Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Commuter Flights Grounded Thanks To Bumbling TSA Inspector

Commuter Flights Grounded Thanks To Bumbling TSA Inspector

Wed, 20 Aug '08

Damaged TAT Probes On Nine Jets While Conducting 'Security Checks'

They're the government... and remember, they're here to help. A bumbling inspector with the Transportation Safety Administration apparently has some explaining to do, after nine American Eagle regional jets were grounded at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Tuesday.

Citing sources within the aviation industry, ABC News reports an overzealous TSA employee attempted to gain access to the parked aircraft by climbing up the fuselage... reportedly using the Total Air Temperature (TAT) probes mounted to the planes' noses as handholds.

"The brilliant employees used an instrument located just below the cockpit window that is critical to the operation of the onboard computers," one pilot wrote on an American Eagle internet forum. "They decided this instrument, the TAT probe, would be adequate to use as a ladder."

Officials with American Eagle confirmed to ANN the problem was discovered by maintenance personnel, who inspected the planes Tuesday morning... and questioned why the TAT probes all gave similar error indications.

One Eagle pilot says had the pilots not been so attentive, the damaged probes could have caused problems inflight. TSA agents "are now doing things to our aircraft that may put our lives, and the lives of our passengers at risk," the pilot wrote on the forum.

Grounding the planes to replace the TAT probes affected about 40 flights, according to American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances. "We think it's an unfortunate situation," she told

TSA conducts routine spot inspections of aircraft parked at commercial airports, according to agency spokesman Elio Montenegro. "Our inspector was following routine procedure for securing the aircraft that were on the tarmac," Montenegro said, adding the inspector was attempting to determine whether someone could break into the parked planes.

Pilots respond that agents are only allowed to check for unlocked cabin doors... a clear security risk, that could indeed compromise security. Indeed, regional airline Mesa Air Group notes "48 percent of all TSA investigations involving Mesa Air Group involve a failure to maintain area/aircraft security."

It's unclear whether that duty also allows an inspector to paw around an aircraft, however.

E-I-C Note: This was an extraordinarily dangerous incident, folks. The TSA has neither the mandate nor the knowledge to inspect any aircraft for any reason. The stupidity of this matter is nearly unbelievable... until you hear that the TSA is involved... then it becomes understandable, though still tragic. And I can not tell you how frustrating it is, to see them continue to hurt an indsutry that they were created to protect.

The TSA has NO BUSINESS putting untrained personnel in a position to damage aircraft. Their bizarre games, in the name of security, do NOTHING to enhance security and do much to inhibit safety. Aviation personnel -- pilots, A&P's, ground personnel -- are all either licensed or supervised by licensed personnel and this kind of tampering, had it been accomplished by anyone else, would have subjected that person to criminal charges.

In this case, ANN strongly recommends and encourages the criminal prosecution of this so-called inspector and his immediate supervisors... it is a matter of time before one of these morons does something stupid and gets someone killed... and with the way these incidents are occurring, we believe it is a virtual certainty that a TSA "Inpector" will hurt or kill someone in such a manner. No kidding.

A few other notes.. ANN spoke directly to the TSA PAO in this story, Elio Montenegro... a man who desperately needs to get his stories straight. When ANN talked to him early Tuesday evening, Montenegro first stated that no aircraft were tampered with, and thereafter attempted to minimize the issue by stating that a TSA Inspector "may have touched" the aircraft... which American Eagle "sorta" objected to. He claimed that there was no attempt to enter the aircraft, and when he was asked if TSA was, in fact, authorized to attempt such an entry -- out of the sight/knowledge/supervision of American Eagle personnel -- he said that he thought that I had asked a good question, did not know the answer, and promised to get back to me... in direct conflict with other reported statements. TSA can not keep their stories straight... and lying to the media... especially that part of the media that actually knows a thing or two about airplanes, was just plain foolish... if not a deliberate attempt to mislead.

Mind you, this is the same agency that now wants to step up supervision and surveillance of the GA world. Would you trust these kind of folks around your airplane?

I sure do not, and will not -- and the first time that I see a TSA person attempt any interaction with any aircraft under my control, I will call the cops and do my utmost to see that person charged with a crime... TSA can not be trusted around Air Transport airplanes... hell, TSA can not be trusted around GA... and TSA has shown us little or no reason why they should be trusted, in any way, with the security of the traveling public.

We're fed up with the incompetence of this organization... and while it was simply 'annoying' when they were sniffing our shoes or trying to rip off our laptops, it gets downright threatening when they start tampering with our airplanes.

Yes... this is quite the rant and I admit to no end of frustration with this organization... but I have to tell you, it's time to scrap the TSA and failing that, it is WAY past time that they be SEVERELY curtailed in their ability to harm others. Simply put, it's time to reign in the TSA... before they kill someone... if they haven't already.

