Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cops who Flash Banged infant's crib are blaming the BABY - impeding trajectory of grenade rather than fleeing from crib -

Cops who Flash Banged infant's crib are blaming the BABY - impeding trajectory of grenade rather than fleeing from crib - 

Nearly a year has passed since a Habersham County SWAT team stormed into the Phonesavanh residence, and very nearly killed their 19 month old child. The no-knock raid was prompted by an anonymous tip which suggested there were drugs in the house. As the officers forced their way into the home, they lobbed a flash grenade which wound up landing in the crib where baby “bou-bou” was sleeping. As it erupted, the infant suffered severe burns and had to be taken to the hospital, and placed in a medically induced coma.

To any sane person, the sheriff’s department would be responsible for the damage inflicted on this child. Not only were there no drugs in the house, but the suspect they were looking for was found elsewhere. And despite their claims that they had the house under surveillance for two days prior to the raid, somehow they had no idea that there were children who lived there.

Still, the family had to fight the county tooth and nail to have their $1 million in medical bills reimbursed. Last month they settled with the county, and received $964,000, half of which will be given to them now, and the rest will be given to baby after he turns 18. While it’s great to hear that the family is getting something out of this, it’s shocking to see how defiant the sheriff’s department was, right to the very end. They never once admitted culpability for their gross negligence, and in a bizarre twist, their defense statement in court basically blamed the infant for his own injuries.

William Norman Grigg from the Pro Libertate blog read through the lengthy document, and sifted through the legalese for our benefit. It’s almost unbelievable how far the sheriff’s department was willing to go to avoid paying the family whose child they burned alive.

The act of sleeping in a room about to be breached by a SWAT team constituted “criminal” conduct on the part of the infant. At the very least, the infant was fully liable for the nearly fatal injuries inflicted on him when Habersham County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Long blindly heaved a flash-bang grenade – a “destructive device,” as described by the ATF, that when detonated burns at 2,000-3,500 degrees Fahrenheit – into the crib.

Merely by being in that room, Bou-Bou had assumed the risk of coming under attack by a SWAT team. By impeding the trajectory of that grenade, rather than fleeing from his crib, Bou-Bou failed to “avoid the consequences” of that attack.

In any case, Bou-Bou, along with his parents and his siblings, are fully and exclusively to blame for the injuries that nearly killed the child and left the family with more than one million dollars in medical bills. The SWAT team that invaded the home in Cornelia, Georgia on the basis of a bogus anonymous tip that a $50 drug transaction had occurred there is legally blameless.

This is the defense presented by Haberham County Sheriff Joey Terrell and his comrades in their reply to a federal lawsuit filed last February on behalf of Bou-Bou Phonesavanh and his family.

Can you believe that? It gets much worse from here. When photographic evidence of the baby’s horrific injuries were shown in court, the defendants denied that the photograph “accurately depicts the injuries allegedly sustained.” The statement goes on to the blame the parents and the baby because the damages caused to the child were “directly and proximately caused by the contributory and comparative negligence of the plaintiffs and their failure to exercise ordinary care.”

And as a last-ditch effort to avoid paying the bill, the sheriff’s department invoked the principle of “laches,” which in the legal world, is a kind of use it or lose it statement. It basically means that you don’t have the right to sue, if you waited a long period of time in the hopes that future circumstances would favor your case. It doesn’t apply in this case at all because the family almost immediately filed a notice with the court after the incident.

The origins and usage of that obscure and archaic legal term do offer some insight about the way Bou-Bou’s would-be murderers see themselves, and their victim.

“Laches” is a term embodying the ancient legal maxim that “Equity favors the vigilant, and not those who have slumbered on their rights.” Defendants who appeal to this oft-cited and little-applied concept are accusing plaintiffs of subjecting them to a form of “legal ambush.”

What Sheriff Joey and his cornpone chekists are claiming, in effect, is that while he was sleeping, Baby Bou-Bou ambushed them.

How low can one police department go?


Thursday Humor: Saudi Arabia Plans To Head U.N. Human Rights Council -

Thursday Humor: Saudi Arabia Plans To Head U.N. Human Rights Council - 

The fact that Saudi Arabia is on the U.N. Human Rights Council at all is more than sufficient to make a mockery out of the entire body. Nevertheless, it appears this ridiculous membership isn’t enough for the Saudis, and the Washington Free Beacon is reporting that the medieval desert monarchy is angling to take over the head position when the leadership position becomes available after 2016.

Apparently the whole thing is funny to Saudi Arabia, which has already beheaded as many people in 2015 as it did in all of 2014.

