Saturday, July 31, 2010
Second Life mother files for child support
April 1, 2010
Virtual, virtual mom
Woman files child support lawsuit for "virtual babies"
PROVIDENCE, RI via URA Newswire - Erita Sasti, female, a former beauty pageant contestant, age 41 of Pawtucket, RI has taken the groundbreaking action of petitioning the court for monthly child support payments for "virtual children" she allegedly had with a male companion in the virtual reality world of Second Life. Second Life (SL) is a 3D computer game simulation featuring realistic avatars and fantasy worlds whose players often engage in role play including virtual sex, gender switching and simulated pregnancies.
Sasti "lives" in SL as Yllis Norom (her avatar name) with twin virtual "daughters", Latota and Joram, also being role played by two (unamed) real life humans. Sasti filed her petition to the Rhode Island Family Court (Providence) today against "Lirpaloof Frychester", the avatar name of the alleged virtual father. Because Sasti apparently does not know the real life name of the human behind the avatar, the petition also contains a demand notice on Linden Lab, the California-based makers of Second Life, to release Frychester's private information to her for service.
In the petition, Sasti claims Frychester had virtual sex with her as "Yllis Norom" and that the two of them had agreed to extend their role play by having virtual children. It goes on to detail how "Lirpaloof" abandoned Yllis after the children were "born" and that Sasti continues to support their "feeding, growth and education" in the Second Life world. Because this form of role play apparently requires buying virtual clothing, food and shelter using virtual currency or Linden dollars ($L which are converted from real US dollars), Sasti is asking for $15,000L per month for child support until the virtual children are two years old plus $65,000L for emotional distress.
When we contacted Sasti for more information, she referred us to her lawyer and real life husband, Mac Sasti who explained, "Mrs. Sasti has suffered humiliation in Second Life of having been kicked out of her partner's virtual mansion and of being obligated by convention to continue to care for her two daughters. Since the eviction, Yllis and her girls have been forced to live as a homeless family in welcome centers and to breast feed in public.
While this may be somewhat ground-breaking, we feel that legal precedents for similar situations in virtual games like IMVU and World of Warcraft establish her rights as both a real person and as an avatar."
When asked why the suit wasn't filed as a breach of contract, Mac Sasti said, "The humanitarian aspects are more appropriate for family court which, in Rhode Island, can also deal with property division and abandonment."
Wow, just wow!
A few emails to some folks at Linden Lab to see if they'd heard anything have produced no replies yet. The whole thinkg seems a bit weird but then again, when it comes to Second Life, nothing is weird.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Finger on posterior triggers knife fight in Dallas
Jul 28 2010
DALLAS — Police said a Dallas woman was threatened with a knife in a fight that allegedly started when a friend rubbed her bottom with a finger. A police report states 22-year-old Laquita Mattox was sitting on her friend's bed in a Dallas apartment Thursday when her friend rubbed her finger on Mattox's buttocks.
The police report said Mattox clenched, breaking her friend's bed, angered the unidentified friend and started a fight.
Dallas police Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse said at some point the friend picked up a butcher knife and asked Mattox if she was "ready to die." However, Mattox had no visible injuries when police arrived.
Janse said the friend left the apartment but before officers arrived and was being sought.
Police: Man burns prosthetic leg with crack pipe
July 28, 2010
Not the actual man - a model, before burning - Notice the authentic looking teak wood finish. Guaranteed to deceive your own orthopedic surgeon.
A New Mexico man (not shown) who investigators say set his prosthetic leg on fire with a pocketed crack pipe was arrested.
Deputies say they found 47-year-old Randy Malone naked along U.S. 70 with his prosthetic right leg in flames on July 5, the day after Independence Day. He was treated for burns to his leg, back and buttocks. He said he was trying to blow out the flames by running as fast as he could but was unsuccessful. Deputies took him to a nearby pond and held the prosthetic leg under water to douse the flames.
A witness later told authorities he agreed to give Malone a ride into Las Cruces, but dropped him off after the passenger lit a crack pipe inside the vehicle. The driver said he didn't mind until the man refused to give him a toke. "What's the world coming to," complained the driver, "when you do a guy a favor and he won't even share a little of his crack with you?"
Dona Ana County deputies arrested Malone on Sunday at his home after the man's brothers tipped investigators. Malone was being sought on a warrant for making a false report. His brothers said they wanted him out of the house because of their fear he would set fire to the house by setting fire to his prosthetic leg, which they said was proved by the incident while hitch-hiking, thank you very much.
Also contributing to the distortion of this story is a deaf-mute woman in Seattle who declined to give her name because she is not authorized to speak.
Basic information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
A man is seen standing on top of the wreckage of a Lufthansa cargo plane which caught fire and split in half as it was landing in the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, July 27, 2010. It was not known if there were injuries to the crew, unclear what sparked the fire and unknown what cargo was being transported.
It is unusual for planes to split in half according to a spokesman for the Aircraft Manufacturers Association, with headquarters in Blythe, Calif., home of Snoopy's cousin Spike. He said planes were typically built to stay in one piece. He said in his 26 years in the business he had never seen a two-piece aircraft, especially a jumbo cargo plane. A spokesman for Al's One Stop Plane Shop in Wayward, Mississippi said the aircraft probably had been cut in half previously, for cosmetic updates to the interior, and the weld putting it back together was not properly sealed. "It's gonna have to be re-welded together before it can fly again," he indicated.
Credit: AP Photo Date: July 26, 2010
Tiger on the loose in South African neighborhood
Jul 27 2010
JOHANNESBURG — Police are warning residents of a South African neighborhood against approaching a 17-month-old Bengal tiger that escaped from its owners.
Police say the tiger named Panjo broke open the canopy of a truck carrying it and jumped free early Tuesday in the Delmas district, 70 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Johannesburg.
Panjo's owner Rose Farreira told local media Panjo was tame but warned that Panjo may attack unfamiliar people. She says the tiger could turn aggressive if it had been hurt in its escape.
Panjo remained on the run Tuesday evening. A helicopter was deployed after one report of a sighting later Tuesday. But as dusk fell Panjo, hand-reared from a cub, had not been found.
Tigers are not native to South Africa.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Remember the good ole’ days when cops were cops and crooks were, well, just plain crooked? Something’s gone terribly awry in
- We’ve had Darth Vader rob a bank, armed with a gun instead of a light saber. The evil Sith Lord entered a Chase bank branch in
Setauket, New York, about 50 miles east of , on Thursday and demanded cash from a teller. New York City
- We’ve had the Pittsburgh-area man, the real joker of the crowd, rob a bank wearing a woman's blond wig, fake breasts under his sweater, and sporting clown pants.
- We’ve had Poison Ivy, accused of robbing two banks -- with a bunch of flowers and a potted plant (Brendan Sullivan was not suspected of being an accomplice, despite the uncanny likeness).
- We’ve had spanx-sniffing
steal away MacDonald’s booty. Sharon
- And finally, we’ve had the geriatric bilocating bandit whose only costume is an oxygen mask.
Forensic psychologists contacted by BizarreStuff refused to speculate or speak on the record. However, they dished excitedly off the record. One theory suggests this is only a series of publicity hounds seeking their 15 lines of fame on BizarreStuff. Another suggests that the economy has bred boredom which has bred new outlets for stupidity. The most likely theory seems to be the traditional copy-cat criminal, seeking to one up the master.
