Category: Culture

Dumb crook(s) of the Day

Pope Kia Soul

Authorities in France said two men who were supposed to be giving a Vatican vehicle a tune-up instead used the car to smuggle pot and cocaine from Spain.

Investigators said Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, 91, turned the vehicle over to two Italian men, ages 30 and 41, to give it a tune-up last week, but the men instead used the official car, which bears diplomatic license plates, to drive to Spain and pick up 8.8 pounds of cocaine and nearly half a pound of marijuana.

The men were busted by French customs officers Sunday in Chambery as they headed for the border with Switzerland and Italy. The diplomatic plates did not stop officers from conducting a routine search of the vehicle and discovering the drugs.

Authorities said the men claimed they were Vatican chauffeurs and had no knowledge of the cargo.

Police said neither man holds a Vatican passport — and the Catholic Church is not implicated in the case.

Here I was – hoping the Pope was going to come out in favor of decriminalizing weed!

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Applying for a job? – You may have to take a meaningless test

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is probably the most widely used personality test in the world…An estimated 2 million people take it annually, at the behest of corporate HR departments, colleges, and even government agencies. The company that makes and markets the test makes somewhere around $20 million each year.

The only problem? The test is completely meaningless.

“There’s just no evidence behind it,” says Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who’s written about the shortcomings of the Myers-Briggs previously. “The characteristics measured by the test have almost no predictive power on how happy you’ll be in a situation, how you’ll perform at your job, or how happy you’ll be in your marriage.”

The test claims that, based on 93 questions, it can group all the people of the world into 16 different discrete “types” — and in doing so, serve as “a powerful framework for building better relationships, driving positive change, harnessing innovation, and achieving excellence.” Most of the faithful think of it primarily as a tool for telling you your proper career choice.

But the test was developed in the 1940s based off the untested theories of an outdated analytical psychologist named Carl Jung, and is now thoroughly disregarded by the psychology community. Even Jung warned that his personality “types” were just rough tendencies he’d observed, rather than strict classifications. Several analyses have shown the test is totally ineffective at predicting people’s success in various jobs, and that about half of the people who take it twice get different results each time.

Yet you’ve probably heard people telling you that they’re an ENFJ (extraverted intuitive feeling judging), an INTP (introverted intuitive thinking perceiving), or another one of the 16 types drawn from his work, and you may have even been given this test in a professional setting.

RTFA. It goes through the stereotypes, explains why these labels are meaningless — and why no one in the 21st century should rely on the test for anything.

I had fun with the test before I moved to the Southwest. Interested in a job with a dynamic high tech startup, I applied to see what they might offer – and ran into this test. The HR dude was in love with its self-fulfilling prophecies. After all, if you tell people how to define their lives and lifestyle long enough and thoroughly enough – and they follow your so-called wisdom – then, results become appropriate. Even if they’re nothing more than imitation.

I drove him nuts answering segments of the test with two completely contradictory personality styles. He was dying to hire me; but, was equally afraid I might turn out to be an axe murderer.

Children prescribed antibiotics twice as often as needed

Pediatricians prescribe antibiotics about twice as often as they’re actually needed for children with ear and throat infections, a new study indicates.

More than 11 million antibiotic prescriptions written each year for children and teens may be unnecessary, according to researchers from University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. This excess antibiotic use not only fails to eradicate children’s viral illnesses, researchers said, but supports the dangerous evolution of bacteria toward antibiotic resistance…

Antibiotics, drugs that kill bacteria or stop them from reproducing, are effective only for bacterial infections, not viruses. But because doctors have few ways of distinguishing between viral or bacterial infections, antibiotics are often a default treatment.

Based on the prevalence of bacteria in ear and throat infections and the introduction of a pneumococcal vaccine that prevents many bacterial infections, the researchers estimated that about 27 percent of U.S. children with infections of the ear, sinus area, throat or upper respiratory tract had illnesses caused by bacteria.