Now we learn from the Washington Free Beacon:

Saudi Arabia is making a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) just days after it posted a slew of new job openings for executioners who would help carry out beheadings amid a massive uptick in state-sanctioned killings in the country.

Saudi Arabia, which has come under increasing criticism from human rights groups for an uptick in the number of executions in the country, has been a member of the U.N.’s top human rights body since 2014, along with Russia, China, and Cuba.

It is now making a bid to assume lead control over the HRC after 2016, when the presidency rotates to a new nation.

U.N. Watch, a nonprofit group that monitors the international body, disclosed Saudi Arabia’s intentions in a recent report and urged the United States to fight against it, describing the move as “the final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC.

“We urge U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini to denounce this despicable act of cynicism by a regime that beheads people in the town square, systematically oppresses women, Christians, and gays, and jails innocent bloggers like Raif Badawi for the crime of challenging the rulers’ radical brand of Wahabbist Islam,” Hillel Neuer, the group’s executive director, said in a recent statement.

Neuer compared the possible ascension of Saudi Arabia to the top slot to electing “a pyromaniac as the town fire chief.”

Germany currently heads the HRC, but its term ends in 2016. Elections will be held in early December 2015 for the 2016 term, according to a U.N. official.

David Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and lead author of recent report on Saudi human rights abuses, said the autocratic nation would make of mockery of the HRC.

“It’s sadly ironic Saudi Arabia wants to be elected president of the human rights council when its citizens aren’t granted enough civil rights to even have a president or an elected prime minister but are instead ruled by a hereditary autocrat,” Weinberg said.

“Saudi Arabia has already used its position at the Human Rights Council to whitewash the crimes of allied but abusive regimes in places like Bahrain and Egypt, and it no doubt will seek to do further harm to the very concept of human rights in other ways as well,” Weinberg said.

Read more- 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Harmful bacteria may be lurking in your single-serve coffee machine -

Harmful bacteria may be lurking in your single-serve coffee machine - 

There's some bad news for coffee lovers brewing their morning joe with a single serve coffee maker.

According to a swab test conducted by KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, over 4 million colonies of  harmful bacteria and mold was founding lurking in the water tank, coffee pod compartment, spout and tray on more than half of the 28 machines tested.

The station says it tested eight machines in Pittsburgh and another 20 in Chicago and Dallas and found strains of bacteria like E.coli, staphylococcus, streptococcus and pseudomonas aeruginosa. 

“I thought you would find something, but not something that could make us sick,” coffee machine owner Stephanie Brink told KDKA.

According to the National Coffee Association, about 27 percent of consumers own single-serve brewers, such as Keurig or Nespresso.  But many people forget to clean their machines on a regular basis.

"Coffee makers are certainly a moist environment where mold and bacteria are known to grow in high numbers.  Our bodies can deal with them, but at some point they'll grow to levels high enough to cause sickness," Kelly Reynolds, a microbiology specialist at the University of Arizona told Consumer Affairs.

Keurig told KDKA that if a machine has not been used for several days, it is important to run “several cleansing brews to remove any internal standing water.”

Here are some other steps to prevent mold or bacteria from collecting in your coffee machine:  

--Clean your machine regularly

--Run vinegar through it to help sanitize surfaces

--Use filtered water rather than water straight from your tap

--Change the water after each use

--Leave the lid off to allow the machine to air out

--Wipe the machine down daily


Friday, 15 May 2015

Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones -

Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones - 

The average human's attention span is... oh look, a bird!
According to scientists, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer.
Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms.
The results showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds.
Goldfish, meanwhile, are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds.

• ‘Millennials don’t have short attention spans. We just have better stuff’
• How to cut back on his smart-phone addiction
The study, by technology giant Microsoft, did however find that the ability of humans to multitask has improved.
It read: "Canadians [who were tested] with more digital lifestyles (those who consume more media, are multi-screeners, social media enthusiasts, or earlier adopters of technology) struggle to focus in environments where prolonged attention is needed.

Eight seconds: the average attention span of humans
"While digital lifestyles decrease sustained attention overall, it’s only true in the long-term. Early adopters and heavy social media users front load their attention and have more intermittent bursts of high attention.
"They’re better at identifying what they want/don’t want to engage with and need less to process and commit things to memory."
The research follows a study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information and the National Library of Medicine in the US that found 79 per cent of respondents regularly "dual screen" by using portable devices while watching TV.
• Children with short attention spans 'failing to read books'
• UK internet use doubles in a decade
Bruce Morton, a researcher with the University of Western Ontario's Brain and Mind Institute, suggested it is the result of humans craving information.
"When we first invented the car, it was so novel," he said.
"The thought of having an entertainment device in the car was ridiculous because the car itself was the entertainment.
"After a while, travelling for eight hours at a time, you'd had enough of it. The brain is bored. You put radios in the car and video displays.
"Why? Because after the first 10 minutes of the drive I've had enough already. I understand this.
"Just because we may be allocating our attention differently as a function of the technologies we may be using, it doesn't mean that the way our attention actually can function has changed."


