Archive for February, 2010

HUMANS DID THIS TO ME

This should be covered as an international crime and subject to an Interpol warrant.
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In the wake of the Chilean earthquake, major media has speculated (as in this MSNBC story) where “Nature [is] out of control.” It is the type of drivel that drives scientists batty.
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We have been following the growing threat to free speech in the West through blasphemy and hate crime prosecutions, here. Now, Italian prosecutors in Milan have criminally charged four Google employees after a video was posted by students showing the bullying of an autistic child in late 2006.

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When Mary Robbins, 71, passed away on February 9th, she left a $50,000 annuity and her head. Her relatives and a cryogenic company are now fighting over who gets the cash and head in probate. Hopefully, none of the lawyers are working on a one-third contingency arrangement.
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Various sites are reporting that TV evangelist Pat Robertson is again holding forth on seismic retribution. Robertson was quoted as saying “God is even angrier with them than he is with the people of Haiti” — which would explain the greater seismological magnitude in the 8.8 earthquake. The reason: what Chileans did to poor General Augusto Pinochet. Update: our earlier stated suspicions were confirmed and the author admits that the story was untrue.
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Police in Tampa, Florida appear to have clown issues from their youth. Matthew David Lopez, 18, was arrested for wearing a clown mask in public. (The picture is some other clown).
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When Glenn Richardson stepped down as speaker of the Georgia House in a sex scandal with a lobbyist, it was widely denounced as another politician who ran on “family-values” while living la vida loca. Voters of Paulding Country, however, quickly replaced him with another Republican running on family values, Rep. Daniel Stout. Stout, however, may be a bit too close to family: he was divorced in 10 years ago after his wife accused him of having an affair with her mother while she was pregnant with his child.

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Danish daily Politiken has issued a perfectly bizarre apology for reproducing the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2008. The newspaper reached an agreement with eight Muslim organizations to apologize without expressing regret.
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Yelp, a site that allows customers to write reviews of businesses, is the subject of an interesting lawsuit that alleges that the San Francisco company engages in secret quid pro quos with businesses under which it removes negative reviews in exchange for advertising.
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David Hale Warner, 50, is facing charges that he choked his Labrador retriever puppy named Coco after the dog bit his girlfriend. Coco later died.
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Ypsilanti police are looking for a naked man who first exposed himself in the Ypsilanti District Library. The librarian had assisted the man in locating a book and then turned around to find him naked — he then fled with the book. The problem with the police report is that it fails to mention the book title. Perhaps we can help. As forewarning to future librarians, what books is a naked man most likely to check out from a library?

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Clyde Haberman at the New York Times has an interesting column on the general shift away from bringing civil rights charges when state juries fail to convict in cases on the state level. Al Sharpton is calling on the Obama Administration to try police officers again in the case of Michael Mineo after a Brooklyn jury acquitted three police officers.

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Leading Saudi cleric Muhammad Musa Al-Sharif defended the practice of marrying nine-year-old girls as sanctioned by the prophet Mohammad in his own marriage to a nine-year-old girl, Aisha. In a truly signature moment, Al-Sharif insisted that not only does a girl become a woman at nine but when Islamic law refers to a certain issue – we don’t need human rights.

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In a remarkable find, archeologists have discovered tools buried by a Toba volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago in Northern India. Of course, where scientists see evidence of humans in the 15,000 years before earlier estimates, creationists see a pile of old tools and a gross miscalculation since the Earth is only 5000 years old.

