We signalled for time-out! No fair!

Everyone knows the hand signal for a time-out, right? Make a “T” with your hands and everything comes to a temporary halt. Well, it turns out that some criminals are stupid enough to to think that applies in a polie chase, too.

Philippine police chased down an unfit thief on Tuesday after he ran out of breath and asked his pursuers for a “time out.”

“He was panting and gasping for air when we caught up with him after a 500 meter sprint,” Erwin Buenceso, one of the arresting officers, told local radio station dzBB.

On the plus side (for the stupid criminals), the police did wait for the men to catch their breath before arresting them and recovering the stolen goods. Read the full article for how that all played out.

[tags]Stupid, Dumb crook news, Stupid criminals, Sometimes time-out doesn’t count[/tags]

The world will end…

If you’ve been planning out the next 53 years of your life, you might want to make a mark on the calendar on when you can stop making plans. The details aren’t exactly clear on which date is the ultimate, final, specific omega date, but according to Newton, the world will end no sooner than 2060. He gets this information from the Bible, so you knows it’s accurate.

His famously analytical mind worked out the laws of gravity and unravelled the motion of the planets.

And when it came to predicting the end of the world, Sir Isaac Newton was just as precise.

He believed the Apocalypse would come in 2060 – exactly 1,260 years after the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire, according to a recently published letter.

Continue reading The world will end…

Government slowing on plans to implement ineffective Real ID plan. For now.

I haven’t made much mention of the Real ID act before other than stating that it is a plan to implement a meaningless identification system. It has no value, provides no security or safety, and increases costs to states as an unfunded federal mandate – meaning you and I pay more in state taxes with no reprieve in federal tax payments. In what can only be described as an unexpected move, the now more liberal Senate is implementing changes and ammendments which will slow down and perhaps ultimately stop the Real ID act by limiting the allowable uses of the federally mandated identification card. Maybe I’m just out-of-touch, but I don’t typically expect liberals to make moves that will reduce how much the government interferes with our private lives. However, that’s the movement that is spreading through the Senate right now.

During Wednesday’s floor debate over a massive immigration bill, Real ID foes managed to preserve an amendment to prohibit the forthcoming identification card from being used for mandatory employment verification, signaling that the political winds have shifted from when the law was overwhelmingly enacted two years ago.

The anti-Real ID amendment is backed by two Montana Democrats, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, who say the digital ID cards represent an unreasonable government intrusion into Americans’ private lives. In April, Montana became one of the states that has voted to reject Real ID.

One of the (numerous) problems with the Real ID act is that it is viewed as some security solution. Somehow, if we could just KNOW with whom we are dealing, then we can KNOW if we are at risk or not. I’m not sure where this fallacy comes from, but it appears to have grown since the 9/11 attacks. Apparently, many people believe that had we had this kind of ID system in place, the terrorists couldn’t have flown the planes into buildings. Years ago Bruce Schneier wrote how identification does not equal knowledge of intention. In other words, just because you can say WHO someone is doesn’t mean you can say WHAT they intend to do. And that doesn’t even deal with the issue of forged identity cards. All the 9/11 terrorists had some form of ID. Some had valid state-issued ID cards. Some had fake IDs comparable to what under-age people try to use to get into bars or other age-restricted venues.

Continue reading Government slowing on plans to implement ineffective Real ID plan. For now.

One-eye gator and a man’s one good ball

Sometimes, words cannot fully express our concerns for the well-being of others. We wish this man well, and hope for a speedy recovery from the injury he suffered while trying to get a good grip on his wet, sloppy ball.

A man who lost his ball in a golf course pond nearly lost a limb when a nearly 11-foot alligator latched on to his arm and pulled him in the water, authorities said.

. . .

Burger, from Lenoir City, Tennessee, was taken to a hospital but was not seriously injured, Morse said Tuesday.

It took seven Fish and Wildlife officers an hour to trap the one-eyed alligator, which measured 10 feet, 11 inches, Morse said.

See, in Tennessee, we’re just used to dealing with snakes when trying to find our balls. We don’t often see that many teeth in places where we would find our balls.

[tags]Man gets bit hard trying to grab one of his balls, Beware alligator[/tags]

Hot-dog king throwing in the towel

Blaming arthritis, hot-dog eating champion Kobayashi is calling it quits after the July 4th competition next week. His downfall? Arthritis in his jaw.

He described the affliction as an “occupational hazard” that has all but crushed his hopes of defending his title at the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth International Hot Dog Eating Contest, in New York next week. The diminutive Mr Kobayashi, 29, first outgobbled his most voracious American rivals at the speed and volume event seven years ago.

. . .

Yet in an emotional entry on his blog, Mr Kobayashi revealed that his rigorous training regime, which involves stretching his stomach with large quantities of cabbage and water, had left his mouth all but paralysed.

. . .

He goes on to berate himself for not accepting the inevitable sooner. “I feel so ashamed that I didn’t hear the alarm bells ringing in my own body,” he writes, “but with the aim of winning the title and setting a new record in my head, I couldn’t stop my training regime so close to the competition.”

