Golden Gate Bridge directors vote for net to catch suicides

Golden Gate Bridge directors have voted decisively to try to stop people from jumping to their deaths from the landmark bridge by hanging nets along the sides of the span.

The Board of Directors voted 14-to-1 to install the stainless-steel net system, which would be placed 20 feet below the deck, and would collapse around anyone who jumped into it, making it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to leap to their death. The lone “no” vote came from Director James Eddie of Mendocino County, who said his constituents did not consider a barrier necessary.

An audience of about 50 people, including psychiatrists, suicide prevention experts and family members of people who had jumped to their deaths from the bridge, applauded the decision. Some had fought for decades for a suicide barrier…

But it probably will be years before the 3.4 miles of netting are installed, said Mary Currie, bridge district spokeswoman. Before it can start construction, the bridge district must complete more studies, including one on the effects of the net on birds, and come up with a funding plan. Then it would need to complete engineering and design work, and hire a contractor.

“Our next big challenge is to come up with the money,” she said.

Let ’em jump. Send the bill for recovery to their insurance beneficiary.

Woman, 105, links her age to walking – and no sex

A woman celebrating her 105th birthday has attributed her longevity to plenty of walking, the odd glass of wine – and remaining a virgin.

Clara Meadmore, a former secretary who was born in Glasgow in 1903, said that she had had her share of suitors but sex had never appealed to her.

“People have asked me whether I am homosexual and the answer is no. I have just never been interested in sex.” Meadmore, who lives in a nursing home in Cornwall, added: “I imagine there is a lot of hassle involved and I have always been busy doing other things … I’ve had platonic friends.”

Without sex, she just feels like she’s 105. Har!

It’s an ill wind that etc…

A Boston psychologist says his profession has seen an upswing in business as the nation’s economic woes have worsened.

Psychologist Jim Grubman said while financial advisers and other wealthy citizens are struggling to make money during the ongoing economic crisis, psychologists are getting requests from more clients than they can handle…

Grubman told the Boston Globe many of his new patients are individuals in the financial sector who are so used to success they cannot cope with sudden economic problems.

“Many are perfectionists and many are feeling very bad because they’re doubting themselves and their skills,” Grubman said. “It’s terrifying … I’ve seen them lose tens of millions of dollars over the course of the last nine months.”

Sudden Loss Syndrome, eh? Consider that most of the money these parasites have been losing belonged to people who actually earned it working for a living.

Matthew Shepard’s mom sees little change – 10 years after his murder

Matthew Shepard’s mother still mourns lost opportunities to battle hate crimes and promote a greater tolerance of gays in the 10 years since her 21-year-old son was beaten, tied to a wooden fence and left for dead in a frigid Wyoming pasture.

Though Congress has not passed a federal hate crime law, Judy Shepard is buoyed by enhanced punishments for crimes based on sexual orientation in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

Ten years have gone by and not that much has changed, and I think that’s just really disappointing,” said Shepard, who with her husband formed the Matthew Shepard Foundation to promote equality for the gay community…

FBI statistics show hate crimes motivated by anti-gay bias have remained at a stable level since Matthew’s death. Both in 1998 and in 2006, the latest year for which data is available, roughly 1,200 such crimes were reported — about 16 percent of all reported hate crimes…

Shepard, meanwhile, travels away from her home in Casper about six months of the year for her work with the foundation. Despite legal and legislative obstacles for gays, she believes American society has made strides over the past 10 years in accepting the gay community.

“Socially, we’ve made really, really great progress in educating the general public about gay and lesbian issues, so I feel really good about that,” Shepard said.

Anyone who feels strongly about equal rights and justice hopes a new wind will sweep through Washington in November and January. I’m too cynical – I’m afraid I must say – to have that much confidence in Democrats over Republicans. I think they’re two sides of the same bigoted, cowardly coin.

I do think that maybe a strong enough effort to throw out all the existing lamebrains will keep the new crowd looking back over their shoulder and, perhaps – just perhaps – they’ll wonder if their new seats aren’t guaranteed.

