Saturday, December 11, 2010
International outcry over the stoning sentence moved Iran to change that to 99 lashes, then to hanging, then to a "good chance" she won't be executed. So, in an effort to prove that Ashtiani deserves whatever she's got coming, Iranian authorities had her recreate the moments where she sedated her husband and then helped her lover electrocute him.
A company that sells "movie quality" silicone masks that incorporate human hair to achieve what its adverts call "ultra high realism" is at the centre of a snowballing police investigation after detectives discovered that it had become the favoured supplier of disguises to America's most wanted bank robbers. The Los Angeles company SPFX Masks, set up to cater to the film industry, said yesterday that it is "proud" of the fact that its range of hand-painted products look realistic, "but not proud of the way they are being used" after learning that they had been linked to a string of unsolved crimes.
In Ohio, a Polish immigrant called Conrad Zdzierak last week pleaded guilty to using one of the masks to transform himself from a 30-year-old white man into a black character he called "The Player," who carried out a string of robberies in the state. The disguise was so effective that local police mistakenly arrested a young African American for the crimes, holding him in custody for several months. Witnesses, including six out of the seven bank employees who took part in a photo line-up, went so far as to wrongly identify the innocent black man as the culprit. "We showed the picture [of the masked perpetrator] to his mother, and even she thought it was him," the detective in charge of the case, Keenan Riordan, told reporters. After that little misunderstanding had been ironed out, Zdzierak was convicted on six counts of robbery.
Authorities are now starting to wonder if the notorious "Geezer Bandit," an elderly man who has held up a string of banks in Southern California, might actually be a younger person wearing one of the SPFX masks, which retail for between $600 and $1,200. In October a Chinese man seeking asylum in Canada used one of the masks to disguise himself as an elderly male as he negotiated airport security in Hong Kong. "
I'm intrigued by these silicon masks. My plan is to get one made up to look like Ryan Reynolds and see if I can fool Scarlett Johansson long enough to get her into the sack. Hey it fooled some guy's mother so why not?
Forty years after Jim Morrison was convicted of exposing himself at a wild Miami concert, this is the end: Florida's Clemency Board, egged on by departing Gov. Charlie Crist, pardoned The Doors' long-dead singer Thursday.
Some people who were at the Miami show March 1, 1969, insist even today that he exposed himself, though others in the audience and Morrison's bandmates contend he was just teasing the crowd and only pretended to do the deed. Crist, tuned in to the controversy by a Doors fan, said there was enough doubt about what happened at the Dinner Key Auditorium to justify a pardon.
The board, which consists of Crist and a three-member Cabinet, voted unanimously to pardon Morrison on indecent exposure and profanity charges as they granted several other pardons Thursday. At the hearing, the governor called the convictions a "blot" on the record of an accomplished artist for "something he may or may not have done."
He said Morrison died before he was afforded the chance to present his appeal, so Crist was doing that for him. Board members pointed out several times that they couldn't retry the case but that the pardon forgave Morrison and negated his sentence.
Morrison had received a six-month jail sentence — never served — and a $500 fine for the 1970 convictions, which carried consequences for the band. Ray Manzarek, The Doors' keyboard player, said Miami was supposed to be the start of a 20-city tour, but every venue canceled after Morrison's arrest.
Morrison's appeals were never resolved. He was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971 at age 27. No official cause of death was ever issued — his manager said he died of "natural causes."
What a waste of time and money. What does a dead man do with a pardon? Is this supposed to be a gift to his fans? Half of them are in nursing homes running around exposing themselves to each other while wearing Depend diapers. These burnt out hippies are having hallucinations which there doctors can't seem to determine whether they are acid flashbacks or signs of dementia.
Friday, December 10, 2010
A two-metre (six-foot) marijuana plant decorated as a Christmas tree was confiscated from the home of "an old hippie", who is now facing a drug possession charge, German police said on Wednesday.
In a tongue-in-cheek press release titled "All you need is love or how a hippie celebrates Christmas," police in the western city of Koblenz said they discovered the giant plant in the living room of the suspect.
"The two-metre-tall marijuana plant had been put in a Christmas tree stand and decorated with a string of lights," the police said.
"When asked, the hashish fan told the perplexed officers that he had intended to add more decorations to the 'tree' and place the presents under it, according to tradition." Police seized the plant and another 150 grams (5.3 ounces) of marijuana found in the apartment.
Damn Scrooge police! I wonder what kind of gifts hippies give for Christmas.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
A department store in the US has fired its Father Christmas after he told risqué jokes to two "older" shoppers. John Toomey, a veteran Santa at Macy's for 20 years, was dismissed after the couple made a complaint about his brand of humour. But 68-year-old Mr Toomey, who worked at the San Francisco Union Square store, claims he is no "bad Santa".
He says he only tells jokes to the grown-ups who visit him - none of whom have ever complained before. "When I ask the older people who sit on my lap if they've been good and they say 'yes', I say 'Gee, that's too bad', Mr Toomey said. "Then, if they ask why Santa is so jolly, I joke that it's because I know where all the naughty boys and girls live."
