News and Blues
by Roland Sweet - Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

03/05/2014

Curses, Foiled Again

When an unidentified burglar entered a San Francisco bank through a ventilation shaft, he triggered a silent alarm. Police Chief Greg Suhr said that when officers responded, the 230-pound suspect fled to a nearby building and promptly fell through the roof into an apartment, where officers arrested him. (Associated Press)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Authorities accused Kenneth Stuart, 41, of attacking his girlfriend during an argument in Davie, Fla., by throwing her cat in her face. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

While arguing with her fiancéé in Sebastian, Fla., Kimberly Francisco, 42, threw hot mashed potatoes and gravy at him, according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. Francisco denied tossing the spuds, but the arresting officer reported that when he arrived on the scene, he “noticed food, to include mashed potatoes, appeared to be thrown around the kitchen area.” (Vero Beach’s Veronews.com)

Sex Is Its Own Punishment

Washington state psychologist Sunil Kakar, 46, was suspended after he admitted giving a prostitute his laptop as collateral while he went to an ATM to get cash to pay her. He returned to find the woman had left with the computer, which contained personal and health information of his 652 clients. Police recovered the laptop from a pawnshop, but by then the Department of Health had had to refer Kakar’s clients to new providers. (The Seattle Times)

Better Than Armed Guards

The Glendale, Calif., school district paid a private firm $40,500 to monitor 14,000 middle and high school students’’ posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. School officials insist the purpose isn’t snooping but student safety. The contractor, Geo Listening, which has other school clients, searches public postings, looking for possible violence, drug use, bullying, truancy and suicide threats. “We enforce the code of student conduct for every school we serve” by compiling a daily report to send each principal,” CEO Chris Frydrych said. The firm employs 10 full-time staffers and hires freelance workers to work no more than four hours a day, Frydrych said, because “the content they read is so dark and heavy.” The firm intends expanding its monitoring capacity by offering a smartphone app that lets students and parents notify school officials of conduct violations. (CNN)

Deflated Protest

After British police stopped a chartered party bus for carrying nine passengers instead of the allowed eight, driver Bash Ali, 41, objected, pointing out that the ninth passenger was actually a blow-up doll. Lacking money for a lawyer, however, Ali pleaded guilty in Manchester court, which ruled “that the vehicle was overloaded and that they were all human beings.” Ordered to pay $688.86 in fines and cost, Ali declared, “I have no faith in the justice system.” (United Press International)

Alien Sex

Pakistan leads the world in homophobia, according to a report by the American Pew Research Center, and, according to Google, search requests for same-sex pornography. (International Business Times)

An Indian court ruled that adult couples who have slept together should be considered legally married. The verdict in Tamil Nadu state involved a woman who sued a man for alimony after living with him for five years and bearing two children; he countered that they weren’t legally married. “If any couple choose to consummate their sexual cravings, then the act becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow,” Justice C.S. Karnan said. The news portal Firstpost.com called the ruling “groundbreaking,” observing, “It’s not often that a High Court judgment can be used as both a punch line and a pickup line.” (The Washington Post)

Prostitutional Paradox

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes told New York City police to “immediately cease” seizing condoms from prostitutes in the borough to use as evidence against them so the prostitutes won’t be discouraged from using the condoms, which the city Health Department hands out by the millions to stem the spread of deadly diseases. Police official Paul J. Browne acknowledged the directive but pointed out condoms still have “evidentiary value when going after pimps and sex traffickers,” such as when officers find “a bowlful of condoms in a massage parlor.” (The New York Times)

Paying the Price

Rogelio Andaverde, 34, and his wife were at home in Edinburg, Texas, when two armed men wearing masks forced their way inside and made off with Andaverde. Maria Hernandez immediately reported her husband’s abduction, and authorities launched “an all-out manhunt,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviñño said. Lacking any leads or a ransom call, deputies called off the search after a few hours. The next morning, Andaverde returned home and told his wife he’d been released. When deputies interviewed him for details, he admitted he staged the kidnapping so he could “spend time with his friends and party,” Treviñño said, adding, “Well, he’s going to party in jail now.” (San Antonio Express-News and McAllen’s The Monitor)

Bacon Bits

Bacon can lower a man’s sperm count, according to Harvard University researchers, who studied men that regularly ate bacon, sausages, ham and other processed meat, and found they had 30 percent less normal sperm than men who restrained themselves to less than a rasher of bacon a day. (Britain’s The Telegraph)

The latest bacon product from J&D Foods in Seattle is “Power Bacon,” a bacon-scented deodorant. “We realize that everyone loves bacon,” company co-founder Justin Esch said. “Well, now everyone can smell like it 24 hours a day.” (Seattle’s KIRO-TV)

Unmanned Aerial Disasters

Several people were injured during a running-of-the-bulls event in Dinwiddie County, Va., but not by the bulls. Sheriff’s Major William Knott said a camera-equipped drone crashed into the grandstand overlooking the Great Bull Run. (Washington’s WTOP-FM)

When Roman Pirozek Jr., 19, lost control of the remote-control helicopter he was operating in a New York City park, it plummeted from the sky and sliced off the top of his head, killing him instantly. (New York’s WNBC-TV)

Wishy-Washy Policy

After gun rights groups praised Starbucks for allowing guns to be openly carried in its stores, the company ran full-page ads in newspapers advising customers that guns are no longer welcome. They’re still permitted, however, and customers who choose to carry guns will still be served, according to CEO Howard Schultz, who declared, “We are not pro-gun or anti-gun.” (Associated Press)

Crisis Management

When a landing-gear accident caused a Thai Airways jumbo jet to veer off the runway at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, the airline evacuated the 288 passengers and 14 crewmembers and then dispatched a team to paint over the Thai Airways logos on the tail and fuselage of the disabled aircraft. The airline explained it “generally practices the de-identifying of an aircraft after an incident (or accident).” (Bloomberg Businessweek)

What’s Your Emergency?

Japanese authorities charged Teruo Nozaki, 44, a part-time convenience store worker in Tokyo, with making 28,000 emergency phone calls between January 2012 and June 2013. Nozaki would make as many as 1,500 calls a day. When someone answered, he hung up. After he was arrested, he explained he made the calls “because I was irritated by the fact that I was always watched by police.” (Japan Today)

Slick Tricks

After a Massachusetts school district canceled classes at all six of its schools because of “weather-related building issues,” Amherst Regional High School Principal Mark Jackson explained that the cause was slippery floors. Noting 22 falls were reported throughout the district, Jackson said the schools’ floors had been waxed during the summer, and high temperatures after schools opened melted the wax, making the floors slick. (Associated Press)

Concerned about long-term damage to roads and the environment from using rock salt to deice city streets, Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works announced it will add cheese brine to rock salt. The brine is a liquid waste product left over from cheese making. It has a distinctive odor, but officials expect it to be more effective than the city’s previous deicing experiments: beet juice that turned into an oatmeal-like substance when mixed with road salt, and a sticky molasses-type product that residents complained was being tracked into their homes. (Associated Press)

Tax Dollars at Work

Taxpayers in Arlington County, Va., are paying $13,000 for an electronic billboard sign instructing motorists, “Don’t hit the car in front of you.” Police Lt. David Green Jr. defended the sign, saying that previous signs with more subtle messages didn’t reduce accidents at the location, almost all of which “are rear-end collisions.” (The Blaze)

News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of the Syracuse New Times.

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