Okay caped crusaders, stay tuned for tomorrow’s stupid crime, same bat channel, same bat time (actually, we don’t have any more stupid crimes lined up. They just seem to happen with painful regularity).
Melinda Dennehy, a former high school English teacher, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure after she e-mailed nude photos of herself to a 15-year-old student. She joins the list of teachers who found trouble after being inappropriate with students.
The 15 year-old student said it was the best experience of his life and that his teacher was kind, helpful and very sexy. "I wish people would stop saying I'm damaged in some way. That is total bull****. I thank my lucky stars Ms. Dennehy took such a personal interest in me and taught me so many wonderful new things that I could never have learned otherwise. People need to quit saying she is bad and did something wrong. She deserves a medal of honor for what she did to me. America's schools are desperately in need of teachers like Ms. Denneny."
(AP Photo/David Ramos)
Oscar, a man who underwent a full-face transplant in April, poses with the Spanish Dr. Joan Barret for the photographers as he appears in public for the first time in a news conference at the Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, July 26, 2010. A 30-member medical team led by the Spanish doctor Joan Barret carried out a full-face transplant, giving a young man who lost his in an accident a new nose, skin, jaws, cheekbones, teeth and other features. Dr. Barret is shown on the left.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
AMMAN, Jordan — An animal rights activist caused a stir in Jordan's capital by covering herself in lettuce in a quirky attempt to persuade Middle Eastern meat lovers to go vegetarian.
Crowds quickly gathered to gawk at the lettuce lady, but police were not amused.
Officers briefly arrested the Jordanian activist, Amina Tarek, eating parts of her on their lunch sandwiches. A member of the Jordanian police wanted to make a Caesar salad of the protester's clothing but was prevented by colleagues.
The pair stood in a square along one of Amman's trendiest streets and held a placard reading "Let vegetarianism grow on you."
Tarek says she wanted Jordanians "to turn over a new leaf."
Police held them for three hours, turning over some new leaves, and saying the pair had not obtained permission for Sunday's protest. The activists say they had approval.
Whom do you believe, Jordanian thugs or a PETA activist?
Police officer confirms discovery of giant meerkat
July 25, 2010
Ordinary meerkat and pup, right
Giant meerkat below
A group of Italian tourists discovered a giant meerkat, 36 feet tall, standing atop a small hill, along the A-51 near Chester, early this morning. Astonished and frightened by the size of the animal, they reported it to police in Chester, When asked if they would be willing to submit to sobriety and lie detector tests, the outraged Italians left in a huff, leaving behind a small photo of the animal taken with a cheap Polaroid camera.
Later, a routine police patrol made the same discovery and radioed back to the station for back-up. Before additional reinforcements could arrive, the animal mysteriously disappeared.
British biologists were baffled by the report, noting that the average, full grown meerkat only stands about 12" in height and normally is found only in the Kalihara Desert in Southern Africa. Meerkats live in small groups, known as "mobs" or "gangs," probably because they steal food from other animals and are fierce defenders of their home territory. All members of a "mob" use a common latrine.
The patrol officer confirming the tourists' account was sent for a psychiatric evaluation. The whereabouts of the Italian tourists and the giant meerkat were unknown. A ring up to Scotland Yard revealed that that unit of the British constabulary does not search for lost animals.
A spokesman for the British Mafia said it was a typical police cover-up, claiming the Mafia members were not a "mob" or "gang" and used separate toilets.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
DENVER — A bear got into an empty car, honked the horn and then sent it rolling 125 feet into a thicket, with the bear still inside, a Colorado family said. Seventeen-year-old Ben Story said he and his family were asleep in their Larkspur home, 30 miles south of Denver, when the bear managed to open the unlocked door of his 2008 Toyota Corolla early Friday and climbed inside.
A peanut butter sandwich left on the back seat is probably what attracted the bear, Story said.
"It's not unusual for bears to open unlocked doors to cars and houses in search of food," said Tyler Baskfield, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. It's also not unusual for bears to rip the doors off of locked vehicles with food inside.
"It happens all the time," he said. "They're very smart."
A full grown bear can rip an adult male to shreds in less than 60 seconds so it's best just to let them take whatever they want, including the vehicle.
Once inside, the bear must have knocked the shifter on the automatic transmission into neutral, sending the car rolling backward down the inclined driveway and into the thicket, Story said. An alternate theory is that the bear intended to drive itself home but got stuck in the thicket.
The door probably slammed shut when the car jolted to a stop, said Baskfield, based on no probative evidence, trapping the bear inside.
Neighbors had called 911, and deputies freed the bear by opening the door with a rope from a distance. It then ran into the woods, apparently deciding that car theft was not its best line of work.
Story said he'll need a new car because the bear trashed the interior while apparently trying to find a way out.
The bear also left what Story called "a present" on the driver's seat, but failed to pay for the peanut butter sandwich or leave a tip.
Cops create stampede by holding back crowd
DUISBURG, Germany (AP) - 25 July, 2010
A stampede inside a tunnel crowded with techno music fans left 19 people dead and 342 injured at the famed Love Parade festival in western Germany on Saturday.
Other revelers initially kept partying at the event in Duisburg, near Duesseldorf, unaware of the deadly panic that started when police tried to prevent thousands more from entering the already-jammed parade grounds.
Authorities were still trying to determine exactly what happened at the event, which drew hundreds of thousands of people, but the situation was ''very chaotic,'' police commissioner Juergen Kieskemper said.
Emergency workers had trouble getting to the victims in the wide, 500- to 600-meter-long (500- to 600-yard) tunnel that led to the grounds. The area was a hectic scene, with bodies lying on the ground as rescue workers rushed to aid them. Many of the injured were loaded into Red Cross vans and driven away.
Kieskemper said that just before the stampede occurred at about 5 p.m. (1500 GMT, 11 a.m. EDT), police closed off the area where the parade was being held because it was already overcrowded. They told revelers over loudspeakers to turn around and walk back in the other direction before the panic broke out, he said. This dumb blunder only confused the crowd and heightened the panic.
Cops have been making this same dumb mistake with large crowds for decades and never seem to learn. "Crowd Control 101, for police, needs to be re-written to end this macabre practice," said a government functionary who was not authorized to speak and was arrested and water-boarded by angry cops about a half-hour after his statement. It was unclear whether the man was being turned over to Syrian or Libyan officials for extreme rendition. "He criticized us, which is counterproductive and negative," said a former member of the Gestapo, 98, who is President of the National Union of Police Officers and Neo Nazis. (NUPONAZ).
Eyewitness Udo Sandhoefer told n-tv television that even though no one else was being let in people still streamed into the tunnel, causing ''a real mass panic.'' "You can't close only the end of a tunnel and still permit people to enter from the other end," said Sandhoefer, who was labeled a suspected terrorist and taken away in a black, sealed Humvee.
''At some point the column (of people) got stuck, probably because everything was closed up front, and we saw that the first people were already lying on the ground,'' said Sandhoefer, before he was whisked away by authorities.
''Others climbed up the walls and tried somehow to get into the grounds from the side, and the people in the crowd that moved up simply ran over those who were lying on the ground.''said an anonymous source after witnessing Sanhoefer's removal.
