Saturday, June 20, 2009

Have not been blogging due to illness

I have been down with Hep-C I get a biopsy on Friday, Hope to be blogging again soon, thanks for your patience, gregor

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I have been sick lately

I have been unable to update due to sickness and loss of my main web computer. I have ordered a
NEW COMPUTER. So PLEASE check back I expect to be updating soon, gregor

Monday, January 26, 2009

You ain't fat, it's just a tubby bug

PEOPLE can catch a bug which makes them obese, claim scientists.

The virus is picked up from a sneeze, a cough or dirty hands like a cold.

The new research supports earlier theories from studies on weight gain.

Weight off some people's minds ... claim by scientists

Weight off some people's minds ... claim by scientists

Evidence in tests on mice and chickens shows the bug could cause tubbies to pile on the pounds.

In one test a THIRD of obese people had the rare and highly contagious virus compared to just 11 PER CENT of thinner people.

US Professor Nikhil Dhurandhar said the virus, known as AD-36, goes to the lungs then whisks around the body.

It forces fat cells to multiply and also causes sore throats.


He said: “When this virus goes to fat tissue it replicates ... which may explain why people get fat when infected.”

Weight gain can last three months until the body has built up resistance to the bug.

But Prof Dhurandhar of Louisiana, US, tells BBC2’s Horizon tonight: “People could be fat for reasons other than viral infections, so it’s pointless for fat people to try to avoid infection.”

The programme also reveals research claiming dieters always feel hungry because humans have a “natural body weight” and they will always suffer hunger pangs

Text size: increase text sizedecrease text size Former cop draws fire for alleged remarks to college students

For Chicago police, beating suspects is just a way of life, he reportedly says

As if Chicago police need another black eye.

This one could come from a punch extended halfway across the country, from a former Chicago cop who allegedly has been recorded on tape telling students at Colorado State University that beating suspects and paying off informants with drugs is just a way of life for police in "Chi-town."

Dexter Yarbrough, a former Gresham District community policing officer, allegedly made the remarks to students in 2008 lectures taped by a graduate student, according to the campus student newspaper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian.

Yarbrough, who took a leave of absence from Chicago police in 2000 and officially resigned in 2005, is chief of the Colorado State University Police Department and associate vice president of the Department of Public Safety. He was placed on indefinite paid leave last month "pending the outcome of a personnel investigation," according to a statement from the university.

The article in the school newspaper details numerous complaints from officers under Yarbrough's command as well as the recordings made by the graduate student, a former county sheriff's deputy who thought the chief's comments were out of line.

Yarbrough allegedly told students that paying informants with drugs was acceptable, as long as the informants never revealed where they got the drugs, and that excessive and violent force against a suspect is a "reality of law enforcement."

"If there's a news conference going on, I can't get in front of a crowd and say, 'He got exactly what the [expletive] he deserved.' You know the police should have beat him, you know. I used to beat [expletive] when I was in Chicago too. I can't say that," the article quotes a recording of Yarbrough as saying.

"I'd have to say, 'Well, you know we're going to have to look into this matter seriously . . . all of our officers, we like to think that they operate with the utmost integrity and ethics' . . . All of that [expletive] sounds good. That [expletive] sounds real good, but in the back of my mind, damn. He got popped. If he would have done it the way we used to do it in Chi-town, man, none of this [expletive] would have happened."

For the past year, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis has tried to shake an image of abuse that has plagued the department. And in a statement Friday, Weis pointed to his creation of the Bureau of Professional Standards, which he said is improving officer training, supervision and leadership.

"Dexter Yarbrough is no longer a member of the Chicago Police Department," the statement said. "Ensuring that the men and women of this department receive the very best training throughout their service career is a priority and we are proud of the hardworking men and women who comprise our ranks . . . Anecdotal stories expressed in a classroom setting are not indicative of the type of work that the majority of our men and women do."

The university wouldn't say why it's investigating Yarbrough, and he couldn't be reached for comment.

In a posting on the university's Web site, Yarbrough described himself as a 15-year veteran officer who worked on "important and highly sensitive assignments."

Chicago police say he was assigned to the Gresham District, most recently as a community policing officer who would have worked closely with residents and represented the department at local beat meetings.

Yarbrough was at some point up for a public safety job at the University of Chicago, the student article reports, but claims he was passed over. The university on Friday wouldn't comment on whether he was an applicant for any job there.

A pensioner who got trapped under his own sofa survived for two and a half days by drinking a conveniently-placed bottle of whisky

Whisky: usefull if, say, you're trapped under a sofa for two days

A pensioner who got trapped under his own sofa survived for two and a half days by drinking a conveniently-placed bottle of whisky.

Joe Galliott first became ensnared by his sofa when he tripped over a phone cord during a power cut, sending him tumbling onto the sofa. This made the sofa flip over, landing on top of him and trapping him underneath.

While he was unable to get out from under the furniture, and had no food or water, Galliott was fortunate enough to have knocked a bottle of whisky within reach of his sofa-prison as he fell.

He told The Sun: 'I didn't have the strength to shift anything. I never had anything to drink except from that bottle of whisky, and I sipped on that.'

The 65-year-old was finally rescued from his ordeal when his grandson paid him a visit and called for help. He spent five days in hospital recovering from his sofa hell.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beware: The daft egg-box warning that contents 'may contain eggs'

In these health-conscious times food companies are increasingly keen to warn consumers if ingredients may cause allergic reactions.

But one firm has gone a step further by advising shoppers that its boxes of eggs contain...egg.

The Happy Egg Company’s six-pack of eggs – which features the company’s name and is decorated with a picture of an egg and a cartoon chicken – contains the message ‘allergy advice: contains egg’ inside the lid of the boxes.

egg box

Crazy: Warning inside the egg box lid

Mail on Sunday food expert Tom Parker Bowles said: ‘It does get to the point when warnings go too far. We don’t need to be told a peanut contains nuts or eggs contain egg.

