Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SpaghettiOs On A Spoon Kept Woman In Jail For A Month

This woman did not possess methamphetamines or
any other illegal drugs, but she did make the
mistake of eating SpaghettiOs in a car.  
A woman spent a month in jail on felony drug charges because she was a bit sloppy:

There was a little food residue on a spoon Ashley Gabrielle Huff, 23, had in a car. She'd eaten some SpaghettiOs with the spoon.

But in a case that really gets my outrage going, a cop decided it was methamphetamine residue on the spoon and arrested her back on July 2, says the Gainesville (Georgia) Times. 

Interesting, reporters tried to get the original arrest report in the case but have so far been unsuccessful, even though arrests records are public record.

I can only conclude the Gainsville Police Department has something to hide and is trying to make the negative publicity go away.

Even though Huff knew she was guilty of only eating SpaghettiOs and did not do anything involving drugs, she figured the deck was so stacked against her that she was going to go in for a plea deal.

Says the Gainsville Times:

"Huff originally attempted going through the Hall County Drug Court but wasn't able to make all the appointments, (Hall County Assistant Public Defender Chris) van Rossem said. Huff was then reincarcerated Aug. 2 and was unable to make the bond payment.

"I think what the unfortunate part about her case is she was probably willing to take the felony to close out her case so that she get out of jail, even though she always maintained innocence," van Rossem said."

OK, there are all sorts of problems here. I though we were presumed innocent until proven guilty, so why was she in  jail and why was she being pressured to take a plea deal?

How long does it take to test SpaghettiO residue for signs of drugs? Somebody was pretty slow here.

Why was it important to keep her in jail, when it would have been cheaper to let her out on bond, with conditions? Yeah, she couldn't make the bond payment at one point, but arrangements could have been made.

Taxpayers got a raw deal, too. They kept Huff in jail, at taxpayer expense. It's a lot more costly to keep someone in jail than to keep them out, when that's possible.

So what were they trying to accomplish by keeping Huff in jail so long?

I'm not so sure Huff's case is isolated. In fact, I know it isn't.

Here's a for instance: Some Mississippi counties keep people awaiting trial in jail for months, prompting a class action lawsuit from the ACLU.

The ACLU says the Scott County sheriff, district attorney and judges after learning the Scott County Detention Center has held people for as long as a year without appointing counsel or indicting them.

"The county's practices violate the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments' rights to counsel, to a speedy trial and to a fair bail hearing," says the ACLU

According to Mississippi News Now, The Scott County Sheriff says one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit has a federal charge hanging over him, which keeps him in jail, and the other has two felony charges pending.

Still, even if the plaintiffs are eventually found guilty, should they sit in jail without a quick indictment, or a bail hearing, or trial, or something? If they are eventually found guilty, sure, lock 'em up, but let's at least have a fair legal process.

But screw the Constitution if local politicians can claim, probably falsely, that keeping suspects in jail saves taxpayer money. Or something.  


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Live Tweeting The World's WORST Person On An Airplane

"Nadia" creating a flight from hell.  
Congratulations this morning go out to Ryan Case, an editor for the hit television show "Modern Family" who survived a four hour flight with the world's worst person.

Even better, she live-Tweeted the whole thing, and reading her string of Tweets is just perfect for a good Tuesday laugh.

Other than the fact that "Nadia," the World's Worst Person, was drunk and racist and loud and picking fights and narcisstic and everything else that could be wrong with a person, she was fine.

Hat tip to Mashable for collecting the Tweets. Just click on this link to Mashable, and scroll down and enjoy the Tweets. I won't give more away, because Case's Tweets are too perfect to do any spoilers.

The Tweets are comedy genius though.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Scary Video: Watch Bicyclist Almost Get Smushed By Car, Truck

Watch what happens in this scary traffic crash.  
I don't know if this guy was lucky or unlucky, but a surveillance camera in Russia captured a collision between a truck and a car at an intersection.

A bicyclists passing through at the time comes inches from being run over by both vehicles. Talk about threading the needle!

Watch this guy's escape:


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Highway Traffic Jam Leads To Awesome Highway Jam Session

The world's most fun traffic jam, on I-76
near King of Prussia, Pa. last weekend.  
Last Saturday, a car crash brought traffic on Interstate 76 near King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania to a standstill.  

Annoying traffic jams happen all the time, so this bit of news would be unremarkable, except for what happen next.

Meteorologist Justin Berk was among those caught in the traffic jam. The tie-up lasted so long people started getting out of their cars, maybe out of boredom, to commiserate, or for some air.

Berk said he met two musicians, David Gettes and Paul Downie from the Trinidad North Steel Drums, who were probably going to miss the gig they were headed to, because of this traffic jam.

