Tuesday, February 09, 2010

16 More Things I Learned Last Week
A supplement to News of the Weird/Pro Edition
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.
February 9, 2010
(datelines January 30-February 6; links correct as of February 8)

Even after years of ridicule about "zero tolerance," a New York City principal still almost suspended a 9-year-old boy for having a 2-inch-long toy "gun." New York Daily News

Switzerland set for referendum the question whether animals deserve public defenders in legal proceedings. (Don't roll your eyes. In the United States recently, the Supreme Court ruled that a notarized piece of paper associated with a set of books and a bank account has the same free-speech rights as the human being(s) who own the paper, books, and bank account.) The Times (London) /// New York Times

The Haiti earthquake (200,000 dead) was terrible, just terrible! We're all in a tizzy over the inhuman suffering. Meanwhile, in the Rwandan civil war, the death toll (the vast majority no more deserving of their fate than were the earthquake victims) climbed to 6,000,000. New York Times

"Amy," star of a seminal child porn series that has appeared in the collections of at least 800 convicted pervs, has demanded restitution from the uncle who originally took the pictures – and from everyone who had copies. Psych professionals estimate the damage done to her at $3.4 million, and some courts have begun to go along. New York Times

In other child porn news, the queen of the Viardouro samba group (one of 12 groups in the top-class competition at Rio's Carnaval) is 7 years old. She's supposed to be really good, but even in Brazil they have a problem with this. (Not her dad, though. He couldn't be prouder.) And here's something that could really confuse pedophiles: A rare ailment (lipodystrophy) makes this 13-year-old girl look like she's 50. Associated Press via ABC News /// MSNBC

And also, Miley Cyrus's 9-year-old sister is launching a lingerie line for kids. Ninemsn.com (Sydney)

Kyrgyzstan will issue electronic "passports" to every one of its millions of sheep, to make them identifiable from birth to slaughter. Agence France-Presse via Google News

A 21-year-old Milwaukee man, pranking at 9 o'clock at night on his mother, put on a ski mask and menacingly approached her. Appropriately scared, she shot him in the jewels with her .357. (Or maybe it wasn't a prank; cops think he might have intended to rob his old lady.) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jailed British mob boss Colin Gunn was freely issuing threats on his Facebook page because prison officials were afraid to stop him, for fear of violating his "human rights," until Justice Secretary Jack Straw loaned them some stones. (It's still good to be a British criminal.) The Times

And it's good to be a Canadian murderer: To get his testimony against his former Hells Angel brothers, murderer Sylvain Boulanger got (a) a pass plus (b) $3 million in walk-around money. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News

Once again, some dog shot its owner, near Los Banos, Calif. Fresno Bee

Immigrant taxicab drivers in Southampton, England, are complaining about the brutally unfair signs some (non-immigrant) cabbies are putting on their taxis: "Driver Speaks English." Daily Telegraph

District of Calamity II: Wayne County's (Detroit's) budget for burying unclaimed bodies ran out last June; bodies are stacked like cordwood in 67 portable freezers. WDIV-TV (Detroit)

One of the Fine Points of Texas Law: A mother is responsible for the legal costs when her minor son is arrested for assault, even if she was the one the kid beat up. El Paso Times via Austin American Statesman

Washington, D.C., area BDSM dungeonmaster Paul Pickthorne, describing his clientele: "Men, women, transgender, heterosexuals, gays, bisexuals. Every ethnicity. White-collar and blue-collar. It's really very, very diverse – though we do have an unusually high percentage of lawyers. I don't know why." Washington Post

Newsrangers: Paul Andrews, Ryan Lang, Brendan O'Naughton, Stuart Zukrow, and the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors