Sunday, November 30, 2008

A valuble and costly lesson

The kid taught his teacher a lesson.

Keep your car keys on you.

Disgruntled 8-year-old crashes teacher's car


An eight-year-old German schoolboy who wanted to complain to his mother about being sent out of class took his teacher's car and crashed it, police said.

The boy, banished from class for disrupting a lesson, pinched the 40-year-old teacher's car key when she was not looking and managed to start up her compact car, accelerating and putting the vehicle into first gear.

"The little fellow drove for about 25 m (yards) before crashing into a Volvo, also parked in the car park outside the school," a police spokesman in the eastern German city of Zwickau said on Thursday.

The boy later told police he had wanted to drive home to his mother to complain about the teacher sending him out of class.

Police estimated he caused 8,000 euros (NZ$18,600) of damage.

Our 1500th Post is an uplifting endevour

Seeing as this is Man o' Law's 1500th post! Yay!

I thought about posting an uplifting article. So in that spirit here it is.

Big bra appeal's cups runneth over

By MICHELLE LOTTER - North Shore Times

There have been a few thousand extra bras on Rachel Kitayama-Moore’s washing line.
The Takapuna resident’s home is brimming with up to 3000 secondhand bras ready to be sent to Vanuatu where many women struggle to afford them.

The Rotarian has been collecting them from around New Zealand after hearing about the Pacific Uplift project in which secondhand bras are sent to poorer Pacific Islands including Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

She recently spent more than four hours sorting and packing bras but has a long way to go to meet the demand of 20,000 bras for Vanuatu, she says.

Some women live without a bra because secondhand ones are rare in larger sizes and a new bra can cost up to 30 hours’ wages, she says.
Sports bras for farmwork and maternity bras are in particularly high demand.
The response has been tremendous, with a range of bras up to j-cup size flooding in, says Mrs Kitayama-Moore.

"We’ve got some with spots, some with stripes and some with lace, in every colour imaginable.
"Colleagues sidle up to me with a bag and say don’t judge me by my underwear. You get to know your friends very intimately when they hand over bits of their underwear," she laughs.
Among those who have donated are women who have had a mastectomy or breast reduction surgery.

"It’s a project women really take to heart."

Even some male Rotarians have cheekily asked if help with fitting is required.
To contribute to the Pacific Uplift project, send bras to 18a Waitemata Rd, Takapuna, or go to

Too lame an excuse

Great excuse.

"I wouldn't have raced him if I knew he was a cop."

Hood learns lesson: don't race cops

From-The Marlborough Express

As Thomas Beau Cooze hurtled down State Highway 1 to race what he thought was a boy racer behind him, he was in for a nasty surprise.

It turned out the car behind was an unmarked police vehicle.

By the time the teenager realised this it was too late. He had been clocked by police driving at up to 160kmh.

In the Blenheim District Court this week police prosecutor sergeant Graham Single said Cooze, 19, unemployed and a suspended driver, was driving south from Koromiko at 1.40am on November 8. The police car was travelling behind him.

Mr Single said Cooze reached speeds between 120kmh and 160kmh through Para Swamp. He also sped through the 80kmh zones at Tuamarina and Spring Creek.
When Mr Single explained that Cooze thought the patrol car was a boy racer who was trying to race him, people in the public gallery sniggered.

Mr Single said Cooze had been stopped by police earlier in the day and suspended for speeding, but was seen driving again on Seymour St a short time later, where he told police he was giving his girlfriend a lift.

Lawyer Rob Harrison said Cooze "belatedly" realised that his speed was reckless and put other motorists at risk.

Judge Paul Whitehead said Cooze had been "an absolute danger on the road, not just for you but for other road users" and fined him $400 for speeding, plus $130 court costs. For driving while suspended Cooze was fined a further $250 plus court costs and disqualified from driving for 15 months.

A real jive turkey

Now this just plain sucks.

What a wonderful world we live in.

Thief steals Thanksgiving dinner off woman's porch

OREGON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin family found it hard to be thankful after a thief made off with their turkey dinner.

Lillian Moore says she sent a cooler stuffed with Thanksgiving food to her daughter Cindy, only to have it stolen from her porch.

Moore packed the cooler with half a turkey, potatoes and salad. She left it on her daughter's porch Wednesday evening because her daughter's refrigerator was too small to hold the food.
When Cindy Moore went to get the turkey Thanksgiving morning, the cooler was gone.

Cindy Moore says she had to buy turkey using money she sets aside for bills. The disabled single mother didn't bother reporting the theft to police.

Lillian Moore says it's "just awful" to steal from people who don't have much.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Over a barrel

Hmmph. The Saudi Arabians say a reasonable price is $75 a barrel.

Man o' Law says its just fine where it is right now. Let's make it about $50 a barrel.

Tell that to OPEC. LOL

Iraq says 80 dollars a 'reasonable' price for oil

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said on Friday that 80 dollars a barrel is a "reasonable" price for oil and that his country would support any OPEC decision to cut output.

"A reasonable price for oil is 80 dollars a barrel," said Shahristani on arrival in Cairo to attend a consultative meeting by the OPEC cartel to study slumping crude prices.
"We have to make sure that produced oil is used for consumption and not for storing.
"Iraq would support a decision by OPEC to cut output either here or in Algeria," the Iraqi minister added.

Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries ministers are to meet in Cairo on Saturday amid pressure for production cuts to stem heavy oil price losses, which continued to mount on Friday.
Most cartel members appeared to rule out an immediate reduction, preferring instead to wait until the next scheduled meeting in Oran, Algeria on December 17.

Iraq is excluded from the OPEC quota production system. OPEC's official output, excluding Baghdad, stands at 27.3 million barrels per day.

World oil prices closed mixed on Friday amid signs the OPEC producers' group would wait until next month before announcing any decision to cut output.

Light sweet crude for delivery in January fell one cent to 54.43 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) as trading resumed after markets were shut Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday break.

On London's InterContinental Exchange (ICE), Brent North Sea crude for January rose 36 cents in late trading to end 53.49 dollars a barrel.

Senseless killings

Among the many, many victims of the senseless attacks in Mumbai, India is the Rabbi and Rebbitzin of the Chabad House in Mumbai, Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka Holtzberg.

A tragedy for all involved, fortunately their young son, Moshe was saved from the slaughter.

We all are in mourning; God rest their souls.

Brooklyn Couple Killed In India
From:-The New York Post

An ultra-orthodox Jewish group based in Brooklyn confirmed Friday that a New York rabbi and his wife were killed in terrorist attacks in India that have claimed more than 150 lives.
Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivkah, who ran the movement's local headquarters in Mumbai, India, were killed during a hostage standoff at the center, said Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, a spokesman for the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

The center was one of 10 sites attacked beginning Wednesday.
The couple's toddler son, Moshe Holtzberg, was rescued Thursday by an employee and is now with his grandparents.
"Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg made the ultimate sacrifice," said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch.
"As emissaries to Mumbai, Gabi and Rivky gave up the comforts of the West in order to spread Jewish pride in a corner of the world that was a frequent stop for throngs of Israeli tourists. Their selfless love will live on with all the people they touched. We will continue the work they started."

Members of the movement gathered at the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters Friday to pray for the families of the dead, and one the group's leaders, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, spoke at a news conference.
"We express deeply heartfelt condolences to the parents and family of this beautiful young couple and to the family and loved ones of each of those who have been so brutally murdered," he said.
The Holtzbergs arrived in Mumbai in 2003 to serve the local Jewish community. The two ran a synagogue, offering religious instruction and helping people dealing with drug addiction and poverty, Kotlarsky said.
Gavriel Holtzberg's last known phone call was to the Israeli consulate to report that gunmen were in his house, Jewish officials in Brooklyn said. In the middle of the conversation, the line went dead.

