Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some children sold by their families - cops bust ring of girl pickpockets in Paris

Pick Pocket

This story is straight from a Charles Dickens novel, but with a twist. Let’s hope that the SOBs running this ring get their just rewards.

Children were beaten, burned with cigarettes and raped, officials say

“The leaders of a Bosnian ring of girl pickpockets in Paris ordered their charges to steal $400 a day or be beaten, burned with cigarettes and sometimes raped, French officials said Friday.”

image source

Friday, December 3, 2010

Prevalent problem in prisons: Charles Manson had cell phone under his mattress, and he’s not the only one

Up until last week, I’d never heard of a problem with prisoners getting cell phones in prison. Now these reports are coming out and I’m wondering how is this possible?

No one’s safe if these murderers have direct access to the outside world:

The infamous convicted murderer had an LG flip phone hidden under his mattress which was found by prison officials. Manson used the phone to make calls and send text messages to people in California, New Jersey, Florida and British Columbia, Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections, told the Los Angeles Times.

"Contraband cell phones are becoming so prevalent in California prisons that guards can't keep them out of the hands of the most notorious and violent inmates: Even Charles Manson, orchestrator of one of the most notorious killing rampages in U.S. history," said the Times' report, referring to the 1969 murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six other people.

Justin Walker, another convicted murderer, was recently discovered using a BlackBerry to post preening photos of himself from his prison cell on Facebook. That state does make it a felony to have a cell phone in a correctional facility, and authorities are investigating the case.

Spy Platform? Secretive X-37B robot space plane returns to Earth

Image: X-37B spacecraft

Unmanned Air Force craft was on mission for seven months

The robotic X-37B space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to end its maiden voyage. The space plane, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle 1, glided back to Earth over the Pacific Ocean before landing at the revamped Vandenberg runway at about 1:16 a.m. PST (0916 GMT) Dec. 3.

Inspiration for a Friday: 106-year-old man quits smoking — for love

Image: Johannes Heesters, Simone Rethel-Heesters

If this guy can quit smoking at his age anyone can! At least that’s my take on this interesting news item.

German actor Johannes Heesters says his wife 'should have me as long as possible'

“Dutch-born Heesters, who will turn 107 on Sunday, has been married to German actress Simone Rethel, 61, since 1992. Heesters said he quit smoking three weeks ago.”

Edgar Jimenez aka ‘El Ponchis’: U.S. teen arrested as cartel hitman in Mexico

Image: Edgar Jimenez Lugo alias El Ponchis talks to a journalist as he is presented to the media in Cuernavaca

'El Ponchis' Edgar Jimenez admitted to killing at least 7 people, army says

“Soldiers in Mexico have captured a 14-year-old U.S. citizen suspected of being a drug gang hitman as he attempted to travel to the United States.

Edgar Jimenez, known as "El Ponchis (seen here in photo)," is believed to work for the South Pacific drug cartel in Morelos state, outside Mexico City, the army said on Friday. Media reports last month on the search for a boy with the same nom de guerre said he could be as young as 12.”


“Murders committed by minors, ranging from shoplifting to murder for the cartels, have risen across Mexico this year, state officials say. Parents in the violent cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana on the U.S. border say children as young as eight want to grow up to be drug lords, as the thrills and wealth of the trafficking world touches their lives.”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

As It Stands features five candidates for December Scum of the Month award

5 Right-Wing Scumbags Bankrolling Dangerous (and Plain Weird) Conservative Causes

Right-Wing Sugar Daddy #1: Sheldon Adelson

Right-Wing Sugar Daddy #2: Richard Mellon Scaife

Right-Wing Sugar Daddies #3 and #4: The Wyly Brothers

Right-Wing Sugar Daddy #5: Peter Thiel

Now read all about them HERE.

image source

In case you were wondering: best U.S. places to survive the apocalypse


Here’s a list of the top 10 places to escape to:
#5    Silohome

During the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. government built hundreds of Atlas-F missile silos in preparation for a nuclear attack that never came. Most of these silos were abandoned, but Bruce Francisco and Gregory Gibbons acquired one in New York’s Adirondack State Park and transformed it into an underground haven.

Silohome sits atop a 1,350-foot mountain overlooking the Saranac River Valley and is surrounded by acres of untouched wilderness, which means it’s ideal for many of your post-apocalyptic duties: farming, hunting and fishing. On the surface it features a hangar, living room with fireplace and a wraparound porch, but the best stuff is below ground. In what was once the 2,300-square-foot launch control center there are now three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a living area and a kitchen.