‘Perhaps as a nation we should stop being so overexcited about the bureaucracy of everything.

‘The company probably feel they need to cover their backs to escape the wrath of health-and-safety rules.’

The firm initially claimed that supermarkets’ strict labelling criteria were to blame for the overzealous warning.

A spokesman said: ‘Some retailers insist on this information within their packs as part of a due diligence procedure. Any products deemed as potentially allergenic are included in this. A crazy world, but occasionally we have to do silly things to cover ourselves.’

Later The Happy Egg Company admitted it had chosen to print the advice of its own volition – after the supermarkets involved said they only demand producers comply with the law – adding: ‘We have to state the obvious to cover all eventualities.’

But bizarrely, the company has not printed the warning in its boxes of ten eggs.

When asked why the advice had not been repeated, the spokesman reiterated his initial claim that it was due to the retailers’ requirements.

Happy Egg products, which are free range, are on sale in Asda and Morrisons stores and will be in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Somerfield from next month.

Regulations issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) watchdog require manufacturers to state on packaging if goods contain allergens.

These consist of 14 substances including eggs, milk, shellfish and nuts, which are recognised as causing allergic reactions.

A spokesperson for the FSA said: ‘Allergen advice has to be stated, but it can be anywhere, including in the ingredients list and in the name of the product.

'As long as the box says “eggs” that is sufficient. Companies just need to use common sense with their labelling.’

Lindsay McManus, from charity Allergy UK, said: ‘It does seem silly but they’re being extra-careful and making absolutely sure they’re covered.’

Earlier this month Cadbury said it was including a warning, in yellow capital letters, stating that its Dairy Milk chocolate bar ‘contains milk’

Be careful around squirrels? Minnesota has it’s share of odd laws

WINONA, Minn. — Minnesota law requires all bathtubs have feet.

It is also illegal to sleep naked, tease a skunk or cross state lines with a duck on your head.
They may sound absurd, but these are actual laws on the books in Minnesota. Well, mostly.

Strange laws like these are widely circulated around the Internet, said Michelle Timmons, state revisor of statutes, and each must be taken with a grain of salt. Especially the duck one.

“We researched and researched on that one,” Timmons said. “That must be an odd interpretation of (a law) on the books.”

Some antiquated laws claimed to have been found by people simply don’t exist, she said. Others are legitimate, including these from the Winona city code:

- Any cottonwood tree which “sheds its seeds profusely” is a public nuisance.

- It is illegal to trap, kill or molest squirrels in any way.

- No one shall allow the mating of cattle or horses within the city except in a properly enclosed building and out of the public view.

Most of the wackier laws aren’t enforced, of course. In fact, Timmons’ office is responsible for eradicating antiquated laws. The revisor’s office has the power to edit some laws out of existence that require minimal revision, but if a law needs to be repealed, it requires legislative approval, Timmons said. Every year a Revisor’s Bill of miscellaneous statute fixes is submitted to legislators in an omnibus bill.

Sometimes legislators try to repeal the laws. In 2003, Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, tried to eliminate a 1913 law requiring canvas manufacturers label the weights of their products, which were used as awnings, wagon covers and tents, according to the Feb. 7, 2003, edition of the House’s “Session Weekly” publication. The law was designed to protect consumers from dishonest salesmen.

“We have tried to find anyone opposed to (repealing) it and couldn’t,” Seifert was quoted as saying in “Session Weekly.” The House of Representatives voted 124-0 to expunge the law 11 days later.

Most antiquated laws had a purpose at one time, Timmons said, but changing societal standards and technology make some laws obsolete.

“Something important in 1858 and very commonplace just seems funny now,” she said.

Two Burglars Dressed As Firefighters Steal TV's

Video Gallery


Metro says two men dressed as Clark County firefighters stole two flat-screen TV's from an apartment complex near Flamingo and Cambridge. Now police are asking for the public's help to identify the men.

The fire department says this case causes them serious concern. While two TV's were stolen, the department fears the larger impact could be on the public trust.

The two men were captured by a security camera on January 9, 2009 between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The photos show what appear to be two Clark County firefighters inside a hallway as police say they were in the process of stealing two flat-screen TV's.

SLIDESHOW: See Photos of the Suspects

"One suspect stood by the side and was a lookout. The other suspect entered the workout facility and attempted to remove a flat screen TV off the wall. He was unsuccessful. They both left and approximately and hour and half later returned again, this time with a tool which enabled them to remove the TV," said Metro Officer Barbara Morgan.

CCFD Scott Allison says the department fears this incident could cast suspicions on real firefighters who are doing their jobs, "They seemed to know what they were doing. Their mannerisms, the way they moved through this complex and everything, they looked like firefighters. And if I was just Joe Blow citizen, passing them in a hallway, I might not question it either."

Until the men are caught, officials say there's no way to know if the shirts they were wearing were legitimate and, if they were, where they may have come from. But the two men had other markings of real firefighters, right down to the dark pants, boots, and even what appeared to be a two-way radio.

"Everybody is going to be a little upset that there are actually two individuals out there impersonating and trying to put a black eye on our department for doing something illegal," said Allison.

Police say the men were seen leaving the apartment complex in a burgundy or dark red pickup truck. The fire department says all of its vehicles are clearly marked and all of its employees carry identification.

Police are asking that anyone with information on this crime to contact them at 702-828-3287.

Monday, January 19, 2009

150 Hungry Elephants Trample Village - 3 Dead

GAUHATI, India — A herd of nearly 150 hungry elephants rampaged through a village in India's remote northeast, trampling to death a young family as they slept in their hut, a resident and a wildlife official said Saturday.