Rant over... for now. -- Jim Campbell, ANN E-I-C.

'I stopped to help pedestrian hit by car... then realised it was my dying wife'

'I stopped to help pedestrian hit by car... then realised it was my dying wife'

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:27 AM on 19th August 2008

A husband today told how he held a drip attached to the dying victim of a car crash - unaware that the woman was his wife.

James Peters stopped to help paramedics when he saw a pedestrian had been hit by a car at the spot where he usually picked up 60-year-old wife Susan.

It was only when he was passed the victim's handbag that he realised the victim was the woman he had been married to for 40 years.

car accident

Devoted couple: James Peters was just a passer-by who stopped to help at the scene of a car accident when he realised his wife, Susan, was involved

Mrs Peters's injuries were so severe that her husband, also 60, helped at the scene for almost 10 minutes before he realised what had happened to the mother of his three sons.

She had been hit by a blue Volkswagen Golf as she crossed an M25 slip road in Leatherhead, Surrey, last Friday.

The couple had celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary just two days before the crash and were finalising their plans for retirement.

Mr Peters, who is a retired businessman and a magistrate in Richmond, said they had only recently moved into a secluded £1million home in Leatherhead and had been refurbishing it.

He paid tribute to his "perfect" wife, saying: "She was the better half of me and now my better half is gone, I'm totally devastated."

He usually picked up his wife from the bus stop to save her the walk home after she finished work at Surrey county council in Kingston.

Mrs Peters was airlifted from the crash site to the Royal London Hospital where she died of her injuries.

The businessman, who ran his own firm supplying and installing central heating, kitchens and bathrooms, said he was "devastated".

Mr Peters - who is also president of Twickenham Rugby Club and a referee in the sport - said: "We only celebrated our ruby wedding anniversary days ago and now she is gone. I had just stopped to help as I saw there had been an accident.

"I parked my car, thinking that my wife's bus must have been delayed by what had happened but it must have been fractionally early.

"At virtually the same time the paramedics arrived. They were doing their best to help and I was holding a saline drip for them.

"Then another person who had stopped handed me a handbag and I recognised it. I always pick her up so she doesn't have to walk home. I couldn't believe it."

Mr Peters, who is a grandfather of four, added: "It's no reassurance to me that I was there at her final moments, there's not much reassurance anywhere, I'm devastated.

"She had been struck by a car as she crossed the road. I'm being looked after by my family but it is hard. My wife was perfect."

A close neighbour of Mr Peters, who did not wish to be named, said: "They are such a lovely couple. They were getting to that age where they could really start to enjoy what they had achieved in life."

A Surrey Police spokesman said a 25-year-old man from a nearby village was arrested after the accident and had been released on bail until November.

Breathalyzer planwill probably be modified

MILFORD — School administrators are eyeing revisions of a proposed breathalyzer policy, including abandoning plans to use an “invasive” breathalyzer at social events.

Administrators say they are still fine-tuning revisions to the initial proposal, but plan to ask the Board of Education to approve a policy that would only allow the use of passive breathalyzers at high school dances this year.

Each high school holds four to five dances a year. Under the proposed plan, all students at high school dances would have to submit to a passive breathalyzer before admittance.

Administrators added they would like to use the passive breathalyzer during the school day or at events where there is reasonable suspicion that a student may have been drinking.

Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky said despite talk about using the passive breathalyzer at all social events, including sporting contests, it will not happen this year.

Michael Cummings, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, said plans to use an active breathalyzer, which involves a student blowing into a device, when there was suspicion a student was drinking, are likely to be scrapped.

Cummings said research shows that neighboring communities prefer the passive as opposed to the active breathalyzer because it is less “invasive” and it gets results.

“The passive (breathalyzer) meets their need, why go further?” Cummings said.

The passive breathalyzer requires students to speak his or her name into a device, which would register whether they had consumed any alcohol.

“This is the fairest method and does not single a person out,” Cummings said of using the passive breathalyzer on all students entering a dance. “It’s proven to be the most effective deterrent.”

Cummings said the administration is also looking to include in the policy the ability to use the passive breathalyzer if there is suspicion a student is intoxicated at school or an event.

Cummings said the likely revisions are a reflection that the administration is trying to be responsive to the concerns raised by the school board and the community over the draft policy.

At a meeting last month, parent leaders and board members expressed concerns about the use of breathalyzers on all students at social events.

Worries revolved around the invasive nature of blowing into a breathalyzer.

Administration officials said last month they are seeking the new policy in an effort to combat teen driving accidents. The test shows that a student has been drinking.

Typically, students who admit to drinking later recant and it’s hard to enforce discipline, officials said.

Cummings said if the school board approves the revised policy at its 7 p.m. Aug. 18 meeting at the Parsons Government Center, it could be in effect before the homecoming dance in October.

