French fighter jets killed 4,800 of my chickens, claims farmer

A French poultry farmer is suing his country’s defence ministry, claiming that two low-flying fighter jets frightened almost 5,000 of his chickens to death.

Etienne Le Mahauté, a farmer in the village of Pléguien, Brittany, western France, claims that the military aircraft caused a chicken stampede in which 4,800 of the terrified fowl died of suffocation.

Mr Mahauté said he was having lunch on Tuesday when two military aircraft shot over his farm at very low altitude.

“We were in the house eating. When (the planes) passed overhead, we had vibrations in our backs it was so loud,” he said.

He ran straight to the giant coops where the chickens are kept only to find they had rushed into the same side and lay lifeless in their thousands.

“The chickens were terrified. They were stacked up on top of each in several layers on the same side of the three buildings,” he told the newspaper Ouest France. “If we hadn’t been there, it could have been worse. We separated those we could…”

The farmer, who is in charge of 68,000 fowl belonging to an agricultural co-operative, is demanding between 12,000 and 15,000 euros in compensation.

Frédéric Solano, a French air force official, confirmed that two jets had flown past the farm on Tuesday at midday as part of a “scheduled flight at an altitude respecting current rules”…

Last year, Britain’s Ministry of Defence paid out £42,000 to a Staffordshire farmer whose chickens laid fewer eggs because they were frightened by the Red Arrows display team.

I suppose we have to have compensation for animals in our care – although the premises of that care, including the level of stupidity bred into a pursuit of passivity, don’t especially convince me that all farmers deserve payment.

One of the farmers in my family raised “modern” domestic turkeys for a spell. Not to be confused with the crafty, intelligent critters roaming the wild. We always had to wave at them to halt any practice of looking skyward when it started to rain – because they would stand there with mouths open and drown.

3rd Edition of Oxford English Dictionary unlikely to appear in print

Publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary have confirmed that the third edition may never appear in print. A team of 80 lexicographers began working on it following the publication of the second edition in 1989. It is 28% finished. In comments to a Sunday newspaper, Nigel Portwood, chief executive of Oxford University Press, which owns the dictionary, said: “The print dictionary market is just disappearing. It is falling away by tens of percent a year.” Asked if he thought the third edition would appear in printed format, he said: “I don’t think so.” However, an OUP spokeswoman said no decision had been made.

“It is likely to be more than a decade before the full edition is published and a decision on format will be taken at that point,” she said.

“Demand for online resources is growing but large numbers of people continue to purchase dictionaries in printed form and we have no plans to stop publishing print dictionaries.”

The Oxford English Dictionary already publishes revised and new entries online every three months, with a new version of its OED Online website due to be launched in December.

The publisher produces approximately 500 dictionaries, thesauruses and language reference titles in more than 40 languages in a variety of formats.

Ten years from now, I don’t doubt there will be folks who still want a hard copy of some book or other – including the OED. They most likely will be made available as vanity publishers now offer single copies from digital files.

Retirement haven hunts violators: No children allowed!

From behind the wheel of his minivan, Bill Szentmiklosi scours the streets of Sun City in search of zoning violations like unkempt yards and illegal storage sheds. Mostly, though, he is on the lookout for that most egregious of all infractions: children.

With a clipboard of alleged violations to investigate, he peers over fences and ambles into backyards of one of America’s pioneer retirement communities, a haven set aside exclusively for adults, where children are allowed to visit but not live…

But it is when he strides up to a home, dressed in shorts, sandals and a polo shirt, and knocks on the door that his detective work really begins. He tells the suspected violator that a neighbor has complained and he asks gentle questions to get to the bottom of things, all the while peering around for signs of youthful activity. His work is helped by a simple reality: children are hard to hide.

They leave tracks and make unique sounds. Newborns bellow, toddlers shriek and teenagers play music that is not typical around Sun City…

The vigorous search for violators of Sun City’s age rules is about more than keeping loud, boisterous, graffiti-scrawling rug rats from spoiling residents’ golden years, although that is part of it. If Sun City does not police its population, it could lose its special status and be forced to open the floodgates to those years away from their first gray hair.

The end result would be the introduction of schools to Sun City, then higher taxes and, finally, an end to the Sun City that has drawn retirees here for the last half-century.

To remain a restricted retirement community, at least 80 percent of Sun City’s housing units must have at least one occupant who is 55 or older, allowing for younger spouses or adult children. But the rules are clear on one thing: no one, absolutely no one, who is a teenager, an adolescent, a toddler, a newborn, any form of child, may call Sun City home.

RTFA. Interesting to say the least.

I’ve never considered living in a retirement community of any kind. I suppose it might be a possibility if I needed some sort of managed care that couldn’t be provided for the same cost in my home.

I live in a pretty diverse rural community, now. Maybe a 100-120 families. Probably half are originally owner-builders though that has changed as families move out, move in. They often are extended families, 2 or 3 or even 4 generations living together.

Some know each other well. Most of us at least wave and know each other by sight. Houses are far enough apart to merit the classification of “sprawl” by textbook sociologists who never got round to deciding how they feel about living cheek-by-jowl next to someone whose music sucks. Young families and geezers are as mixed as our ethnic identities, choices in jobs and cars.