Twelve hours after gunmen stormed the center Wednesday, Sandra Samuel, a cook at the center, heard little Moshe's cries outside the room in which she had barricaded herself. She opened the door, grabbed the toddler and ran outside with another center worker.
The little boy's pants were soaked with blood, and Samuel said she saw four people lying on the floor as she fled.

Authorities said three other hostages and two gunmen were also killed but they weren't immediately identified.

Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, was born in Israel and moved to the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn with his parents when he was nine. His wife Rivkah, 28, was a native of Afula, Israel.
The Lubavitchers were one of many Hasidic groups that were uprooted from Eastern Europe by the Holocaust and came to the United States.
They became the most outward-looking of the ultrareligious groups, constructing giant Hanukkah menorahs in public places, proselytizing among less pious Jews and building Chabad centers from Sao Paulo to Bangkok.

The once-tiny sect has swelled in number and influence. Estimates of followers vary widely, ranging from the tens of thousands to a million or more. About 4,000 full-time emissary families direct more than 3,300 institutions around the world.

In response to the Mumbai attacks, New York City police beefed up patrols around large hotels and Jewish centers, including the Lubavitcher headquarters, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

The department already was on alert because of a warning earlier this week of a possible al-Qaida plot to strike the city's rail systems over the holidays.

Holy Moly!

Great, now a different kind of "road rage".

I guess he was listening to Carrie Underwood's 'Jesus take the Wheel', which is a fine song.

A metaphor for having God in your life, it is not one to practice literally, however.

'God said she needed to be taken off road'
By Robert Crowe - Express-News

A speeding pickup rear-ended a woman's sedan on the South Side on Friday morning and sheriff's officials say the driver said it was Jesus' will because the other motorist was not “driving like a Christian.”

The bizarre incident that shut down southbound U.S. 281 above the Medina River happened about 7:25 a.m.
“He just said God said she wasn't driving right, and she needed to be taken off the road,” said Lt. Kyle Coleman of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

The driver of the pickup was identified in a Sheriff's Office news release as Michael E. Schwab, 52, of Blooming Grove.

Schwab told first responders at the scene that “the other vehicle was not driving like a Christian and it was Jesus' will for him to punish the car,” according to the release.

The 35-year-old woman was driving her sedan north when the pickup struck her vehicle. Schwab told deputies he was driving faster than 100 mph at the time, Coleman said.

The impact caused both vehicles to spin across a median before they came to a stop along a barrier in the southbound lanes. No other vehicles were involved.
Though both vehicles were badly damaged, the drivers suffered minor injuries.

“God must have been with them, 'cause any other time, the severity of this crash, it would have been a fatal,” Coleman said.

The woman was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Schwab was later charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, motor vehicle. His bond was set at $50,000, according to the news release.

The pickup driver did not specify for authorities how the woman was driving poorly.

Investigators determined the female driver “had done nothing wrong,” according to the release.

Disgusting behavior

Next up for Scrooge(s) of the Year:
The idiot shoppers at the Valley Stream, New York Wal-mart, whose greed and stupiditudeness (is that a word?) caused the death of an employee and knocked down a pregnant woman when they busted through the doors and trampled folks in a rush to get the stuff on sale on "Black Friday". The folks got angry when they were told thge store was going to close when told about the death of the employee.

I hope the police can id the folks on the videotape.

An aptly fitting name. I see big lawsuits and hopefully the end to such nonsense sales.

Sought: Wal-Mart shoppers who trampled NY worker


NEW YORK (AP) - Police were reviewing video from surveillance cameras in an attempt to identify who trampled to death a Wal-Mart worker after a crowd of post-Thanksgiving shoppers burst through the doors at a suburban store and knocked him down.

Criminal charges were possible, but identifying individual shoppers in Friday's video may prove difficult, said Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, a Nassau County police spokesman.
Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.

At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries. The store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.

Police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the Wal-Mart doors before its 5 a.m. opening at a mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the employee, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

"This crowd was out of control," Fleming said. He described the scene as "utter chaos," and said the store didn't have enough security.
Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help Damour were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said. Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store.

Damour, 34, of Queens, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 6 a.m., police said. The exact cause of death has not been determined.
A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital, where she and the baby were reported to be OK, said police Sgt. Anthony Repalone.
Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages."
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), based in Bentonville, Ark., called the incident a "tragic situation" and said the employee came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store. It said it tried to prepare for the crowd by adding staffers and outside security workers, putting up barricades and consulting police.
"Despite all of our precautions, this unfortunate event occurred," senior Vice President Hank Mullany said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted."

A woman reported being trampled by overeager customers at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in Farmingdale, about 15 miles east of Valley Stream, Suffolk County police said. She suffered minor injuries, but finished shopping before filling the report, police said.

Shoppers around the country line up early outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving in the annual bargain-hunting ritual known as Black Friday. It got that name because it has historically been the day when stores broke into profitability for the full year.

Items on sale at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart included a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9.

Friday, November 28, 2008

You have got to be kidding!

Early leader in Man o' Law's First Annual Scrooge of the Year award.

This boy's unidentified neighbor.

Send in your favorite Scrooge of the Year story. It must be from this year and the winner will be posted by December 25th. e mail is posted at the head of the blog.

No prize except informing the world of who you think deserves this award and my thanks. maybe next year we'll ask for a prize bail-out package.

Town wants to take away pony from sick boy, 3
Cigdem Iltan, Canwest News Service

CALEDON, Ont. - A small Ontario town may force a three-year-old boy with cerebral palsy to give up his miniature pony after a neighbour complained about the smell.

Sam Spiteri's grandfather gave him the pony, Emily, after the child was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy shortly after birth. The boy can't walk or crawl, and Emily is part of his therapy regime.

Sam Spiteri, 3, has cerebral palsy and uses his pony as therapy. 'When we take him off the pony he cries,' his mother, Antonia Spiteri, says.

But at the end of July, the town of Caledon -- about 50 kilometres northwest of Toronto -- notified the Spiteris the pony had to be removed.

Ms. Spiteri said her family and the complaining neighbour border on a cattle farm, and can't understand how the smell was traced to Emily.

"The cows go right up to their property, too. We thought, 'You're kidding -- seven cows to one miniature pony?' We were quite shocked by what we thought was a joke, at first."

Caledon bylaw enforcement manager Glenn Blakely said the Spiteris' one-acre property is zoned as rural residential and is too small to house a miniature pony.

No more wine for her

You probably have already heard about the man and woman who were caught having sex in the men's room at the Minnesota/Iowa football game.

Here is a follow-up. I hope she can get over all of this. BTW I feel badly for her husband and kids.

Hawk fan says bathroom sex scandal "ruined my life"

A Carroll woman who was caught having sex in the men's room at an Iowa Hawkeye football game in Minneapolis last weekend says she’d had so much wine before kickoff that she doesn’t remember walking into the restroom, the man she had sex with in a stall, or when the police opened the door.What Lois Feldman, 38, will remember is the humiliation afterward. “It’s ruined my life,” she said through tears today. “Not just the incident but the press.”

Feldman, a married mother of three, has been the target of Internet jokes and prank telephone calls today. She was fired this morning from an assisted living center, where she had been an administrator.Feldman said her husband, Kelly, has been supportive. She said he faults himself for not going with her when she left her seat to use the restroom before halftime.“I don’t know what happened,” Lois Feldman said. “But I don’t deny that it did happen because obviously there are police reports.”