The Asiatic elephants destroyed four homes in Assam state's Karbi Anglong village Friday night, said resident Rimi Marak.

"The herd was just too large. The villagers could do nothing," Marak said. A farmer, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter died in the incident, he said.

The herd left a nearby forest reserve in search of food nearly two weeks ago, said state forestry officer M.K. Dhar.

Forest guards had tried in vain to drive the elephants back using firecrackers and lighting torches, Dhar told The Associated Press.

The region is home to some 5,000 wild elephants, whose natural habitat has been increasingly diminished by human development. Conservationists say wild elephant attacks have killed more than 700 people in Assam in the past 17 years.

"We take pride at the large elephant population in our region, but the increasing man-elephant conflict following the shrinkage in their habitat due to the growing human population is turning out to be a huge challenge," said Pradyut Bordoloi, a former state forest and environment minister.

GAUHATI, India — A herd of nearly 150 hungry elephants rampaged through a village in India's remote northeast, trampling to death a young family as they slept in their hut, a resident and a wildlife official said Saturday.

The Asiatic elephants destroyed four homes in Assam state's Karbi Anglong village Friday night, said resident Rimi Marak.

"The herd was just too large. The villagers could do nothing," Marak said. A farmer, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter died in the incident, he said.

The herd left a nearby forest reserve in search of food nearly two weeks ago, said state forestry officer M.K. Dhar.

Forest guards had tried in vain to drive the elephants back using firecrackers and lighting torches, Dhar told The Associated Press.

The region is home to some 5,000 wild elephants, whose natural habitat has been increasingly diminished by human development. Conservationists say wild elephant attacks have killed more than 700 people in Assam in the past 17 years.

"We take pride at the large elephant population in our region, but the increasing man-elephant conflict following the shrinkage in their habitat due to the growing human population is turning out to be a huge challenge," said Pradyut Bordoloi, a former state forest and environment minister.

Imagery by the National Remote Sensing Agency shows that nearly 691,880 acres (280,000 hectares) of thick forests in Assam state were illegally cleared for human settlements from 1996 to 2000.

In 2001, villagers in Sonitpur district poisoned to death 19 wild elephants after the hungry animals feasted on standing crops and demolished several homes.

Man stabbed at York Hotel ignores wound to finish his beer

A man who was stabbed at the York Hotel Saturday night opted to return to the bar to finish his beer rather than seek medical attention.

Police responded to 10401 96 St. hotel just after 9 p.m. with reports that a man had been stabbed.

When they arrived, they found the victim at his table drinking beer.

"He's got a minor poke to his chest, but he's not giving us any details," said Staff Sgt. Regan James. "You can imagine the level of his concern was not that high."

No suspects had been located and the victim was uncooperative with police

Woman, 81, killed in street mugging 'ignored by passers-by as she called for help'

An 81-year-old woman, who died after being mugged in the street, was ignored by passers-by as she cried for help.

Police said that Molly Morgan sus­tained head injuries suffered in the attack on her from behind - yet people who could have helped her thought she was drunk.

She was left on the pavement for 10 minutes before eventually being taken to hospital on Thursday evening, but died the following day from her injuries.

A post-mortem examination gave cause of death as head injuries. She also had a broken left arm and mul­tiple fractures to the left side of her face after being dragged to the ground during the attack.

Molly Morgan

Ignored: Pensioner Molly Morgan died following a street mugging. Many passers-by refused to help her because they thought she had been drinking

Her bag contained just an electrical exten­sion lead and a Primark umbrella.

Today her only daughter Hilary, an artist from Surrey, pleaded for anyone with information about the mugging in Harrow to come forward.

She also released a painting of her mother’s bag, which police are searching for.

She said: 'My mum was so active and full of life. I still can’t believe she has been taken away from me. I am her only daughter and we were close. She encouraged me in my dream of going to art school.

'If this painting helps to catch the person who killed her, it’s the most important painting I’ve ever done.'

Mrs Morgan, who had lived in the area for more than 50 years, was on her way to Kenton Library for a lecture.

Molly Morgan bag

Vital clue: A painting of the missing bag belonging to Molly Morgan

The 'active' and 'agile' pensioner had trained as an architect but gave up work to become a full-time mother.

She was a member of the Royal Horticultural Society and sat on the London committee of the Worker Education Association, a group that supports adult education.

For more than 40 years she was married to William Morgan, who died in November 1997.

Detective Chief Inspector Jessica Wadsworth - from the Met’s Homi­cide and Serious Crime Command, which is leading the investigation - said some passers-by refused to help Mrs Morgan because they thought she had been drinking.

She said: 'When Mrs Morgan was attacked she fell to the ground, and we believe she was on the pavement for about 10 minutes before anyone came to her aid.

'While at hospital, Mrs Morgan told police that a man walked right past her and didn’t stop, even when she asked for help.

'I need to trace this man, and any other people who saw Mrs Morgan lying on the pavement, since they are vital witnesses and will be able to help me find who killed her.

'It is our belief that this man, and other people in the area who didn’t assist the victim, may tragically not have realised that Mrs Morgan had been attacked and was in consider­able pain.

'We know from some witnesses that they had assumed she was merely a drunk on the street.'

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 020 8358 0300 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Woman motorist banned after police catch her drink-driving... on a 2.4mph mobility scooter

A woman has been given a driving ban after being caught more than twice the legal alcohol limit - while riding a 2.4mph mobility scooter.

Amanda Leaff, 46, said she had taken the buggy from an Asda supermarket to save herself the taxi fare for her trip home.

A court was told yesterday how it would have taken Leaff, of Stretford, Manchester, more than four hours to complete the ten-mile journey, had she not been spotted 'driving erratically' by an off-duty police officer.

