News Brief for the Week of January 11, 2008

 Crime, Humor, Legislature, Places, Politics, Society, St. Petersburg, Tampa  Comments Off on News Brief for the Week of January 11, 2008
Jan 112008

It’s shaping up as an interesting week for odd ball news. So far we have a 71 year old carrying a night stick at the airport to keep away “fresh” hands, our Florida Legislature hard at work protecting us from bestiality and baggy pants, and a real life Weekend At Bernies….and that’s just for starters.

Weekend at Bernies in Real “Life?” – h/t to Crooks and Liars
It seems that two 65 year old men were caught wheeling a dead friend of their’s along a Manhattan Street in order to get his $355 social security check cashed. The trouble began Tuesday when Dalaia and O’Hare tried to cash Virgilio Cintron’s check at a store in Hell’s Kitchen on their own, police said. The man at the counter told them that Cintron had to be present to cash the check, so they went back to his apartment, which one of the suspects shared with the dead man. Police said Dalaia and O’Hare proceeded to dress him in a faded T-shirt, pants they could only get up part way, and a pair of Velcro sneakers. They then put him on the office chair and wheeled the corpse over to the check-cashing store.

010308mendez.jpg71 Year Old Takes Blackjack to Airport – TBO
Rafaela Mendez was taken into custody at Tampa Airport after screeners found a leather bludgeon in here bag. According to Mendez, she used the blackjack to, “smack people’s hands when they got fresh.” Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see this as being a real serious problem for her. While most travelers just have to surrender their weapon, Mendez had an outstanding warrant.

Our Florida Legislature Hard At Work – TBO
Well, two gay men having sex was illegal in Florida until the Supreme Court ruled the laws unconstitutional, but apparently bestiality has been legal in Florida all this time. But never fear, our glorious state legislature is hard at work remedying this widespread problem, and protecting goats all over the state. Apparently a Walton County man “raped” a pregnant goat last year, killing it. It appears that killing it was illegal, but raping it wasn’t, so Rep. Frank Peterman and Sen. Nan Rich have introduced bills to make it a felony to rape a got (and I guess any other animal) in Florida. I’m sure glad our legislature is on the ball.

In what I hope is an unrelated piece of legislation, our legislature, obviously overwhelmed with important issues, is considering Senator Gary Spin’s bill to prohibit school children from wearing baggy pants. It seems this is a vital issue, despite being open to First Amendment challenges…but why worry about such quaint little details as the Constitution.

“We want to make sure the focus is on the blackboard and not the backboard,” said Siplin, D-Orlando. “You can’t apply for a job with your pants sagging. You can’t go to college with your pants sagging and do well.”

Says who?

122 Quarters and a Nickel  – TBO
Anthony David Carvajal, 37, of Tampa and Steven Mitch Rosenwinkel, 38, of Bradenton were charged with criminal mischief, tampering with a vending machine and trespassing after they used a crow bar to pry open a vending machine and steal 122 quarters and 1 nickel this morning. They were caught on video tape. Bail was set at $4,250. I can expect that from teenagers, but these guys are old enough to know better.

Teenager Uses Fireworks to Steal Credit Cards – TBO
Not to be outdone, a teenager stepped up to the idiot plate and threw firecrackers in a house apparently to distract the resident so he could go in and steal the man’s credit cards. He was picked up a couple of hours later by Tampa Police with the credit cards still in his posession.

Airport Security Follies

 Crime, Culture, Society, Travel  Comments Off on Airport Security Follies
Dec 302007

The New York Times has a great Op-Ed about the foolishness of the TSA security screenings at airports. It points out, as most thinking people have to come realize that this is mostly feel-good theater that does no actual good at preventing another terrorist attack.

They point out the fallacy of our fearless leaders’ claims that the planes of 9/11 were hijacked “using box cutters.” I’ve said all along, as does the article, that the hijackers took advantage of the hijacking template created in the past, where passive resistance was the approach to end a hijacking, and the pointy objects they used as weapons really didn’t matter. Today’s hijackers would face a very different sort of reaction from the passengers and crew.

The article addresses the silliness of the 3 oz. container rule.

The folly is much the same with respect to the liquids and gels restrictions, introduced two summers ago following the breakup of a London-based cabal that was planning to blow up jetliners using liquid explosives. Allegations surrounding the conspiracy were revealed to substantially embellished. In an August, 2006 article in the New York Times, British officials admitted that public statements made following the arrests were overcooked, inaccurate and “unfortunate.” The plot’s leaders were still in the process of recruiting and radicalizing would-be bombers. They lacked passports, airline tickets and, most critical of all, they had been unsuccessful in actually producing liquid explosives. Investigators later described the widely parroted report that up to ten U.S airliners had been targeted as “speculative” and “exaggerated.”

You see, the point is that terrorism needs to be handled by law enforcement and intelligence activities (as it was in the London case). As the authors note, once a terrorist has reached the airport, it’s usually too late. Not only have most of us inadvertently passed through security with “banned” items, but a deadly sharp point can be fashioned from any number of things available once one is on the plane. (Just watch one of these prison documentaries on MSNBC sometime.)

Unfortunately, the government has crafted the system to protect itself and be self-perpetuating. If one protests, you are usually marked for questioning and additional screening, and could wind up on the no-fly list…so no one protests. Recently, they’ve announced silly rules relative to taking along spare batteries. Who knows when the stupidity will end.