Another witness, a young man who wasn't named, told n-tv the tunnel became so crowded that people began falling. ''It got tighter and tighter from minute to minute and at some point everyone just wanted out,'' he said. ''People were just pushed together until they fell over.''
Duisburg city officials decided at a crisis meeting to let the parade go on to prevent more panic and another stampede, said city spokesman Frank Kopatschek.
Police initially reported 10 deaths, before raising the toll to 15, then 17, and today 19. The original injured count was 80, now raised to 342, An official "counter" from the Census Dept. was dispatched to assist in counting the corpses and the injured. When asked how she planned to conduct the recount, she stated, "One, two, three, four and so on to the last injured person and the last corpse."
It is the worst accident of its kind since nine people were crushed to death and 43 more were injured at a rock festival in Roskilde, Denmark, in 2000. That fatal accident occurred when a huge crowd pushed forward during a Pearl Jam gig.
Germany's new president expressed his dismay at the deaths as did Chancellor Merkel. No public official expressed glee over the deaths and injuries.
''Such a catastrophe that brings death, suffering and pain during a peaceful festival of happy young people is terrible,'' President Christian Wulff said, in a pre-recorded statement issued by his office. He currently is vacationing on the Black Sea and was unavailable to comment in person.
The Love Parade was once an institution in Berlin, but has been held in the industrial Ruhr region of western Germany since 2007, when Chancellor Merkle declared it un-German and banned revelers from the nation's capital.
The original Berlin Love Parade grew from a 1989 peace demonstration into a huge outdoor celebration of club culture that drew about 1.5 million people at its peak in 1999. But it suffered from financial problems and tensions with city officials in later years, and eventually moved.
Gera reported from Berlin. Associated Press Writer Geir Moulson contributed to this report from Berlin; the Graywolf edited and rewrote most of the material from Texas.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Residents of Calif. town astonished by salaries of local officials
Jul 23 2010
This article was liberally plagiarized, distorted and re-written by an anonymous, unaffiliated writer believed to reside in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal.
A resident of Bell, Calif,. holds up a placard calling for the ouster of city officials during a special city council meeting, Thursday, July 22,...
A resident of Bell, Calif, holds up a placard calling for the ouster of city officials during a special city council meeting, Thursday, July 22, 2010, in Bell, Calif.. Bell, located near Los Angeles, is noted for nothing. Council members emerged from an hours-long closed session at midnight Friday and announced that they'd accepted the resignations of Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia and Police Chief Randy Adams. Rizzo was the highest paid at $787,637 a year _ nearly twice the pay of President Barack Obama _ for overseeing one of the poorest towns in Los Angeles County, with a total population of 41,000. Spaccia makes $376,288 a year and Adams earns $457,000, 50 percent more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. Patrol officers in Bell with 3 years experience, earn $23,340 a year, only 20 times less than the chief.
Defending the salaries as essential to the maintenance of a clean, secure California city, Rizzo told reporters the town's salaries for top administrators were in line with the compensation of other key administrators in other sectors of the economy, such as investment banking, space research, securities risk assessment, atomic laboratories and the proposed Yucca Mountain national depositary for radioactive wastes.
In comparison, the part-time town council members accepting the resignations of the top administrators, averaged only about $100,000 each plus travel allowances, a car allowance and per diem for days when the council meets. One councilman, confronted by the angry taxpayers, attempted to justify the high salaries paid to the administrators and council members by comparing them to top officials in comparable municipalities such as Pittsburgh, Miami, Seattle and.... He was savagely beaten with a metal fence post wielded by a burly construction worker and was reported to be in critical condition at a local Doc-in-a-Box, the only medical facility in the town.
Local police officers were unable to identify anyone who had witnessed the attack on the councilman and said the case had to be closed for lack of evidence.
Missouri diners flee without paying, but forget purses
Jul 22 2010
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A dine-and-dash escapade went bad when two of the fleeing diners left their purses behind. The Springfield News-Leader reported that no charges had been filed as of midweek against the three women who ran from a Waffle House restaurant Sunday morning without paying their $39 bill. The general manager said the women seemed intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
The Springfield paper said a short time after fleeing, one of the women returned to the restaurant and demanded the purses, contributing more to the dumb factor. Her picture was caught on a video camera at that time and is shown above.
The manager said he told the woman she needed to wait for police to arrive, but she left. (Mgr.may have been infected by Dumb's disease also.)
A police report said the purses contained identifying documents, along with what appeared to be a check stub from another Waffle House in Arkansas.
A clueless spokesperson for Waffle House, Inc., who works in food disposal, said the women obviously were high rollers, hitting two upscale restaurants. "No Burger Kings for these ladies," he continued, "only the finest waffle flour.?" He was fired immediately.
Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Confessional can't be used as a sauna says uptight, narrow minded Austrian Archbishop
Jul 21 2010
VIENNA — Some Catholics may well sweat in the confessional as they admit to things they shouldn't have done. But Vienna's archdiocese has ruled that the box-like structure where believers confess their sins cannot be turned into a sauna.
Bidding on a confessional described on eBay as ideal for conversion into a one-person sauna, a small bar or a children's playhouse was ended when the archdiocese stepped in. Why ebay caved in to pressure from some clown in long robes and a silly pointed hat is an open question.
Archdiocese spokesman Erich Leitenberger told the daily Salzburger Nachrichten that auctioning "objects that were used for dispensing the sacraments is not acceptable."
Confessionals "should not be converted into saunas or bars," he was quoted Tuesday as saying. He gave no reason for the Archbishop's dictatorial ruling nor did the AB offer to buy the used confessional himself. The AB, who possibly could be an altar boy molester, apparently wants the church to eat the loss, and did not return calls.
The confessional was offered for auction by a Vienna church undergoing renovations.
Curiously, the highest reported amount offered by one of the 40 bidders before the item was yanked from the internet Monday was 666.66 euros.
The number 666 is commonly associated with the Antichrist _ or the devil.
A spokesman for ebay said the site had no listing for anyone named Devil, Satan or any of the common words used to describe Beelzebub.
Jul 21 2010
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — A yachter in South Africa says her trip off the country's picturesque southwestern coast was wrecked by an unexpected whack from a whale.
Paloma Werner said Wednesday the whale breached just feet (meters) from their boat in Cape Town's waters on Sunday. It whacked the yacht, snapping the mast in two. A local newspaper showed a photo, captured by a passenger on a nearby boat, of a massive black whale towering over the yacht. Werner says neither she nor her companion were hurt, and she saw the whale swimming around minutes after the collision. She says she feels lucky that the mast took the brunt of the blow.
The seas around Cape Town are teeming with whales and great white sharks during the winter months, which fall in the middle of the year.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
It's agreed, we all want to make sure the Gray Wolf is front and center!
MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press Writer
BILLINGS, Mont. – Tens of thousands of gray wolves would be returned to the woods of New England, the mountains of California, the wide open Great Plains and the desert West under a scientific petition filed Tuesday with the federal government.
The predators were poisoned and trapped to near-extermination in the United States last century, but have since clawed their way back to some of the most remote wilderness in the lower 48 states.
That recovery was boosted in the 1990s by the reintroduction of 66 wolves in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Yet as those first packs have flourished, increased livestock killings and declining big game herds have drawn sharp backlash from ranchers, hunters and officials in the Northern Rockies.
But biologists with the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity want to expand that recovery across the country. A few isolated pockets of wolves, they say, are not enough.
"If the gray wolf is listed as endangered, it should be recovered in all significant portions of its range, not just fragments," said Michael Robinson, who authored the petition. Robinson said the animals occupy less than 5 percent of their historic range in the lower 48 states.
Man nabbed smuggling 18 monkeys at Mexico airport
Jul 20 2010
MEXICO CITY — A man with a mysterious bulge under his T-shirt was stopped, searched and detained at Mexico City's international airport after authorities found 18 tiny endangered monkeys in a girdle he was wearing.
The Public Safety Department said in a statement Monday that 38-year-old Roberto Cabrera arrived on a commercial flight Friday from Lima, Peru, when authorities noticed the bulge and conducted a body search.
The department says Cabrera was carrying the 6-inch (15-centimeter) titi monkeys in pouches attached to the girdle. Two of the monkeys were dead.
Cabrera was arrested on charges of trafficking an endangered species.
Cabrera told authorities he was carrying the monkeys in a suitcase but decided to put them in his girdle "so the X-rays wouldn't hurt them."
Police: Alleged freeway shooter was targeting ACLU
Jul 20 2010
TERRY COLLINS - Associated Press Writer
(AP Photo/Madera County Sheriff's Department via the Contra Costa Times)
This undated photo provided by the Madera County Sheriff's Department shows Byron Williams. Williams, 45, of Groveland, armed with three guns and wearing a bullet proof vest opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers for several minutes during a traffic stop on an Oakland freeway Sunday before he was shot several times and wounded, authorities said.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California man known for his anger over left-leaning politics said after a freeway shootout with CHP officers that he had been planning an attack on the ACLU and another nonprofit group, police said Tuesday.
Byron Williams, 45, a parolee with two previous bank robbery convictions, wanted to "start a revolution" by killing people at the American Civil Liberties Union and Tides Foundation, both in San Francisco, Oakland police Sgt. Michael Weisenberg said in court documents.
The weekend shootout occurred during a 24-hour span in Oakland when a sniper shot at police officers from a high-rise building, and a Virginia man who had a job interview in the San Francisco Bay area was fatally shot in downtown Oakland by robbers who got away with just $17.
The spate of violence came just a week after budget problems led Oakland to lay off 80 police officers.
The Oakland Police Department is leading the investigation into the shootout, but no city officers were involved in the incident that occurred on Interstate 580.
The FBI joined the case after a binder entitled "California" was discovered in the truck driven by Williams and removed by a bomb squad robot, CHP spokesman Sam Morgan said.
Officer Jeff Thomason, an Oakland police spokesman, said the two nonprofit groups were targeted because of their political ideologies. The ACLU is a civil rights group, while the Tides Foundation says on its website that it works to advance progressive social change.
"It's an unbelievable incident," Thomason said, adding that authorities believe Williams was acting alone. "We're very fortunate in the Bay Area that the CHP was able to stop him."
Sitting in a wheelchair, Williams was arraigned Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court after being released from a hospital where he was treated for gunshot wounds to his arms and legs. He looked down and did not enter a plea as a judge read the charges _ four counts of attempted murder on peace officers, plus weapons and body armor enhancements.
The judge also noted that Williams' two previous convictions for bank robbery could make him eligible for life in prison under California's Three Strikes Law if he is convicted in the CHP shootout.
No CHP officers were seriously injured in the incident.
Williams was wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with three guns, including a rifle, as he traveled to San Francisco late Saturday night in his mother's Toyota Tundra, police said. He is accused of opening fire on California Highway Patrol officers who approached his truck after pulling him over for speeding and weaving in traffic.
Williams surrendered and was arrested after a 12-minute gunbattle with 12 officers, most of whom responded as Williams reloaded several times, police said. Morgan said about 150 rounds were fired during shootout.
Williams had "made a decision that he would not be arrested and that he was willing to shoot and kill the officers," according to the probable cause statement filed in court.
During a police interview at the hospital, Williams said he had planned to camp out in San Francisco on Sunday night then begin his attack when the ACLU and Tides Foundation opened Monday, Thomason said.
Christine Coleman, spokeswoman for the foundation, said the organization had taken additional security measure to protect its staff.
"We had never heard of this man before," Coleman said. "We cannot speculate about the incident while the investigation is going on."
Phone calls to the ACLU of Northern California were not immediately returned.
Williams also told investigators he was upset because he had not been able to find a job and because of the poor economy, Thomason said.
Williams' mother, Janice Williams, told the San Francisco Chronicle her son had been angry with "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items."
A phone message left for Janice Williams by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.
North Carolina Man Charged with Shooting Wife with Toilet Paper
July 20 2010
REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- A 55-year-old North Carolina woman was taken to the hospital
after her husband loaded a gun with toilet paper and shot her in the back early
Tuesday morning, according to the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office.
The severity of the woman's injuries and a motive for the shooting were not given in this report but it would appear to be about 1) toilet paper usage or 2) some issue concerning the couple's bathroom.
It also was not made clear whether the toilet paper used was ultra soft Charmin or a cheaper, coarser brand. An attorney said that the use of the softer, Charmin, might be a mitigating factor if the man were sentenced to jail time for the assault.
We, at BizarreStuff, did not have time to read it but more detailed information may be obtained by reading the complete article at:
Visit WGHP at http://www.myfox8.com
UK Couple, Doctors, Bewildered
Time.com, Zander Sharp
A black couple living in the U.K. were shocked at the birth of their a blonde haired, blue-eyed girl.
Ben Ihegboro must have briefly questioned his wife Angela's fidelity after the birth of Nmachi, and he conceded: “We both just sat there after the birth staring at her”. As there is no known mixed-race background in either of the parents' families, geneticists are baffled by the newborn's surprise appearance.
Nmachi is the couple's third child, with Dumebi, 2, and Chisom, 4, each bearing a strong resemblance to their parents. Doctors rejected the possibility of the baby being albino. The real cause is unknown, with the only explanation being a "genetic quirk."
Professor Bryan Sykes, head of human genetics at Oxford University, described the birth as "extraordinary," telling The Sun that for the baby to be completely white, both Ben and Angela would need to have "some form of white ancestry.'" The explanation for this lies in that mixed-race women carry some eggs containing genes for white skin and others for black; similarly men carry the same range of genes in their sperm. Professor Sykes commented: "The hair is extremely unusual. Even many blonde children don't have blonde hair like this at birth."
Ben said that his son Chisom "keeps coming to look at his sister and then sits down looking puzzled."
It's becoming more and more accepted that "race" is an artificial, social, even governmental construct. Scientists have established that there is greater genetic variation within "races" than between "races." Within any luck, monikers associated with race can one day become irrelevant.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sidney the snail wins world championship… slowly
Monday, July 19, 2010
In the international racing world this is not the most thrilling or action-loaded event but for the owners of these thoroughbreds, it's the Triple Crown all rolled into one. These finely honed athletes are fierce competitors, even though it took this years champ, Sidney, 3 minutes and 41 seconds to complete the 13 inch run for the roses. Welcome to the World Snail Racing Championship 2010.
The highly prestigious race, featuring more than 200 of the world's fastest snails, takes place annually in Norfolk. A roar breaks out from the crowd when the referee gives the signal to start with the familiar: "Ready, steady, SLOW!"
The racers begin at the center of a circular table and sprint to the circular finish line 13 inches away. After a series of rounds, the winner is declared and awarded a silver mug filled with lettuce.
