We have been discussing the use of fees for every possible thing on airlines to generate billions for airlines while eliminating every possible comfort for passengers. Now the ranking of most popular and least popular airlines has been released. I was most struck by the reaction of Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza in learning that his company is widely viewed as a disgrace.
Archive for the 'Bizarre' Category
Anyone who visits China comes back with harrowing accounts of driving habits from steering onto sidewalks to ignoring traffic lights or lane markers. However, even under Chinese standards, this driver may have set a record for accidents with one minute.
We have yet another case of police being accused of beating a citizen for filming them in public. Makia Smith says that Baltimore police beat her up and smashed her camera when they filmed them beating a man in the street. She is now suing the Baltimore Police Department, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and police Officers Nathan Church, William Pilkerton, Jr., Nathan Ulmer and Kenneth Campbell in Federal Court.
This video appeared last week and shows the extremism of the “Golden Dawn” movement in Greece, which is now reaching out to other European countries. As with Nazism in Germany, the movement has emerged from the economic chaos of Greece to offer hate and violence as a way to express the frustration of the people facing high unemployment and stagnant economic prospects. In the video, you can hear a Golden Dawn member repeatedly screaming “Heil Hitler” in the Greek parliament.
Amid the horrific destruction of the tornados yesterday, CBS Evening News captured one of the most touching moments. While interviewing an injured elderly woman, Barbara Garcia, a noise was heard in the rubble just a few feet from where she was standing. It was her dog, which survived the devastation. She had just lamented how she lost her beloved pet.
New York Assemblyman Resigns In the Midst Of Sexual Harassment Scandal . . . And Promptly Announces City Council BidPublished 1, May 20, 2013 Bizarre , Politics 13 Comments
New York Democratic Assemblyman Vito Lopez is the latest politician to resign in a scandal, but Lopez has a curious twist. He will now run for a new office. With Antony Weiner now committed to running for mayor, it is the new version of political responsibility. You resign and then run again as a new man.
The City of Detroit has left whole areas without street lighting and even proposed allowing buildings to burn rather than spend the money on fire fighters. The mayor has called it quits and even an emergency manager appears close to throwing in the towel on the city. However, Detroit’s two public pension funds (long accused of gross mismanagement) are sending four trustees to Hawaii at the cost of $22,000 as an educational trip.
This video shows a police officer fighting with a young man over math and declaring “I do not have to prove shit to you” when confronted over his math. The officer dismisses the “genius” who tries to tell him that double .08 is .16.
Peerless: Oklahoma Man Repeatedly Shows Up Late For Jury Duty . . . And Then Misses Hearing On Contempt Of CourtPublished 1, May 17, 2013 Bizarre , Courts , Criminal law , Lawyering 9 Comments
Rickey Christopher, 23, obviously does not like jury duty. Many people feel the same but he is fast making jury duty into the worst chapter of his life. Christopher was previously dismissed from jury duty for repeatedly showing up late. Then when he was ordered to appear for possible contempt of court, stemming from his jury duty, he failed to appear. There is now a warrant out for his arrest from Oklahoma County District Judge Ray C. Elliott. It is a good thing that such charges are generally handled without a jury. It would be hard to find 12 peers of Christopher to appear on time to try the case.
One of the longest (and unresolved) complaints with Disney is that families pay an obscene amount to get into “The Happiest Place on Earth” only to face ridiculously long lines that severely limit the number of rides that they can enjoy. Disney actually makes money off the inconvenience by selling “guides” and offering fast passes. However, it is not the only one making money off its lines. New York City moms are reportedly hiring disabled people to pose as family members so that their kids can go to the front of lines. The cost: $1000 a day for your own personal line-cutting wheelchaired person.
There was an interesting confrontation in Seattle this week where a man flew a drone just feet away from a family home. The drone was camera-equipped and the mother called police. Before the man left, he insisted that he had a right to use a private drone to surveil his neighbors. No it is not John Ashcroft’s neighborhood. I wanted to clarify a couple of points before others take to the air for some private snooping.