But antibiotics were prescribed for nearly 57 percent of doctors’ visits for these infections, the study found.

Thousands die unnecessarily every year from illness caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There are no legitimate reasons for over-prescription. Only marketing and social pressures which should have nothing to do with the practice of medicine.

Thanks, Mike

Drunken narc shoots pals in tussle over gun


One of the two shooting victims on the way to hospital

Cops swatted a .40-caliber Glock out of a drunken state narcotics agent’s hand Friday night after he shot two drinking buddies on the Upper West Side, authorities and witnesses said.

Amsterdam Ave. erupted in gunfire and blood-curdling screams just after 9 p.m. when Victor Zambrano Jr., 49, shot a 31-year-old woman in the left foot and the woman’s 42-year-old boyfriend in the right calf during an argument over his weapon…

The three pals had been drinking together and were walking on Amsterdam Ave. near W. 82nd St. when the woman asked the New York State Bureau of Narcotics enforcement agent for his pistol, a police source said.

Zambrano handed it over, but quickly demandegd it back, cop sources said. As the argument became increasingly heated, the agent fired a round. The bullet ricocheted off the concrete and hit both the woman and her boyfriend…

As diners along Amsterdam Ave.’s restaurant row ducked for cover, the narcotics investigator bolted.

The boyfriend chased after him, and Zambrano allegedly turned to shoot but misfired — causing a live round to fall to the ground as he ran toward W. 83rd St., stunned witnesses said…

It was not entirely clear why the woman wanted Zambrano’s gun, but early reports suggested she was concerned about his intoxication level.

Someday, I hope to read a stupid tale like this and no one will try to excuse dangerous behavior by saying, “he was just drunk and things got out of hand!”

You have some sort of idea what happens when you drink – or drink too much. You have the responsibillity and supposedly enough smarts to make decisions on your own. Like should I drink or not? Should I bring my gun with me when I’m out drinking? You are responsible for your own decisions.

Stupid gun nut trick of the day!

granny gun

Sheriff’s deputies in Colorado arrested a 60-year-old woman who pointed a rifle at her neighbor’s 11-year-old son as he played his clarinet in the backyard…

Officers were called to an address in the Rocky Mountain city of Grand Junction after Cheryl Pifer allegedly told the boy, who was doing his music class homework for school, to “get his ass back inside,” the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to an arrest affidavit, there were five other children aged one to eleven in the backyard at the time of Wednesday’s incident, and it said the boy’s grandmother told them all to return to the house.

“When they were coming inside they saw Cheryl at the door with the gun aimed at them. (The boy) stated Cheryl yelled ‘fire in the hole.’ He stated all of the kids ran into the house and called 911,” the affidavit added.

The deputy who filed the report, who said she was “very familiar” with Pifer and her address, said the woman appeared drunk when officers arrived, and that they found a 7 mm Mauser rifle by the door with two rounds in its magazine.

She was booked into jail on four counts of felony menacing, seven counts of reckless child abuse/no injury, and one count of prohibited use of a weapon. She was released on a $5,000 bond on Thursday…

No one is surprised at gun nuts having an understanding of life’s priorities roughly akin to a demented jihadist. Understanding incompetence doesn’t excuse endangering the lives of others folks, children or otherwise.

Throw away the key.

Gay widower entitled to benefits despite official Arizona bigotry


Fred McQuire and George Martinez, love and marriage

A judge handed a victory on Friday to a gay man who lost his spouse to cancer last month and was denied death benefits because Arizona does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Fred McQuire and George Martinez were partners of 45 years who got married in California this summer, fulfilling one of their final wishes as they both dealt with serious health issues.

Martinez died in late August, but McQuire was unable to receive social security and veteran benefits because Arizona bans gay marriage.