Police ticketed Feldman, 38, and Ross Walsh, 26, of Linden for indecent conduct Saturday night. A security guard who said he saw the two having sex through a gap in a men’s restroom stall flagged down campus police, according to the police report. By the time an officer arrived, about a dozen people were cheering and laughing in the bathroom while Feldman and Walsh were inside the stall, the report said.

The officer pushed his way through the crowd, opened the door and separated Feldman and Walsh, the report said. Police described both Feldman and Walsh as upset, drunk and uncooperative. Chuck Miner, deputy chief of the University of Minnesota police department, said officers tracked down Feldman’s husband.“I’m not sure how they made contact with her husband, but they needed her husband to help identify her” because she’d given the wrong middle name.

Miner said police didn’t measure the blood-alcohol level of Feldman or Walsh. Asked to respond to Feldman’s claim that she was too drunk to recall the incident, Miner said: “That’s probably an accurate statement.” Feldman said she’d never met Walsh.“I don’t know who this man is,” she said today. “I just found out his name in the paper last night.” Walsh wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Carroll, Feldman’s hometown, is about 60 miles northwest of Linden, where Walsh lives. Feldman, who describes herself as a light drinker, drank wine at the home of family friends before the football game. She said she doesn’t remember how much she drank, but the party’s hosts refilled her glass each time it was low “so I’m sure I drank a lot.”Feldman said her husband later told her he’d tried to talk her out of the game because she was intoxicated. “He said I didn’t realize it was that bad,” she said.

Feldman said her husband accompanied her to the game, but their friends stayed home.She said she remembers sitting in the stands one moment and the next “being slammed around by a cop and screaming.” “Apparently I was panicked and very uncooperative,” she said. Feldman said she “ran away” from her husband at the Metrodome after the incident. She said a woman she didn’t know offered her a ride home about 11 p.m.

Feldman said she gave her husband’s cell phone number to the woman, who called Kelly Feldman for directions to the couple’s hotel. Lois Feldman said her attorney has encouraged her to fight the ticket.“He feels I was taken advantage of in my state of mind,” she said. “This is not me. We’re a very good family. This shouldn’t happen.”

Miner, the campus police officer, said fighting the indecent conduct charge could be a long shot.“It’s spelled out in the law in Minnesota that intoxication is not a defense to any crime,” he said.

Stinky lawsuit

I fortunately never had a co-worker who used that much perfume that it affected me. (At least badly) hee hee

I have been in restaurants or public places where someone has so much perfume on that I could tatse it or it ruined the taste of the food I was having. I can understand and symapathize with the Plaintiff.

Judge says perfume lawsuit can proceed
A Detroit city planner says co-worker's scent interferes with job performance, breathing.
Paul Egan / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- A city of Detroit planner can proceed with her lawsuit alleging a co-worker's perfume made it difficult for her to breathe and impossible to do her job, a federal judge has ruled.
In an opinion released late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff rejected the city's attempt to have Susan McBride's lawsuit, filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, dismissed.
McBride "has produced evidence that her breathing is significantly restricted" by a co-worker's perfume, and she has a potential claim, Zatkoff ruled.

Both McBride's Detroit attorney and the chairwoman of the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation said Wednesday that Zatkoff's decision to allow the lawsuit to proceed is significant.
"He recognizes that this is the type of claim that's viable," said attorney Ann Curry Thompson, who represents McBride. "These are types of claims that in many jurisdictions ... are sort of pooh-poohed and are not taken seriously."

Grant Ha, the attorney representing the city in the lawsuit, did not return a phone call Wednesday. Ha said in a June court filing that "there is no medical diagnosis of the alleged condition," and McBride "is not disabled because she is not substantially impaired in a major life activity."

But Zatkoff, who sits in Port Huron, found that McBride's difficulty breathing as a result of her co-worker's perfume does present a potential claim under the federal law designed to protect the disabled from discrimination in public places and the workplace. He dismissed McBride's claims that her chemical sensitivity also impairs her ability to shop for detergents, speak, interact with others, and reproduce.
It's not clear that the city took reasonable steps to accommodate McBride's condition, the judge ruled.

Alison Johnson, chairwoman of the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation in Topsham, Maine, said she welcomes Zatkoff's decision to let the lawsuit proceed.
"These perfume sensitivities are very real, and I can't tell you how many lives they are ruining," Johnson said. "Maybe there's beginning to be recognition that these things are serious."
McBride is seeking unspecified damages. Thompson said the major goal of the lawsuit is not monetary damages but "to educate people about the issue and seek voluntary compliance, where possible."

The city is continuing to fight the lawsuit, which could be headed to trial next year.

Nuke this idea

From the folks who gave us Chernobyl.

Somehow, this just doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Nor do I want to sit and hold hands and sing Kumbaya either.

Russia to help Venezuela develop nuclear energy
By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER Associated Press Writer

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to help start a nuclear energy program in Venezuela and said Moscow is willing to participate in a socialist trade bloc in Latin America led by President Hugo Chavez.

Medvedev used his visit to Venezuela—the first by a Russian president—to extend Moscow's reach into Latin America and deepen trade and military ties. Chavez denied trying to provoke the United States, but he welcomed Russia's growing presence in Latin America as a reflection of declining U.S. influence.

Chavez and Medvedev planned to visit a Russian destroyer docked in a Venezuelan port on Thursday. The arrival of Russian warships this week for training exercises with Venezuela's navy was the first deployment of its kind in the Caribbean since the Cold War.
Accords signed Wednesday included one pledging cooperation in nuclear energy for peaceful uses. Russia also agreed to work with Venezuela in oil projects and building ships.

Moscow plans to develop a nuclear cooperation program with Venezuela by the end of next year, said Sergey Kirienko, head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency.
"We are ready to teach students in nuclear physics and nuclear engineering," he said through an interpreter. He said the help would include "research and development" and "looking for uranium in the territory of Venezuela."

Chavez says Venezuela hopes to build a nuclear reactor for energy purposes.
The Venezuelan leader—one of the world's most strident U.S. critics—thanked Medvedev for helping to create a "multi-polar" world with declining U.S. influence.

Medvedev called Venezuela "one of our most important partners in Latin America" and pledged to keep supplying the South American nation with weapons. But he said arms sales to Venezuela "are not aimed against any other country."

Chavez's government has already bought more than $4 billion in Russian arms, including Sukhoi fighter jets, helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles.

Chavez had assembled a group of Latin American allies for talks hours before Medvedev's visit, and leaders including Bolivia's Evo Morales and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega joined them for a late-night meeting.

Medvedev said Russia is ready to "think about participating" in the Bolivarian Alernative for the Americas, likely as an associate member. Chavez launched the socialist trade bloc, named after South American independence hero Simon Bolivar, as an alternative to U.S.-backed free-trade pacts.

The Russian naval squadron deployed to the Caribbean includes the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great, the largest in the Russian fleet.
The military show of force is widely seen as a demonstration of Kremlin anger over the U.S. decision to send warships to deliver aid to Georgia after its conflict with Russia, and over U.S. plans for a European missile-defense system.

But U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that "a few Russian ships is not going to change the balance of power" in the region.
Medvedev was to finish his four-nation Latin American tour in Cuba.

Medvedev said he also discussed the global financial crisis with Chavez, and "exchanged different ideas of what actions to take in this situation." Chavez blames the financial crisis on U.S. free-market capitalism.