The Norwich police was called to a public disturbance this week in a reported clash between Star Wars fans and Doctor Who fans at a Sci-Fi convention. The Sci Fi turf war reportedly erupted when Norwich Sci Fi Club treasurer, Jim Poole, a Star Wars fan, appeared at the rival club’s event at the University of East Anglia and tried to get an autograph from Doctor Who actor Graham Cole. It appears that there were no true Jedi masters who could use their Jedi mind control trick. Of course, this does not work on some species and Dr. Who is not human.
It appears that there is nothing so unnerving as a Saudi man traveling with a pressure cooker these days. Hussain Al Khawahir was arrested in Detroit after he was found with luggage containing a pressure cooker — the common kitchen appliance used by the Boston Marathon bombers. The question is why the federal authorities are still holding the man who allegedly had a page missing from his passport and found in possession of a kitchen appliance.
In a true crime against culture, a construction company in Belize City has destroyed one of Belize’s largest Mayan pyramids to use it for gravel for road fill. Archeologists and locals say that there is no way that the company officials were unaware of the historical meaning of the pyramid when they took backhoes and bulldozers to it. Before they succeeded in eradicating the structure, locals took pictures showing the center of the pyramid still standing with a Mayan room exposed at the top.
This is a sign from Union Grove, Texas where licensed and trained teachers and administrators now carry a firearm. Is this sign supposed to convince killers to move down the road to the less defended school?
While I hardly relish the death of any person, this is a story that represents a rare victory of an elephant versus a poacher. Solomon Manjoro was one of many poachers who are killing off whole species to sell ivory or animal parts to willing buyers. Police say that he and accomplice Noluck Tafuruka, 29, went to the protected Charara safari area in Zimbabwe to kill an elephant but Manjoro ended up being trampled by his prey.
We have yet another example of the difference in expectations between Americans and voters in other countries. We have politicians who disappeared for months from office, solicit prostitutes from the Senate floor, and call workers “wetbacks.” Yet, they remain in office. However, New Zealand’s National Party MP Aaron Gilmore has resigned after calling a waiter a “dickhead.”
Oregon Man Acquitted After Arrest For Stripping Before TSA . . . TSA Responds By Bringing Its Own ChargePublished 1, May 13, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Free Speech , Lawyering , Media , Politics , Society 68 Comments
I have previously written about how the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) set out to create a crime never approved by Congress: the crime of making a joke in an airport about security issues. The TSA has long appeared to chafe at the notion of an agency dependent on Congress or the public for its authority. That appears the message being sent to John E. Brennan. You may recall Brennan from a story last year when he stripped in the Portland International Airport in protest of increasing invasive TSA security measures. He was cleared by a judge who found his stripping was a form of protest. However, the TSA was clearly miffed by decision of the judge, so Brennan was pulled into the administrative abyss by TSA with an agency charge. It appears that, if the law will not punish a citizen, TSA will.
In states from Texas to Oklahoma to Iowa, legislators have introduced resolutions that appear to proclaim Israel as a nation ordained by God. Most recently, the Texas enrolled SR 694 — a resolution introduced by Republican Senator Ken Paxton of McKinney, Texas and entitled “Commending Israel for its relationship with the United States.” It is not the title but the first sentence that is surprising: “WHEREAS, Israel has been granted her lands as recorded in the Old Testament.” That sounds a lot like saying that the nation of Israel is ordained by God and that religious claim is being ratified by the Texas legislature.
We have previously discussed the harassment and abuse of families in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods who have accused religious figures of sexual abuse. Like Catholic and other Christian communities, the Jewish community is facing its own scandal over the response to these allegations. This ongoing controversy is at the heart of a case in New Jersey where a leading counselor and Rabbi stands accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy — and members of the Orthodox community are accused of a campaign of harassment against the boy and his family for going to the police.
Debra A. Farinella, 57, may have the ultimate example of a case demanding a bench rather than a jury trial. It would be hard to find a jury not repulsed by the allegation that Farinella routinely stole flowers, statues, and other personal items from the graves of Mount Peace Cemetery, including graves of deceased children. This is assuming the case ever goes to trial since police say that they found Farinella’s home stuffed with the cemetary items in St. Cloud, Florida.