Like a professional athlete, he pushed his body beyond the bounds that constrain us non-competitive eaters. He asked too much for too long from his body, and now his body is biting back.

Nope. Just can’t make it sound like the downfall of a real athlete, can I? Sure, I can’t eat 53 hot dogs in 12 minutes, but I wouldn’t want to, either. On the other hand, competing on American Gladiators? Well, no, not that either.

[tags]Arthritis of the jaw, Choking down weiners hurts champion’s jaw, Kobayashi downed by arthritis[/tags]

Interim report on RNC emails and the Presidential Records Act

An interim report from the House of Representatives Oversight Committee is up concerning the investigation of White House officials’ use of Republican National Convention email addresses in apparent violation of the Presidential Records Act. The committee is researching how much official government business was conducted using these addresses by White House staff members and how little of that business was preserved as required by the 1978 Presidential Records Act.

The number of White House officials given RNC e-mail accounts is higher than previously disclosed. In March 2007, White House spokesperson Dana Perino said that only a “handful of officials” had RNC e-mail accounts. In later statements, her estimate rose to “50 over the course of the administration.” In fact, the Committee has learned from the RNC that at least 88 White House officials had RNC e-mail accounts. The officials with RNC e-mail accounts include Karl Rove, the President’s senior advisor; Andrew Card, the former White House Chief of Staff; Ken Mehlman, the former White House Director of Political Affairs; and many other officials in the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Communications, and the Office of the Vice President.

White House officials made extensive use of their RNC e-mail accounts. The RNC has preserved 140,216 e-mails sent or received by Karl Rove. Over half of these e-mails (75,374) were sent to or received from individuals using official “.gov” e-mail accounts. Other heavy users of RNC e-mail accounts include former White House Director of Political Affairs Sara Taylor (66,018 e-mails) and Deputy Director of Political Affairs Scott Jennings (35,198 e-mails). These e-mail accounts were used by White House officials for official purposes, such as communicating with federal agencies about federal appointments and policies.

There has been extensive destruction of the e-mails of White House officials by the RNC. Of the 88 White House officials who received RNC e-mail accounts, the RNC has preserved no e-mails for 51 officials. In a deposition, Susan Ralston, Mr. Rove’s former executive assistant, testified that many of the White House officials for whom the RNC has no e-mail records were regular users of their RNC e-mail accounts. Although the RNC has preserved no e-mail records for Ken Mehlman, the former Director of Political Affairs, Ms. Ralston testified that Mr. Mehlman used his account “frequently, daily.” In addition, there are major gaps in the e-mail records of the 37 White House officials for whom the RNC did preserve e-mails. The RNC has preserved only 130 e-mails sent to Mr. Rove during President Bush’s first term and no e-mails sent by Mr. Rove prior to November 2003. For many other White House officials, the RNC has no e-mails from before the fall of 2006.

There is evidence that the Office of White House Counsel under Alberto Gonzales may have known that White House officials were using RNC e-mail accounts for official business, but took no action to preserve these presidential records. In her deposition, Ms. Ralston testified that she searched Mr. Rove’s RNC e-mail account in response to an Enron-related investigation in 2001 and the investigation of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald later in the Administration. According to Ms. Ralston, the White House Counsel’s office knew about these e-mails because “all of the documents we collected were then turned over to the White House Counsel’s office.” There is no evidence, however, that White House Counsel Gonzales initiated any action to ensure the preservation of the e-mail records that were destroyed by the RNC.

Information is also available in the article from a deposition made by Susan Ralston, former Special Assistant to the President and deputy to Karl Rove. She is questioned about Rove’s use of email for official business, his use of a Blackberry, conversations he had with Scooter Libby, and more.

I believe the ultimate focus of this investigation is whether White House staff members were intentionally skirting Presidential Records Act record preservation requirements, what happened to all the missing records, and whether this is a Watergate erased-tape style cover-up (well, all those things and a vindicative strikeback at President Bush by the Democratic majority). This is worth keeping up with to learn a little more about how the White House has handled official business during the current administration.

We all expect politicians will hide their activities on occasion – some politicians more than others. It is worth learning if this is Watergate scandal level coverup, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” coverup, accidental mishandling of official business and associated records, or something else all together. As much as this is likely driven in part (maybe even largely) by opposing political party sniping issues, it is important no matter who is in charge of each branch of government that we investigate questionable behavior by our leaders. The higher the level of responsibility and the greater the power wielded by those at the top (of all branches) necessitates extra scrutiny.

[tags]Presidential Records Act, Senate investigation of White House business, White House use of unofficial communication channels, Who watches the watchers?[/tags]

A hypothetical airline terrorist attack that is actually feasible – movie theater security contest

The punchline for those that don’t read long posts: A plausible, possible, stoppable security issue is conceived. Our government won’t do anything to stop this, even though it has put great effort into stopping an implausible liquid-explosive thread. Details following the “more” link:

Continue reading A hypothetical airline terrorist attack that is actually feasible – movie theater security contest