Political Dogs is reporting that dolphins were stranded off Massachusetts while trying to enter the United States apparently to obtain medical services covered under the state's universal healthcare system. The dolphins, many of them with serious medical conditions, several pregnant, were stranded near Cape Cod in what appears to have been an immigration akin to Cuban boat people. While humans have no evidence of dictators running amok within the dolphin world, it is clear that these dolphins needed significant medical attention and that they chose Massachusetts as their entry point to this country for a reason. Massachusetts only recently enacted universal healthcare. So it stands to reason these dolphins were coming here for that purpose.
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It you thought we'd seen enough with the animal-loving terrorists who harm people in order to make a statement about cruelty, think again. Now the examples these nuts have set are beginning to inspire animals to act aggressively against humans.
A wild turkey in Millstone Township, New Jersey dive-bombed a house and then destroyed part of the interior. This past Monday at 3:00 a flock of turkeys was observed casing a residence. At some point, one of the turkeys crashed into a window and broke into the home. New Jersey State police were immediately called. Trooper Richard Pogorzelski entered the home to see if the perpetrator was still lurking about but upon inspection realized the wayward bird had made a getaway - though not a clean one.
According to the home owner, "The bird had relieved himself all over. The room was a disaster." The bird did about $500 in damage to the bedroom of the homeowners' son, 8 year-old Jake. Perhaps not coincidentally, "jake" is what young male turkeys are called by human beings. The infiltrating jake found resident Jake's new $60 Abercrombie & Fitch shirt which he planned wearing to the family's Thanksgiving dinner and pooped all over it. The boy's mother said, "I don't know if it's salvageable."
The Associated Press tells the tale of a woman who rented her phone rather than buy it. She rented it for a very long time, 42 years. Ultimately she paid $14,000 for the privilege! Her family recently discovered this and became angry. They put a stop to the rip-off and replaced her phone with a purchased, modern variety. The woman may never speak to them again, via phone or in person!
$14,000 is a lot of scratch unless you perform the simple mathematical operation of dividing it by 42 years. They don't teach that in schools anymore! But doing it yields just $333 per year or $28 per month. Most kids pay double that rate for the privilege of a "FREE mobile phone" these days!
The AP reports, customers could have opted out of their leases in 1985 but almost a million people did not. A spokesman for "the phone company" says, "We will continue to lease sets as long as there is a demand for them." And there are benefits to leasing like free replacements and newer models whenever a customer chooses.
The woman in question now has an extra few bucks each month but if her phone malfunctions, as all electronic gadgets do, she'll have to wait for someone to drive her to the store, when it is convenient for them, so she can purchase a replacement. She better put her new savings into a lockbox! Oh, and by the way, the woman doesn't care for the newfangled push-button phone. She says, "I'd like to have my rotary back. I like that better."
DETROIT - The partially mummified body of an elderly woman has been found on the kitchen floor of a house where her mentally troubled sister was living, police said.
Investigators believe the surviving sister had been living with the body for up to three years. They say the body was partially covered with newspapers and that a cat and dog apparently ate part of it.
The Detroit Free Press says authorities removed the surviving sister Wednesday night and took her to a crisis center. She is also aged in her 80s and appears to have mental problems.
Police say they went to the house after a neighbor called to express concern.
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SAO PAULO, Brazil - A Roman Catholic priest who floated off under hundreds of helium party balloons was missing Monday off the southern coast of Brazil.
Rescuers in helicopters and small fishing boats were searching off the coast of Santa Catarina state, where pieces of balloons were found.
Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off from the port city of Paranagua on Sunday afternoon, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.
He was reported missing about eight hours later after losing contact with port authority officials, according to the treasurer of his Sao Cristovao parish, Denise Gallas.
Gallas said by telephone that the priest wanted to break a 19-hour record for the most hours flying with balloons to raise money for a spiritual rest-stop for truckers in Paranagua, Brazil's second-largest port for agricultural products.
Some American adventurers have used helium balloons to emulate Larry Walters -- who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons.
A video of Carli posted on the G1 Web site of Globo TV showed the smiling 41-year-old priest slipping into a flight suit, being strapped to a seat attached to a huge column green, red, white and yellow balloons, and soaring into the air to the cheers of a crowd.
According to Gallas, the priest soared to an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) then descended to about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) for his planned flight to the city of Dourados, 465 miles (750 kilometers) northwest of his parish.
But winds pushed him in another direction, and Carli was some 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast when he last contacted Paranagua's port authority, Gallas said.