Mas Cerveza por favor

Beer its what for research.

I hope a lot of money wasn't spent on this all important subject. Expect commercials with more mountains and rugged men surrounded by beautiful buxom women to sell more beer.

Ya think?

Rugged individualism, beer linked
By Don Finley - Express-News

In Hollywood lore, the lone cowboy tamed the Wild West with two six-guns by day and drank warm beer with both fists in dusty saloons at night.

That stereotype of the rugged individualist who enjoys tipping back a few might not be so off the mark, according to a newly published study by marketing professors at the University of Texas at San Antonio. They found that places where individualism is valued over the collective good also tend to be places where a lot of beer is consumed.

The researchers also found they could take a group of college students and manipulate those individualist-versus-collectivist impulses a bit, which in turn influenced how thirsty those students were for beer.
“Previous research on this had shown a correlation between individualism and impulsive buying,” said L.J. Shrum, marketing department chairman at UTSA, who with lead author and marketing Assistant Professor Yinlong Zhang conducted the study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

The researchers first compared per-capita beer consumption with a well-known set of national scores for individualism and collectivism developed by Dutch marketing researcher Geert Hofstede.
In Hofstede's scale, the United States ranks highest in individualism, followed by Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, Canada and Italy.
“The definition of an individualist is that we act on our attitudes, we be ourselves,” Shrum said. “Whereas in collectivist societies that's more frowned upon, and you want to make sure you reflect on the good of the group.”

Countries in Asia and Latin America tend to be more group-oriented, Hofstede said. And the UTSA researchers found that, on average, individualist countries had higher per-capita beer consumption than collectivist countries — even after adjusting for differences in income, climate, gender and religion.

They also found a similar connection between excess beer drinking and U.S. states, using a similar scale by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign psychologists. That scale found the highest levels of individualism — and more drinking — in Western states such as Montana and Oregon.

And Texas? Forget cowboy country. It ranks No. 11 among states with high levels of collectivist impulses, Shrum said.

“Our standard cowboy image is the prototypical individualist. However, Hispanic cultures, Latin American cultures, many Eastern European cultures, are very collectivistic,” he said, adding that those who make the move to the U.S. may be the more individualistic members of their cultures.
But the real picture is even more complex, Shrum said. All people have some degree of both individualism and collectivism, with one side more dominant. And by getting people to focus on themselves or their families and friends, psychologists can bring either trait to the surface.
And that's what Zhang and Shrum did with 128 undergraduate business students (all of legal drinking age). When they temporarily induced the students to become individualists, they became thirstier for beer. Collectivists became less so. And those impulses were heightened when the students were asked to imagine themselves at a bar with friends.

“Peer presence works quite differently for individualists and collectivists. What we found was the presence of peers for individualists increased their attitudes toward drinking beer, and for collectivists it decreased it. It went in exactly the opposite ways.”
While such knowledge might be put to effective use in beer ads, Shrum said that wasn't the study's purpose.
“If you were designing a public service announcement for people, you make the message more appealing if you have them in the right mindset. If they're in the wrong mindset, it goes in the opposite way.”

Unsuited for Court

This should probably happen to more of these kinds of suits.

Judge tosses S.A. woman’s civil suit
Express-News -

A federal judge this week threw out a $15.5 million civil rights lawsuit filed by a San Antonio woman over her arrest in 2006 by Bandera police on charges of forgery and marijuana possession, which were eventually dismissed.

Bandera Police Chief Jim Eigner said Wednesday that Marie Y. Trevino, who accused officials in Bandera and Kendall counties of colluding against her to file bogus charges, was absent Monday when U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez dismissed her suit with prejudice, meaning Trevino cannot further pursue the claim.

The hearing continued nonetheless, with the defense presenting testimony to bolster claims made in a motion that Trevino misled the court by claiming indigence to persuade court officials to waive the filing fee for her lawsuit.

Trevino could not be reached for comment.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stop, Thief

Having had my car broken into and burglarized a few years ago, I am sympathetic to all those this happens to.

My wife's car had been burglarized a few years prior to that.

I am glad this is getting prioritized.

Police, DA target vehicle burglaries
By Robert Crowe - Express-News

San Antonio police have formed a task force — effective this weekend, at the start of the holiday shopping season — to combat the increasing problem of vehicle burglaries.
Citywide, burglaries of vehicles are up 17.6 percent through Nov. 20, compared with the same time last year.

To battle the problem, the San Antonio Police Department and the Bexar County district attorney's office decided to work with the community on a new strategy.
“In law enforcement, we've been chasing our tail around for years doing the same things,” Police Chief William McManus said.

Previous strategies involved targeting high-crime areas. Car burglaries would drop with an increased police presence, but thieves would return once officers stopped targeting the burglars.
The Burglary Vehicle Task Force has a three-prong approach that targets known car burglars while focusing on areas with high vehicle burglary rates. Authorities also advocate prevention by talking to property owners about encouraging motorists to use common sense.

District Attorney Susan Reed said motorists could do their part to fight crime by hiding belongings in the trunk of a vehicle.
“I throw everything into my trunk to keep it from being obvious,” she said.

The district attorney's office is working with the task force to keep vehicle burglars off the street by upgrading charges when possible.
On Monday, police arrested a man with 19 burglary vehicle charges. Some charges were enhanced to felonies that carried $10,000 bonds. The man, one of three arrested through the task force, bonded out of jail Tuesday.

San Antonio police have investigated about 29,000 vehicle break-ins to date this year. The Central Substation recorded the highest increase in vehicle burglaries this year — 27.5 percent — with 8,422 reported this year after 6,605 last year from Jan. 1 to Nov. 20.
The East and South substations recorded the only decreases, 1.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Home invasion nightmare

A pretty horrid crime and the penalties should be severe.

I am sure the Bexar County DA, Susan Reed, and her staff will seek the justice this victim and her family deserve.

2 jailed in home invasion on the near North Side
By Robert Crowe - Express-News

The kidnapping, robbery and rape of a woman in front of her two daughters Nov. 16 has shattered the peace of mind in a quiet neighborhood full of older, upscale homes near Austin Highway and Harry Wurzbach Road.

A Crime Stoppers tip led police Wednesday to arrest two suspects, De Marcus Steadman and Ray Barabbas Evans, at a Converse home. Steadman, 20, and Evans, 19, were jailed on charges of aggravated kidnapping, with bonds set at $250,000. Sexual assault charges had not been filed as of Wednesday afternoon.

While being escorted to jail, Steadman, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, told reporters: “I'm sorry for what I did.” (Yes, he said it, on camera too)

Though relieved that two suspects are jailed, some residents of the near North Side neighborhood, where some of the homes are valued at $200,000 to $400,000, are living on edge in an area they say has historically been shielded from crime.
“We just are very diligent about locking our doors now,” said Esther Curnutt, a board member of the Oak Park-Northwood Neighborhood Association. “We're on high alert.”

No matter what side of town, police said, the incident early on a Sunday morning was the type of nightmare scenario that officers had not seen for a long time.
“I've lived here for 43 years, and this is the first time we've seen anything like this,” said William Harris, a neighbor of the victim. “I feel so sorry for that woman; I'm glad they caught the suspects.”

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the attackers broke down a door at the Albin Drive home about 1:30 a.m., confronting the woman and her daughters. The men began demanding money as they ransacked the home, police said.