Don’t feel safe enough? Well, there’s always the 20,000-square-foot silo that’s connected to the underground living quarters via a tunnel complete with “Star Wars doors.” It’s the perfect place to stockpile canned goods and ammunition, or you can give it a home makeover so you and the family can kick back and enjoy the nuclear winter in comfort. Buy it now for just $2.3 million — cash only. GO HERE TO SEE THE REST

Nigeria to charge Cheney in pipeline bribery scandal

Image: Dick Cheney

Look whose back in the news; our ex-VP who set the bar on corruption with his company Halliburton for the past two decades. Cheney, aka Darth Vader, has resurfaced with some of his old tricks. 

$180 million case involves former unit of oil services firm Halliburton

“Nigeria's anti-corruption police said on Thursday they planned to file charges against former Vice President Dick Cheney in a $180 million bribery case involving a former unit of oil services firm Halliburton.”

Degenerate Phone Prankster Receives Severe Dose Of Texas Justice

In what should serve as a warning to telephone terrorists everywhere, a former Pranknet member has been sentenced to five years in prison for a hoax call that resulted in significant damage to a McDonald’s in Texas.

James Tyler Markle, 20, received the stiff sentence Tuesday during a sentencing hearing before Judge Barry Bryan in Angelina County District Court, according to a court judgment

As a teary Markle was led from the courthouse in handcuffs, his aunt told a TV reporter that he was a “very nice, respectful young man," adding that she had “never known him to be in trouble before.”

She apparently forgot the small matter of her nephew raping a five-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Baptist church. He spent about 30 months in a youth detention facility for that felony conviction. Markle is pictured in the above mug shot.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why? Four decades and $1 trillion after Richard Nixon declared war on drugs — the U.S. and Mexico continue to fight a losing battle

Isn’t it about time this madness ends? How long will the American people allow this “War on Drugs” to continue? It’s done more harm than good. So why do authorities persist in draining taxpayer’s money to pursue this wasteful war? That’s the question. A lot of people are making money off of it or it wouldn’t continue. Do you think that’s their angle?   


“Standing with Holder that day in 2009 was acting Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart, who declared: "Today we have dealt the Sinaloa drug cartel a crushing blow."

But just how crushing was it? An Associated Press investigation casts doubt on whether the crackdown caused any significant setback for the cartel. It still ranks near the top of Mexico's drug gangs, and most of those arrested were underlings who had little connection to the cartel and were swiftly replaced. The cartel leader remains free, along with his top commanders.

The findings confirm what many critics of the drug war have said for years: The government is quick to boast about large arrests or drug seizures, but many of its most-publicized efforts result in little, if any, slowdown in the drug trade

related: opinion

Bragging About Futile Seizures, Invoking God, and Arresting Willie Nelson Does Not Weaken Drug Cartels

Holiday Hints: Awesome toys for guys who never grew up

Because you're never too old for Star Wars, Voltron and R/C hover choppers

If we're talking about Peter Pan's Lost Boys, then a sackful of marbles should do the trick. For every other man who spends more time playing with his son's or nephew's Christmas presents than his own, consider the following...

Playsam's Saab Roadster, $435

Being a design classic and all, even if the giftee doesn't have children who can ride around on this wooden Roadster, the Scandi-design will still look great parked in a hallway or corner.[ Playsam]

Parrot's AR.Drone, $300

R/C helicopters have matured. Your man-child will need an iPhone or iPod Touch to control the newest coolest one. Once it's Bluetooth-ed up he can then compete against another AR.Drone-owning friend using the upcoming Pursuit app. [ Parrot]

There’s more here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Must Watch Video: Sam Richards - A Radical Experiment in Empathy

Sam Richards allows us to explore other people’s world’s through a simple method called “Walking in someone else’s shoes.” We’ve all heard the expression before, but when you take a moment and apply what he’s saying there comes a deeper understanding of others. With understanding comes peace.

Sam Richards is a sociologist and award-winning teacher who has been inspiring undergraduate students at Penn State since 1990. Every semester, 725 students register for his Race and Ethnic Relations course, one of the most popular classes at Penn State and the largest of its kind in the country. Through his natural ability of seeing a subject from many angles, Richards encourages students to engage more fully with the world and to think for themselves — something he did not do until his third year in college. Because of his passion for challenging students to open their minds, an interviewer recently referred to him as "an alarm clock for eighteen-year-olds." He’s also an alarm clock for the rest of us too.