Now for our Mother’s Day story. There is an interesting property case out of New Jersey where Kobe Bryant is suing his mother, Pamela Bryant, to keep her from selling mementos from his early years at an auction. His mom says that he told her that the items were hers when he left them in his old room. He says that she is lying about ownership and wants to stop an auction despite the fact that she has received $450,000. At least he didn’t try self-help like some other famous or infamous athletes.
We recently discussed China’s new Red Nobility Class that rules the purportedly Communist nation as friends rake in billions in profits from businesses assisted by local party leaders in land seizures and non-enforcement of environmental laws. The inherent conflict with Communist values was brought to a new level with the disclosure that the granddaughter of Mao, Kong Dongmei, and husband Chen Dongsheng ranked 242nd with personal wealth estimated at five billion yuan (£524 million) on a rich list released this month by New Fortune, a Chinese financial magazine.
The courthouse in Oakland turns out to also be the home of a flock of Black-Crowned Night-Herons. It appears that regulars knew that this parking spot comes with an added cost. It is not always location, location, location.
Police Officer Tells Man That He Has Planted Drugs On People In The Past And Threatens Him With False Arrest . . . But Later Returned To The ForcePublished 1, May 9, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , International , Politics , Society 19 Comments
Recently, a video emerged showing a Canadian police officer in Durham threatening a man in 2011 with planting drugs on him and saying that he has done so before. The profanity laced tirade of the officer was posted on YouTube in which he not only threatens to plant drugs but to beat up the man. The police, however, say that the officer was “disciplined” . . . and then returned to duty. It is unclear what it takes to be fired as a police officer in Durham. The police seem more upset with the profanity than the fact that the officer is captured admitting to planting drugs and threatening an illegal act. The Toronto Star identified the officer as Constable Jamie Ebdon. Here is the punishment . . . he was docked two days’ pay. [Warning both the transcript and the video contain graphic language]
I have previously written about the deteriorating level of support at Apple Computer and the shocking treatment of customers who fell victim to a defect in the iPhone. This week, I had the third power cord for my MacBook Pro fail. Every cord has developed exposed wires due to common bending with the machine. In seeking to remedy the situation, I ran again into the same customer service wall that I experienced earlier with the defective iPhone. In order to get a new cord (under warranty), I had to see a “genius” as opposed to the dozen “specialists” standing around. But before I see a “genius” I had to have an appointment and there were no appointments available for hours. I stopped there before I was told that I also had to bring them the ruby slippers to gain entry to the “genius.”
Yesterday, the photos of teens arrested for underage drinking were published in the local newspaper in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. The tenth teen seems to have missed the memo on appearing contrite for your mugshot. It reminds me of that Far Side Cartoon of the guy whistling in hell and the Devil saying “We just aren’t reaching that guy.”
I saw this video on Reddit and was struck by the dangerous maneuver needed to disembark a doctor at an accident crisis without actually landing in Melvatnet in Snillfjord, Norway.
Just when you thought that you could not get more shocking news from China’s environmental and food safety scandals, like thousands of dead pigs floating down a major river, you stand corrected. Chinese officials have found dozens of traders in Eastern China selling huge amounts of rat and mink flesh as mutton. This is not a couple pounds. The meat was sold for $1.6 million. Six suspects in Guizhou Province were found with 8.8 tons of “toxic chicken feet.”
There are school rivalries and then there are Chinese school rivalries. In Beijing, two girls are dead after the head of a rival school allegedly poisoned yogurt and put the food outside of the kindergarten where children play. The two schools have been competing for students. (The picture is a common yogurt drink in China and not necessarily the brand used in this crime).
