Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our Wacky World—3/17/2011

Here it is, your St. Patrick's Day dose of clap, er, I mean crap...

"The project also reveals that the most common person on this planet is:"
  • Right handed
  • Has an annual income under $12,000
  • Owns a cellphone, but doesn't have a bank account

"Imagine, if you will, that you live in a state where a governor wields extraordinary power over its residents. Imagine, if you will, that your governor has the legal authority to appoint an “Emergency Manager” to oversee the local government in the town where you reside. Imagine that the monetary compensation for the Emergency Manager of your community has no cap. Imagine that your Emergency Manager declares that there’s a financial emergency in your town and then takes over control of it. Imagine that the Emergency Manager can break contracts, seize and sell assets, eliminate services—and can also fire duly elected public officials who serve your community. Imagine, if you will, that the Emergency Manager empowered by your governor to run your town has the right to dissolve your school district and to disincorporate your town. AND imagine that you and your fellow residents have no say about what is going on! Just imagine how you might feel if you lived in a state where that kind of thing was going on. Well, the people who live in Michigan may not have to imagine much longer."
Turley's Blog

"Monroe County Sheriff’s Detectives...actually posed as a federal defense attorney in an attempt to get incriminating information out of suspect John Edward Dawson, who was in jail on a host of charges, including theft and drug distribution. ... they also talked Dawson into refusing to cooperate with his public defender and to plead guilty to the charges against him. They communicated with Dawson via a jailhouse informant."
The Agitator

"Kensley Hawkins, 60, has saved $11,000 by working in a Joliet prison since the 1980s, making about $75 a month. The state says he owes them for the cost of his stay."
Chicago Tribune

"Last fall, the voters approved a referendum that placed restrictions on the countless puppy mills in the state to ensure humane and healthy conditions were enforced by state regulators. Of course, the tea party lobbied against the passage of the referendum and since the Republicans gained a majority in the State Senate, a new bill was passed in the Missouri Senate to over ride the will of the people in the fall referendum and remove the safeguards that were approved directly by the voters!"
Turley's Blog

"A musician with a punk haircut died from swine flu after medics assumed he was a drug addict and ignored his pleas for help, his distraught mother claims. Peter Williamson, who sported a mohican and facial piercings, was turned away from a hospital and health centre, as well as by an ambulance crew. One nurse sent him home saying: 'Do you realise we do have sick people in this hospital?'"

"An estranged son of anti-gay Kansas pastor Fred Phelps said Wednesday that the spiritual leader of Westboro Baptist Church hit his wife and beat his children with a mattock handle until they bled."

Here's a 2003 Skeptic magazine article about Sonya Fitzpatrick, Animal Planet's pet "psychic":
"Willie was a diseased Golden Retriever. His owner had arranged to have him euthanatized by a veterinarian. Sonya had a vision — which the owner confirmed — that Willie used to scratch behind his ears. Really? A dog scratching behind his ears?"

It always struck me as odd that this psychic, er, "animal communicator" had to ask the animal's owner what its name was. A dog doesn't know its name?

"Why would someone create a replica of Blackie, complete with every single nick and scratch, including the wear pattern from Mr. Clapton’s belt buckle and the burn mark from his cigarettes? And why is that replica expected to fetch at least $20,000 at Wednesday’s auction, and probably much more?"

And it sounds like the auction was a success.

"More people have been arrested for marijuana possession under Mayor Bloomberg than under Mayors Koch, Dinkins, and Guiliani combined," said report co- author Dr. Harry Levine, a sociology professor at City University of New York and a national expert on marijuana arrests. "These arrests are wildly expensive, do not improve public safety, and create permanent criminal records which seriously damage the life chances of the young people targeted and jailed."
Drug Policy

"The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration confiscated a potent drug commonly used in lethal injections from a state correctional facility cache."

"Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington have spent the past two years combing through the myriad computer systems in late-model cars, looking for security flaws and developing ways to misuse them. In a new paper, they say they've identified a handful of ways a hacker could break into a car, including attacks over the car's Bluetooth and cellular network systems, or through malicious software in the diagnostic tools used in automotive repair shops."

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