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Sheriff tells reporters: Just glad the ‘unarmed’ guy we shot was White -

Sheriff tells reporters: Just glad the ‘unarmed’ guy we shot was White - 

A Kentucky sheriff speaking on the record went public this week with a statement that showed how far this country has gone into racial confusion.

He told a news conference he was glad a man his deputies shot was white, according to a local ABC affiliate.

The startling statement came when the Bardstown, Ky., police chief, a representative from the Kentucky State Police and Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingl held a joint press conference Monday to discuss the shooting of suspect John Kennedy Fenwick, 25, the day before.

At about 12 minutes into the briefing, the sheriff was asked whether he was concerned about community backlash, given the spate of recent demonstrations following other officer-involved shootings around the country.
“We are glad that he is white, and we shouldn’t have to be worried about that. We do not want any backlash or violence in this community because people have been misinformed,” he said. “I think that the public needs to know how the criminal justice system works and what officers are able to do. And the media has not done a very good job of informing the public.”
Fenwick was in critical condition at a Louisville hospital, ABC reported.
According to local ABC affiliate WHAS News 11,
Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin said a K9 police officer, who was identified as Kyler Wright, was pursuing Fennwick who was driving a red pick-up when the suspect threw the truck in reverse, backing into Wright’s vehicle. McCubbin said Wright did fire his weapon several times. Wright’s vehicle was then no longer able to pursue Fennwick.
McCubbin said Fennwick then drove off and encountered the first of two Nelson County sheriff’s deputies, who were identified as Deputy Bryan Voils and Sgt. Jason Allison. Fennwick struck Allison’s vehicle at a high rate of speed and the deputy’s vehicle burst into flames. McCubbin said Fennwick then fled this scene and encountered the second Nelson County sheriff’s deputy. He said Voils was able to stop Fennwick’s vehicle and attempted to get him out of the vehicle at gunpoint. McCubbin said a struggle ensued and Fennwick tried to disarm the deputy and that is when Voils fired his weapon.
Watch the News 11 report of the incident.

Read more: - 

Forget calories! You should be counting the CHEMICALS in your daily diet to stay slim -

Forget calories! You should be counting the CHEMICALS in your daily diet to stay slim - 

With so many of us now overweight, we’ve been conditioned to focus on the calories present in food.
We work under the assumption that simply by reducing how many calories we consume, we can help to control our weight… right? 
Not only is calorie counting alone an ineffective way of controlling our weight, but by focusing all of our attention on how many calories we are putting into our bodies, we aren’t paying attention to the other stuff in our food – the excess fat and sugar, and – one thing that is so often ignored – the chemicals.
Real, long-lasting weight loss is not about dropping the pounds any way possible.
Rather, it's about helping our bodies to be as healthy as they can possibly be – making diet and lifestyle choices that keep our bodies working as effectively as they can. 
And the quality of the food we consume could have a pretty big effect on that.
Are there really that many chemicals in our food?
In short, yes. 
In fact, processed and manufactured foods are often full of chemicals that most of us simply don’t know are even there. 
While many may be completely safe and ensure that our food doesn’t spoil and give us health problems in other ways - food poisoning for example - some are there for other reasons.

These include colourings to help foods look more appealing, flavourings and sweeteners to make them taste better, and preservatives to allow them to keep for far longer than is strictly necessary. 
Not to mention many of the other chemicals added within the manufacturing process to make foods cheaper and more cost-effective to produce.
Often, we think we are being healthier by choosing a ‘low-fat’, or ‘sugar-free’ version of our favourite food.
But, in actual fact, these may be just as bad for us, with extra chemicals lumped in to make up for the lack of natural fats or sugars. 
Take sweeteners, for example.
Some studies have shown that chemically-produced sweeteners could actually lead us to eat more, and put on more weight than if we had plain sugar - not that sugar is good for you either.
 The scariest thing is that we don't really know what these chemicals could be doing to our bodies over time
Dr Sally Norton 
And over the years there have been numerous concerns over the safety of various sweeteners, the research continues.
The scariest thing is that we don’t really know what these chemicals could be doing to our bodies over time. 
Of course, I know that if there were any immediate significant risks then these chemicals wouldn’t be allowed in our foods.
But what about the long-term effects of consuming regular, small doses? 
We are hearing more and more how diets high in processed foods are detrimental to our health and waistline – whereas fresh foods such as fruit, veg, nuts, healthy fats, wholegrains can reduce our risk of heart disease, diabetes and other conditions. 
What we put inside our body does make a difference to our health – so personally I’m all for keeping it as fresh and simple as possible.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Is your BEDROOM making you fat? Bright lights and streetlamps 'could be causing weight gain' -

