Children find real body while trick-or-treating

At first, the kids thought the body on the front porch of a trailer in a mobile home park in Newberry Township was a Halloween decoration. But upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a real-life horror show – a 68-year-old man who had ended his own life with a bullet from a handgun, police said.

Next door neighbor Donna Jones was helping her friend’s daughter and another child get ready for the township’s trick-or-treat night.

After they left and went next door, Jones said, her friend screamed for her to come outside and call for help.

Newberry Township Police Chief John Snyder said the children discovered the body of John Sucic shortly after 6 p.m. on the porch of his trailer in the Conewago Valley Mobile Home Park in the 800 block of York Road…

Police officers covered the body with a sheet and put up police tape to prevent other trick-or-treaters from seeing the scene.

Jones said the children who discovered the body are about 4 to 5 years old and were anxious to head over to Sucic’s home when they saw his outdoor light was on.

Other neighbors didn’t notice anything until the police arrived

The investigation showed that Sucic had shot himself in the head. Snyder said the police had indications he had made arrangements prior to killing himself. It appeared, Snyder said, the man’s body was on the porch for about a day before the kids made the discovery.

Not even any nosy neighbors in the trailer park, eh?

Will top Mumbai politician resign over housing scandal?

Mumbai’s top politician has offered to resign over a housing scandal in which top military chiefs and associates of Congress Party leaders were allegedly allocated exclusive flats in an apartment block built for war heroes and widows.

Two of the Congress-led Indian government’s most senior ministers, Pranab Mukherjee, the finance minister and AK Anthony, the defence minister, are heading an investigation to establish the role of Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra’s chief minister, in the affair.

The allegations centre on ownership of flats in a 31 storey block built by the Adarsh Housing Co-operative on Cuffe Parade, overlooking the Arabian Sea, in one of Mumbai’s most expensive neighbourhoods.

It was built on land believed to be illegally-occupied by India’s security forces, but construction was permitted on the grounds that war widows and heroes of the Kargil War would be the beneficiaries.

Last week two former army chiefs and one retired navy chief announced they had acquired flats in the development but denied they had known they were intended for war widows. They have subsequently said they would give up their apartments.

Anyone surprised?

Texas rips off copyrighted photograph of cowboy silhouette

A Comfort photographer is suing the state over roughly 4.5 million vehicle inspection stickers that appear to incorporate, without his authorization, an image of a saddle-toting cowboy he created in 1984.

Plaintiff David K. Langford wants the court to block the Department of Public Safety from further use or issuance of the stickers, the design of which he says is based on his copyrighted photo, “Days End 2.”

The stickers were produced by state prison inmates under a Texas Department of Criminal Justice contract with the DPS. Both agencies, which are named as defendants, declined comment Friday…

Langford, who said he was surprised to learn of the sticker from a friend’s tip in June, described the litigation as a last resort.

“We’ve tried everything we can to settle this in a businesslike, professional manner between photographer and client, but we can’t hardly get them to return a phone call,” said Langford…

If they’re going to get the images from incarcerated folks, they need to pay particularly close attention to the genesis of that intellectual property,” said Langford’s lawyer, Jimmy Carter.

He wants the court to award damages and attorney fees over what he says is an unlawful taking of an image that has generated income for Langford for 25 years.

Most often, I look somewhat askance at similar suits. This seems more than a bit different, a solid violation of long-standing copyrighted work.

British national Scrabble champion happens to be transsexual

A Scrabble fan who only began playing five years ago after discovering it online was yesterday crowned as the game’s British national champion after beating a four-time winner.

Mikki Nicholson, 32, won a nail-biting contest against Mark Nyman, who has claimed more than 20 major tournaments including the World Championship, with the 86-point word “obeisant” (respect), in the cliffhanger fifth game.

Nicholson said she caught the Scrabble bug after discovering the word game on the internet, but admitted ahe still went for days without laying a single tile.

“It was a big challenge but I wouldn’t have entered if I didn’t think I had a chance of winning,” said the transsexual from Cumbria, who was wearing a pink wig, matching plastic pvc dress and lipstick during the final, held in London…

Nicholson, who will now spend the £1,500 prize money on a trip to Malaysia to compete in December’s Causeway Scrabble Challenge, said the game required someone intuitive and good with numbers.

“People think Scrabble is just about words but it’s the numbers that win the game, so a sound mathematical brain is an advantage,” she added.

I wonder if she’ll be allowed into Malaysia to compete. After all, that nation practices theocratic bigotry as national policy. Like many others.