After the woman told the men she did not have any cash, the assailants forced her and the two girls into a car, then demanded her ATM card. The men drove to at least three banks, withdrawing about $400 at each one, before driving back to the home, where one man raped the woman on her bed in front of her daughters, according to the police report and affidavit.

It is the general policy of the Express-News not to identify victims of sex crimes.
In addition to the $1,200, the men fled with a Dell laptop computer, two cordless phones, a watch and a bed sheet they used to carry the stolen goods, police said.

Throughout the ordeal, the victim and her daughters, ages 9 and 17, did not get a good look at the suspects because it was dark and the men told them not to look. Police said they had few leads until receiving a Crime Stoppers tip from someone who reportedly overheard Evans talking about the crime.
When police arrived at the Converse home, they discovered items that matched the stolen property, the affidavit says.

At the time of the crime, Steadman was serving probation for a charge of assault bodily injury involving a family member and related to a September 2007 incident. He had been arrested at least eight times between 2005 and '08 on charges of resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and assault.
Records show one arrest on a marijuana possession charge for Evans.

Police said Evans may have moved to San Antonio in recent months. He was living with Steadman.
As the men were leaving the crime scene, the victim heard Steadman tell Evans: “You in my town now,” the incident report says.

Helping Hands Needed

A worthy cause.

Won't you please help and give of your time or in donations?

Thank you.

Snake Farm still working to rebuild

By Scott Sticker Herald-Zeitung

Workers and volunteers at the Animal World and Snake Farm southwest of New Braunfels are continuing to work to prepare the animals for winter. The annual preparation took a tragic turn Nov. 15 after a fire broke out at the complex and took the lives of two baboons — Mufasa and Mindy — and three tortoises . The fire also destroyed properly and left workers well behind schedule in readying the animals for lower temperatures.

According to officials with the New Braunfels Fire Department, the fire was started from a heat lamp inside the baboons’ winter home.“Phase one of rebuilding is complete,” Animal World owner Dr. Eric Trager said Wednesday. “We have the emergency situation under control — if there’s a freezing night, we can get the animals safe.”

The next phase is rebuilding and constructing permanent fixtures for the cold weather, which Trager said could take from 90 to 120 days.Marissa Atamas, a spokeswoman for Animal World and Snake Farm, said the damage estimates exceed $300,000. Trager said that following the fire, he changed the backing of all heat lamps in the complex from plastic to ceramic, which can withstand higher temperatures. After the animals are situated for the winter, he said his next plan is to build a large building with central heat and air conditioning to house some of the animals. As of Wednesday, he had no estimates of how long that project might take.

Animal World and Snake Farm is asking for donations and volunteers to help rebuild. For more information or to volunteer, visit the complex’s Web site at or call (830) 708-4041.

Happy Thanksgiving to y'all!

A Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your loved ones from the Man o' Law family!

We give thanks to God above for all he does and to all of you who help in our communities keeping us safe.

Early turkey gets the cans

Ashlie McEachern The Herald-Zeitung

Deep-fried turkey, the company of friends and the chance to help those in need were the recipe Wednesday for Billy’s Ice’s Third Annual Turkey Fry. The event was held to benefit the New Braunfels SOS Food Bank by encouraging people to bring canned goods. In return, patrons were provided with a complimentary turkey dinner.

Nick Sisoian, general manager of Billy’s, said he was happy to organize the gathering and help those who might require a helping hand during the holidays.“This is very important because the New Braunfels food bank gets the majority of their supplies from the San Antonio food bank,” Sisoian said. “The food banks are really struggling this year, and for some families, it’s their only source of food. This way we can bring the cans directly to the source. We’re aiming to collect a year’s worth of donations.”

Sisoian said he was overwhelmed by the community’s willingness to contribute during a time of economic hardship.“Our phone was ringing off the hook,” Sisoian said. “Even people who couldn’t make it out to the turkey fry wanted to know how they could donate canned goods,” Sisoian said.

Volunteer Jared Bryan was one of the many who turned out to help cook and serve a Thanksgiving Eve meal.“I don’t think a lot of people realize how many families don’t get to eat a holiday dinner,” Bryan said. “This is a great way to help them out.”

The festivities featured high spirits, fresh food and live music. Father and son Mark and Taylor Stanley said they enjoyed helping the local food bank. “This is our first year to come to the dinner,” Mark Stanley, said.“I’ve recently read things about how the food banks have really been hit hard. We wanted to help,” he said.

Although the event was pre-turkey day, the night offered many elements of thanks and giving.“The response from everyone was terrific,” Sisoian said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy whatever

More PC run amok.

Just put up everything and all will be fine. (Hah! yeah, right)

I will still say Merry Christmas, so there.

Ho, ho, nope! FGCU to limit holiday decor
'Political correctness' cited as reason
by dave breitenstein

FGCU administration has banned all holiday decorations from common spaces on campus and canceled a popular greeting card design contest, which is being replaced by an ugly sweater competition. In Griffin Hall, the university's giving tree for needy preschoolers has been transformed into a "giving garden."
The moves boil down to political correctness.

"Public institutions, including FGCU, often struggle with how best to observe the season in ways that honor and respect all traditions," President Wilson Bradshaw wrote in a memo to faculty and staff Thursday. "This is a challenging issue each year at FGCU, and 2008 is no exception. While it may appear at times that a vocal majority of opinion is the only view that is held, this is not always the case."

Bradshaw's directive struck a chord with FGCU employees. The Staff Advisory Council received 44 anonymous comments on the issue; all were against the ban on holiday decorations.
"It says people are very passionate about this," said council president Ruth Rodrigues, who also is director of auxiliary services. "The holidays are a joyous time, and they want to express themselves."

The council voted Monday to send administration a letter outlining employees' comments.
In Bradshaw's memo, he said the decision was not an "attempt to suppress expression of the holiday spirit." Staffers will be permitted to display holiday decorations on their desks, but not on their office doors or in common spaces. Traditional workplace Christmas parties are not an issue at FGCU.
"We don't generally have Christmas parties here," said Audrea Anderson, associate vice president for community relations and marketing. "There are end-of-the-semester parties or end-of-the-calendar-year parties. They are certainly not related to anyone's beliefs."

Bradshaw plans to convene a committee in 2009 to address future methods of sharing traditions throughout the year.
In 2001, then-President William Merwin lit the university's official Christmas tree, a 22-foot Colorado blue spruce. Children from the college's child care center and university choir performed traditional carols.

Junior Marilyn Lerner, a 20-year-old resort and hospitality management major from California, said she'll miss seeing Christmas trees in the Student Union.
"I think they're pretty," said Lerner, who is Jewish. "It's just a Christmas tree. I don't mind."
Neither does junior Stephanie Tirado, 20, an education major from New York.
"Christmas is no longer just a religious holiday. It's commercialized now," said Tirado, who is Wiccan. "Why don't they just add a menorah then?"

The Turkeys run wild

OMG people get a grip!

This is getting a bit ridiculous.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Claremont parents clash over kindergarten Thanksgiving costumes
By Seema Mehta

For decades, Claremont kindergartners have celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans and sharing a feast. But on Tuesday, when the youngsters meet for their turkey and songs, they won't be wearing their hand-made bonnets, headdresses and fringed vests. Parents in this quiet university town are sharply divided over what these construction-paper symbols represent: A simple child's depiction of the traditional (if not wholly accurate) tale of two factions setting aside their differences to give thanks over a shared meal? Or a cartoonish stereotype that would never be allowed of other racial, ethnic or religious groups?

"It's demeaning," Michelle Raheja, the mother of a kindergartner at Condit Elementary School, wrote to her daughter's teacher. "I'm sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation's history."

