Curses, Foiled Again
When the metal detector at the Kane County, Ill., courthouse sounded while Alex Robinson, 37, was entering, security guards asked him to empty his pockets so the contents could be scanned. Robinson, on his way to a probation hearing, dropped a bag with three grams of cocaine into the bin and was promptly arrested. “I don’t know how you forget,” sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler said. “It’s not like you don’t know there’s a checkpoint coming up.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
A burglary suspect trying to crawl through a laundry vent to reach a locked storage area at an apartment building in Knoxville, Tenn., got stuck in the hole. Police Sgt. Jason Keck said an officer who found the unidentified Hispanic male held his pants legs to try to free him, but the suspect slipped out of his pants, fell into the storage area and fled on foot. He was quickly caught. (Knoxville News Sentinel)
Second- and Twenty-First Amendment Follies
The owners of a gun shop in Acworth, Ga., announced that their new $3.5 million shooting range will be a state-of-the-art facility, with a lounge that serves alcohol. “Georgia law allows persons with gun permits to bring their weapons into a restaurant that serves alcohol,” Kristina Brown said. “We are taking it even a step further.” (Atlanta’s WSB-TV)
A $500,000 New York Port Authority patrol boat equipped to combat maritime assaults on JFK International Airport by terrorists sank during a training exercise after a veteran police sergeant opened a hatch below the waterline. When the starboard engine of the aluminum-hull catamaran began vibrating, some on board suspected a piece of driftwood or rope was clogging the engine. The sergeant followed the advice of a civilian safety instructor to open the hatch to look for an obstruction. The vessel sank within 30 minutes.
The mishap came a month after the Port Authority’s high-tech $100 million Perimeter Intrusion Detection airport security system failed to detect a man whose jet ski ran out of gas in Jamaica Bay. He climbed a fence at JFK, crossed two active runways and flagged down a baggage handler for help. (New York Post)
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors postponed a vote on a proposed change to the city’s building code that would allow construction of apartments as small as 220 square feet, about the size of a one-car garage. Proponents contend the smaller units would provide an affordable option for the city’s single residents. “The fact is 41 percent of San Franciscans live alone,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who drafted the proposal. “There are a lot of people who don’t need or can’t afford a lot of space.”
If the board approves the measure, San Francisco would join New York City, which recently voted to test similar micro-units. Singapore authorities, meanwhile, just raised minimum dwelling sizes because of concerns about urban congestion. (Associated Press and San Francisco Chronicle)
An Italian study of male sexuality discovered that the average size of male genitalia has been steadily shrinking. Penises now are roughly 10 percent smaller than they were 50 years ago. The study identified the causes as weight gain, pollution, stress, smoking and alcohol, although radio host Rush Limbaugh insisted “it’s feminism.” (Salon)
Federal authorities accused Ronald Robinson, 34, of returning used enema kits to a Florida drug store, which returned them to shelves. Prosecutors said Robinson resealed the enemas inside their boxes and brought them back to the store for refunds. (United Press International)
Police who arrested Anthony Leopold Rowe, 26, at his home in Easton, Pa., said he tried to swallow marijuana that he had hidden in his anal cavity. (Allentown’s The Morning Call)
Freedom to Lie
When Canada’s Competition Bureau tried to fine Rogers Communications $10 million (Canadian) for misleading advertising, the telecom company asked the Ontario Superior Court to strike down a key provision of the federal law requiring companies to have “adequate and proper” tests of a product’s performance before making performance claims in advertisements. Rogers declared this requirement violates its right to free expression granted by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Michael Janigan, executive director and general counsel at Public Interest Advocacy Centre, called the notion that companies shouldn’t be required to have facts and evidence to back up their advertising claims before making them “a bit like a Madison Avenue wet dream.” (Ottawa Citizen)
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 New Times.