Berk sets the scene in a blog item he posted after the traffic jam:

"I saw an opportunity for some fun and glad I was able to convince them to break out their instruments right there on the highway. It didn't take much to reach the same conclusion that it would make a lot of people happy and pass the time better than just being frustrated.

With all due respect to the people involved in the crash, we felt bad, but there was nothing we could do about it."

The fun video of the incident is below. It looked like an awesome party. And I like how people who surely had never met before this seemed to be getting along wonderfully.

Note toward the end of the video when traffic started moving again that people were disappointed the party ended and they had to get back in their cars.

Next time I get caught in a traffic tie-up, I hope it's this fun.

Here's the video:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dramatic Video: Hikers Caught On Volcano During Deadly Eruption

Ash from an abruptly erupting Japanese volcano
closes in on hikers Saturday.  
UPDATE: Sadly, word has spread since I wrote this post Saturday morning that about 30 hikers died when they were overtaken by ash on the slopes of this volcano.

Very sad, indeed.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION:

The Japanese volcano Mount Ontake erupted today, and some people were too close when it belched a massive cloud of ash.

At least eight people have been injured, according to media reports, some of them hikers on the mountain when it blew.

Here's a video of hikers on the volcano trying to escape as the enormous ash cloud mushrooms toward them:


Friday, September 26, 2014

The Binky Bandit Terrorizes Oklahoma

Surveillance photo shows the
"binky bandit" with his pacifier in Oklahoma.  
Police in Oklahoma are searching for the "Binky Bandit," an armed carjacker who committed the crime with a pacifier in his mouth.

According to television station KFOR, police seemed pretty incredulous:

"The unusual part about this case, as you can see from the photos, the suspect has a pacifier in his mout while committing thsi crime, said Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow.

The victim cooperated with the pacifier sucking suspect by handing over his money and his car keys.

That allowed the suspect to speed away."

The binky is the most interesting part of this crime, but judging from the KFOR report, the whole incident is a total mess.

"When our crews came to the street where the victim lives, we discovered a blood trail in the driveway of the victim's home. The blood drops started two doors away."

The night before a car slammed into a vacant home on the street where the suspect lives, the driver sped away, and two bloodied men casually walked down the street as if nothing happened.

We're not sure why all this transpired, but it is possible Binky Bandit was somehow involved. KFOR also says the victim in the carjacking has a lengthy criminal past as well, but there's no evidence the victim has a binky.

The suspect might have the pacifier, says News9 in Oklahoma, because people who take hallucinogenic drugs sometimes use binkies to keep from grinding their teeth.

Since there's no telling what a person on hallucinogenic drugs will do, here's my advice. If a guy sucking on a pacifier tries to rob you, just do what he says so he gets out of there as quickly as possible.

And I guess you should lock up your baby's pacifier so these kinds of creeps won't steal them. Or something.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Retailers Already Planning To Be Basically Open All Day Thanksgiving For Your Shopping Pleasure

Looking way ahead to Thanksgiving, this
is what we have to look forward to.  
It's the end of September, which means if you haven't gotten SUPER Excited about Christmas shopping yet, you're way too late, at least in the minds of our fine nation's retailers.

And if you're already waiting anxiously for the big Black Friday sales stampede the day after Thanksgiving take note: Black Friday has now been rescheduled to Thanksgiving Day.

Throw away that turkey and march off to the mall like everyone else! Even more so than last year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that retailers plan to open even earlier on Thanksgiving than last year, or stay open all day.

And, they'll start hammering us with Christmas sale ads earlier, too, like any day now.

All this is because retailers want to punish us for not buying enough of their crappy products so far this year.

Revenue isn't so great, so they want to hammer us on Thanksgiving.

Says the Wall Street Journal:

"Retailers are struggling to boost sales, and the bottom line. Most consumers in the middle see little, if any, wage growth. The back to school selling season is shaping up to be the worst since 2009, says Craig Johnson the president of the consulting firm Custom Growth Partners."

The Journal also says holiday sales are forecast to rise about 3.5 percent over last year. Not enough to keep retailers happy. Clearly, we're not spending our nonexistent money to do our duty and keep these lousy stores, and their corporate parents, awash in cash like apparently we're supposed to.

So, they'll punish us by demanding we abandon our families and our dinners to go shopping. Worse, they're punishing their low wage employees by making them work on Thanksgiving. That, while the upper management, marketers, etc who decided to open stores on Thanksgiving surely sit down for a leisurely turkey dinner on the holiday.

I also think, as do many observers, including some quoted in the Wall Street Journal, that if retailers have everybody shop on Thanksgiving, they won't go out in December. So they won't get ahead.

But I'm sure these store chains will be happy to ruin Thanksgiving as much as they ruin an otherwise nice Christmas season.

Then again, there's a lot of people out there who LOVE to shop, no matter what. Friends. family?  Go away!! There's a Big Sale at Walmart!!!

Sigh.