Renault’s electric Twizy saves energy, adds calories!

While American motorheads were in Las Vegas covering the 2012 SEMA Show, sweeter teeth had converged upon France’s capital city for the annual Salon du Chocolat, otherwise known as the Paris Chocolate Show. Renault brought a little automotive flair to the this year’s show by teaming with French pastry chef Pierre Hermé to create a Renault Twizy covered with macarons.

In a two-day process, 1,700 of the Oreo-like pastries-weighing around 50 pounds in total-were individually glued onto the high-calorie show car‘s bodywork and wheel covers.

Enjoy the video. No extra calories just from watching. Even full screen.

Four LA cops used Taser on handcuffed woman

LA Police Chief

Four Los Angeles police officers are under scrutiny after one Tasered a handcuffed woman while joking with others at the scene, according to interviews and law enforcement records.

The video taken of the December 2010 arrest shows Officer Jorge Santander firing the Taser without warning and later displaying a Superman logo he wore on his chest beneath his uniform, according to records. Off camera, another officer is heard laughing and singing.

Santander then appeared to lie about the incident repeatedly in written reports. The three other officers who witnessed him stun the woman corroborated his version of events when first questioned and failed to tell supervisors that a video of the encounter existed, records show.

According to a memo written by a prosecutor in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, the incident began when two officers, Steven Bauman and Jose Lepe, were dispatched to a parking lot behind a Hollywood nightclub around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2010, when a couple reported a drunk woman inside their car…

The officers requested a female officer be sent to assist, which is when Santander arrived with his partner, Georgeta Buruiana, who searched the woman, records showed. For reasons not explained in a D.A. memo of the event, Santander and Buruiana would transport the woman to a nearby station for booking.

Bauman had turned on a personal video camera and focused it on Santander and Buruiana as they led the woman over to their patrol car. She resisted getting in — something she had also done when Lepe tried to seat her in the back of his patrol car.

As before, officers shoved the woman into the seat, but she managed to stand back up. Without warning, Santander placed a Taser against the woman’s torso and fired it twice, according to the prosecutor’s account of the video. The woman fell face-down onto the seat…

When a sergeant arrived at the scene, Bauman turned off the camera. Santander told the supervisor simply that he had used the Taser on the woman twice because she had kicked him and had tried to kick out the windows of the patrol car. The three other officers corroborated that version of the encounter and none mentioned Bauman’s video, the memo said.

Sometime later in the day, Santander wrote an account of firing his Taser for the woman’s arrest report. In it he said he had fired the Taser only twice and warned the woman that she would be stunned before firing the Taser the first time. He also alleged that she had kicked him in the chest with such force that she knocked him off balance. Both claims — about the warning and being knocked off balance — were proven false by the video, the prosecutor wrote.

So, what does Protect and Serve mean to cops who taser someone in handcuffs? Folks wonder why many have pressed for civilian review boards for decades – while police departments continue the same crap coverups.

No one investigated any of this until the patrolman who records the incident asked an officer higher up if he had seen the recording, yet. The officer didn’t know what he was talking about.

Journalists worldwide send condolences to only BBC staffer in Gaza — his infant son killed in Israel’s brutal attacks

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s management council has relayed a message of condolences to its Gaza employee for the death of his infant son in an Israeli airstrike.

The 11-month-old baby son of Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic service, was killed on last Wednesday, when a missile fired by an Israeli army’s fighter jet hit his house in central Gaza.

Misharawi told a fellow BBC reporter in Gaza that “my son is only ten or 11 months old.”

What did my son do to die like this?” he said.

“What was his mistake? He is ten or eleven months old. What did he do?”, Misharawi added.

The BBC said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with Jihad and the rest of the team in Gaza. This is a particularly difficult moment for the whole bureau in Gaza. We’re fortunate to have such a committed and courageous team there. It’s a sobering reminder of the challenges facing many of our colleagues.”

Usual practice for the BBC – like most Western news-cum-media sources – is to forgive Israel any criminal act, to defend Euro-American arrogance at any cost. Nice to see a touch of humanity slip through for an occasion this painful. Sadly, the event received barely a notice on American TV news sources, little eminence in print.

* I’ve edited this comment – see the discussion below in comments.

Six-year study confirms breast cancer risk for plastics workers

Breast cancer victim, Carol Bristow – 23 years in a plastic auto parts factory in Windsor

WINDSOR, Ontario — For more than three decades, workers, most of them women, have complained of dreadful conditions in many of this city’s plastic automotive parts factories: Pungent fumes and dust that caused nosebleeds, headaches, nausea and dizziness. Blobs of smelly, smoldering plastic dumped directly onto the floor. “It was like hell,” says one woman who still works in the industry.