McQuire went to court on Friday as his lawyers asked US District Judge John Sedwick to let McQuire be listed as Martinez’s spouse on the death certificate, which they believed would help qualify him for the benefits. The judge quickly issued a ruling in favour of McQuire…

Sedwick ruled that McQuire demonstrated that he faced irreparable harm on the basis of the loss of his dignity and status while he was in the midst of his grief…

Without ruling on the larger issues of whether the ban is unconstitutional, the judge said the state’s argument that its marriage laws do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation lacks merit, pointing out that the reason same-sex couples do not marry is because of their sexual orientation.

Martinez was a Vietnam war veteran who died late last month of pancreatic cancer that is blamed on his exposure to Agent Orange. While in the throes of the illness and chemotherapy, he and McQuire travelled to California to get married, calling it “demeaning and unfair” to have to go out-of-state to exchange their vows.

“I feel frightened and worried about what will happen to Fred after I die,” Martinez wrote in an August court filing just two weeks before he died. “Although Fred and I are legally married under the laws of California, the fact that the US government honours our marriage while Arizona does not is confusing and stressful.”

James Campbell, a lawyer arguing on behalf of the state, said blah, blah, blah!.

More details in the article.

You know, being an old fart, I can actually remember when being conservative didn’t require you to be a bigot or stupid. I think the credit should go to Nixon for the change. Though, old George W. certainly tried hard for the stupid part.

Stupid gun nut trick of the day — shoot yourself while you’re on the crapper!

cops at westbrook elementary

A teacher in the…state of Utah who was legally carrying a gun in her primary school accidentally shot herself in the leg…The incident happened in a staff toilet before classes started and no children were in the building…

The unidentified woman was seriously injured but was in a good condition in hospital by the afternoon.

Utah is among a number of states that allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons into primary schools.

A larger number of states leave it up to individual school districts to prohibit firearms on school campuses or allow only teachers and other school staff to carry guns.

Utah also prohibits school officials from asking teachers if they are carrying a firearm.

In Taylorsville, Utah, on Thursday, school district spokesman Ben Horsley told the Associated Press news agency the district required teachers who carry guns at school to keep the weapons with them at all time, including in the toilet…

Crisis counsellors were available and a substitute teacher was brought in to supervise the wounded teacher’s class, he added.

The school pays for the crisis counsellor. You have to get your own counsellor for stupid.

San Diego school system gets their own military assault vehicle – whoopee!

Cobb-County-APC
I don’t think San Diego rates something this big. This is the Cornfederate version.

The nation gaped at the sight of a military-grade Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle trundling through Ferguson, but it turns out that was relatively restrained policing.

Relative, that is, to San Diego, where police will use a similar steel behemoth for the city’s schools.

The San Diego Unified School District Police Department has acquired its own vehicle, known as a MRAP, and expect it to be operational by October.

“I can totally see people thinking ‘Oh, my God. Are they going to be rolling armoured vehicles into our schools and what the hell’s going on?’” Captain Joe Florentino told local media.

Police intended to use it to rescue children – be it from rampaging gunmen or natural disasters, he said. “When we have an emergency at a school, we’ve got to get in and save kids…”

San Diego’s school police obtained the MRAP in April and have been busy modifying it at a transportation centre in the east of the city. Details emerged only this week. Critics were not mollified by the fact the district got the vehicle, valued at $700,000, for free.

“We should not have got it in the first place,” Scott Barnett, a unified school district board trustee, told the Guardian on Thursday before a press conference announcing his opposition. “It sends a wrong message, a message contrary to what we are. We’re an educational institution…”

Barnett’s primary concern was not militarisation – “I would not use that term per se” – but utility and cost of use and maintenance. He proposed leasing it to another police force and using the revenue to replace the school district’s 10 ageing patrol cars. “Most of our vehicles are in serious disrepair, and we use them on a daily basis.”

Thrill-seeking, arrested-development coppers playing at class warfare foretell the end of civilization.

Who needs schoolbooks, anyway?