cats, this should not surprise us. In Stockholm, Swedish police have released a husband suspected in the death of his wife after determining that . . . the Moose did it.
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Call it Karate Kid Meets Free Willy. Researchers have taken pictures showing how Orcas kill with a type of “karate chop.” In rare pictures, one orca takes out a killer shark with the move.
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Thanksgiving holidays are notorious for bringing out family stress and divisions. However, for those who had fights with siblings and parents this holiday, you can take a degree of solace in comparing your day to that of the Smith family of Hudson, Florida who ended up having Thanksgiving in jail over a disagreement involving the proper way to stuff a Turkey.

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Last week saw the sentencing of one of society’s most despised characters, Alan Ralsky, 64, the self-proclaimed “Godfather of Spam.” Ralsky was sentenced to 51 months in jail and five years probation as well as a $250,000 property seizure.
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The Human Trebuchet

Given our prior interest in trebuchets, here, I felt this video has to be shared. Before there was the human cannonball at the circus, there was the human trebuchet.
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We previously discussed today’s Vote in Switzerland on a ban on minarets for Mosques. Despite international criticism, the ban has passed. Just as we saw today (here) how Islamic extremists can justify blatant discrimination against other religions, the Swiss have shown that Christians are equally comfortable with such double standards.

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This shows that even in the canine world, Sunday is a day of rest.

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We have yet another “honor killing.” Ahmad-Sobair O, an Afghan-German citizen, stabbed his 16-year-old sister, Morsel, 23 times for wearing Western clothes and make-up.

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I just came across this video of prominent Islamic scholar Dr. Zakir Naik explaining why Islamic governments like Saudi Arabia must be allowed to build mosques in other countries but correctly bans that construction of a single church or temple in its own country. The reason is simple math: allowing churches into Saudi Arabia would be like hiring teachers who cannot do simple math.

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We have another divine sighting. This time, God appears to have chosen to reveal himself on the underside of Mary Jo Coady’s iron in Methuen, Massachusetts. She is delighted by the selection, saying that it is a message directly from God that “life is going to be good” — and perhaps to use less spray starch on the shirts. It is a truly modern parable of moving from the Shroud of Turin to Mary Jo Coady’s iron.
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Christian leaders are speaking out against an increase in Jewish extremists — particularly Yeshiva students — who spit in the faces of clergy or on crosses in Jerusalem. What makes this story interesting is the earlier complaints by Jewish military leaders that Yeshiva students were radicalizing the Israeli Defense Forces, here. The same phenomenon has been seen in Islamic nations where madrasah schools have radicalized politics and society.
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Michael H. Williams, 43, is accused of a bizarre plan to get a loan from the PNC Bank in Mechanicsville, Maryland. When his wife refused to co-sign the loan, Williams allegedly went out and kidnapped another woman to pretend that she was his wife and to sign the papers. It is not clear what he thought the woman would do after the transaction, but the effort was halted by the bank which could not help but notice that his wife had changed in a matter of hours. Even in a state with no-fault divorce, that is a bit of a fast turnaround.