This year Sidney brought home the honors for 62-year-old owner and trainer, Claire Lawrence. A proud Ms. Lawrence pointed out that the time of 3m 41s… is only a little slower than the 1500m race at the Olympics. Event organiser, Hilary Scase, said: "Snails like damp conditions and as Congham is surrounded by ponds and is very low lying it is just right for snails. Congham is to snail racing what Newmarket and Churchhill Downs are to horse racing.”
An unauthorized spokesperson for the event stated she was not authorized to speak and didn't. An American Civil Liberties Union representative in attendance said the muzzling of the unauthorized spokesperson was a violation of his/her right to freedom of speech. Race organizers immediately moved to muzzle the libertarian.
An authorized spokesperson for the World Federation of Snail Breeders said the controversy was the best publicity snail breeders could have hoped for. "Outside of France, where the snail is one of the symbols of haute cuisine, snails are used mainly for cleaning fish tanks and other menial occupations."
So it goes.
Coffee from cat droppings clean enough for Muslims
Jul 20 2010
(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2004 file photo, a civet cat climbs a coffee tree to eat ripe cherries at a farm in Indang, Cavite province in Philippines. Indonesia's top Islamic body had said it could forbid followers from drinking the world's most expensive coffee, extracted from the dung of a civet cat, over concerns it is unclean as early as Tuesday, July 20, 2010. Instead, it declared it "clean."
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia's top Islamic body declared Tuesday that Muslims can drink civet coffee _ the world's most expensive coffee, which is extracted from the dung of civet cats.
A preacher recently suggested the beverage might not be "halal" _ or religiously approved _ because its unusual provenance makes it unclean. But after a long discussion Tuesday, the influential Indonesian Ulema Council said that the coffee, known locally as Kopi Luwak, could be consumed as long as the beans were washed.
Kopi Luwak, which takes it name from the Indonesian word for civets, is made from hard beans that have been eaten by the nocturnal critters and then fermented in their stomachs before being pooped out and roasted. Civet cats are mongoose-like animals.
It's highly prized for its smooth flavor and bitterless aftertaste, sometimes fetching well over $200 a pound ($440 per kilogram) online.
"Kopi Luwak can be declared 'halal' after passing through a washing process," said Maruf Amien, acting head of the council. "Producing, selling and drinking it is allowed."
In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, Kopi Luwak is produced in the main Java island, Sumatra and Sulawesi. It is also found under different names elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Only 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) are said to be produced annually worldwide.
The Ulema Council has often issued fatwas, or edicts, including several controversial rulings against smoking and yoga. Its edicts are not legally binding, but many devout Muslims abide by them.
Monday, July 19, 2010
19 July, 2010
Syria is about 85% Muslim. So it comes as something of a surprise to learn that the secularist Syrian government recently banned the wearing of the traditional Muslim veil by women students in universities. The ban is even more surprising in light of the widespread movement in West European nations, led by France and Germany to ban or place restrictions on the use of traditional Muslim garb by women.
Western women find the burqa and the veil to be manifestations of the oppression of women. More practical arguments claim that the bulky apparel is an impediment to learning, while others argue that the veil conceals a person who may have the intent to commit a crime or as a means of hiding from public authority. Police can't go around lifting Muslim women's veils to search for a criminal.
In the view of this blog's editor, the burqa and veil are throwbacks to a repressive religious control of women by Muslim clerics who seek to prevent the incursion of Western values and practices, which inevitably will diminish their power and control of political and social values in Muslim dominated cultures.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Elderly man with oxygen tank robs bank
Oct 11, 2009 - An elderly man robbed a bank with an oxygen mask
Saturday, a 60-70 year old male walked into a bank in San Diego and robbed the place. He was seen with an oxygen tank and a tube running to his nose.
The man walked into the San Diego National Bank around 10:10 am and handed a teller a demand note, then fled the scene with the money. The amount was undisclosed. Motivation for the robbery was unclear because the man's oxygen tank was full.
Witnesses reported not seeing the suspect with a weapon.
According to the FBI, the suspect was approximately 6 feet, 4 inches tall, wearing a blazer, slacks, and prescription eye glasses. Readers were encouraged to contact the FBI with any possible information on the suspect.
Oxygen-carrying robber who fled NY dies in Md. crash
Jul 16 2010
NEW YORK — Authorities say a man who robbed a New York City store while attached to an oxygen tank has died in a car accident in Maryland.
Police say the man, identified as 60/70-year-old Arthur Williams, of Gadsden, Ala., walked into a Turkish men's wear store in Manhattan last Friday with a cane and breathing through a tube connected to the tank. Police say he fired three shots after demanding money, but fled empty-handed. No one was injured.
Officials say Williams made his way to Maryland where he robbed two hotels early Sunday.
A description of the robber went over police airwaves and a state trooper, who was following a drunken driver, realized he was pursuing the robber when he caught sight of a large, white oxygen tank, standing next to the driver. The trooper decided it was too risky to shoot because of a possible explosion and decided to allow the driver to kill himself.
After a 2 1/2-mile chase, authorities say the robber ran off the road and crashed into a parked car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The oxygen tank was recovered intact and was half full. "He could have driven another 200 miles without an oxygen refill," said a Maryland police spokesman who was not authorized to speak.
Authorities plan to auction off the man's corpse to a regional hospital, to be used to train forensic pathologists.
Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com
Horny Man In Tulsa Assault Bust
JULY 14--Meet Jesse Thornhill. The Tulsa man was arrested early today after he allegedly tried to run down his landlady with a car. Following his arrest for assault with a dangerous weapon, Thornhill, 28, was booked into the Tulsa County jail, where this booking photo was snapped. Yes, Thornhill has horns. The jarring cosmetic, um, improvement is noted thusly in the "personal oddities" section of a Tulsa Police Department report: "Horns, neck tattoos, implant earrings on head." According to cops, the landlady was in the street when Thornhill "attempted to strike her with his vehicle but missed" due to her "jumping out of the vehicle's path." Thornhill was released this morning after posting $10,000 bond in connection with the felony rap.
Thornhill has been looking for a job, perhaps as a greeter or a waiter in a top quality Tulsa restaurant but has not been successful in 3 years. Thornhill claims he is being discriminated against by employers because of his personal appearance, well...umm...yeah.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Skydiver Plans Record-Breaking Supersonic Space Jump
Zoe Macintosh - Space .com
Tue Jul 13, 8:45 am ET
A skydiver is making progress with plans to leap from near the edge of space in a dive that would break world records and the sound barrier.
Starting in the stratosphere at 120,000 feet (about 23 miles) above the ground, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner will leap from a capsule suspended by a helium balloon near the boundary of space. Inside the capsule, Baumgartner will be exposed to as much as minus 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The jump is sponsored by the energy drink company Red Bull, which is calling Baumgartner's mission the Red Bull Stratos ("stratos" is Greek for "Holy Shit that's fast").
A team of aeronautics experts recently led Baumgartner through a week of testing meant to illuminate any possible weaknesses in his equipment and to familiarize him with the skills needed to navigate the conditions expected to assail him as soon as he opens his vessel door. Even a slight stumble during this step could cause dangerous alterations in his in-flight position only moments later, as well as reduce his chances of actually breaking the sound barrier.