Museum Burka: Greece Demands Ancient Statues Returned From Qatar After Museum Covers Them To Protect Muslim SensibilitiesPublished 1, May 1, 2013 Bizarre , International , Politics , Religion , Society 30 Comments
The only problem that Qatar has with ancient history is that its pre-Islamic art falls to comply with Islamic sensibilities. An exhibit has been touring the world on the beauty and grace of “The Olympics — Past and Present.” Two ancient statues showed this expression in artistic form but the Islamic nation decided to obscure the statues behind a black screen because their naked bodies were considered indecent under Islamic values.
For some, the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s firm is approaching the same levels of excess as the original crime. Irving Picard and his firm, Baker & Hostetler LLP, have just asked for an additional $50 million in fees and expenses for work between July 1 through Nov. 30. That would bring the total fees to . . . wait for it . . . $440 million.
A Fool and His Money . . . and His Banana: Man Loses Life’s Savings To Carny and Gets Over-Sized BananaPublished 1, May 1, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Society 34 Comments
Henry Gribbohm is apparently irate. He went to a carnival and played Tubs of Fun hoping to win an Xbox Kinect. The 30-year-old man from New Hampshire continued to play until he had spent his entire life savings, $2,600, in a game that he now claims is rigged. When he complained the next day, he was given $600 back plus an over-sized banana. He was not satisfied and has filed a complaint.
Mohammed Nisham appears to have as little concern for his children as he does for his luxury cars. Nisham has been charged with having his nine-year-old drive his sports car. It was not hard for Inspector M.V. Verghese to prove: Nisham filmed his son driving the car with his brother (neither with seatbelts on of course) and then posted it on YouTube.
Palin Denounces “Assclowns” In Washington For Dinner As She and Others Work Tirelessly In This EconomyPublished 1, April 29, 2013 Bizarre , Media , Politics , Society 36 Comments
I could not help but note a criticism of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner by former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin last week. Palin denounced the dinner as “pathetic” and a case of “DC assclowns” were throwing “themselves a #nerdprom” while “the rest of America is out there working our assess off.” This was a remarkable statement from a person who resigned from her governorship early to create a reality show and make millions being Sarah Palin. I am not sure that many Americans would see Palin as one of those “working out asses off.”
Zhang Aihua, a Communist party leader in Taizhou City, appears not to have gotten the memo from Mao that “Thrift should be the guiding principle in our government expenditure.” Or, for that matter, the memos from the Chinese government about cracking down on excesses by local leaders. Zhang was enjoying a dinner fit for a worker-oppressing capitalist when suddenly the working class showed up uninvited. Worse yet, they brought cameras. Zhang was soon on a table, shown here, begging the common folk to let him go and apologizing for his excesses.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of Boston Marathon alleged bombers Tamerlan and Tzhokhar Tsarnaevso, appears to be wanted for theft in the United States — a charge that could make her interview with authorities more complex for any lawyer. She failed to appear on a theft charge in Massachusetts in October. The looming charges appear to be one of the reasons for her reluctance to return to the United States.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears to be moving beyond dictating what people can drink and eat in his city despite judicial rulings finding his policies in violation of the Constitution. Bloomberg joined the Pavlovian response of politicians this week in calling for a reduction in civil liberties in response to the Boston Marathon bombing. Bloomberg warned citizens that the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.
It appears that some things or some people don’t stay in Vegas. San Francisco’s City Attorney Dennis Herrera is investigating accounts of an illegally busing hundreds of psychiatric patients to California and other states with one-way bus tickets and no food or medication. This “patient dumping” involves the Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas.
The Palinotologists are back. A Kansas school district is refusing to back down from a plan for mandatory assemblies featuring a creationist group to explain the history of dinosaurs. Despite overwhelming data and testing showing the world is millions of years old, many creationists insist that Earth is only a few thousand years old. Dinosaurs represent a bit of a problem of course. The solution, as famously stated by that American intellectual Sarah Palin, is that men co-existed with dinosaurs. Hugoton Public Schools invited Creation Truth Foundation’s founder Dr. G. Thomas Sharp to teach the “Truth about Dinosaurs” at two assemblies. Hugoton Public Schools superintendent Mark Crawford however insists that students must hear about science from this biblically based group.