Raheja, whose mother is a Seneca, wrote the letter upon hearing of a four-decade district tradition, where kindergartners at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools take annual turns dressing up and visiting the other school for a Thanksgiving feast. This year, the Mountain View children would have dressed as Native Americans and walked to Condit, whose students would have dressed as Pilgrims. Raheja, an English professor at UC Riverside who specializes in Native American literature, said she met with teachers and administrators in hopes that the district could hold a public forum to discuss alternatives that celebrate thankfulness without "dehumanizing" her daughter's ancestry.
"There is nothing to be served by dressing up as a racist stereotype," she said.

Last week, rumors began to circulate on both campuses that the district was planning to cancel the event, and infuriated parents argued over the matter at a heated school board meeting Thursday. District Supt. David Cash announced at the end of the meeting that the two schools had tentatively decided to hold the event without the costumes, and sent a memo to parents Friday confirming the decision. Cash and the principals of Condit and Mountain View did not respond to interview requests.

But many parents, who are convinced the decision was made before the board meeting, accused administrators of bowing to political correctness. Kathleen Lucas, a Condit parent who is of Choctaw heritage, said her son -- now a first-grader -- still wears the vest and feathered headband he made last year to celebrate the holiday."My son was so proud," she said. "In his eyes, he thinks that's what it looks like to be Indian."

Among the costume supporters, there is a vein of suspicion that casts Raheja and others opposed to the costumes as agenda-driven elitists. Of the handful of others who spoke with Raheja against the costumes at the board meeting, one teaches at the University of Redlands, one is an instructor at Riverside Community College, and one is a former Pitzer College professor.

Raheja is "using those children as a political platform for herself and her ideas," Constance Garabedian said as her 5-year-old Mountain View kindergartner happily practiced a song about Native Americans in the background. "I'm not a professor and I'm not a historian, but I can put the dots together."

The debate is far from over. Some parents plan to send their children to school in costume Tuesday -- doubting that administrators will force them to take them off. The following day, some plan to keep their children home, costing the district attendance funds to punish them for modifying the event."She's not going to tell us what we can and cannot wear," said Dena Murphy, whose 5-year-old son attends Mountain View. "We're tired of [district officials] cowing down to people. It's not right."

But others hoped that tempers would calm over the long holiday weekend, and the community could come together to have a fruitful discussion about Thanksgiving and its meaning."Its always a good thing to think about, critically, how we teach kids, even from very young ages, the message we want them to learn, and the respect for the diversity of the American experiences," said Jennifer Tilton, an assistant professor of race and ethnic studies at the University of Redlands and a Claremont parent who opposes the costumes.

Pay up time

Times are tough.

Debts are to be collected.


Home mistakenly targeted by gunmen
Express-News -

Three armed men looking to collect a $3,000 debt Monday apparently mistook a South Side family’s apartment for the home of the man who owed them, police said.

Police called to the 200 block of Kelsey Avenue to investigate a shooting about 11:55 p.m. learned that the armed men had made repeated visits to the apartment in search of a man they said had just been released from jail.

Each time, the residents told the men they did not know the man they were looking for, and that they had moved into the apartment just six months ago, according to a police report.

About 11 p.m., the intruders returned and forced their way into the apartment. They fled after they failed to find who they were looking for.

When a man in the home chased after them, one of the gunmen fired, but no one was injured. The intruders remain at large.

The legal shenanigans continue

When I first came to San Antonio to practice law, twenty years ago, I was told that the practice of law south of Highway 90 was a wee bit different than what I was taught in law school.

Events and this case sure seem to point this out, eh?

Willacy County defendants left in lurch
By Christopher Sherman - Associated Press

McALLEN — A Willacy County district court judge under indictment on charges alleging she abused her position didn't show up for court, stranding dozens of defendants who received no notice of her absence.
Judge Migdalia Lopez of the 197th District Court had assured lawyers through Friday that she would be there to handle her docket Monday, but instead left lawyers and their clients in the lurch. Court administrator Gloria Garcia-Puente said court was scheduled for Tuesday and today as well, but Lopez would not be there.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Lopez's lawyer, said Tuesday that she would wait to see what comes of a Monday recusal hearing of the presiding judge in her case before returning to the bench. District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra had sought to have that judge recused after the indictments were returned last week against Lopez, Vice President Dick Cheney and other high-level officials.
“I think she looked at it from a practical point of view. If she went over there, the district attorney would more than likely file some sort of recusal or try to take advantage of the situation,” Rodriguez said.

Lopez was indicted on charges of official abuse of official capacity and official oppression. The charges stemmed from her role in an investigation of Guerra, who did his own disappearing act last Wednesday when he was absent for a hearing on the indictments. The grand jury alleged that Lopez continued involving herself in Guerra's case after he had filed a motion to recuse her.
The eight indictments handed up by the grand jury last week, including some against Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., have drawn the nation's attention to an already dysfunctional courthouse. Guerra has been battling with Lopez and District Clerk Gilbert Lozano, who was also indicted, for years.

The indictments stalled Friday when Guerra filed a motion to recuse Presiding Judge Manuel Banales.
Defendants for routine cases had come to the courthouse from across the state and as far away as Indiana. There were more than 60 cases on Monday's docket, Garcia-Puente said.
Lopez's absence forced the cases to be rescheduled and means some defendants will spend the holiday in jail.

KGBT-TV reported that Dorvin Kintner took a bus from Lafayette, Ind. to come to court on a drug possession charge.
“I am financially broken,” as a result of the so-called “wasted trip,” Kintner told KGBT-TV.
His 41-hour trip that spanned 1,700 miles had to be put on hold for the second time, leaving him stranded in the county.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh my

Not the brightest thing the Judge could have done.

Driving while apparently intoxicated then hitting a police cruiser.

Probe Sought Against Judge Who Allegedly Used Racial Epithet
By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY The Hartford Courant

The co-chairman of the state legislature's judiciary committee wants a full review of allegations that a judge charged with drunken driving last month angrily hurled epithets at police officers during her arrest, called a black state police sergeant the "N-word" and told officers she was a state judge.

Judge E. Curtissa R. Cofield, 59, who is black, also referred to state police Sgt. Dwight Washington as "Negro Washington" during her Oct. 9 arrest — which was captured by police video recorders — Courant columnist Kevin Rennie, a lawyer and former state legislator, wrote in his column in Sunday's Courant."Assuming it's true that she made those extremely racist comments, that can't be tolerated — from a judge, of all people," state Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said Monday.

Nothing was said of Cofield's alleged conduct during her appearance Monday in Superior Court in Manchester, where Judge William Bright Jr. delayed a decision on her application to a pretrial alcohol-education program until Dec. 8. Those who are admitted to and successfully complete the program, open only to first-time offenders, will have their record of arrest wiped clean.

Bright said he wanted to give the prosecutor a chance to talk to Trooper Michael Kowal, whose patrol car Cofield reportedly struck as she drove her BMW east on Route 2 about 10:50 p.m. on Oct. 9. Bright said he received an objection to Cofield's application from Kowal.State police initially reported that Kowal was not injured, but he is seeing a doctor as a result of the crash, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman. Vance wouldn't comment on the allegations that Cofield made racist comments. Cofield, her attorney, James Sulick, and the prosecutor handling the case, John Whalen of the chief state's attorney's office, also declined to comment.