Obama’s XBox 360 viral marketing

This is either a brilliant Photoshop job, some canny viral political campaigning, or both: An Xbox 360 gamer playing Burnout Paradise spotted an Obama campaign billboard with a “Paid for by Obama for President” caption as he whizzed by in his turbocharged sports car, Game Politics is reporting. The site was unable to confirm the ad’s authenticity with Burnout publisher Electronic Arts; I’ve left messages with both EA and the Obama campaign and will update this post if we get confirmation either way.

Its veracity aside, the virtual billboard raises an interesting question: Are political ads in video games a good idea? In terms of eyeballs, I’d have to say yes. Roughly one-third of American households own an Xbox 360, Sony PS3 or Nintendo Wii. In terms of effectiveness, Brandweek recently detailed a survey undertaken by its fellow Nielsen Games division in which 11 percent of gamers said they bought a brand after seeing it advertised in a game.

Of course, buying a brand of shoes or soda is a totally different prospect than buying a politician’s brand in the polling booth. And young voters — the kind most likely to notice an in-game ad — are also the least likely to show up on Election Day.

At the very least, however, several gamer sites are now excitedly talking about the Obama billboard, which translates into some level of viral messaging success. It’s certainly a better idea than John McCain’s Pork Invaders, a knock-off of a video game that was popular when Sen. McCain was already in his 40s.

Progressive geeks rule!

Outdated U.S. air-traffic network wastes fuel and time

A World War II-era air traffic network that often forces planes to take longer, zigzagging routes is costing U.S. airlines billions of dollars in wasted fuel while an upgrade to a satellite-based system has languished in the planning stages for more than a decade.

The $35 billion plan would replace the current radar system with the kind of GPS technology that has become commonplace in cars and cell phones. Supporters say it would triple air traffic capacity, reduce delays by at least half, improve safety and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

An Associated Press analysis of federal and industry data found that if the new system were already in place, airlines could have saved more than $5 billion in fuel this year alone.

The government does not expect to have it up and running until the early 2020s, and without a major commitment, supporters warn that even that goal might be not be attainable

The planned satellite-driven network, dubbed NextGen, would save fuel by ditching radar technology that is more than 50 years old and enabling GPS-equipped planes to fly the shortest route between two points: a straight line.

Some of this crap goes all the way back to Ronald Reagan. Bozo solidified his base with Libertarians and so-called Reagan Democrats by cutting the heart from half the useful programs the country had in place when he took office. It took a decade or so to makeup for his voodoo economics.

Living in a land where politics is overwhelmingly premised on the huckstering skills of professional liars is pretty frustrating. It never has required rocket science analysis to understand some of these needs more than three months out.

Same-sex marriage rights recognized by Connecticut Court

Successful plaintiffs and their twin sons

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to get married…

“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice,” the ruling said.

“To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others. The guarantee of equal protection under the law, and our obligation to uphold that command, forbids us from doing so. In accordance with these state constitutional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry.”

The decision would only allow gay couples the state benefits of marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, denies gay couples federal recognition of state marriages, which provides for federal benefits with regard to Social Security, taxation, immigration and others.

Who knows? Perhaps a dramatic overhaul of both Congress and the White House might leave the nation with a government that thoroughly rejects second-class citizenship?

It’s been almost fifty years since the first time I was arrested for daring to sit next to a Black friend at a White-Only drugstore counter. The miserable bastards who saddle this nation with discriminatory laws – still get more respect and attention from our lawmakers than anyone who cares about freedom and justice.

Financial advisor & bank robber: he steals from you twice!

Toronto police arrested a financial services executive on 10 counts of bank robbery and said he’s a suspect in 16 others in and around the city. Kevin Pinto was in Toronto court to enter his plea, this week.

Police said Pinto went to a downtown police station with a lawyer and surrendered, hours after police released high-quality bank security images taken during a recent robbery to television and newspaper media.

Pinto works as vice president of compliance at the investment firm Paradigm Capital, which Detective Al Phillips told the Toronto Star was a real break from the norm.

“The last thing you expect in a bank robber is somebody from that community, who works in banking.”

The 26 robberies began in 2003 and spread from Toronto. Police dubbed the thief the “Exchange Bandit” because in each instance the robber started talking to the teller about exchange rates for U.S. currency before passing the hold-up note, the report said.

Detective Phillips is a little naive.