Not So Gladd: Clinton Heckled In Receiving Award For Opposing Law He Created In Denial Of Gay RightsPublished 1, April 22, 2013 Bizarre , Constitutional Law , Media , Politics , Society 94 Comments
Last week, President Bill Clinton accepted GLAAD’s ‘Advocate for Change’ Award in Los Angeles last night but not everyone was buying Clinton’s latest change of heart over gay marriage. GLADD notably left out of the award that Clinton not only signed but helped push through the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This was not in 1896 but in 1996. Clinton was heckled by some in the crowd as he accepted the award as a leader on gay rights, yelling “you signed it” when he referred to DOMA as if it was some alien or GOP legislation. What is truly annoying is Clinton’s “some of my best friends are now gay” rationalization.
Oklahoma State and Republican Majority Leader Dennis Johnson took to the floor this week to share his experience as a small business man and discussed how some people will try to “Jew down the price” of goods. In the background, legislators are seen laughing but there are clearly some who object because Johnson then adds “I apologize to the Jews. They are good small businessmen as well.”
A Clipper Proves The Undoing Of A Mullet: Amish Hate Crimes Case Raises Fundamental Concerns Over Federal PowerPublished 1, April 16, 2013 Bizarre , Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Religion 36 Comments
The recent conviction of Amish bishop Samuel Mullet Sr. in the Amish hair-cutting case raises renewed questions over the ever-expanding claims of federal jurisdiction. Mullet was given 15 years in prison for federal hate crimes. In order to do so, however, the Obama Administration had to establish federal jurisdiction. They did so by building the case around the “Wahl battery-operated hair clippers” used to cut the beards of Amish men and insisted that federal jurisdiction followed the clippers which crossed state borders in their manufacturing and sale. The superseding indictment is linked below.
Some Things Just Do Not Improve With Age: Jury Rejects Claim of New York Actress Over Publication Of Her AgePublished 1, April 15, 2013 Bizarre , Society , Torts 13 Comments
We have previously followed the case of actress Junie Hoang, 41, who sued IMDb after it obtained her correct age which she said made it more difficult for her to play younger roles. Jurors last week rejected Hoang’s remaining claims, leaving her with fruitless litigation that only served to highlight her age.
Despite the deluge of stories on how white supremacists and other gangs are killing prosecutors, Texas police have said that they believe that the recent murders of District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia and an assistant DA, were the work not of gangland hitmen but a disgruntled former justice of the peace named Eric Williams, 46. However, Williams is thus far charged with making a “terroristic threat” to residents via email and being held on $3 million bond.
Finally, Anne Frank can find true peace. Last week, pop singer Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank house while in the area for a concert. On the guestbook, he wrote “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.’” Bieber’s “atta girl” strangely did not go over well with most people, except of course “believers” (his name for his screeching clinging prepubescent girl followers). Bieber spared the museum a rendition of his “One Less Lonely Girl.”
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Patricia Hill thought she made quite the find after purchasing a turn of the century Georgian mansion to convert to a bed and breakfast. The previous owner, coal tycoon J.P. Brennan, had stashed 108 bottles of vintage 1912 Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey in his walls and stairwell as a hedge against the nanny state of his time, Prohibition. ”My guess is that Mr. Brennan ordered 10 cases, pre-Prohibition,” said Hill. “I was told by his family that family members used to greet him at the door each day with a shot of whiskey.” Now, that’s a greeting.
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Can laughing too loud in your own home make you a bully? Some neighbors in Long Island’s Rockville Centre think so and have called police to the home of 42-year-old Robert Schiavelli about 30 times. Robert, who suffers from a host of neurological problems and seizures, lives at home with his mother and has a distinctive laugh — with a timbre somewhere between the laughs of Woody Woodpecker’s and Curly Howard’s from the Three Stooges. Schiavelli claims the laugh is a defense mechanism against neighbors who routinely taunt him with screams of “retard,” and other epithets tied to his condition. Neighbors respond that Robert makes the annoying laugh at his bathroom window and that the noise can be heard across the street. They also claim it’s a form of bullying.