Mobility scooter

A drunk woman travelled two-and-a-half miles on a mobility scooter before police stopped her. She was given a 20-month driving ban for being twice the legal limit

Magistrates in Oldham heard she had been drinking for several hours and became abusive when police stopped her at around 10.45pm on November 12.

Her solicitor Stephen Krebbs told the court: 'She managed to get two-and-a-half miles until she was stopped. It was a surprise she got as far as she did.'

He added: 'She planned to return the scooter to her local Asda the following day.'

Leaff admitted taking without consent and driving a mobility scooter while unfit through drink. She was given a 20-month driving ban and £240 fine.

An Asda spokesman said after the hearing: 'The scooters, although very practical and robust, are not really designed for road use.

'They are best suited to flat surfaces as in supermarkets, due to the very low wheelbase. Every scooter missing from our premises is a vehicle fewer for our disabled shoppers to use.'

Mass. Man Shot Twice In Year At Same Pizza Place

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) -- A 26-year-old Worcester man may want to avoid a certain pizza place -- after he was shot in front of the restaurant twice in less than a year.

Police said the man, whose name was not immediately released, is expected to survive three gunshot wounds he suffered in front of the Golden Pizza on Tuesday, after surviving another shooting there in April.

Detective Capt. Edward McGinn told the Telegram & Gazette the man had just gotten a haircut at a barber shop Tuesday when he went across the street and got into a skirmish with a person in front of Golden Pizza.

McGinn said the man was hospitalized after being shot in the legs and abdomen. The shooter fled.

In the April 13 incident, police said three people were arrested after the same man was shot multiple times.

I Triple-Dog Dare You:

I Triple-Dog Dare You: Indiana Boy Gets Tongue Stuck on Light Pole

HAMMOND, Ind. — In a scene straight out of the movie "A Christmas Story," a 10-year-old Hammond boy got his tongue stuck to a metal light pole.

Police say the unidentified fourth-grader was able to tell them that a friend dared him to lick the pole Wednesday night. Temperatures in Hammond were around 10 degrees at the time.

By the time an ambulance arrived, the boy was able to yank his tongue off the frozen pole.

Police say ambulance personnel explained to the boy's mother how to care for his bleeding tongue.

The 1983 movie is set in a fictional city based on Hammond, the hometown of author Jean Shepherd.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Harper's Index: the Bush Years

Harper's Index: the Bush Years

Here's Harper's Index for the Bush years -- some real gems here:
Number of members of the rock band Anthrax who said they hoarded Cipro so as to avoid an “ironic death”: 1

Estimated total calories members of Congress burned giving Bush’s 2002 State of the Union standing ovations: 22,000

Percentage of the amendments in the Bill of Rights that are violated by the USA PATRIOT Act, according to the ACLU: 50

Harper’s Index (Thanks, Mr Jalopy!)

Wanted: hubby for 107-year-old bride

  • 107-year-old Chinese woman never married
  • Makes up her mind it's finally time
  • Wants man roughly her own age

A 107-year-old Chinese woman who was afraid to marry when she was young has decided to look for her first husband and hopes to find a fellow centenarian so they will have something to talk about, a Chinese paper reported.

Wang Guiying is worried she is becoming a burden to her aging nieces and nephews since breaking her leg when she was 102 and had to stop doing chores like washing her clothes.

"I'm already 107 and I still haven't got married," the Chongqing Commercial Times quoted her saying.

"What will happen if I don't hurry up and find a husband?"

Born in southern Guizhou province the child of a salt merchant, Ms Wang grew up watching her uncles and other men scold and beat their wives and often found her aunt crying in the woodshed after an attack, the paper said.

"All the married people around there lived like that. Getting married was too frightening," she said of an era when Chinese women had few rights and low social standing.

This is awesome! good luck to you! If I wasn't married i'd marry you in a heartbeat (with no prenup of course :) :) :) )

Wo0t of yingling province

Many also had their feet bound in an excruciating process aimed at making them look more dainty and marriageable.

After ms Wang's father, mother and older sister died, she still shied away from marriage.

Instead she moved to the countryside and survived as a farmer until she was 74 years old and no longer strong enough to work in the fields, the report said.

Her nephew in the booming city of Chongqing then took Ms Wang in, but she is worried he and her other nephews and nieces are too old to take care of her now even the youngest is 60.

"My nephews and nieces are getting older and their children are already tied up with their own families and I am becoming more and more of a burden," she said.

Local officials have said they are happy to help Ms Wang search for a 100-year old groom, and suggested her family get in touch with old people's homes to find candidates, the paper said.

Father and son try to cut to front of line, go to jail

MUNCIE -- City police said a Frankfort man picked the wrong time to cut in line at the north Walmart store on Sunday, setting the stage for events that landed both him and his father in the Delaware County jail.

Edward R. Pluhar Jr., 26, was preliminarily charged with battery on police officer Chris Kirby, while his father, 61-year-old Edward R. Pluhar Sr., was preliminarily charged with criminal recklessness with a vehicle and intimidation.

According to police reports, officer Kirby was off duty as he waited in Walmart's customer service line with his wife and daughter Sunday afternoon, and watched the younger Pluhar walk past him and directly to the service desk.

The police officer told Pluhar Jr. he needed to wait his turn, but the Frankfort man purportedly refused.

The elder Pluhar then allegedly approached the off-duty officer, told him to mind his own business and asked whether Kirby wanted to take the dispute outside.

When Kirby asked Pluhar Sr. what his intentions were, the Frankfort man purportedly said he would kick Kirby's posterior and also suggested he might shoot him.

Kirby then informed the father and son that he was a police officer and called emergency dispatchers to send an on-duty officer to the scene.