Tapes reveal Belgian Cardinal stonewalling sex abuse


The colorful Bishop Vangheluwe before he resigned
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Leaked tapes of Belgium’s Cardinal Godfried Danneels urging a victim not to reveal he was sexually abused by a bishop are some of the most damaging documents to emerge in the scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church.

The tapes, made secretly by the victim and published in two Belgian newspapers on Saturday, show the former primate of Belgium exhorting him to accept a private apology or wait one year until the bishop retired before making his case public.

Their meeting took place on April 8, at a time when the Vatican was under fire for allegedly covering up similar abuse cases by priests in other countries and shocking abuse claims dominated the news in several European states…

“From everything he says, it’s clear that his only aim is to avoid having the case made public so many years after the facts. It is containment, nothing more,” De Standaard wrote in a commentary accusing Danneels of lacking any compassion…

The Belgian tapes stand out as a rare verbatim record of how a leading Catholic prelate tried to persuade the victim, a 42-year-old nephew of Bruges Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, to keep the case quiet…

In their one-on-one meeting, the victim says he feels a duty to report the case to the Church hierarchy and asks Danneels to help. The cardinal responds by urging him not to go public.

“The bishop will resign next year, so actually it would be better for you to wait,” the cardinal says. “I don’t think you’d do yourself or him a favor by shouting this from the rooftops.”

The man pleads for help but Danneels, 77, who had stepped down as Brussels archbishop in January, says he cannot discipline Vangheluwe or inform higher authorities, including Pope Benedict…

Anyone surprised? Anyone shocked?

Game leaves Oahu man unable to wake, bathe and dress

An Ewa Beach man is claiming he is unable to bathe, dress himself or wake up in the day due to alleged “phenomena of psychological dependence and addiction” to a video game created by a South Korean developer.

Craig Smallwood, 51, filed a lawsuit against developer NCSoft Corp. last October with several charges including emotional distress and misrepresentation.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Alan Kay granted NCSoft’s motion to dismiss half of the eight charges, allowing the lawsuit to proceed…

Smallwood, who says he is a disabled veteran, also alleges that he has been “unable to function independently in usually daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing or communicating with family and friends.”

He claims to have been hospitalized for three weeks and that he now needs treatment and therapy three times a week because of the game…

Smallwood asserts that he continues to this day to have a “compulsive urge and need” to play the game, that he never received any warning from the company about the danger of addiction and that he would not have bought and played the game if he would become addicted to it.

Someone, somehow, give me a break from neurotic lamebrains filing lawsuits over their own screwup decisions.

Cargill recalls ground beef after E. coli reports – a few weeks ago

Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. has recalled about 8,500 pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced.

The move came after three people, two in Maine and one in New York, were identified as becoming ill from a strain of E. coli, the government said.

The USDA says it believes certain BJ’s Wholesale Club stores in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Virginia received the products.

The recalled ground beef was shipped June 11 to distribution centers, where it was repackaged into consumer-size packages and sold under different retail brand names. The USDA did not identify the brands.

The recalled beef bears the USDA establishment number “EST. 9400,” a product code of “W69032” and a “use/freeze by” date of July 1.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services, which said it became aware of the problem on August 5, “determined that there is an association between the ground beef products subject to recall and the cluster of illnesses in the states of Maine and New York…”

The government lists the recall as Class 1, meaning “there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death…”

Mike Martin, Cargill spokesman, said Cargill is working with the USDA to learn what happened. “We decided to take swift action to do the right thing,” he said of the recall.

Let’s see – this crap has been out in the wild since June 11. The USDA – in lightning fashion discovered there was a problem – by August 5. And Cargill decided to take “swift action” – and issued a recall Saturday. August 28.

I wonder what a not-so-swift response would have been?

Dad puts son in freezer because the floor was too dirty! WTF?

A Chandler man reportedly high on meth put his young toddler son in the freezer for several minutes while he fixed himself a meal, police said.

Chance Kracke told Chandler police he was on methamphetamine when he placed his 7-month-old son in freezer drawer as he prepared a meal at his apartment in the 600 block of East Commonwealth Avenue, said Sgt. Joe Favazzo, a police spokesman.

Kracke told police he placed his son in the freezer because the “kitchen floor was too dirty” and let him out after two or three minutes because the baby began crying. The child was fine, except for a cut and lump on the boy’s forehead, possibly from the freezer door, Favazzo said…

When police spoke with Chance and Leann Kracke, they admitted to smoking meth over the past month and a half, police said…

On Aug. 18, police searched the Krache’s home and were met with a “strong odor of feces and urine” and cockroaches “in the hundreds,” according to the statement…”Overall, the apartment was filthy with trash, dismantled electronics, sharp objects and alcohol within reach of the children.”

“X-rays showed the 19-month-old ingested a screw that was expected to pass,” according to the statement. Chance Kracke admitted to having anger issues and that he squeezed his son’s stomach one time because he wouldn’t stop crying, police said.

Chance Kracke was arrested on suspicion of four counts of child abuse, two counts of possession of paraphernalia, and one count of animal cruelty for kicking the dog.

Leann Kracke was arrested on suspicion of two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of child abuse.

Throw the key away. Please! Don’t let them near children or dogs.