The women fretted, usually in private, about what seemed to be an excess of cancer and other diseases in the factories across the river from Detroit. “People were getting sick, but you never really thought about the plastic itself,” said Gina DeSantis, who has worked at a plant near Windsor for 25 years.

Now, workers like DeSantis are the focal point of a new study that appears to strengthen the tie between breast cancer and toxic exposures.

The six-year study, conducted by a team of researchers from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, examined the occupational histories of 1,006 women from Ontario’s Essex and Kent counties who had the disease and 1,146 who didn’t. Adjustments were made for smoking, weight, alcohol use and other lifestyle and reproductive factors.

The results, published online today in the journal Environmental Health, are striking: Women employed in the automotive plastics industry were almost five times as likely to develop breast cancer, prior to menopause, as women in the control group.

These workers may handle an array of carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. They include the hardening agent bisphenol A (BPA) — whose presence in polycarbonate water bottles and other products has unnerved some consumers — plus solvents, heavy metals and flame retardants.

Sandy Knight, who worked at two Windsor plastics plants from 1978 to 1998, had a breast cancer scare in 2000, when she was 41. The cancer was at Stage III — “invasive and fast-growing…”…She had a single mastectomy and, following 10 years of hormonal treatment, is in remission…

“Why am I speaking to people today, in 2012, who are doing the same processes I did in 1980?” Knight asked. “It just seems like we’re fighting the same battle. A lot of these chemicals should be removed from the workplace…”

These workplace chemicals are now present in our air, water, food and consumer products,” said one of the two principal investigators, James Brophy, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Windsor and a former occupational health clinic director. “If we fail to take heed then we are doing so at our own peril.”

RTFA for a long, predictable tale that – to me – is an indictment of North American industries focussed on profit at any cost to workers. Lives lost improving the balance sheet are justified as far as corporate directors are concerned. Industry associations feel they have no stake in health and safety – and federal regulatory agencies care about as much as they did, say, when granting oil drilling leases or evaluating residential mortgage backed securities during the reign of Bush and Cheney.

This study tells us what resulted from the last six years of exposure to these chemicals. What of the decades of women that lived and died in this industry before the study?

Prime suspects in Afghan bank robbery? Afghan police officers!

American expertise in training bank security

The bank robbers were men who were often seen around town in uniform – police uniforms. They were, in fact, police.

Three Afghan National Police officers fled a bank in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province after breaking in after hours and stealing more than 29 million afghanis (about $550,000) late Friday night, according to Gen. Ghulamullah Nuristani, the provincial police chief.

You might call it an inside job. The officers were assigned to guard the bank, a local branch of Afghanistan’s central bank, Nuristani said.

Two of the officers were cornered in a nearby home and arrested, Nuristani told The Los Angeles Times. He said the home belongs to Abdul Rahman Kahan, who had been in charge of security guards for the province’s previous government.

Police recovered most of the money and were pursuing the third bandit and the rest of the cash, Nuristani said.

Nuristani said he suspected that powerful local figures loyal to the previous provincial government may have had a hand in organizing the robbery.

“Possibly there are some power-brokers behind this,” Nuristani said by telephone from the isolated, mountainous province in northeastern Afghanistan. “The police have launched an investigation to find out who else is behind this.”

It’s doubtful they’ll provide a larger number of police to guard local banks, though. That would diminish the size of each copper’s share in future robberies.

Marijwhatnow? According to the Seattle Coppers

The people have spoken. Voters have passed Initiative 502 and beginning December 6th, it is not a violation of state law for adults over 21 years old to possess up to an ounce of marijuana (or 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product, like cookies, or 72 ounces of infused liquid, like oil) for personal use. The initiative establishes a one-year period for the state to develop rules and a licensing system for the marijuana production and sale…

Here’s a practical guide for what the Seattle Police Department believes I-502 means for you, beginning December 6th…

Can I legally carry around an ounce of marijuana?

According to the recently passed initiative, beginning December 6th, adults over the age of 21 will be able to carry up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Please note that the initiative says it “is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana…in view of the general public,” so there’s that. Also, you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property)…

Can I grow marijuana in my home and sell it to my friends, family, and co-workers?

Not right now. In the future, under state law, you may be able to get a license to grow or sell marijuana.

Will police officers be able to smoke marijuana?

As of right now, no. This is still a very complicated issue…

SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back?



RTFA for more questions and dubious answers – and vice versa.