"We still have an unknown, which is what happens to my body when I break the speed of sound, but at least we're going to know that I'm able to handle the step-off," Baumgartner said.
No simple showman, Baumgartner wondered if the dangerous pioneering mission would mean his own death. The possibility has proved daunting enough to impact his decision to invite his own mother to watch the dive.
According to a press officer for Red Bull, the actual experiment will take place somewhere in North America in 2010.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Police: Transgendered woman arrested in ID bomb plot
July 11, 2010
A transgendered woman who was at odds with police over the way they listed her gender was arrested for investigation of rigging what appeared to be four pipe bombs to a propane tank at her home, torching her car then running naked along a rural highway.
Catherine Carlson, 53, pictured above, was arrested Sunday after firefighters responding to a report of a fire found pipes made to look like bombs on the porch of her trailer home in Payette, with a note warning of a booby-trap, authorities said.
About 50 homes were evacuated in the southwestern Idaho city when another call came in, reporting a car fire at a storage unit on U.S. Highway 95. The vehicle had been doused in gasoline.
Another call alerted police to a naked woman running down the highway, carrying what also appeared to be a pipe bomb. Police later learned the pipe contained legal documents, not explosives.
"She's had some issues with the Payette County jail regarding her sexual orientation," Payette Police Chief Mark Clark told KIVI-TV. "During questioning, Carlson said she is trying to bring attention to her plight."
Carlson was being held in Payette County jail on suspicion of use of weapons of mass destruction, ("OMG, here they are, Mr. Bush, in Idaho") arson and indecent exposure.
It could not be immediately determined if she had a lawyer.
Carlson legally changed her name to Catherine Carlson more than three decades ago, before she had a sex change operation in 1980.
In 2007, she clashed with authorities over a traffic citation after they included her given name, Daniel Carlson, on some documents. The name Daniel Carlson is listed as an "aka," or "also known as," on the citation records.
Since receiving the citation, Carlson has been jailed at least four times for investigation of failure to appear for court-ordered community service, driving without a license and other allegations.
Among other things, she objected to being held in a cell by herself, rather than in a housing unit for female prisoners, as she had requested.
Payette County prosecutor Anne Marie Kelso didn't immediately return a phone call following an initial court hearing Monday.
Idaho State Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were among about a half-dozen agencies that responded to the incident on Sunday. It was classic law enforcement overkill. A bomb-squad robot was used to blow up the pipes found at the trailer home. The Payette Police Department didn't immediately respond to a question about the composition of those devices.
Several residents of the trailer park where Carlson lived said the alleged bombs looked more like taped up bottle rockets than bombs and recalled that Carlson was shooting off bottle rockets in front of her trailer only a week earlier, on July 4th.
Officials from the ATFE also declined to reveal the composition of the "bombs," citing national security requirements.
In a brief interview, Ms. Carlson claimed the Payette police and "all those other #%$&@# cops" were crazy as loons and wouldn't know the difference between a firecracker and a Patriot Missile. "I'm a beautiful woman and they are just jealous because their wives are so ugly," according to Carlson.
Need to get somewhere really fast, money no object?
The car for you may be the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, shown above. This road ready sports car can get you to your bank before closing time at 276 MPH and turn heads along the way. The model shown above costs about $1.2 million but it comes equipped with all the latest extras and has possibly the best extended warranty on the market, for life, yours.
Since 2005, when the Veyron was first introduced, Bugatti has sold about 500 of the cars. Several middle-eastern princes keep one parked in Paris, London or Rome for their European visits. Bugatti offers or should offer owners a place to store their vehicles, free of charge, in a heated, cooled and humidity controlled warehouse, near the Bugatti plant at Molsheim in Alsace, where the Bugatti marque first began, in 1909.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
NM Man Set on Fire After Losing Drinking Bet
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
| July 10, 2010
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -- A 47-year-old man's friends set his prosthetic leg on fire after he lost a drinking bet, causing him to suffer severe burns to his buttocks and lower back. Dona Ana County sheriff's deputies found the man naked on the side of U.S. Route 70 with his prosthetic leg in flames. Deputies learned that the man and his friends were drinking Monday and bet that whoever drank the least would be set on fire.
When asked, a local attorney pointed out the naked man probably had a products liability case against the prosthetic device manufacturer for not taking sufficient precautions to guard against a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury.
It also was not clear if the man had insurance on the fake leg. Depending on his injuries a good fake leg can range form $7000 to as much as $35,000, with the average going for about $12 to 15,000.
The injured wagerer was mainly upset because his friends were driving him to a hospital, got cold feet, and decided to dump him alongside a highway instead.
Police were investigating to determine what charges might be filed against the "friends" but so far only illegal dumping along a state highway has come up.
Alabama Inmate Asked to Play Fugitive. Succeeds.
AP - July 9, 2010 12:04 PM ET
CAPSHAW, Ala. (AP) - A Limestone Correction Facility inmate who disappeared while acting as a fugitive during a dog training session was the subject of a search after he failed to return.
Warden Dorothy Goode asked the inmate, 37-year-old David Hopkins (not pictured above), to immerse himself in the part of a fugitive for the canine unit on Thursday.
The warden says a "be on the lookout" warning was sent out after Hopkins, who is serving a life sentence for theft of property, didn't show up for head count. Other law enforcement agencies joined in the search.
Goode says Hopkins, a method actor, was found after about an hour. The warden says the inmate had gotten lost and was not trying to escape. Hopkins can now be seen in the prison's production of "Walking Tall," playing Sheriff Buford T. Pusser. The dogs who lost Hopkins declined to be interviewed.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Man in buff startles drivers on California freeway
Jul 09 2010
LOS ANGELES — Southern California commuters can now say they've seen it all, including a well endowed naked man in the middle of Interstate 405. California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada said the first call came at the height of rush-hour Thursday _ a man with no clothes was in the center divide of the freeway. Then came a rush of calls reporting the man in the buff.
Long Beach police detained the 21-year-old man and gave him a mental health evaluation.
Police said he was taken into custody and will be charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure.
Several female motorists contacted the Long Beach PD with offers to post the man's bail if he could be released to their personal custody. A police official said the department would have to contact the State Attorney General's Office on Monday to deetermine if a prisoner can be released into the custody of an unrelated third party who posted bond for his release.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com
Friday, July 9, 2010
Seductive Russian spy used her physical charms to make contacts in the U.S., allegedly to provide secret information to Russia
July 9, 2010
A beautiful, seductive Russian woman, age 28, is believed to have plied her trade in the darkened hideaways and nightclubs of Washington's elite in an attempt to ingratiate herself with influential U.S. officials. Chapman, pictured, and nine of her Russian spy colleagues pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiring to serve as unlawful foreign agents, and agreed never to return to the U.S., as part of an exchange of spies between the U.S. and Russia, in the neutral nation of Austria, birthplace of Beethoven.
It was not revealed by officials in what areas of espionage the sultry Ms. Chapman used her charms to seduce U.S. officials to turn over sensitive information in exchange for Chapman's sexual favors.
Chapman, who previously had lived in England for five years, was married whilst there to a British citizen, who described his former wife as "wild."
LOS ANGELES — Lindsay Lohan will be going to jail without one of her biggest advocates _ her attorney, who gets paid to be her advocate.
The actress' attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, resigned from the case shortly after releasing a statement Thursday calling a judge's 90-day jail sentence for Lohan "harsh and unfair."