The Pluhars then left the store, at 4801 W. Clara Lane, with Kirby following them to the parking lot and then standing behind their van as they attempted to leave.

The van, driven by the elder Pluhar, allegedly hit the officer's leg. Kirby and the younger Pluhar then fought, reports said.

Patrol officers Kevin Durbin and Jess Neal then arrived and arrested the father and son without incident.

Edward Pluhar Sr. was released from the county jail Sunday after posting a $5,000 bond, while his son was released on a $2,500 bond.

German Firefighters Burn Own Firehouse Down for Second Time

German firefighters lost all their engines for a second time after their station burned to the ground in a fire they are believed to have set themselves, the Austrian Times reported.

The weekend blaze in Syke, northern Germany, was reportedly set by the firefighters themselves in a training exercise accident. However, faulty wiring could have been to blame.

It took 250 firefighters from the surrounding areas to bring the flames under control, the Austrian Times reported. All six fire engines were lost in the inferno.

This was not the first time the bumbling fire brigade lost its headquarters. The station was rebuilt in 1994 after another blaze gutted the structure, according to the Austrian Times.

Firefighters: Goats May Be to Blame for Iowa House Fire

NORWALK, Iowa — A group of goats may have started a fire that destroyed a home in central Iowa, firefighters said.

The fire broke out early Tuesday near Norwalk. Three people in the house escaped unharmed.

John Hadley said his cat woke up him up, and he saw smoke coming from a ceiling. Hadley then woke up his ailing mother and her companion and got them out of the house.

The fire may have been started by some goats kept in a shed attached to the rear of the house, Assistant Northern Warren County Fire Chief Kevin Dingman said.

He said a space heater was kept in the shed to keep the goats warm, and the goats may have knocked it over, starting the fire.

The goats and a family dog were rescued, but a cat was missing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Geithner Failed to Pay Taxes, Hired Housekeeper Without Proper Immigration Documents

President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, failed to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for himself for four years and employed a housekeeper whose immigration documentation lapsed while in his employ.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus called a meeting with committee members to discuss the matter inside his office Tuesday.

Geithner disclosed to senators earlier in the day that he had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes from 2001 to 2004, a last-minute complication in an otherwise smooth path to confirmation.

Sources say Geithner also hired a housekeeper whose immigration papers expired during her employment in 2004 and 2005.

The woman, whose name has not been released, eventually obtained a green card to work legally in the U.S., and immigration authorities did not charge her with wrongdoing.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters after the revelations that he still believes Geithner is "extremely well-qualified" for the post.

"There was a few little hiccups, and that's basically what they are. I am not concerned at all," Reid said.

But an aide to finance committee member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the matter is "serious."

"Whether it's disqualifying is to be determined," the aide said.

Before becoming president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Geithner worked for the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. He paid all of his income taxes on his IMF income, but made a "common mistake" on his tax returns with regard to self-employment taxes, Obama transition aides told reporters Tuesday.

Incoming White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended Geithner, saying, "He's dedicated his career to our country and served with honor, intelligence and distinction. That service should not be tarnished by honest mistakes, which, upon learning of them, he quickly addressed."

"He made a common mistake on his taxes, and was unaware that his part-time housekeeper's work authorization expired for the last three months of her employment," Gibbs said.

"We hope that the Senate will confirm him with strong bipartisan support so that he can begin the important work of the country," he added.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, also defended Geithner.

"I still support him. I have no problem," Hatch told FOX News. "He's a very, very competent guy."

Baucus told reporters that Geithner's errors -- though "serious" -- do not disqualify him from becoming Treasury Secretary and that he hopes Geithner can be confirmed by Inauguration Day.

"These errors were not intentional; they were honest mistakes," Baucus said after he and other committee members met with Geithner.

Man Allegedly Tries to Sell Daughter Into Marriage for Cash, Beer and Meat

GREENFIELD, Calif. — Police have arrested a Greenfield man for allegedly arranging to sell his 14-year-old daughter into marriage in exchange for $16,000, 100 cases of beer and several cases of meat.

Police say they only learned of the deal after 36-year-old Marcelino de Jesus Martinez went to them to get his daughter back because payment wasn't made as promised.

Martinez was arrested Sunday on suspicion of human trafficking.

Officers also arrested 18-year-old Margarito de Jesus Galindo on suspicion of statutory rape. Investigators believe the girl went willingly with Galindo, but she's under California's legal age of consent and can't legally marry.

Police say arranged marriages involving underage girls have become a problem in this small Central Coast farming community.

Exercise for the new year

Exercise for the new year

-Walking 20 minutes can add to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $7000 per month.
-My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60.. Now he's 97 years old and we don't know where he is.
-I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
-The only reason I would take up walking is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.
-I have to walk early in the morning, before my brain figures out what I'm doing..
-I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound. Apparently you have to go there.
-Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.
-I do have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.
-The advantage of exercising every day is so when you die, they'll say, 'Well, he looks good doesn't he.'
-If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.
-I know I got a lot of exercise the last few years,...... just getting over the hill.
-We all get heavier as we get older, because there's a lot more information in our heads. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
-Every time I start thinking too much about how I look, I just find a Happy Hour and by the time I leave, I look just fine.
-You could run this over to your friends... But just e-mail it to them!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More bedbugs are biting in Cincinnati

Associated Press
CIMEX LECTULARIUS: Adult bedbugs live on blood — human and animal — and lay nearly invisible eggs.

More bedbugs are biting in Cincinnati

Associated Press
CIMEX LECTULARIUS: Adult bedbugs live on blood — human and animal — and lay nearly invisible eggs.
The biting insects, which can live in mattresses and wall cracks, led to hundreds of complaints in the city last year. It's hard to determine the national scope of the problem.
By P.J. Huffstutter
January 4, 2009
Reporting from Cincinnati -- In this Ohio city, it seems, it really is tough to stop the bedbugs from biting.

