Daisy — Medal of Honor of New York City

Click to enlargeRob Lowry photo

James Crane worked on the 101st floor of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center .. He is blind so he has a golden retriever named Daisy.

After the plane hit 20 stories below, James knew that he was doomed, so he let Daisy go, out of an act of love. She darted away into the darkened hallway.

Choking on the fumes of the jet fuel and the smoke James was just waiting to die. About 30 minutes later, Daisy comes back along with James’ boss, Who Daisy just happened to pick up on floor 112. On her first run of the building, she leads James, James’ boss, and about 300 more people out of the doomed building.

But she wasn’t through yet, she knew there were others who were trapped. So, highly against James’ wishes she ran back in the building. On her second run, she saved 392 lives. Again she went back in. During this run, the building collapses.

James hears about this and falls on his knees into tears.

Against all known odds, Daisy makes it out alive, but this time she is carried by a firefighter. “She led us right to the people, before she got injured” the fireman explained. Her final run saved another 273 lives. She suffered acute smoke inhalation, severe burns on all four paws, and a broken leg, but she saved 967 lives.

Daisy is the first civilian Canine to win the Medal of Honor of New York City.

Now you know why some of us humans love dogs more than we love humans.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Is FBI being good little bureaucrats or are they using the law to endanger legal marijuana dealers?

The FBI is refusing to run nationwide background checks on people applying to run legal marijuana businesses in Washington state, even though it has conducted similar checks in Colorado – a discrepancy that illustrates the quandary the Justice Department faces as it allows the states to experiment with regulating a drug that’s long been illegal under federal law.

Washington state has been asking for nearly a year if the FBI would conduct background checks on its applicants, to no avail. The bureau’s refusal raises the possibility that people with troublesome criminal histories could wind up with pot licenses in the state – undermining the department’s own priorities in ensuring that states keep a tight rein on the nascent industry…

The Obama administration has said it wants the states to make sure pot revenue doesn’t go to organized crime and that state marijuana industries don’t become a cover for the trafficking of other illegal drugs. At the same time, it might be tough for the FBI to stomach conducting such background checks – essentially helping the states violate federal law.

…Stephen Fischer, a spokesman for the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, referred an Associated Press inquiry to DOJ headquarters, which would only issue a written statement: “To ensure a consistent national approach, the department has been reviewing its background check policies, and we hope to have guidance for states in the near term,” it said in its entirety…

In the meantime, officials are relying on background checks by the Washington State Patrol to catch any in-state arrests or convictions. Applicants must have lived in Washington state for three months before applying, and many are longtime Washington residents whose criminal history would likely turn up on a State Patrol check. But others specifically moved to the state in hopes of joining the new industry.

The Colorado background checks were performed for medical marijuana – which convinced the FBI to get off their rusty dusty. Those clearances were expanded by the state for recreational use sales.

Once again, a federal bureaucracy is more willing to spend time regulating morality instead of aiding commerce and a peaceful legal life. If their non-cooperation results in felons being licensed it’s no sweat off their disfunctional butts.

The feds have started thinking about privacy and profits

Florida license plate cams
Anyone snap a photo of your license plate lately?

The power of data helps Facebook find our friends and Netflix choose our movies but, as recent reports make clear, there’s also a looming dark side to the growing consumer data economy…

A Connecticut data broker called “Statlistics” advertises lists of gay and lesbian adults and “Response Solutions” — people suffering from bipolar disorder.

“Paramount Lists”…in Erie, Pa. offers lists of people with alcohol, sexual and gambling addictions and people desperate to get out of debt.

A Chicago company, “Exact Data,” is brokering the names of people who had a sexually transmitted disease, as well as lists of people who have purchased adult material and sex toys.

Meanwhile, a new investigation into license plate scanning describes how enterprising individuals are strapping cameras in order to troll parking lots for cars to repossess. In doing so, the camera-equipped cars hoover up every license plate they see, while adding time and location data; the drivers then relay this data to brokers like Digital Recognition Network of Texas, which claims to collect plate scans of 40 percent of all US vehicles annually.

The scope of this private data collection is all the more remarkable since the private companies that collect it are not subject to the obligations to delete records that are imposed on many government and law enforcement agencies…

Right now, the Federal Trade Commission is conducting an investigation of nine major brokers — Acxiom, Corelogic, Datalogix, eBureau, ID Analytics, Intelius, Peekyou, Rapleaf, and Recorded Future – to see how they are using consumer information.

After all, we live in the land of the free. If individuals – or corporations – were inclined to invade our property for one or another phony reason, illegitimate rationale, foolish premise, we can always count on the government to defend our rights.