A weeping and sobbing Ms. Lohan cradled her face in her hands and appeared ready to throw herself to the floor and engage in a real temper tantrum but one of her attendants restrained her and promised her a hot bath and a thorough massage when they arrived home, which seemed to mollify the infantile, spoiled Ms. Lohan.
Just because she has repeatedly broken the terms of her probation and failed to attend required alcohol education meetings should not result in her having to go to jail. She is a fragile young woman and this is a traumatic experience for her. She is accustomed to sleeping on luxury beds, with silk sheets, and servants to bring her every amenity she demands. To be forced to live in a real jail cell, where other common criminals have slept amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.
Holley said Lohan would serve her sentence, nevertheless, which because of overcrowding and budget cuts is likely to be much shorter than the three months ordered by the judge.
The attorney also said the 24-year-old actress would comply with the other terms of her sentence, which include a three-month stay in rehab and reporting to a probation officer for drug and alcohol testing.
Revel determined Lohan violated her probation on a 2007 drug and drunk driving case by missing seven alcohol education classes since December, when the judge ordered her to attend weekly sessions.
The attorney, who was a member of O.J. Simpson's famed defense team, successfully kept Lohan out of trouble, even after her alcohol-education program reported problems with the star last year.
On Tuesday, Holley placed her arm around Lohan as she burst into tears while pleading for leniency and apologizing to the judge. "That acting performance alone should have gotten the complaint dismissed," according to a spokesman for no one but a huge fan of the actress.
Lohan pleaded guilty in August 2007 to two misdemeanor counts of being under the influence of cocaine; no contest to two counts of driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08 percent and one count of reckless driving. She was sentenced to three years of probation with no jail time.
Lohan has treated the terms of her probation like petty, useless activities she should not be required to perform, which culminated in the judge revoking her probation in May and forcing her to wear an alcohol ankle monitor.
To show her dissatisfaction with the judge, Ms. Lohan reportedly wore hand-painted obscenities on the nails of both of her middle fingers. The judge, who could have held the little snit in contempt for this act, chose to overlook it in announcing her sentence.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
We hope Clavin has taken note that our membership now has cracked the quadruple sawbuck barrier and appears poised to skyrocket during the lazy blog reading months of July-August.
Thanks and welcome to our new members. If you like bizarre or you yourself are bizarre, you have come to the right place, Bizzarestuff, an American and Internet fixture since October, 2008.
Study: Pot prices would plummet if Calif legalizes
Jul 07 2010
By LISA LEFF - Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO — A ballot measure to legalize marijuana in California would so upend supply and demand that pot prices could plummet by as much as 90 percent and possibly undercut the tax windfall that supporters have touted to sell the initiative, a study published Wednesday found.
The study by the nonpartisan RAND Drug Policy Research Center forecasts some interesting scenarios if California in November becomes the second state, after Alaska, to legalize pot for recreational use by adults and the first to tax commercial cannabis sales.
Pot prices could drop from $375 an ounce under the state's current medical marijuana law to as little as $38 per ounce before taxes as legal pot suddenly becomes available to the public, RAND researhers concluded.
"Right now, when individuals purchase drugs, they are paying for the drug dealer taking risks of being arrested," said Beau Kilmer, the center's co-director and the report's lead author.
The exact amount of revenue legalized pot would bring California is still up in the air. The ballot initiative authorizes counties to license and tax commercial pot sales to adults, leaving it up to local jurisdictions to decide what kind of tax rates to apply to marijuana.
The researchers said legalization could bring substantially more revenue if California sees an influx of "marijuana tourism" similar to Amsterdam, where pot is legally sold at coffee shops, and if out-of-state dealers purchase California cannabis to sell back home.
"You would certainly guess that if it's cheaper to produce it in California legally than to import it from Mexico, it would reduce imports from Mexico," Jonathan Caulkins, a Carnegie Mellon University who also worked on the study, said. "Presumably, it would decrease them a lot."
Yet intervention from the federal government, which classifies marijuana as an illegal drug, or regulations limiting marijuana sales to California residents, as is the case now with medical marijuana, easily could defeat dreams of tourists flocking to the coast on pot vacations, Caulkins noted.
RAND analyzed existing research on marijuana prices, cigarette taxes and current pot consumption and applied modeling techniques to determine possible outcomes if pot were to be legalized.
The California Board of Equalization studied the financial impacts of pot while evaluating a bill introduced in the Legislature last year that would have taxed and regulated marijuana like alcohol. Sales taxes and a $50 per ounce excise tax on commercial pot sales would generate $1.4 billion for the state, according to that study.
But that estimate could prove overly optimistic, depending on how pot users and sellers respond to the idea of paying hefty taxes on a weed that can be grown at home, the RAND anaylsis said.
Consumer prices for pot would rise to about $91 an ounce if local governments adopt that same $50 an ounce tax scheme following passage of the ballot measure _ still substantially lower than what Californians pay now but high enough to create incentives for growers to sell the drug under the table to avoid paying the government duty.
"When the purchase price goes way down, that cuts down on sales tax revenue, which was $400 million of the $1.4 billion (estimate)," Caulkins said. "What could adversely affect the excise tax is the gray market" that could be created by tax evaders.
Another difficulty the researchers said they faced in trying to tally the economic benefits of marijuana legalization is not knowing how many local governments, if any, would decide to license and tax marijuana sales and if they do, at what rate.
The RAND team was more certain that legalizing adult use of marijuana would cause pot consumption to go up in California, although they said they could not say by how much. Under one model they used, it would grow by about half and under another it would double, reaching rates last seen in the late 1970s.
"We have to realize that marijuana legalization in California would not be a marginal change, it would be a large change," Kilmer said.
The researchers did not try to draw any conclusions about whether legalizing marijuana was good public policy and instead hoped their findings would make voters question "any estimates of revenues and consumption that claim precision," Kilmer said.
RAND, a nonprofit think tank headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., paid for the research to educate voters ahead of the election, he said.
Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, who co-directs the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, acknowledged that as a California voter, she was uncomfortable with "the lack of specificity" in both the ballot measure and the bill that would have put pot in the same regulatory category as alcohol.
"Neither was sufficient for us to get an idea of what the effect of this was, and as a voter that was disturbing to me," she said.
Dale Gieringer, president of the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said legalization advocates have long expected marijuana prices to go down and pot use to go up if criminal penalties were removed.
"Overall, this report casts more smoke than light on the issue , but that is in the nature of any academic study where so many basic facts remain in dispute," Gieringer said. "The most important lesson to be taken away is that the benefits of legalization depend strongly on how it is implemented.
Some veteran growers in far northern California oppose legalization, fearing it would increase competition and cut profits, while others are embracing it as a way to legitimize their line of work.
"I think it will get a big vote up here," said Dan Hamburg, a former Mendocino County congressman and medical marijuana advocate who has endorsed Proposition 19. "Even though you would think all the growers will be against it, I don't think the smarter ones look at it that way. They realize the marijuana-growing counties have a lot to benefit from being legal ... because people up here have been doing it for 40 years."
Pity Poor Mario's Balls
Posted July 7, 2010
A Croatian man got a nasty surprise when he tried to get out of his deck chair and found his testicles had got stuck.
Mario Visnjic had gone swimming naked in the sea at the Valalta beach in western Croatia.