Must Watch Video

Sit back and relax for 19 minutes while this great teacher helps you be more understanding of others.

150th Anniversary: South celebrates Civil War, largely without slaves

Image: Camille Love and Yakingma Robinson at the Cyclorama at the Civil War museum in Atlanta

That many are honoring secession with barely a nod to slavery underscores how divisive conflict remains

“The Civil War, the most wrenching and bloody episode in American history, may not seem like much of a cause for celebration, especially in the South.

And yet, as the 150th anniversary of the four-year conflict gets under way, some groups in the old Confederacy are planning at least a certain amount of hoopla, chiefly around the glory days of secession, when 11 states declared their sovereignty under a banner of states’ rights and broke from the union.”

PHOTO - Camille Love, left, Atlanta's director of cultural affairs, and Yakingma Robinson, a public relations manager at the Cyclorama, at the Civil War museum in Atlanta, in Nov. The Cyclorama, a giant painting-in-the-round that depicts the first day of the Battle of Atlanta, is being "refreshed and rebranded" as part of an overall marketing plan, said Love

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meet 5 People Who Rode The Crazy Train To Fame and Fortune


“Lord” Timothy Dexter, an early American Forrest Gump

The Crazy

Timothy Dexter was an uneducated laborer in colonial Massachusetts. From age 8 he was a mere laborer, but at the age of 16 he scored an apprenticeship with a leather dresser. He did well enough to attract the attention of a rich widow. Unfortunately, as a commoner, he was hated by the upper class. They decided to play off his ignorance, lack of sophistication and predisposition to whacky investments. They convinced the dolt to ship coal to Newcastle, England (the major center of coal mining in England), to send warming pans and mittens to the tropical West Indies and got him to hoard useless whalebone.

The Success

Those idiotic investments made him a richer man. His coal arrived in Newscastle during a major labor strike, causing desperate coal merchants to buy his stock at a greatly inflated price. The warming pans made a great ladling device for the molasses industry and Asian merchants bought the mittens for export to Siberia. Even the whalebone was immensely profitable when found useful for making women’s corsets.

To celebrate his fortune, he did what all fashionable rich men did: self publish a vanity book. His misspelled and unpunctuated “A Pickle for the Knowing Ones or Plain Truth in a Homespun Dress” was published in 1802 and much panned by critics. Despite being nearly impossible to comprehend, the originals are now collectors’ items, naturally.

If you enjoyed this story then go here for four more.

Christian woman faces death for allegedly insulting prophet

Meet Asia Bibi (right), an illiterate Christian woman and mother of five, who was sentenced to death by hanging under the country’s blasphemy laws. Is she a victim of a personal vendetta? 

Here’s what happened:

“She was picking berries with other women, when she was sent to get water,” her husband said. “One of the women refused to drink the water after my wife dipped her cup into the bucket. This woman said it was contaminated because it was touched by a Christian.” According to Masih, all the women then started taunting his wife, and shouting insults against her mother and their children. Bibi just repeated the same insults back at them. “The name of the holy prophet never came up.”

All you have to is be accused of blasphemy in Pakistan to be in trouble. And these are our allies?

At the time, Masih said he thought that was the end of it. It wasn’t.

“Five days later, the local cleric came to our house, followed by an angry mob, and dragged my wife away,” he said, recalling the incident that took place in June 2009. They beat her, ripped off her clothes and accused her of insulting the prophet. Then they locked her up in a house until the police came to take her away.”

Couple produces hidden stash: staggering Picasso trove turns up in France

A retired French electrician and his wife have come forward with 271 undocumented, never-before-seen works by Pablo Picasso estimated to be worth at least $79.35 million, according to an administrator of the artist's estate.

This photo (right) provided by the Succession Picasso shows a drawing "Nu Assis" (Sitting nude) by Picasso. (Succession Picasso via AP)

Image: Picasso painting

The couple for years squirreled away the staggering trove — which is believed to be authentic, but whose origin is unclear — in their garage on the French Riviera, said Picasso Administration lawyer Jean-Jacques Neuer.

The cache, dating from the artist's most creative period from 1900 to 1932, includes lithographs, portraits, watercolors, and sketches — plus nine Cubist collages said to be worth €40 million alone, according to French daily Liberation, which first reported Monday on the discovery.

Pierre Le Guennec, a 71-year-old former electrician who once worked for Picasso, and his wife showed many of the works to Picasso's son Claude and other estate administrators in Paris in September seeking to have the works certified as authentic, the lawyer said.