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In yesterday’s story, the Comito family was shocked (here) when they learned that Robert Comito’s ashes were simply dropped from an airplane without opening the box — landing intact in a crater rather than being elegantly spread in the air. They need to talk to the family of Robert Gowdy to see how it could have been much worst. The family in Phoenix, Arizona is suing the city of Mesa, a funeral home, and other parties after a casket broke during a funeral and allow the corpse to fall into the grave in front of traumatized family members.
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Rappers have long used their song to glorify their past crimes and criminal credentials. However, in England, the rap song itself was the crime for Ishmael McLean, 22, from Greenford, and Rowan Simon, 18. They are accused of using an Internet song to intimidate witnesses to the murder of Jason Johnson, 24.
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A new report lists the top nations in terms of both the amount of aid and the nations that gave the most as a proportion of their gross national income. What is striking is the total absence of nations like Russia and China from either list despite their criticism of U.S. foreign policy.
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Sarah Palin is the gift that continues to keep on giving. In her recent appearance on O’Reilly, Palin was asked the “intelligence question,” to wit, the lack of presumed intelligence to be president. Palin responded by explaining that in today’s politics the lack of an impressive education or resume is actually the credential that Americans want in a candidate.
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For billions of mice, this is the last thing they saw on this Earth.
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Now this would make for an interesting bailment and negligence case in North Carolina. Robert Comito, a former gunner on a B17, wanted to have his ashes sprinkled in the skies. His family gave the ashes to the Collings Foundation, which agreed to perform the aerial distribution of Comito. Later, however, sheriff deputies found a crater with Comito’s ashes in a box that was thrown from the plane without opening it.
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With many of us considering new resolutions on working out after the Thanksgiving feasts, one school is pushing the issue of fitness to a new level. Lincoln University is a historically black university in Pennsylvania that has now required a fitness course and confirmation of every student’s Body Mass Index as a condition for a degree — raising the ire of students. At Lincoln, it is your BMI first, then your BA.
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The Swiss are poised to vote on a disturbing attack on religion: a ban on minarets on mosques used for the adhan (call to prayer). If passed, the referendum this Sunday would be a clear denial of a basic human right for Muslims and an act of popular intolerance against a minority group.
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Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo is moving against United Homeless Organization, which raises money around New York for the homeless. Coumo alleges that it is a scam organization that does not support a single shelter or soup kitchen. Cuomo says that the money goes to the workers themselves and the rest goes to the group’s founder and president, Stephen Riley, and its director, Myra Walker.

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The Nobel Prize Committee has issued a formal complaint against the Iranian government after the Nobel medal and diploma of human rights activist and lawyer Shirin Ebadi was taken by officials from her bank safety deposit box. Ebadi has been routinely harassed by the Iranian government since she was selected for fighting for the rights of activists, children, and women in the repressive regime.

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Now I understand how Bush won Florida in 2000. It appears that 193% of voters support one of the three leading candidates.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
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TURKEY TORTS

In celebration of Thanksgiving, I give you our annual Turkey Torts of a few potential and actual lawsuits from this holiday. From deep-fried Turkeys to salmonella salads, the holiday gives personal injury lawyers a great deal to be thankful for.

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Various stations have declined to air PETA’s nice little message to families for Thanksgiving.
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Giving Thanks for Sarah Palin

Thanksgiving would not be complete without the Palin Turkey Slaughter video. As she speaks to reporters, look over her shoulder. A man proceeds to slaughter less politically connected turkeys behind her.

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And now for our selection for best Thanksgiving crimes. The top choice this year is found in Jackson, Michigan where police are looking for a 6-foot, 300-pound bald man who broke into a home and ran directly to the kitchen and stole the Thanksgiving turkey in front of the family.
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While today is the largest consumption of turkeys in the year, Nepal still holds the record for the largest sacrifice of animals. This week Nepal will carry out the ritualistic slaughter of more than 250,000 animals as part of the blood sacrifice to Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power. Most of the killings occur at and around the Gadhimai temple of Bariyapur.

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Former Asheville firefighter Charles Alexander Diez was irate over the fact that cyclist Alan Simons was bicycling on a busy road with his 3-year-old son in a child seat. His solution was to pull over, confront Simons and then shoot him in the head. The bullet went through Simons’ helmet and just missed his head. However, Superior Court Judge James Downs found that Diez was having a bad day and his military record had to be considered. He, therefore, gave Diez an astonishing 15-27 months and then suspended all but four months. Four months for coming less than an inch from killing a man in front of his son.

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David Hackbart, 35, will be awarded $50,000 after being ticketed in Pittsburgh for flipping the bird in traffic.
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Scandal has rocked the Sudoku community. Eugene Varshavsky of Lawrenceville, N.J. has been stripped of his third place position in the national Sudoku after cheating allegations were raised due to his sharply uneven performance. As a Sudoku addict, I am crushed. Not since the Black Sox Scandal and Shoeless Joe Jackson has such alleged depravity brought the great so low.