Bright said he has received letters of support for Cofield — about 40, according to Cofield's lawyer — and then heard glowing statements from a prominent defense attorney and a clergyman in favor of approving Cofield's application."Despite all the letters, I don't believe she should be treated differently in this situation because she is a judge, whether it's positive or negative," Bright said.

Lawlor said Bright should see the video of Cofield's arrest. "At minimum, I would certainly expect that under the circumstances the judge would review the videotape before deciding whether Judge Cofield should be admitted to the program," Lawlor said.

It's appropriate, Lawlor said, for the judge to consider an applicant's demeanor during arrest and the injuries anyone suffered. "In this particular case, the comments are troubling," he said. "Beneath the surface there's more to the story than just someone who had too much to drink."

Lawlor said he is exploring whether his committee, which oversees the judicial branch and has the power to impeach a judge, will be able to view the videotape."Our first preference would be to have the judicial branch do the oversight," Lawlor said. "We have been in communication with them to see what, if anything, will happen. We have received assurances there will be some type of action taken at some point. Obviously, it's still a pending case in court. We want to know the whole story." The state Judicial Review Council should also open an investigation, if it hasn't already, Lawlor said.

The executive director and the chairman of the council said Monday that they cannot say whether an investigation of Cofield has begun. Such investigations remain secret unless the commission finds sufficient reason to air them publicly.According to a state police incident report, Cofield drove her 2003 BMW X5 into Kowal's state cruiser, which was parked in the right shoulder protecting a construction zone. Cofield was taken to the Glastonbury police station for processing and was charged with driving under the influence and failure to drive in the proper lane. Her comments were captured on a video and audio monitoring system at the Glastonbury police station.

The Courant filed a Freedom of Information request with Glastonbury police for a copy of the video of Cofield's booking. Glastonbury Police Chief Thomas J. Sweeney denied the request, and the newspaper is appealing to the state FOI Commission.

Butt width bail out

On to much weightier issues than presidential pardons.

I hate airline seats. I hated airline seats even when I was a runner and cut a much more svelte figure than I do now. I understand the airlines' perceived need to pack us in like sardines but Man, I sometimes get off a plane and can hardly walk and am out of wack for days at a time.

Maybe they can have a larger seat area that folks can pay extra for.
From the blog Starling Fitness:

"According to Size Wise, the measurement of the width of airline seats ranges from 17″ to 21.5″. I just measured the width of my own butt and it’s 18″ wide. Am I a person of size? Do I have to pay for another seat as well? Even the thinnest of people are uncomfortable in airplane seats."

No, I haven't measured the width of my butt, you're welcome to post your butt width if you choose to.

Disabled, obese allowed free extra plane seat
Top court refuses airlines' appeal of 'one-person, one-fare' ruling
Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service

Canada's two largest airlines must give disabled and morbidly obese passengers an extra free seat on domestic flights, beginning in January, after the Supreme Court refused yesterday to consider the carriers' appeal of a federal order.
The Supreme Court, by convention, gave no reason for declining to intervene in the case.

The decision ended a six-year battle by disabled travellers to secure two seats for the price of one if they need inflight attendants. Obese people can also qualify if they are too large to fit in a single seat.

Air Canada and WestJet failed in their pitch for the court to consider a January 2008 decision from the Canadian Transportation Agency that gave them one year to implement new policies in the absence of being able to show that a "one-person, one-fare" structure would cause undue hardship.
"This means I'm equal now," said Joanne Neubauer, a Victoria woman whose severe rheumatoid arthritis requires her to use a wheelchair. "I'm just so excited and happy that justice prevailed."
The agency said the airlines must develop a process to assess eligibility. The free seats need not be provided to obese people who are just uncomfortable in their seats or are not disabled by their size, said the ruling.

The airlines also do not have to make allowances for disabled people who prefer to travel with a companion for personal reasons or those who require care on the ground, but not in the air.
"The agency is leaving it up to Air Canada and WestJet to develop their own screening policies," said agency spokes-man Marc Comeau.
A possible sticking point is how to decide when obesity is a disability. The agency has recommended the airlines adopt a policy used by Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which gives a free seat to people who are too big to lower their armrest.

The ruling is expected to benefit would-be travellers like Linda McKay-Panos, a Calgarian who has secured a declaration from the Federal Court of Appeal that she is obese enough to be considered disabled.

Ms. McKay-Panos, executive director of the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, said yesterday that she has not travelled on Air Canada since 1997, when she endured a "humiliating" flight in which the airline refused her an extra seat even though "my hips were flowing over the arm rest, my hips were basically on the lap of the person who sat beside me."
Now 51, she said she was born with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a hormonal disorder that causes obesity in about 50 per cent of those afflicted.

The transportation agency estimated that it would cost Air Canada an additional $7.1 million annually to change its rules and WestJet an extra $1.5 million, adding 77 cents to each ticket sold by Air Canada and 44 cents for a WestJet fare.
The carriers have predicted that their costs would be significantly more because the policy would be abused.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said yesterday that the airline will comply with the decision and that it has already started working on screening procedures and employee training. He also noted the policy will only apply to domestic flights, reflecting the agency decision.
The case began in 2002, when Ms. Neubauer, Eric Norman, and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities launched a complaint with the transportation agency. Mr. Norman, who died two years ago, lived in Gander, N.L., and used to travel to Toronto for cancer treatment. He was paraplegic and required an attendant for air travel.

Ms. Neubauer, who said she seldom flies because the cost of two tickets is prohibitive, needs an attendant to help with everything from boarding to visiting the bathroom.
The "one-person, one fare" policy already exists for other modes of public transport such as buses, trains and ferries.

Pardon Me?

At least it doesn't seem to be as wantonly misused as it appeared to be at the end of the Clinton administration. Where Hillary's brothers received large sums of money for "brokering" pardons and Marc Rich was pardoned, hours before Bill Clinton left office, after his wife had made large donations to the Clinton Library and the Democratic party.

And of course, pictured above, the infamous pardon of Richard Nixon, which helped heal the country from Watergate and probably cost a good man, Gerald Ford, re-election as president. Obviously autographed by the former president on a different date, much later than the pardon issued.

Bush pardons 14 and commutes 2 prison sentences

WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush has granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds ranging from drug offenses to tax evasion, from wildlife violations to bank embezzlement, The Associated Press learned Monday.

The new round of White House pardons are Bush's first since March and come less than two months before he will end his presidency. The crimes committed by those on the list also include offenses involving hazardous waste, food stamps, and the theft of government property.
Bush has been stingy during his time in office about handing out such reprieves.
Including these actions, he has granted a total of 171 and eight commutations. That's less than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Reagan issued during their time in office. Both were two-term presidents.

On the latest pardon list were:
_Leslie Owen Collier of Charleston, Mo. She was convicted for unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
_Milton Kirk Cordes of Rapid City, S.D. Cordes was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits importation into the country of wildlife taken in violation of conservation laws.
_Richard Micheal Culpepper of Mahomet, Ill., who was convicted of making false statements to the federal government.
_Brenda Jean Dolenz-Helmer of Fort Worth, Texas, for reporting or helping cover up a crime.
_Andrew Foster Harley of Falls Church, Va. Harley was convicted of wrongful use and distribution of marijuana and cocaine.
_Obie Gene Helton of Rossville, Ga., whose offense was unauthorized acquisition of food stamps.
_Carey C. Hice Sr. of Travelers Rest, S.C., who was convicted of income tax evasion.
_Geneva Yvonne Hogg of Jacksonville, Fla., convicted of bank embezzlement.
_William Hoyle McCright Jr. of Midland, Texas, who was sentenced for making false entries, books, reports or statements to a bank.
_Paul Julian McCurdy of Sulphur, Okla., who was sentenced for misapplication of bank funds.
_Robert Earl Mohon Jr. of Grant, Ala., who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
_Ronald Alan Mohrhoff of Los Angeles, who was convicted for unlawful use of a telephone in a narcotics felony.
_Daniel Figh Pue III of Conroe, Texas, convicted of illegal treatment, storage and disposal of a hazardous waste without a permit.
_Orion Lynn Vick of White Hall, Ark., who was convicted of aiding and abetting the theft of government property.