Pictured left is Picasso's "Still life glass sand."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

As It Stands: Thank you, Janet Napolitano, for saving us from pot terrorists


By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 11/28/2010 01:29:53 AM PST

Thank you, Janet Napolitano.

I feel so much safer now that the Bureau Of Land Management's Critical Infrastructure Crisis Response Exercise Program is over. That recent realistic scenario of crazed pot terrorists taking over the Shasta Dam to demonstrate how efficiently federal agencies can respond to this very real possibility deserves every American's praise.

Bravo! I want to congratulate everyone involved for recognizing that pot terrorists are an immediate threat to America's national security. As we all know, pot terrorists are the No. 1 threat to this nation, thus the reason for The War on Drugs. Forget about al-Qaida. We need to address real-world things like pot terrorists boarding planes with hidden doobies or glass pipes.

It's common knowledge that people high on pot can be violent and dangerous. Homeland Security officials warn that even medical marijuana can cause problems. Patients freak out and run through the streets naked if they don't get their pot fix. Janet Napolitano rightly recognized the seriousness of the growing number of pot terrorists, mostly in California. The Feds have turned up the heat and are offering rewards to children. If they turn in their pot-smoking parents they'll get a set of DEA playing cards.


I say it's about time the word gets out about these pot terrorists in our country. We've ignored them for too long. I can't tell you how much better I'll sleep, knowing the authorities are on the ball. It's comforting to see how much work went into the Crisis Response Exercise Program. Just think, for 18 months, at the cost of $500,000, these dedicated people prepared for the very real possibility that stoned pot farmers would try to take over the nation's dams.

According to the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding the exercise started with ...

”... two mock bomb blasts followed by the 'Red Cell' terrorist group taking over the dam in an effort to free one of their fellow marijuana growers from prison. Holding three people hostage, they threatened to flood the Sacramento River by rolling open the drum gates atop the dam. Those gates hold back the nearly full lake.”

Talk about good intelligence. Over 20 federal agencies were involved. I suspected marijuana growers were all subversive. Bombs, not bongs! I'm sure the Shasta Dam will be ready if those dirty hippies try anything now. They don't call it “killer weed” for no reason.


But why stop there? How about more raids on other states that have medical marijuana laws? I have to hand it to our country's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, who intimidated California voters considering voting Yes on Proposition 19. That last-minute October surprise before the mid-term elections was a doozy. You let those stupid voters who wanted to legalize weed know that the Feds wouldn't recognize the passage of Proposition 19 and would keep busting those determined citizens who wanted to partake.

Good patriotic Americans know that current misguided marijuana laws that allow people to puff on the demon weed legally need to be repealed. By showing the public just what pot terrorists are capable of in this recent exercise, our government has highlighted a growing concern. DEA authorities report an increase in physical violence involving pot farmers and smokers attacking innocent non-smokers.

Responsible citizens nationwide need to be on the alert for pot terrorists in their neighborhoods. The Feds suggest profiling works well when trying to spot a pot terrorist. They often have long scraggly hair, sometimes dreadlocks, and never take a bath so you can smell them a mile away. Their eyes are usually glazed, and if you watch them long enough you'll catch them drooling. They also wear stupid symbols like peace signs on their hemp clothing and use hemp moisturizers on their skin. Oh, yeah! They wear Birkenstock sandals, and the men have unkempt beards down to their knees. I hope that helps.

How can I, and a grateful nation, thank you enough, oh beloved Secretary of Homeland Security? This country has enough challenges without fear of pot terrorists attacking our nation's infrastructure. This reminder to remain alert at all times for pot farmers plotting to overthrow the government will make us all feel safer. It's this kind of activity that makes me proud to be an American.

As It Stands, forgive my sarcasm, but sometimes I have the feeling our government marches to a different tune than the rest of us.

UPDATES – web sites who picked this column up:

Redding Grapevine/Redding’s Online Magazine

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Redding California Business Directory

Comprehensive News for Redding

The Twitter Time.s (under What’s Hot 11/28)

News and Blogs Selected by People You Trust

Drug Sense Bot

Site generator for traffic about drug stories

Drug Sense

Moving the debate on drugs from insanity to humanity

Media Awareness Project

The Emerald Triangle News under “California Marijuana Headlines” sidebar

Marijuana News & Culture in Mendocino and Humboldt Counties

Medical MJ

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Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...