Banker died after a little failed erotic asphyxiation in the woods

Colin Birch, 44, a former assistant vice-president of Deutsche Bank, had been turned down for a job on the same day that he paid the women to taunt him and call him a “loser” as he stood on a ladder with a noose around his neck.

Mr Birch told them he was wearing a safety harness and asked them to kick away the ladder so that they could carry out a mock execution. The women refused and walked away laughing. One of the women, worried for Birch’s safety, returned moments later to find him dying. The harness he had assured them he was wearing failed, the inquest heard. Mr Birch, a married father of two, had been made redundant in 2009 and was having trouble finding new work.

Louise Howard, who runs Katie’s Lovely Escorts, told the inquest that she received a call from Mr Birch on the morning of July 30 asking to arrange the “execution”…

The court heard that Mr Birch, who had been contacting Ms Howard regularly to see if the execution was arranged, sent her a text saying: “Just to clarify the role play. I will wear a harness to support me but will also have a noose round my neck for show. Girl will ask for execution fee and I will go to my place of execution. My crime is being a loser.

“Girl kicks away stool and laughs and walks back to car without looking back so to show she has no feelings. Important stick to the role…”

…Miss Sturley said it “didn’t feel right” and the pair left as she “laughed loudly” as had been ordered. But worried for his safety she went back to check on the former banker.

She found him turning blue and screamed for help from Mr Bowyer and the pair cut him down and tried to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A life-ending “Oops!” Or was it?

City administration in Chicago cuts up hundreds of credit cards


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Local government employees who once passed around 500 credit cards will now get by on just eight, under a crackdown that exceeded Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s expectations.

Two months ago, Emanuel reduced the number of credit cards to 30 after alleged abuses that ousted the chiefs of the CHA and Chicago Park District. The plan called for five credit cards to be issued to top executives of each of six agencies: the CTA, CHA, Park District, Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges and Public Building Commission. Monthly expenditures are posted on the Internet.

Now, the number of credit cards has been further reduced to “no more than eight” with three of the six agencies joining City Hall in going cold turkey.

In a news release touting the additional cuts, Emanuel noted that lax policies he inherited had “allowed city employees to treat a city credit card as their personal expense accounts.”

He added, “Our residents work hard every day and we work for them. Abuse or misuse of taxpayer dollars absolutely will not be tolerated…”

Earlier this year, the inspector general of the Chicago Public Schools questioned more than $800,000 in spending under former school board presidents Michael Scott and Rufus Williams. The spending — not all of which was charged to CPS credit cards — ranged from $3,000 to check the board’s offices for “eavesdropping devices” to $12,624 for holiday parties at a president’s home…

The credit card crackdown followed a joint investigation by the Better Government Association and WFLD-Channel 32 news that uncovered alleged credit card abuses at the CHA and the Park District…

The investigation…found CHA credit cards were used to buy thousands of dollars worth of flowers, cakes and holiday gifts for employees, a suite at the United Center and to pay fines stemming from red-light camera tickets.

Emanuel condemned the alleged abuses, called a halt to credit card spending and ordered a sweeping audit of agency policies. Jordan subsequently resigned.

Any number of pundits are always predicting the political demise of Rahm Emanuel. They’re always predicting Chicago-style cronyism that existed for decades under traditional machine governance. In truth, no party holds a patent for cronyism – as the recent Bush administration proved. Though the results are always the same. Taxpayers, ordinary citizens are left holding the bag.

Cynic that I am, I’m pleased to see Emanuel cleaning house – at least a little bit – in Chicago. I hope he keeps it up. Maybe, someday – he’ll bring his talents back to the White House and TCB.

Smuggler busted with 72 cocaine capsules in stomach


Pretty fancy X-Ray tech

A 20-year-old Irishman had a $200,000 lunch — and now he might have to pay.

Security personal at a Sao Paulo, Brazil airport on Monday detained a nervous traveler later allegedly found to be smuggling approximately 72 bags of cocaine in his stomach, the Irish independent reports.

Authorities with the Brazilian Federal Police released x-ray images of the suspect, identified only as F.B.B., which appear to show his belly full of drugs. The nearly two-pound stash of coke is estimated to be worth $200,000.

Police said the man was boarding a flight to Lisbon en route to Brussels. Instead of making the trip, authorities escorted the man to a nearby hospital where the capsules were removed, MSNBC reports.

The suspect is charged with international drug trafficking and could face up to 15 years in prison.