When complaints about the bloodsucking insects first trickled in to Cincinnati's public health department three years ago, officials assumed it was an anomaly -- or perhaps the overactive imagination of a bug-phobic public. After all, Cimex lectularius had all but vanished here by the 1950s because of the frequent use of DDT and other now-banned pesticides.

But that trickle of complaints has grown into a flood: A recent public survey found that 1 in every 6 people here has had a run-in with the biting bugs in the last 12 months.

Dozens of fire stations in Cincinnati have had to dump furniture or have their living quarters exterminated because firefighters unknowingly brought the eggs in on their boots or pant legs. Assisted-living complexes have spent tens of thousands of dollars on pest-control companies because, the thinking goes, visitors may have carried in the bugs on their purses or bags.

City health department officials said they now receive more frantic calls about the insects than about mice, rats and cockroaches combined.

If things continue, "we won't be able to keep up with the requests for inspections," said Camille Jones, assistant Cincinnati health commissioner and member of a city-county bedbug task force. "It's a problem that we expect to only get worse."

Cincinnati is not alone in its itchy woes. Reports of a welt-covered public are coming in from college campuses, high-end hotels and even movie theaters across the country.

University officials at Texas A&M in College Station have flown in bedbug-sniffing dogs to root out the insects. The University of Florida in Gainesville reportedly has spent tens of thousands of dollars to clear dorm rooms and campus apartments of infestations.

In New York, there were 8,830 complaints about bedbugs in fiscal 2008, which ended June 30, up from 1,839 in 2005, according to the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The bugs have shown up in unexpected places: An executive with Fox News told the New York Times that the Manhattan newsroom had to be exterminated for bedbugs and have its furniture replaced after an employee tracked the insects in from home.

Task forces aimed at eradicating the bugs and educating the public have been established in numerous states -- including Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Ohio.

In California, the bugs have become such a problem that the state's Department of Public Health started surveying local public health agencies in 2007 to get a handle on the scope of the infestation. Among the reasons cited for the return of the bugs: the DDT ban and an increase in international travel.

Often mistaken for ticks, adult bedbugs are about a quarter-inch long and reddish-brown. They are active mostly at night, and their bites can leave itchy welts on the skin.

During the daytime, they tend to hide near places where people sleep -- such as the seams of mattresses -- or in wall cracks or beneath furniture. The eggs are white, sticky and about the size of a speck of dust, so people can unknowingly spread them from room to room or even across town.

"Set a bag down on the carpet, or walk through an infested area, and it's almost impossible to tell that you're walking out with shoes or a bag that has bedbug eggs stuck to them," Jones said.

The bugs are not easy to kill. Most over-the-counter insecticides won't work, and clearing up the problem can take several treatments from a professional exterminator.

There's also a social stigma associated with the insect, but unlike some other vermin, bedbugs are attracted to blood -- such as a human's or an animal's -- not to garbage.

Renee Corea has battled the bugs in her New York apartment for months but shies away from talking to friends about the details.

"My home is clean. It's always been clean," said Corea, who helps run the online support and policy advocacy group "I have lost a lot of belongings because of this. The whole experience was emotionally draining and exhausting. It still is."

But figuring out the extent of the problem nationwide is difficult, entomologists say.

Part of the problem is that cash-strapped cities don't see the insect as a public-health priority. Unlike cockroaches, fleas and mosquitoes, bedbugs aren't known as disease carriers.

"Anyone can be at risk," said Greg Kesterman, director of environmental health for the Hamilton County public health agency, which includes Cincinnati.

Kesterman noted that the county received two complaints about bedbugs in 2003 and nearly 300 in 2008.

"This is not only an urban concern," Kesterman said. "This is everywhere."

EPA 'Cow Tax' Could Charge $175 per Dairy Cow to Curb Greenhouse Gases

Call this one of the newest and innovative ways your government has come up with to battle greenhouse gas emissions.

Indirectly it could be considered a cheeseburger tax, but one of the suggestions offered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act is to levy a tax on livestock.

The ANPR, released early this year, would give the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas for not only greenhouse gas from manmade sources like transportation and industry, but also “stationary” sources which would include livestock.

The New York Farm Bureau assigned a price tag to the cost of greenhouse gas regulation by the EPA in a release last month.

“The tax for dairy cows could be $175 per cow, and $87.50 per head of beef cattle. The tax on hogs would upwards of $20 per hog,” the release said. “Any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs would have to obtain permits.”

Kate Galbraith, correspondent for The New York Times, noted on the Times’ “Green Inc.” blog that such a “proposal is far from being enacted” and that the “hysteria may be premature.”

But Rick Krause, senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau, warned it’s certainly feasible – especially based on the rhetoric of President-elect Barack Obama and the use of the EPA to combat global warming. Such action by an Obama administration would take an act of Congress for livestock to be exempt.

“The new president has been on record as saying that he really supports regulating greenhouse gases out of the Clean Air Act,” Krause said to the Business & Media Institute. “So, we really have to keep an eye on it. Legislation would really be the only way to exempt it at this point – the cow tax.”

Krause said it is difficult to quantify the cost that might be passed directly to the consumer by farmers from the legislation, but predicted it would mean higher costs for dairy production.

“It’s hard to figure what it would do to consumer prices since farmers, unlike other industries, really can’t pass their cost along directly like utilities and things do,” “About the only thing we could realistically come up, in terms of any of this stuff – it would add between 7 and 8 cents per gallon of milk costs to farmers. So it would cost them 7 or 8 cents more to produce a gallon of milk.”