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Ali Sibat is a Lebanese citizen who counsels couples and viewers on television, making predictions about their future. Saudi police arrested Sibat when he was visiting Medina last year and accused him of being a sorcerer. He was convicted without a lawyer and sentenced to death.

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Police in Bruceville-Eddy, Texas shot and killed a dog that they insist was threatening them and then tasered its elderly owner for failing to obey their commands. The man turns out to be deaf and there is still no word on the investigation that began in March in the incident.
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Roy C. Sun, 21, is a smart senior student who hopes to be an engineer. He is a senior student at Purdue University in Indiana. Purdue police also say that he is a terrorist after he left a suspicious box in the hallway of the university’s Visitor Information Center. The police surrounded the area, used a small x-ray machine, and evacuated the building — only to discover that the box contained a wheel lock, a Purdue parking ticket and $20. Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington has charged him as a terrorist.
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Perhaps it was inevitable with the rapid increase in the use of tasers, but police are now tasering animals. Toronto police tasered a deer that was found near a commercial building after it was tranquilized by a veterinarian.
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Michael Sampson, 41, succeeded in turning a minor driving with a suspended license into a charge of threatening a judge and intimidating a witness — all without uttering a word.
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The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld but reduced a punitive award to a McDonald’s manager who was duped into a prank forcing a young worker into a strip search. The punitive award against McDonald’s was reduced from $1 million to $400,000. However, the court let stand the $5 million award of punitive damages for 18-year-old worker who was the subject of the search.

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Reviews can be scathing for new movies, but the producers of New Moon, a vampire film, are being accused of not just robbing viewers of their money, but potentially their souls. The critic in this case is the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture and gave the film one thumb down . . . way down.
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Note to self: When parking a car in London, walk slowly away from the vehicle. Michael Raphel recently went on a birthday cruise on the River Thames. When he returned, police had blown up his car.
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There is another fatality connected to the use of tasers. Ronald Petruney, 49, of Washington, Pa. died after he was hit by three tasers by police trying to restrain him.
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A billboard in Colorado is causing considerable controversy and gives an insight into the radical fringe of America. The billboard by car dealership owner Phil West in Wheat Ridge, Colorado combines the “birther” controversy with the suggestion that Obama is both a Muslim and a terrorist. It further makes the bizarre connection to Fort Hood — suggesting that Obama could at any time go on a shooting spree in the West Wing.

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A new alleged abuse is receiving national action from the ever-expanding controversies surrounding Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. We have been following the scandals surrounding Arpaio from his crackdown on illegal aliens to use of his office for a reality show to his attack on the press to his shaming of prisoners to his defense of deputies who rifle through the files of lawyers. Now, he is accused of forcing Alma Minerva Chacon to give birth in shackles when she went into labor the night of her arrest. What is interesting is that this is not the first such case of a shackled birth.

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William Woodson, 22, really wanted to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers game. So much so that, according to police, the Bridgeville, Pa. man kicked his girlfriend’s puppy to death for misbehaving.

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Over the years, we have followed hunting accidents (here and here and here) — the subject of an earlier column on “buck fever.” We have a new and tragic such case in Virginia. Ferrum College senior Jessica Goode, 23, went out hiking with friends last week when Jason D. Cloutier, 31, mistook her for a deer. He shot and killed her in the chest with his .35-caliber, high-powered rifle. The bullet went through her chest and into the hand of her friend Regis Boudinot, 20.
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It appears that Barbie has found religion. After rebelling with Harley Davidson Barbie and bikini Barbie. There is even an S & M Barbie in all leather and fishnet stockings. Now, however, there is Burka Barbie.

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President Barack Obama made an surprising concession, long sought by the Chinese government, in his recent visit to China. While largely ignored by most reporters covering the speech, Obama stated the following: “We did note that while we recognize that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China, the United States supports the early resumption of dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve any concerns and differences that the two sides may have.”

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We previously followed a study of how leading restaurants were found to substitute cheap fish for salmon and other high-end fish without informing customers. Now, biologists have taken it upon themselves to test some of the sushi that they were served and discovered that, rather than tuna, it was often escolar — a fish that is often tied to diarrhea and other negative digestive reactions.
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