Mr Toomey, who is called Santa John by his fans, insists he would never use inappropriate humour with the many children who visit the store. "With the children, it's important to listen carefully to them and make sure they're doing things properly, like brushing their teeth and helping Mom around the house, things like that," said Mr Toomey. "Then when they tell you what they want, repeat it loudly enough so the parents can hear, and tell the child you'll talk it over with Mrs. Santa and the elves. That way you leave it up to the parents."
The sacked Santa, who boasts his own white beard, was a big hit with customers who returned every year to see him. Macy's has refused to comment on the incident, although employees have described the sacking as "devastating". Mr Toomey need not be too worried, though - is sacking has given him celebrity status and he has received calls from all over the country to appear as Father Christmas.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Then along came WikiLeaks, an international new media non-profit organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and leaks. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist,is WikiLeaks's director. WikiLeaks has won a number of awards, including the 2008 Economist magazine New Media Award.
In November 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing U.S. State department diplomatic cables which has brought the wrath of the U.S. government. Suddenly Internet censorship isn't such a bad thing.
Interestingly, Hiliary Clinton delivered a speech earlier this year indicating U.S. support enable citizens to exercise their rights of free expression by circumventing politically motivated censorship. She stated that both the American people and nations that censor the internet should understand that the U.S. government is committed to helping promote internet freedom. I guess the U.S. never expected Internet freedom to be directed at America.
Following the US diplomatic cables leak, the U.S. government more or less went to war against WikiLeaks. Internet service providers and Paypal have been pressured to stop providing access and funding. In response supporters have been targeting companies that have tried to harm WikILeaks. The battle is to preserve Internet freedom.
Let's face it there is virtually no independent media any longer. Large corporate entities have introduced their own censorship in print media, radio and cable. In Canada, Fan590 radio reporter Mike Wilner was suspended for a weekend this past summer because in an interview with Toronto Blue Jay manager Cito Gaston his question were considered too aggressive. It so happens that both the radio station and the baseball team are both owned by Rogers Communications. Just another example of how important it is to protect Internet freedom.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The 4-month old cub, the first in the center to be trained for reintroduction into the wild, is monitored by hidden cameras. Researchers performing physical examinations on the cub wear panda costumes to ensure that the cub's environment is devoid of human influence, according to local media.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Many people are now familiar with the story of Adam Nobody - a Toronto resident who ventured downtown during the G20 meetings and got to see a dark side of the Toronto Police Services that many of us thankfully do not ever encounter.
On the morning of June 26, the Saturday of the G20 summit, Mr. Nobody heard about the protests but wasn’t much interested. Eventually, he wandered over to the designated protest area at Queen’s Park to see what was going on. Bored, he went to buy some beer and a poster board to make his own protest sign. When he returned to Queen’s Park he busied himself with his sign, a joking homage to an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, which read “Let Donna Graduate.”
As he finished writing, a line of police approached from behind. He started to back away, and then an officer charged at him. Mr. Nobody said he turned and ran. He threw away his bag, and then the officer dove and tackled him. This is the sequence that can be seen on the YouTube video.
What Mr. Nobody says happened next wasn’t caught on tape. He said that after being led behind a police wagon shielded from public view, another officer asked him his name. “Adam,” he replied. He was again face down, an officer’s boot resting on his head.
“Adam what?” the officer asked, according to Mr. Nobody’s recollection.
“Adam Nobody,” he said.
He said the officer lifted his boot and kicked him in the face. He kicked him again. And again. “Stop being a smartass,” the officer said.
Mr. Nobody ended up with a shattered cheekbone, and a broken nose. Blood poured from his head. His eye was swollen shut. Mr. Nobody spent 31 hours in jail. He spent three days in hospital. He went through several hours of surgery to repair his broken nose.
One of the key questions is who arrested Mr. Nobody. The officer listed on the arrest record provided a badge number that doesn’t correspond to anyone on the Toronto force, according to the SIU, or to any officer believed to have worked in G20 policing.
He was charged with assaulting a police officer, and obstruction of a police officer but all charges were eventually dropped.
Instead of providing an apology, Police Chief Bill Blair took issue with the use of the video in the investigation, saying that a police examination of it had shown it had been edited and did not provide enough context to show why police used force. He also suggested that Adam Nobody was armed and violent when arrested by police. He later had to apologize on both issues.
Chief Blair who has done a great job since he took over running the Police Services has had a rough time with this case. The SUI has reopened the case but no officer at the scene is stepping forward to identify those involved. It seems that police officers are much like the rest of society and have difficulty with accepting responsibility for their actions.
The cost of the G20 may have been close to $1 billion but now add to the costs, the lost trust of our police through excessive use of force, detaining innocent civilians, and avoiding identification by not wearing their badges.
Is this really Canada?