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Biurny Peguero Gonzalez allegedly was embarrassed when her friends were berating her for ditching them at a bar. Instead of claiming some urgent call or just telling the truth that she got into a guy’s car, she elected to cry rape. She stuck to her story through a trial and through years of incarceration of William McCaffrey for a rape that he did not commit. She has now been sentenced to three years for perjury — less than the four years that McCaffrey spent in prison.
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Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been found guilty of violating ethics rules in accepting Caribbean trips from a corporation. In a classic move, the House ethics office has decided not to find violations by four other members of the Congressional Black Caucus who also took the free trip in 2007 and 2008 because they were unaware that it was paid for by the corporation. How about the idea of not going on paid trips at all? I have long argued for a complete ban on such travel, here. The other four members were Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Michigan; Donald M. Payne of New Jersey; and Delegate Donna Christensen of the Virgin Islands.
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Dutch bobsledder Edwin van Calker and this four-man team pulled out of the Olympic competition after the driver said that he was terrified of using the track. It is a major slap at the Canadian designers who have been criticized since the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on the luge track.
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Question: what is the only thing scarier than one of the world’s largest indoor shark tanks? Answer: one of the world’s largest indoor shark tanks with a crack.
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Zombies are free to again walk the streets of Minneapolis due to another zombie-friendly decision from the federal courts. The federal court of appeals ruled that a group of protesters dressed as zombies could sue the police department and individual officers for wrongful arrest in a 2-1 decision. The dissenting Judge Colloton immediately had his brains sucked out after being pursued by rampaging zombies.
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The United States has unveiled the design of its new $1 billion high-security embassy in London. It is an impressive design by Kieran Timberlake, the Philadelphia architect despite its hefty price (a record for an embassy). Timberlake won a competition of dozens of architects, here.

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A Montgomery County Middle School teacher had a 13-year-old girl escorted from the classroom after she refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in clear violation of federal law.
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250px-Laughing_couple660px-flag_of_israelsvg1We previously read about bands of men roaming the streets of Jerusalem and other cities to break up mixed couples of Israeli women and Arab men, here. Now, there is a report that one city has created a formal program to locate such women and “treat” them outside of Tel Aviv.
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Prominent Saudi cleric Shaikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak has issued a fatwa calling for “Modernisers” who object to the strict segregation of men and women in the Kingdom to be killed in the name of Islam.
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SeaWorld animal trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, was killed Wednesday at SeaWorld Orlando during a show by Tillikum, a whale involved in two other deaths. While police say Brancheau slipped, onlookers insist that the whale knocked or grabbed her. One onlooker on the video below stated that the whale appeared to be acting strange in the prior show before the incident.
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Dubai has released the names of new suspects in the alleged Israeli hit on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
They identified 15 new suspects including six new British names, as well as the names of three more Irish passport-holders, three French and three Australian. That brings the total to 26 suspects.

The six Britons were named as Philip Carr, Gabriella Barney, Stephen Drake, Mark Sklar, Daniel Schnur and Roy Cannon.

Police also confirmed that the credit cards were all issued by MetaBank of the United States. They believe that head of the team was using a fake French passport under the name Peter Elvinger, and used a credit card issued by DZ Bank of Frankfurt.

For the full story, click here

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Ever wondered how many members it would take to be told about torture before anyone went public or cried foul? Well, we now know it is somewhere above 68. The CIA has revealed that at least 68 U.S. lawmakers between 2001 and 2007 were briefed on torture. That obviously included many Democrats who later worked to avoid investigating torture and have been relatively silent as the Obama Administration has blocked any prosecution for torture or war crimes.
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There is an interesting libel case out of England that once again shows what I believe is the fundamental flaw in the system’s treatment of defamation cases. Simon Singh is being sued by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for his criticism of their profession in what would be treated as non-defamatory opinion in the United States. England has a extremely broad interpretation of defamation that chills speech and allows major corporations and associations to pursue critics with threats of financial ruin.
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In Kentucky, Dr. Douglas Rank, 51, is being held in the stabbing of a woman, Misty Luke, 32. The psychiatrist is charged with first degree assault.

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It is a moment that may top the fall of the French skier in the first five seconds of her Olympic run, here. Top speed skater Sven Kramer lost his second gold medal after winning the 10,000m after his coach mistakingly sent him into the wrong lane — resulting in his disqualification.
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Baset Chaudhry of the Trinity Squash team has apologized for screaming in the face of Yale opponent Kenneth Chan. Trinity beat the Bulldogs in the finals, but the win was spoiled by Chaudry’s taunting of at the end.

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A website called unsuchdcmetro has released pictures of another D.C. metro driver texting while operating a vehicle. The pictures were taken by a passenger on a crowded bus.
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I have long argued that torts professors should be assigned to the U.S. Olympic team Now, a German athlete has been injured by the fact that Olympic medals omit the warning that “biting into this medal may cause dental injury.” The victim, David Moeller was the unwitting victim when he bit into his silver medal in the luge only to break his front tooth.