Polansky stressed that the growing trend statewide is for communities to adopt the passive breathalyzer policy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Periodic Table of Videos

The Periodic Table of Videos by The University of Nottingham

posted by Scott Beale on Sunday, August 17th, 2008

The University of Nottingham has created The Periodic Table of Videos featuring wonderful videos that explain each element in the Periodic Table of Elements.

The series starts with the video for Hydrogen (H), atomic number #1.

via Neatorama

Australian mayor calls for 'ugly' women to populate town

Australian mayor calls for 'ugly' women to populate town

An Australian mayor has called for ugly ladies to move to his remote mining town because of a shortage of women.

John Moloney, the Mayor of Mount Isa, said "ugly ducklings" could find happiness if they chose to settle in the Queensland town where men outnumber women five to one.

In 2006, there were just 819 women aged 20-24 living there out of a total population of 21,421, according to the most recent census.

Located 1,136 miles (1,829km) from Brisbane, Mount Isa is home to one of the world's biggest underground mines.

In an interview with a local newspaper Mr Moloney said: "Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness."

"Some, in other places in Australia, need to proceed to Mount Isa where happiness awaits. Really, beauty is only skin deep. Isn't there a fairy tale about an ugly duckling that evolves into a beautiful swan.

"I believe we should look after women. I'm told men outnumber women here by five to one. If that's the case, then perhaps it's an opportunity for some lonely women." Ex golf star Greg Norman and tennis player Pat Rafter were both born in the town.

Drug dealer can keep German job centre start-up business grant

Not allowed Photo:DPA

Drug dealer can keep German job centre start-up business grant

Published: 17 Aug 08 12:56 CET

An enterprising unemployed man who was caught dealing in magic mushrooms has been told he does not have to pay the more than €7,000 business start up money the German employment office gave him.

The 27-year-old man from Hürth near Cologne, set up a company to import the mushrooms from Holland, store them in his home and then deliver them to his customers by car, the Express newspaper reported at the weekend.

The man, named only as Marcel F., wrote up a business plan and submitted it to his case officer at the job centre, complete with details of his internet site with the name – which means mushiehead.

The job centre accepted his plan and gave him a €7,200 grant to start his company. Because the mushrooms are not plants, they were not covered by the narcotics laws.

It was not long before the police knocked on Marcel’s door and confiscated all his stock, before taking him for questioning and prosecution.

The law had been changed to include mushrooms, the Express said, and Marcel’s business was no longer legal.

He was given a suspended 18-month sentence – but the court ruled that he did not have to repay the job centre.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Buffalo Police batter their way into wrong house

Buffalo Police batter their way into wrong house

Family of 8 traumatized by officers’ behavior; officials admit error made but defend actions

Updated: 08/16/08 8:50 AM

Terrell and Schavon Pennyamon look out through the missing glass of the door police broke in during a mistaken raid on the family’s lower flat on the city’s West Side Wednesday.

Armed with a battering ram and shotguns, Buffalo police looking for heroin broke down the door and stormed the lower apartment of a West Side family of eight.

The problem is that the Wednesday evening raid should have occurred at an apartment upstairs.

And, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, according to Schavon Pennyamon, who lives at the mistakenly raided apartment on Sherwood Street with her husband, Terrell, and six children.

Pennyamon alleges that after wrongly breaking into her apartment, police proceeded to strike her epileptic husband in the head with the butt end of a shotgun and point shotguns at her young children before admitting their mistake and then raiding the right apartment.

She says she’s left with a broken door, an injured husband, jittery children and — what bothers her most — still no apology from police.

“They know they did something wrong and they were still ignorant,” said the 29-year-old Pennyamon. “At first, I just wanted an apology. Now, because they want[ed] to be ignorant and rude, I have to take it to the next level.”

She filed a report with the department’s Professional Standards Division and also contacted Mayor Byron W.

Brown about the incident. Pennyamon said Friday evening she also has retained a lawyer and intends to pursue legal action.

Police brass acknowledge that officers with the Mobile Response and Narcotics units entered the wrong apartment.

“As the officers were in the lower apartment, one of the detectives reviewed the search warrant application and realized it was for the upper [apartment],” said Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives.

“It appears to be an honest mistake and we certainly apologize to all involved,” added Michael J. DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman.

Police declined to comment, however, on Pennyamon’s allegations of assault and other police impropriety. The internal investigation with the Professional Standards Division is now under way to determine exactly what happened.

“We wouldn’t be comfortable discussing the internal investigation,” Richards said. “We can say comfortably that over 1,100 search warrants were executed last year and 580 to date this year and that, with such a high volume and such a fast-paced environment, it is understandable that mistakes could happen.”

Pennyamon remains unconvinced it was a mistake. She says officers told her they had “raided the house before” and she believes they felt entitled to do it again — warrant or not.