Even the Department of Agriculture warned the EPA that smaller farms and ranches would have difficulty with limits as much as 100 tons annually on emissions:

“If GHG emissions from agricultural sources are regulated under the CAA, numerous farming operations that currently are not subject to the costly and time-consuming Title V permitting process would, for the first time, become covered entities. Even very small agricultural operations would meet a 100-tons-per-year emissions threshold. For example, dairy facilities with over 25 cows, beef cattle operations of over 50 cattle, swine operations with over 200 hogs, and farms with over 500 acres of corn may need to get a Title V permit. It is neither efficient nor practical to require permitting and reporting of GHG emissions from farms of this size. Excluding only the 200,000 largest commercial farms, our agricultural landscape is comprised of 1.9 million farms with an average value of production of $25,589 on 271 acres. These operations simply could not bear the regulatory compliance costs that would be involved.”

Horse runs into movie theater

BOLDON, England, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Witnesses said an escaped farm horse shocked film-goers when it ran through the automatic doors of a Boldon, England, cinema.

A witness said the horse, one of three that had escaped from a farm, was frightened by a little girl blowing a raspberry outside of the Cineworld complex Dec. 19 and ran straight for the cinema entrance, The Sun reported Monday.

"The horse noticed the cinema and headed towards us, and when it got close, the automatic doors opened and in it came," the witness said. "It was a bit of a surprise -- the general public don't expect to see a horse in the middle of a cinema foyer -- but it was all over in 20 seconds."

Authorities said the horse was captured safely and no one was hurt.

"It's certainly the first time I have heard of this happening and I have worked in cinemas for six years," a Cineworld spokesman said.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Boozy Britain's bloody New Year: A 999 call every seven seconds in alcohol-induced mayhem

Boozy Britain's bloody New Year: A 999 call every seven seconds in alcohol-induced mayhem

By Neil Sears
Last updated at 9:09 AM on 02nd January 2009

Violence scarred celebrations and led to a bloody New Year across the country as emergency services endured a chaotic end to 2008.

Ambulance control centres reported receiving 999 calls as often as once every seven seconds - the second highest volume of calls since the Millennium - as binge drinkers turned nasty in the freezing temperatures.

Many of the calls related either to alcohol-fuelled assaults or excessive drunkenness.

bottle attack

Bloodbath: A victim of a bottle attack at a club in North London

Booze contributed to time-wasting calls to 999 operators too, with one man calling to ask if New York was in America, and what time it was there.

Elsewhere, while large numbers were ferried to hospitals, in some areas injuries were treated by paramedics in 'booze buses' to leave ambulances free for more serious emergencies.

In Essex, so many drunk people were arrested that all 200 of the constabulary's cells were filled, and overflow revellers had to be shipped to neighbouring Kent to be held for the night.

A huge brawl at a social club in Loughton, Essex, meant 600 rowdy revellers had to be dispersed, with two arrested for attempted murder after a 47-year-old man was stabbed in the eye and back.

newcastle drunk attack

Officers stop and question a drunken male about his facial injuries in Newcastle

In Wales, a 999 call led to tragedy when an ambulance speeding its way to an emergency ran over and killed reveller Jason Hawkes, 23, as he stood in the road outside a pub in Beddau-near Cardiff.

In one of the most disturbing incidents an ambulance was wrecked by callous thugs while parked outside the home of a sick baby boy in Tilehurst, Reading.

He eventually had to be sped to hospital in his family's own car.

Mother-of-two Jemma Dromgoole, 22, had found her son Ryan, 19 months, screaming in pain with a limp arm at teatime on New Year's Eve.

Miss Dromgoole said: 'We thought that he had dislocated his shoulder or something even worse. He was so distressed I had to call 999.

drunk girl

Sick and sorry: The binge catches up with this girl

girl lies on the pavement

This sequence of pictures shows a reveller having a rest on the pavement in Newcastle city centre

A girl lies on the pavement

With her shoes off, she at one point places her hand in her mouth

A girl sits on the pavement

A bystander chats to the woman before, cigarette in hand, she contemplates the evening

'The ambulance was here within five minutes and they quickly decided to take him to hospital because he would not let them near him.

'When we got outside one of the paramedics made a dash for the ambulance. He said he saw a kid on a bike and then told us the ambulance had been put out of action by vandals.

'He asked if we could go in my partner's car to the hospital. What kind of person does that to an ambulance? It's sickening.'

party revellers

Partygoers stumble as they make their way in Newcastle city centre


Dressed up for the night, two women pass through a scanner to enter an area in Broad Street, Birmingham

The attackers had smashed the windows, ripped out wiring and stolen the navigation and communication system as the vehicle was parked with its blue lights flashing.

Ryan was later sent home without the need for surgery. It was believed he might have twisted his arm while playing.

The reports of a 999 call every seven seconds came from the London Ambulance Service.

A male complains to a Police officer showing him his facial injuries

A Newcastle reveller shows his facial wounds to a PC

arrest norwich

In the early hours of this morning, officers arrest this reveller in Norwich

Last year the problem was even worse but then it was nowhere near as cold, with far more revellers out on the streets.

Spokesman Alistair Drummond said: 'The high volume of calls on New Year's Eve put the service under increased pressure.

'It made it harder for us to ensure we respond quickly to other patients with potentially life-threatening emergencies.

'People should not be drinking so much that they wake up in hospital.

'We would urge them to think more carefully about the consequences of drinking so that they can enjoy the start of 2009 safely and responsibly.'

Violent incidents in the capital included a bloody fight at the Gilgamesh Party in Chalk Farm, where a man was left drenched in blood after allegedly being hit with a bottle.

His injuries were not life threatening. .

drunk girl

The hangover starts here: A partygoer collapses in the street

British Transport Police spokesman Superintendent Brian Pearce - whose colleagues helped control the huge crowds gathered for fireworks by the Thames, said: 'The nature of New Year's Eve in central London has changed. What used to be a relatively low-key, spontaneous night is now a world-class event that attracts thousands and thousands of people.