Alcohol more harmful to society than heroin or crack

I categorized this post under crime, health and politics. The first two are obvious: illegal addiction produces crime; addiction of most kinds produces ill health. Politics – because political hacks both sides of the pond consider the first two questions only for what they mean when it comes to reelection.

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the UK by a considerable margin, beating heroin and crack cocaine into second and third place, according to an authoritative study published today which will reopen calls for the drugs classification system to be scrapped and a concerted campaign launched against drink.

Led by the sacked government drugs adviser David Nutt with colleagues from the breakaway Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, the study says that if drugs were classified on the basis of the harm they do, alcohol would be class A, alongside heroin and crack cocaine.

Today’s paper, published by the respected Lancet medical journal, will be seen as a challenge to the government to take on the fraught issue of the relative harms of legal and illegal drugs, which proved politically damaging to Labour…

Today’s study offers a more complex analysis that seeks to address the 2007 criticisms. It examines nine categories of harm that drugs can do to the individual “from death to damage to mental functioning and loss of relationships” and seven types of harm to others. The maximum possible harm score was 100 and the minimum zero.

Overall, alcohol scored 72 – against 55 for heroin and 54 for crack. The most dangerous drugs to their individual users were ranked as heroin, crack and then crystal meth. The most harmful to others were alcohol, heroin and crack in that order…

The authors write: “Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm. They also accord with the conclusions of previous expert reports that aggressively targeting alcohol harm is a valid and necessary public health strategy.”

Our governments – and the parliamentary hacks fiddling with the same questions – only seem to care about religious morality. Not the value of that morality. Though a far cry from systematic examinations of ethics, there is an odd bit of value in some of the outdated maundering. But, what counts about morality to our politicians is how many votes will it get at election time.

Witness the horde of Democrats falling over themselves in the United States to capitulate before Tea Party mobs. Unwilling, lacking sufficient bravery to explain last century’s basic solutions to the free market criminals who took their dishonesty into the biggest economic crash this side of 1929. Too cowardly to explain essential solutions to moralists who demand blood – instead of reconstruction.

The Labour Party ain’t much better. Lib Dems? Probably worse – since their parliamentary party is ready to compromise with anyone this side of the Attila the Hun or Dick Cheney in order to get a chance to prove themselves ready to lead minor ministries.

Scientists have offered yet another reasoned analysis to politicians. What’s the likelihood of anyone listening?

EU diplomats spending £32.8million on bullet-proof limousines

The EU has been accused of “vanity” after it emerged that the new diplomatic corps headed by Baroness Ashton will spend £32.8m on bullet-proof limousines for some of its 7,000 officials who will enjoy postings in Barbados and even the tiny Pacific island of Vanuatu.

The cost covers the purchase and maintenance of the 150 vehicles for four years with 30 cars being sent to missions in each of five regions around the world, including capitals where there is little or no terrorist threat.

A breakdown of the new European External Action Service (EEAS), which will have a budget of £8bn, shows that the diplomatic postings will include sending 46 officials to Barbados, 57 to Vietnam and 95 to Ukraine.

Even the tiny Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, which has a population of just 230,000, will have six diplomats…

Stephen Booth, of the Open Europe think tank, said, “We were told that the EU’s new foreign service would be ‘budget neutral’ but this promise has been broken in its first year. At a time of widespread austerity, taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay for the EU’s pretensions to global power status.”

“Why else would the EU send ambassadors to Barbados to parade around in armoured cars other than sheer vanity..?”

As the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Lady Ashton is the best paid female politician in the Western World and earns a salary of £230,702 a year…

If the EU is to succeed on their mission to keep up with the American State Department at self-aggrandizement they will also have to add a private army of mercenaries. Are the Hessians still available?

Neolithic tomb complex discovered – while landscaping

Archaeologists on Orkney are investigating what is thought to be a 5,000-year-old tomb complex.

A local man stumbled on the site while using a mechanical digger for landscaping.

It appears to contain a central passageway and multiple chambers excavated from rock…

“Potentially these skeletons could tell us so much about Neolithic people,” said Orkney Islands Council archaeologist Julie Gibson. “Not only in relation to their deaths, but their lives.”

One end of the tomb was accidentally removed as it was discovered and as a result, the burial site has now been flooded. Archaeologists are in a race against time to recover its contents before they are damaged or destroyed.

“There might also be other material, pottery or organics such as woven grass, buried in there – which cannot last under the circumstances,” said Ms Gibson.

“Call before you dig” only works for gas lines and phone cables.

The team are posting daily video updates from the excavations which are expected to take 10 days.