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An English surgeon who mistakenly removed a baby’s bladder in an operation is fighting to keep her license. Pierina Kapur, 43, a consultant pediatric surgeon, insists that her surgical performance was “inadequate” but that she did not engage in misconduct that should result in serious discipline. In the meantime, the baby will need a catheter for the rest of her life.
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This is one video that is unlikely to make the German training films.

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There is an interesting controversy that has erupted over a recent speech by Martin Kramer, a fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Critics at Electronic Intifada denounced Kramer’s speech as a call for genocide when he called for the West to end support for Palestinian clinics and hospital for “pro-natal” care.

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Arizona State lawmakers in the Senate approved a measure to get rid of the statute of limitation for victims of child abuse to file lawsuits. However, this lifetime right to sue has one notable exception: for the church and school districts. If you are suing the Church for its failure to act to stop a pedophile, you still only have two years.
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Prince William Del. Bob Marshall, R-13th, has offered his own rather dark explanation for birth defects and child disabilities: divine retribution for women who have had abortions. Marshall told a crowd that the Bible says that the first born is a gift to God, resulting in “special punishment” for those who have abortions.

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We have yet another poll showing virtually unanimous dissatisfaction with our political system. A CNN poll shows an impressive 86 percent who say that the government is broken. What is fascinating is how the two parties are now moving to join the chorus — to control the debate and prevent serious reforms.

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An alleged neo-Nazi in Louisville is pushing the constitutional envelope with a poem that resulted in a criminal charge as a threat to kill the President. Johnny Logan Spencer Jr. is charged with threatening the life of the President with his poem that refers to killing a black president but not Obama by name.
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We have previously seen stories (here) on bus drivers texting while driving. Now, we have a video of a driver, Adrian Perez, who crashes while texting.

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While we often follow the painful stories of mistreatment and discrimination against women in Saudi Arabia, there is a story today that shows some progress. The Kingdom is about to release a law that would allow women to argue limited cases in court and even perform some simple legal procedures without a male guardian.

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According to Montgomery County Police, Najie Walker, 21, is the worst kidnapper in the world. Walker is accused of kidnapping a poodle named Scrappy and a golden retriever named Scooby and then holding them for ransom.

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Warning: how you begin this week could dictate how you end it. French skier Marion Rolland secured a tragic but memorable moment in history this week by crashing after only five seconds in the downhill competition. That is why the blog wants to be sure that all of our bloggers start out right. Remember the steps: wake, sign on to blog, brush, review blog, shower, add at least one comment on blog, eat, have rigorous exchange on blog . . .

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Rex had a secret talent that his owners were unaware of until one fateful night . . .

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The Sunday Telegraph has published a report that the false passports used in the assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai were copied by airport officials from the originals in Tel Aviv. The allegation would add evidence of a government plan to steal the identities of the British citizens living in Israel.
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Olympia Mayor Pro Tem and incoming Thurston County Treasurer Joe Hyer was arrested this week for allegedly selling pot on the side. Hyer, 37, was arrested after a two-month investigation that involved both undercover agents and an informant.
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Olympic skater outfits continue to trigger protests. First there was the controversy over U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir’s wearing real fur as part of his outfit, here. Now aboriginal advocates in Australia are protesting the costumes of Russian ice dancers Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin. While I thought Weir’s costume was the ugliest that I had seen, that was before I saw the Russian costumes. I am not sure if it is a case of “cultural offense” but it is certainly offensive to the eye. The costume is shown in the linked articles below.
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While dolphins continue to be slaughtered in Japan (here and here), those same humans may have their lives saved by a new discovery that dolphins can turn on and off diabetes. Scientists believe that humans may have once had this ability and that dolphins could lead to a breakthrough treatment for humans.
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Britain has denied the story in the Daily Mail that British officials knew about the use of false British passports (and reportedly stolen identities) for the hit on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai (here).
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A Pennsylvania school is accused of a remarkably abusive intrusion into the lives of its students. Papers in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, state that the laptops given to high-school students were equipped with webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools’ administrators. The lawsuit claims that officials not only activated the surveillance capability but disciplined young Robbins for “improper behavior in his home.” The Vice Principal reportedly used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence.

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