No mention of which end of the alimentary canal was utilized to remove the cocaine capsules. 🙂

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Pat Robertson answers a tough question on Alzheimer’s — and upsets his fundamentalist Christian peers

The televangelist Pat Robertson’s suggestion that a man whose wife was far “gone” with Alzheimer’s should divorce her if he felt a need for new companionship has provoked a storm of condemnation from other Christian leaders but a more mixed or even understanding response from some doctors and patient advocates.

On his television show, “The 700 Club,” Mr. Robertson, a prominent evangelical who once ran for president, took a call from a man who asking how he should advise a friend whose wife was deep into dementia and no longer recognized him…

“This is a terribly hard thing,” Mr. Robertson said, clearly struggling to think his way through a wrenching situation. “I hate Alzheimer’s. It is one of the most awful things, because here’s the loved one — this is the woman or man that you have loved for 20, 30, 40 years, and suddenly that person is gone “

“I know it sounds cruel,” he continued, “but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care, somebody looking after her.”

When Mr. Robertson’s co-anchor on the show wondered if that was consistent with marriage vows, Mr. Robertson noted the pledge of “’til death do us part,” but added, “This is a kind of death.”

He said the question presented an ethical dilemma beyond his ability to answer. “I certainly wouldn’t put a guilt trip on you if you decided that you had to have companionship, you’re lonely, you have to have companionship,” Mr. Robertson said.

The reaction from many evangelical leaders, who see lifelong, traditional marriage as the cornerstone of morality and society, was harsh and disbelieving…

Dr. James E. Galvin, a neurologist who runs a dementia clinic at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, said it was wrong to say that people with Alzheimer’s were “gone,” or to call its late stages “a kind of death.”

“While it’s true that in terminal phases, patients may not be fully aware of what’s going on, they tend to recognize the people who are closest to them,” Dr. Galvin said.

With good care, people may live 15 to 20 years with the disease, most of that time at home, Dr. Galvin said. If they eventually move to a nursing home and seem unaware of what is going on around them, he said, then spouses face “an individualized decision” about when and how to develop new relationships…

I doubt if ever before have I come close to agreeing with Pat Robertson on anything. I think he probably gets the seasons and sunrise wrong. Still, this is a question that he has answered as a man of conscience, willing to take that question beyond the accepted constraints of his fundamentalist brethren. I give him credit for that.

I haven’t much experience with Alzheimer’s. I only recall one relative who seemed to be in early stages of senile dementia – when I was a young man and she was already in her 60’s. But, Robertson’s answer is one of the answers that someone might legitimately consider in the context of advanced Alzheimer’s when to all intents and purposes you are unrecognizable to the patient.

It will be a terrible quandary – you must include your whole life’s experience together and yet look ahead to a life that can be painfully distant even when together. My snap judgement would be to stay together. But, I can see a context wherein divorce might be the sound decision.

World’s largest sperm bank now turns down redheads

The world’s largest sperm bank has started turning down redheaded donors because there is too little demand for their sperm.

Ole Schou, Cryos’s director, said that there had been a surge in donations in recent years, allowing the facility to become much more picky about its donors.

“There are too many redheads in relation to demand,” he told told Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet. “I do not think you chose a redhead, unless the partner – for example, the sterile male – has red hair, or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads. And that’s perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case.”

Mr Schou said the only reliable demand for sperm from redheaded donors was from Ireland, where he said it sold “like hot cakes”…

Cryos pays donors up to $500, and sends its semen to over 65 countries worldwide.

All I can picture in my mind is hot cakes filled with little wiggling tails.

Connected NYC rabbi charged with rent subsidy fraud

Rabbi Leib Glanz was a master of politics, a broker of favors who long served as a bridge between the clannish world of one of Brooklyn’s most powerful Jewish communities and a universe of candidates from the New York City Council to the presidency.

For nearly a decade his power base was the city jails, where as a chaplain he leveraged the perception of influence into raw power.

But he was forced out two years ago after a shocking abuse of that power: he arranged a lavish six-hour bar mitzvah celebration in a jail for a wealthy inmate’s son.

On Wednesday, whatever tenuous grip he still had on any vestige of political influence seemed to slip away as he was charged in federal court in Manhattan with stealing more than $220,000 in federal housing subsidies…

Rabbi Glanz was charged along with his brother, Menashe Glanz, 49, in a two-count criminal complaint that accuses them of theft and conspiracy for allegedly stealing Section 8 rent subsidies over 15 years, a case that city authorities called the largest individual case of tenant fraud they had ever investigated.

Glanz was a conduit between city politicians and religious Jewish communities in New York City for decades. I guess he believed he was immune from prosecution for breaking the law. Like so many politicians – for that was essentially his role in the city landscape – he thought his power really was supreme.