'Such large crowds create a challenging policing environment. In the main the crowds were good humoured.'

There were 13 'booze buses' or field hospitals specially set up around the capital to deal with minor injuries on the spot.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service received a call once every 12 seconds in the first five hours of 2009 - most alcohol related, and dozens of them inappropriate, including the man asking whether New York was in America.

Fighting in Newcastle upon Tyne left police and paramedics dealing with a number of bloodied young men.

The aftermath of the excessive night of celebrations is likely to add to the huge numbers of workers expected to phone in sick today.

drunk girls

An young woman helps a friend who has almost certainly had too much to drink

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, it will be 'No Show Friday' because many employees will seek to extend their festive break into the weekend rather than bother turning up for work.

Spokesman Stephen Alambritis said: 'It's bleak and freezing, and after the celebrations for New Year's Eve run into New Year's Day, we believe there will be record absences from work.


A stunning image of Big Ben as fireworks light up the London skyline

Two thirds of us planned to stay at home on New Year's Eve, to save money in the credit crunch. A survey of more than 2,000 adults by Post Office home insurance found only one in eight planned to go to a pub or club. How many changed their mind at the last minute is not known.

An estimated 700,000 revellers braved freezing temperatures to see in 2009 on the streets of central London. Some 3,300 police officers were on duty to control the crowds. They made 103 arrests including 20 for assault, ten for drunkenness and five each for drugs and robbery.

Enlarge A street cleaner hoovers up rubbish in the centre of London

A street cleaner starts to remove the rubbish in Central London

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wacky Laws Still on the Books in America

From changing the color of baby chicks to shooting effigies to properly honoring the glory of the log cabin, Americans have spent valuable legislative hours throughout the years making sure we're on the straight and narrow.

As a New Year arrives, here are 10 wacky laws that remain on the books across the country:

1. In Billings, Mont., it is illegal for anyone to sell, harbor or give away rats as pets or toys for any purpose other than to feed snakes or birds of prey. Scientists, however, can keep lab rats.

2. Using profanity is against the law on playgrounds and in public parks in Columbia, Md.

3. The last Sunday in June each year is Log Cabin Day in Michigan.

4. In Michigan, it is legal to kill a dog for attacking chickens, livestock or people, but you can't snuff the pooch in a high altitude decompression chamber or by electrocution.

5. In West Virginia, anyone who taunts someone who decides not to participate in a duel or who declines to accept a challenge is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be sent to jail for up to six months and fined up to $100.

6. In Kentucky it is illegal to sell, exchange, offer to sell or exchange, display, or possess living baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl or rabbits that have been dyed or colored. It is also illegal to dye or color baby chicks, ducklings, fowl or rabbits. And unless they are at least two months old, the aforementioned animals must be sold in batches of six.

7. At shooting ranges in Massachusetts, it is illegal to shoot at targets depicting a human -- whether as a figure, effigy or a silhouette -- unless you're a public safety officer performing official duties.

8. In Alabama it is against the law to alter the natural appearance of the teeth of a horse or mule to make the animal appear younger than it actually is.

9. In Alabama anyone performing a marriage rite is entitled to a fee of $2 per marriage.

10. In Alabama it is against the law to exploit a bear by promoting, engaging in or being employed at a bear wrestling match, or by subjecting a bear to surgical alteration of any kind, including, but not limited to, declawing, tooth removal and severing tendons.

Man, 72, jumps from second-floor window and extinguishes fire

A 72-year-old Batavia man this morning jumped from the second-floor of his townhouse, broke open a first-floor window and single-handedly extinguished a fire, according to the Batavia Fire Department.

Firefighters were called to Walden Estates, an apartment complex at 337 Bank St., about 3:40 a.m. and arrived to find that the male tenant in Apt. 5 had already extinguished the fire, said Batavia Fire Chief Tom Dillon.

The 72-year-old man and a 71-year-old woman were sitting in the living room, covered in soot at that time, he said. Firefighters helped the couple exit the townhouse.

At some point before firefighters arrived, the man helped the woman down the stairs, Dillon said.

The pair suffered from smoke inhalation and were taken to the United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, where they were treated and released, Dillon said. The man also suffered from cuts on his feet after he stepped on broken glass.

Something woke the couple early today and the man jumped out of a second-floor window, ran around the side of the townhouse and broke open a window using a shovel. He reentered the townhouse and extinguished the fire using water and a five-gallon bucket, Dillon said.

“We were really impressed by the man’s actions,” Dillon said.

The entire townhouse sustained heavy fire damage and moderate heat damage. The living room was charred, he said. Dillon noted that the house is currently not livable.

He added that the smoke detector was not working last night because it had old batteries.

Firefighters are investigating, to determine the cause.

The Ultimate Fart Silencer

The Ultimate Fart Silencer

Everyone farts… Whether it be in public, on a date, or during an interview, it happens and we know how embarrassing it can be.

Luckily, a man named “Big Chicken Mushroom” from WuHan, China, has invented the “Fart Silencer”, a small plastic tube that you… um… put in your anus.

fart_silencer_stick The Ultimate Fart Silencer picture

The “Fart Silencer” is a small plastic tube with one end that is completely open and the other end having numerous smaller holes in it.

Users are instructed to insert the open end into their anus when they feel a fart is coming. This should eliminate any unwanted sound farts tend to produce.

Users are also instructed to spray a cotton ball with their favorite perfume and put it into the “Fart Silencer” to eliminate any unwanted odor that might occur.

Below is the inventor’s demonstration by uses his mouth as anus, seems like it is working.

Here is some video of the inventor demonstrating his “Fart Silencer“, with his mouth of course…