“The way they make it seem is ‘we can do whatever we want,’ ” she said.

Pennyamon’s troubled by what she says is an arrogance by police officers and an unwillingness to “serve and protect” those who need it.

“It’s a sad situation. I’ve always looked up to the police. I’ve always expected them to be on my side.”

Pennyamon was called home from her job as a certified nursing assistant at a local health care facility at about 6:30 p. m. Wednesday to find police at her house, her children partially dressed on the porch and her husband — a U.S. Air Force veteran — injured. She said police were rude and unapologetic.

It was a harsh welcome to the neighborhood for the family. They’ve only lived at the apartment on Sherwood Street, on the far West Side just south of West Ferry Street, for two weeks after she says they moved from the East Side to escape crime. Now, Pennyamon said, the family already is looking to relocate again.

“I don’t know what was going on upstairs, but it gives police no right to bust in my doors,” she said. “That’s just ridiculous.”

Richards said police protocol dictates that search warrants are executed by police first announcing their presence and then quickly and forcefully entering a property with guns drawn for their own protection.

“Police have been faced with fortified doors and windows. In numerous locations, they’ve been met with individuals armed with weapons or attacking animals,” he said.

Pennyamon said the event left her husband with physical injuries and left a lasting impression on the children.

She said her husband, Terrell, suffered a dislocated arm after he was yanked up by police during the raid and is expected to return to his doctor Monday to possibly have glass — left behind by the door window police broke to get into the apartment — surgically removed from his foot.

Pennyamon’s 5-year-old daughter now sleeps with her.

“My 12-year-old and 6-year-old don’t want to be home at all,” she said, adding that her younger children cower or run to the back of the house when they hear anyone approaching.

“ ‘That’s the police,’ they say,” Pennyamon said.

Police said no arrests were made in the subsequent raid at the upstairs apartment.

Gatecrashers flee whip-wielding dad

Gatecrashers flee whip-wielding dad

Matthew Benns
August 17, 2008
NEWS. Wahroonga Home Invasion.Wahroonga resident "They picked the wrong guy"...Dion Driman.

NEWS. Wahroonga Home Invasion.Wahroonga resident "They picked the wrong guy"...Dion Driman.
Photo: Adam Hollingworth

A MARAUDING gang of teenage gatecrashers got more than they bargained for when an angry householder used a whip to eject them from his 16-year-old son's party.

Dion Driman pulled out a South African sjambok when more than 30 youths attempted to storm into the party at the rear of his home at Wahroonga in Sydney's north.

Now he may face police charges for using excessive force to drive the youths from his home last Saturday night.

"I told them it was a private party and to clear off but this big youth put his face right into mine and said: 'make me'," said Mr Driman, 46.

The South African electrical contractor said he had "sensed trouble" when he saw the youths outside and had armed himself with a decorative sjambok from inside the house.

The gang split into two groups and entered the house at the front and side, kicking a screen door off its hinges in the process. Mr Driman, the only adult at his son's party, confronted the ringleader as he came around the side of the house.

"As I tackled him, six of them came over the top of me. I received a big hit to the side of my head," said Mr Driman. "It happened really quickly."

His son Brennan said: "There were six or seven really big, buff guys on top of my dad, hitting him. I had to try and pull him out."

As he got clear Mr Driman started using the sjambok - a 1.5metre plastic whip like the traditional rhino hide whips used by South African herdsmen.

"I am certainly not a hero. I just defended my property and my son's friends. There were a group of 15-year-old girls there too," said Mr Driman. "These guys were much bigger.

"People have had enough. This gang has been terrorising people whose kids are having parties for months now. Somebody needed to stand up to them."

Brennan added: "I know that if Dad had not stood up to them they would have completely trashed the house and stolen anything they could get their hands on."

None of the youths could be identified and so no charges were laid. Hornsby police were called to the incident and are understood to be considering whether the force Mr Driman used to protect his home was excessive.

NSW Police could not comment on the incident yesterday but a spokesman told the local paper Mr Driman had the right to defend himself - the question was whether he had used too much force.

"All I would suggest, if a situation arises again, leave it to the police to handle," he said.

Mr Driman remained unrepentant: "I would gladly do it again. They picked on the wrong guy," he said.

Three boys locked inside Dick's Sporting Goods gun safe for 40 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY -- Three boys are doing fine after spending 40 terrifying minutes locked in a gun safe at a sporting goods store in Salt Lake City.

Firefighters drilled air holes into the 4-by-4-foot safe Thursday, then used tools to rip a steel panel from the back.

The boys are 9, 12 and 13 years old. They got locked in the safe when a friend shut the door as a prank at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Store employees tried but couldn't enter the right combination on the digital lock. A crowd gathered for the rescue.

The boys were hot and thirsty but otherwise fine.