Bush also commuted the prison sentences of John Edward Forte of North Brunswick, N.J., and James Russell Harris of Detroit, Mich. Both were convicted of cocaine offenses.
Under the Constitution, the president's power to issue pardons is absolute and cannot be overruled.

Some high-profile individuals, such as Michael Milken, are seeking a pardon on securities fraud charges. Two politicians convicted of public corruption - former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., and four-term Democratic Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards - are asking Bush to shorten their prison terms.

One hot topic of discussion related to pardons is whether Bush might decide to issue pre-emptive pardons before he leaves office to government employees who authorized or engaged in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Some constitutional scholars and human rights groups want the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama to investigate possible war crimes.

If Bush were to pardon anyone involved, it would provide protection against criminal charges, particularly for people who were following orders or trying to protect the nation with their actions. But it would also be highly controversial.
At the same time, Obama advisers say there is little - if any - chance that his administration would bring criminal charges.

Much ado about nothing

No comment other than:

Seemed like we had a pretty big tadoo for it all to come down to this.

But who knew at the time?

3 FLDS members face felony charges
By Lisa Sandberg - Express-News

AUSTIN — The leader of a West Texas polygamist group and two other church members surrendered to authorities Monday after being indicted earlier this month in connection with underage marriages at the ranch where they live.

Frederick “Merril” Jessop, 72, believed to be the most senior leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints outside Eldorado, was charged with one count of conducting an unlawful marriage ceremony, a third degree felony. He dropped out of sight after authorities raided the group's ranch in April, though an FLDS spokesman insisted he was never in hiding.

Wendell Loy Nielson, 68, who was shown in court records to have been simultaneously married to 21 women, was charged with three, third-degree felony bigamy charges; Leroy Johnson Steed, 42, was charged with sexual assault of a child, bigamy, and tampering with physical evidence.
The three men, who were booked and released on bond, were indicted by a Schleicher County grand jury Nov. 12.

A total of 12 members from the breakaway Mormon sect now have been brought up on felony charges related to underage unions. The group is not affiliated with mainstream Mormonism, which denounced polygamy more than a century ago.

Willie Jessop, a spokesman for the group, on Monday called the state's case baseless and said it was concocted to justify its failed child custody case. In April, acting on a tip, Texas Child Protective Services seized the group's 400-plus children, alleging that the girls were being sexually abused or at risk of being sexually abused and the boys were being groomed to perpetuate the practice of underage marriages.

Two months later, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state overreached and ordered the children returned to their parents. CPS has since dropped its oversight over most of the children.

Today, child welfare authorities are expected back in a San Angelo family courtroom to seek access to a 5-month-old baby they believe was born to an underage mother wedded to an adult man. CPS said in court papers it wanted the child “for inspection, observation and genetic testing.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

A possible deterrent

What a great idea, akin to the old custom of putting them in the pillory in the town square.

Maybe next they'll have their pictures posted on the Internet.

Mug shots roast Staten Island shoplifters on mall TV screens

Staten Island shoplifters, beware: 'Tis definitely better to give than deceive this holiday season.
Shoppers caught filling their stockings (or anything else) with stolen merchandise could find their faces flashing every six minutes on electronic billboards in the Staten Island Mall. The first-of-its-kind program - initially to feature five convicted Staten Island shoplifters - will run through Christmas.

"I wanted to do something just to warn people who might have ideas about shoplifting," said Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, whose office created the program. "With economic times hard, more people might consider doing this. We just want people to be forewarned."

The digital mug shots in the 15-second ad are of five Staten Islanders already convicted of shoplifting. This rogues' gallery could grow to include anyone arrested and convicted in the upcoming weeks, Donovan said.
"We can put more people up, take more people down," he said. "If you shoplift in this mall, your picture may end up here, too."

Donovan says the intent is not to stigmatize the thieves, but to remind the estimated 1.3 million shoppers who will visit the mall between now and the end of the holidays of the crime's consequences. The cost of the ads was covered with assets forfeited by local criminals, and the DA's office got a discounted ad rate.

The DA worked with Adspace Digital Mall Network to create the ad, which will run between sales pitches for stores around the two-story mall.
Statistics indicated shoplifting was on the rise even before the current economic crisis. A survey of 24 top retailers showed 626,000 shoplifting arrests last year, up more than 9% from the previous year. The two dozen retailers reported nearly $7 billion in losses.

Donovan's plan was hailed by several mall managers, including one from the Gap and another from Macy's. Christa Conte, a spokeswoman for Adspace, said the goal of the electronic billboards is to target shoppers at the point of purchase - and the mug shots are simply a new twist on the concept.

It was a twist Donovan didn't expect. The DA said he's no computer maven and initially conceived of hanging posters around the mall before the idea for a high-tech alternative came up.
"This is not a victimless crime," Donovan said. "Merchants are losing money every day. This is going to capture people's eyes and attention."

Out on a limb

Be careful the crooks may branch out.

Reminds me of Agent 13 from Get Smart, he was the guy always hiding in tree suits, trash cans and the like. he was played by Bill Murray in the new Get Smart movie.

BTW its interesting to me anyway, that the guy caught was Romanian. I used to have a soup recipe book that had international soup recipes. The one for Romanian Chicken soup started out by stating "First, you steal a chicken."

Before you Romanians out there get upset with me, my parents were both from Romania.

Tree suits! German cops' secret weapon

German police have gone to new lengths to nab a serial burglar – dressing up in tree suits and waiting in a forest for eight hours.

After getting a tip-off about a burglar’s hideout containing laptops, clothes and equipment used for robberies, a detective came up with the novel approach of arresting the culprit. One police inspector told German tabloid newspaper Bild, “I discussed with my colleague how we could camouflage ourselves in the forest. “Then we discovered the suit in a mail-order catalogue and bought two for €100 each – out of our own pockets.”

The two officers then reportedly waited in the forest near the burglar’s property for the man to return. Eight hours later, he did.“As we jumped up from the ground, we were immediately attacked. But we were able to overwhelm and arrest the man,” the inspector said.

They arrested a 39-year-old Romanian man, who had travelled to Germany specifically for the break-ins, the newspaper reported.“We were able to recover the stolen laptops. That made spending our own money worthwhile.”

Ratting you out

Make some extra cash for the Christmas shopping season!

Don't worry about the economy.

"Make Some Extra Cash! Drug Use and Criminal Record OK"
Posted By: Talia Naquin

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The Albuquerque Police Department has turned to the want ads for snitches.

An ad this week in the alternative newspaper The Alibi asks for "people who hang out with crooks" to do part-time work for the police.
It reads in part: "Make some extra cash! Drug use and criminal record OK."

Capt. Joe Hudson says police received more than 30 responses in two days. He says one tip was a "big one" but won't elaborate.

An informant whose tip helps officers arrest a drug dealer could earn $50. A tip about a murder suspect could bring up to $700.

It's not the first time the department has run ads. In a program 10 years ago, police received so many calls they turned the phones off.