His testicles had shrunk while in the cool sea and slipped through the wooden slats when he sat back down on his wooden deckchair.
But as he lay in the sun they expanded back to normal size and got stuck between the slats.
He was eventually freed after he called beach maintenance services on his mobile phone and they sent a member of staff to cut the deck chair in half.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Adelaide: Somewhere In Australia
An unidentified woman, presumably rich, is seeking court intervention concerning the $10.5 million legal fees she says she has been charged in a hard-fought five-year divorce battle.
Her husband has allegedly spent $26 million in legal fees, so far, in the case, which is Australia's most expensive divorce, reports the Herald Sun.
Contending in court papers that the legal fees she was charged were unfair and unreasonable, the Adelaide woman says she is stressed and strapped for cash and asks the Supreme Court to intervene and cut the bill.
Her now-former law firm, which is not identified, says the client was "fully informed" that "not all lawyers charged on the same basis" and says it did what it did to pursue her goal of "maximiz[ing] the chance of a successful outcome."
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
(AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)
91 year-old woman keeps corpses of husband, sister in her home.
In This June 25, 2010 photo, Jean Stevens, 91, holds a photograph from the 1940s of herself and her late husband, James, outside her home in Wyalusing, Pa. Authorities say Stevens stored the bodies of her husband, who died in 1999, and her twin, who died in October 2009, on her property. As state police finish their investigation into a singularly macabre case, no charges have been filed, Stevens wishes she could be reunited with James Stevens, her husband of nearly 60 years, and June Stevens, her twin. But their bodies are with the Bradford County coroner now, off-limits to the woman who loved them best.
WYALUSING, Pa. — A 91-year-old woman found living with the corpses of her husband and twin sister will be allowed to keep them if she installs a mausoleum or crypt, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Stevens previously told The Associated Press that she kept the embalmed remains of her loved ones because she wanted to be able to see them and talk to them. She also said she's claustrophobic and couldn't stand the thought of their bodies in caskets in the ground.
State police have been investigating the bizarre case since the corpses were discovered in mid-June. Authorities found the body of James Stevens on a couch in the detached garage and the body of June Stevens on a couch in a spare room off the bedroom.
Stevens had them dug up shortly after they died _ James in 1999 and June in October _ and tended to their remains at her rural property outside the northern Pennsylvania town of Wyalusing.
Barrett said a decision on charges could be made as early as Friday, after he meets with investigators.
He said authorities are looking into several possible violations, including misdemeanor abuse of a corpse. He also cited possible summary violations of the state health code, which regulates how bodies must be disinterred.
"There were some things done here that were not lawful," he said.
No kidding Mr. Rectitude. Give it a rest.
Monday, July 5, 2010
San Diego police Lt. Jim Filley says the Pacific Beach homeowner called police after wandering downstairs and finding the snoring man.
Filley says the naked man was drunk and thought he was in his own home in Mission Valley, some 20 miles away.
The man, whose name wasn't released, had taken off his clothes outside the house and walked in through the unlocked front door.
The homeowner declined to press charges. And since the intruder had sobered up, he was released to find his own way home. He couldn't and asked to be taken to jail instead. The patrol office told him he could only arrest him if he committed a crime. The man then removed all his clothing again, on the sidewalk in front of the home, and asked to be arrested for indecent exposure. The weary cop told him to put his clothes back on and he would arrest him.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Ex-champ Koboyashi arrested at NYC hot dog event
Jul 04 2010
VERENA DOBNIK - Associated Press Writer
The Champ The Chump
(AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
World Champion hot dog eater Joey Chestnut celebrates his win at the Famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest eating 54 hot dogs Sunday, July 4, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
NEW YORK — A Japanese eating champion who sat out this year's Coney Island Fourth of July hot dog contest apparently couldn't resist the temptation to hotdog afterward.
Competitive eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut gobbled his way to a fourth consecutive championship Sunday. But he was suddenly upstaged by the surprise appearance of his biggest rival _ six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi, who did not compete but crashed the stage after Chestnut's win and wrestled with police.
"Let him eat! Let him eat!" the crowd chanted as police handcuffed the world's No. 3 professional eater, dubbed "The Tsunami."
The 32-year-old Kobayashi did not eat this year because he refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating _ the fast food equivalent of the NFL. On his Japanese-language blog, he said he wanted to be free to compete in contests sanctioned by other groups.
But a few days ago, he told Japan's Kyodo News: "I really want to compete in the event."
Kobayashi mingled with the crowd watching the contest, standing inside a police-barricaded pen just under the stage. When the eating ended, he slipped up the stage stairs and was welcomed by host George Shea.
Then, several security officers appeared and tried to usher him off. He grabbed a metal police barricade with both hands, holding on tightly as the officers pulled at him. Finally, they dragged him down the stairs, with Kobayashi resisting vehemently.
He was under arrest Sunday afternoon, charged with resisting arrest, trespass and obstructing governmental administration
"There's a contract dispute, so they weren't giving him his freedom," said Kobayashi's interpreter, Maggie James.
Minutes earlier, Chestnut downed 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win the annual Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, televised live on ESPN.
The runner-up was Tim "Eater X" Janus, with a total of 45. Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti came in third with 37 dogs.
Chestnut was disappointed with his performance, despite claiming the bejeweled, mustard-yellow belt plus a $20,000 purse. The 26-year-old from San Jose, Calif., was aiming for a record 70 dogs in 10 minutes, beating his own record of 68 last year.
"I was dehydrated going in," he told The Associated Press, explaining that he did not drink enough liquids the day before because he was striving for an emptier stomach.
After witnessing the drama involving Kobayashi, Chestnut said, "I feel bad for him."
Still, the Fourth on Coney Island paid tribute to two of America's biggest loves: hot dogs and competition.
The two pastimes merged by the Brooklyn boardwalk, with a crowd of thousands squeezed elbow-to-elbow on a sweltering afternoon, with temperatures around 90 degrees.
Eight-year-old Stephen Pearce found his own way of keeping cool _ with ice cubes melting atop his head. "It feels good."
He said something else was "cool" as he watched Chestnut: "I could never eat that many hot dogs! It's gross," said the boy from Chappaqua, N.Y.
Americans enjoy 150 million hot dogs each July 4 _ "enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times," said Janet "Queen of Wien" Riley, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council.
Last year, Chestnut ate 68 dogs against Kobayashi's 64. That's about as many as the average American eats in a year _ 60, according to the council.
Coney Island is said to be the birthplace of fast food.
The first hot dog was sold here around 1870 by German butcher Charles Feltman. His competitive, Polish-born employee, Nathan Handwerker, opened his own business in 1916 _ Nathan's Famous, still the backdrop to the contest started here that year.
According to local lore, immigrants arguing about who was most patriotic settled their dispute by testing who could eat more franks. Irishman Jim Mullen won with 13.
After watching the stomach-churning feast, some of the tens of thousands of spectators could have used Pepto-Bismol _ a new 2010 sponsor _ before they joined the demolition-derby crowd of sticky bodies bumping their way through Surf Avenue.
The way Shea sees it, a hot dog-eating contest and America's biggest city were made for each other: "New York is a jewel built on the dream of greatness, and that same dream is driving every competitive eater."
And it wasn't over till the hot-dog "Tsunami" hit Coney Island _ just not quite the way anyone expected.