Is your BEDROOM making you fat? Bright lights and streetlamps 'could be causing weight gain' - 

Do you spend all day eating salad and carry out lots of exercise, but never seem to get any thinner?
Your bedtime habits could be to blame, as new research shows too much light in the bedroom may make us pile on weight.
Scientists believe that light at night, including street light creeping through the curtains and the glow of smartphones, is causing us to pile on the pounds.

In experiments on mice, they showed that animals exposed to light 24-hours a day for five weeks put on 50 per cent more fat than creatures who kept more normal hours. 
This was despite all the animals eating the same amount of food and doing the same amount of exercise.
Tests showed that constant light disrupted their body clock and slowed down a vital calorie-burning process.

A previous study by the same team from Leiden University showed that animals kept in constant light put on weight more quickly than creatures fed fatty food.
Researcher Patrick Rensen, Leiden University Medical Center, said he believes his findings have relevance to people who are battling the bulge.
He said ‘I think it would be really helpful to maintain the biological rhythms as much as possible, by at least sleeping in a darkened bedroom.’

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he said that even something as simple as checking a mobile phone for messages on waking during the night could stop the body clock from resetting properly in the morning and lead to weight gain.
With exposure to light at night linked to a host of other ills, from cancer to depression, experts say we need to learn to love the dark.
Speaking recently, Richard Stevens, a breast cancer researcher from the US, said: 'The importance of sleep has finally entered mainstream thinking and practice; however the importance of dark is still greatly under-appreciated.' 

Read more: - 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

An asteroid up to 1.3 kilometers across will come very close to Earth on May 14 - designated 1999 FN53 -

An asteroid up to 1.3 kilometers across will come very close to Earth on May 14 - designated 1999 FN53 - 

An asteroid up to 1.3 kilometers across will come very close to Earth on May 14, according to NASA’s Near Earth Object watch. While a space rock of this size could be devastating if it hits our planet, this one is expected to hurtle safely by.

The asteroid, designated 1999 FN53, is the largest object currently on NASA's near Earth radar. It was first discovered in March 1999 and is currently set to fly past Earth at a speed of almost 14 kilometers per second (about twice the speed of a space rocket at liftoff) at distance of 26.4 lunar distances, or roughly 10 million kilometers.

While there are objects brushing closer to Earth in the near future, none share FN53's enormous size. This has prompted speculation as to what would happen should the asteroid actually hit our planet.

One astronomer thinks such an impact would kill about a fifth of the Earth's population. “It would undoubtedly lead to the deaths of around 1.5 billion people, we are looking at a mass extinction of humanity," says Bill Napier, professor of astronomy at the University of Buckinghamshire, cited by UK newspaper Daily Express.

He added that the numerous immediate deaths would not be the end of it: "If it were to strike the sea it would send a plume of halogen gasses into the stratosphere destroying the ozone layer. This would allow unrestricted sunlight to hit the Earth, the sky would heat up becoming strong enough to burn vegetation."

But it is a bit too early to panic: there is no indication that 1999 FN53 will hit Earth or come close enough to affect it any way. It is not on NASA's Near Earth Objects risk table, which lists objects with impact probability as low as one in 9 million.

1999 FN53 is three times the size of the previous big asteroid scare. In 2013, a 300-meter asteroid named Apophis buzzed by Earth at a distance of 14 million kilometers.

FN53 is also not the last asteroid to brush past our planet. The next comparable rock is predicted by NASA to fly by on June 16. Codenamed Icarus, it has a one-kilometer diameter, flies almost three times as fast as 1999 FN53, and will come closer to Earth: only 21 lunar distances.

Then an even bigger asteroid, whose diameter is measured at 1 to 2.3 kilometers, is expected to fly 18.8 lunar distances away from us, at a speed of 20 km/sec.

None of these bodies are listed as having any risk of impact with Earth.

An indication of what could happen should an asteroid actually reach our planet was given in February 2015, when a bolide just 20 meters across exploded in the atmosphere above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The blast was 500 kilotons strong, which is 20-30 times more than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. No one was killed, but the shockwave shattered windows and damaged buildings, and injured 1,500 people.

Read more -