Carli had a GPS device, a satellite phone, a buoyant chair and is an experienced skydiver, Gallas said.
"We are absolutely confident he will be found alive and well, floating somewhere in the ocean," she said.
"He knew what he was doing and was fully prepared for any kind of mishap."
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Lawyer confidentiality rules kept one man improperly on death row for 10 years and a probably innocent man in prison for 26, according to news that surfaced in January (in Virginia) and March (in Illinois). Daryl Atkins (sentenced to death in 1997) was the victim of probable prosecutorial misconduct, according to his co-defendant's lawyer, Leslie Smith, who said he witnessed the misconduct but could not report it because a lesser sentence for Atkins would have exposed his own client to greater punishment. In Illinois, Alton Logan was convicted of a murder during a 1982 robbery. However, shortly afterward, Andrew Wilson admitted to his lawyers that he was the murderer, but bar association rules prohibited them from revealing that. When Wilson died in 2007, the lawyers went public, and Logan's case has been re-opened. [New York Times, 1-19-08] [CBS News, 3-6-08]
Least Competent Criminals
Not Ready for Prime Time: Two boys, 12 and 14, were quickly arrested in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in March when they tried to rob a woman who was working at a counter behind protective glass in an office, by picking up the convenience phone and threatening her, implying that they had a gun. The woman was in no danger because of the protective glass, but besides that, the place they had chosen for the hit was a regional office of the Port St. Lucie police department. [Port St. Lucie News, 3-13-08]
Donald Baker, 51, was re-arrested in March in Peterborough, Ontario, when he called the police department to request a wake-up call for his court appearance the next morning; amazed at his audacity, police ran a records check and found an additional arrest warrant on him. [Peterborough This Week, 3-17-08]
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A 76-year-old Baptist minister was found dead in Clarksville, Tenn., in March after he had tried to pull a goat back into a fenced-in area of his property; apparently, the goat had resisted the slip knot, and somehow the animal's jumping had wound the rope around the minister's feet and neck, and he had begun to turn blue by the time his wife found him. [Leaf Chronicle (Clarksville), 3-19-08]
The day before that, an 82-year-old man in Lake Hallie, Wis., was killed when he apparently slipped while using a plumber's auger on his septic tank and fell in, head first, eventually drowning. [WCCO-TV (Minneapolis)-AP, 3-18-08]
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Jonathan Lee Riches is believed to be the most prolific lawsuit-filer ever to operate from behind bars. His "docket" now includes more than 1,000 cases in just over two years (with eight more years to go on a federal sentence for fraud), including claims totaling several trillion dollars from "injuries" inflicted on him by such people as President Bush, Martha Stewart, Steve Jobs, Britney Spears, Tiger Woods (luggage theft), Barry Bonds (illegal moonshine production), and football player Michael Vick ($63 billion for allegedly stealing Riches' pit bulls and selling them on eBay so that Vick could in turn buy missiles from Iran). [Guardian (London), 3-2-08; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8-17-07]
Accidents Will Happen
Police officer Thomas Wilson pleaded guilty to having 8,742 images of child pornography on his computer, but the judge acknowledged that Wilson might have acquired them "somewhat accidentally" (Brisbane, Australia; March). [Brisbane Times, 3-13-08]
Ernest Simmons was convicted of attempted murder of two sheriff's deputies despite his defense that he only "accidentally" shot at them (11 times, using two guns) (Orlando, January). [WFTV (Orlando), 1-31-08]Accused purse-snatcher Derrick Dale, 21, said that the purse fell on his foot and (according to the arrest report) "the next thing he knew, (it) was in his hands" (Destin, Fla., January). [Northwest Florida Daily News, 1-18-08]
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A teacher at Yamata Elementary School in Yokohama, Japan, was disciplined in January after a finding that she improperly punished her class because a few students would not come to order. Officials said she lined up all students and walked down the row, slapping each one in the face. [Mainichi Daily News, 1-12-08]
Geraldine Magda, 44, was arrested in Austin, Minn., in January, following a nursing-home visit to hold the hand of her dying sister in her final hours. Magda was charged with stealing the wedding ring from her sister's finger during the hand-holding. [Star Tribune (Minneapolis), 1-4-08]A Chicago man traveled to Sheboygan, Wis., in December to finally meet the 18-year-old woman who was his biological daughter, but during the same visit, he was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting her while she was sleeping. [WTMJ Radio (Milwaukee)-AP, 12-8-07]
Least Justifiable Homicides
David Thomson, 49, was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland, of smothering his mom to death after she had taunted him for his inept suicide attempt several weeks before (October). [BBC News, 10-23-07]
In Sydney, Australia, a man was charged with beating a neighbor to death because the neighbor was watering his lawn in violation of the city's water restrictions (October). [Fox News-AP, 11-1-07]
The boss of a factory in North Korea was executed by firing squad before 150,000 people in a South Pyongan province stadium after he was convicted of the crime of making out-of-country telephone calls (November). [Daily Mail (London), 11-26-07]
Paul Keith, 75, was arrested in Framingham, Mass., in November after he had allegedly driven aggressively into the car stopped in front of him waiting for a traffic light to change. Keith earnestly explained to police that the other driver had failed to move once the light turned green. "(S)o I drove into the back of him. When the light turns green, you're supposed to go." (Keith demolished the front end of his car.) [Metro West Daily News (Framingham), 11-4-07]
BENTONVILLE, Ark. --An inmate awaiting trial on a murder charge is suing the county, complaining he has lost more than 100 pounds because of the jailhouse menu.
Broderick Lloyd Laswell says he isn't happy that he's down to 308 pounds after eight months in the Benton County jail. He has filed a federal lawsuit complaining the jail doesn't provide inmates with enough food.
According to the suit, Laswell weighed 413 pounds when he was jailed in September. Police say he and a co-defendant fatally beat and stabbed a man, then set his home on fire.
"On several occasions I have started to do some exercising and my vision went blurry and I felt like I was going to pass out," Laswell wrote in his complaint. "About an hour after each meal my stomach starts to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again."
But Laswell then goes on to complain that he undertakes little vigorous activity.
"If we are in a small pod all day (and) do next to nothing for physical exercise, we should not lose weight," the suit says. "The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally being starved to death."
The suit also asks that the county be ordered to serve hot meals. The jail has served only cold food for years.
The meals, provided through Aramark Correctional Institution Services, average 3,000 calories a day, jail Capt. Hunter Petray told The Morning News of northwest Arkansas for a story Saturday.
A typical Western diet consists of 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.
Laswell's suit was filed without a lawyer in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville.
SAN FRANCISCO --A landlord couple accused of cutting the supports under a renter's San Francisco apartment are facing felony charges in an alleged campaign to terrorize tenants into leaving.
Prosecutors say 33-year-old software engineer Kip Macy and 32-year-old real estate agent Nicole Macy told workers to cut the beams supporting the tenant's floor after he successfully fought eviction in court.
The couple also allegedly shut off his electricity, cut his phone line and had workers saw a hole in his living room floor from below.
Authorities arrested the pair Tuesday and charged them with felony stalking, burglary and conspiracy and other counts.
Prosecutors say the landlords broke into another apartment in the six-unit building and poured ammonia on a tenant's clothes, bedding and home electronics.
SAN FRANCISCO --A choir director who hopes prayer can bring down high gas prices is trying out his approach at some of the costliest pumps in the country.
Rocky Twyman of Washington, D.C., came to San Francisco over the weekend to stage a pray-in at a Chevron station. He is also calling on churchgoers to ask for God's intervention where he says politicians have failed.
Gas costing $4 a gallon or more has become common around the San Francisco Bay area.
The 59-year-old Twyman says people praying for cheaper fuel should also walk more and use car pools.
Twyman also works as a community organizer and public relations consultant. He has led campaigns to nominate Oprah Winfrey for the Nobel Peace Prize and to encourage African Americans to donate bone marrow.
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MODESTO, Calif. --Modesto police are blaming a scratching cat for an accident that toppled a power pole and shut down a street for nearly an hour. A police sergeant said Friday that a woman was driving with a cat in her lap. The animal scratched her, and she drove into the pole.
The woman suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital. The cat was taken to a vet to treat an injured eye.
On Wednesday, the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a bill by Assemblyman Bill Maze that would make it illegal to drive with a pet in your arms or in your lap.
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LECCO, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian man was given a suspended jail sentence for staring too intensely at a woman sitting in front of him on a train.
A judge sentenced the man in his 30s, whose name was not revealed, to 10 days in prison and a 40 euro fine after a 55-year old woman filed a complaint for sexual harassment.
His lawyer said on Friday he would appeal the sentence. The court will explain its verdict later.
The two met on two separate occasions in 2005 on a commuter train going from Lecco, a town in northern Italy, to Milan.
The first time, the man sat next to the woman but she felt he had moved too close for comfort. The next day, the man sat in front of the same woman and according to her complaint, stared at her for the whole journey.
The two did not speak.